by William Teach | July 4, 2016 7:54 am
Like most liberals, the NY Times Editorial Board seems rather upset regarding a day that celebrates Freedom. So, why not combine it with their hatred of Brexit?
Freedom, Fireworks and Brexit
This year, the commemoration of the break with the British Empire on the Fourth of July is particularly rich in material for mulling the state of democracy and trans-Atlantic relations.
Those who voted for Britain to leave the European Union, and their admirers in the United States and Europe, will no doubt aver that this is a similar break with an unresponsive, alien power and a bold bid by a free people to take control of their destiny. As Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party in France, wrote recently in The Times, “The decision that the people of Britain have just made was indeed an act of courage — the courage of a people who embrace their freedom.”
The trouble with that argument, like many others advanced by the Leave crowd in Britain — as well as by Donald Trump’s nativist legions in the United States and by the xenophobic parties across Europe — is that it’s wrong.
The “Brussels” against which British voters rebelled is not the “absolute Despotism” that the authors of the Declaration of Independence broke with, but a bureaucracy answerable to 28 contentious governments that has never constrained British sovereignty in defense or fiscal policy, or in dealing with refugees from outside the E.U. And as the Britons will soon realize to their regret, they benefited handsomely from participating in a large common market.
There’s little point in arguing that so many EU citizens feel that there is absolute Despotism, especially when they are being told which appliances they can and cannot buy, what cars they can drive, and being inundated with violent, rapist, criminal fighting age men from Islamic countries, among other issues, and feel powerless.
All that has been amply chronicled, along with the real motives behind the Leave vote (and the politically analogous Trump phenomenon): the sense among older, provincial, white voters that they are somehow being marginalized by globalization; a nostalgia for a simpler and often mythical past.
Speaking of White, have you seen the NY Times Editorial Board? Considering how many beaches are near Manhattan, a tan might be in order. Of course, and as usual, they are Very Upset that people were allowed to engage in this whole voting thing
They would argue, in the populist tradition, that the British referendum demonstrated the will of the people and was therefore richly democratic. Referendums may have their occasional role in democracy, but if abolition, voting rights, or same-sex marriage, for example, had been put to national referendums, who knows where we’d be? As a Tory (and staunchly pro-Europe) prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, once argued, referendums sacrifice constitutional protections and parliamentary sovereignty to political expediency.
Except, this was not about internals, but breaking from the EU. Liberals only love voting when they win.
The Declaration of Independence exists on an entirely different moral plane. Its invocation of the natural and legal rights of people born equal is the standard for human rights the world over. And the political system created on its principles made sure to protect these self-evident truths from public passions.
So, the NY Times is good with treating Hillary Clinton exactly like every other citizen, and believes she should be in jail, right? Because if any of us did what she did, we’d already be in jail. Anyhow, here it comes
So perhaps on this Fourth of July, Americans should once again proclaim a break with Britain — this time a break with the misguided British vote to turn back the clock on freedom of movement, on tolerance, on diversity, on free trade, on all the things that have made the free world great.
Or, perhaps we should embrace them, realizing that they are trying to take control back from the people who come willy nilly to their country and no only refuse to assimilate, but expect the Brits to cowtow to the immigrants. “Diversity” led to the Rotherdam sexual assault scandal. Is that what the NY Times wants?
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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