One of the major difficulties our democracies come across is that quite a few times, the voice that is most listened to is the loudest and the most aggressive. The one field which endlessly bashes its opponents and reduces them to the lowest common denominator can often become the dominating and pace-setting force in several important debates, and this can have tragic consequences for all of us.
That said, it’s also a recurrent tactic for those who defend such ways to create their own space and trample every notion of a rational discussion, resorting to constant fallacies, deceit and distortion. Going for a rather easy target (mea culpa, it’s just too easy but I promise there will be many more targets), it has become recurrent in some circles to take as a fait accompli that the UK will leave the European Union, and that this will happen sooner rather than later, because its elites have no interest in taking part in this project any more and because the British public opinion is falling more and more under the discourse of the UKIP. This is not completely baseless per se – after all, the UKIP did win the last European elections in the UK (with the circumstances that surround this election, something we shouldn’t forget) and a large segment of the British press seems to have adopted its rhetoric. A casual observer would feel very secure by saying the Brits are about to call it quits and nobody could call that observer a fool for that.
And then this comes out, as well as this. Not to say that public opinion polls are infallible or that their figures don’t fluctuate regularly, but there is a significant gap between published opinion and public opinion. We know we are entering a danger zone when these two merge and form a populist monster which will stop at nothing until it achieves the goals of who is leading it but the good news is, this doesn’t happen as often as published opinion wants us to believe. If this poll really is accurate, its conclusions should make a lot of people in Europe stop and think for a while about how precise and correct their research and information is. Most of all, such examples should make us contemplate about how skilled we are at making distinctions between what someone wants us to believe and the facts behind the reality that we’re trying to follow.
Let us not forget the words of Master Yoda: « Joined the Dark Side, Dooku has. Lies, deceit, creating mistrust are his ways now. » A citizen with an able brain is strong enough to resist such tactics. Unfortunately, we all have our weaknesses and they can fail us when we least expect.