Brexit is, at bottom, about self-rule – Washington Examiner
Amid the shambolic fracas in the British government and Parliament over how and when Brexit should take place, it’s important to step back and remember the why.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is not ultimately about trade or regulations. It’s about something more fundamental: the natural right of people to form and control their government. At its core, Brexit is about democracy and self-rule. Britons wanted their government, parliament, and courts to once again be the final authorities in the land.
The flow of power out of Britain and into Brussels isn’t some theoretical concern. The way the European Union has worked has imposed on British law, laws passed in Brussels by European parliamentarians. The Germans and the Italians, in effect, can tell the Brits what their law is, even over the objections of the Brits. So much for the consent of the governed.
The European Court of Justice is a perfect example of this corruption. In the landmark case of Marleasing SA v. La Commercial, for example, the ECJ ruled that national courts must interpret national laws in a way that fits them to European directives.
Put another way, a national court must stretch its own parliament’s will in order to serve the European Union’s will.
Isn’t this a problem?
Brussels says no. It claims that the supremacy of one supranational authority over 28 different national authorities has made the law more fair, just, and beneficial for all. And EU supporters say that by ensuring no one nation’s parliament can act against the community of nations, the EU has made the European continent safer, happier, and more respecting of individual rights.
This happy talk covers up illiberal thinking that cuts against the Enlightenment and against the roots of modern democracy.
The real reason Europe has remained at continental peace for nearly 80 years now isn’t that EU parliamentarians can share a common beer at a common bar in Strasbourg. We should attribute European peace to the realization that many self-ruling nations each benefit from liberalized international trade and travel. Enlightened national interest can breed international cooperation and peace.
But the virtues of free trade and cultural intermixing don’t in turn call for the abolition of self-rule and its replacement with a multinational government.
By taking power further and further away from the governed, the “European Project” is essentially an undemocratic project.
Brexit, as we write, is in shambles. That fact shouldn’t distract from it’s deeper meaning.
Brexit was and remains about reversing this undemocratic project, and thus preserving the idea of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.