The biggest winner from the referendum on the weekend is John Stuart Mill.
There’s a strand of left-wing orthodoxy these days that deprecates free speech and brands opposing viewpoints as dangerous wrongthink. This firebrand mode of thinking is excellent at producing an engaged cabal of supporters, but its fruits will often face oblivion in the privacy of one’s own voting booth.
The Yes campaign was undermined by its intellectual siege mentality. In the face of an implacable campaign, only the people already beyond the pale could raise legitimate objections, and so these objections were thought to be invalidated solely by the lack of virtue of those who raised them.
Although John Stuart Mill is a dead white man, the Yes campaigners could do with reading his arguments for free speech and actually engaging with the viewpoints of the opposing side. When political decisions are made privately, it’s better to reduce the fervent engagement of your own tribe to garner more lukewarm support from the other.