Brexit

Why Libertarians Should Be Wary of Brexit 'Victory'

Brexit is a dangerous blow to openness and free trade.

|

White House / Flickr.com

Many American libertarians have lauded British voters' decision to leave the European Union. After all, any blow to such a federal structure must be good for liberty, right? Not so fast. Many European libertarians, like myself, view Brexit as a dangerous blow to openness and free trade that removes one of the strongest voices against E.U. centralization from the negotiating table in Brussels.

The disconnect between libertarian views on Brexit lies in many Americans' overly simplistic comparison of the E.U. to the U.S. federal government. However, while many of the criticisms leveled against the E.U. for being too big, too costly, and intervening where it shouldn't may sound like familiar gripes in the United States, the E.U. and the U.S. federal government are in no way equal.

The E.U. commission has 33,000 employees—half the number employed by the U.S. Social Security Administration alone. The E.U. has no right to tax, and its budget is around 1 percent of the GDP of the E.U. countries, compared to around 20 percent in the U.S.

More importantly, the E.U. only has the powers member states give it. Decisions are taken by consensus or a qualified majority. Every member—including Britain, until now—has a veto against new powers. So when states complain of the E.U.'s tyranny, it is often because they play a little game—they want X done, but don't know how to tell the voters, so they consent to X in Brussels and then go home and tell voters that they are now forced to do X. (This is also, obviously, one of the reasons why voters think that the E.U. is power grabbing and out of control.)

Most often, nationalists complain that Brussels is promoting a "neo-liberal" agenda that stops them from protecting their markets with tariffs and technical trade barriers and from subsidizing national champions and local industry.

This is part of what the E.U. does, and it is consistent with F.A. Hayek's 1939 vision of a European Federation that guaranteed free trade and openness between the member states, to make peace and cooperation possible. Since it allows local experiments and guarantees that capital and labor can move freely between markets, to those that are the most welcoming, it makes institutional competition possible.

A Timbro study by Alexander Fritz Englund showed that E.U. membership for the 28 countries resulted in a statistically significant increase in economic freedom in all of the sub-categories in The Economic Freedom of the World index. The biggest improvement comes in the year of membership, but it increases afterwards as well.

This must come as a surprise to everyone who has ever read about all the silly regulations emanating from Brussels. But most often, these are attempts to streamline national regulations, so that, for example, 28 different sets of rules for vacuum cleaners (which often are designed for local producers to keep competitors out) can be replaced with a common set of rules that allow free trade across borders.

Personally, I would prefer a system where countries automatically accept unrestricted imports of all goods that have passed the regulatory hurdles in the exporting country, but that's not an option that interests any E.U. country, including Britain. Unfortunately, their alternative to E.U. rules is not laissez-faire, but national rules, which would block much of the trade that goes on unhindered today.

Even though the E.U. sets too many rules and intervenes too much, most of the policy is still made back home. There is sufficient room for national maneuvering so that one E.U. member, Ireland, can implement policies that make it the eighth economically freest country in the world, and another, Greece, the 85th economically freest, according to The Economic Freedom of the World.

This is what was so strange about the Brexit campaign. Many complained about Brussels' red tape, but the regulations that hold Britain back the most are often made in London: Harsher financial regulation than in the rest of E.U. since the financial crisis, insane planning restrictions that block new housing, and a high minimum wage recently introduced by the Conservative government. Farmers complain about E.U. red tape, but many of the rules have in fact been introduced in Brussels by the British government, especially when it comes to environmental regulation.

It is London, not Brussels, that bans British stores from being open longer than six hours on Sundays. Imagine how that would be mocked if it were a Brussels regulation. And that is indeed one of the major benefits of a federal structure with a common set of rules: Countries are less interested in regulation when those regulations emanate from others, and therefore are more likely to block or dilute them. National rules are not just often back-door protectionism, they are also more comprehensive and extensive.

This is why Brexit can paradoxically make both the E.U. and Britain less free market at the same time. An important voice that often urged restraint in Brussels is now gone and diminished internationally, leaving the possibility for the E.U. to become more centralized. At the same time, Britain will implement all those rules back home, tailored to local demands and local lobbying. And that could very well be worse.

For obvious reasons, we libertarians heard mostly the arguments put forth by decent liberal Brexiteers. I certainly hope that their vision of an open and deregulated Britain will be realized, but sadly, those voices were drowned out by the nationalists.

Furthermore, most free-market Brexiteers did not even campaign for those ideas. Instead leading free-market Tories Boris Johnson and Michael Gove drove around in a campaign bus emblazoned with the message that government health care will get another £350 million a week outside of the E.U. The Leave campaign also promised more tax money to universities, scientists, and distressed regions.

When a steel plant in Wales foundered, Boris Johnson abandoned all free-market pretense and explained that the problem is that the E.U. stops the British government from introducing tariffs: "When we want to change tack on tariffs, we can't—because we have given up control." Gove complained that the E.U. has "rules that prevent us providing that emergency support and assistance" and that after Brexit "we would be able to support industries that were going through difficult times."

The message they gave was not about less E.U. intervention, but less E.U. blocking of British state intervention. Voters mostly heard that the E.U. had forced too much free trade on Britain. The mantra was "take back control." Eighty percent of the British who see social liberalism as a force for ill voted for Brexit, and 69 percent of those who see globalization as bad. Immigration was the number one issue for Brexit voters, according to the Ipsos MORI poll.

No matter what you might have heard from happy liberal Brexiteers, voters think that they voted to keep immigrants out and to protect local industry, and expect such policies now.

In the campaign, the U.K. Independence Party's influential leader Nigel Farage complained about the "industrial massacre" in Britain, and blamed it on, among other things, Chinese competition, free trade deals that "strip away obstacles to large corporations making profits," and E.U. procurement laws that allow other European companies to bid for public contracts. Its manifesto has called for a British register of important U.K. companies to block foreign acquisitions. Yes, UKIP wants to exit the E.U.'s awful Common Agriculture Policy. But only after having reassured British farmers that "UKIP will always support British agriculture."

On the morning after the referendum, one UKIP representative unintentionally summarized this tension between national and individual liberty, when he triumphantly told the BBC that at last, Britain was free and independent—and could introduce steel tariffs.

This is Trump, only in British English and full sentences.

NEXT: Despite Medical Marijuana, Pot Smell Justifies Searches in Arizona

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. As I’ve put forth, the UK leaving the EU would have mattered more if the UK was truly a classical liberal state. It isn’t. It’s as bureaucratic and politically correct as any nation to the point of indistinguishable from other European countries.

