Out with Brexit, In with Brextinct and Europeanism
Big news last night! “Brexit” was overwhelming voted down 432 votes to 202 in what was a historic landslide! That might not mean much to you living outside of the European Union, but it means a lot to us. When the United Kingdom voted by a margin of 51.9 percent in a referendum to break from the EU in June of 2016, we were shocked. What were they thinking!?”
Brexit,” or even “Brextinct,” (the newest term to hit the media waves) is a term known as a “portmanteau” — not a “coat rack” like we in France might think, but a word blending two words to create one meaning, such as “motel” or “brunch”. Nevertheless, exiting the E.U. was always a seriously dumb idea from my perspective. While there are article upon article upon article written by experts as to why the British voted to leave the E.U. 2.5 years ago, I like to step back and see it from a bigger perspective: as a reaction against “globalism” — called “tribalism.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “globalism” as “a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence.” What does that mean?
Dictionary.com says it’s “the attitude or policy of placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations.” Really?
The Cambridge dictionary claims that it’s “the idea that events in one country cannot be separated from those in another and that economic and foreign policy should be planned in an international way.” Ain’t that the truth?
So, what’s so frightening about any of these definitions of globalism that a country like the United Kingdom wanted to bow out of being a part of the European Union, only to find out 2.5 years later that it was a really dumb idea? Didn’t they know that “going it alone” wasn’t going to be what it was cracked up to be? Then, they watched their economic strength decline. I got word this morning from my favorite currency broker, Moneycorp, that the British Sterling “made significant gains against the Euro and the Dollar in the immediate aftermath, strengthening over 1% against both currencies.” Of course it did! (Notice how the strength of sterling to the euro fell from the onset of the Brexit vote in 2016!)
Britain isn’t the only country dumb enough to react to globalism. Donald Trump is yet another pundit against globalism. “We reject globalism and embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” Trump said in an address to the United Nations. “The U.S. will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination.” The U.N. laughed at him, but that doesn’t stop him from continuing with his “America First” campaign to reject globalism.
French president Emmanuel Macron is one of the few defending the idea of globalism these days, but look where that’s gotten him. The Yellow Vest movement is a perfect example of a backlash against globalism and shares in many other populist forces across the world, including Italy’s Five Star movement and the Podemos movement in Spain.
There’s a new word to add to the mix: “populism.” Is populism another word for tribalism? Defined as a “thin” ideology that represents “the people” against the elite (who are considered corrupt and self-serving), populists are dividers, not unifiers. It’s “us” against “them,” whomever “us” is (a rather homogeneous group) and “them,” being all the others outside of that group. Is it racist? Obviously, yes.
Then, there’s “tribalism.” “Tribalism,” according to Wikipedia.org, “is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles.” Since our own evolution normally occurred in small groups, rather than in mass societies, we naturally tend to feel more comfortable in our own families and social networks…like “birds of a feather” as one might describe them. Having a natural sense of belonging, it’s also a part of our natural propensities for anger and hate. And let’s face it, isn’t that what is really disguised by such words as “tribalism?”
What’s wrong with us birds? Is populism, tribalism or racism so natural to us “of a feather” that we don’t see the grander good of globalism, until it hits us in the faces like the U.K.’s bad Brexit blunder? How did they not understand from the beginning that isolating themselves from the rest of Europe and therefore the rest of the world was only going to weaken them, not strengthen them? And how is it that America’s Trump supporters actually think that his “America First” campaign is going to put them first, when it’s doomed to put them last?
I don’t have the answers…only the questions, but then again, I’m a globalist, just like Emmanuel Macron. And, now we have another new word to consider: “Europeanism.” Coined for the ideological support of the European Union, this is the word clearly the Brits need to embrace…and already are! There is hope for the world…the global world!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(By Erica Simone)
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