by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democracy is too important to be left to the people.
That is the global elite’s collective reaction to Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, which is being portrayed as the work of ill-informed xenophobes who never should have been entrusted with a decision of such world-historical importance.
Judging by their dismissive tone, critics of Brexit believe that the EU’s lack of basic democratic accountability is one of its institutional advantages — the better to insulate consequential decisions from backward and shortsighted voters.
The opiate of the Western political class is cosmopolitanism, making it almost impossible for elites to understand the Brexit vote on its own terms.
Britain gave us Magna Carta and such foundational thinkers on the road to democratic rule as John Locke, Algernon Sidney, and John Milton. It resisted centralizing monarchs in the turbulence of the 17th century, and defeated continental threats to its sovereignty emanating from Spain (King Philip II), France (Napoleon), and Germany (Hitler). Should it be shocking that it said “no thanks” to continuing to subsume itself in a budding European superstate?
Maintaining British sovereignty, broadly construed, was the overwhelming rationale for Brexit.