Friday, 20 April 2018

The Brexit heresy

In the modern world we are all supposed to be empiricists. We determine truth by means of the scientific method and reject as superstition something that is believed despite the evidence.  But we apply this rule selectively. The claims of Christianity may have been rejected because they depended on belief in miracles, but the assumptions of the Left are accepted even when they are contrary to the evidence.

The Left starts from the assumption that people are equal or at least ought to be equal. If they are not equal the task is to make them equal. We find this to be more or less assumed and hardly ever questioned. It is this above all that gives the Left an inherent political advantage. Consciously or unconsciously many people think that inequality is wrong and that any instance of it ought to be addressed. But equality of outcome is fundamentally a Left-wing ideal as it can only occur by means of Government intervention rather than the free interaction of individuals.

If we allow people to act freely and for the free market to determine each person’s material value, we will not end up with equality. Quite the contrary. The Right accepts this, recognises that people are different and does not attempt to manage the end point of human interactions. Small government laissez faire capitalism will give us freedom and prosperity, but will naturally lead to inequality, because the place where someone ends up financially will depend on his own efforts, luck and the help or hindrance of those he knows.

Throughout human history some people have done rather better than others. Some have had more talent, more beauty or strength. Insofar as there is any evidence it would suggest that all men are created unequal. Yet despite this we are supposed to believe the contrary. Why? On what evidence should we believe that everyone is equal or that they ought to be?

One of the methods by which we test the validity of a scientific theory is to see if it fails. Well the theory that people ought to be made equal has been tested rather often in the past century or so. On each occasion that a serious attempt has been made to eradicate inequality, we have seen a loss of prosperity and freedom. Whenever and wherever socialist ideas have been put into practice they have performed worse than free markets. They have frequently led to tyranny and horror on a scale unimaginable before the attempt. Even in those Western countries where socialism has been tried on a more limited scale the price of removing inequality has always been a decrease in prosperity, not merely for the richest members of society, but the poorest too. Socialism has been falsified, but it is still believed, because it is unfalsifiable to those who believe in it. Its assumptions therefore are not scientific but rather quasi-religious.

I have wondered sometimes why some Remain supporters are quite so devoutly opposed to the UK leaving the EU. I don’t at all believe that it is because they think it will make the UK less prosperous, nor that they particularly care about trade relations. I think it is because Brexit is contrary to their ideal of bringing down borders and thereby achieving the equality of all humanity. If the European Union could be made to work, then this would be one more step along the road to eventual World Government, by the UN or some such body. This I think is the ideal that some Remainers can’t bear to lose.

What we find once more is Left-Wing Utopianism coming into contact with actual reality. They are willing to ignore whatever faults the EU has because it points the way to the abolishment of the sovereign nation state. Once more the Left wants to mould and change and equalise human nature rather than accept it. The Right on the contrary realises that it is not accidental that nation states arose in the world.

Thousands of years ago there was a common Indo-European language, which was the ancestor of most European languages and many Asian ones too. All those who spoke it could understand each other. But we did not remain one great mass of equal Indo-Europeans, the Tower of Babel fell and we diverged. It must above all have been because we did not wish to understand each other. We accentuated difference and over the centuries our tribes became so different that it would be hard to guess that a Russian and a Brit speak a language that once was the same and that there was no misunderstanding between us.

Later there was a common Slavic language and a common Germanic language, but we preferred to be different from our neighbours and developed in such a way that we created linguistic borders and then the borders of tribes, then kingdoms and finally nation states. There must be something in human nature that wishes to do this. Naturally there is a tension and a balance between the unifying and the separating tendencies. When they reach equilibrium we have nation states.

The foundation of the sovereign nation state is about difference rather than equality. If equality was inherent in human nature we would still be building the Tower of Babel and we might have reached heaven by now. But this is to be Utopian. The reality is that people prefer to live with those who speak a similar language. Hungarians, for example, prefer to live with Hungarians and make a clear distinction between someone who is a fellow citizen and someone who is not. If that had not been the case then the modern nation state would never have arisen. The Right (apart from those who would trade the profits of globalisation for their country) accepts this fact and therefore sees the nation state as the foundation of international law and diplomacy. The Left would prefer that first there is no distinction between a Hungarian and a Frenchman (the EU) and then that there is no distinction between a Hungarian and anyone else in the world (The UN/World Government).

