Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit Comment Panic


As an American, I feel disinclined to get too worked up over the British deciding to leave the EC.  Actually, although this view (or the admission of this view) is rare, I actually understand it.  I'd likely have voted to leave myself, if I were a British voter, but it's not my country and its not my decision.

Anyhow, its been interesting to watch the reaction by those opposing the departure. Some is very well reasoned, if a bit late, but some is really overblown, panicky, and snobby.  Indeed, I wonder if some of the wounded "stay" folks realize that their attitude might contribute to the view why others wanted to leave.  I've read some of the most amazing commentary, from those blaming it on an "older" (boomer) generation, when that generation in fact voted to get in, in the first place, to one snobbish voter who condemned his entire middle class home town.  Some of it reads very childishly.

Well, folks, keep calm (and carry on).  The UK has been around for a long time and the economy isn't going to collapse, Europe isn't going to spin off the globe, and things will be okay.

Maybe the EC, which has strongly anti democratic statist tendencies, will actually reform and realize that it has to let the residents of the various European states actually have a bit of a voice.  And while I'm sure that the EC will survive, if the entire creaking edifice cracked and the European states had to go back to being fully independent nations without the EC, I'm sure they're quite capable of getting along with each other in 2016 and they will in fact do so quite nicely.

For the history minded, I amazed to note that nobody has seemingly noticed that this story is not a new one. Not even close to being one. The first "EC", if you will, was the Roman Empire, which of course fell apart.  And then there was the attempt at the Holy Roman Empire, which never really got rolling.  For that matter, Charles the Great's domain (Charlemagne, Carolus Magnus) wasn't a minor matter.  Well after that, Napoleon's invasion of everything European was an attempt at getting everyone in Europe together in the name of liberal ideals of a sort, even if a pretty badly flawed one.  I'll omit other such attempts.  In the long history of Europe, it's come together and flown apart, showing I suppose that people who assume that history has one obvious direction are often pretty far off the mark, and showing that a concept of nationhood is a pretty strong one.  But we can take comfort in the fact that no major European power is going to start shooting at another, and therefore perhaps the real foundational thesis of the EC itself is now obsolete.

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