Brexit: Birth of a Nation
by G. Murphy Donovan (August 2016)
“What men value in this world are not rights but privileges.” – H.L. Mencken
Churchill was correct. Democracy is a flawed vessel, especially when the vote doesn’t go your way.
Incumbents and the establishment don’t care much for independent voters, citizens who can’t be manipulated or controlled. When the electorate shows some pluck, the whining begins. The complaint today is “too much democracy.”
Elites are not just bad losers; they’re bad winners too. Indeed, most politicians who have been in office for more than two election cycles usually become tone deaf and clueless.
Part of the problem is professional. Too many politicians are lawyers by schooling, trade, or inclination. Billing hours, not justice, is the lodestar for the Bar, when they appear before it or sit on the bench. That ethic does not change when lawyers are elected or appointed to the ruling class. Yes, class is trending again.
A lawyer in government may not control billing hours, but they still control the purse, perks, and the revolving door. Few barrister/politicians want for much. Hillary and Bill come to mind.
Once seduced by the privileges of office, most politicians can only remember the adjective, not the noun in sobriquets like “public servant.” Lawyers and politicians get paid, win or lose, in or out of office. An American congressman, for example, collects a pension after five years of service; a senator serves one term to win a pension.
Contemporary politicians are “servants” in the same sense that marijuana is medication.
The recent referendum in Britain, aka “Brexit,” might be a case study in poetic justice. David Cameron, the unctuous PM who sponsored the exit referendum, never expected a majority “yes” vote. Cameron is a typical political weasel, now a cake-and-eat-it casualty. He played to the crowd with talk about Brit sovereignty, never believing that the lumpen proletariat would actually jump the EU ship.
God save the Queen and the flat hats!
Indeed, the people have spoken. Cameron is out of a job and globalism is on the ropes for a change. Call it a declaration of independence. Better still, call Brexit the birth of a nation.
If the EU exit vote says anything, it suggests that national sovereignty matters more than supra national or NGO tyranny. The immigration issue is an illustration.
In Europe, unelected EU Commissioners, Juncker’s politburo, decide number and nationality of migrants who must be accepted by member states. In America, while numbers may be smaller, all migrants are laundered through UN agencies or NGO’s, none of which are accountable to the American people. The Yankee electorate, like Europe, has little to say about who comes, goes - or pays.
Globalism, open borders, the welfare state, and the Islamic jihad have created a witch’s brew of national insecurities.
Few will admit it, but terror, Islam, and the Muslim small wars have done what conventional attack could not. Europe is now at risk from within and without. Indeed, the EU may collapse long before any meaningful number of Muslims can be “assimilated.” Paradoxically, tolerance and assimilation is the fairy tale which rationalizes Sharia imperialism and immigrant tsunamis.
The Marquise de Pompadour captured the cost of both ancien regimes and the revolution, “Apres nous, le deluge!”
The globalism chimera in Brussels seems to have reached that tipping point. Most Eurocrats, like their UN counterparts, are the otherwise unemployed political deadwood from social or autocratic “democracies.” Jean-Claude Juncker, former PM of Luxembourg (population 0.5 million), is the archetype. As with non-profits and NGO’s, such privileged elites do not answer to any constituency except committees of their own making.
Even legendary “non-profit” institutions, like the Red Cross, succumb to root rot in the globalist commune. As with many international “charities,” Red Cross humanitarians take better care of themselves today than they do disaster victims. Even die hard socialists seem to have given up on such clueless, if not in-bred, transnationals.
Speaking of vacuity, Barack Obama and Joe Biden presume to lecture the English on the hazards of national soveignty before and after the Brexit vote. Obama threatened to put Britannia at the “end of the queue.” Vice-President Biden, before the egg on the president’s face could dry, suggested that the Brit establishment didn’t necessarily have to honor the mandate of voters.
Such globalist arrogance is manifest in Brussels. At the moment, a cabal of Euro strategic storm troopers is actually arguing for an “EU Army,” as if the NATO legion wasn’t dangerous enough. For the past two decades, NATO and the US State Department have been playing nuclear chicken with the Russians.
At the same time, Brussels can’t protect itself from Islamists at home. Hard to believe that a Schengen army in Europe would be any more effective or economical than the hapless Frontex border scouts.
Withal, our English cousins have fired a shot across the bow of a least one globalist goliath and laid down a marker for national sovereignty everywhere, especially America. The echoes of Brexit are sure to be heard in the 2016 American presidential election.