Hungarians don’t speak an Indo-European language. The reason for this is that their ancestors migrated from somewhere in Central Asia and settled in the Carpathian Basin. Since then they have maintained their identity and their language and for this reason we have a modern sovereign nation state called Hungary.

The Left’s ultimate goal is to eventually abolish places like Hungary. It seeks to achieve this in a number of ways. The first task is for Hungary to lose its sovereignty. Having subsumed its sovereignty in the EU, it will find that there is no real distinction between a Hungarian and any other citizen of the EU. This will provide Hungarians with some advantages. Unlike the UK, they receive a subsidy from the EU.  It will be easier for them to live and work in other European countries. But it will also mean other Europeans will have the right to go to Hungary.

Hungary has a population of around 10 million people. What if over the next century or so 10 million arrived in Hungary from elsewhere. Would these people speak Hungarian? It's a hard language, but they might learn. Still at some point as boundaries collapse and nation states are abolished we will find the distinction between a Hungarian and a German abolished too. This isn’t an accident. It’s the reason for tearing down the borders.

But the Left is not merely intent on removing European borders. "Today [Europe], tomorrow the world." Equality demands that citizens of one nation state should be equal with the citizens of any other nation state. But by definition citizenship means that we have a responsibility towards our fellow countrymen that we don’t have to anyone else. It is this that makes a person a citizen.  It is this above all that prevents equality between citizens of one country and citizens of another. This is what the Left is attacking, for its ultimate aim is to say that there is no distinction between citizens of different states, because there are no longer separate states. But how can this be achieved?

At present in the world Hungarians feel an affinity for each other. They care more for their fellow Hungarians than anyone else besides family.  This is usually called patriotism. This and this alone makes people willing to pay taxes for the welfare of their fellow countrymen.  It is for this reason too that when West and East Germany reunited they immediately felt that they had a special duty towards each other that they didn’t have towards other Europeans or people in general. But so long as people feel this way we will never achieve equality in the world, because the distinction between a German and a person in general is based on difference.

The task of achieving equality and abolishing the nation state can only be achieved by making Germans realise that a German citizen can come from anywhere. At this point the distinction between for instance a German citizen who speaks only French and a French citizen who speaks only French will dissolve. If in time Hungarians merge with other Europeans, the distinction between them will merge as well. Soon even the idea of being Hungarian will cease. If it does we will be one step closer to the Left’s Utopia.

But the goal of creating equality between all people in the world can only be achieved when the Hungarian sees no difference between himself and someone from say Japan or Yemen. But how can that happen if there are only Hungarians in Hungary? It is crucial to the task of abolishing Hungary’s boundaries with the rest of the world that Hungarians should be from everywhere. This is the whole point of abolishing borders. It allows everyone to move where they please. At this point there will be no countries. Imagine. 

All the evidence from history suggests that people prefer to speak their own language and prefer to live with those who are similar and with whom they have a common identity. Nation states arose for this reason. They conform to human nature as it is. We are unequal and the greatest inequality is that we care more for our families and our fellow citizens than anyone else. We are willing to fight for them and die for them. This is human nature as it is. But the Left not content with its failed experiments with socialism is attempting gradually to abolish the nation state. The way to do this is through abolishing sovereignty, which eventually leads to the abandonment of the concept of international borders and a world where there is free movement everywhere from anywhere. There is no reason to suppose that this experiment will end well. History suggests that when people with very different identities and languages mix the result frequently is conflict.  Perhaps this time will be different.