    1. Sure britain is as corrupt and cronyist as any shithole but leaving any central planning attempts is ultimately better. The eu and ecb is doomed to fail just like our fed. If you are Germany and uk, get out and stop pissing away your GDP on deadbeat nations. Also, there is no such thing as a free trade agreement. There is free trade which needs no legislation so the eu is just more bureaucratic morass and thus doomed.

      1. timbo,

        Within EU, there is complete free trade. (Of course you must obey local laws, i.e. can’t sell ‘illegal’ drugs in the UK)

        Now there are lots of regulations to do business within EU, but that is a different subject. If UK doesn’t like EU regulations, then try to convince others to reduce regulations!

        Now what will the trade environment look like when UK and EU have their own sets of regulations. Do you think the EU will let goods come in from the UK without meeting EU regulations one way or another without monetary cost?

        Let’s not kid ourselves that the outcome of Brexit is a freer environment with fewer regulations

        1. Regulation = NOT free-trade

          A regulation is ultimately a tax, is ultimately a tariff, is ultimately some form of protectionism. Smart to get away fro any form of central planning because it always ultimately descends into corruption and graft.

          We all know that the UK is not going to now become some bastion of free market economics. It is smart however, to get away from the sinking ship.

          1. I hope you are not suggesting that Brexit = no more regulations for UK.

            What ‘sinking ship’ are you referring to? And it’s ‘smart’ to get away from it; compare to what?

            1. Do you not think the EU is a sinking ship?

              Like I said, UK will likely be just as regulated as the US forever. They are already worse than us but we are trying.

              Point being that central banks are clearly starting to implode and massive central planning schemes like the EU will follow suit because the entire EU exists based on the performance of the German and UK economies. They are the bailout sources for all of the other EU failures to date.

              1. You mentioned central banks.

                The good thing about the UK/EU set is/was that UK has its own central bank and can set its own monetary policies. This setup buffers shocks that would have asynchronous effects.

                So I think what you mean by EU being a sinking ship, the primary issues would be bureaucracy and regulations which hinder freedom.

                I agree that EU bureaucracy/regulations will probably work not as great for the people in UK when compared to UK bureaucracy/regulations.

                I just don’t think the trade-off is that much of a clear cut but at the expense of less overall productivity

                1. The real train wreck is the central bank. Be it the FED or the ECB or the BoE. They are all directing the actions of the bureaucrats and sometimes vice versa. They all are creating insurmountable debt, starting currency devaluation wars and destabilizing prices and distorting market conditions the world over to hold onto their scheme to protect their cronies.

                  There is absolutely no salvation in the UK BoE managing affairs on their own. The salvation might come from the autonomy of not being hindered economically under the rules of the EU trading block.

                  We simply disagree as the value of centrally planned economies.

                  1. timbo,

                    Just to be clear. I see little value in centrally planned economies. They generally do more harm than good, and I think we agree on that. I generally agree with the ideas presented by Reason (and the people here) on the various topics 😀

                    I feel that the folks here are mostly open-minded to ideas/arguments. Most serious (non-sarcastic) comments are sensible and have points. (Most sarcastic ones are quite funny)

                    cheers!

                    1. Wasa

                      In case you are still viewing, I saw this article today that explains most of my points rather well.

                      http://davidstockmanscontracor…..uperstate/

    2. Doesn’t matter. The value of political self-determinism over-rides all of the down-sides of leaving. They at least have a chance and realizing what a bureaucratic nightmare they have and doing something about it – With the EU dictating their policy there is no chance in hell of that ever happening.

    3. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $15200 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site.. This is what I do..
      Go here to this… http://www.trends88.com

  2. We get it.

    You’re a whore for bureaucracy.

    1. That’s his point. The UK implements its own counter-productive rules.

      1. HOLY SHIT ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!

        HEYYYY!

        MAYBE THAT’S WHY I SAID IT YOU STUPID FUCK.

        1. Wow, that escalated quickly…

          1. I know, right?

            Meh.

            1. C’mon, Rufus. Egg him on.

              1. Gary Johnson will not engage in dirty politics and neither will I!

                /spreads nutella on bread.

                  1. I was speechless.

      2. That’s why they need yet another layer of rules – to deflect blame. Now they will be more accountable.

      3. The exact same arguments could be made for mourning the end of the USSR . Some people value theoretical wealth more than freedom .

        1. Well said, mr burns!

        2. A lot depended on what the countries do after the separation, doesn’t it?

          Was Indian better off (economically, in terms of productivity) before or after its independence from Britain?

        3. And to be clear, I think a society with less poverty = better off

          And yes, the free-enterprise mechanism is the most effective machine to reduce poverty.

  3. The free trade argument is bullshit.

    If the EU wants to continue free trade with the UK, they can.

    And if they dont, the UK will likely have plenty of world wide trading partners.

    I doubt the net amount of free trade is going to change much, and it might go up.

    1. It amazes me how all the “open” free trade deals now are documents hundreds of pages long.

      Hint: trade based on huge stacks of regulations is not “free” trade.

      1. You have good stuff, could I give you this currency for it?

      2. JWW,

        And with UK outside of EU, UK businesses will be freer from regulations?

        The fact of the matter is, UK businesses will have its own set of regulations just as onerous.

        Now, how will trades between UK and EU will look? Activity/productivity will certainly be lowered when barriers (there certainly will be more, not less) come up.

        Again, what is the point of comparing the EU framework against the utopia of complete free trade?

        The question is, what is the least bad setup given the framework?

        1. The benefit for the UK is that the Germany and the UK are the entire strength of the EU.

          All the other entities within the EU depend on the production of those two economies to subsidize all of the other European socialists dumps. No one is going to throw up any more barriers to business with the only economies that keep the scam afloat.

          1. I don’t have the data on UK subsidies to EU. The issue of subsidies gets trickier for Germany because of the common currency.

            There is still a lot of unknown in the sense of what the UK will substitute EU bureaucracy/regulations with. Over time, given the direction of big government, I don’t see how people in the UK will end up with fewer rules and trade barriers.

            As I mentioned below, it is true that collectivism does not do as much harm the more homogeneous a population is. But overall, I do not see how UK (and EU) will both have more trade/productivity as a result of Brexit.

            1. So your arguments basically come down to the eu will throw a tantrum and demand less free trade with the uk/the eu will impose the same regulations on the uk in trade, and resistance is futile.

              Welp, count me convinced.

              1. My argument is that overall productivity for both UK and EU will probably decrease.

                I think a lot will depend on what policies these entities follow.

