The British have opted to leave the European Community. That’s their right. No one reading this knows what the consequences will be, positive or negative. Yet the very act has highlighted the polarization that has become our modern manifesto, our cultural chaos.
Many people in the U.S. are likening this to Donald Trump being elected, to a bigoted backlash against immigration. One writer in a Wall Street Journal op ed piece compared Mexicans with the Jews fleeing Europe in the 30s and 40s. Of course, no one is trying to exterminate Mexicans, as were the Nazis with the Jews. The view is pereposterous and inflammatory.
The markets will rebound, people will get on with their business, and the British will continue as stalwart allies. The decision to leave the EU is a minor decision compared to the world-shaking decisions Britain made in the 40s in India and the Middle East, which we’re still dealing with today. A puissant nation can accommodate diverse views without resorting to slander or calumny—or violence.
But what apparently remains is the polarization of our times, where if you’re not with me you’re against me and I really don’t choose to hear your reasoning because I know I’m right. Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes? This notion that anyone who deigns to disagree with us is somehow of inferior intelligence is monstrous and dangerous. We’re seeing it on our college campuses, in our election campaigns, and on the streets.
You may disagree with my position here, and that’s fine, I’ll read your email and respond as I always do. A couple of you may tell me you’re canceling your subscription to a free newsletter becasue I’ve written something you disagree with. You’re free to go, but that actually makes you less free.
...if we had had good kings, we all would still be monarchists.
– Lincoln Steffens
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