Last Thursday, 52 percent of English people — excuse me, Britons — voted to leave or “Brexit” the European Union, the tyranny of which had become intolerable because…ummm, not sure. Perhaps, as Brexiter Boris Johnson said, because Eurocrats were micromanaging their ba-nah-nas like a bunch of fascists?
Nah, that was bullshit, like a lot of the EU-tyranny stories Johnson and his colleagues spread. More likely, the largely white and elderly voting majority liked that Brexit advocates promised to stop the influx of “migrants,” pictured by those advocates as dusky hordes. (Lefties like Glenn Greenwald said it was really a vote against austerity, and I hope they don’t get tired of waiting for the rest of the revolution to fall into place.)
Back stateside, Yank rightbloggers also cried “Jolly good!” But why? Partly because they, too, hate immigrants, but also because the decision was “anti-elite” — that is, Brit voters had disdained the opinions of smart people, which is the only way U.S. conservatives can hope to succeed.
I think I see Brexit affecting rightbloggers in another way as well: I expect it will help speed their transition from candy-ass fence-sitters to full-on supporters of Donald Trump.
In the run-up, National Review brought in its resident Englishman Charles C.W. Cooke to testify to the elitism of the anti–Brexit Remain supporters: His own “more cosmopolitan friends” were — like the alleged liberal friends of many a rightblogger before him — total jerks, at least as he described them: When he expresses an “opposite” view, his alleged friends “have a tendency to condescend,” Cooke claimed.
” ‘Really?’ they ask, eyebrows raised. ‘Really?’ ” Don’t you just hate them already? Also: “they look at me with a sort of detached fascination, as if I had just suggested putting erotically shaped ice cubes into the Pinot Noir.” [What??] And one of them told Cooke, “I should reconsider my position because ‘all the smart people’ are pro-Remain.” Miraculously, none of Cooke’s alleged friends told him the Comintern would make it hot for him if he didn’t comply, nor did they cry, “Faster, you fools, he’s getting away!” as they chased him through the streets of London, firing their Lugers.
When Brexit happened, American conservatives seemed immediately to sense it was something they should support — on account of the Europe-Messicans, of course, but also because it was anti-elite, the elite being (as Brexiter Michael Gove had explained) “experts” who thought they knew better than everyone else.
“[T]he people revolted,” said Peter Schiff at Right Wing News. “After having been misled for so many years by the very elites who urged them to remain, the rank and file finally asserted themselves and voted with their feet.” An unusual way to cast ballots but apparently still binding…
A National Review editorial cheered that “many liberal journalists, representing elites throughout the advanced world, have reacted with indignation” because the punters “rejected the EU system of supranational government of which the elites approve,” while “in other countries the elites reacted to the Brexit shock as if personally or spiritually affronted in their own lives.” NR also attacked the “knowledge class/meritocracy/cognitive elite/nowhere people/etc., etc.” All in all, a great victory indeed for the rough-hewn, hard-handed sodbusters at National Review!
Almost immediately after the vote, the less pleasant aspects of Brexit became apparent. UKIP leader and lung cancer truther Nigel Farage told the suckers that the extra money Brexiters claimed would fill holes in the NHS and other social service budgets after the victory was not expected after all. Anti-EU European Parliament member Daniel Hannan said Brexit might not really keep out so many of the dusky hordes, either. (Pay attention, Americans, for reference material after Trump wins!) Scotland and Northern Ireland signaled that they might leave Great Britain, etc.
And the British Pound fell right through the floor. “The pound has crashed,” said a stupefied Andrew Stuttaford at National Review. “As to what this means for now, let’s be honest: No-one really knows.” Thanks for voting right, though!
Others tried to spin the situation. “Short-term, there will be dislocations, job losses, and a roller-coaster stock market in Europe,” admitted Rick Moran at American Thinker. “But long-term, the picture could be a lot brighter for Great Britain.” Yeah, how? “Most of the individual trade agreements that Britain will sign are likely to be mutually beneficial to both parties, leading to a further weakening of the concept of a European Union.” Mutually beneficial to both parties! Why didn’t someone think of that earlier? And if Europe collapses, England’s bound to benefit, just like they did in the years following World War II. Look on the bright side!
Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, who had previously explained that Brexiters were experiencing “compassion fatigue” from having to smell curry and listen to foreign languages, found the collapse untroubling. “I mean, yes, the British pound took a pounding, and no surprise,” she sniffed. But that was just “a reflection of sudden uncertainty, not a prediction about the global economic future,” McArdle said. Anyway, the 48 percent of English who voted Remain only represented — you guessed it — “the elites,” whom McArdle puckishly suggested should “reforge common identities with the neighbors they have to live with.” Just as McArdle had done by talking to black people on the bus in her Washington, D.C., neighborhood and learning how happy they were that white people like her had come to save them.
Some of the brethren tried to distract their readers from the carnage with fun secession games. A New York City councilman from Staten Island suggested that, in emulation of Brexit, Staten Island should secede. (Having lived on Staten Island, I have to say: win-win.)
And some Texans, as has been their wont since we made them give up slavery, said hail yeah we gonna see-seed. “#TEXIT — Calls For Texas Secession Explode On Twitter Following ‘Brexit,’ ” cried the Daily Caller. “An analysis conducted by the Australian website Vocativ found that more than 5,800 users on Twitter used the phrase [#Texit] after the Brexit results were announced, ‘a five-fold increase from the day before,’ ” reported the Washington Times. Well, good as done, then.
But eventually, as all things must in America today, it all came down to Trump. The idea that, as he is also against foreigners and “experts,” Brexit may be good news for Trump was carried by some mainstream outlets, and also by a lot of rightbloggers, including some not heretofore known as Trump supporters.
The violently anti-Trump RedState, for example, interrupted its chastisement of Trump’s idiotic Scotland press conference to say, “his own campaign’s message on Brexit…was pretty solid.”
“It seemed not to have occurred to [some lady she overheard on the train] that more abstract concepts such as democratic legitimacy, self rule, and national identity matter to people as goods in themselves,” said Carrie Lukas at National Review, home of the tattered remnants of the #NeverTrump movement. “This is a lesson U.S. conservatives should take to heart, too, as the all-but-certain prospect of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate demonstrates.” He’s the future — your future!
“Brexit proves to everyone, Trump fans included, that it isn’t hopeless,” said Hot Air’s Allahpundit, comparing current U.S. presidential polls to the inaccurate Brexit polls. “In fact, there may already be Americans who have quietly resolved to vote for Trump but who are reluctant to tell pollsters that because they’re embarrassed by his judge comments or what have you. This may encourage some of them to speak up, which will itself move the polls to more accurately reflect the state of the race.” It’s “unskew the polls” all over again!
The latest polls actually suggest the very opposite of a Trump bump from Brexit. But who knows — maybe Americans, like the Brits, are misleading the pollsters, and so mad about…I don’t know, NAFTA or the United Nations that they, too, will vote for something that will tank their economy and possibly destroy their union, just out of spite. Rightbloggers have to hope so, if they’re to hope at all.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 27, 2016