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Brexit Was a Modern Day Glorious Revolution; a Declaration of Independence

The same old issues of basic human nature have played out yet again as they always seem to do.  Will we ever learn?

The people – the tribe – of Britain voted to leave the EU because it felt that its culture, its autonomy, its very identity (i.e., its sacred values) were being stripped by overbearing government; in this case globalization, but that’s just the football in the game of tribal identity and autonomy.

It happens every time.  Throughout all of human history, no matter the means, structure, highfalutin language, or best of good-hearted intentions, whenever a tribe feels oppressed, marginalized, forcibly homogenized – whenever it feels that its identity and thereby its existence are in jeopardy – it pushes back.

Which is to say, whenever we try to legislate against human nature, human nature eventually, inevitably stands “athwart history yelling Stop”!

Brotherhood of man schemes that seek to unify or homogenize humanity into one big happy tribe reminiscent of John Lennon’s “Imagine” are the social, anthropological, intellectual, equivalent of legislating away the ocean’s tides.  They’re the political version of the old TV commercials with the tag line “It’s not nice to fool mother nature,” and yield similar results.

Pushback, whether Brexit, true revolution like in 1789 France, or “a revolution not made but prevented” like in 1776 America is practically guaranteed whenever a tribe feels a threat to its identity/existence/sacred values.

It’s not nice to fool human nature.

Will we ever, EVER, EVER learn?



I’d say that this was the Liberty foundation rising up to resist oppression.

But it feels like more than just that. It feels like the defense of tribal identity and autonomy.

Could tribalism, or tribal identity, or groupishness, or groupthink, itself, be a moral foundation?


2 thoughts on “Brexit Was a Modern Day Glorious Revolution; a Declaration of Independence

  1. I agree with your analysis of why there was a majority (just!) for Brexit, but not with your implicit assumption that the argument that persuaded this majority corresponded to reality. The idea that the UK’s `culture, its autonomy, its very identity (i.e., its sacred values) were being stripped’ by the EU is a myth that the media have been pushing for 20 years; and too many politicians have gone along along with it because it is oh so convenient to blame whatever is going wrong on some outside agency for which they cannot be thought responsible.

    I agree with you that community is one of the moral bases for humans, but I possibly disagree in seeing community as a sequence of ever-wider circles: I value my identity in my family, in my village, my county .. and so on up to my continent and my planet. Each has its importance, and the longterm political aim has to be to achieve government – or we could just call it agreement – of each area of life at the appropriate level: examples might be the county level for housing and primary schools, the continent or world for setting the rules of international trade and tackling climate change.

    With thanks for your interesting pages.



    Posted by denismollison | August 3, 2016, 4:28 pm

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