Opinion | Morgan Liddick: When vox populi bites back
On last Wednesday, a small group of Democrat lawmakers disrupted Congress’ business, staging a noisy demonstration and sitting down on the floor of the House of Representatives. It was a tantrum by petulant children who, not receiving their heart’s desire, flung themselves to the floor in a fit of frenzy, whining about how unfair it all was. Unfair it was not, at least to those who believe in rules; ironic, it was: This was the group that protests at the drop of a hat about Congressional inaction, making it impossible for Congress to do any work because they did not get their way.
On last Thursday, citizens of the United Kingdom dealt an unexpected defeat to the European Union, saying “no” loudly to open borders and mountains of new regulations imposed by the faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats of Brussels and Strasbourg. Petulance quickly followed: The German and French foreign ministers called for Britain to leave “as soon as possible.” The EU president and the head of the “European Parliament” agreed. Britain must leave quickly — before the contagion spreads to Finland and the Netherlands — and then, uncontrollably, beyond.
What do these two events, separated by a day and an ocean, have to do with each other?
Both are an indication of how out of touch the ruling class is in the modern democracies of the West. In England, from the Conservative Party’s prime minister to the backbenchers of Labor, “Leave” leader Nigel Farange and those of like-mind were seen as a bunch of hatemongering racist rubes. In America, those behaving badly in the well of the House see Americans who don’t think we can defeat ISIS with “love” — to use Department of Justice Secretary Lynch’s formula — as … well, a bunch of hatemongering racist rubes.
Some have compared the EU to the old Napoleonic League, noting that it proposes unity on the French model of shared ideals and elite rulers rather than on democratic consent. This is a fundamental problem for most populations of the English-speaking West since our system of governance rose from the concept of the sovereign individual and a system of law to which everyone — even the ruler — is subject. This systemic conflict lies at the foundation of the U.K.’s “Leave” movement.
The French model’s counterpart in our United States is the Progressive Left. Long given to dividing society along racial and class lines for easier control and political benefit, progressives from Nancy Pelosi, who never saw a regulation she didn’t love, to Hillary Clinton, who never saw a regulation from which she didn’t exclude herself, have fully embraced the model of the benevolent ruler who knows what’s best for us all. Just ask Nanny Bloomberg. For them, the division of society into the enlightened who rule and “those who are administered” — to use the French bureaucrat’s descriptive phrase — is natural, fundamental and eternal. For the great unwashed to rise up on its hind legs and give the power-lunching, back-scratching, favor-trading bicoastal elite a box on its collective ear is an existential threat, which must be immediately and harshly crushed. On this, Chuck Schumer and George Will wholeheartedly agree.
These are the selfsame elites who didn’t see “Brexit” coming. Safe in his belief that a “Remain” vote was in the bag, Pres. Barack Obama waved his finger and warned that the United Kingdom would “go to the back of the queue” if they dared leave. Hillary Clinton’s looney comment that she preferred a “strong UK in a strong EU, and a strong British voice in the EU” followed. Brits scratched their heads at the latter; she was apparently unaware that to those waiting to vote, her three preferences were mutually exclusive. Thus, the vote. Obama’s condescending lecture made them furious.
In the United States, Americans — who, tired of the lies, misrepresentations, false promises, diversions and betrayals of the political class brought forth Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — continue to be dismissed. Economic, political and media elites reassure themselves that the uncouth public can be terrified, distracted and paid to fall in line, that the gravy train may continue to roll.
They may be right. There may be too few Americans who care about the nation, and too many who care only about their own profit. By most evidence, the Democrat presidential candidate is one of them.
But the outcome of the Brexit vote is a caution: Sometimes the vox populi bites. Sometimes, it reminds us that our country already has term limits, called elections. That if we are tired of our rulers’ illusions and tricks, it is entirely within our power to show them the door.
And that any politician — no matter how rich, how connected, how powerful or entrenched — may be told by the people that it is past time to consider another stage of life.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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