The Harshness of Tolerance

Complexity and nuance are hard. They demand thought and effort without guaranteeing they will provide the right answer at the end. I can feel the absolutism tugging at me with its promises of an immediate answer that will let me move on to more enjoyable things. To avoid its pull, I’ve decided to dump some ballast.

I voted Remain in the Referendum. There were good reasons for both options (sadly lost beneath the bloviation and scaremongering), but Remain had what seemed stronger advantages to me based on my researches. However, the country decided to Leave, so I have new questions to consider:

It Isn’t A Popular Mandate So Can Be Ignored

On the one hand, the result isn’t the better than 60/40 split that measurements in many fields hold as significant; and becomes still less an expression of national will when adjusted for turn-out.

On the other hand, the outcome is more decisive both in votes and turn-out than many of the votes to elect Members of Parliament, so has better claim to being a popular mandate than the last election (within the version of democracy we use).

The Referendum Is the Will of The People So Should Be Obeyed

On the one hand, the government chose to have a referendum so its answer is morally – if not legally – binding on the country; and any dislike I might feel for the outcome.

On the other hand, both official sides spewed forth invective and demagoguery rather than evidenced-based probabilities, so the Referendum is the fruit of a poisoned tree; as governance should be above reproach, it must be struck down for possible.

Vote Leave Should Be Forced To Negotiate Brexit

On the one hand, they lied to the electorate and are now throwing those lies in our faces and chuckling so should bear the consequences.

On the other hand, I don’t want Farage, Johnson, and all the other elitists who cynically hid behind a façade of nationalism to be in charge of anything that affects me; I didn’t like their vision of the United Kingdom when they pitched it before the Referendum, so why would I want it now?

This Marks the Start of the End for the European Union

On the one hand, I support the EU for the possibility to move beyond petty nationalism toward a world with common laws to reflect our common humanity.

On the other hand, if the EU collapses it will not create a world in which nations do not interact with each other, so a newer wiser organisation might form in the same way that the United Nations learnt from the League of Nations.

The one thing I am certain of is that the United Kingdom should be better for its residents (all its residents) than it has been. So, at the end of the day, I hope that (in the likely event Parliament doesn’t decide to ignore the Referendum) whoever takes us out of the EU gets a great deal, then directs the money/power/&c. we gain toward the benefit of the disadvantaged and not the elites. To which end, I will be using those petitions and such available to me to show support for those in government who wish to legislate on the basis of common humanity, while attempting to display that common humanity myself.

And, accepting absolutism has a right to a voice, I also hope Nigel Farage gets to live in the world he tried to build and no one else does.

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