Among the establishment types, globalist elites, and their allies, reactions to the results of the June 23rd Brexit referendum in Britain have been uniformly dire. You would think that Godzilla walked up the Thames, belched out a fireball, and smoked London.
There have been widespread assertions that the Brexit was nothing more than xenophobic bigotry. There have also been prognostications of disaster for the UK, Europe…and possibly the entire world! Maybe even the whole universe, while we’re at it!
I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Even J.K. Rowling—the author of all those Harry Potter books—is getting in on the post-Brexit, anti-Brexit action. A noisily outspoken advocate of “remain” for months, Rowling has used her public media footprint and her social media accounts to shame to the “leave” faction and signal her own globalist virtues.
Rowling declared her pride in being part of the 48% who voted for a continuation of the status quo—and then proceeded to compare “leave” voters to the villains in her children’s stories. And, of course, mini-Trumps.
Rowling is to be commended for her success as a children’s author; but nothing in her background makes her uniquely qualified to hold forth on political or economic matters. Where the Brexit is concerned, in other words, she’s just another citizen, another blokette. Her guess is no better than yours, and possibly it’s much worse: The “Voldemort argument” isn't exactly brilliant as rhetoric. And the “mini-Trump” charge is embarrassingly low-hanging fruit for people of a certain political persuasion.
The U.S. mainstream media, meanwhile, has engaged in slightly more subdued finger-wagging, predicting that Anglo-American relations will be strained in the wake of the Brexit. President Obama is in full crisis mode. (Prior to the referendum, he publicly scolded British voters, declaring that they should reject independence.)
You would think, by all this melodrama, that Britain had just declared war on the Continent. And far too many people have been taught to conflate any assertion of national sovereignty with “bigotry” or “xenophobia”—on both sides of the Atlantic pond.
But these latter two words exist in a separate category for a reason. As an American, I have nothing against the good people of Poland or France—or Mexico— for that matter. That does not mean that I would like to see the U.S. merge politically and economically with any of these nations.
Does that sentiment make me bigoted or xenophobic? Among some globalist extremists, it would.
The fact of the matter is that bigger is not always better where political bodies are concerned. We Americans have enough difficulty resolving differences among the states. And we come from a common culture and speak the same language—most of the time.
I live on the Ohio side of the Ohio-Kentucky border. There are plenty of people on both sides of the Ohio River who will tell you that the land on the opposite bank is a different country, or should be. And that’s Ohio and Kentucky. Alabama and California practically are different countries.
Europeans have spent centuries resisting political domination by a single administrative entity: the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany, the USSR. Why all this sentimentality over the Beast of Brussels, and shaming for those who resist its expensive, meddling embrace?
We also see amid this fracas how self-declared progressives and liberals (the main advocates of “remain”) can be so, well…selectively reactionary. These are the people who have insisted, for roughly the past fifty years or so, that we should jettison our age-old institutions of Judeo-Christianity, and socially engineer new definitions for family and gender. But we mustn't tamper with a supranational political union that has existed in its current form for less than twenty-five years! If we do that, all hell will break loose, and we’ll probably deserve it.
The Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992 and implemented in 1993. The Euro was introduced only in 1999. If the Euro were a person, it would barely be old enough to drive, and it wouldn't be able to vote yet.
If my high school history classes served me well, Britain and the United Kingdom have been around since slightly before all that. Throughout many of those years—those centuries, rather—the country did quite well on its own.
And don’t give me any of those but-this-is-the-era-of-globalization cliches. It’s always been the era of globalization. Ask the Gauls who were conquered by the ancient Romans. Ask the millions throughout the Mediterranean who were absorbed into the Hellenistic empire of Alexander the Great. Ask the Native Americans who were displaced by Europeans.
Moreover, can we forget for a moment that an accident of geography has placed the British Isles off the coast of Europe? Would you insist that your daughter marry your neighbor’s son just because his parents happen to live next door? If you were going to pick a business partner, would your next-door neighbor be your automatic first choice? If we’re so darn global nowadays, then geography should not be the sole determinant of the countries you align yourself with.
There are plenty of countries—the United States, Canada, and Japan come immediately to mind—that have done quite well without membership in the EU. There is no reason to think that the UK can’t prosper without it as well. After all, the UK has prospered without he European Union in the past.
Far from seeing the Brexit as a British self-detonation or an expression of xenophobia, we should see the Brexit as an exercise of national self-determination.
The UK gave the EU more than twenty years—about a generation. A substantial number of Britons didn't like the results; things didn't work out as promised and planned.
Therefore, last week the country’s electorate voted in a national referendum to change course.
That isn't bigotry or suicide; that’s democracy and self-determination in action.