A classical liberal case for the European Union

Dalibor Rohac had a new and important book just out — Towards an Imperfect Union: A Conservative Case for the European Union, obviously of great relevance to the Brexit debates.  Here is the book’s home page, here is the publisher’s home page for the book.

My own view is this: if the United Kingdom could simply press a button and obtain the current status of Canada, via-a-vis the EU, probably they should do so.  But they cannot, and in some issues, as with Catalonian independence, the path is everything.  I’ve read through much of the Treasury report, and I believe it underestimates the economic cost of Brexit.  Were Brexit to happen, probably the UK would see a major recession, and possibly a financial crisis, and there is even a chance significant parts of the EU could unravel in response.  And for what gain?  The country would not be able to boost living standards through EU immigration cuts.  Building new trade agreements would take a long time and in few of the most important cases would the UK hold most of the bargaining power.  Security issues probably would worsen.

Even if the Brexit vote fails, it remaining on the table as a live option, as would result from a close vote, would dampen investment in the UK.  The best way forward is for the UK to swallow its pride and admit the whole referendum idea was a mistake by voting unanimously to stay.  No one would take the unanimity vote as a sincere reflection of preference, but best not to know the true state of public opinion on this one!

I sometimes call Brexit “the Donald Trump of England” — don’t be fooled!

Comments

What if the UK surrendered to Canada? Seems like that could work.

Alternatively, UK could self-identify itself as the nation that is not the UK and automatically exit the EU.

Britain could reintroduce the death penalty for interfering with the corpse of a puffin for sexual purposes and exist just as automatically.

It amazes me that anyone would want to belong to such a club. One that was sold on false pretenses and has done nothing except make a joke of itself ever since. There is no liberal case for membership.

Isn't the case for a Texit greater than for a Brexit?

What has Texas gained from becoming part of the United States?

It lost a great deal by failing to remain a republic. Texas claimed everything to the Pacific and would not be suffering it's constant sense of inferiority and envy of California because it would all be Texas. Then there is the slavery that Texas could still have, it's own ability to declare and fight the wars it's citizens want to fight, and it could have evangelical Christianity as the state religion instead of the abominations of the Pope and Mohammed.

You make a very good case mulp. I am convinced. In fact I have changed my mind and now totally support it.

Texit 2018!

Texas is its own country. The rest of you are just parasites attached on Texas. Maybe, you should leave.

>constant sense of inferiority and envy of California

I assume you're foreign because California has very little remaining caché here in the states. California truly was an object of envy for us here in the northern Midwest a while ago. California's public image has been in steady decline since around the time of the dotcom bubble in 2000. Then there was the farcical recall election, the California Electricity Crisis, the budget crisis, the housing crisis (hit California harder than most places) the wildfires and now the drought. The bloom is very much off this particular rose.

After the financial industry's victory over OWS, New York's caché seems to be higher than ever, though.

But...if it self-identified as Australia, would it have to turn its bathrooms upside down?

Maybe a dumb question, but what specifically do you mean by "the current status of Canada, vis-a-vis the EU"?

I'm guessing he means the relationship that Canada had with the USA is the type of thing that the UK would like with the EU.

Canada has separate agreements with the EU. See the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Just as in Trump's unlikely primary victories, a vote in Britain to leave the EU is a big mistake. Ordinary, thoughtless people should enjoy an illusion of a democratic-republic but when the rubber hits the road the real decisions have to be left to the privileged few.

Stalin couldn't have put it better himself. Nor would King George III I expect. But the point about Stalinist systems is how can the rest of us change our small clique of the privileged Few. Not easily in the case of Stalin. Nor in the case of the EU.

If it comes down to it, we are better off with hereditary rulers raised to be in office than the klepto-ish professional bureaucrats who make up the EU.

I wonder if the USA might be better off with hereditary rulers trained from birth than with the kleptocratic oligopoly it has now. I fear the rise of political dynasties in the USA, which would be the worst of both.

Easier and cheaper to just re-merge with the UK.

It's settled then. The UK can annex the US and then Canada can annex the UK and we'll all be happy and say "aboot".

There is no 'rise of political dynasties'. Current population of Tafts and Roosevelts in public office = 0. The latest Bush scion has just been unceremoniously dispatched; he's 63 years old and done with electoral politics; that's it for the grandchildren's generation. Of Prescott Bush's ant heap of great grandchildren, only one has shown an interest in public office (he's the Ag commissioner in Texas). Outside the Boston media market, the Kennedys top out as state legislators; there's a Kennedy sitting in Congress as always, but he's an outlier (no scandals and no evidence of intellectual deficiency).

Are you on meds? I mean, it's fine to have a discussion about the merits of Brexit. But this just makes you look like a nutcase. Well, probably you are.

exactly Christian. the more you hear from Brexiteers, the madder they and it appears. Then remainers start making stupid points, and first that's annoying and second brexiters can then fixate on those stupid points. But I've landed where Tyler has, which is that "the path is the thing", and a p*ssed of EU wouldn't be make life easy for the UK. It's a slightly crappy set-up and a slightly crappy relationship, but things really aren't that bad, and there are better things to focus on.

I'm not sure how I will vote yet. One thing I am sure of, though, is that the 'p*ssed off EU' argument is baloney. Germany won't want to sabotage its trading relationship. Poland and the Baltic states won't want to sabotage their military relationship with Britain - particularly as the U.S. turns in on itself and its commitment to Europe looks threadbare (note that the UK will, by dint of geography, always be involved in Europe). The Dutch, Danes and Swedes are like-minded people and sympathise with our situation. Madrid and Paris will try to squeeze us but, as long as Germany pulls the strings, their influence will be as extensive as in the Eurozone crisis - zero.

'Germany won’t want to sabotage its trading relationship.'

The idea that people are responsible for their decisions is fairly widespread in Germany. If the British vote to leave the EU, the Germans are not going to treat them as if they remain within the EU.

In other words, at best, the British will get the Swiss deal - zero voice in EU affairs, but obligated to follow EU rulings to maintain a favorable trading relationship.

Which is a best case scenario, by the way - currently, the British have a lot of exceptions in their dealings with the EU. British 'chocolate' being a fascinating example - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/764305.stm The EU is extremely likely to rescind such exceptions, meaning that the British are welcome to find new markets for products that don't meet EU standards. On the other hand, it isn't as if Mercedes is all that worried about the British car industry making a dent in its sales.

Ahh, with friends like these, who needs enemies!

It's not as if, I suppose, Mercedes wants to sell cars in the UK either, or imports any parts made in the UK for their cars. Nope nope.

