Observations on the United Kingdom’s Exit from the European Union

by David E. Shellenberger on June 25, 2016

The United Kingdom’s rejection of continued membership in the European Union is a good outcome, but it is not a reason to celebrate populism. Populism means the defiance of principle and an appeal to the mob.

Unfortunately, much of the support for the UK’s exit appears to have been based on opposition to immigration, including a desire for labor protectionism. Casting off the reins of the European central government should be seen as an opportunity to enhance freedom, not stifle it. Countries that leave the EU should open their borders to immigration and pursue economic freedom, including unilateral free trade.

The ideal is individual sovereignty, freedom from the state. Leaving the EU can be the first step.

Nationalism, populism, protectionism, and xenophobia are curses. Liberty is the beacon for the wise.


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