                Both the UK and EU could open the door to free movement of goods/services/human capital.

                Given how the bureaucracy and regulations have evolved in recent history though, I think barriers will increase, not decrease.

                This is not because of one party will throw a tantrum. It is precisely the opposite, where it is likely that little would be different.

                EU’s regulations will remain as they are. UK will continue to dislike EU’s regulations.
                Now how will international trades (UK to EU) work? Just because you are outside of EU doesn’t mean your goods/services can escape EU regulations, albeit some would.

                What about on the UK side? Will there be more or less regulations in the UK?

                When exports to a country (or region) go down, imports from that country (or region) goes down as well (not in the same magnitude, but direction will be the same). The unseen result is a lowered productivity than what it could have been.

                Unlike the US, UK’s economy is a lot more opened (a lot less self-sufficient). In the event of increased trade barriers, the negative impact could amplify.

                Again, there are still a lot of unknowns, and a lot will ultimately depend on the policies the UK and EU decide to take.

    2. My bet is it won’t be as dire as claimed. The UK can increase trade with India, Australia and North America. Plus there are goods and services that come from the UK EU countries want.

      The new conservative PM though seems like she’s into the police state.

    3. Has anyone here read the agreement that each country must adhere to when in the European Union?

      It sounds like you trust Reason, but did you verify?

      Movement of goods and services within the European Union quite free as it is today. Movement of people is also free. Moreover, the EU requires that every country treats other countries’ citizens as one of its own (think welfare).

      From the “free trade” perspective. Think about what the alternative is.
      What is the alternative?

      What “free trade” agreements are generally there between countries? NAFTA? How restrictive is the NAFTA?

      Given the circumstances (political and intellectual), ask yourself how “free” can a free trade agreement be.
      Then we can consider what the next best thing is. From the perspective of “trade”, the EU’s setup is as free as it can be, again, given the environment we are in.

    4. The EU is not going to give the UK all the benefits of EU membership with none of the obligations. Countries like Norway and Switzerland, that are outside the EU, nonetheless have to accept many EU rules, pay money to the EU, have free movement and open borders, etc. in order to access the common market. So in order to benefit from leaving the EU, the UK is likely going to have to accept a lot of things that the Leave side was stridently opposed to.

      1. Correct. So the question to me is ..

        The dues that UK would pay for EU bureaucracy to waste vs. the economic gain both UK and EU would gain in a no-trade-barrier setup; which gives you more overall productivity?

      2. But Canada and Australia arent going to require those.

        1. That’s true, but I’m not sure how committed the UK government is to free trade. It’s also not easy or quick to form these agreements, and it remains to be seen if the trade they can gain outside the EU could outweigh the trade gained being in the EU (or at least in the EFTA or something similar). Personally, I think the best case for them would probably be a EFTA-type setup with the ability to form independent agreements with other countries, but I’m not sure if that would be allowed (not knowledgeable on the subject). But even if it is, it will include a lot of conditions that most Brexit voters would not be satisfied with.

          1. Just looked it up, and apparently EFTA states are free to make outside trade agreements. But again, that sort of setup (which I think would be best) would still require the UK to accept free movement, payments to the EU, and compliance with some EU rules. Brexit voters don’t seem to want that (some of that I agree is bad, but I think is outweighed by the benefits of the EFTA setup, but other things I think are good despite the Brexiters mostly disagreeing).

            1. Switzerland is in EFTA but I dont think is required to accept free movement or payments to the EU.

              Its also a relatively small part of their trade.

              1. Switzerland is a part of the Schengen Area, which mostly consists of the EU (minus the UK and Ireland) plus a few EFTA members. These countries have less control over their borders (with other countries in the area) than the UK did in the EU.

                I’m not sure about Switzerland and payments to the EU, but I know Norway pays them almost as much per capita as the UK does.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area

      3. Also, even if the UK no longer has to comply with EU widget regulations, anyone selling imported British widgets in the EU will. So unless they’re going to set up a separate supply chain for export widgets, they’ll still be indirectly beholden to the EU regulations, because that’s what the market currently is.

  4. meh, the system is collapsing. The UK exit will only hasten the process, which is desirable since the longer it persists, the worse (and potentially more violent) the collapse will be.

  5. voters think that they voted to keep immigrants out and to protect local industry, and expect such policies now.

    That seems to be a pretty broad brush.

    1. Polish plumbers are the scourge of Britain.

    2. Whenever I read an argument against Brexit, Donald Trump, or anything else for that matter that depends on the opposing view being based in racism my bullshit detector goes bonkers.

      1. That isn’t at all a strawman argument. Not everyone on the Leave side was in favor of restricting immigration, but that was definitely a very common reason why people voted to Leave. He didn’t even make an accusation of bigotry, he just said that they wanted to keep immigrants out. Again, not true for every Leave voter, but certainly one of the most common reasons why people voted that way.

        1. No, he didn’t come right out and say that pro-Brexit voters are a bunch of ignorant, degenerate, xenophobic rubes. What he said that led me to that conclusion was:

          Eighty percent of the British who see social liberalism as a force for ill voted for Brexit, and 69 percent of those who see globalization as bad. Immigration was the number one issue for Brexit voters, according to the Ipsos MORI poll.

          No matter what you might have heard from happy liberal Brexiteers, voters think that they voted to keep immigrants out and to protect local industry, and expect such policies now.

          So he’s saying that people who voted for Brexit are against any and all immigration, are staunchly protectionist, see “social liberalism” as an ill when the author obviously believes it isn’t (and given that the term is not clearly defined I believe there’s a good deal of room for interpretation) and believe that globalization is bad, again, contrary to the author’s opinion and absent a clear definition of the term.

          Never mind that it’s a gross generalization, it’s also condescending. There is a big range of policy between disagreeing with the immigration policy as subject to EU membership rules and cordoning off the British Isles entirely. Oh, and then this little quip:

          This is Trump, only in British English and full sentences.

          That’s what you call a “tell”.

          1. And what about that is inaccurate (other than maybe the Trump part, but there are some crossover similarities in the sentiment)? He didn’t say they wanted to end all immigration, he said that limiting immigration was a strong reason behind the Brexit vote, which is true. All evidence indicates this. Obviously, it isn’t true for everyone, but I highly doubt you would have reacted the same way if a writer said “Brexiters were motivated by a dislike of centralization and EU regulation” even though that also might not be true for all people who voted Leave.