Sometimes, I wish we'd have let you people be taken over by the Germans or the Russians or whoever the hell has invaded you 100 times in the past, only to be saved by the UK or US. Truly, worst human beings than W.Europeans can't be asked for.

Or to translate: the EU is indeed an anti-free trade cartel whose sole reason for existing is protectionism and anti-free trade, and is a body of vindictive bureaucrats whose whole reason for existence is to micromanage other country's affairs.

Which...incidentally...is the whole argument for Brexit :)

You have a way of rebutting that is just...brilliant.

'It’s not as if, I suppose, Mercedes wants to sell cars in the UK either'

The sort of UK citizens that buy Mercedes will continue to buy them.

'or imports any parts made in the UK for their cars'

The odds that Mercedes sources any parts from the UK are fairly low, to be extremely charitable.

'Sometimes, I wish we’d have let you people be taken over by the Germans or the Russians or whoever the hell has invaded you 100 times in the past'

Well, I'm an American who has lived in Germany for more than 20 years. Which 'you' do you think you are addressing in such passages?

'Truly, worst human beings than W.Europeans can’t be asked for.'

The citizens of that West European nation called the UK are thankful for your charitable view. And the East Europeans, who all more than thankfully joined the EU after decades of Soviet rule (why yes, there were worse arrangements in Europe up until the early 1990s, actually) are wondering why you make a distinction between east and west, as people in Poland or Hungary or the Czech Republic consider themselves to be as European as the Spanish or Dutch.

'the EU is indeed an anti-free trade cartel whose sole reason for existing is protectionism and anti-free trade, and is a body of vindictive bureaucrats whose whole reason for existence is to micromanage other country’s affairs.'

No, the reason the EU exists is to keep Europe peaceful, as Europe is all too familiar with war. Maybe you should read some history, especially in that period called 'post-war'?

I recognize you are as likely as interested in Steve Sailer in actual facts, but let us just cite the EU itself - 'The European Union is set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. The six founders are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.' http://europa.eu/about-eu/eu-history/index_en.htm

Europeans know why the EU exists - why this is so difficult for those in the U.S. to understand remains difficult to grasp.

"The sort of UK citizens that buy Mercedes will continue to buy them"

Indeed. Mercedes are also made in the US, so no problem.

"The odds that Mercedes sources any parts from the UK are fairly low, to be extremely charitable"

Considering that 5 British car manufacturers are tied to German car manufacturers, and UK is the second largest exporter of cars in Europe, and Germany the largest importer, I'd find that hard to believe as well.

"The citizens of that West European nation called the UK are thankful for your charitable view"

It's quite explicitly implied I'm speaking of the Continental sort.

"And the East Europeans, who all more than thankfully joined the EU after decades of Soviet rule (why yes, there were worse arrangements in Europe up until the early 1990s, actually) are wondering why you make a distinction between east and west, as people in Poland or Hungary or the Czech Republic consider themselves to be as European as the Spanish or Dutch."

Because E.Europeans are smart enough to have gotten the message that the EU isn't going to be working for them, and have mostly decided to unilaterally opt out of its insane immigration policies. It's only a matter of time till they leave too. I'm E.European BTW, so no need for you to inform me about the pre-1990 arrangements. We've seen it all before, hence we can see it a bit quicker than you.

"No, the reason the EU exists is to keep Europe peaceful, as Europe is all too familiar with war"

I thought that's what NATO was for. Silly me. No better way to keep the peace then to have bureaucrats from other countries meddle in your affairs.

"Europeans know why the EU exists – why this is so difficult for those in the U.S. to understand remains difficult to grasp"

Nothing like citing the EU's founding document for justification of its existence: they said so, hence it is so!

Are you sure you're not the equivalent of Trump supporters? ;)

PS: I'm European, BTW. In case you didn't get the hint. So if citing founding documents is the appeal to authority here, I think my authority outweighs yours by birthright.

PS: If your justification is that bloody-minded Continental Europeans can't keep from fighting each for 10 days without needing to turn over their national sovereignty to a Central Committee of Bureaucrats...then fine. Have it your way. That was the argument the Soviets used too for conquering other people's.

Not Britain's problem, however. Britain hasn't been involved in your bloody messes...other than to step in to stop your bloody messes when they go to far.

So maybe your argument would be one for handing over...YOUR...country's rule to QEII, rather than have UK hand over their rule to bloody-minded German bureaucrats.

'Mercedes are also made in the US, so no problem.'

A couple of minor models, which don't sell much in the UK - the M and R class, essentially. And at least in the past, most of the drive trains for both models came from Germany.

'Considering that 5 British car manufacturers are tied to German car manufacturers, and UK is the second largest exporter of cars in Europe, and Germany the largest importer, I’d find that hard to believe as well.'

And yet, Mercedes is neither a part of BMW or of VW/Audi/Porsche.

Want to guess who is the largest exporter of cars in Europe?

Want to guess the country the German import the most cars from?

In neither case is it the UK. Really, though some people might criticize you for being long winded, actually backing up your arguments with facts at least means those interested in facts can judge yours for themselves. Maybe this EU source could help? - http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/International_trade_in_motor_cars

And do note that the Japanese, in an attempt to avoid your often cited (and quite real, in many cases) EU protectionism, set up a number of facilities in the UK starting around the late 1980s in an attempt to avoid punitive quotas that limited them to 10% of the EU market.

'It’s quite explicitly implied I’m speaking of the Continental sort.'

Explicitly implied is amusing, to be honest.

'and have mostly decided to unilaterally opt out of its insane immigration policies'

The Poles, for one, are wondering what you are talking about - especially in light of the incessant British press coverage of 'Polish plumbers' destroying the UK.

'I’m E.European BTW, so no need for you to inform me about the pre-1990 arrangements.'

I have an extremely hard time imagining you even being 10 years old in 1990, to be honest. And considering what you wrote about Estonia, you do seem to be quite ignorant of arrangement pre-1990, to be honest.

'PS: I’m European, BTW. In case you didn’t get the hint. So if citing founding documents is the appeal to authority here, I think my authority outweighs yours by birthright.'

This is getting fascinating - you apparently live in the U.S., and have a successful immigration background (assuming I remember some of your posts accurately - the ones where you claim to be successful, hard working, etc.) but apparently are not an American citizen, though you comment quite often on American politics.

I'm not appealing to authority - I'm citing the easily discovered and extremely explicit reason why the EU was founded in the wreckage left by WWII.

'If your justification is that bloody-minded Continental Europeans can’t keep from fighting each for 10 days without needing to turn over their national sovereignty to a Central Committee of Bureaucrats…then fine.'

