Like the project it is splitting away from, Brexit is sui generis.
If you’re not into the lingo of EUspeak, what with its mutatis mutandis, acquis communitaire, and Copenhagen criteria, sui generis just means something is unique and in a class by itself. For the first time, an actual Member State of the EU has set up the means to break away from the supranational entity, and through the ballot box no less. Yet, since this is the FIRST time, a lot of thought has been put to paper on whether or not such a divorce will be good for the UK. As much as I am on the “Leave” side, I understand when people ask with curiosity how the UK benefits from leaving the EU. Well, you can probably speculate until you’re blue in the mouth about how leaving will be a definitive detriment. On the other hand, there’s this:
“But above all, I am motivated by an ardent belief in self-determination, self-definition and the inalienable freedom to go to hell on one’s own chosen path without intervention by self-appointed mentors.” – Nigel Farage, Flying Free.
That’s the kind of mentality that colours (and will colour) any and all beliefs that Britain will be better off out. It is not merely about the money, it is about the ability for a country to allow its citizens to vote for its own representatives, to enact their own laws, and to make their own decisions without having an anti-democratic entity breath down their neck. This does not just include the good decisions but also any and all mistakes. Mistakes at the local level can be owned and fixed, but when mistakes are made by a foreign power that’s run by a menagerie of bureaucrats from 28 other Member States, the ability is lost, especially when laws at the EU level are only proposed by an unelected European Commission and then passed by said Commission. Again, Brexit is also about the freedom to go to hell on one’s chosen path.
It does not do the UK any favours to be part of that union which has snubbed democratic votes a number of times, like in 2005 and 2009, removed national heads of state from power, and to top it off: only contributed 26% of world GDP in the year 2015 and looks to DECREASE in time. On that final part, life may not always be about money but then again: 1) If you’ve been there, Europe can be pretty expensive and 2) Tell that to Greeks and Spaniards who still have to deal with 25.6% and 22.7% unemployment respectively. Of course they can’t do anything about it, because they have to deal with Brussels diktats and an occasional visit (especially if you’re Greece) by what is known as the Troika (European Central Bank, European Commission, and the IMF). So what is the point of democracy or representative government when that fabric of consent is broken?
The result is a technocratic nightmare of busybodies making it their business to mind other business from the innocuous like olive oil containers to the insidious like the European Arrest Warrant. The march of progress in that regard never recedes, it only grows. As it does so, it not only makes everyone less free, but more hostile to each other’s neighbours. In fact it has already metastasized towards refugees and migrants. The Member States of the EU did not merely give the combination of their personal safe away, but the ability to open or close their gates toward any and all people who are escaping (or ‘escaping’ anyway) from conflict. One can argue this is necessary for we have a common humanity, but that mentality is only for minds who think a nation is merely a flophouse of aggregates, rather than a manor held by families for generations, places where its inhabitants share their own chosen traumas and chosen triumphs. You’ll never value the year 1956 as much as the Hungarians do, just as they’ll never value independence from the Ottomans in the same way the Greeks do. To neglect this for some historical and economical harmonization under any artificial demos is misanthropy writ large, and squanders the charity of people, a resource not easily rejuvenated.
Nations matter, people who ascribe to the nation matter, and their ability to self-determine matter:
“‘Whatever your vision of the future, you are not going to be able to attain it or even aspire to it unless and until you are free to go your own way. For as long as we are part of this intrusive and ever more powerful Soviet, we can’t make decisions for ourselves or determine our own future. What we do with our freedom once we have won it remains to be seen, but we are demanding that we be allowed to take that first step and reclaim responsibility for our own lives.’”
Words from Farage that Churchill himself would be proud of, for if the worst case scenario for the UK means going through a bit of Hell, this is the kind of spirit that would remain steadfast and keep going.
What if they’re alone?