          2. Why quote him if you’re then going to put words in his mouth?

        2. “Immigration” in this context doesn’t mean “all immigration”. The immigration issue is actually about restricting government-subsidised immigration of people who wouldn’t come to the UK without the subsidies; it’s about preventing an expansion of the welfare state. It’s not about restricting immigration of people who are fully financially self-supporting throughout their lifetimes; people like that can typically live in whatever country they choose and Brexit isn’t going to make much difference to that.

          Libertarians should be at least as concerned about people being forced to subsidise immigration as they are about freedom to immigrate.

  6. “Brexit is a dangerous blow to openness and free trade.”

    I don’t agree. All the other problems with it aside, they voted for self determination.

    1. Autonomy being the sine qua non of libertarianism, anything that devolves power toward the individual pretty much trumps all other considerations.

      1. Yeah. A well written article, but this portion really doesn’t help me see where the EU is promoting more freedom:

        More importantly, the E.U. only has the powers member states give it. Decisions are taken by consensus or a qualified majority. Every member?including Britain, until now?has a veto against new powers. So when states complain of the E.U.’s tyranny, it is often because they play a little game?they want X done, but don’t know how to tell the voters, so they consent to X in Brussels and then go home and tell voters that they are now forced to do X. (This is also, obviously, one of the reasons why voters think that the E.U. is power grabbing and out of control.)

        Libertarians support free markets because it’s a means to an end: greater individual freedom. I don’t see supporting free markets by consolidating political power at higher levels leads towards greater individual freedom.

        1. I don’t think the concept of EU promotes freedom, and I am not sure if Norberg claims that.

          It does promote freer movement of goods and services, but it does nothing to minimize crony capitalism for example.

          The free market is a necessary element for achieving freedom, but that it is not enough.

          From an economic (trade) standpoint, UK is better to be in the EU.
          Once the UK is out of the EU, do you think there will be more trade barrier between the UK and the EU or less? In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that there will be fewer trade barriers.

          How about the movement of people? In my opinion, it is far more likely that the barriers will go up.

          What is the seen? No more EU bureaucracy for the UK. UK now can make decisions on what it wants to spend. Do you think the UK politicians are more efficient at spending tax payers’ money than EU politicians are?

          I can go on and on to compare the EU vs. the alternative. I am not comparing EU vs. Libertarian utopia because I am not sure there is a point in that.

          1. I think the people of the UK are more free by no longer allowing their “representatives” to exercise a form of despotic rule as described in the portion I quoted.

            they want X done, but don’t know how to tell the voters, so they consent to X in Brussels and then go home and tell voters that they are now forced to do X.

            That seems like a fairly strong win.

            1. Agreed. That paragraph about how to do X without being held accountable by your constituents seems like a solid argument for Brexit.

            2. John DeWitt,

              You mean you think the People in the UK could be more free. UK is ‘country’, a mere collection of land, capital, People etc .. So let’s talk about the People.

              I am not sure if the People in the UK will be freer by leaving the EU.

              However, I do agree with you in the sense that collectivism tends to do less harm when the population is more homogeneous. The People of UK is certainly more homogenous than the People of EU.

              Now, in terms of choosing the lesser of the two evil on the whole, I don’t see how Brexit can benefit the overall population’s productivity.

              I think an argument can be made about the distribution of generated wealth depending on how the regulations are set up in the UK vs. EU. That would also tell us the level of potential in terms of achieving economic equality.

              1. Utilitarianism is central to liberty.

              2. I think collectivism does more harm when the popul’n is more homogeneous, because when it’s more heterogeneous there’s more opposition to redistribution & privilege.

              3. “I am not sure if the People in the UK will be freer by leaving the EU.”

                Are you talking process or outcome?

                Because the British successfully voted to begin the process of divorcing themselves from a distant and poorly accountable layer of supra national bureaucracy. If they succeed in getting that accomplished they most certainly will be freer.

                Exactly what they will do with that freedom may be another thing entirely.

    2. Pink thing,

      With Brexit, UK got more self-determination. It also got a blow to free trade (with the EU).

      I don’t see how more self-determination and a blow to free trade cannot coexist.

      1. It also got a blow to free trade (with the EU).

        And EU basically makes up the entire world…no other possible trading partners out there who are willing to trade with the UK. Napoleon’s Continental System will carry the day!

        1. UK will still trade with non-EU partners as it was before. But of course with UK’s own new rules, regulations etc…

          EU will continue to trade with non-EU partners as it was before.

          The question is what will flow of goods and services look like between UK and EU? Do you think there will be fewer or more barriers?

        2. The EU market is the first or second largest economy in the world and British exporters can literally drive their trucks into it. Of course there are other trading partners but it is logistically far far far easier to trade with Europe.

          1. The EU with Britain included constitutes the 2nd largest economy by GDP behind the United States, and leaving the EU does not preclude Britain from trading with it. This is a false dilemma.

  7. My (limited) understanding of the Brexit was that it was about national sovereignty, which for the socialistic states of Europe boiled down to question: “do we want to live under the bureaucracy that the E.U has created for us or the bureaucracy that we’ve created for ourselves.”

  8. I thought maybe Richman or Dalmia, but E Tu Norberg?

    1. Libertarians overthinking again. No, we shouldn’t decriminalize weed cuz it will destroy the black market. If we praise Hillary, we can win over some of her supporters. DRTA. Couldn’t read another, “If we turn left three times, we will actually be going right!”

      1. At least we do think, or at least try.

  9. If the people of UK decide to unwind some of the bureaucracy and protectionism.. It is infinitely easier to do this outside of EU.

    “it is often because they play a little game?they want X done, but don’t know how to tell the voters, so they consent to X in Brussels and then go home and tell voters that they are now forced to do X. (This is also, obviously, one of the reasons why voters think that the E.U. is power grabbing and out of control.)”

    The voters are taking the above trick out of politicians playbook .. and thats a win for common folks

  10. The EU part gigantic exercise in “commerce clause”, part overt centralization, cultural homogenization, and socialization. It’s not a body of free trade, that’s merely a mirage. Switzerland has to pay to access EU markets. That’s a punitive “tax”. It expands its powers (what would be ultra vires) under the cover of the concept of “effet utile”, lead by its highest court, to which the courts of member states defer.

  11. Norberg makes the mistake of trying to find a perfect libertarian solution in a political system that is decidely unlibertarian.

    1. Exactly.

    2. I don’t think that’s true, I think he just sees being in the EU as better than the alternative.

      Most Reason articles have been pro-Brexit, I think this was providing an opposing perspective from a libertarian POV. I didn’t really care too much either way, but I think the libertarianess of the Leave campaign has been greatly exaggerated here.

