Britain Fires a Shot Heard ’Round the World
June 23, 2016, British Independence Day!
Baker gets it:
"The immediate animus is against political authority and the broader establishment. Levels of dissatisfaction with leadership have reached revolutionary levels. It’s a paradox of mass modern democracy that voters feel themselves governed by rulers who “neither see nor feel nor know,” a political-business nexus that feeds on itself and promotes its own interests while mouthing platitudes at election time to keep the populace at bay. In Europe and the U.S. today, traditional political authority is worn like a scarlet letter."
Right up until he doesn't:
"This pitchfork tendency is fueled by pervasive economic insecurity. For all the evident benefits of free movement of capital, goods and people, the gains have not trickled down for hundreds of millions of workers in the West. The digital economy may be making lives easier to live, but it is engendering a pervasive fear that no job these days is a sure thing even for a few more years."
Well, yes, but only sort of . . . If this were the entire impetus, Britain would have voted remain, it didn't. The straw which broke the camel's back was sovereignty, combined with the above sentiment. Brits are not European, and don't want to be European, and really don't want to be told what to do by a coterie of nancy EU prats who are busy running the EU into the ground in every imaginable manner.
"The irony that such “outsiders” as Eton-educated Boris Johnson and billionaire developer Donald Trump are the beneficiaries of this antiestablishment sentiment shouldn’t blind us to the potency of the popular revolt."
This simply misunderstands the way mass movements work, and this uprising is a mass movement. The people are tired of the leaders ignoring the peoples concerns, and issues. Every politician does it. "It’s a paradox of mass modern democracy that voters feel themselves governed by rulers who “neither see nor feel nor know,” a political-business nexus that feeds on itself and promotes its own interests while mouthing platitudes at election time to keep the populace at bay."
The politicians treat the people like children, pat them on the head, tut, tut, and then return to the graft, and corruption trough to eat campaign finance contributions, or have their wife (as Mrs. Obama did) take a high paying job for which they had not discernible skills, and that goes double for their idiot children.
When a politician, or even a non-politician like The Donald, understands this, they can simply stand out front of this mass movement, tell the people what they dearly want to hear, and the people will follow, en mass. What always shocks is that the hoard of Republican politicians had no idea of this movement. They, like Marie Antoinette, live far from the people, and are advised by wealthy prats who live far from the people. The revolution is always a surprise.
"Most powerful of all is a yearning to reclaim national sovereignty. For most of the last half-century, the international system has been characterized by an accelerating pace of globalization combined with an elite-driven disdain for the very idea of the primacy of the nation."
OK, so he gets it!
"The very idea that the state has a primary obligation to its native citizens has become unfashionable and virtually unsayable within the tightly controlled bounds of political correctness. Legitimate fears in the U.S. and Europe about the arrival of immigrants—especially Muslims, many of whom have a poor record of assimilating in Europe—coupled with the unleashing of Islamist terrorism, have heightened the sense of insecurity and alienation of citizens from their own communities."
The wealthy, powerful, the politicians have men with guns, they have gates on their drives, they live far from the bustle. The average guy has none of these, more so in Britain with its stringent gun laws. The revolution is to throw off the yoke of a local ruler who is aloof from the real concerns of the average Joe, due to insularity, wealth, and armed guards.
"This rising urge to reclaim national sovereignty can manifest itself in ugly ways—as we see in overtly racist, right-wing parties in many European countries, even in some of the coarser rhetoric from Mr. Trump and some of his allies. But dismissing and delegitimizing the popular anger that gives oxygen to these forces would be a grave mistake.
These are turbulent and dangerous times. They require political leadership that is sympathetic to the sentiments that are producing these forces without channeling them into a damaging hostility.
The stunning reality of Brexit needs to be understood as simply the most dramatic development yet in these trends. The British people have spoken, the first to break publicly from the institutional structures that define our modern, integrated international system.
They are very unlikely to be the last."
The European reclamation will be through Nationalism. The US has none of this. Our real issue is the social, cultural, political, religious, economic changes have been happening so fast we cannot understand the continuing social compact. We need a timeout to find our feet, rebuild a common understanding of the social compact, and then allow things to move forward. I expect the same can be said for Britain.
As a child, I learned a lesson. My father and I were walking the dog, on leash, a friendly labrador. We encountered another man walking his dog off leash. His dog took dog umbrage to ours, and launched into a fight. My father jerked our dog away from the fight, and kicked the other dog just behind the front leg. He kicked it hard enough to flip the dog, frighten it, and it ran off. The man was furious.
My father simply said,"My dog was on leash, so I could control him, yours was not, so you could not, your dog paid for your incompetence, not you. If he returns he will pay yet again."
As we walked off, my father said to me, "Never reach into the dog fight to pull your dog away, he will always bite you, not because he means to, but because in the confusion, and pain he will bite anything. Everything becomes enemy."
And so it is with the average Joes today. In America, at least they are lashing out at an unknown but convenient perceived foe, the immigrant. This is not the racism the left goes on about, but frustration. If allowed a short timeout this will pass.
In Europe, this is not so clearly the issue. Europe has a long history of xenophobia, and hatred of the other, sufficient to war. If Americans are allowed the time to understand, and reconfigure the social compact, we will be able to return to normalcy. The European may not absent the need for violence, and historically war.
These are turbulent and dangerous times indeed. It appears Britons have given themselves the opportunity to breath, reconfigure the social compact, and perhaps return to normalcy.
Our chance appears to be close on the horizon.
Europe we will have to wait and see, pray for peace.