“Man is born free,” wrote Jean Jacques Rousseau, “and everywhere he is in chains.”
The British people decided that they had enough of the chains clamped on them by the bureaucratic nightmare known as the European Union. A lot of issues factored into their decision to check out of the Hotel EU: nonexistent borders, unchecked immigration, sclerotic regulations, oppressive rule from a distant capital.
But the upheaval is about something much bigger, more unifying and transcendent than a particular set of issues.
It’s about freedom.
It took a quarter-century, but the British people finally put their collective feet down. They want their independence, economic liberty and national sovereignty restored. They want to rid themselves of the stultifying socialism of Brussels. They want to be Britain again.
This should be a five-alarm wake-up call to those who love freedom — and those who seek to crush it. Free people are in revolt, rejecting the destructive, leftist, one-world approach in favor of economic and political independence, and cultural restoration.
The sore losers on the “Remain” side will continue to whine about “consequences,” but there is always a natural resistance to change. Freedom comes with a bit of hardship, and instead of rejecting it in favor of an illusory “safe space,” it should be embraced as part of the process.
And so it is by a growing number of free people across the continent. In Austria, Germany, Iceland, Rome and Turin, we have already seen resounding gains and victories by populist, anti-establishment figures promising a restoration of the rule of law and cultural identity.
But the British vote was the first truly earth-shattering domino to fall. That decision will now do the political blocking for millions of others across the world. It made it safe to reject the status quo. Within hours of the vote, the exit movements in a number of other EU nations — France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Finland — grew fiercer. The British people, in their courage and wisdom, have unleashed a world order-shaking earthquake.
It’s often argued that the upheaval is being driven by voters who are exceedingly angry. But perhaps they are angry because they have been betrayed. Betrayal can drive tumultuous change in ways that more static anger cannot.
The seismic shift away from globalism and “multiculturalism” has given rise to Republican nominee Donald Trump and continues to fuel his campaign. This is exceedingly bad news for Hillary Clinton, who is the insider’s insider. In this environment, the Democrats literally could not run a worse candidate.
Mr. Trump has been in front of this curve since he announced his candidacy one year ago, advocating enforced borders and immigration controls, reversing destructive trade deals, economic nationalism, and protecting and advancing America’s national interests.
These are the issues that got him to the Republican nomination — and may very well win him the presidency.
After all, many Americans have hit a wall of their own, after decades of abuse by the bipartisan ruling class, which has given them:
• Uncontrolled spending, driving the national debt to an unprecedented $20 trillion.
• Long-term high unemployment.
• Taxpayer bailouts of failing businesses and industries.
• A president who has regularly ruled by fiat, bypassing Congress and the public by issuing mandates through executive order.
• The government takeover of the best health care system in the world.
• The weaponization of the Internal Revenue Service against political enemies of the administration.
• The first credit downgrade in U.S. history.
• The steadfast obsession with higher taxes.
• The refusal to take on the biggest sources of explosive spending: entitlement programs.
• The never-ending flow of illegal aliens streaming into America.
•A foreign policy that embraces our enemies and abandons our allies.
• A commander in chief who constantly apologizes for American power and action.
• An arrogant leadership that is bankrupting the nation while empowering itself.
• And above all, American exceptionalism deliberately being turned into unexceptionalism.
Like the British, Americans will take a lot, but they will not tolerate the dilution of their nation by the forces of a discredited redistributionist ideology. And like the British, they reject it even more intensely when they believe their own leadership is deliberately diluting American exceptionalism in order to serve a global redistributionist scheme.
Americans — like the British — don’t just want secure borders. They want a secure country. They want a secure life. They want their once-great nation to be great again. (Sound familiar?)
The desire to restore freedom and independence is a powerful force. The British people finally realized that the ultimate power to achieve it rests with them. They have exercised that power.
Next in line: the American people.
• Monica Crowley is editor of online opinion at The Washington Times.