  12. Gee I wish I could ruled by an unaccountable far-off government led by “top men”.

    Oh wait.

    1. At least Moscow on The Thames is a little closer to home.

  13. Yeah, Hayek name-dropping and some cogent points aside, I’m not buying the base argument. I do not believe that the UK has become a freer or more liberal place since its entry into the EU. Regardless of the mechanism, whether it be EU policies foisted onto an unwilling Britain or British pols using the EU as cover for unpopular policies, the result is the same. Taking the EU out of the equation means that the British government stands alone, for better or worse, and is more directly accountable. I simply do not believe that the path towards a classically-liberal state is to establish a small, remote coterie of technocrats to govern from afar, nor do I believe that the history of the EU gives any reason to believe otherwise.

    1. If I read your comment right, yes, being in the EU makes it harder to re-establish classical liberal principles but was the UK predisposed to going there in the first place? I’m not so sure.

      1. Yeah, that’s about what I’m saying. Leaving the EU isn’t going to spontaneously generate a British Libertopia, but I think it’s a necessary precondition.

        1. Agreed. And I really got a kick out of this part of the opening salvo “… a dangerous blow to openness and free trade that removes one of the strongest voices against E.U. centralization from the negotiating table in Brussels.”

          Which boils down to the author complaining that without Britain there will be no one to save the EU from itself.

          That’s one heck of a sales pitch.

          1. And? Shouldn’t that be a concern?

            1. For the UK? No, it shoudnt. They are not France’s keeper.

            2. Not a concern for the Brits, no.

              1. (sigh… fuck you for eating my comment, squirrel)

                Johan’s not a Brit, and neither are you and I.

                The concern is that Brexit will result in both the EU and UK moving away from liberalization, which should trouble libertarians. I’m not convinced of this prediction, especially in the long term (I’m close to the not-woodchipper’s position), but it is not obviously wrong. Nor is it verboten for a libertarian to believe it and think the world is now worse off.

                Refer back to the headline: Why Libertarians Should Be Wary of Brexit ‘Victory’

                1. Yeah, but the EU itself wasn’t moving towards liberalization, at least not in the classical liberal sense.

                  1. And now they may both move further away, especially if it does mean the UK losing a lot of the free travel and trade inside the Continent. Just as, if the US split into some blue country and red country, the blue country might move towards a much more lefty-illiberal nation and the red country toward a more righty-illiberal nation. We might agree that the US on its present course is heading away from liberalism, but at least these impulses balance each other out and make for a relatively more liberal world than the alternative.

                2. “The concern is that Brexit will result in both the EU and UK moving away from liberalization.”

                  LOL. An argument that assumes liberalization was the goal (much less the eventuality) had Britain remained.

                  Do you really think that if Remain had won we would be talking about it as a mandate for Britain to block Brussels’ usual drift toward centralization and galloping statism? Because I sure don’t.

                  1. No it doesn’t.

                    And while your question is also separate from the point, I think it would serve as some kind of mandate. Wasn’t that the point of the vote? A way to seek concessions from the EU? I don’t think this would have been some turning point, or that any ‘mandate’ would be respected for long. Again, the point is not that Remain would reverse course on the EU, but that it might be preferable to the alternative.

                    1. “Wasn’t that the point of the vote? A way to seek concessions from the EU?”

                      Um ok. If you say so. Although a plain reading of the actual wording of the question might lead one to think otherwise.

                      “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

      2. “If I read your comment right, yes, being in the EU makes it harder to re-establish classical liberal principles but was the UK predisposed to going there in the first place?”

        I think the argument is that even if, on the whole they currently don’t, if at some point in the future they do, achieving such ends will be far easier without the EU hurdle to overcome.

        The EU is not a remotely libertarian outfit, but then neither is the UK. But UK libertarians at least have some remote chance in the future of influencing one of the two.

        1. We can hope. But it’s not on a good track at the moment in my view.

    2. We need a gigantic supra-national mega-state to establish a global free-trade zone, or else free trade can’t exist.

  14. On Deck:

    Gillespie’s libertarian case for tyranny

    1. As long as the tyrant is LGBTQWERTY friendly because that is the most important consideration.

    2. Years ago I read an Anarcho-Capitalist’s case for Absolute Monarchism…

      1. There was a whole blog on it.

      2. Fewer authorities to ignore.

  15. Nothing like a condescending lecture intended to correct perceived misconceptions that consists almost entirely of information I already knew. Europeans are really, really good at these sorts of things.

    What they really, really are not good at is understanding that our version of liberty is not their version of liberte.

    1. I didn’t like this phrase:

      “The disconnect between libertarian views on Brexit lies in many Americans’ overly simplistic comparison of the E.U. to the U.S. federal government.”

      Simpleton Yankees can’t appreciate who sophisticated Europeans are.

      Seems to me Europe likes to complicate things for nothing.

      1. They get that attitude with their infant formula.

        There are many phrases I didn’t like, but this one pretty much sums it all up (emphasis added.)

        “More importantly, the E.U. only has the powers member states give it.”

        Pointing up exactly where European ‘libertarians’ differ from the liberty of the English speaking peoples. They view liberty as a sort of grocery list of existence that can be provided by removed, multi-layered, and indirect form of government(s.) Which is about as un-libertarian as can be. Libertarianism is not found in the details, it is found in the essentials.

        To be sure the British, having regained some of their autonomy are free to screw it up as much as Brussles might have, but if so then at least the blame will reside more fully with the people themselves.

      2. One hundred and ninety regulations about pillowcases?

      3. They contort and disfigure subjects into misshapen nonsense, and then pronounce that their deformed reasoning is superior by virtue of its retarded complexity.

        Libertarian: “1 + 1 + 1 = 3.”
        Eurotroll: “20 – 19 + 19 – 19 – 1 = LIBERTE, EGALITE, ESCARGOTS.”

        1. Lol.

      4. I think its fair to point out that Americans are probably not very knowledgeable about how the EU works. That doesn’t mean we’re dumb, I think it’s safe to say Europeans don’t know much about how our institutions work.

        1. Trayvon Martin is almost guaranteed to have known a thousand times more about the European Union than Oxford’s most exalted scholar knows about the United States.

          Don’t underestimate their stupidity and ignorance.

          1. It’s not that they don’t know anything, it’s that so much of what they know isn’t true.

        2. It’s probably fair to say that Europeans are probably not all that knowledgeable about how the EU works. Shit, how many Americans can actually tell you how a bill becomes law in the US?

