Leading up to and immediately following Britain’s “Brexit” vote, I was scribbling incessantly on social media, trying to explain my position. But before I collect those thoughts for this blog — if I ever do — here are two columns by other writers (Paul Jacob & Dan Sanchez) whose appraisals are up my alley.
Hysteria, Assassination, and Big Government
The biggest political story of the month? Brexit.
The people of Great Britain will vote, this week, whether to remain in, or exit, the European Union. (Britain+exit=“Brexit,” you see.)
Establishment forces in Britain have engaged in hysterical, hyperbolic overkill, warning of grave disaster were Britain to leave the union. America’s President Barack Obama contributed to this, recently, when he warned that an independent Britain might find itself placed “at the back of the queue” in trade talks.
Tragically, things got more troubling last week when anti-Brexit, pro-union campaigner Jo Cox, a Member of Parliament and prominent Labour Party activist, was brutally slain last week in front of her local library. The man had just left a mental health facility, after requesting help.
At first, major media reported that the killer had shouted “Britain First,” an old patriotic motto as well as the name of a pro-Brexit political party, while shooting and stabbing her. Of the several eyewitnesses to have allegedly testified to this murderous shout, only one is sticking to the story . . . a member of the British Nationalist Party, which is antagonistic to Britain First. Other eyewitnesses deny the story.
Next, both sides promised to cease campaigning, out of good taste. Still, polls fluctuated, while remaining close.
Much of the furor has risen over immigration policy, especially fears about EU laxity towards Muslim refugees.
But the bedrock issue is Big Government. The EU is not effectively controlled by citizens; indeed, membership representation is mostly show, a mockery of republican government.
That is why, if I were British, I’d vote to Brexit.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Printable PDF This commentary first appeared on Paul Jacob’s Common Sense site on June 21st. Reprinted with permission.
Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too
British voters have elected to leave the European Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state from which Americans declared independence.
Independence is not isolation.
History has come full circle; in a sense, today we are seeing the American Revolution in reverse. In many ways, the European Union is a lever of US global hegemony. By seceding from the EU in spite of threats from Washington, Britain is declaring partial independence from America.
It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain” camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain abandoning Western civilization. But “the West,” as in the US-led alliance of neo-colonial powers, is not the same thing as Western civilization. And the European Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an imperium is not withdrawing from civilization. In fact, such an exit is propitious for civilization.
Small Is Beautiful
Political independence fosters economic interdependence.
Advocates of international unions and super-states claim that centralization promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalize the costs of their belligerence by dragging the rest of the bloc into its fights.
A small political unit cannot afford economic isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border labor mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence. And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the benefits of peace.
The Power of Exit
Super-states also facilitate international policy “harmonization.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the citizen has no escape from onerous laws, like the regulations that unceasingly pour out of the EU bureaucracy.
But with political decentralization, subjects can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of “exit,” governments are incentivized to liberalize in order to compete for taxpayer feet. Today’s referendum was a victory both for Brexit and the power of exit. That’s good news for European liberty.
During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century can play that role again. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside. Brexit may be a death knell for the European Union, yet ultimately a saving grace for the European people.
Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at FEE, developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org, including articles and courses. His articles are collected at DanSanchez.me.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Here are two samples from my many squibs on social media: