Back in 2016, I wrote a series of essays on the then-approaching Brexit vote. Just like the American presidential election that autumn, there was a great deal of misinformation and obfuscation about the “Leave” side—the Leavers were racist and xenophobic; voting “Leave” would cause the world to collapse and the Universe to fold in upon itself; boorish working-class Brits would rebel once they realized they’d lost their sweet European Union bennies.
Even I—a profoundly pro-Brexit advocate—predicted there’d be a long-term economic downturn as a result of voting “Leave” (but I believe liberty is worth far more than material security).
Of course, the Brexit vote was a major blow against supranational tyranny, and a major victory for liberty and national self-interest. The European Union does not function like the United States and its federal system of semi-sovereign entities; rather, it’s largely ruled and governed by a small cadre of unelected, hyper-progressive, cosmopolitan bureaucrats with little regard for national differences or interests.
It was this philosophical and foundational tack that I sought to take with Brexit. Brexit was not a policy matter that presented two sets of pros-and-cons, although that was part of the discussion. Rather, Brexit posed a fundamental question: does a nation have the right to determine its own national destiny—to act in its own self-interest, as it and its people see fit? Further, did the European Union provide a framework in which nations could maintain sovereignty while enjoying the benefits of union?
I believe the Brexit vote—and the ongoing discussions about what Brexit will look like—reflected these timeless questions, and though the vote has long-since passed, the topic maintains a perennial quality for those interested in political philosophy.
To that end, I’ll be compiling, re-editing, and otherwise modifying my 2016 Brexit essays into a new eBook, Tyranny Denied: Reflections on Brexit. I’ll also be adding some chapters and historical notes.
That book, along with my long-planned eBook on social conservatism, Values Have Consequences, should appear later this summer or autumn—just in time for Christmas.