          1. It becomes a law when the exalted Lightbringer Messiah decides it should be one, you ignorant slut!

  16. If the UK was the strongest voice against EU-centralization then they couldn’t have gotten out soon enough.

    Suggesting that they have some obligation to represent the “Losing side” in any argument is ridiculous. If no one else in the EU was making any case for reform and devolution of power, then they were simply going to end up playing patsy.

    They’re not obligated to play stupid games if they’re guaranteed to win only stupid prizes.

    And the constant refrain “BUT FREE(r) TRADE??” pretends that all the EU was about was “lowering barriers”, while ignoring the million-odd regulatory frameworks it imposed.

    True “Free Trade” doesn’t come with such a raft of strings attached. If its truly in the interests of both parties, then they are just as free to make trade-agreements now as they were when they were party to a monetary-union run like the worst HOA on earth.

    1. The EU was as much about creating a supra-national European identity as it was about a supra-national state. Brexit was a succinct expression of nationalism, so a direct rejection of this aspect of the EU project. But nobody on the Remain side wants to note that fact, so they will dance around the truth and talk about all sorts of other things, like trade and libertarianism.

      1. The EU was as much about creating a supra-national European identity as it was about a supra-national state.

        Well… i think that might have been an unstated side-effect which some *hoped* for.

        But i doubt anyone familiar with European history would have ever said, “a monetary union will quickly and successfully erase the national/language/ethnic divisions which have defined the continent for the past 1000 years”

        I also think anyone familiar with even the recent history of the EU would be fooled into thinking that there was much in the way of trans-national comity evolving from mere trade-relations.

        Google, “EU Crisis” and add different years to it…. 1997, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011… whichever you choose, you’ll find dozens of articles explaining the current “Failure” du jour. The EU has been in a perpetual state of near-collapse since its founding.. Any time they actually let any of the EU “citizens” vote on anything, they tended to say “No Thanks“. I think they learned to stop asking after the debt crisis in 2011-.

        to my same point below – i think its silly to write pieces about “how to view the Brexit” at this point. Rather than beat on the UK and moan about their bad-choices, i’d like to hear a positive argument being made for “Why the EU will survive and thrive without them” – if there is one.

        1. There isn’t. Europe is rife with parasites.

    2. Staying in the EU to save it is the same argument that people make as to why you have a civic and moral duty to send your kids to the public school for your district even if you have other options so that you can bolster the roles and get the school more funding.

  17. “”This is Trump, only in British English and full sentences.””

    And if this is the wittiest remark in your whole “stating the obvious and then pretending it qualifies as insight”-argument, then its unsurprising not a single reader will walk away convinced unless they were already of your view.

    (*usually the last line in an essay along these lines *is* the sole example of any wit; most people can’t write about trade-policy disagreements without boring everyone to death, and so a ‘capper’ is thrown in at the end as a prize for having survived to the end)

    Whipping out the “trump card” (yes, i’ve been waiting to use that line all year) is only appealing to people who are already terrified of the current populist backlash to the status-quo. But those aren’t the people you’re trying to convince here is it?

    It also inadvertently exposes something missing in the whole argument = the fact that the author has 1) not addressed at all the current failings of the EUs fiscal governance, and 2) not even mentioned what’s actually driving its own version of “Trumpism” – namely, the EU’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to immigration

    I think rather than waste time castigating the UK for its haste in exiting the union, the author should ask himself = where does he see the European Union in 5 years? 10 years? And is Britain really going to be the one to blame for where its headed? Will they really feel bad for being ‘left out’?

    1. This is what the author thought passes for witty. And, in Europe among the ‘smart set’ maybe it does.

      1. Honestly, everyday British English is the lowliest variant of the tongue, and the general illiteracy that’s evident in every newspaper, television show, magazine, and book in Britain is astonishing. They’re shitty at their own language. There’s no vocabulary, grammar, style, or intuitive form in anything they write. I’ve seen prepubescent Indian kids learning English at school do infinitely better.

    2. Yeah, that line was the nail in the coffin for me. I’m not voting for Trump and I don’t want him to be president, but I’m not of the mindset that anyone supporting him is stupid or evil.

  18. Many European libertarians, like myself

    OK, what do we call ourselves now?

    1. Libertarians.

      European Libertarianism is something else entirely. Consider Social Democrats, who are generally good with the democracy right up until the moment that the voters vote against the socialism. Then the truth is revealed.

      1. The author is demonstrably unlibertarian. He can label himself whatever he wishes. Reality isn’t bound by his misconceptions.

  19. You shouldn’t just view the European Union as what it could have been in the past. You also have to contend with what it was meant to do in the future.

    Many of the EU’s champions still see it as a bureaucratic superstate. They want it to become even more powerful so they can tackle issues like climate change without petty things like democracy getting in the way.

    There are EU supporters who are crying over Brexit because they fear that means the dream of superimposing unresponsive bureaucracies on the people of Europe is over.

    Yeah, their tears are delicious.

    Meanwhile, the UK is free to negotiate new and better free trade agreements with anyone they choose. If we had a competent leadership in the White House, we’d be negotiating a better trade deal with the Brits already.

  20. Asserting sincerely that any of the British political factions hold libertarian ideals to any degree demonstrates the author’s benightedness, or a thoroughly wishful train of thought. None of these degenerates are anything but slight variations of the same authoritarian foundation — differences are sparse and superficial, and Britons note these paltry dissimilarities because they represent all of the variety their sociopolitical environments allow.

    From Theresa May and David Cameron to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, they’re all imperious, progressive miscreants. Secession from the European Union will likely amount to nothing consequential, because British politicians will craft and enact identically abysmal legislation and regulations. Chains are chains, no matter which organ of government forces them upon you.

    Americans still have genuinely free-thinking, liberal commentators and voting blocs, feeble in the grand scheme of things though they may be. Britons do not.

  21. Awesome, the professional fake libertarian industry is going global.

    1. It’s not just for #tcot Jeb! #NeverTrump #GaryJohnson neocon housewives of Twitter anymore!

  22. I knew it! Johan is a Swede, not a Scotsman. He almost had us fooled.

    1. He’s certainly no true Scotsman…

  23. Many European libertarians view Brexit as a dangerous blow to openness and free trade that removes one of the strongest voices against E.U. centralization from the negotiating table in Brussels.

    So the Brits should stay in to fight centralization on behalf of the other EU countries? Sorry, I’m going to need more than that.

