Shut Up

I suppose it’s not particularly insightful to note that this has been a grim old year, and depending on the outcome of the US Presidential election it may get even grimmer, but the thing I’ll be taking away from 2016 is that this is the year we were told to shut up.

Specifically, the formulation goes: ‘The People have spoken, now shut up.’ I’ve heard it most often from the Leave camp with relation to the EU Referendum; anyone who expresses disappointment or apprehension about the result is branded a ‘Remoaner’ and told that the People voted to leave the EU and any dissent is sour grapes. I’ve also started seeing it with relation to the election of Jeremy Corbyn – those who express doubts about Labour’s future electability are told, ‘The People have spoken; shut up.’

There’s a long and noble tradition of dissent in this country, and it feels odd to see it being countered with the simple words ‘We won, now shut up.’ Eurosceptics didn’t shut up after the People spoke in the 1975 Referendum and voted to remain in the EEC, and if the Left had taken that advice a great deal of social justice, down the years, would have gone unchallenged.

But perhaps we should just shut up now. The People spoke last year and returned David Cameron’s government with a majority, and perhaps we should shut up about that. When the American People speak and send Donald Trump to the White House in a couple of months, perhaps we should shut up about that.

Perhaps we should all just shut the fuck up.

8 thoughts on “Shut Up

  1. Telling us that ‘the people have spoken’ and we should accept their decision without question assumes that ‘the people’ know what they are doing. Not an assumption I’m happy to make. Using that as the justification for the argument is part of a long saga of dubious historical thought – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Attila the Hun etc. And maybe Trump too, God forbid. I’d rather that we were allowed to think and speak for ourselves.

    • – Particularly with the Referendum, where the People spoke on the basis of quite a large amount of disinformation and flat-out lies. It might just be me, but I find it uncomfortable to have dissent discouraged like this.

      • Exactly that. Not to mention the appeal to our baser natures and the latent racism that has been encouraged out into the open. The discouragement of dissent is the first step towards totalitarianism.

        • – I’m not sure it’s a conscious thing in the case of the Leave campaigners; it’s almost as if, surprised at having won, they don’t want anyone to examine it too closely. I’ve seen comments about the £350 million promise shut down with, ‘We won the vote, don’t complain.’ Of course, stuff like that needs to be examined. It’s weird; I can’t remember this happening before.

          • I put it down to their surprise at winning what they were hoping would be a vote that would give them a good basis to pressure the government in future, without actually changing the status quo. That, and their guilt at how they did it – assuming any of them has a conscience.

  2. Thing is, people in the leftist camp (of which I used to be a part, now I reject all camps) have been telling others to ‘shut the fuck up’ for five years now. I realize this isn’t you Dave, but looking at the left as a whole, the ‘moderates’ and ‘center left’ have allowed the extremists to establish the principle that it’s okay to just silence opposition. Consider this popular xkcd article:

    How many online lefties have gleefully retweeted this when they’re telling others to ‘shut up’? We’ve seen a wave of people bullied offline, terrorized and fired from their jobs for having unacceptable opinions, always with the left holding the whip. But what goes around, comes around, and in politics the pendulumn always swings, and what you used against others gets used against you. The left is now going to discover that it’s undermined any platform of civil discourse that it could appeal to when things turned against it. After all, the campaign against free speech is still being fought in our universities.

    As you know, I predicted things would go this way after my experiences in the sci-fi community. ‘STFU’ has been certainly been a popular refrain among the dominant leftists there. Things are moving a lot faster than I expected, and you can see it’s a worldwide phenomenon. How many leftist governments are in power in Europe? How is Donald Trump so close to winning the US presidency, when he should be a no-hoper?

    The last five years have seen the rise of the Social Justice Warrior, a form of leftwing extremist preaching a racist anti-white, and anti-male agenda. As more and more people consume online media, so more and more people think this is the true face of the political left. As a result the political left hemmorages support, because men hold up half the sky, and whites are a majority in western nations. This isn’t helped by the fact that too many people on the political left have tended at best to pretend SJWs don’t exist, and at worst to support them seeking to be a good ‘ally’ to feminism or whatever it is that they think they’re seeing. (What they are seeing is a novel form of fascism, where group unity/control is achived by targetting one demographic group as being the cause of all that is wrong in the world and declared as being fair game for any kind of attack).

    I agree with you that I’m uncomfortable to see dissent discouraged, but I’ve been seeing that for the past five years with people on the left doing the discouraging. How many people on the left have stood up against this? (Some have, but the majority have looked the other way).

    2016 is not a year that’s going to exist in isolation. 2016 is a turning point. The white working class is mad as hell now, because they are the people most erased by ‘social justice’ and most betrayed by the 2008 collapse of ‘trickle down’ capitalism. They increasingly think the entire system is a fraud. The extreme classism of people from the London bubble that we saw after Brexit has only made things worse. A gulf is opening up between the college-educated classes and the majority of western society. This is an untenable situation, and it will turn catastrophic unless something is done, but for something to be done will require the left to face up to the fact that it largely made this happen, and I don’t think it can. We are likely passing through the greatest ideological change since world war 2, unless the situation is addressed quickly, it will likely be the greatest ideological change since the French Revolution.

  3. Regardless of the causes of events, our perceptions are important too. My wife said the other day, unprompted “it’s just been a bugger of a year”, and so it absolutely has. I guess the question is whether it’s a Gramsci moment (“the new is not ready to be born”) or whether it’s the full grimness of the limits to growth model kicking in.

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