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Britain, The Most Important Immigrant

David Frum says the UK voted to exit the European Union over mass immigration, making itself the world’s most consequential immigrant. [1]Excerpt:

If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come. Merkel’s catastrophically negative example is one that perhaps should be avoided by U.S. politicians who seek to avert Trump-style populism in the United States. Instead, the politician who most directly opposes Donald Trump—presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—is doubling down on Merkelism.

Hillary Clinton’s first reaction [2] to the Supreme Court decision on executive amnesty looks at the issue exclusively and entirely from the point of view of the migrants themselves: “Today’s heartbreaking #SCOTUS immigration ruling could tear apart 5 million families facing deportation. We must do better.” That U.S. citizens might have different interests—and that it is the interests of citizens that deserve the highest attention of officials elected by those citizens—went unsaid and apparently unconsidered. But somebody is considering it. And those somebodies, in their many millions, are being heard from this year: loud, clear, and angry.

That’s interesting, and makes me fantasize about taking a Brexit in my own country. More and more it feels like the people running the US — not just the politicians, but the corporate, media, and academic elites too — promote alien values, in the name of Progress — and are determined to impose them on everyone, no matter what the cost. And they’re ruining the country.

There can be no political and economic Brexiting of America, but to Brexit in one’s heart is not nothing.

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83 Comments To "Britain, The Most Important Immigrant"

#1 Comment By Aurora On June 24, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

Oh, please, cry me a river. Enough with the obituaries. Enough with self-righteous judgment of Rod as being “unChristian.” The majority of Britons who voted for Brexit know that they will suffer because of Brexit and they are willing to do so as Britons have soldiered solidly on in the past. As someone recently has said, they have “risen to the occasion.” They are courageous,unwilling to be slaves to an Oligarchy that has no accountability. They deserve our admiration. What is wrong with (some of) you people?

#2 Comment By TR On June 24, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

More apropos to the other Brexit post, but some of the comments here seem to want to bring in the “elite”: Don’t let the markets fool you: the smartest of the elites made millions today because they shorted. And in the unlikely event that all the bad economic news comes true, the best of the financial elite will still make out like bandits. Neo-liberal economics has not been set back.

#3 Comment By Joseph On June 24, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

I see Brexit as a horde of small-minded people throwing a tantrum against the big bad “elite,” i.e., those who are smarter than them.

Smart people know how the world should be ordered. Educated and cultured people know what is good and right. And anti-intellectualism never works out for good.

Things are best when people defer to their betters. Unfortunately, sometimes the rabble-rousers derail us from this.

#4 Comment By cecelia On June 24, 2016 @ 9:48 pm

al – so you think only the concerns of the young and educated matter? Because that is what your statement implies.

How was Remain any less based on lies? My favorite was Carney talking about economic armageddon a day ago and yet now he is assuring us all is well and the BoE is well prepared.

We live now in a world where corporatist, globalist plutocrats have reduced us to neo feudalism (or have we forgotten that bit about runaway inequality in the distribution of wealth?). The EU is complicit in that. Brexit may just be the same old same old but it at least creates an opportunity to create a new politics.

I think the immigration issue is part of why the vote went as it did – but let’s not forget that worries over the growing EU have been around for some 20 years now. It is all not just immigration – and it is also not just rejection of the other – it is about a desire for rational immigration policies that do not leave babies bodies washing up on beaches, do not strip developing countries of the best and brightest and do not over burden the receiving country to the point where the state can no longer provide decent basic services.

#5 Comment By TWylite On June 24, 2016 @ 11:25 pm

Don’t go Brexing my heart.

#6 Comment By Bless the Beasts and the Children On June 25, 2016 @ 12:16 am

“I see Brexit as a horde of small-minded people throwing a tantrum against the big bad “elite,” i.e., those who are smarter than them.”

Ah, well then. That explains it. It’s not that the elites are a gang of corrupt incompetents after all. It’s that strong supporters of Brexit like myself are dull fellows with poor emotional control. I suppose this means I’ll have to resign my Ivy League alumni association membership and move to Essex or something.

“Things are best when people defer to their betters.”

That’s what Cameron just did, isn’t it? You have no cause for complaint on that score.

#7 Comment By Eleatic On June 25, 2016 @ 12:29 am

The EU bureaucracy is in part a jobs-for-the-lads scheme for graduates of elite schools, wherefore much of the shock and horror in elite precincts.

#8 Comment By Anne On June 25, 2016 @ 1:21 am

“…the best of the financial elites will still make out like bandits.”

