You might not be willing to devote the time and energy to understand how electricity actually works, or the mechanisms of your democracy, or the insights behind irrational decision making. More likely, you don’t want to expend the emotional labor to push through feeling dumb as you dig deep on your way to getting smart.
That’s always been an option. You can just use the tool without understanding it, copy the leader without realizing where she’s going, follow instructions without questioning them.
You can choose to be a cog in a machine you don’t understand.
If that’s working for you, no need to change it.
With the EU referendum potentially only months away, it is incumbent on all of us to be informed citizens at this time, and not passive consumers or myopic public service users. We can think with our hearts and our wallets, but we must think with our heads first and foremost, and actually seek to understand the issues beyond the soundbites – no matter what side of the Brexit debate we think we are on.
This debate is about more than the bogus and unverifiable trade and investment statistics put out by the official campaigns on either side. It is about sovereignty, the continued relevance of the nation state as a key building block in world affairs, and the future of human governance itself. The choice we make – and the precedent we set in either validating or rejecting the EU model – may prove to be the most influential thing that the United Kingdom does on the world stage since Suez.
Do we reaffirm our commitment to the nation state as the best guarantor of our freedoms and liberties, or do we take a leap into the unknown by remaining in the EU and following it to its ultimate destination – a future of remote, supranational governance with all the trappings of democracy, but none of its spirit? That is the question before us.
It demands our full and serious attention as engaged citizens. We owe that much to our children, who will feel the benefit or suffer the consequences of the choice we make.
I explore these ideas in more detail in this piece from 2015, entitled “What comes after Britain?”
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.