Saturday, July 2, 2016

Be good and begone.

I'm sorry for my friends who are really, horribly, personally distraught over the British vote to exit the European Union. I'm puzzled by my American friends who have taken this as a personal attack somehow.

No one that I've spoken with has made the argument that the European Union's governance by bureaucrat, a ruling class that is unelectable and unaccountable, is a good thing. You can make that case, argue that somehow moral giants will be appointed who will govern better than the Great Unwashed, but that is not the argument being made, far as I can see. And yet it may be the only answer to a primary contention in the Leave argument, that the EU has an accountability deficit.

And this is no small issue. I've heard all my life that the Chinese were inventing things when my ancestors were living in trees, but they also invented a giant bureaucracy that stifled innovation and led to the long collapse of their civilization. The Roman Empire and now the American people also fell victim to creeping stultification by endless rules. The EU has been an accelerated version of this sclerosis, happening daily before the eyes of the world. And yet they could not solve any of the serious problems facing the nations of Europe, such as the economic collapse of irresponsible nations, an inadequate military for existential threats, and the looming menace of retirement entitlements combined with depopulation. So in a way, EU membership was a terrible deal, demanding obedience to endless rules while providing nothing for crucial difficulties.

But even discounting all that, haven't we always been told that smaller is better? The same people who support big government seem to hate everything that's big---big business, Big Oil, Big Pharma, big farms, big military. So why is big government appealing? They support freedom and nonconformity. So why support overbearing government that by its nature suppresses freedom and demands conformity? Moreover, it is self-evident that nations with powerful governments do not remove the wealth of the wealthy, nor protect the interests of the small against them. How does insulation from the popular will do either of those things?

What I've mainly heard from Remainers are a lot of racism charges, and the assumption seems to be that racism is the only reason anyone would not want to be part of the EU. We are undoubtedly at a crisis of civil citizenry when reasonable people cannot accept disagreement with one another. I'm not saying there's no racism in England; there's racism everywhere there's people. But to credit that to all the Exit supporters is a gross distortion at the least.

Maybe being American makes me sympathetic to our British brothers for wanting to be free from an overbearing state that takes more than it gives. (Sounds familiar, eh, my English pals?) This should have been a simple yes or no, with rational arguments made on both sides, and acceptance of the results in the end, and instead we got this horrible tangle of exaggeration, recrimination, and accusation.

I am proud of nations that strike a blow for freedom, never more so than at our own Independence Day. So I say bravo, England. (I just wish more Americans were eager to be independent from government dependence.)

Last thought: I was struck by the proximity of Wimbledon to the Brexit vote. I immediately thought of the Monty Python sketch wherein aliens are turning Englishmen into Scotsmen so that the aliens can win Wimbledon, Scotsmen being poor at tennis.

I wondered if the aliens had returned, and managed to turn 51 percent of Englishmen into Englishmen.

No comments: