Americans Should Welcome a Brexit

Britain leaving the EU isn't a choice for isolationism, it's a chance to embrace the world.


Yui Mok/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Today, Britain will vote on the most important decision in its constitutional history: whether to leave the European Union (EU).

Many in the U.S. are probably glad not to have that responsibility, especially given the recent razor thin polling margins. Some Americans worry that a post-EU U.K. could be insular and disengaged. It's understandable‚ÄĒmany voices urging a "Remain" vote paint a British EU exit, or "Brexit," as a struggle between enlightened cosmopolitans and inward-looking xenophobes. We're told Brexit will cause catastrophe and recession by an economic establishment with a clear vested interest in Britain's continued EU membership. British Prime Minister David Cameron even claimed that leaving could lead to World War III.

These are the wrong ways for us to think about Britain's choice. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to free themselves from an ossified, undemocratic power structure. It's a chance for the U.K. to look beyond the continent's economic stagnation and embrace the rest of the world through free trade and fairer immigration. It's also a chance to give other EU members a fighting chance at reforming their system. Americans should embrace all of that.

The European Union uses the lofty rhetoric of international cooperation but functionally deprives Europeans of the ability to determine their own futures. The European Parliament is a legislative body in name only. European Members of Parliament (MEPs) can't actually introduce new laws. Legislation comes from the European Commission. The 28 commissioners, one from each member nation, are appointed separately from its President. Instead of pledging to defend the interests of their home countries, members swear an oath to the European Court of Justice, the EU's Supreme Court. The court can force member states to follow EU laws and regulations their people might reject. Had the American constitutional convention proposed this kind of arrangement in 1789, we'd have rejected it out of hand.

With bureaucratic accountability thrown by the wayside, the European Union is technocracy at its worst. The EU's backbone is its behemoth civil service. It pays over 10,000 employees (more than a fifth of its total) higher salaries than David Cameron. Nobody knows quite how many rules they create–only that the pace is frantic.

An estimate by Vote Leave suggests that the EU regulations over the past decade alone tower as high as Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. The rules so meticulously govern everyday life that there's at least 454 referencing bathroom towels. All of this red tape comes at a price. Pro-Brexit think-tank Open Europe estimates that the most burdensome EU regulations cost Britain nearly $50 billion a year in compliance costs. Though the exact burden is debated due to different measurements of EU trade benefits, Remainers ignore the huge opportunity costs Britain forgoes not taking control of its economic destiny.

If Britain left the EU, it would be able to trade more freely with the world than ever before. Free from the EU's collective trade negotiations, Britain can sign agreements with America and other powerhouses like China, and Japan. With nearly a quarter of American foreign corporate assets in the U.K., our politicians would be falling over themselves to take leadership roles in new trade negotiations.

A January report from the U.K.'s Civitas Institute revealed just how much better tinier, non-EU countries have done outside the Union. It found that Switzerland, Singapore, Korea, and Chile all managed to secure trade agreements internationally worth more than twice what the EU has accomplished for its members through its single market and EU-negotiated trade deals. By ceding negotiation power to Brussels, the report argues, Britain gave up trillions in lost years of lower tariffs and higher exports it could have enjoyed. As the planet's 5th largest economy, a post-EU Britain would be well-placed to quickly embrace global free trade instead of limiting itself to the cronyist members' club that is the EU's single market.

Critics fear the European Union is too important to the British economy for it to leave. It's true that the EU is Britain's single largest trade partner, but its importance has declined for decades as technology and globalization make geography less important for business. In fact, the U.K.'s dependency on trade with the EU is at a record low. The EU accounted for under 50 percent of British export destinations for the first time two years ago and has been declining ever since. The EU is stagnating and will likely continue to decline in economic relevance.

Meanwhile, the U.K. would be positioned to retain favorable trade access should it leave. Britain will have at least two years to negotiate its future relationship and can enter from a position of strength. The rest of the European Union sends 16 percent of its exports to Britain, which tops even the U.S. and China as the bloc's single largest trade destination. That's a lot of leverage to help it negotiate beneficial trade terms,

Finally, a Brexit will give the U.K. the chance to choose fairer immigration policies. Remain supporters rightly point out that the U.K. and the rest of the EU have benefitted from the nearly open borders most EU countries have as part of what's known as the Schengen area. Freedom of movement has helped Europeans follow economic opportinitues and create prosperity in the process.