For a self-professed European, you seem to have an extremely limited view of European history.

'Have it your way. That was the argument the Soviets used too for conquering other people’s.'

And to think that essentially all Europeans I have ever met can actually recognize the difference between the Red Army and the EU handing out billions in development aid to countries like Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.

'rather than have UK hand over their rule to bloody-minded German bureaucrats'

Well, odd as it may sound to some, the French and Italians have been a lot more successful in getting those EU positions. You are welcome to decide how bloody minded they are, of course.

prior_test2: currently, the British have a lot of exceptions in their dealings with the EU. British ‘chocolate’ being a fascinating example

Interesting choice of case study: I'm not sure Britain exports much chocolate to Europe.

A lot of the exceptions seem like this; not actually for goods and services that Britain would want to export to Europe, or which it is able to do so for. The exception here is allow Britain to sell its chocolate, as chocolate, to itself! It also "allows" it to sell to Ireland, as an EU, though (which is fascinating as well; the "benefit" of the UK joining the EU here is to be allowed, after fulsome negotiation, to be able to sell chocolate to its closest neighbour, with whom it shares the same chocolate tradition anyway).

I do also wonder if it what probably actually happened was indirectly useful to the likes of Milka and Lidl in entering the British market (and with that intent in mind). That seems more the dynamic that actually happened than increasing British chocolate exports to continental Europe.

In other words, at best, the British will get the Swiss deal – zero voice in EU affairs, but obligated to follow EU rulings to maintain a favorable trading relationship.

That's the sort of thing that's an issue or not, depending on the actual regulations. I suspect in the case of Brexit, there would be some regulations which wouldn't be followed, because the real exports are not large in volume enough for it to be an issue, and where the American export market is better and not following the EU regulation gives more freedom to comply with that.

So what particular kind of regulations are we talking here? I could see the UK mostly complying with particular anti-money laundering regs simple through desire to have a open market in services, while ignoring other regulations that aren't about goods or services it actually wants to export or import.

Presumably in your vision, in the case of Brexit, a German run EU would simply engage trade war against Britain to make it comply in areas which aren't actually relevant to its imports / exports, and Britain would have to lump it? (With the justification that it's important that Britain comply with random minor regulations, lest war happen, somehow).

Europeans know why the EU exists – why this is so difficult for those in the U.S. to understand remains difficult to grasp.

The way I've usually had it sold, is the view that the EU's purpose is to makes economic cooperation more easy between willing participants, and therefore this in theory will make war less likely. Very different from the idea that the EU's purpose is to foist regulations and membership on non-aligned states. Viewing it as having the goal of "It is to make war between European nations less likely, whatever the means, including trade wars against countries that don't particularly want to be regulated by the EU" is somewhat terrifying.

"Poland and the Baltic states won’t want to sabotage their military relationship with Britain – particularly as the U.S. turns in on itself and its commitment to Europe looks threadbare (note that the UK will, by dint of geography, always be involved in Europe)."

Even if this was true, Poland and the Baltic States will also be upset if the UK imposes immigration restrictions against their nationals.

"The Dutch, Danes and Swedes are like-minded people and sympathise with our situation."

Then why haven't the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish governments supported Britain?

"Madrid and Paris will try to squeeze us but, as long as Germany pulls the strings, their influence will be as extensive as in the Eurozone crisis – zero."

Even if this was true, why is Germany supposed to be fine with this?

prior_test2, you have an amazing gift of saying nothing of value at all.

1) Try to comprehend sarcasm when you see it. I know that after 20 years of living in Germany, your ability to do so much have been reduced to the size of your appendix.

2) I've lived in the US for 20 years as well, and am a US citizen. Thanks for asking.

3) The point is that there is plenty of cross-border trade between German car industry and British car industry, even if Mercedes may not be as much (although it surely is. It's got R&D labs in UK, for one). So if you think that Germany is going to stick it to UK in cars...think again, unless you think BMW is going to stick it to BMW, and Opel is going to stick it to Opel (both owned by GM, anyway). But, of course, that would require some thinking.

Of course, I doubt BMW is as...stupid...as Angela Merkel or the EU apparatchiks. They'll just build a BMW plant in UK.

4) You trying to reiterate to me the history of Europe as justification for the EU, is, as I said...precious and humerus. I'd advise you to not bother. I can assure you I know more about European history than you can ever read on the EU's founding document. And as I reminded you, European protection is provided by....NATO....not EU.

Amazing how from 1945 to 1993...no European country went to war with another...even though there was no EU. How bizarre :)

PS: And as I said, you really need to work on your ability to comprehend sarcasm when you see it, so you don't waste 3 paragraphs explaining to me the difference between the EU, USSR, and the history of Estonia. LOL

"The Poles, for one, are wondering what you are talking about – especially in light of the incessant British press coverage of ‘Polish plumbers’ destroying the UK."

That fact that you're so clueless as to compare Polish immigration to UK, with Arabs trying to get into Poland....is evidence enough.

@Randy McDonald

The people who were counting on leaving or on receiving cash from relatives abroad, sure. But I think the case for a national interest of Eastern European countries in maintaining immigration to Britain or Western Europe is being overstated. It used to be so in the past, when a very poor country in the midst of economic turmoil would avoid social conflict by exporting its unemployment abroad and receiving hard currency transfers to prop up consumption, savings and small investment. It was, indeed, very useful. But I think the situation has turned in on itself and Eastern European countries are suffering more from brain drain and loss of people at the peak of working capacity and ready to form families than they are gaining. It's just that they have no recourse under current EU rules to limit immigration abroad and it would be political suicide for politicians who understand the threat to be actively seen as undermining their citizens' freedom to emigrate. The only solution is for the countries themselves to develop to the point where people stop leaving and some (the ones who don't have all their social capital abroad) to return. But that is being undermined by loss of population and by brain drain, as well as the loss of an impetus for reform when the most ambitious and likely people to push through reforms instead go abroad and escape the dysfunction back home. This is what is happening to Romania (which has lost a fifth of its population in my short lifetime), and the willingness of its diaspora to buck national electoral trends has made it a force in politics. Even though Romanians abroad vote (and there have been scandals regarding the infrastructure placed by the Romanian government at their disposal in order to vote), they are naturally less involves in local Romanian issues. Meaning the potential reformist "troublemakers" have either left or leave as soon as it is possible, and leave behind a more passive populace. But how can Romania manage to retain its workers, especially the most valuable ones? It can grow at Chinese levels for a decade and still not be able to close the income gap (in PPP) between what it can pay its doctors and what a Romanian doctor going to Germany can earn.