The Left’s goal of achieving equality even when it is contrary to human nature has caused immense historical suffering. The problem is that because this is a semi-religious ideal, no amount of evidence to the contrary will persuade them to give it up. They are angry about Brexit, not because of trade or prosperity. They are angry because we dare to stand up against their attempt to abolish the sovereign nation state and to say that we believe there ought to be borders we can control and a real distinction between our fellow countrymen and the rest of the world.   Brexiteers are heretics rebelling against all that the Left has tried to achieve since 1945.  We have committed the unforgivable sin, by questioning what must not be questioned. Burning at the stake would be too kind a punishment for they can see that their Tower is crumbling. This is why they are so furious and why they are fighting such a continual rearguard action. It is also why we must succeed. 


  1. I agree with much of what you say, Effie - but I don't think languages diversified because of people wanting to be different. It's because people dispersed and the distances were too large to continue the homogeneity.

  2. Add the language/ sovereign state distinctions to sport. The world state liberals morphed out of a teenage belief they were brighter than being in say the first or second hockey team.its an a chippiness that we have to accept.

  3. Pace Euphemiæ, there are many more forces than this at work in the evolution of language. The history of language is rather more nuanced than her informants have led her to believe.

  4. Your view of Equality is strange as how come it is going against human nature. The bible talks of Equality. There is neither Greek nor Jew.

    1. St Paul says that *in Christ* there is neither Greek nor Jew: this is about Christian unity - "equality" is not mentioned.

  5. Effie's distinctions are rather crude and not always well-informed, especially in the matter of evolution of language, which has as much to with migration as anything else.
    This Right-winger does believe that all people are equal, in dignity and in deserving of opportunity. But not all people are the same: they self-evidently vary enormously in abilities and willingness to act upon such abilities. I also believe that people have an equal opportunity to take responsibility for their own actions, and I think it's probably at this point that my divergence from the Left occurs.
    I believe in a reformed European Union. As it stands, the EU does require radical reform, in governmental accessibility, financial integrity and administrative efficiency. Without radical reform in these areas, it is not an easy institution to support. (And I'm not talking about anything like David Cameron's supposed 'reforms', which were little more than a piece of electioneering tinkering.) My hope was that the UK, with its relatively sophisticated institutions, could have led such reforms within the Union, but those of narrow, uninformed and unimaginative mentality have, pro tem, won the day.
    I say that because Brexiteers seem to want to disregard History. The era of the nation-state is passing because of the ease and frequency of global travel, and because for the first time in History we enjoy instantaneous worldwide communications. The insular nation-state simply cannot keep its definition when you can communicate with anyone else on the planet pretty well instantly, and also meet them very quickly if required.
    Furthermore, if you look at the defence budgets of virtually any state in the developed world, the development of virtually instantaneous weaponry (cyber-warfare) shows that no nation-state can afford to defend itself in isolation: blocs of power, for mutual prosperity and defence are required. The EU was formed to bring internal peace to the nation-states of Western Europe: in this it has succeeded admirably (and the power-bloc of NATO has done the job every bit as well in terms of external relations), giving us the longest period of peace in the written history of this continent since Roman times. Populist nationalism could destroy that: in Scotland, we've all seen the appalling divisiveness generated by the rise of the SNP, grounded as it is on grievance and hatred.
    A reformed - and that is an important and vital qualification -EU would give all its members equality of opportunity and equal rights to take responsibility for their own actions. It wouldn't make everyone the same. (It might make a lot of things the same eg safety regulations for funfairs, the quality of cheeses or the strength of lightbulbs, and I'm all for that.) For the sake of peace, prosperity and the march of History I support a radically reformed EU.

    1. A lot in what you say. Many people came to accord qualified support to the EU because, in addition to providing a level playing field for goods and services, it offered a safety-valve for tensions generated by the imposition of uniformity inherent in the Westphalian state: cujus regio, ejus lingua, ut ita dicam. In territories such as Catalonia (both sides of the Pyrenees), the Basque Country (ditto), Ireland (both sides of the Border), Brittany, Belgium, and South Tirol, there was now a wider context within which practical daily solutions could offset intractable conflicts of principle. This context is now disregarded in Catalonia, at unspecified risk in Ireland, and very much open to question under the sulphurous régimes of the Visegrad Group.
      One of
      Advocates of Brexit in the current UK, apart from their obvious problems, labour under a severe disadvantage of which none of them seem aware. While they cherish the impression that Brexit presents an existential threat to the EU, nobody else shares this view. I watch news and read papers from a number of European countries: Brexit is rarely a story at all, hardly ever on the front page, and not normally seen as of any great weight.