Those who favor remaining in the EU, as well as some Americans, worry that Britain would tighten restrictions after leaving. What they discount is how much the European far right has benefited thanks to having the EU to blame.

Authoritarian, anti-immigrant parties like Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary win support because people feel disenfranchised by EU mandates and powerless to control their futures. The key to defeating these movements is understanding where they come from.

Perhaps surprisingly, liberals could end up in a stronger position if Britain left the EUand had the freedom to set its own immigration policies, because it would force isolationists to convince people to affirmatively choose to forego the hefty economic benefits of immigration rather than simply railing against an undemocratic status quo.

Politically, liberals would probably have the upper hand. YouGov polling from late 2015 shows strong majorities or pluralities of Britons support free movement not only between the U.K. and the EU, but also with the U.S. and the Commonwealth nations (New Zealand, Australia, Canada). Post referendum, pro-immigration forces from both sides would be a powerful force in shaping Britain's future. After leaving the EU, Britain wouldn't be forced to discriminate against non-EU countries in immigration. It would have the freedom to ease visa and trade restrictions with its Anglosphere cousins. It could even create an Anglosphere free movement zone modeled on the Schengen area. An independent Britain would still have the chance to maintain fairly free immigration links with Europe while expanding those benefits to other areas of the world for the first time.

Thinking about Britain's decision should leave us more hopeful than fearful. Britain can still achieve the benefits of the EU's economic integration without tying itself to a democratically bankrupt political institution content to regulate itself to death. Outside the EU, Britain has the opportunity to embrace freer trade and open the U.K. to more people and prosperity than ever before. That's something to be excited about.

NEXT: Confessions of an Ex-Prosecutor

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  1. The difference between the Brexit and continued membership in the EU is the difference between the theories of evolution and intelligent design.


    The EU props up failed economic systems instead of letting natural selection replace them with the more healthy of their species, acting in favor of the idea of a deity or alien or whatever guiding economies to plan. So if you vote to stay in the European Union, you’re a filthy intelligent design nut instead of a pure, science-loving evolutionist.

    1. Come to think of it, that’s true of any central planners. Their religious devotion to the state is anti-science!

      1. But…but I fucking love science! Stop it, you’re confusing me you teathuglican ratfucker!

    2. As a scientist, the intelligent design of the universe is readily apparent.

      1. As a designer, the intelligent science of the universe is readily apparent.

      2. As a scientisttheist, the intelligent design of the universe is readily apparent.


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  2. I would like to see Britian leave the EU, then Scotland leave the Uk, then Lindon become an automous city, then each neighborhood gain sovereignty, followed by total anarchy. Also I want a pony.

      1. When Londonistan becomes autonomous, the tariff wall on food around the city is going to be brutal. You’ll get anarchy all right, and cannibalism.

        1. But, who gets the screen rights?

    1. Can we make Seattle and San Francisco their own countries next? That would move the US in the direction of greater freedom.

      1. If Hillary wins,Texas should secede-I’ll move there.

      2. Wouldn’t that be awesome, just have Oregon, Washington and CA turn into their own country, and then most of the east coast into their own country, and watch them wither and fucking die.

    2. I’d like to see New Jersey exit the US. Then we could extradite Christ Christie and Donald Trump there to stand trial for crimes against nature.

      1. Compromise: I’d keep Seattle, San Fran and New Jersey.

        Dump D.C. instead.

      2. Chris Christie gets his hate here, all of it deserved, but he’s a hell of a lot better than our last 5 governors and much better than any of the blue governors in the Northeast.

    3. Sweet! ;-D

    4. What, no jetpack? No flying car?

    5. And we can get rid of Texas and few other yahoo states too.

  3. If Brexit fails the next step is for a group of British patriots to wait for the next shipment of cognac to arrive from France, poorly disguise themselves as Irishmen and dump the shipment into the harbor. Take a lesson from us Yanks.

    1. Us Yanks are not even remotely the same people who started an armed rebellion over a modest tax increase on a breakfast drink that isn’t even coffee.

      1. Ironically, it was actually a tax decrease to make the East India Tea compeditive with the smuggled varieties.

        The riot was a statement of “How dare you think you can actually tax us!”

