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KAITLYN BUSS

Buss: Brexit hysteria is hypocrisy

Kaitlyn Buss
The Detroit News

Reading reactions in the media and the social sphere to Brexit, it would seem we’ve reached the end of human advancement.

There’s no question it’s been a year of surprising political developments — in the U.S. perhaps even more than the U.K. But it’s the reactions to these grassroots triumphs that are more shocking — and hypocritical — than anything else.

In our increasingly connected world, progressives believe that social, economic and technological integration improves us all, that the more connected and interdependent we are, the more the human race will rise.

But what we’ve heard since Brexit is that it’s more than just a belief; it’s a mandate that history is destined to move in a certain direction. Anything, or anyone, that disrupts it is morally wrong.

There’s no room for democracy or individual opinions in such a belief system.

In its quest for inclusion and tolerance, progressivism only has room for those who share its beliefs wholeheartedly. It squashes a desire for independent thinking and individualism, and castigates those who challenge its assumptions.

That’s why Brexit seems like a step backward to so many people, most of whom aren’t British and, before last week, probably didn’t care much about British referenda.

But when did Great Britain’s involvement in the European Union become the lynchpin for a stable world order?

We’ve allowed the supposed inevitability of globalization, multiculturalism and universal governance to take such a strong hold that we feel jolted back to the Dark Ages when any entity says “no.”

The arrogant apoplectic are calling the vote the result of ignorance. Or they say it was a vote for xenophobic, racist nationalism against increased immigration, and they are searching for ways to overturn it.

The astounded have even stooped to the tactic of identifying a select few uninformed British who regret their vote and attempt to argue that their ignorance should nullify the whole citizenry’s referendum.

But all the British have done is walk away from what they consider a failing experiment. It’s not a move backwards; it’s a move back to comfortable ground.

The EU is also at its core a multilateral free trade agreement, the likes of which Bernie Sanders and his progressive supporters have railed against for months. So it’s curious they’re troubled by the British vote to set their own trade agreements that help, not hurt, their workers.

Those who decry the British vote for departure from the EU are also the same who argue in favor of more democratic participation. Yet here, a direct ballot measure won out over a distant and undemocratic governing body that exerts outsized influence over Europeans’ everyday life.

Britons grew tired of laws dictating the natural shape of fruits, preventing diabetics from driving cars, restricting bottle labels from claiming that water is “hydrating” and banning high-powered vacuum cleaners.

Brexit was a vote against the political establishment, in frustration at stagnant economic growth and income, in favor of more local strength in the global economy, and, ultimately, to free the British people.

But to progressives, history has been shattered. It won’t be long before they abandon their use for democracy altogether.

kbuss@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @KaitlynBuss