BREXIT: The Economics Of Power.

Two days ago, as it became clear that Britain would vote to leave the European Union, Nigel Farage gave an emotional statement to gathered supporters, which you can watch here.

It was given in complete opposition to his earlier statement that evening, in which he conceded that the Leave vote would lose. Talk about a time to be wrong! If you’re gonna be wrong about something, better to be wrong in your own favor. Turn that frown upside down, baby.

In his statement, Farage said this: “We won it without a shot being fired.” The Brexit was a political revolution, but there was no bloodshed or violence. That is, no acts of civil war.

For years, EU officials steadfastly maintained that there could be no exit from the Union. Farage was dismissed repeatedly. All sensible people knew that the EU was too progressive an institution to be turned back. Even up to the very day of the referendum, most people thought it was an exercise in futility. Everyone was betting on Stay – even “Mr. Brexit” Farage himself, as evidenced by his early admission of defeat.

But then it was turned back. The Leave vote climbed ahead by a few percentage points. And it stayed there. And then the vote was over.

Literally overnight, 50+ years of gradual political integration was symbolically overturned by democratic vote.

This was the worst defeat yet for the post-Soviet globalist order. They pulled out all the stops – claims of economic ruin, scaremongering over Russia, accusations of racism and Islamophobia, greedy claims that Britain could become the strongest country in the EU – but none of it took. It was a resounding failure on their part.

THE END OF EMPIRE

In the classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote this:

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others were cowards and hypocrites. They never had the courage to recognize their motives. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement — a world of fear and treachery and torment. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

Powerful? Yes. Scary? Of course. Depressing? No question. But it’s pure fiction. Great fiction; but nothing more. And it will never be anything more than fiction.

Probably the best expression of this passage in practice was from Pol Pot, the murdering socialist thug who led a planned genocide of over 3 million people in Cambodia – over 25% of the population at the time. Pol Pot’s communist regime put it this way to the average Cambodian: “To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.” This has to be one of the most nihilistic and terrible things I’ve ever heard.

But it didn’t take. The Khmer Rouge fell apart. Not even an uninhibited willingness to literally kill everyone could keep them in power. Pol Pot was deposed by other communists in 1980 and lived under arrest for the remainder of his life. Power is fleeting.

At the cusp of his stuff near 1950, Joseph Stalin was probably the most powerful man in world history. But power is not unlimited. It takes time and effort to cultivate. Then, it has to be allocated. When and where should you exercise power? Against whom? For what reasons? Like everything else in this world, power is scarce. It’s use has to be measured wisely.

Stalin understood this. He surrounded himself with underlings to help him allocate power wisely. But because Stalin was addicted to power, he was driven mad with paranoia. He could never trust any of his underlings, because he knew that some of them probably wanted to kill him and take his place, which was true. He officially died of natural causes, but there is debate to this day over whether or not he was assassinated by an underling.

After Stalin died, the power his position held immediately dissipated. His successor, Nikita Krushchev, never held the kind of raw power held by Stalin. The unilateral killings of top leaders ended. The widespread purges, known for killing millions, ended.

Krushchev was eventually ousted. But the effort was open. He knew it was coming. He didn’t have the power to stop it. And he wasn’t killed after leaving office, instead allowed to retire quietly. Succeeding Soviet Premiers only lost power and prestige from that point on. Brezhnev attempted to consolidate power during his tenure, and succeeded to some extent, but never to any level that Stalin held, or even Krushchev early in his term. By the time the final Premier came around, Mikhail Gorbachev, the USSR was visibly decaying. Events quickly spun out of control.

Then, on Christmas Day of 1991, the Communist Party said “Okay. We give up. Goodbye.” The red flag went down and the Russian tri-color went up. The whole thing was over. No shots fired. No civil war. Everyone just went home. It was probably the most peaceful, bloodless collapse of an empire in history.

My point is this: Power is an addiction. No good can come of addiction. Part of the definition of addiction is when you are so compelled by something that you start to ignore the costs involved. This leads to either death or bankruptcy. Power is no different. The more power you accumulate and exercise, the more expensive it becomes to maintain. The cost of each little bit of power starts to increase exponentially. Then, the costs get so high that the institutional equivalent of death occurs: bankruptcy. The Communist Party of the USSR found this out the hard way.

THE EUROPEAN UNION

The EU is not like The Party from Nineteen Eighty-Four or the Communist Party of the USSR – not in the really terrible ways. The EU, unlike the other two, is not a murder machine of terror and coercion.

The EU is simply a massive, bloated bureaucracy of greedy and power-hungry government officials. To their slight credit, they have not tried to achieve power the classic way – through violence and military domination. Rather, it’s been a slow and steady step-by-step process of tightening the screws via regulation and consolidation of power. Deal by deal, bureaucrats in Brussels have usurped degrees of national sovereignty from member states and consolidated them into the hands of unelected officials in bureaucratic agencies.

But they are facing the same problem that all powerful institutions face: how do we allocate power? Where and when do we exercise it? How much? And the list of questions goes on. The economics of power are far from simple.

The EU is addicted to power. They thought they could tighten the screws endlessly until achieving full political union – through regulation, Islamic immigration, and managed international trade. But they started to ignore the costs: growing domestic nationalism and an anti-EU spirit.

The EU project is not over yet. But it has been dealt it’s first major blow: Brexit. This is a rude awakening for a bunch of self-serving bureaucrats who thought they could hold onto power forever.

They threatened Britain with economic and diplomatic ruin if they left. Britain voted to leave anyway, and the other major economies of the world already are eager to set up trade relations. So much for economic and diplomatic ruin. Now the EU leaders have a problem. They cannot threaten the other member nations the way they threatened Britain. Instead of threatening with negative sanctions, they can only promise positive sanctions. The EU has to convince the other member states why staying is a positive thing for them, which will be a far harder sell than fear.

But fear is on the Leave side: the fear of Islamic invasion, which is deeply ingrained into the European psyche. So the EU has to convince member states why marginal economic and diplomatic benefits outweigh the invasion of millions of young Islamic males.

The EU is now in the stage where power has to be measured preciously. They blew most of it on trying to bully Britain, which failed. They are on the defensive.

But history is clear: power can never remain consolidated forever.

CONCLUSION

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a great book, and I think all young adults should read it. But as a prediction of the future, it just ain’t true. No system can hang on to power forever.

The only government I know of in the world so openly devoted to the pursuit of power is North Korea, which is also one of the poorest nations per capita on earth. It is ruled by a petty, tyrannical loser with no power outside of his own borders, because all of his time is spent trying desperately to hold onto power inside his borders. The Kim family of North Korea is a line of sad, stupid losers who dedicate their lives to their addictions.

The pursuit of power will always end in failure. Whether violent or nonviolent, international or domestic, it will always end in one of two ways: bankruptcy or death. And you can’t take it with you.

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