Today’s the big day for “Brexit” – the referendum on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

We’ll come back to that.

25 years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed (for a while).   The media was confused and befuddled; most of them had bet on the wrong team during the Cold War.

Now, whenever a huge, all-encompassing, not to mention totalitarian, system completely collapses, there will be a certain amount of chaos, as people, not to mention nations, economies and political systems, try to find their feet after a generation or two under a completely different system.   Turning from “Totalitarian Gangster State” to “Social Democracy” – forget “Free Market” for now – isn’t something nations and societies can do with easy grace, any more than Tom Brokaw can do an Olympic Gymnastics routine.

But our mainstream media apparently didn’t know or believe that.  In 1994 – barely two years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain – Poland was in a recession.  Tom Brokaw, on the NBC Evening News, echoing the sentiments of many MSM chin-strokers, gravely intoned “It appears that Poland’s experiment with free markets has failed”.

Two whole years after the Wall fell.

It was wishful thinking from a mainstream media that missed having a constant crisis to cover (not to mention an “enemy” with whom they were so sympathetic).   Poland went on to become one of Europe’s economic success stories. Eastern Europe has had ups and downs – but other than a few crypto-authoritarian splinter states (shut up about Belarus), none of them are pining for a return to Communism.    Quite the opposite.

Statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw, Poland – one of many monuments to the greatest leader of the second half of the 20th century that dot the lands he played a pivotal role in freeing.

Anyway, point being this:

  1. American mainstream media and the establishment whose PR firm they largely are forecast gloom and doom with the breakup of the USSR, since it was uncertain, and they had little faith in freedom or the market.
  2. Eastern Europe largely, imperfectly, and with inevitable struggle, succeeded.
  3. Mainstream media ignored the success.

Thus endeth the history lesson.

Today the American mainstream media is predicting various degrees of disaster should the UK pull out of the big, arthritic bureaucratic pseudo-state that is the EU.

Maybe they’re right.

But their record in betting against freedom, autonomy and the market isn’t all that good, unless by “good” you mean “consistent”.

21 thoughts on “Whither

  1. When i spent a summer in Germany as a student in 1989, the EU was the big deal. Then I went to Rome, and bought pizza and/or pasta for 5000 lira, and I wondered what on earth would possess sensible Germans to allow the Italians anywhere near their monetary policy.

    Still wonder that, and more. Good luck for Brexit!

  2. Britain has fallen victim to one of the classic blunders. The first is never get involved in a land war in Asia. But the second, and only slightly less well known, is never yield your national sovereignty to globalist elites.

  3. This may be a chance for the UK to rid itself of the Northern Moochers known as Scotts.

    The Scotts love the EU. Lots of other people’s money to be had and open borders letting hordes of Middle Eastern men in to grope their touch starved, fugly women.

    If the UK bolts, I for see another, more successful referendum in Scotland to leave the UK and skedaddle back to the EU’s warm tit.

  4. Swiftee, I think you’re onto something, and it’s got real potential for humor. Greece wanted German bailout money and when they didn’t get it, they opened the floodgates sending young single Muslim men North in hordes. Scotland will want German bailout money, too, and if they don’t get it, will it open its arms to “refugees” that will waltz across the border into England? Might be time to start rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall.

  5. So the Scots are upset because they are ruled from afar and they have to live with the decision of others? And their solution is to substitute that leadership with government from even farther away? William Wallace weeps.

    I’m not sure the EU would be eager to have Scotland as a member by itself. Sure, there’s the North Sea oil, but IIRC, Scotland was a net loss financially for the UK. The EU doesn’t want to let in another Greece, especially when that country is just looking for another teat to attach itself to.

  6. Now that the Brits have voted to leave the EU, I more than likely will be able to refinance my mortgage at 3.25% or lower. I am not even joking. What does this say about the modern financial system?

  7. The big question here is where it goes. Leaving the EU is wonderful small c conservatism, but the Tories were backing the EU. So is England going to go Labour now and lose the benefits they’d get by backing out of the EU? And if England goes Labour, does Scotland stay for a while?

