27 Jun 2016

McArdle Explains Britain’s Decision to the Elites

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GlobalCitizen

Megan McArdle tries to explain to the elites why Brexit won.

When asked “Where are you from?” almost no one would answer “Europe,” because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible — but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday’s election results.

Elites missed this because they’re the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.

Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.

Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they can’t win.

Read the whole thing.

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One Feedback on "McArdle Explains Britain’s Decision to the Elites"

Seattle Sam

When I was in college in the 60s it was very fashionable to describe oneself as a “citizen of the world” rather than a citizen of the United States. I never understood why. I really didn’t see myself as having a whole lot in common — or wanting to have a lot in common — with people in China, or Mexico or even the UK. Ironically, many of these world citizens were fond of describing themselves as die-hard Yankee fans or Red Sox fans.



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