Oh, jolly for them. Meanwhile, ordinary folks like me and the aging Brits who voted to Leave lose our shawls.

#9 Comment By Essayist-Lawyer On June 25, 2016 @ 1:27 am

[NFR: Partly immigration, but also LGBT laws and corporate policies infringing on religious liberty and daily life (e.g., the locker room trans issue), economic policies that privilege the globalist overclass at the expense of family stability, etc. — RD]

I get that these are very important issues to you and that you think this should be big issues motivating Trump voters, Brexit voters and other right wing populist movements. But I see no evidence that these actually are important issues to the right wing populists. If people are voting for Trump or wanting out of the EU because they are upset about LGBT issues, they aren’t showing it much. And face it, you’re just not going to get a big working class populist movement about the latest idiocy on campus or the repressive atmosphere of corporate boardrooms. These things just don’t affect working class voters all that much. And I’m going to venture a guess that if you told most working class populists that one of their top issues should be the terrible oppression corporate executive suffer if they oppose the latest LGBT demand, they will just roll their eyes.

#10 Comment By M_Young On June 25, 2016 @ 2:19 am

“Still another way to look at it is that people who showed contempt for our government and laws by entering illegally are paying a partial price for it. ”

Indeed. People who break tax laws and are sent to club fed are ‘separated from their children’. People who embezzle and are sent to the hoosegow are ‘separated from their children’. How is it that this particular set of law breakers get such sympathy for being ‘seperated from their children’? And indeed, if children didn’t have to pay, sometimes, for their parents’ poor choices, what law or even functioning economy could exist?

#11 Comment By wintermute On June 25, 2016 @ 6:15 am

“I see Brexit as a horde of small-minded people throwing a tantrum against the big bad “elite,” i.e., those who are smarter than them.”

Ah, well then. That explains it. It’s not that the elites are a gang of corrupt incompetents after all.

One does not prevent the other, the Brexit voters can be short sighted idiots and the Elites (BTW Which Elites?) can be corrupt incompetents…

We live now in a world where corporatist, globalist plutocrats have reduced us to neo feudalism (or have we forgotten that bit about runaway inequality in the distribution of wealth?). The EU is complicit in that.

You are aware that the UK has one of [3] in the EU? and one of the [4]?

Outside of the US, the UK is one of the countries that has done the most to create this corporatist, globalist plutocratic system that you seem to love so much..

#12 Comment By Neal On June 25, 2016 @ 6:24 am

“More and more it feels like the people running the US — not just the politicians, but the corporate, media, and academic elites too — promote alien values, in the name of Progress — and are determined to impose them on everyone, no matter what the cost. And they’re ruining the country.”

I agree with this sentiment, although I would say these values are pretty thoroughly economic rather than cultural. The driver for just about all this angst is economic insecurity. Oh sure… I get that there is this cultural / religious component to the insecurity for some but I have to admit I can’t really take that too seriously. It’s very easy to avoid any repercussions from having traditional or conservative beliefs. But the economic insecurity imposed upon all of us is truly dangerous. The political and business elites did that to us all on purpose.

“This was the failure of empathy. The economic benefits of globalization are diffuse, it turns out, and its costs highly concentrated. For the worker whose factory has shuttered, cheaper T-shirts offer scant consolation. And the costs of cultural dislocation, although more difficult to quantify, are equally real. It is no coincidence that cultural discontent increases in the U.S. and the U.K. as a direct function of age—the further removed voters feel from the culture into which they were born, the more alien they feel in their own lands. Instead of addressing the pain many voters felt, politicians spent years telling their constituents they were wrong. Not just wrong, in fact, but dangerously ignorant.”

[5]

#13 Comment By Jay On June 25, 2016 @ 6:52 am

Subsidiarity and particularity are good things, generally speaking.

Not necessarily. Subsidiarity and particularity gave us Jim Crow and the Klan and religious preferences in government and creationism in the schools.

You act as if we haven’t tried things your way before, but when confronted with the failures of subsidiarity the only response seems to be a lukewarm and abstract “but of course I’m not for *those* things” without an acknowledgement that they are a *direct* consequence of the state you want.

I agree that government has become more centralized, but until you own the past failures of your preferred way and offer some framework where they won’t repeat themselves people won’t thing that subsidiarity is a “good thing,” generally speaking.

#14 Comment By VikingLS On June 25, 2016 @ 9:13 am

@Jay

Centralization gave us the fugitive slave law.