England is the mother of parliaments and the father of modern democracy. Both America and England were products of the Enlightenment. National independence and democracy were probative values then and they remain so today. All of America’s founding fathers were in fact enlightened Englishmen.
Locke, Smith, Hume, Darwin, and Burke too were rational humanists, men who believed that national independence and pragmatic empiricism were virtues. Charles Darwin and Adam Smith, in particular, argued that individual and national freedom were, not simply morally appropriate and natural, but necessary too in a bio-economic world where true progress has measures of effectiveness - concrete achievements, winners and losers in large and small ways.
Today, words like success, victory, and winning have been stricken from the public square in favor of communal rhetoric and politicized egalitarian hokum. The world of political correctness is now one “whose function is to prevent thought or discussion (or remedy) for unpleasant realities.” Islam is an example.
Alas, English and America democracies were fashioned at a time where empirical meant factual, skeptical meant objective, and liberal actually meant progress, not fantasy. The real world, then and now, is a competitive, yea sometimes a lethal contest between ideas, individuals, institutions, and frequently nations. The fittest survive.
A world of winners would be absurd without losers. Life, reality, and people are frequently unpleasant.
“To be a hero is, by definition, exceptional; if everyone were heroic, no one would be a hero.” Opportunity, or fair competition, might be noble goals. Equality, on the other hand, of individuals or nation states is just so much civic drivel. We are diverse because we are different. In many cases, “diverse” is the polite euphemism for weak - and unequal.
Post-Brexit ironies abound. Losers are calling for a new vote. The worst are asking for an outright ban on referendums. Quasi-nationals like Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are talking separation from the UK. Alas, Scots and Irishmen value the dole as much as much they do a good tipple. Brussels is unlikely to pick up those Celtic bar tabs.
Globalism has been found wanting because dreams of homogeneous empire are always impractical schemes. In the end, empire requires autocratic and arbitrary measures to survive. Rome lasted as long as it did because, early on, it had good engineers, extra-virgin olive oil, and ruthless legions.
There are many euphemisms for empire today. The most pernicious might be Parag Khanna’s “connectography” a globalist theory that sees urban centers, nee big cities, replacing Westphalian nation states. The beads on this daisy chain are to be connected by trade. Khanna’s dream world is not much different than China’s “Silk Road,” the “one belt, one road” project.
These trade and infrastructure visions tend to confuse connectivity with consensus, integration with intelligent design. Facebook is an example. Zuckerberg’s vision is to have the world on his social network. Qui bono?
If you gave plebs of the world a choice of potable water, central heating, pizza, a flush toilet, housing, and literacy - or a personal computer; do trade trolls like Khanna really believe that the consensus choice would be a smart phone?
Any connectographs or silk thruways that run through the Muslim world are sure to be toll roads too, if not free fire zones. Islam knows too well that consumerism and commerce are the cutting edges of the imperial sword.
Empire fails because it is always at odds with common needs and true diversity; that species of tribalism, or local solidarity, which drives all genuine human competitive enterprise. Or as one ward healer put it, “All politics is local.” UN membership has expanded exponentially since 1945, creating the misfired meme of national equality. Somalia is the equal of Sweden in the same sense that a goat is the equal of a Volvo.
The EU and NATO continue to expand nonetheless, channeling the menace of the now defunct Warsaw Pact. The EU began as a benign economic condominium too. That consortium is now being undone by autocratic pipe dreams, political/military over reach at home, and appeasement abroad.
Tragically, EU imperialism (aka humanitarian intervention) has now destabilized the Levant, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. The refugee crisis in not just blowback or poetic justice anymore. The Levant, the Islamic State, and Europe are now joined by an umbilical cord of bad policy. Today, Washington and Brussels are the official sponsors of Mohammad’s backpack jihad.
Globalism is indeed the new imperialism. Empire now comes dressed as a Muslim pilgrim, a humanitarian, or a trade troll. Like other Utopian illusions; the EU, the UN, the sharia Ummah, and those globalist trade mirages will suffer the same fate as the Internationale and the Thousand Year Reich. How much carnage comes before then is anybody’s guess. For now, Brexit appears to be the ghost of Christmas future.
If global government were possible today, the end of national and local democracy would begin tomorrow.
G. Murphy Donovan sometimes writes about the politics of national insecurity.
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