The Western world woke up a little freer Friday morning.
In the late hours of June 23, we learned that citizens of the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. A clear majority of UK voters chose to re-establish sovereignty and independence over the EU’s tight bureaucratic grip. They chose an elected government in London over international mandates from Brussels.
Britain’s long experiment inside the restrictive political and economic union will come to an end, and the British people will restore their basic democratic rights of self-governance and sovereignty.
The majority of British people are rejoicing, but elites on both sides of the Atlantic are stirring with anger and disbelief. They would have you believe the Brexit campaign was driven by nothing more than racism, xenophobia and nationalism. Some have snarked that 52% of British voters are bigots.
The “Remain” side simplified their opposition’s views to the point of absurdity. They engaged in a pitiful fear-mongering campaign, calling those who wanted a free United Kingdom small-minded and xenophobic. They said the British economy would collapse and that the UK could not survive outside the EU.
The hand-wringing over the results has even spread to Canada, where some observers began using Brexit as an excuse to bypass a referendum on the Trudeau government’s (still undefined) electoral reform package.
According to elites, the people just can’t be trusted to make the right decision. But for the people of Great Britain, leaving the EU was very much the right choice.
Contrary to the mainstream narrative, there were valid and substantial reasons for the split. It had little to do with racism, and everything to do with democracy, self-governance and local decision-making.
Imagine for a moment that the laws our Parliament passed had to be approved by a mob of power-hungry bureaucrats stationed in Chicago or Cancun. Imagine if Canadian taxpayers were on the hook to bail out reckless spending in Puerto Rico or to prop up the Mexican Peso.
And, imagine if we simply eliminated all the borders between Canada and Colombia. Pretty soon, we wouldn’t really have a country anymore.
Canadians care deeply about sovereignty; we would have never joined such an agreement in the first place.
We would’ve never accepted a common North American justice system, foreign policy controlled by the Pentagon, immigration laws vetoed by Guatemala, trade agreements written by D.C. lobbyists, and social policies dictated by an autocratic super-state.
The idea of an economic union in Europe was appealing in theory. In practice, however, freer trade came bundled with a legion of bureaucrats, endless regulation and top-down social engineering.
Counter to the very purpose of the EU, Europe’s economic power has waned significantly over the past few decades. Instead, insiders and special interest groups built an overbearing and undemocratic political machine.
The EU has become a modern dystopia, wielding far too much power and failing to deliver on its basic economic promises.
And so, the people have rejected the rotten deal. Britons will once again set their own laws, manage their own economic policy and lead their own future.
Counter to the naysayers, that future will include the ability to pursue more free trade deals, and to strike a better deal with Canada. Whatever the future holds, at the very least, it will be a future decided by the British people for the British people.
That’s how freedom and democracy should work. And that’s how it will work once again in the United Kingdom, birthplace of our great political traditions.
This column appeared in Sun papers on June 25, 2016