Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too

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British voters have elected to leave the European
Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel
Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement
given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America
had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state
from which Americans declared independence.

History has come full circle; in a sense, today
we are seeing the American Revolution in reverse. In many ways, the European
Union is a lever of US global hegemony. By seceding from the EU in spite of
threats
from Washington
, Britain is declaring
partial independence from America.

It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction
that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain”
camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain
abandoning Western civilization. But “the West,” as in the US-led alliance of
neocolonial powers, is not the same thing as Western civilization. And the European
Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an
imperium is not withdrawing from civilization. In fact, such an exit is propitious
for civilization.

Small Is Beautiful

Advocates of international unions and super-states
claim that centralization promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break
down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states
encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more
it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the
bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalize
the costs of their belligerence
by dragging the rest of the bloc into its
fights.

A small political unit cannot afford economic
isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for
all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence
from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border
labor mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence.
And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the
benefits of peace.

The Power of Exit

Super-states also facilitate international
policy “harmonization.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the
citizen has no escape from onerous laws, like the regulations that unceasingly
pour out of the EU bureaucracy. But with political decentralization, subjects
can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of
“exit,” governments are incentivized to liberalize in order to compete for taxpayer
feet. Today’s referendum was a…

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