    2. I endorse your last point strongly. An overblown sense of self among many Brexiteers.

    3. Yanis Varoufakis has made some interesting observations on the need for institutional reform and the likely consequences of failure. What would be your view on this?

    4. Anybody genuinely interested in the evolution of language could do worse than look at the very accessible Great Languages series from Faber. Bruno Migliorini on Italian and Einar Haugen on the Scandinavian languages are particularly illuminating. (The late Professor K. H. Jackson, of Edinburgh) was supposed to be preparing a volume on the Goidelic languages, but I don't know how far he got.) And for those with less time on their hands, Professor Peter Trudgill's column in 'The New European' combines erudition, wit, and accessibility.

  6. Thank you for your endorsement. This overblown sense vitiates the already severe lack of clarity.

  7. I don't normally comment. Too busy writing. But fair warning. Recent comments have crossed a line. I will delete anything insulting from now on. Tempted to turn off comments entirely if this sort of thing continues.

    1. We are grateful for your warning. I trust that everybody will observe the proprieties of civilized discourse.

  8. The assertion about Hungary and France is rather intriguing. Budapest after the Ausgleich, like many capitals, took noble mighty pains to look as much like Paris as it could. As a consequence, parts if it look more like Paris as it was than does much of Paris today. A gift for film-makers, of course - take a closer look next time you watch your favourite Simenon series!

  9. The foundation of the Apostolic Kingdom by Saint Stephen is a fascinating episode, and its subsequent growth, occasional disappearance, reappearance, and transformation are made all the more fascinating by the fact that, until the Treaty of Trianon, most of its inhabitants did not speak Magyar. The post-Trianon picture has been further complicated by the communities speaking this language in Transylvania and other territories outside what some unkind people called 'a kingdom without a king ruled by an admiral without a navy'.

  10. All in all, the existence of any kind of Hungarian state has been touch-and-go at times. There are several ideological accounts for its inception, generally varying according to the speaker's confessional and/or partisan allegiance. One particularly popular one involves Our Glorious Ancestors The Huns: hence the intriguing likelihood that during your next trip to Hungary your waiter or bartender may answer to the name if Attila.

  11. Hungarian nationalism has, historically, manifested several different aspects. There has been heroic solidarity with lovers of freedom everywhere, jealous also of the rights of others, attracting support from elsewhere and giving it in return wherever possible. There has been unbending insistence on conformity with a certain idea of Magyar identity, imposing one language to the exclusion of all others. And there has been hatred of everybody with the 'wrong' parents, whatever language they spoke, terminating their presence whether by expulsion or by some other means having the same effect.

    The first two aspects were equally present in the War of Independence of 1848-49: Kossuth himself was to acknowledge, in exile, that the second had caused the minorities to rally to the Habsburgs. It prevailed after the Ausgleich, with the result in due course that the Treaty of Trianon reduced the 63-county Hungary to 20. The third, irritated by the jibe 'Budapest-Judapest' came to the fore in the 1930s. It triumphed in the summer of 1944. It is prevailing now.

  12. The elimination of the Hungarian Jewish community doesn't seem to have eliminated antisemitism, and, as usual, it's open season on Gypsies amongst persons of a certain mentality. An image of Muslims worthy of 'Der Stuermer' also contributes to the ideological panoply of the people now in charge in Budapest. Unlike their friends in Madrid, however, they find themselves with a territory already having lost most of the lands whose inhabitants were alienated by chauvinism and oppression.

    As opposition stiffens to the undermining of the rule of law, Fidesz will need to summon as many spectres as it can from the vasty deep. The traditional phantom amongst that tendency has been Erdely,the counties in Transylvania where the Magyar language prevails. Happily, both Hungary and Romania both belong to the European Union, and so starting a particularly stupid war is quite simply not an option.