Rule, Britannia!

“Rule, Britannia!” hasn’t been relevant for a century, since Jutland in 1916.  With sheer willpower, and clever leveraging of U.S. assets, by 1940 Winston Churchill could only evoke the first four lines of a stanza from James Thomson’s stirring and endearing patriotic anthem:

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.’

Britain’s vote Thursday to exit the EU is a hopeful reprise of Thomson’s chorus.

Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
Britons never will be slaves.

Presumably freed via an orderly decoupling from Brussels’s electronic bracelets, “Leavers” assert that Britain should now set its own trade regimen, immigration rules, and economic and environmental regulatory schemes; return to unmolested British jurisprudence; and void communitarian taxes.

In 1940 Churchill’s speech was about survival.  “We shall defend our island, no matter what the cost may be…”  By 1946, Churchill spoke of the need for a European Alliance, an economic coalition, vital for postwar recovery, but his sentiments preceded the U.S. Marshall Plan that largely supplanted Churchill’s Pan-Europe recovery sketch.

Churchill today would be horrified at how the EU has evolved into a virulent bureaucracy stifling economic growth, while frustrating Churchill’s foundational tenets – the supremacy of Western civilization, free trade outside the union, and political liberty.

Yesterday’s “Leave” referendum, while jarring, is only a minor blockbuster; after all, Britain has been a cafeteria-style member, avoiding the most destructive linkage to the EU the euro/eurozone.

Britain’s uneasy arm’s-length receiving end of EU federalism re: jurisprudence, regulation, immigration, and unfettered travel among member-states hasn’t been enough to plunge the U.K. into a full-blown crisis of national identity, or loss of sovereignty à la France.  However, bureaucratic interference from the EU European Commission and Court of Justice has been just enough to warn Britons that further stifling is more likely, not less.

So Brexit is more of a moving out from a shared flat, far from a traumatic divorce.  Still, moving out interrupts inertia.  Better to be single and roam than be entangled and gradually asphyxiated by obligatory mediocrity, and piecemeal erosion of free speech, national character, and self-determination.

“Rule, Britannia!” hasn’t been relevant for a century, since Jutland in 1916.  With sheer willpower, and clever leveraging of U.S. assets, by 1940 Winston Churchill could only evoke the first four lines of a stanza from James Thomson’s stirring and endearing patriotic anthem:

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.’

Britain’s vote Thursday to exit the EU is a hopeful reprise of Thomson’s chorus.

Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
Britons never will be slaves.

Presumably freed via an orderly decoupling from Brussels’s electronic bracelets, “Leavers” assert that Britain should now set its own trade regimen, immigration rules, and economic and environmental regulatory schemes; return to unmolested British jurisprudence; and void communitarian taxes.

In 1940 Churchill’s speech was about survival.  “We shall defend our island, no matter what the cost may be…”  By 1946, Churchill spoke of the need for a European Alliance, an economic coalition, vital for postwar recovery, but his sentiments preceded the U.S. Marshall Plan that largely supplanted Churchill’s Pan-Europe recovery sketch.

Churchill today would be horrified at how the EU has evolved into a virulent bureaucracy stifling economic growth, while frustrating Churchill’s foundational tenets – the supremacy of Western civilization, free trade outside the union, and political liberty.

Yesterday’s “Leave” referendum, while jarring, is only a minor blockbuster; after all, Britain has been a cafeteria-style member, avoiding the most destructive linkage to the EU the euro/eurozone.

Britain’s uneasy arm’s-length receiving end of EU federalism re: jurisprudence, regulation, immigration, and unfettered travel among member-states hasn’t been enough to plunge the U.K. into a full-blown crisis of national identity, or loss of sovereignty à la France.  However, bureaucratic interference from the EU European Commission and Court of Justice has been just enough to warn Britons that further stifling is more likely, not less.

So Brexit is more of a moving out from a shared flat, far from a traumatic divorce.  Still, moving out interrupts inertia.  Better to be single and roam than be entangled and gradually asphyxiated by obligatory mediocrity, and piecemeal erosion of free speech, national character, and self-determination.