What the Globalists Refuse to Learn | Jake Scott
In June 2016, before the Brexit referendum, I predicted that Britain would vote to Leave the European Union. Mercifully, I wasn’t alone; many people predicted such an outcome, and for many different reasons. Roger Scruton gave an eloquent speech in which he elaborated upon the differences between the continental and the common law traditions and the attitude each revealed towards governance: the essential difference being that the continental tradition was one of top-down, edictal governance in which the law is made according to a goal derived by the ruling class; and the common law tradition was one in which law was discovered, by the organic communities that lived with the consequences of these very laws.
My reasoning was not so high-flown. Mine was more to do with the attitudes I had noticed in the people around me, in conversations in pubs, classes and living rooms. The whole conversation surrounding the referendum had morphed into one of not being told what to do; the British people have always had a fine mind for liberty and freedom that they felt they could hold in their hands, and balanced by the law and order of self discipline, not the Puritanism of Cromwell, or the arrogance of socialism, and now the distance of the European Union. The same British people, however, have always had respect for authority where they feel it is deserved or earned. The old deference to the aristocracy might have passed away, but that was merely the content of the thing, not the actual form; in other words, the British people have found other elites to respect, but these remain local and community leaders.
So when the EU referendum was talked about as a rebellion, I was struck that the rebellion was not against elites per se, but the unknown (and unknowable) elites in Brussels, a distant place that most British people have never even been to, or perhaps point to on a map of Europe – not out of ignorance or lack of intelligence, but because for time immemorial they haven’t needed to. We all know where London is, and who our MP is, but most British people don’t know who their Member of the European Parliament is (not that they should – it’s a paper-thin monument to vanity anyway); it currently sits at a staggeringly-low 5%, which is actually a decrease from 2014.
What this rebellion was against was the perceived nature of global elitism. Why should bureaucrats in Brussels have any say in the way British people live? Well, why should bureaucrats in Westminster have any say in the way Northerners should live? The answer is partly to do with that made by Scruton I mentioned at the beginning, and the structural nature of our laws, but also because bureaucrats in Westminster are by-and-large drawn from the common folk of Britain, and so know what problems face the British people.
This was a problem exacerbated when foreign bodies were brought in to “convince” the British people the right way to vote; it was the arrogance of this attitude that was bothering people. Obama talked about how Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a deal; the International Monetary Fund (IMF), staffed by people drawn from all over the world, warned of a recession; and of course, the Eurocrats rallied to defend their project. That’s not to say that pessimism was a purely foreign attitude, and the British really had the “spirit of Dunkirk” – after all, Cameron’s famous prediction that Brexit could threaten the peace in Europe will never be forgotten – but when the people fighting for British independence were almost exclusively British, you couldn’t help but notice the natural appeal to patriotism that stokes the hearts of all people. As the character Bert Cooper put it in Mad Men, “some people have no confidence in this country”.
Three years on, and the globalists haven’t learned. Recently, the United Nations (one of the great globalist institutions) heard two undeniably significant speeches: one by the activist Greta Thunberg; and the other by President Donald Trump. As a side note, it wasn’t long ago the Left was decrying globalism as a form of Western imperialism reborn; how quickly the tide turns when the tools are in their hands.
Thunberg, a Swedish sixteen year-old, raged at the impotency of Western nations to reverse the climate change caused by generations of industrialism and pollution, and the “stolen future” of her generation, followed by a formal complaint of five nations for their lack of action. None of this is true, of course: of the five most polluting nations, one is in the West (the United States); none of those indicted were in that list; the ozone is repairing; and the Earth is greener now than it was twenty years ago. Now I’m not saying no action needs to be taken, that’s not the point of this article – this topic has been dealt with by better people than I. What I think needs to be pointed out, is that the globalists are using the same tactics; Americans will not respond to a Swedish girl coming to their country and telling them what to do, the same as the Swedes probably don’t want an American to go there and tell them how to live.
Which was, importantly, the point of the second speech made. This time, Trump told the UN that the “future belongs to patriots and nations” not global institutions. The reason politicians like Donald Trump are winning is because he and others have noticed the sea-change that has taken place across the West; a rejection of the globalisation process that has not benefited the people whose politicians support it.
The globalists will not succeed, so long as they continue to do the same thing; lecture the people who have no connection to the global institutions that have been built, but will live with the consequences of their existence.