I lived in Britain for seven years in the nineties. It taught me to be cautious when pronouncing on conditions in other countries and to be suspicious of the pronouncements of others. We don’t really know very much about a place until we’ve lived there a long time. This is why when I hear socialists like Bernie Sanders rattling on about the wonders of countries in Scandinavia, I know at once they are political idiots. (Of course when I hear socialists rattling on about just about anything, I know they’re political idiots. It’s the socialism that gives them away.)
All the same, I couldn’t help but be struck by Gerard Baker’s description of Brexit in the Wall Street Journal:
The victory for the Leave campaign was perhaps the single largest blow the British populace has delivered to its establishment in modern history. Voters defied the impassioned—and unified—opposition of the leadership of all five major political parties. They rejected the advice of more than 1,200 corporate CEOs, including half of the chiefs of the FTSE 100 companies who wrote to The Times newspaper last week urging rejection of “Brexit.”
Banks in the City of London, one of the world’s major financial centers, along with the Bank of England, the country’s central bank, and most of its influential think tanks and academic institutions, had warned of the risks to the U.K.’s economic security and global financial pre-eminence if Britain did not stay in the EU. A procession of eminent foreigners, from most heads of European governments to James Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, had urged a vote to stay.
In April, President Barack Obama traveled to London to weigh in, telling British voters that Britain would go to “the back of the queue” in negotiations for trade agreements with the United States if they chose to leave.
All to no avail.
Whatever benefits and troubles arise from the Brexit vote — and I’m sure there’ll be both — I read those words with a sense of joy and uplift. The only thing that would have improved the situation to my mind was if the Brits had not only delivered “a blow” to all those establishment figures but had then tarred and feathered them. And then thrown them into the Thames. And then pelted them with rotten fruit as they were carried out to sea.
It’s not that I think elites, experts, politicians and bureaucrats who routinely abuse their power deserve to get it in the neck. I think the neck is too good for them. One should aim lower to cause them more suffering.
I can’t say what effect, if any, the Brexit vote will have here. But I can say what effect I hope it has. I hope the narcissistic president who tried to force a group of nuns to violate their two thousand-year-old creed because he thought he knew better… I hope every unelected EPA pest who thinks he should be in charge of how industries are run and lands are managed… I hope the state labor commissioner who felt he could fine a baker without due process because her faith demanded she refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding… I hope every New York and Washington elite who calls people xenophobic or racist or nativist because they insist that their borders should be patrolled and their laws obeyed… I hope every damn one of them and everyone like them goes to bed tonight and dreams about what it would be like if they got exactly what they deserved from the American people.
And I hope they wake up screaming.