  8. The English Tories ain’t what they used to be.
    I do not understand why people believe that a super-state government — the federal government in the US or the EU parliament — is somehow ‘better’ government. There is some gain in economic efficiency, but if that were all that mattered, we’d shoot people when they reached retirement age. Open immigration in a no growth-slow economy is a disaster, it means you are not generating wealth by producing more goods, but by producing the same amount of goods by paying less for labor. If you make your money from capital, you don’t care, but if you are a native who makes money by selling your labor you are going to see your revenue plummet.
    There is no reason why the state government of, say, Kansas, is more likely to become corrupt or tyrannical than the federal government. There is no reason to believe the federal government will have more respect for civil rights than state governments. The strength and weakness of the US federal government is that is less responsive to democratic pressure than state governments.
    The federal government in the United States has no natural constituency. It is not a state. It was designed to be a government of the states, not a government of individual citizens. The federal government is working very hard to use civil rights laws to create a constituency that is dependent on the federal government for its rights and privileges. If they are successful (and they have been so far), you will have federal government constituencies that are ‘more equal’ than other groups of citizens. You will have a United States that is not made up of equal citizens, but a ruling class and its subjects.

  9. It is perhaps not surprising that Britain, the birthplace of the Luddite movement, the group attempting to negate the social and economic disruption of the Industrial Revolution, voted to leave the European Union. After all, the emotions animating “Brexit” are very similar to those of their brethren two centuries ago: fear of rapid technological change, an uncertain future and, of course, the foreign “other.”

    But history has shown how unwise and wrong that view was. Nevertheless, we should not ignore the desperation and anguish of those who fear for their way of life and a threatened future. I hope that imprudent and isolationist sentiments do not have similar disastrous effects here in America.

  10. Well, the experiment is underway. Will isolationism be good for the economy or bad? The voters want to find out. They may learn a hard lesson. We shall see. I predict the rich won’t be hurt and the ones who are complaining now will complain even more in a few years.

  11. Emery, the EU is not a republic. Its closest historical analog is the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It will become a political dynasty eventually, ruled by a few inter-married families. Republicanism is a poor fit for Europeans. Republican governments tend to be imposed on them by force, or are unstable.

  12. Comments from young English are haunting. Sound like betrayal from the older generation seeking a nonexistent former glory. Sound familiar? Really worried about what this could mean for this country? Can this kind of small mindedness drive Americans to support a presidential candidate that would be a disaster for our country?

  13. “Sound like betrayal from the older generation seeking a nonexistent former glory.”

    That’s definitely how the BBC (who has a multi-billion $ dog in the fight) is portraying it but a more accurate assessment would be an older generation voices their opinion after the multi-decade experience of a remote centralized government hasn’t been the bed of roses those recently sprung from uni think it is.

    but sure Emery go with the BBC/Euro-elite point of view even though they will never let you join their club.

  14. Kel, Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back”

    Several years ago Polaris Industries moved one of it’s ATV plants out of Osceola, Wisconsin and relocated it in Mexico. This plant was non-union and located in what Scott Walker calls a “tax friendly” state to do business in. The state of Wisconsin was open for business (tax subsidies) and has a well educated workforce that worked for non-union wages. As long as there are developing economies with cheaper labor and less regulation. How do you effectively compete against that type of environment?

    Those individuals in Great Britain who believe that Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson can resurrect England’s heavy manufacturing based in coal, along with banning the immigration of foreign nationals are the same as the individuals in America that believe that Donald Trump will resurrect coal mining in Appalachia, along with building a wall to keep Hispanics out. The pliability of the minds of those who would advocate for Trump, and those who advocate for cessation from the EU is astounding.

  15. Oakshott’s essay “Rationalism in Politics.” It is an extended critique of the twin pillars of modern progressivist ideas: Political ends can be rationally determined, and the means to to achieve these ends can also be rationally determined.
    One liberal with whom I discussed Oakshott and his political theories reacted with horror when he finally ‘got it.’ Oakshott is saying that politics can never improve mankind, no matter how hard we try, and what sacrifices we make. It refutes the politics of both the left and the right (if we mean “right” in its European rather than its American sense).

  16. “The pliability of the minds of those who would advocate for Trump”
    I see no reason to prefer Hillary over Trump. She has been reduced to claiming success as as Secretary of State because she flew x number of miles and visited x countries. Anyone with a private jet could make the same claims.

  17. I won’t disagree with you about that. The Republicans are going to respond to the Democrat’s nomination of an unpopular candidate with a dubious record, by nominating a buffoon that no sane person can possibly support.

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