The EU is a mess. Get out! You will be better off outside of it. Switzerland is a nice place. Norway is a nice place. Germany and France are becoming dangerous Middle East countries. Learn from these examples.

The problem, Keith, is that Switzerland and Norway have been pressured by the EU cartel into accepting many of the same onerous rules actual EU members have. Both are Schengen members. Norway and Switzerland have implemented most new EU laws. They have independence in name only, because at any time the EU can use its market power to punish any country seeking true independence.

And this is not a good argument for the EU! Cartels are bad! Let countries go their own way! Stop centralizing everything into opaque bureaucracies!

'Germany and France are becoming dangerous Middle East countries.'

And to think that just recently, they were socialist hellholes.

Most Middle Eastern hellholes are also socialist hellholes. So I don't see your point here.

Yep, sarcasm does seem to escape you.

No I'm pretty sure I was being sarcastic.

Brexit is an obviously good idea unless you happen to be a hardcore globalist.

1. Britain has relatively little trade with the EU--the lowest of all EU members except Malta. The EU is *NOT* a free trade area. It is a trade bloc which has external protectionist trade barriers. Britain's economic mix just isn't particularly well suited for EU-focused trade. They don't have Germany's world-beating manufacturing prowess or Slovakia's low labor costs.

2. The biggest possible gains from EU membership come from Schengen and Euro membership, both of which Britain isn't a part of anyway and wouldn't want to be at this point. Both had potential, but due to rushed, poor implementation and general institutional incompetence, both are a bad deal, and most British people are happy they aren't part of either. Euro and Schengen simply look like an overreach now--a case of hubris.

3. The strongest criticism of Brexit is basically that any change of this magnitude brings the possibility of a brief technical recession. In other words, it's a short-term "quarterly capitalist" perspective. Not a long-view of what is best for the UK over generations.

Anything that weakens the EU should be viewed as a good thing, as it is fundamentally a cartel that uses its power to push around smaller countries. It is indeed a little bit related to the Trump phenomenon, in that Trump recognizes the decline of the American "Empire of Bases" and wants to facilitate its disintegration in Europe and Asia.

I am hopeful that the movement toward geopolitical disintegration and economic descaling is unstoppable now, and the world can move back to harmony and balance.

1. More than 40% of the UK's exports go to other EU members. I wouldn't call that "relatively little trade".

2. The biggest gain comes from the internal market in which Britain participates.

3. Losing member access to the European market has a high likelihood of inflicting lasting harm on the British economy.

The EU is as much a "cartel" as any federation, including the U.S. federal government. Should it disintegrate chances are it would be followed by small-minded nationalism, threatening trade and peace.

Economists for Brexit
http://www.economistsforbrexit.co.uk/

If the UK suffers a recession after the Brexit vote, it wont be due to the vote--but due to the tight money policy of the BoE.
https://thefaintofheart.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/playing-the-fiddle-while-rome-burns/

Here is economist Patrick Minford making the economic case for Brexit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xskWLMu5Ggo

I can't help notice in the comments on YouTube videos on Brexit that Brexit is overwhelmingly supported, yet the polls show that this vote will be close.

Sorry Tyler, I understand you and your globalist peers dont like Brexit but this post is just bullshit.

For all their lip service to "liberty," libertarians widely distain voters and democratic forms of government. They prefer anarchy, then oligarchy, then monarchy. Democracy is way down their list of preferences.

Alexander Fraser Tytler would like a word with you. Democracy ≠ liberty.

No post suggesting a UNANIMOUS (public) vote can be taken seriously. Apparently T.C. believes that there is not one single individual who would stand to gain substantially were the U.K to exit. Not economical gain, necessarily, but *ANY* substantive gain whether due to legal changes, economic, treaty, or even transportation changes, or even simply cultural or psychological changes. My only explanation is either way too much wine, or his irony/sarcasm has escaped me. Is he really such an extreme left-winger as he believes that everybody "should" hold some future public good (which is to a significant degree outside of rational control) ABSOLUTELY above any personal good? Add to that that he must be certain that his predictions of the outcome are correct? Wow. Astounding arrogance. "I know what is good for them all", right?

Interestingly enough, I thought of Donald Trump while reading your personal take on Brexit. But I thought of it in this context: "Tyler, a brilliant guy, is missing the point. His reasoning concentrates on economic issues and not the much deeper issue of self-determination and identity. This is the sort of thing that Donald 'people will be able to say Merry Christmas to each other' Trump gets and signals that he cares about.

So you are correct that Brexit is the Donald Trump of England, but you didn't realize it was a complement.

ding ding. Cowen's veering into "not even wrong" territory.

Brexit is about the best idea the Brtis have had this side of the last 100 years.

Of course, it will cause cancer, rise in sea levels, mass starvation, epidemics and whatever other nonsense the Remainers have cooked up this week as a scare tactic.

Time for the EU to die.

Tyler - would you consent to live in a country where the most senior legislature had no power to propose or repeal laws? The EU parliament can only accept or reject commission proposals. And the commission is unelected, and it's proceedings are secret.

Except the situation is actually not quite as dire. The Commission frequently introduces legislation suggested by the EU Parliament, and Parliament can amend the Commission's proposals. A new Commission is proposed by the democratically elected governments of the member states in the Council and needs approval by Parliament. That cabinet meetings are held behind closed doors seems perfectly normal. Would you know a country where that is not the case?

In a parliamentary democracy, parliament should be sovereign. For example, in the UK, any member can ballot to introduce any bill to a vote. Until relatively recently, if you joined the cabinet you had to be re-elected in a by-election by your constituents. Being appointed by an elected official is not the same as being elected yourself.

Again, the Commission is not just being "appointed by an elected official". And Parliament does have the right to propose legislation. There is certainly room for improvement. It's just not as bad as you seem to think.

The other point is that most cabinets do debate in secret - but that strongly implies that the EU is indeed and supranational government, which is not what the British were told they were signing up for.

The reason the Brexit debate has gotten so woozy is that the defenders of the European Union are leery of arguing that the European Union is for the good of Europeans because that strikes them as racist.

Instead, over the last year, respectable figures have told us over and over that the highest example of European Values is the German Chancellor's unilateral decision, tearing up EU regulations, to invite into Europe a Million Muslim Mob. That's what European Values are: facilitating, by hook and by crook, the demographic inundation of Europe by hostile non-Europeans.

If anybody could authoritatively speak up for for an European Union for Europeans and against a European Union for Middle Easterners and Africans, then Brexit wouldn't be so popular. But nobody on the pro-EU side seems to be willing to do that because opposing "nationalism" with "continentalism" sounds tantamout to "racism," which is the worst thing imaginable.

