I almost cried when I saw the final tally. It is a traumatic day for many Brits and most Europeans who are utterly stunned and shocked. This article briefly covers the problems. Imagine your reaction if Texas voted to leave the US.
To have an understanding of what it means to have a country pull out of a union (and lose your freedom of movement) you have to think back home. Imagine if you live in Ohio and they vote to leave the US. Americans would be horrified by this...and those from Ohio living in California or New York would find their right to live outside of Ohio in other states jeopordised with the possibility of being deported to Ohio.
That's what millions of British people and people with British passports (myself) face.
British people have been hounded at for 20 years...communicating endless blatant lies about the EU and the boogeyman vampire blood suckers in Brussels. It's not democratic (except for the directly voted parliament and commission made up of elected heads of states). It imposes laws on the UK (except for the fact that UK representatives in parliament and in the commission and council all agreed on the laws in play).
In reality...the only thing keeping the conservative government from making more social cuts, freeze minimum wage, give enormous tax cuts to companies and other law changes that will result in more income inequality and job loses and salary decreases....are the EU protections that the UK agreed to. Now they are gone. Now the conservative government can do what they want.
The tragedy is that the people who voted out...are the people who will suffer the most from new policy changes. They've been manipulated by horror stories of the tyrannical EU out to take the pound and queen from England, millions of Muslim refugees pouring into the UK and Turkish accession (lies), endless EU regulations that take away UK freedom (freedom for conservative governments to attack labour rights and cut programs) and the lie that the UK will lose everything that is British. They are being controlled by the EU (despite none of them being able to list more than three policies that aren't optional which actually hurt the interests of average british people. The lessons and the worries:
1: It is incredibly easy to manipulate voters in English speaking countries into voting things that objectively will hurt them (poor people voting for Bush and Trump, Australians voting against larger educated qualified immigrant quotas when doctors and countless other highly trained specialists are needed. Canadians voting against proportional representation for no rational reason. New Zealanders voting in an Austerity government.
2: The EU is better off without the UK in the long run...having been held back for years with the UKs temper tantrums, special deals and unique rights only for the UK (and exceptional protection of their financial sectors). Add to that the UK's utter incapability of compromising on policy decisions (effectively stopping such EU wide policies) despite the ability of the other 26 countries to find consensus.
3: If you let loud mouth racist morons drone on for years and years with propaganda nonsense and don't hit back until it is too late...populism will win. How stupid could pro-EU british politicians be?
4: Half the population of the UK are bloody fools.
5: I and millions of UK citizens have been abandoned by fellow Brits and will wait to be stripped of our freedom of abode...with no knowledge of how or when it will happen.
6: The humanist project of the EU will still continue.
7: Average British citizens will get what they voted for. It will be sad (though darkly satisfying for jaded continental Europeans) to watch the UK deflate.
Our reaction when states tried to leave the US was the American Civil War...
Britain is not in that kind of position, but I see the analogy.
"Individual citizens are not well educated representatives. Representative government is a reasonable compromise between pure democracy. The citizens don't know what is good for themselves or society in general and they will vote selfishly." - This is the synopsis I get from the OP.
People have a need to trust their representative. When they feel everything is a lie, rebellions start. Truthful, easy to understand politicians will always have more popular support than the double talkers and (perceived) corrupt elites. When my representative has and/or earns millions of dollars, I know they do not share my experience; I am instantly skeptical of nearly all of their claims.
It is a tough problem, but we all know propaganda can drastically shift societal views. We hope it is in the positive direction, but more than once, it goes towards the negative.