National Security & Defense

Why the Left Hates Referendums

Workers count referendum ballots in London, June 23, 2016. (Neill Hall/Reuters)
It was never about Power to the People.

One of the common laments of commentators on the left in Europe and America concerning Brexit is that holding referendums is a bad idea.

The most frequently expressed example is the contempt in which the Left holds British prime minister David Cameron for having suggested the referendum in the first place.

But why would the Left hate referendums? Doesn’t the Left claim to represent “the people?” Isn’t one of the most popular sayings of the Left “Power to the People”? Isn’t the American Left trying to abolish the Electoral College precisely because it isn’t directly representative of the people’s will?

One would imagine, therefore, that if anyone would welcome referendums, it would be the Left.

So, what gives?

The answers explain a great deal about the Left.

RELATED: Brexit Reaction: Damn the People

First, the Left cares about “the people” as much as the Soviet Communist Party cared about “the workers.” For the Left, real people are either political fodder or, when they support the Left, useful idiots. The Left loves power, not people.

Repeat: The Left loves power, not people.

If that is not understood, the Left is not understood.

To the Left, nations are archaic constructs, impediments to the left-wing ideal of a world without national identities.

The European Union is a perfect example. It is a left-wing exercise in controlling people — in this case, entire nations. That great source of societal damage; the faceless and nameless bureaucrat — in this instance located in Brussels — seeks to control as much of every individual European’s life as possible. There is no limit to the number and extent of rules that the EU passes.

To the Left, nations are archaic constructs, impediments to the left-wing ideal of a world without national identities. This utopia, governed ultimately by a worldwide Brussels — the United Nations or something like it — will be run by a secular totalitarian clergy consisting of left-wing parties; left-wing intellectuals in academia and the media; big corporations vying for government subsidies, and big labor, whose leaders embody the love of power. Fellow travelers include environmentalist and feminist organizations and the religious Left (to the extent that organized Western religion will exist in a left-wing-run world).

#share#Since its beginning, the major, if not only, interest the Left has had in people is to control them. That is the reason for the Left’s fear and loathing of referendums. Every referendum gives people who are not yet controlled by the Left the exceedingly rare opportunity to exercise power.

That is what the people of California did when they voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Left loathed the proposal itself, characterizing it as “hate.” And after it was passed the Left did what it always does when it can — used judges to overturn the popular will.

RELATED: Liberals Cosmopolitans Lash Out at the Shattering of Their Worldview

The British nation did last week what the citizens of California have done. They exercised their will independently of the Left. Those Britons whose minds were not yet influenced by the Left said that they would rather have Britain stay British and be self-governing than become an identity-free European country governed by Brussels.

Thus, the Left is now apoplectic: No one should be able to defy the Left and get away with it. Just as almost everyone of any prominence who supported California’s Proposition 8 was ultimately punished (such as the CEO of Mozilla Firefox, who, despite his universally acknowledged fair treatment of gays, was fired solely for supporting the notion that marriage should have remained defined as it had always been, as between the two sexes).

#related#America should have a referendum on whether to exit the United Nations, that moral wasteland loved by the Left. In light of Brexit, Republicans should strongly endorse the idea, even if the results aren’t binding.

Brexit represents a ray of optimism. But in the long run even referendums may not matter. As long as the Left controls education and the news and entertainment media, brainwashed populations will vote to destroy their nations and Western civilization generally — as is already happening in the institution most controlled by the Left, the university.

In the meantime, long live the referendum, the last remaining tool for the non-elites and the non-Left to express themselves.

Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His second volume of Bible commentary, The Rational Bible — Genesis: God, Creation, Destruction, is published by Regnery.  He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at

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