Indeed, the fervor with which the German rulers have embraced the destruction of European values and identity...is the main driver for the desire of many countries to leave.

What the EU represents now is precisely the...opposite...of European values and identity.

I wish Angela Merkel a swift and painful defeat at the polls.

'is that the defenders of the European Union are leery of arguing that the European Union is for the good of Europeans because that strikes them as racist'

You really need to get out and meet some Europeans - or maybe learn how to read German. Not that you would care that such a flat statement is utterly contradicted by reality, of course.

European supporters of the EU proudly claim that the EU is good for Europe, and has been since its founding. Maybe you simply missed the hint in the 'European' part of the name?

"Maybe you simply missed the hint in the ‘European’ part of the name?"

It's kind of easy to miss, actually. BTW, you're on a rolling streak of brilliant rebuttals.

Steve Sailer lives in a world where he believes that reality corresponds to what he thinks it should be, and he would like as many people as possible to join him.

One of his latest fantasies is that Europeans share a framework in which they are scared to be Europeans for fear of being called 'racist.' A truly bizarre perspective in the eyes of anyone who actually lives in Europe - at least you seem to understand that Europeans are extremely interested in their own benefit.

Which is why the EU exists, of course. Nobody in Europe wants a repeat of WWII, after all.

As Angela Merkel said, the Arab migrants are just as European too. Look at the church paintings.

So, in a way, you have a point.

'the Arab migrants are just as European too'

Can you give a cite? Because otherwise, better proof of living in a fantasy world couldn't be asked for. Doing a quick search using combinations of 'merkel araber europäer migranten' and just looking at the first page results comes up quite blank in terms of any Merkel quote - pretty solid on German racist cesspit sites, though.

But to again be as charitable as possible, possibly you meant something along the lines that Merkel said Arabs are people too. Which would not be a surprise - she actually seems to think that, but then, she does head a Christian party, and is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. As noted more than 2000 years ago, Christians do have some peculiar beliefs -

'35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’' https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew 25:35-40

Her response to the question of how to defend German culture from the hordes she's inviting in, was to "And third, of course, we have this debate that a lot of Muslims also have in which we debate whether Islam even belongs to Germany, or not. But I’m finding that when we have 4 million Muslims in this country, it’s really not debatable whether Muslims belong to Germany but Islam doesn’t, or whether Islam also belongs to Germany" http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fb6_1441776541

A confused answer, undoubtedly. But it's not exactly confusing that she's saying that these people "belong to Germany".

Which is what I said too. So why do you get so offended? ;)

So I agree with you, if one thinks that these people...ARE...Europeans...then she is indeed "defending Europe".

I'm just thinking that, maybe, most Europeans don't share her views of what Europe is. So you're just confirming Steve Sailer's point by refusing to even openly admit to what the problem is.

PS: Me, being from E.Europe, and very glad out politicians make no suicidal statements of this sort and are in no way interested in destroying their own culture and countries in the same way as Merkel is. Which is why a union with...you...is becoming more and more obvious to be a mistake.

PS: As to your Bible quotes, I always find it amazing when atheists cite the Bible to Christians in a vain attempt at making a point. LOL.

This, of course, from a book which talks about....THE CHOSEN PEOPLE. LOL :)

But, as a Christian, I take your point. And I'd inform you for the BILLIONS of dollars given by European countries to aid those affected by the civil war in Syria. They are being fed, clothed, housed, educated etc...all on EU money.

So you're not arguing about helping these people. We are helping these people. I just don't see why we need to help them...in Germany...rather then in Turkey.

Do you even have...even that...little ability to comprehend the subtlety of this argument? And I know you do. You just want to prove Steve Sailer right, by refusing to even acknowledge that saying that, no, these people shouldn't be coming here, is "racist". Nobody is talking about letting them starve. Just...let them be fed in their own houses and their own countries.

PPS: I wonder...did Angela Merkel's and yours gracious attitude towards opening your doors, and your legs, to any wayward "refugee" also extend to letting in the...2 MILLION...refugees created during the War in Ukraine?

Or...no? Not those? They were too blonde and too Christian and too European to be...worthy...of being offered asylum in Germany. But Assad's and ISIS's murderers running away from Syria, now those, we have to bend over backwards to bring into Europe.

You sirs, are not just hypocrites. You're grossly hypocritical.

Let's combine three into one, shall we?

'Her response to the question of how to defend German culture from the hordes she’s inviting in, was to “And third, of course, we have this debate that a lot of Muslims also have in which we debate whether Islam even belongs to Germany, or not. But I’m finding that when we have 4 million Muslims in this country, it’s really not debatable whether Muslims belong to Germany but Islam doesn’t, or whether Islam also belongs to Germany”'

You talked about Arabs. The majority of Muslims in Germany come from Turkey and the Balkans - these people, as they will tell you themselves, are not Arabs. I may add, in case you were unaware, that a certain group of Germans, even today, insists Jews aren't part of Germany either.

'So why do you get so offended?'

Offended about what? As it turns out, you don't actually have a factual citation where Merkel says what you says she did.

'most Europeans don’t share her views of what Europe is'

In Germany, it tends to be called the Abendland, if that helps. You know, Poland, the UK, Spain, etc. In English, one of the terms that is somewhat applicable in the past was 'Christendom.'

'I always find it amazing when atheists cite the Bible to Christians'

I'm Catholic, as said here often enough. Though possibly, you are one of those people who find it unacceptable for Catholics to cite the Bible, being under the sway of the whore of Babylon and all that.

'This, of course, from a book which talks about….THE CHOSEN PEOPLE'

That was New Testament quote.

'And I’d inform you for the BILLIONS of dollars given by European countries to aid those affected by the civil war in Syria. They are being fed, clothed, housed, educated etc…all on EU money.'

Yep, except for being euros, of course. The German news today, on Pentecost Sunday, was that the German government currently plans to spend 94 billion euros on refugees in the next 4 years. Of course, that was German money, not EU money - but why do you think this is somehow surprising?

'that saying that, no, these people shouldn’t be coming here, is “racist”'

Why would it be racist to suggest that a society can only integrate x number of people per year, and not a larger number y? The numbers of refugees coming to Germany is already shrinking significantly. Projection is a fascinating thing to see - when someone like Kretschmann in Baden-Württemberg talks about the need to realistically deal with refugees, no one accuses him of being a racist. Mainly because he isn't one, in contrast to, for example, the vast majority of those in PEGIDA or supporting the AfD, and essentially all of their current leadership.

