• Jules Gomes

Why nothing irks a Leftie like a referendum

Direct democracy to a progressive is as embarrassing, messy, and torturous as a colonoscopy to a chronic sufferer of haemorrhoids.

Jon Snow, Channel 4 presenter, conspicuous for his acquired taste in loud ties, bright cotton socks and limousine socialism, tweeted his distaste of direct democracy this week.

‘I am a journalist and I live in a representative democracy. Referenda are a distortion of our democracy. Given what Hitler achieved through referenda, I'm surprised that more people are not aware. If a General Election elects a Government on a “leave ticket” I would abide by it,’ he moaned.

When rational debate fails, always recycle the reductio ad Hitlerum argument. It works like a mule’s kick in a man’s groin. ‘Hitler was against toilet paper, X is against toilet paper, therefore X is a Nazi,’ runs the unyielding logic of the argument. Except, of course, when you point out that Hitler was a National Socialist, so socialism is evil!

When rational debate fails, always recycle the

reductio ad Hitlerum argument.

James Macintyre of Christian Today, a Left-wing website that doubles up as Justin Welby’s ventriloquist’s dummy, sprays the Hitler argument like a World War II flame-thrower while attacking referenda as ‘lethally dangerous’.

‘For referendums, the tool of dictators including Hitler, are lethally divisive, and do not bring any kind of closure on controversial issues [such as Brexit],’ writes this re-moaner, squirming under the colonoscope. Macintyre is jittery about Ireland’s abortion referendum. For him, referenda are devilish creatures like Dementors in Harry Potter novels, as they suck the job of politicians and leave them with nothing to do.

A few months ago, Richard Angell, LGBT officer of the Labour Irish Society, was trotting out similar tropes in The Guardian. Northern Ireland needs equal marriage and abortion rights – but no referendum, he wrote. Referenda unleash ‘the worst sort of politics’ and ‘divide cultures, generations and families’. The Irish referendum on equal marriage indulged homophobia, said Angell, and in similar debates on campuses pro-abortionists are called ‘baby killers’.

Angell also argues that important issues such as marriage equality or abortion are the preserve of legislators and not the hoi polloi. Those who fear direct democracy are in good company. Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, an avowed socialist, called the referendum ‘a device for despots and dictators’.

Clement Attlee, an avowed socialist, called the referendum ‘a device for despots and dictators’.

Anti-referendum campaigners also claim referenda are problematic because they offer a binary Yes/No vote, drive out deliberation in policymaking, empower newspapers and well-heeled people to take one side of the argument, give political parties a get-out ticket by getting the electorate to answer difficult questions, make room for celebrities to sway public opinion, privilege numbers over arguments, lead to mob rule, disenfranchise deplorables who don’t have the capacity to engage in debate, encourage populism and draw out fanatics from under their toadstools.

The appeal to Hitler is facile. Hitler used referenda only when he was sure of the result. Under Josef Goebbels the free press was rendered impotent. German radio and cinema made sure Hitler’s message hit home. In August 1934, Hitler used President Hindenburg’s death to call a referendum on merging the posts of president and chancellor into the post of Führer. However, even before January 1933, Hitler’s thugs had already begun terrorising the populace with truncheons and concentration camps.

Hitler displayed his real attitude to direct democracy when Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg called a referendum on whether Austria should remain a free, independent and Christian country. Hitler exploded with fury, cancelled the ballot, ordered the Wehrmacht into Austria, had Schuschnigg arrested, forced him to clean SS toilets and annexed Austria.

Progressivism is about big government. The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. For all the blather about equal distribution of wealth, the progressive cannot stomach the equal distribution of power. He prefers power concentrated in the hands of the elite, euphemistically referred to as elected representatives.

Ironically, when Trump was elected president by the Electoral College (a form of representative democracy), progressives were screaming like the high priests of Baal on Mount Carmel and seeking to delegitimise him on the basis that he lost the popular vote by 3million ballots.

The Left’s gripe about divisive politics is bogus and their plea for unity is a gimmick. What they really mean is that they want the electorate to unite around their values only. Outside wartime, the only truly united countries are totalitarian states. A referendum divides generations? So does heavy metal and rap music!

The claim that referenda spur on Right-wing fanatics has been debunked by the recent Australian postal vote on same-sex marriage, which unleashed a tidal wave of Christianophobia. Glen Waverley Anglican church in Melbourne was sprayed with graffiti saying ‘Vote Yes, bash bigots’ and ‘Crucify No Voters’.

For all the blather about equal distribution of wealth, the progressive cannot stomach equal distribution of power.

LGBT activists attacked the headquarters of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) several times. In December 2017, an LGBT activist suicide bomber rammed it with a vehicle filled with explosives. An LGBT activist also encouraged supporters of same-sex marriage to post noxious substances to the ACL.

A doctor who appeared in the first advertisement for the ‘No’ campaign received repeated threats of violence as well as an online petition demanding that she be stripped of her registration. LGBT activist and TV star Benjamin Law mused online about raping MPs opposed to gay marriage. Two women interrupted a Coalition for Marriage event in Melbourne with a banner encouraging people to ‘burn churches’.

Politicians simply cannot be trusted on the big moral issues of our day. They have too many vested interests and are captive to lobbyists, corporations and to what they perceive as the interest of the majority who will vote for them at the next elections. If we can trust voters to elect representatives why can we not trust voters to decide on the fundamental moral and political issues of our day?

Referenda make the political elite nervous because they empower ordinary voters to think through issues of moral and political significance. Rather than lazily leave the big questions to a few representatives, direct democracy compels the individual voter to study both sides of the debate and come to his or her own conclusion based on arguments heard and evidence presented.

A referendum is the biggest antidote to the infantilisation of the electorate.

In the digital age, a referendum empowers non-mainstream media through an army of bloggers, public intellectuals, experts, academics and ordinary people who are otherwise marginalised from the political process.

A referendum is one of the ways of ensuring we limit the power of government. It is the biggest antidote to the infantilisation of the electorate. This is why it is poses the biggest obstacle to the totalitarian agenda of progressivism.

When Leftists don’t like the results of a referendum they whinge endlessly or simply reject the results. Hitler cancelled the Austrian referendum when he sensed it would go against him. History repeated itself as farce when another German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stopped the referendum by Greek premier George Papandreou on whether Greece should be allowed to exit the eurozone.

No one can predict which way the vote in today’s Irish referendum will swing. What one can predict is that if the vote does not go in favour of the pro-abortionist progressives, the losers will bitch and bellyache and manipulate their elected representatives into overturning the results and repealing the Eight Amendment.

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