“I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made…”.
So goes the poem of Chesterton, which is apt enough for the occasion of Brexit.
Brexit, at a cursory glance, is a road forward, set by English drunkards in power. Having sobered up from the delirium of near 4 years of Brexit, we should ask ourselves: What is wrong with that?
English drunkards had the liberty of trodding out whatever road they liked, and drunkards from far away lands had no beef with the particular whim of the Brits.
The EU, however, made UK residents feel they no longer have this privilege. Now, the inhabitants of the island, drunk or not, can go their own way.
It is high time we stopped blaming the Brits for choosing that their way should roll in another direction than that of Brussels, and start thinking about our shortcomings.
The ever-closer union, in its current budding form increasingly inhibits the competition between the regions of the EU. Uniformization through redistribution and overregulation not only disincentivises, but actually bans countries from enterprising to be better than others, by, for instance, providing a better business environment, or giving more freedom to its citizens.
EU regulations are not giving sufficient independence to regions. The more decision-making power a municipality has, the better. This applies to countries within the UK as well.
Making free trade agreements is no longer the prerogatives of individual member states. There is still competition on some level, but not nearly enough. No country would be allowed to shoot too much ahead.
This, in turn, methodically kills off one of the most important driving forces of all humans: the dream of a better life.
The Brits now have a chance to wear out their own path in hitherto uncharted territories. They have a chance that this will lead to a more prosperous, better future. They might not make it, but the possibility is there.
The UK was in a unique situation. It was doing fine before the EU, not having been plagued by socialist oppressors that cast the eastern region of the EU into misery, before the fall of the Soviet Union.
Most importantly, however, despite the champagne-socialt’s dismissal that Brexit was the triumph of asinine bigots, the backbone of the Leave campaign were free marketeers, and not isolationists. That is not to say that the country will go down the free enterprise path, but the possibility is there, with promising signs aplenty.
There is a risk of failure, a risk of their being less and not more freedom. A risk Brits are willing to take for a better future.
The EU, on the other hand, remains in secure comfort. Life there is not at all as bad as Eurosceptics depict. Life is good.
However, there are no risks taken, and, most importantly, people are more protected from taking risks than they should be. Life, though, could always be better.
For many citizens of European countries, especially in the former communist region, the EU was the dream of a better life. Now, when people realized that the Union is not a get-rich-quick scheme citizens are getting discontent.
The EU will face more Euroscepticism should its current trends continue. At present, no other country has the conditions like the UK did to rekindle the dream of a better life in anything more than meaningless words.
It should be the EU’s job to foster competition, and give a chance for the dreamers. For that it needs reforms. Maybe the UK will lead by example that the EU, and not its nationalists, can follow.