'Just…let them be fed in their own houses and their own countries.'

Part of that 94 billion is intended to do just that, as noted in the news report.

'did Angela Merkel’s and yours gracious attitude towards opening your doors'

I'm American, remember? Meaning I have as much a voice in EU affairs, as you, a self-professed East European, do in American affairs. Assuming we aren't trying to be hypocrites, of course.

"You talked about Arabs. The majority of Muslims in Germany come from Turkey and the Balkans – these people, as they will tell you themselves, are not Arabs"

Muslims are Germans. Arabs are Muslims. Ergo, Arabs are Germans. If A=C and B=C, then B=A

"Offended about what? As it turns out, you don’t actually have a factual citation where Merkel says what you says she did"

LOL. Now you're just being silly. I gave you her quote.

"I’m Catholic, as said here often enough. Though possibly, you are one of those people who find it unacceptable for Catholics to cite the Bible, being under the sway of the whore of Babylon and all that."

I suspect you're about as Catholic as Angela Merkel is Lutheran.

As for the reminder of your post, you seem to be contradicting yourself...which is not surprising since you clearly have no other aim here than to engage in pointless polemics.

You accused...us...of not being Christian enough, for not wanting to bring these people into Europe. Now you're saying "hey look, we trying to stop them from coming here too!". Ok....so...what's your point then? That you agree with me?

Congrats.

As I've been saying all along, you have a strange way of rebutting to people...by reiterating what they said and agreeing with them in the end :) ...and yet still declaring to have successfully contradicting them.

It's an art form.

1) My understanding is that all parties --- pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit, British and EU --- think that free trade between UK and EU is a good thing, correct? If so, then why wouldn't the EU quickly sign a free-trade agreement with the UK post-Brexit? After all, if the EU wants the UK to stay in the EU, then the EU is basically saying that it wants free trade with the UK. Would it be purely out of political spite that the EU would not sign a free-trade agreement with post-Brexit UK? Such against-own-interest spite would seem to be a larger impediment to global cosmopolitanism than Brexit itself.

If the common ground position among all parties is that free trade is good, then why don't all parties emphasize a commitment now to UK-EU trade regardless of the Brexit outcome? Wouldn't such assurances, especially from the EU, be the best way to dampen any negative shocks or uncertainties in the economy and markets arising from Brexit? The US and Canada could also help by reassuring the world that they would quickly act to ensure open commerce between North America and the UK.

2) Even if the EU wouldn't quickly sign a free-trade agreement, don't most of the benefits from trade come from imports rather than exports? A post-Brexit UK could always unilaterally remove trade barriers regardless of what the EU does.

3) Isn't the anti-Brexit case really about how to deal with an obstinate EU? A post-Brexit EU might be so spiteful that it would intentionally act against its own interests regarding trade with Britain. Thus, to avoid such fallout, the UK should just remain part of the EU. Indeed, that might be reason enough to oppose Brexit. But, if that is the argument, why characterize the pro-Brexit side as anti-cosmopolitan, imprudent, etc.? It would be the EU that would be acting imprudently.

Because the EU is not about free trade. It is also about protectionism. It is...primarily...about protectionism, precisely by penalizing countries from doing business outside of EU borders.

No, the EU is about creating a European State. Its a political project disguised as an economic project. That is why they make their economic decisions based on political power, not on economics, such as including Greece in the Euro and the association agreement with Ukraine. Neither were good economic decisions but were done to expand the EU politically

'Its a political project disguised as an economic project.'

The slightly better informed would say it is a political project using economic means, but people with that attitude are a lot more likely to be European. Especially as the founders of the EU were explicit in saying pretty much precisely that.

'Neither were good economic decisions but were done to expand the EU politically'

In all honesty, Ukraine's NATO application was likely a lot more relevant to the Russians, though until Viktor Yanukovych lost power, the Russians did not seem to care much about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine–NATO_relations

It was never disguised as an economic project only. The very Treaty of Rome that started the whole process off referred to an "ever-closer union" between member-states.

Is it possible to remain in the EU but leave EuroVision? ;)

http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/eurovision/article/2016/05/13/eurovision-2016-and-winner

If Australia can be in Eurovision, anything is possible. Including, bearded "ladies".

She's Austrian

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conchita_Wurst

Read much?

Sigh: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year/participant-profile/?song=34103

Quick to respond, much?

BTW, this is a SHE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zo%C3%AB_(Austrian_singer)

This is a HE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conchita_Wurst

HE...doesn't even claim to be a woman. He's just a weird dude who wears dresses. So why would you call HIM a she?

You really need to get on a regular schedule with your Zyprexa.

As for the homophobia, please remain in Bumfuck, IN

Where you belong.

So, in other words, you've got nothing to say.

PS: Where do you see homophobia in my answer? The dude says he's a dude. You're the one attributing your own delusions...on him. So a drag queen who doesn't conform to your delusions, is homophobic?

Carlos has a profound bigotry against rural Americans.

The European Union: Come for the trade agreements, stay for the punitive bureaucratic actions.

I think this is buried in Tyler's "security issues will worsen," and nobody else has mentioned it, although it is what US leaders are most concerned about, and I think Patrick Minford has not put it in his model, is that very likely Scotland would revive its referendum to leave Great Britain and probably would do so in order to rejoin the EU. This means the end of the UK as we have known it, which many would say "ha ha, good riddance" too, but the US is plenty concerned indeed about the security aspects, with a newly independent and left wing Scotland possibly denying the use of naval bases for US vessels.

No, this will not affect Baltic security in the least, not a bit.

You may not be aware of this, but the US has not used the base in Scotland in 24 years.

There's ports in England too, the locations would just shift.

Scotland leaving the UK would be the unexpected bonus of leaving the EU. Good riddance to them too.

AIG,

The full-blown US naval base at Holy Loch closed in 1992 after the Cold War ended, but US subs carrying Trident missiles still dock at Scottish bases such as Faslane. You may think it is just great for the Scots to leave UK, but it will weaken the British military and its ability to help NATO. This is of serious concern to the US>

Also, do keep in mind that UK not in Schengen agreement as it is, so immigration will not be affected by UK leaving EU.

1) There are 2 dozen facilities USN ships can use in Europe to dock at. Some are outright owned by the USN, some are shared with partner nations. The "loss" of one base is hardly worth considering when faced the future of the UK in general. Also USN subs are nuclear powered. They don't need to "dock" anywhere in Europe. Docking is done as a political show of force (also, the main reason is to transfer missiles to the RN submarines, since under the rules of the agreement between the US-RN, the US keeps the missile stock pile)

2) You really think the...Scotts...are going to leave the UK but not demand that the Royal Navy, RAF and Royal Army provide protection for them? They can kick the RN out of Faslane if they want, and the town will die. And who will pay for the welfare of these "marginalized" people now? The Scotts? So, I doubt that in the short term the RN will leave. In the long term yes. But again, these are such small considerations as to be pointless in the bigger picture.

