Brexit should scare every thinking person to death; because it is the most destructive and disruptive radical measure to pass in any democratic nation in decades.
Conservatives need to be leery of Brexit, because it is not what it appears to be. Instead of a paradigm shift away from globalism and internationalism; the UK’s exit from the European Union might be a pyrrhic victory for nationalism – that sows the seeds of the destruction of the British nation.
News stories indicate that Brexit will lead to a number of developments that will do nothing but damage to conservatism. The success of Brexit might be the worst thing that has happened to conservatism in a long time.
Reasons why Brexit is a Disaster for Conservatism
- Brexit might lead to the destruction of traditional institutions by causing the political disintegration of the United Kingdom. Around 62% of Scottish voters opposed Brexit; that prompted Scotland’s First Minister Fiona Sturgeon to launch another drive for a referendum for her country’s independence. News reports indicate a similar effort might be brewing in Northern Ireland. Political disintegration will lead to the collapse of traditional British institutions; including the monarchy, the armed forces and parliament.
- It could cause an economic collapse in Britain that would destroy what is left of traditional society. Possible outcomes might be massive unemployment, inflation and little or no economic growth. The welfare state would no longer be sustainable under those conditions. That would lead to social and political upheaval and widespread poverty and suffering, which would completely discredit a wide swath of conservative thought.
- The people behind Brexit; the Leave campaign and Nigel Farage’s clownish United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), have given no thought or planning to the consequences of their actions. That is the opposite of conservatism. Indeed there is a strong strain of nihilism here, and destruction for destruction for destruction’s sake.
- Brexit was not necessarily a vote against the European Union, free trade, globalism or internationalism. The regions of England most likely to vote for Brexit were those that received the most economic benefits from the EU, political economist Will Davis noted. Instead news reports from Britain indicate that the driving force beyond Brexit was discontent with the EU’s emigration policies. Those policies began in 2007, Britain had participated in the EU for decades before that without the organization becoming a central political issue. This indicates that many Brexit voters might support EU if its migration policies were to change.
- There is a fantasy ideology behind Brexit that is dangerous and simplistic. The idea was that Leave would lead to a “Little England” an idyllic utopia of traditional village life. This world only exited in reruns of All Creatures Great and Small never in reality. Like Donald Trump, the leavers successfully played on nostalgic delusions about an imaginary past; while trampling the nation’s traditional values.
- Not all the people behind Leave were conservatives. The ideal of many Brexit supporters was Clement Atlee’s welfare state of the 1940s and 50s; not Little England. Brexit sympathizers like Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn want to return to central planning, socialized medicine, nationalized industries and militant unionism. They latched onto Leave to destroy capitalism, not protect the nation. Some intellectual backers of Brexit are Marxists looking for a chance to implement socialism, not patriots seeking independence.
- Brexit represents magical thinking at its worst. Many of its supporters thought they could solve all the nation’s problems and restore the glories of the past with one vote. When that fantasy fails to come true, many leave voters will become totally disillusioned with politics and democracy. Some of them will turn to violence; or begin embracing radical antidemocratic ideologies like Marxism and Fascism.
- The effects of Brexit might be so catastrophic as to discredit nationalism and conservatism. If Britain suffers economic collapse, political disintegration and massive unemployment, the result will be to strengthen internationalism and globalism by disproving their critics.
- Brexit is not a conservative measure instead it is populism in action. Populism is aggressive government action or reform driven by popular sentiment. That is the opposite of traditional conservatism because it is destructive. Populism is especially destructive because it is a rejection of the rule of law and traditional values.
“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” Michael Caine as Charlie Croker in the real Italian Job. Like wise Brexit was only supposed to blow the door shut, not bring down the entire nation.
Those conservatives who are applauding Brexit today are going to regret their actions in the near future. When the effects of Brexit become apparent many of them will recoil from it in horror and disgust.
American conservatives prone to embrace the Donald Trump presidential fantasy should take a close look at Brexit. It proves that cheap emotionalism, populism and political opportunism are not conservatism; instead they are a recipe for disaster. We all need to be very afraid of Brexit and its American admirers.