    Economic freedom requires more than “open/free” trade across borders. The EU’s sin against economic freedom is its regulations on what can be produced and traded, and how it is produced and traded. Shedding those regulations is a step toward economic freedom.

    I cannot understand the fetish so many so-called libertarians have for centralized authority and unaccountable rulers.

    1. It is apparently the Brit’s job to lose their freedom so the rest of Europe can have a “voice” or something. That article is absurd. He admits the EU is bad for freedom in the UK but somehow the Brits are supposed to grin and bear it in the faint hope that someday the EU will be better.

      Moreover, perhaps the credible threat of country’s leaving will have more of an effect on the EU’s behavior than the UK agreeing to stay and whine about a few things? I would argue by leaving and sending the message to the EU that nothing necessarily lasts forever, the UK did more for freedom in the rest of Europe than it ever could have done by staying.

      1. It won’t have an effect on anything. They’re all progressives. All of them. It’s like hoping that an ant colony will learn to manufacture microchips.

        1. I am not so sure about that. It shows the people in the other countries that exit is possible. I don’t think the UK will be the last country to leave. If more country’s start to leave, the EU will either have to address the concerns or cease to exist. Since the EU is run by Progs, chances are they won’t change and the whole thing will fall apart. But I don’t see that as a bad thing. Kill the EU and then maybe something less oppressive can be built in its place.

        2. More than merely being progressives they are all Europeans and more specifically of the continental bent. Their version of the Enlightenment has already run it’s course and they are well and truly back on the road to serfdom.

          In that regard they ‘enjoy’ a certain advantage over the rest of the world, having never really eliminated their aristocracy there is much less sorting sorting and jockeying for position to be done.

          1. social sorting, not sorting sorting.

      2. To some extent, it is mission creep. The early origins, such as the European Coal & Steel Community had some good ideas in them, in terms of ending France’s occupation of parts of Germany and moving coal & steel toward some form of free trade.

  24. After all, any blow to such a federal structure must be good for liberty, right? Not so fast, writes Johan Norberg.

    Well, at least we know how to tell when Johan Norberg is baked.

  25. If an increase in freedom comes at the price of giving the state a weapon to reduce freedom elsewhere, it is likely an illusory gain and should not be supported. The EU is a textbook example of a gain in freedom that ends up being illusory because it came at the price of giving the government the power to restrict freedom in so many other ways.

    In some ways the EU was a wonderful expansion of freedom. It is great that Europeans are able to live and work anywhere they want and travel whenever and wherever they like without the hassle of borders. The problem is that that freedom came at the price of ceding all of your autonomy to a bunch of power crazed bureaucrats in Brussels. It is all fun and games planning your move to Tuscany from dreary old England until the EU shows up and tells you, you can no longer sell anything that is not marked in metric measures or that you have to give up your access to cheap fuel and electricity in the name of ‘global warming’ or any of the other tens of thousands of rules and restrictions that come out of the EU that no one ever votes on and are enacted by people who are totally unaccountable to the populations they oppress. Then it is not looking so good.

  26. Brexit is good because it hopefully starts to usher the deathnell of these supra national trade unions that have been a plague on freedom. Lets start over and maybe create some free trade agreements that don’t come at the cost of turning our freedom and sovereignty over to a bunch of unaccountable and totalitarian global elites.

  27. I like how the world leaders invited Peter Capaldi to be in that picture.

  28. “This is part of what the E.U. does, and it is consistent with F.A. Hayek’s 1939 vision of a European Federation that guaranteed free trade and openness between the member states, to make peace and cooperation possible.”

    Just because you like an idea in theory doesn’t mean you have to support its every execution.

    I like the idea of feeding the hungry. Doesn’t mean I would have to support a charity that fed the hungry but laced all the food with laxatives.

    A federation of free trade is a great idea. A federation of free trade which also implements a governing body responsible for introducing regulations on trade is not a great idea.

    1. This is part of what the E.U. does,

      Yes, and? What about the other parts of what the EU does?

      Because its a package deal, and you have to look at it in its entirety to get to the net/net for freedom.

    2. A federation of free trade is a great idea. A federation of free trade which also implements a governing body responsible for introducing regulations on trade is not a great idea.

      Bingo.

  29. There’s no one good or bad about Brexit. There’s loonier-lefties who wanted of the EU because was too “rightist”, and there’s rightists who wanted out because it was too leftist. They both hope to get a grapple on the smaller sized racket. And there’s more “moderate” people in between.

    Before the EU, there were all sorts of trade agreements and treaties. All the EU was to do was to make the more “efficient”, the totem for ever bigger and bigger bureaucracy. One size fits all is easier. But the further away the decision maker of whose ox gets gored, the less responsive they have to be. And the space in between allows people to fill the void with whatever ideas come into their head – that the EU prevents war, the EU cures cancer, the EU will make everyone’s breath fresh.

    The lesson to learn from the article, is the EU seems to have the about the same “valency” as the original Articles of Confederation, if not less so. And countries STILL don’t want to abide by it. There’s a lesson or two in that reality.

  30. This is Trump, only in British English and full sentences.

    Yeah, but chicks dig English accents. If you had Benedict Cumberbatch read Trump’s speeches, he’d win the female vote by a landslide

    1. There are overdubbed Trump speeches online in a poshy English accent.. Its remarkable how much of a difference it makes.

      1. I have long thought they should overdub Chris Christie’s speeches with Seth Rogan doing the voice of Peter in the Family Guy.

        1. That would be quite something considering Seth Rogan doesn’t do Peter’s voice on Family Guy.

          1. Wooooossshhh!

          2. Whoever does it. I don’t watch that show and plead ignorance about the specifics.

  31. The biggest fear mongering seems to be based in trade, which doesn’t have to change, and travel. The ability to travel is arguably a reason for the EU. The problem is once you have a bunch of bureaucrats sitting there, they get bored and impose regulations. Unaccountable officials from countries not your own. It’s not hard to see why people wanted out in the aggregate.

  32. Sorry Johan, any blow against an unelected central bureaucracy is a blow for freedom.

  33. My friend just told me about this easiest method of freelancing. I’ve just tried it and now I am getting paid 18000usd monthly without spending too much timee. you can also do this.

    ==== http://www.CareerPlus90.com

  34. WHY AMErICAN YOKELS NO LIKE PROGGY EUROcRATS1!!!?

  35. Gary North had a good article on Brexit and free trade:

    The defeat of the “remains” on June 23 was one of the great days in my life. Yet I am an American. Why should I care?

