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Brexit, metropolitan culture, and liberty

June 24, 2016

A young Englishman expresses well how Brexit is a blow to personal liberty:

The younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.

But isn’t “freedom” the watchword of those who were pushing Brexit? Here’s the thing to remember about the right. What they mean by “freedom” typically has little to do with personal liberty. Instead, it is about shifting government power to the cultural unit they prefer. In Europe, to nations. In the US, to the states. Some conservatives and faux libertarians in the US will make a pretend argument that somehow aligns with personal liberty. All of US history demonstrates otherwise. More, personal liberty usually aligns with metropolitan culture and with the forward hope of youth. The young man planning a career in London may encounter change and opportunity, and then move instead to Amsterdam or Paris. He rightly resents someone shutting those doors. The old man who has lived his whole life in Dorchester or Swansea wants back what he never really had.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    June 24, 2016 10:43 am

    So much to say, so little space. Do we know how many young people voted in the Brexit election? I haven’t read about that. Democracy takes education, commitment, participation, involvement. In short, it takes too much energy for too many people preoccupied to make a living, perpetuating the vicious cycle.

    At the end of the day, if everyone votes, then at least, we have a better chance to claim we all have a voice in our democracy. But today, in the US, we have “we the ones who vote, for those who have the influence, by those corrupted by said influence”…

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