Brexit Highlights the Enduring Value of Federalism
Regardless of other economic, political and social implications of Britain’s vote yesterday to depart the European Union, it highlights a value at the core of America’s governmental system: federalism.
On this side of the Atlantic, decades of almost uninterrupted centralization of authority at the national level has necessarily come at the expense of more localized decisionmaking. Our own unfortunate experience has been an increasingly homogenized, sterilized, conformist, bureaucratic, technocratic, remote, suffocating, uniform, top-down, one-size-fits-all leviathan. Ironically, those on the political left who so often pretend to value “diversity” defend that erosion of federalism most enthusiastically. They expose themselves as intolerant of true diversity, freedom and independence of people who don’t see the world as they do.
Despite forecasts of economic doom from “Remain” advocates, a surprising majority of British voters felt the same sense of suffocation and loss of sovereignty and voted “Leave.” That sentiment isn’t limited to Britain, as fellow European populations in places like France and the Netherlands express the same dissatisfaction:
The popularity of the European Union is plummeting across some major European countries, according to new data published by Pew Research Centre. The US-based, independent organisation found that the mound of people who feel enthusiastic about the 28-nation bloc is rapidly declining across 7 of the 10 polled nations. In France, only 38% of people have a favourable view of the EU, according to Pew. In 2004, this number was 69%. The same trend was picking up in Spain, Italy, and Germany too.”
It remains to be seen whether and to what extent similar sentiment affects the U.S. elections this November. But regardless, it’s encouraging to see that the concepts that led our Founding Fathers to create a system of federalism here in the U.S. survives in our parent nation of Britain.