Brexit, States, and Multinationals
A few words on Brexit. As an American I’m a casual observer, one who would probably vote Remain if I had a vote, but I understand a bit of the concerns on the Leave side. But none of them have to do with sovereignty or the multi-national making coordinated decisions.
There are plenty of reasons to vote Leave. Most of which hinge around protectionist policies the EU has put in place, which, among other things, tariffs and regulates goods and services outside of the “zone.” Many British companies deal with this daily.
But the idea that it is a reaffirmation of sovereignty? No. A referendum challenging an institution like the EU kind of asserts sovereignty to begin with, it asserts real state and democratic power to make a big decision against the EU. Plus, member states and their leaderships, through the EU, ultimately make up most of the rules member states have to live by.
The idea that the move from a multi-national “governing” body (and I use governing loosely) to nation-state governing is akin to the move from statism to individualism doesn’t work either. States, much more so than their multi-national rivals and competitors in the modern era, were much more likely to infringe, track, and monitor their citizens much more effectively than MN bodies were. Part of the reason for state interference was *because* citizens felt as if the state was exercising power in their interests. States tend to grow when this happens.
And institutions which had a lot of quarreling and lack of coordination, think of the Holy Roman Empire, also had the nooks and crannies for freedom. The Reform movements in the middle of Europe show us just how useful a lack of coordination for political power has in creating real spaces for real dissent and real freedom. Power couldn’t reach everywhere all at once. And even if it could, it didn’t have the language of authority to do real damage (it also didn’t have the authority to save a lot of people from violence, something that its rival, the state, learned to do very well.)
So it’s not as easy as individualism > nationalism > globalism. History has a deeper story to tell. And libertarians and classical liberals, in the vein of Lord Acton, have looked with correct suspicion at the power of states, and how nationalism reinforces their legitimacy in ways that other governance efforts fail at doing so. They “spoke” for people. And because of this, it’s then harder to speak out against it, and correctly challenge volk democracy when it moves towards politics of unfreedom.
So, I’d hope this isn’t the reason for many in the Leave campaign, people with legitimate gripes, don’t use this as a reason to bolster their case. Shaking the change to bolster Nationalism, democratic or otherwise, isn’t prudent, and possibly reaffirms a type of politics they will soon regret.