Several days ago, a majority of the British people, in a fair and open democratic referendum, and with a margin comparable to the Obama-Romney election here, voted to pull out of the bureaucratic and regulatory quagmire known as the European Union.
I’m not going to pretend to be any sort of expert on the logistic or economic details of the “Brexit” maneuver. Yet I guarantee I’ve read more about it than 95% of the instant-experts on social media, who had no clue about it a month in advance, yet somehow grossly overestimate the meaningfulness of their day-after knee-jerk thoughts thereabout. All I can do is draw some parallels to tendencies I see every day in the news and in the society here, and draw upon experts I do read, most from the homeland of our former colonial overlords.
Brexit, in many ways, was inevitable. Ivory-tower left-wingers on this side of the pond have been casting the vote as “xenophobia” (example). Bullshit. American leftist Bill Maher, of all people, countered nicely: Is it really a phobia if you really have something to be afraid of?
Or, as Ian Tuttle put it: “They are unable to believe they may be wrong, so their opponents must be irrational bigots.” “Bigot”, of course, is a common, hackneyed, petty, laughable, increasingly meaningless, ad hominem slur, arising from the insular catacombs of a leftism that acts so self-congratulatory when some election result does go their way. No, xenophobia had nothing important to do with it. Instead, authentic, real-world concerns of real people did.
In addition to immigration, and likely more importantly, the issue of globalism was at play. The opposite of anti-globalism is not “xenophobia”. The latter simply is a convenient and patronizing pejorative used by the economic, bureaucratic and (pseudo-)intellectual elite for those they perceive as ignorant, drooling rubes. This is done to elicit head nods from the agreeable fellow members of the herd, as I’ve seen commonly on social media.
Go the globalists: “Clap clap clap…yes they’re xenophobes, clap clap clap, yes they’re xenophobes! Thank you sir, shall we pander to one another some more, and continue with our patronizing, elitist puffery…”
Instead the opposite of globalism is more properly termed sovereignty. Boris Johnson, who actually is English and is immersed in this issue deeply, elucidates this well, as he assures us all from within that the U.K. still is part of Europe, and isn’t going to collapse into a smoldering heap of ashes.
The reasoned people who supported this (yes, they exist!) cast a vote substantially for sovereignty, or if you prefer, against the slow-creep toward one-world governance. And yes, there were young voters who voted for this also; this fact is being swept under the rug. Minority or not, they clearly matter(ed). And yes, there were highly educated people who voted for this; that also is being conveniently ignored. I have read a few of their well-reasoned essays. But if one wants to take the easy road and label this “xenophobia”, it’s apparent the proletariat aren’t the ignorant ones.
Yet for expressing this layered, textured idea, I’ve been labeled “absolutist”. Hardly! Indeed, to dig deeper than that is the farthest from “absolutist”–but instead peels into layers of the onion that aren’t so readily apparent.
One of these is the supposed “regret” bloc that is receiving attention far out of proportion to its size of assorted well-publicized individuals. This is so short-sighted and irrational. If you’re going to vote one way and second-guess that the next day, you should have studied the issue better, or stayed home. Your vote is your word…too late now, grasshopper. That passionate one-night stand is done and you must live with your decision. Such is the case in any election in any nation.
Two days is much too short of a time to determine ramifications. The meaningful consequences of this vote, for better or worse, will unfold over 5-10 years. Rantings of pundits this soon thereafter are worthless drivel (it’s way, way, way too soon!)–much akin to NFL draft-grading before the players have even reported to training camp. That (including the aforementioned buyer’s remorse reactions) is itself reactionary, emotional, shortsighted.
Whither the shock and rage over losing value in the equities and monetary exchange markets? That is a very overstated, short-fused gnat fart when you graph it versus the past seven years’ bull market; if we do happen to go to into bear mode soon, factors far larger, deeper and darker than Brexit will be responsible.
Brexit is a sign simply and foremost of working-class disillusionment with an inertial and bloated bureaucratic establishment, globalist trade policy, unfettered immigration at the expense of domestic jobs and security, and loss of both economic and sociopolitical national sovereignty. It’s very loosely similar to some sentiments behind the Trump phenomenon here–but not necessarily in the way you might think at first.
Instead, it’s a manifestation of democracy as it should work: enough people get sick and tired of what those in power are doing and want to go a different way. Personally I wish that “way” in the U.S., were a truly intelligent leader like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, and not a conceited, false-conservative buffoon like Trump, who is driving me even farther out of the Republican Party than the reprehensible “RINO” establishment in DC did. But for all his flaws, he (along with the authentically principled, if misguided, Bernie Sanders) has figured out one thing: there is a lot of discontent with the “way things are” out there and an intense desire to knock it down and start over.
In the U.K., the people had their vote. Agree with it or not, we should respect it. Or as more than one Obama voter obnoxiously and pompously stated after 2008: “Deal with it”.
As for the anti-establishment sentiment here, I refuse to support a candidate entirely devoid of integrity, whether “establishment” (HRC) or pretending to be anti-establishment (Trump). I will not play that binary-choice game anymore. Hillary and Bill Clinton (and they are a package deal, remember) are classic corporate-globalist tools (not to mention corrupt as hell), and Trump is simply deranged. Neither gives a whit about the Constitution in full; either would ratchet domestic spying and Constitutional evasion to new levels. I’ll be voting third-party; hence, don’t blame me for whatever happens when either of those two egomaniacal head cases attains the presidency.