Did anti-intellectualism lead to Brexit?

Back at school, I remember coming across the notion that intellectualism should be shunned, and that paying attention in class and trying to learn was only something geeks and outsiders did. Such notions, of course, ran directly counter to everything my parents were telling me at the time: they were always trying to get me to read and work more, not less. So I was sort of pulled in opposite directions.

When I went to college and then university, my work ethic solidified (somewhat). I retrospectively put my classmates’ attitude down to the fact that, having Muscular dystrophy and other life-limiting conditions, they weren’t really motivated as much as other people are – why toil and struggle if you know you aren’t going to live past twenty-five? Yet, since then, I have often come across the same, shun-all-teachers attitude in other people who did not have that excuse. In fact it seems quite commonplace, and I find myself wondering if it was this attitude which lead to the Brexit vote.

It is an attitude which shuns authority and learning, and where experts are just geeks who don’t know anything about ”the real world”. Why would anyone with such a worldview bother to listen to anyone who said leaving the EU would be cataclysmic? In fact, if they are anything like my classmates, they would do the exact opposite of what the experts say, just to spite them. Of course, you can put this down to class, social disenfranchisement, economic disenfranchisement, or whatever you like, but I’m really beginning to think that this shun-all-teachers attitude had an effect on the referendum two years ago.

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