I regard Brexit as a good thing, as I regard nationalism as a good thing.
Nationalism is connected with limited government. Now many nationalist governments are not limited governments, but a limited government will always tend toward nationalism. I do not look to government to solve the world’s ills, and neither should any true Christian. This world is cursed by sin, and it is only the gospel of Jesus Christ and the His second coming that will or even could solve the problem. Government, then, is an instrument that God has put in place to restrain sin. Frederic Bastiat in The Law is extremely eloquent on the great problem with the state doing more than simply enforcing justice. This is, I believe, Biblical. The state should protect people from the violence and fraud of others. It should guard borders and secure a fair marketplace for people to freely transact. The infrastructure that is shared by all, like roads and the like, should also be managed by the state, insofar as it cannot be managed by anyone else without creating oppressive monopolies. But that is all.
The state that tries to do more than this becomes antichrist. It puts itself in the place of the Messiah, and claims to be able to solve the world’s ills through the collective power of man. A little bit of this doesn’t hurt much, but it invariably leads to more. The benefits are seen immediately and the costs are diffuse and long-term. So by the time the arrogant people who have ignored the lessons of the past finally wake up to the accumulation of damage, that damage is usually large, entrenched and very difficult to undo without great national calamity.
For these and other reasons, I believe that government should always be pursued on as local a level as possible. I believe that the God-ordained responsibility of all of us is to first take care of our own, those of our own house. A man who will not do that is worse than an infidel. Ethnic groups should therefore normally govern themselves, and seek to pursue justice within their own sphere as best as they can. This is always best done on as local a level as possible, as different cultures have different standards and different problems. “Empire” happens when one governmental entity comes to dominate several ethnic groups. Normally in history this has happened through conquest, but it can happen through alliances as well. The results are always bad, because the motive is always utopian or, in other words, Messianic. And there is only one Messiah.
I have been watching the EU unravel for two decades, virtually since it began. I was a political science major at the University of Colorado when the Maastricht Treaty was signed. Then, it was the harbinger of new things, the wave of the future, the end of nationalism. There was much rejoicing. I have heard German and French leaders like Francois Mitterand, Helmut Kohl and now Angela Merkel say that the EU is the only alternative to war, the only alternative to the horrors of the twentieth century. But they are wrong. The EU is no alternative to those things. It cannot succeed, because it tries to impose single policies on people with different cultures and expectations. And it does so in order to erase the curse of sin, which it cannot do. History continuously proves that the motive of empire ever only causes more misery and suffering, not less. Empires always break down because human nature cannot be overcome.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride in a particular order. First, the white horse, the false messiah. Then the red horse, war. Then the black horse, famine. And following all of these and the final result of all of them, the pale horse, death. This is inescapable. If you don’t want the red horse, the black horse, and finally the pale horse, then don’t follow that white horse in the first place. He’s a counterfeit. He’s not taking you to the Kingdom of God. He’s taking you to hell.
So the British, perhaps, partially, have backed away from Empire. They have decided to manage their own affairs as British, to decide for themselves what is best for the UK. This is good. The British were tired of people in Brussels who had no real concern for the UK, and perhaps even antagonism to the UK, making decisions about what was good for the UK, what shopkeepers in England could sell and for how much, what immigrants England should bring in and from where, what speech was permissible in England, what maternal leave policy in England should be. So they stood up for themselves, stood up for independence, stood up for nationalism. And they are to be applauded for it. I wish them well. Especially, I wish that they would return en masse to the Christianity that made them who they are in the first place.
Lessons for us? Let’s turn back now. It’s a farce to call America a nation any more. We are hopelessly divided. The New England liberal and the Wyoming conservative have fundamentally different outlooks on virtually everything. The rancher in Colorado and the studio executive in California have nothing in common. It is a fantasy to think that importing people from fundamentally different cultures is going to magically turn them into Americans, with American values and principles, as if it was the dirt that made us Americans. And it is likewise a fantasy to think that people from fundamentally different cultures with contradictory views on human dignity and equality, the status of women and children, free speech and free expression of religion can live next to each other and under the same political system in peace and stability. They cannot and never have. Diversity plus proximity equals war, always and everywhere. We cannot change this just because we wish it to be otherwise.
If the United States of America is to continue, it will only continue to the degree it devolves most of what the Federal government does back to the states. The states themselves should probably be made smaller in several cases. Decisions should be made on the county level. Otherwise the country will continue to spiral into the war of all against all, as each election becomes a contest to see which regional and ethnic groups get to profit at the expense of which other regional and ethnic groups. It must end. It will end. The only question is, how bloody will that end be?
Sadly, our current presidential candidates offer us no hope on this front at all. Hillary will continue the status quo. Trump will perhaps shift the beneficiaries of federal largess to some degree. But he’s no more interested in limited government than Hillary.
But the UK has shown us that a people can rise up for self-determination, for independence, for caring first for their own house as the Bible commands. I would like to see, in this country, states begin much more aggressively to push back against the federal government, and not with lawsuits and the like, but by simply saying, no. No, you will not manage our lands for us. No, you will not fund our education. You will not care for our poor. You will not tell us how free citizens are to conduct business among themselves. And you will have to send in the federal troops to continue to try to do so. It’s time for a lot of #exits. I hope the UK’s example will be taken up by every freedom-loving state in this country.
*edited for clarity.