Paul: After 'Brexit,' can we exit too?
Last week's U.K. vote to leave the European Union may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is a growing sentiment worldwide.
Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the 1 percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.
What is happening in the U.K., in Europe, and in the U.S., is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens.
Whatever happens in the near future — and it is certainly not assured that the vote to "Brexit" will actually end in the U.K.'s departure from the EU — a line has been crossed that supporters of more personal liberty should celebrate. Rule from London is preferable to liberty-minded Britons than rule from Brussels. Just as Texans should prefer rule from Austin to rule from Washington. That doesn't make either option perfect, just more likely to produce more freedom.
Is Brexit the first victory in a larger freedom movement? Can we get out of a system that creates money out of thin air to benefit the ruling class while impoverishing the middle class? Can we get out of a central bank that finances the wars that make us less safe? Can we exit Executive Orders? Can we exit the surveillance state? The PATRIOT Act? Can we exit NDAA and indefinite detention? Can we exit the United States worldwide drone program, that kills innocents overseas and makes us ever-more hated?
Getting out of NATO would be a good first move. This Cold War relic survives only by stirring up conflict and then selling itself as the only option to confront the conflict it churned up. Wouldn't it be better to not go looking for a fight in the first place? Do we really need still another NATO military exercise on the Russian border? It should be no surprise that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was fear-mongering on the eve of the Brexit vote, warning U.K. citizens that if they vote to leave they could face increased terrorism.
Likewise, the U.S. would do well to exit the various phony "free trade" agreements that provide advantage to the well-connected elites while harming the rest of us.
The act of exit is liberating. We should make a longer list of those things we would like to get out of. I am only getting started.
Ron Paul is a former congressman and presidential candidate. He can be reached at the RonPaulInstitute.org.