On the Lost Art of Intellectual Honesty

By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee. Craigmurray.org.uk.

I remain strongly opposed to Brexit. However, I feel obliged to state, purely as a matter of intellectual honesty, that if the UK leaves the EU, even if it has no special trade deal and is merely subject to WTO terms, the fall in value of sterling already due to Brexit would give its goods a comparative advantage over the pre-referendum position even when the EU tariffs are applied. I say that in response to some of the apocalyptic comment around matter of fact remarks by the EU trade commissioner.

It is unfortunate that political debate in the UK has descended to such a debased intellectual level. If you support a position, you are not ever to admit there are any counter arguments on any aspects of that position which might have the remotest intellectual validity. Thus, in the EU referendum campaign, Leavers painted the EU as a dastardly organisation bent on evil and controlling everybody’s lives, and Remainers portrayed it as an earthly paradise to which the alternative was eternal damnation and plagues of affliction. One of the arguments the Blairites use against Corbyn is that he had the temerity to employ nuance and intellectual honesty in discussing the EU. Intellectual honesty is certainly not something Tony Blair ever employed.

Politics has become a branch of PR. It is just about selling. The party, candidate or policy you are selling must be portrayed as the absolute epitome of excellence, with no flaws whatsoever. Political discourse has therefore become juvenile. It is about expensively dressed, well groomed salesmen with perfect teeth. Thought is positively frowned upon.

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  • iseeit

    “Politics has become a branch of PR. It is just about selling. The party,
    candidate or policy you are selling must be portrayed as the absolute
    epitome of excellence, with no flaws whatsoever. Political discourse has
    therefore become juvenile. It is about expensively dressed, well
    groomed salesmen with perfect teeth. Thought is positively frowned upon”.

    And that is putting it nicely. The elite have become transparently evil. Not only do they lie, they’re aggressively hostile toward truth.

    In the U.S. propaganda saturation is near total for roughly 90% of the population. They’ve constructed a true regime and are becoming increasingly desperate to defend it.

  • Tim Owen

    “Politics has become a branch of PR.”

    EXACTLY. And just like a PR man will pride himself on spinning anything they think the public will believe anything. Of course put that together with Mencken’s observation that “Wars happen when politicians lie to journalists and then believe what they read in the newspaper” and you have something akin to a doomsday device.

    Darkness at Noon.

  • mutthead52

    Excellent article. Meanwhile it is absolutely true, btw, that the EU as a dastardly organisation bent on evil and controlling everybody’s lives; you can consult Martin Schultz if you have any doubts.

  • Brockland A.T.

    …. But the U.K. hasn’t left yet; Article 50 has not even been invoked…