This article seeks to lay out the arguments for leaving the European Union in an effort to counteract my observation that most millennials in the United States and the United Kingdom seemed to only make pro-European Union arguments on the day of the referendum for the United Kingdom to vote on leaving the European Union. Contrary to what many millennials argued (especially all over my Facebook feed on the day of the referendum), there were valid arguments to leave the European Union that were not about racism. The desire to protect the sovereignty of your country and to disband from a distant political structure of unelected bureaucrats in part of a continent-wide supranational state does not mean that you’re a racist.
Brexit Background and Ramifications:
This summer the referendum was held on whether the United Kingdom was going to remain in the European Union or not. This election saw a win for the “Leave Campaign” that resulted in the demise of the then Prime Minister David Cameron. Additionally, this election exposed interesting splits within the Labour Party and the Conservative Party’s members. A coalition of Labour, Conservative, and United Kingdom Independence Party Members voted together against the referendum against a coalition of Labour, Conservative, Green, and Liberal Democrats who voted to remain within the European Union.
Along with splits within the rank and file of the membership, we saw interesting dynamics within the major players of the major parties. In addition to Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the “Leave” camp was aided by the Conservative Party’s charismatic and entertaining former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Additionally, “Leave” had the support of some Labour party politicians. The “Remain” camp comprised of Jeremy Corbyn, the now embattled Labour party Leader and the then sitting Prime Minister David Cameron. In addition to the resignation of the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, the outcome of the referendum has thrown the Labour Party into disarray. Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the Labour party, is engulfed in a leadership challenge of his own due to the fallout from the Brexit vote.
Arguments for Leaving the European Union:
Regardless of your opinion on the Brexit vote and contrary to what many millennials seemed to think, there were valid reasons to leave leave the European Union that don’t have to do with racism.
Many of these arguments to leave the European Union were about sovereignty and the ability to be governed by democratic representatives. The ideals of self-governance and democracy are fundamental values of free people. By its very nature, the European Superstate is antithetical to the ideals of freedom and democracy.
The European Union is massive bureaucratic institution. I challenge anyone reading this article to spend just a few minutes researching the institutions of the European Union. If you accepted this challenge, chances are, you’re extremely confused. Why? Because the European Union is so massive and so hard to understand. Just figuring out the difference between the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament is a hard task, let alone understanding the ramifications of the evolving treaties (for example, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Rome, the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Maastricht Treaty, and the Treaty of Lisbon to name a few) and the subsequent changes to the European Union member countries’ relationship with one another. Even understanding which countries are in the European Monetary Union, the European Union, Schengen, and NATO (a non European Union institution) and the meaning of the overlapping institutions within the European Union and within Europe is a daunting task.
Many in America decry the bloated bureaucracies in our country, yet they are nothing compared to the European Union and the army of unelected technocrats and their penchant for regulation.
The European Union may be beneficial to countries who need the outside influence to reform their fragile political institutions (like former Soviet Satellite countries) or who stand to benefit from access from the increase in trade and from obtaining European Union money. Yet, for a proud centuries old country like the United Kingdom, there is a case to be made that the European Union encroached too far onto the United Kingdom and thus voting to leave the European Union was in their best interest (and not racism).
Imagine being governed from a foreign entity with almost no way to vote and influence the policies coming from that entity and a constant stream of rules and regulations being imposed on your country and your life. Opposition to the European Union is not racism. In fact, some might call it common sense.
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