A few words from Gerard Baker, editor of the Wall Street Journal. Commenting on the Brexit vote Baker suggests that it is a reassertion of national sovereignty (and identity) in the face of political correctness. I would add that the vote repudiated the fashionable theory of cosmopolitanism, namely that we are all citizens of the world and that there should be no borders between nations.
Most powerful of all is a yearning to reclaim national sovereignty. For most of the last half-century, the international system has been characterized by an accelerating pace of globalization combined with an elite-driven disdain for the very idea of the primacy of the nation. Mass immigration—in Europe and the U.S.—has been accompanied by a steadily penetrating denigration of the very idea that countries have a primary right and obligation to put their own people first. In the Brexit campaign, native voters’ concerns about the changing character of their own country were widely denounced as racism.
The very idea that the state has a primary obligation to its native citizens has become unfashionable and virtually unsayable within the tightly controlled bounds of political correctness. Legitimate fears in the U.S. and Europe about the arrival of immigrants—especially Muslims, many of whom have a poor record of assimilating in Europe—coupled with the unleashing of Islamist terrorism, have heightened the sense of insecurity and alienation of citizens from their own communities.