Washington,DC - Following the frenzy over his Parti Quebecois victory in the 1976 Quebec provincial election, Rene Levesque was portrayed in a famous Aislin cartoon as saying, “Okay, everybody. Take a valium.” In other words, relax. The PQ victory was not world’s end.
Nor is “Brexit’s” victory by those Brits who want to divest themselves of links to the EU.
Essentially, the entire issue was a campaign over national philosophy disguised as an economic debate. The existential question was whether British wanted to remain Great Britain or whether they be content to become “Britain;” a homogenized element of a 27-member European Union taking direction from a non-British majority of states. To be sure British EU influence was greater than Luxembourg’s but most certainly not that of a sovereign state.
A subelement was the increasingly grating control of UK life by Brussels-based Eurocrats. Those pressing Brexit claimed the EU parliament and courts made 60 percent of British laws and issued, inter alia, regulations regarding factory and office conditions, farm work, oil drilling, cancer research, and doctors’ working hours. Perhaps these claims were overblown, but reflected enough reality that the charges had resonance. Bureaucrats are never loved, and foreign bureaucrats are even less beloved than indigenous nitpickers.
Also in play, however, was essential irritation among citizens about being patronized by “experts.” Citizens globally increasing tire of those who want you to live your lives the way they tell you to live it. It’s all “for your own good” of course.
Don’t eat to excess (keep your weight/body mass/etc to medically prescribed limits); avoid liquids with high sugar content;
Drink alcohol in moderation; never drive a motor vehicle after drinking;
Buy an enviro-friendly car—at the speed limit;
Don’t use mind-altering substances (with the possible exception of government-produced marijuana) unless at “safe injection sites”;
Wear lap belts in your motor vehicles; wear helmets on bicycles and motorcycles;
Exercise xyz hours/week; make “fitness” a key element of your life style;
Practice “safe sex” with any/every partner and demonstrate the utmost in personal respect;
Be absolutely nonjudgmental regarding every race, religion, cultural practice by individuals who are not of your race/religion/culture. Eliminate prejudicial terms from vocabulary (no “illegal aliens” among the 11 million undocumented individuals in the USA.) Embrace the multi/multi society, regardless of attitudes by individuals that appear implacably hostile to your existence;
Don’t physically discipline a child (spanking may generate “child abuse” charges); don’t photograph your naked child (child pornography charges may be the consequence);
Subject all of your firearms to rigorous legal control (better yet, don’t obtain any);
And vote for the liberal progressive candidate (of your choice, naturally as we live in a democracy) who will implement all such injunctions with legal enforcement as necessary.
But maybe you don’t want to live in such a society. Maybe you would prefer to relax with cigarettes, a six-pack (or some other pleasure producing substance), eat some high calorie fast food, and accept being 40 pounds above your high school weight? Maybe you enjoy owning weapons of individual destruction and spending a weekend with your buds hunting? Maybe you are offended by individuals waving Mexican flags at U.S. political rallies? Maybe you don’t wish to be awakened by loudspeaker “calls to prayer” from a local mosque?
Or, more basically, if you are a U.S. citizen, perhaps you are concerned over whether failure to control your borders from those entering without legal documentation threatens sovereignty? Perhaps you are further concerned that your “McJob” position as a server, clerk, etc is paid far less than your previous (lost) job now being performed in a country outside the USA? Or that members of the undocumented 11 million are taking jobs that you want?
If these thoughts and/or attitudes are in your mind, then you can more appropriately appreciate the revolt of those suffering from “expert fatigue” (who seem to change their minds about “what’s good for you” with every news cycle but are equally didactic with every direction change.) Maybe they don’t know all that much after all? Maybe their expertise benefits them, not you? Maybe you would just like to be left alone and willing to accept the consequences?
And so far as Brexit is concerned, I remember a Quebecois who, when asked, “Why leave a country as wonderful as Canada?” responded, “I would prefer to live in my own humble home than be a renter in someone else’s mansion.” Britain isn’t a humble home, but the EU is far from being a mansion.