Thanks HKB for taking the time to write your thoughts & suggestions. I chose the title for a couple of reasons, the first being its concision and the second because of the fact I’ve spent significant amounts of time talking with the people I was writing about and overwhelmingly they are in fact not very gifted in the intellect department. As for Brexit, the people who want to leave the EU are almost exclusively the lower-income uneducated racists who “can’t stand f*cking foreigners.” The idea that Brexit and Trump et al are a “cry against the elite, against globalization” is a meme much beloved of insulated journalists and commentators but it’s hilariously incorrect and totally unsupported by evidence. It’s just a form of desperate rationalization in the face of collective folly, which while understandable from a psychological perspective is nevertheless deeply unhelpful as it precludes adequate thinking about possible solutions. If we look at the actual messages of the Brexit campaign we see one clear theme: a nostalgic fantasy that the last 80 years can be reversed if only those f*cking foreigners are pushed aside.

Economically however it’s abundantly clear that Brexit will harm most those who voted for it, and likewise Trump’s reign will further reduce the economic status of the vast majority of his supporters. The fact that these people don’t understand this obvious conclusion supports the idea that they are in fact rather simple-minded and entirely ignorant of basic economics.

If we look at Trump supporters, Brexiteers, etc. they all imagine themselves to be “patriotic” which actually reduces down to a desperate need to feel superior because they’re uncomfortably aware of being low-status individuals. The classic response, found in animals as diverse as chickens, dogs, and primates, is to pick on someone even lower down and less powerful in order to initiate a neural cascade of dopamine-related neurotransmitters that make one temporarily feel better. I’ll likely write an article providing the details of this phenomenon, in case anyone is interested.

Written by

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store