Politics & Policy

Britain’s Declaration of Independence

Will Britons vote to embrace their island home and native soil — or for a supranational European bureaucracy?

Something momentous is going to happen across the pond tomorrow. In fact, it’s already happened.

On Thursday, Britons vote on whether they should stay in the European Union — or leave. Pundits, politicians, and pollsters have been tearing out their collective hair trying to figure out how the vote will go, and what it means it means if our cousins do declare their independence from the EU.

But almost all have missed the main point: Whatever Britons do, politics across the West is steadily shifting toward a new worldview, one that rejects big globalist schemes and ideologies, and once again sees the individual nation-state as the locus of freedom and security. Indeed, it’s a look back to the 19th century, when the nation-state — with its shared language, culture, and history — was seen as the natural human community.

But in other ways, it’s a major step forward and away from the mess that those who have trashed national sovereignty and nationalism for decades have pushed us all into.

For example, economists and other experts have argued that leaving the EU would harm Britain’s economy by cutting its links to the EU’s free-trade bloc. Yet the vast majority of those who want to vote Leave simply don’t believe them. Michael Gove, the Conservative MP who’s been leading the charge for Leave in defiance of his own prime minister, says, “People in this country have had enough of experts.” It’s a sentiment most Americans would agree with. It’s the reason millions of them have turned to Donald Trump.

RELATED: Brexit and British Exceptionalism

Over the past decade and a half, the “experts” have given us snail-like economic growth, massive government debt (with commitments to spend even more), growing social disorder fed by hordes of unemployable young people and migrants — not to mention two endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which American and British young people fought side by side and died, it seems, for nothing.

The fact is, we all feel under siege from three directions at once: From massive illegal immigration, which our leaders refuse to stop and have even encouraged, regardless of public-safety threats, let alone the disruption of national cultural norms; from a supranational capitalism that manipulates markets, exports jobs, draws its imports from countries like China (where much of the work is done by slave and prison labor), and ignores vital national interests in pursuit of profit; and from a globalist-minded progressive liberalism that flaunts its intellectual superiority even as it tears apart the cultural, economic, and social fabric in the name of diversity, compassion, and “sustainability.”

POLL: Should Britain Vote for Brexit?

Is there any more infuriating ad campaign than IBM’s “Let’s build a smarter planet?” Is there any more maddening sight than Barack Obama lecturing Americans about tolerance after 50 citizens are murdered by an Islamic fanatic in Orlando? Yet both sum up a progressive mindset that has besieged our lives and consciousness until we are ready to jump off a cliff — electing Donald Trump as president in the case of Americans, slashing ties to the EU for Britons.

#related#The impulse to jump is understandable, and in Britain’s circumstance even driven by history. Britain has always had more in common with the United States on the far side of the Atlantic than with the Continent a few scant miles across the English Channel. What joins us at the hip — and Canada, too — is the Scottish inheritance I described in my book How the Scots Invented the Modern World: the values of individual freedom, social and economic mobility, hard work, and human invention, which transformed North America just as they incubated the first modern nation, the United Kingdom.

So what happens on Thursday? I wrote to a British friend, a Scot in fact, a businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, to see what he thought about Brexit. This is what he wrote back:

We are used to singing that ‘Britons never ever will be slaves.’

Yet we are being told that we cannot even contemplate leaving the EU. . . . We are even being told that Parliament will ignore our wishes and bind us even more disadvantageously to the EU if we vote to leave.

But we need to leave in order to preserve our freedom — and [we] can do so at the ballot box.

Out, out, out!

A British declaration of independence from the EU could be a powerful moment for America, as well. It could be the chance to rediscover our own common roots, and to see a new American nationalism develop that embraces the our founding values — and says to the Obamas and IBMs of the world: We, too, never ever will be slaves.

Arthur L. Herman — Arthur L. Herman, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author of 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder.

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