    Answer: because I have been opposed to the New World Order for over half a century. I have watched these clever people pull off the final phase of the most self-conscious bait-and-switch operation of the twentieth century. It has now begun to disintegrate. Brexit was the first stage of this disintegration.

    Brexit: Bait and Switch Unplugged

    1. Scary Gary is a warrior, and as usual he’s right.

      Where we part ways with Norberg and the great Don Boudreaux (who’s fond of saying that he’ll hold his nose and support the TPP or NAFTA) is on the idea that heavily bureaucratized, managed trade on the scale of empire is always preferable to populist alternatives like Trump/Perot for reasons fundamental to the study of econ.

      Economic growth is important, but less so in the long run than national identity and tribalism, both of which are fundamental to civic peace and both of which are undermined by the rule of a distant empire that has a nasty habit of changing the culture or demographics of problem-child regions that prove intransigent to imperial rule. That’s the old-fashioned argument for federalism and local government, that every locality should have the right to go to experiment and/or go to hell in its own preferred manner, and it’s no less true today than it was 200 years ago.

      The roar heard round the world after Brexit was all of the nationalists and anti-empire folk coming back to life after taking the last three or four generations off, and Brexit was just the beginning.

  36. EU nations are essentially open borders – Any of its citizen can pass borders within that region without visas. Or that what I hear.

    In the age of nationalism, ISIS and tsunami of refugees gone amok, the notion of setting their own immigration laws and tariff was bound to catch on with the working class.

    If unelected top men actually made the “right” decisions, should we submit to it? What if a few people in power could disqualify Trump and Clinton and appoint Gary Johnson, who has 8% of the support? The Chinese could build and do anything they want over the objection of everyone.

    Free trade involves two people. The EU and UK can both allow it, and free trade can resume as long as they find another willing partner. Leaving the EU was ultimately an autonomy move. A nation should be allowed to make its own decisions good or bad.

    1. EU nations are essentially open borders among themselves. It’s a carefully crafted system that serves the interests of the people running the EU and the most powerful nations within the EU.

      As the remarks of EU leaders after Brexit show: the EU views free trade not as a right of its citizens, as a classical liberal would, but as a negotiating tool to force concession from other nations, in classical European mercantilist tradition.

      The EU is an illiberal cartel, a feeble attempt to regain some European power in a world in which the old European empires have become irrelevant. The sooner it whithers and dies, the better for both Europeans and the rest of the world.

      1. Excellent point about the mercantilist nature of the EU.

      2. This is exactly it. You can absolutely hear it in the pro-EUer’s derision of the UK, UKIP and other EU skeptics. They are a powerful union that is losing power, and has given up any rational argumentation in its panic and dismay.

  37. “Many European libertarians, like myself”

    LOL.
    Fuck off, slaver/control freak.

  38. For the record, the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs today, and NASDAQ has hit positive gains for the year.

    So much for the Brexit Apocalypse, worldwide depression and outbreak of World War III.

    Congrats to all Reasonoids who saw the enormous stock market bargain-hunting opportunity a few weeks ago and took advantage of it.

  39. The disconnect between libertarian views on Brexit lies in many Americans’ overly simplistic comparison of the E.U. to the U.S. federal government.

    Oh go fuck yourself. The disconnect here, is between your ostensible libertarian views and centralized gargantuan empire states which you think of as a boon for the former. “Overly simplistic” is how I would characterize your understanding of this mythical “freedom of movement” concept.

  40. More importantly, the E.U. only has the powers member states give it. Decisions are taken by consensus or a qualified majority.

    The US only has the powers that the states give it and only then those that are enumerated in the Constitution. Hows that working out?

    Decisions are taken by consensus or a qualified majority.

    Decisions are made by the votes of bureaucrats and heads of state. The EU Parliament is a rubber stamp.

    A Timbro study by Alexander Fritz Englund showed that E.U. membership for the 28 countries resulted in a statistically significant increase in economic freedom in all of the sub-categories in The Economic Freedom of the World index. The biggest improvement comes in the year of membership, but it increases afterwards as well.

    This must come as a surprise to everyone who has ever read about all the silly regulations emanating from Brussels.

    It would come as a surprise to those who note that economic growth on the continent is more stagnant than a farm pond. So either the economic freedom you speak of isn’t real, it isn’t enough, or economic freedom doesn’t result in prosperity. I think we can safely eliminate options two and three.

  41. The EU has never been about free trade, free movement, or liberty in general. What it has been about is creating a European cartel that can more effectively throw its weight around internationally and engage in the same mercantilist and statist bullshit that European nations used to engage in with each other. The reason the EU exists is simply that after WWII, individual European nations had become too weak and powerless to act individually on the world stage.

    I have no idea whether Brexit will help the cause of liberty, that’s up to the UK; at least, the UK gets another shot at it. What I do know is that weakening the EU is a contribution to the causes of free trade, free movement, and liberty around the world.

    1. They’re just butthurt because it will be less convenient to go from France to the UK. Secondly, the UK leaving being an issue is actually all the proof required that the EU is a protectionist cartel.

  42. Decent comments here…

    I think it boils down to- “Britain’s (still) got 99 problems- but the EU ain’t one.”

  43. Finally a clear headed assessment of what Brexit actually entails from a libertarian media source – less freedom, not more, less trade, not more; of what the Leave campaign was peddling – more protectionism, less immigrants, more state funding for everyone. And somehow all this escaped the vast majority of libertarians (European and American) who saw the vote as a win for Team Liberty.

    1. “fewer immigrants” is the correct liberal position, to the extent that the immigrants concerned require government subsidies to survive in a high-income country. Immigrants who don’t require government subsidies are unlikely to have a problem moving to the UK.

  44. “… more protectionism, less immigrants, more state funding for everyone. ”

    Given that it was Labourite votes that largely carried the day these things may well come to pass for Great Britain.

    But that will then be wholly the choice, and burden, of the British, who will not be able to point to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels and claim disenfranchisement or lack of responsibility.

    Liberty is existential and not a guarantor of anything else.

    To think otherwise is put the cart before the horse, or worse.

  45. Are we really pretending that the EU is free trade? It was easier to trade within itself (UK trading with Germany) but let’s not fool ourselves here…The EU is all about protectionism with outside entities not members of the EU.

  46. OK experts, name the three EU member Staats that were NOT occupied by or collaborating with the German National Socialist Reich before May, 1945. Hint: one of them is leaving

  47. “… myself, view Brexit as a dangerous blow to openness and free trade…”

    This is the truth of the matter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHoHO4c2Lyc

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.