It’s now been one week since the historic vote for British Independence, and the Brexit celebration and the Brexit panic have been colliding ever since. The Pound has yet to recover from that panic, but the $3 trillion dollars that journalist claimed had been evaporated, vaporized, or wiped out of the global markets has mostly come back. Amazing, how wealth can vanish into thin air, and then just as quickly reappear, right out of thin air, just like that.
Anyhow, in the last week, Britain’s angry “Remainers” have had time to publicly demand that their politicians not listen to public demands, and the EU’s angrier officials have been constantly breathing out threats and demands against the UK. In addition to possible embargoes and boycotts, the EU is how moving to punish British voters by banning the appliances that make their beloved tea and toast. There is even talk of war.
Prime Minister David Cameron, for example, has fretted that without the EU’s protection and advice, the UK and other European powers might be plunged into foolish and costly foreign wars (like the recent Gulf wars, perhaps?). Some analysts have gone further, suggesting that the only thing preventing bloody wars between European nations has been the benevolent oversight of the European Union. Without its British backing, the collapse of the EU is possible, which these fearmongers say would immediately spark a new series of European Wars, possibly a new World War.
However, the EU is less likely to prevent WWIII than the League of Nations was able to prevent WWII. Historically speaking, the opposite has been true; officious meddling from international institutions has always caused more than it has prevented. From Caesars to Emperors to Führers to Party Secretaries, the people of Europe have been able to see that the desire for a single continental government always leads toward bloodshed. If we do see war in our time, I expect it will be more motivated by bad feeling caused by the EU’s demonizing of the UK and other future Exiters than the dissolving of its benefits.
And it should be pointed out that membership in the EU does offer some benefits, most notably easy trade within Europe (if you follow EU rules) and passportless travel (if you have your EU ID card). However, these benefits have existed in Europe historically too, long before today’s EU. In fact, most European nations have always allowed free travel through open borders, until quite recently. After WWI the modern passport system was implemented, and then standardized under supervision of the League of Nations.
When these newly-closed and carefully-managed borders began to restrict travel and trade, the EU offered the perfect solution. As usual, when excessive state legislation creates a problem, the solution is always assumed to be three or four more layers of legislation. But now that the UK is taking its borders and trade back under its own authority, there is no reason why they couldn’t re-open them. They could have the best of both worlds; free trade and travel, and freedom from untold reams of laws controlling the pricing and packaging of olive oil.
Freedom, as we have said, is hard work. But it offers some great benefits for those who accept the responsibility.
Special thanks to Tomek Nacho for the photo.