Unlike some Americans I'd hesitated to express my opinion in advance of yesterday's historic Brexit vote in the UK. A few of my British friends indicated they strongly resented our president's instructing the British people how they should vote (to stay in the EU) and then threatening to place the UK at the "back of the queue" when it comes to trade agreements. And so, although I was a leave supporter, I thought it best to keep my opinion to myself. But now that the results are in and the people of the United Kingdom have decided to leave the European Union, I can happily say, "Congratulations, Brits!"
Queen Elizabeth II may be the presumed constitutional sovereign of the UK, but yesterday the people openly declared their true sovereignty. By their vote they rejected the authoritarian rule of distant, non-elected bureaucrats and reclaimed both their independence from the EU and the freedom to govern themselves.
The markets, of course, will undergo a short-term panic because Wall Street and its overseas equivalents are populated largely by hand-wringing wimps. Too many of these lovers of the Obama/Clinton style of big government-big business cronyism would rather live in an authoritarian world of imaginary stability than in the messy, less predictable world where freedom reigns. And lest you think that I am overly partisan, many in the Republican establishment are just as committed to perpetuating this cronyism.
The vote in the UK mirrors the support among US voters for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two men whose campaigns have focused largely on criticizing the existing political establishment. Their criticism may come from very different ideological directions, but the support both have received reveals a high level of dissatisfaction among the electorate.
Sanders, of course, gathered the support of the Woodstockian sentimentalists of my generation, but I'm pretty sure many of Sanders' youthful followers haven't a clue when it comes to socialism. Their political ignorance, abetted by a Marxist-friendly educational establishment, may have led them to enter the Sanders' camp, but I suspect many are more strongly anti-establishment than pro-socialist. How many will support Clinton, an entrenched establishmentarian, how many will support Donald Trump, and how many will simply stay home and play video games? Trust me, even the pollsters can't answer these questions.
Unlike Obama and Clinton, Trump is on the winning side in the Brexit vote. Whether this has an impact on his presidential prospects remains to be seen, but I think he should pay attention to the successful "leave" campaign led by former London mayor, Boris Johnson, who focused on the economy and the nuts and bolts of EU authoritarianism. We'll see if Mr. Trump can make this kind of transition.
How did the ancient Chinese curse go? May you live in interesting times.