      2. That is very true, we aren’t (Nor are the British, French, Germans, etc BTW) . However, the Boston Tea Party had little to do with taxes on tea, it occurred subsequent to a ‘lowering’ of taxes on tea (not an increase as many misinformed Americans think), which made the cost of tea more affordable. Part of those tossing tea in the bay depended on smuggling tea to the settlers and saw their earnings drying up so Tea Party it was. Several of those were reportedly some of our Founding Fathers. It was only after the revolution that we began drinking coffee, as tea became considered unpatriotic even by Jefferson and Adams. Amazing how many Americans associate themselves with the name “Tea Party” and don’t even get that they’re in essence supporting petty crooks. Of course it’s also interesting to note that so many ‘conservatives’ associate themselves with our founders (We have a ‘free state of Jefferson’ movement in my area for example.) when those guys were not at all conservatives, they were radical lefties bent on destroying the order of things, and even working against God’s wishes as exemplified by denying the accepted ‘Divine Right of Kings’.

    2. French have sporadically been doing that to British produce for decades. It’s basically a feature of EU by now, so Brits may get in on it.

      1. To be fair to the French, British cuisine is awful so perhaps they just assume the produce will be as well.

    3. Never waste perfectly good alcohol. Tea or coffee, yeah, no problem.

    4. But are there are enough “British patriots” to paddle the currach?

  4. Economic freedom or socialism? Gee, I wonder how the Brits will vote?

    1. Is it…socialism?

      I imagine they won’t exit. The empire is dead, long live the empire.

    2. Brits don’t vote for economic freedom.

      1. It’s looking close and turnout looks to be very high. I’ve done my bit, we’ll know tomorrow how it turns out.

  5. No true Scotsman would vote to stay in the UK either, but they did.

  6. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to free themselves from an ossified, undemocratic power structure.

    Yep. Be free, or be serfs of an unaccountable EU politburo. This is a yuuuuge year for the future of freedom.

    Will the West go down the crapper to Big Government feudalism?

    If the Nationalists in the US and Europe are squashed, then yes. Game over.

    In both cases, societies will be transformed by importing Big Government voters. It’s now, or never.

  7. So…this is a weird night.

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  9. This is funny. Reason has been on the ramparts for decades prattling on about the benefits of globalization and supranational entities fucking everyone outside the financial sector in the name of ‘free trade’. And now – on a dime, the opposite is praised as well.

    I guess when you don’t stand for anything, you can stand everywhere.

  10. “choose to forego the hefty economic benefits of immigration ”

    Whats the economic benefit of Sharia courts?

  11. I agree that this should be a wake up call. I think it’s telling though that Scotland Gibraltar, and North Ireland voted to stay (the last divided between Catholic and Protestant regions). What I take this to mean is that Britain should not leave, if strict reforms are met.

    If they are met then, have another referendum on Scottish independence, and a non binding vote on the future of North Ireland.

    Also USA and Canad should leave NATO.

  12. RE: Americans Should Welcome a Brexit
    Britain leaving the EU isn’t a choice for isolationism, it’s a chance to embrace the world.

    No, Amerikans should not welcome Britain’s exit from the EU.
    It sets a bad example.
    We all want a one world government with just one socialist slaver ruling over us, taking our money, our freedom and hope for independence from The State and all their wonderful and beneficent apparatchiks.
    Leaving the EU only encourages being free from foreign entanglements, working in order to benefit people on the dole in foreign countries and ensuring foreign bureaucrats, politicians and their cronies get our money to do as they see fit.
    Where are all the English socialists when you need them?

  13. It’s a chance for the U.K. to look beyond the continent’s economic stagnation and embrace the rest of the world through free trade and fairer immigration. It’s also a chance to give other EU members a fighting chance at reforming their system.

    And it’s a chance for world peace and an end to violence in the streets.

    Come the fuck on. There’s no way in hell the any of that is going to happen in the current climate.

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  20. The European nations have surrendered to each other and opened the entryway for Muslims to assume control over their nations. A Muslim just needs to get into one of the European Countries and they have admittance to every one of them. In the event that the nations that shaped the EU don’t disband it rapidly those individuals are in risk of losing their nations to the Muslims. Muslims have a birthrate of more than eight for each family while Europeans have a birthrate of around 1,4 for each family. They will screw you out of presence. It will just take around 20 more years.
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  23. Absolutely right. After Brexit, UK will be able to rise up with new spirit and hope so Americans will be standing with UK nation.

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  26. I agree that American’s should welcome Brexit. After Barrack Obama’s tenure, things may have changed and even many British started opposing Brexit. I have written many articles on London Assignments help help in the support of Brexit and the response wasn’t good from Britishers.

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