These are truly insignificant consequences.

3) No, I don't see how it will affect UK's contribution to NATO or its role in the least bit. Please explain to me...:) In details please.

4) Yes, UK is not in Schengen. UK immigration rules, however, are still dictated by Brussels. UK's ability to deport...terrorists...is still limited by Brussels. As Brussels has demonstrated.

"UK immigration rules, however, are still dictated by Brussels."

No they are not, with the exception of rules for people who carry passports of EU member countries.

Translation: No they are not!!!!....except when they are!!!!

Translation: I really don't understand how the EU works

And hard as this might be to imagine, all UK citizens have exactly the same privilege of the EU overriding the immigration policies of the EU countries where they reside.

One could call this reciprocity, but then that would imply more understanding of the issue than you seem to possess.

"One could call this reciprocity, but then that would imply more understanding of the issue than you seem to possess."

Indeed, Your response was a brilliant rebuttal to my point. Except for being identical to my point.

Otherwise, great success!

'Except for being identical to my point. '

Why I bother - let us try this a bit differently. All citizens of all members of the EU have exactly the same right to live and work in any country which belongs to the EU. This is part of the explicit purpose of the EU, ensuring that all citizens within the EU can live and work anywhere within the EU, being a fundamental aspect of the EU's overriding goal of trying to prevent major war from returning to Europe. (At some point, the EU will fail, and Europe will return to its bloody history of mass slaughter and destruction - don't worry, in the long run, you will have the world you apparently desire.)

All nations that join the EU agree to this, as part of joining the EU. Nothing was 'overruled,' as all nations that joined agreed to this as part of their becoming part of the EU. In other words, 'UK immigration rules, however, are still dictated by Brussels' is flatly wrong. The UK decided, when joining the EU in 1973, to accept this reciprocal arrangement as a goal - no one in Brussels 'dictated' it to the UK.

One can certainly see that when new nations join the EU, arrangements are made to accomodate such new members. However, again, those arrangements are not 'dictated' by Brussels, as can be seen by how Germany handled the 2004 EU expansion -

'With their original accession to the EU, free movement of people between all 25 states would naturally have applied. However, due to concerns of mass migration from the new members to the old EU-15, some transitional restrictions were put in place. Mobility within the EU-15 (plus Cyprus) and within the new states (minus Cyprus) functioned as normal (although the new states had the right to impose restrictions on travel between them). Between the old and new states, transitional restrictions up to 1 May 2011 could be put in place, and EU workers still had a preferential right over non-EU workers in looking for jobs even if restrictions were placed upon their country. No restrictions were placed on Cyprus or Malta. The following restrictions were put in place by each country;

* Austria and Germany: Restriction on free movement and to provide certain services. Work permits still needed for all countries. In Austria, to be employed the worker needs to have been employed for more than a year in his home country prior to accession. Germany had bilateral quotas which remained in force.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_enlargement_of_the_European_Union#Free_movement_issues

Notice the lack of Brussels doing the dictating for each nation's own policies? But did you also notice that all members of the EU agree to the same terms as being part of the EU in the longer term?

So, again, you reiterate my points that EU's immigration rules are dictated by Brussels. You just seem to think that it's not "dictating" if they "chose to join".

The definition of "dictate" is to...prescribe. By joining the EU, they agree to the prescribed rules of Brussels. I.e., their rules are dictated by Brussels.

I see that 20 years of living in Germany has left you unable to make even the simplest non-circular argument. Living in Germany tends to do that to a person.

PS: Sorry, UK's immigration policy, is what I meant to say.

This is like saying...Estonia...CHOSE...to join the USSR. No one dictated that it must adopt communism.

Just that if it tried to not adopt communism, kinda sorta, little green men might come by for vacation in tanks.

But it's not dictating! It's just voluntary agreement to do as we say! :)

'So, again, you reiterate my points that EU’s immigration rules are dictated by Brussels.'

No. I flatly contradicted them, providing cites of how it actually works in practice.

'This is like saying…Estonia…CHOSE…to join the USSR.'

Except it didn't - 'The Secret Additional Protocol of the German–Soviet Nonaggression Pact signed on August 23, 1939, assigned the Republic of Estonia to the Soviet sphere of influence. On September 24, 1939 warships of the Soviet Navy appeared off Estonian ports and Soviet bombers began a patrol over Tallinn and the nearby countryside.[13] Moscow demanded that Estonia allow the USSR to establish military bases and station 25,000 troops on Estonian soil for the duration of the European war. The government of Estonia accepted the ultimatum, signing the corresponding mutual assistance agreement on September 28, 1939.

On June 12, 1940, according to the director of the Russian State Archive of the Naval Department Pavel Petrov (C.Phil.), the order for total military blockade of Estonia was given to the Soviet Baltic Fleet. On June 14, the Soviet military blockade of Estonia went into effect while the world’s attention was focused on the fall of Paris to Nazi Germany. Two Soviet bombers downed a Finnish passenger airplane "Kaleva" flying from Tallinn to Helsinki carrying three diplomatic pouches from the U.S. legations in Tallinn, Riga and Helsinki. On June 16, Soviet NKVD troops raided border posts in Estonia (along with Lithuania and Latvia). Soviet leader Joseph Stalin claimed that the 1939 mutual assistance treaties had been violated, and gave six-hour ultimatums for new governments to be formed in each country, including lists of persons for cabinet posts provided by the Kremlin. The Estonian government decided, according to the Kellogg–Briand Pact, to not respond to the Soviet ultimatums by military means. Given the overwhelming Soviet force both on the borders and inside the country, the order was given not to resist in order to avoid bloodshed and open war.

On June 17, the Red Army emerged from its military bases in Estonia and, aided by an additional 90,000 Soviet troops, took over the country, occupying the territories of the Republic of Estonia.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonian_Soviet_Socialist_Republic#History

Look, please at least know some history before comparing how Estonia joined the EU (or NATO, for that matter) and how it was invaded by the Soviet Union.

The sheer number of ridiculous historical comparison--with the Nazis, the Soviets, et cetera--only underlines that, for many Brexit proponents, history is meaningless.

"No. I flatly contradicted them, providing cites of how it actually works in practice"

Flatly contradicted by saying that, yes, indeed the Brtis have to abide by EU laws on immigration.

