Monday, June 20, 2016

Brexit could be a small step back to Great Britain

I am not much of a betting man but even if I was I wouldn't want to wager on on the outcome of the Brexit referendum. It could go either way. The polls last week showed a surge in support for Leave but this has been reversed in the last few days since the terrible news about the murder of British MP Jo Cox, which reminds us that actual events have a way of confounding even the most confident predictions.

I am not surprised at the bitterness of the debate, especially from the Remain side since it became apparent that Leave might win. The Eurocracy and its cronies have a lot to lose, after all. The Remain side has become more and more desperate as its fortunes have waned and the Leave side has struggled to stay focused on the arguments as it has been subjected to ad hominem attacks, outrageous claims of doom and, most disgracefully, to being blamed for the actions of the mental health patient who killed Jo Cox.  

Even here in New Zealand we haven't been immune from the crazier aspects of the debate with the Fairfax Media group managing to dig up a farmer who believes a Leave win would be bad for New Zealand agricultural exports. Given that Britain joining the European Common Market was probably the single most economically damaging event in New Zealand's history and that the EU's Common Agricultural Policy continues to significantly impact our agricultural trade with the whole world, one can only laugh at Fairfax's gall.

I am pro-Brexit because I believe in small, representative, rights-protecting government and I think the European Community is the exact opposite - monolithic, unrepresentative and rights-trampling. However, I am not overly invested in the outcome of the referendum and I don't delude myself that Britain is suddenly going to become a paragon of individual liberty if a majority votes for Brexit next Thursday. Britain is a shameful example of the growth of the authoritarian state in Western countries, particularly so because it is the origin of so much of classical liberal thought and practice.

A win for Leave will be a small step on the way back to the truly liberal society Britain once was. A vote for Remain will be the very end of the road for that great tradition.

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