Stupid Memes, Lies, and Ahistoricism

June 27, 2016 § 4 Comments

There is a meme going around the interwebs in the wake of last Thursday’s Brexit referendum and decision.  This meme is American and has appeared on the FB and Twitter feeds of pretty much every conservative I know.  And, like nearly all memes, it is stupid. And ahistorical.


I watched an argument unfold on a friend’s FB wall over the weekend, where one of the discussants, in response of someone trying to historicize and contextualize the EU, said that “History is irrelevant.” He also noted that history is just used to scare people.  OK, then.

But this is where history does matter.  The European Union is a lot of things, but it is not “a political union run by unaccountable rulers in a foreign land.”  Rather, the EU is a democracy. All the member states joined willingly.  There is a European Parliament in Brussels to which member states elect members directly.  Leadership of the EU rotates around the member states.

And, the 13 Colonies, which rose up against the British Empire in 1774, leading to the creation of the United States following the War of Independence, were just that: colonies.  The United Kingdom is not and was not a colony of Europe.

The two situations are not analogous. At all.  In other words, this is just another stupid meme.  #FAIL


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§ 4 Responses to Stupid Memes, Lies, and Ahistoricism

  • So very, very true. The Brits can’t actually believe that of course but made a big error in the vote last week.

    How can ANYONE say that “history is irrelevant”. Ask the Irish, the French Canadians, or the American Revolutionaries in 1774…the Europeans in 1918 after The “Great War”…Idiotic statement to say the least! The EU is very far from perfect but then so is the US System of “government”…witness the last few years and the current one!

    Interesting how some of those voters in the UK suddenly now wish it was June 22nd…and could change their vote! A little bit late however…
    Dave Schurman

    • I am fascinated by the fallout of Brexit in Britain. Between Farage and Johnson admitting they lied, to the voters who said they didn’t really know what they were doing, to the petition with 3M+ signatures, to the EU’s conflicting statements and Cameron’s dragging his feet.

  • PeterG says:


    There are certainly numerous and significant differences between the situation of the 13 colonies in the 18th century British Empire and the situation of the UK in the EU today, but there are also parallels. No, the EU is not “a political union run by unaccountable rulers in a foreign land” (for one thing, the UK’s voters got to decide for themselves about EU membership; it doesn’t get much more accountable than that) but to a lot of people in the UK it feels like one, and there are reasons for that. In that sense the meme hyperbolically expresses a reality.

    I say all this as someone who found the Leave campaign extremely distasteful and doubts very much that Brexit will turn out well for anyone.

  • […] the undoing of all of us.  They tend towards the stupid.  I have written of this before, here and here.  This weekend on Facebook, I came across this […]

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