Recognizing that the objective of the European project, ever-closer political and economic union, meant the destruction of democracy, sovereignty and the country’s very culture, Britain has voted in a great referendum to withdraw from the European Union.
The majority arose from a remarkable combination of the free-market, limited-government political right, the core of the Conservative Party, with the working-class political left, the core of the Labor Party, both party cores repudiating their leaderships as well as the national elites.
The result has enormous implications for the United Kingdom, starting with whether it can remain united, since Scotland -- formerly the most industrious and inventive province in the world, now perhaps the most welfare-addled -- probably will make a second attempt to secede, figuring that free stuff is more likely to flow through continued association with the E.U. than with England, which is growing resentful of the freeloaders up north.
But there are enormous implications for the world as well. The E.U. project has never won forthright ratification by the people of its member states and indeed has sometimes refused to accept rejection by them. Indeed, the whole E.U. government is largely unaccountable. So the British vote quickly prompted demands for similar referendums in France and the Netherlands, where conservative populist movements have been gaining strength.
The politically correct elites are portraying the British vote as a "xenophobic" response to free movement of labor across the E.U. and particularly as opposition to the vast recent immigration into Europe from the Middle East and Africa. This immigration is widely misunderstood as being mainly a matter of refugees from civil war. In fact this immigration has been mainly economic and it has driven wages down in less-skilled jobs while increasing welfare costs throughout Europe, which explains the British Laborite support for leaving the E.U.
But it is not "xenophobic" to oppose the uncontrolled and indeed anarchic immigration that the European Union has countenanced. For any nation that cannot control immigration isn’t a nation at all or won’t be one for long. Since most immigration into Europe lately has come from a medieval and essentially fascist culture and involves people who have little interest in assimilating into a democratic and secular society, this immigration has threatened to destroy Europe as it has understood itself. Britain has been lucky to be at the far end of this immigration, but voters there saw the mess that it has been making on the other side of the Channel. They wisely opted to reassert control of their borders.
Their example should be appreciated in the United States, which for decades has failed to enforce its own immigration law and as a result hosts more than 10 million people living in the country illegally and unscreened. Fortunately few of this country’s illegal immigrants come from a culture that believes in murdering homosexuals, oppressing women and monopolizing religion. But the negative economic and social effects here are similar to those in Europe and properly have become political issues.
The main lesson of Britain’s decision may be an old one -- that nations have to develop organically, arising from the consent of the governed and a common culture, and that they can’t be manufactured by elites. Having defended its sovereignty and indeed liberty itself against Napoleon and Hitler, Britain now has set out to defend them again. So rule, Britannia -- Britannia, rule thyself.
From “Rule Britannia’’:
The nations not so blest as thee
Must in their turn to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
Chris Powell is a political writer and also the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.