Sanctuary cities and cities refusing to comply with the Federal Government’s draconian laws on marijuana are subsidiarity.

Subsidarity doesn’t promise that local government will be more moral, just that it will be more accessible to the people under it.

I suspect that, should we have a President Trump, liberals are going suddenly have a new love for local government, and the arguments that you’re making now, are the exact ones he’ll throw in your face.

#15 Comment By First Deacon On June 25, 2016 @ 11:12 am

‘Smart people know how the world should be ordered’

This comment probably is deliberate trolling, but no doubt there are readers of this blog who concur. I’ll leave it to the historians who post here to disabuse anyone of such a notion. There must be a really long reading list one could construct to document some of the colossal mistakes made by the best and brightest credentialed whiz kids of their day. Maybe one could start with the book titled ‘The Best and Brightest’ by David Halberstam.

#16 Comment By Roger II On June 25, 2016 @ 11:16 am

What does Brexit have to do with LGBT laws? The EU doesn’t, as far as I know, have LGBT laws. The various EU countries certainly have vastly different LGBT laws. If you mean corporate policies favoring LGBT protections, why would anyone think Brexit is going to change those? The UK has some of the most liberal LGBT laws among EU nations.

As for whether Britons are willing to bear the price, we will see. I doubt they will be too happy with a recession.

#17 Comment By Anne On June 25, 2016 @ 11:42 am

@Aurora,
If so much of the crowing weren’t coming from the same people who helped create the very economic conditions that made people so resentful they voted the way they did, it might be possible to believe the vote made sense, at least for awhile. As it is, I’m wondering how long this magnanimous majority who allegedly knew they were going to suffer from Brexit but were nonetheless willing to “soldier on” will keep soldiering after they see the Trumps of their world making off like bandits while they…don’t?

#18 Comment By Anne On June 25, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

All this touting the satisfactions of the even simpler (read:poorer) life this vote actually portends for the majority who voted the way they because they believed “taking back” their country would mean more for them, not less betrays a dangerous disconnectedness from reality, which unfortunately is where most of us have to live.

#19 Comment By MichaelGC On June 25, 2016 @ 1:29 pm

Laurie says on June 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm:

I get that mass immigration disrupts societies. Christians are both part of society as well as distinct ( at least that’s what the Benedict option proposes). So I’m curious- what should Christians attitudes be towards immigrants, especially desperate ones like in Europe? Jesus’s proclamations were not to states, but I feel like his words are a challenge to the church to welcome the marginalized. How is this blog promoting that?

Why don’t you start by asking the wealthy Muslim countries why they won’t take in their fellow Muslims?

#20 Comment By MichaelGC On June 25, 2016 @ 1:35 pm

Daniel (not Larison ) says on June 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm:

For those in the Lone Star State…

Texit, anyone?

Let’s do it!

#21 Comment By MichaelGC On June 25, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

Sam M says on June 24, 2016 at 3:58 pm:

Most bars, even the ones with the worst clientele, don’t have to call in the SWAT team at closing time. They just stop serving drinks and people go somewhere else. People at concerts leave when the music stops. You don’t see tons of illegal, immigrants in places where there are no jobs. The jobs are what they are there for. Once there are no jobs, they leave.

That’s why we needed eVerify as of about 10 years ago. Working in real estate a few years back, I plugged in a social security number to check the credit rating of a potential client and got back 3 different names and addresses. At about the same time, I noted that Senator Bob Menandez was able to block an eVerifty bill that overwhelmingly passed the house using some procedure. Illegals pay several hundred dollars to get fake documents like social security cards, and our elites are complicit in ensuring that identity theft and fraud will continue on a massive scale.

I hope that the Brexit is a bellwether for this side of the pond. There needs to be a massive shaking out in the worst way. Disreputable establishment slobs that are working to our detriment must be gotten rid of.

#22 Comment By al On June 25, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

I don’t think you all have thought this through:

“When Texas Secedes
The conversation with Uncle Sam will be something like:

You aren’t going to close your military bases, are you? Well, yes.
You aren’t going to close the borders and enact border checks, are you? Well, yes.
You aren’t going to require visas for Texan patriots to visit the US, are you? Quite possibly.
You aren’t going to end all of those transfer payments you make? Hell yes.
What about the Social Security owed to our residents? Interesting question, isn’t it.
There aren’t going to be tariffs between our nations, are there? Everything is negotiable.
My child just married an American. Will he be able to live in the US? That’s complicated…

etc.”

[6]

#23 Comment By Andrew Jackson On June 25, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

M_Young, I appreciate what you do here day after day. I often have nothing to add because you have already said what needs to be said as well as it can be said.

#24 Comment By Andrew Jackson On June 25, 2016 @ 2:18 pm

And kudos to you as well, Mr Dreher. This is a strong post. And I attach all of the possible connotations to the word strong there.

#25 Comment By Phil On June 25, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

“Good” ?

Have you thought about the consequences for more than 5 seconds, relying on something other than your irrational id?

Scotland will now secede and join the EU, Northern Ireland will merge with its Catholic brother, and England & Wales will be Greece in 10 years. These people are going to suffer. The skilled youth you all so despise what with their sense of entitlement for personal freedom and all that jazz are going to bail, leaving what’s left of the UK in ruins.

#26 Comment By Michael Guarino On June 25, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

Scotland will now secede and join the EU, Northern Ireland will merge with its Catholic brother, and England & Wales will be Greece in 10 years. These people are going to suffer. The skilled youth you all so despise what with their sense of entitlement for personal freedom and all that jazz are going to bail, leaving what’s left of the UK in ruins.

So here is a good example of the total failure of critical ability that comes with these events. Phil apparently doesn’t like Brexit, but he has no real way to analyze its effects. So he thinks of every possible negative outcome, and throws them together as a consequence.

Of these, the only one that is really plausible is a Scottish exit from the UK (because it was likely pre-Brexit anyway). And it won’t leave England as Greece, it will leave Scotland in that situation, since they don’t have near the tax revenue to cover their welfare liabilities and entrance into the EU will make it impossible to use the currency to correct the debts that will rapidly accumulate.

Some professionals will leave the UK, but less than you would imagine, and many of them will return quickly. Some Northern Irelanders will think about secession, but will likely choose otherwise. The British banking sector isn’t going anywhere for another 5 years, and by then the comparative advantage in finance very well might not be in the European continent anyway as the EU will likely weaken as a result of the migrant crisis and the general weakness of its constituent economies. Not to mention that the only city that can really replace London as a financial center is New York, and that is not a realistic substitute.

#27 Comment By VikingLS On June 25, 2016 @ 10:31 pm

“Scotland will now secede and join the EU, Northern Ireland will merge with its Catholic brother, and England & Wales will be Greece in 10 years. ”

Dogs and cats living together!

Seriously, knock it off.

#28 Comment By David J. White On June 26, 2016 @ 8:00 am

And indeed, if children didn’t have to pay, sometimes, for their parents’ poor choices, what law or even functioning economy could exist?

I’m afraid I can’t get too worked up about the prospect of “children having to pay for their parents’ poor choices.” After all, children benefit, undeservedly, from their parents’ good choices all the time, and hardly anyone complains about that. That’s part of what being a child is about. Unless you think that the state should take possession of all children at birth to ensure that all children have exactly the same access to education, food, living conditions, etc.

#29 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On June 26, 2016 @ 11:46 am

Outside of the US, the UK is one of the countries that has done the most to create this corporatist, globalist plutocratic system that you seem to love so much..

That’s certainly true, but here’s the thing: a less diverse and less multicultural UK is more likely to provide a space in which economically left wing politics can thrive than a more diverse one. Worldwide (as well as within countries), levels of government spending and social solidarity correlate with low ethnic diversity. The right-libertarian economist Bryan Caplan knows this, and this is the very reason he encourages mass immigration.

#30 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On June 26, 2016 @ 12:21 pm

Scotland will now secede and join the EU, Northern Ireland will merge with its Catholic brother, and England & Wales will be Greece in 10 years. These people are going to suffer. The skilled youth you all so despise what with their sense of entitlement for personal freedom and all that jazz are going to bail, leaving what’s left of the UK in ruins.

As Michael Guarino points out, this is fear-mongering nonsense. England is not going to be Greece, at least in part because economic development depends on past economic history and on human capital. England is an advanced industrial economy now and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future.

As for skilled young people moving elsewhere, that’s less likely than it was in the past, because now their mobility is more limited.

And who really cares about Scotland staying part of the EU, anyway? Let the Scots go their own way. For that matter, let Greater London go its own way. Northern England on its own will be a poor country, but it will still be discernibly *English*.

#31 Comment By LouB On June 27, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

Amen.
Already left, and the weather has already cleared.

#32 Comment By Greg Jeffers On June 27, 2016 @ 3:56 pm

Move back to Texas and join us for a Texit!

#33 Comment By M_Young On June 27, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Andrew Jackson. We all do what we can.