Maybe "contradict" means something else in German than in English?

"Look, please at least know some history before comparing how Estonia joined the EU (or NATO, for that matter) and how it was invaded by the Soviet Union."

It's called SARCASM :)

I know, this is the first time you've ever come across it.

"The sheer number of ridiculous historical comparison"

Your sheer inability to understand a...joke...when you see it, is evidence enough that you've been a member of the EU for far too long.

Scotland should leave the UK. They have to stop blaming the English for all their problems at some point, and Scottish independence would force them to confront reality sooner or later. Perhaps I'm wrong and the "right-wing" English really are oppressing poor Scotland. In which case they definitely should become independent.

Works either way.

And either way, the English win out.

I was thinking the same thing. Once they need to provide for themselves they'll a hell of a lot less left wing.

"Security issues" is probably the most hilarious prediction here.

Security issues, like allowing a flood of undocumented, unchecked immigrants from ISIS-dominated countries to carry out attacks in Europe, like the dozens they have carried out in the EU just in the last few years?

UK is in NATO, and its second strongest partner. UK's security interests are with NATO. EU provides no security for the UK, and if anything, exacerbates the security issues of the UK...by preventing deportations of radical Islamists from the UK.

Yes, and UK's ability to work with NATO will be weakened. People at the Pentagon know this. Why do you not, AIG?

And how exactly?

Apparently phone calls between the US and UK have to be routed through Belgium for some reason understandable only by the brainiacs at the Pentagon.

Because after Scotland leaves, British GDP will be lower. This is obvious, AIG.

BTW, the people in that country are the "Scots," not the "Scotts," which is a proper last name, not national group.

HUH????

You're an econ professor, right? And that was the best argument you could come up with?

Hey, if UK incorporated Ethiopia into itself, its' GDP would be even higher. So I suppose that would be for the best. Right?

AIG,

Precisely because I am an econ prof that I am aware that a lower aggregate GDP damages ability to mount a national defense, as well as losing a large amount of land mass contiguous to the rest of your country. For the latter reason your Ethiopia example is silly.

Hey, why did the Union defeat the Confederacy? It was not better generals or more fervent soldiers? The Confederacy was way ahead of the Union on both. But the Union had industry and a higher GDP. They were able to wear down the Confederacy.

This is also why the US was inevitably going to defeat Japan in WW Ii, so that it was completely idiotic of the Japanese to attach Pearl Harbor, although if they were going to war with us, that was a strategic move that would have been more damaging if more of the Pacific fleet had actually been at home at the base rather than floating around in the Pacific.

No, British judges and judges for the ECHR--not an EU organization--are responsible.

I wonder if there's some rules in the EU about following the dictates of such a body. I wonder...hmm...

Britain does need to follow its own laws, yes. That's a fundamental requirement of Union membership: An applicant country can't be a dictatorship.

As for the ECHR, that relates to the Council of Europe, an altogether separate body from the Union.

Exhibit # 3,563 for leaving the EU: https://youtu.be/I-HUuSHJ2OI

After watching this abomination, what sane person would...want...to be part of such a cult?

> After watching this abomination, what sane person would…want…to be part of such a cult?

In the 80s, religious youth movements used to do shows and videos very similar to this and got thoroughly mocked for it.

https://youtu.be/QHgiKKCuKp0

Daniel Hannan 2016!

Maybe, once UK leaves, we can form a Union of Anglophone Countries, headed by QEII. Wait, I think we had that once...

"The conservative case for [some liberal policy]." It's practically the job of the "respectable" conservative intellectual these days.

Pretty sure no one has ever heard of the author of this piece. Nor is he a conservative. Nor much of an "intellectual".

I don't think any of these 3 words apply.

I don’t think any of these 3 words apply.

You have to be kidding me. You're talking about a guy with a Ph.D. from Harvard and a named chair at a state university. He's the general director of a think tank and was ranked #72 among the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" by the respected Foreign Policy magazine. The even more respected Economist magazine thought him one of the most influential economists of the last decade. He's a regular columnist for The New York Times and a noted author of books on everything from food to the production of culture to economic growth to neurodiversity.

And what, AIG, have you ever done?

The idea that a vote to remain would settle the question of Brexit once and for all, committing Britain to Europe in perpetuity, if credible, would be the single most convincing argument I have seen yet for Brexit. I hope that a narrow vote to remain encourages the Brexiteers to continue to argue their case and to build an organization that could, if required, manage a competent Brexit (alas, a UKIP pamphlet I was handed yesterday makes claims so extreme as to discredit them).

I can track a suspicion of a European superstate back at least as far as Gibbon (http://files.libertyfund.org/pll/quotes/175.html). We need as much leverage as we can get to obtain economic efficiencies for all without handing over more and more power to elites whose bargains and debates are obscured to the point of unaccountability.

I am convinced that using a referendum victory to force massive change on a leader who expected, wished, and prepared, to remain would be dangerous.

Committing ourselves to unity with nations who literally do not speak the same language as ourselves, whose legal and political traditions were shaped by Napoleon and Rousseau rather than Locke and Burke, however, sounds to me like selling our birthright for a mess of potage.

UKIP is its own worst enemy, of course.

Either way, seems like Brexit should be the point then. A small inconvenience for Cameron seems like a worthwhile price to pay to escape a sinking ship.

Brexit now. Cowen's being a fool on this one, but he'll come around later.

There are nations today which implement protectionist policies. These nations tend to have obnoxious monopolies and lower standards of living (which one could argue is a reasonable tradeoff to achieve national sovereignty, independent social policy etc.). They also tend to have much higher unemployment (more problematic).

It's time for conservative economists and policy analysts to at least consider and analyze these tradeoffs. Reaganism is so so so over.

Scandinavia does not fit your model.

Open to the world, members of the EU (ex Norway) but with their own, intact, welfare states.

Oh and very high GDP per capita and standards of living. The Norwegians have oil, but the Danes, Finns and Swedes do not.

France would of course be another example on a larger scale. High standard of living, independent social policy, military influence, a power among world states. But not highly protectionist. Or Germany. Austria?

Here's a hint: if these things do not fit the model, then how exactly do they contradict his model?

None of the countries you mention are "protectionist", rather most of them are very free open markets.

Think this one through a bit harder, next time.

Switzerland never joined the EU, and look how badly things turned out for the Swiss (sarc). The members of the Trilateral Commission would probably agree with Tyler's opinion on Brexit.

Switzerland is unique. It has huge banking links to the rest of the world, and a 400 year old tradition of independence and neutrality.

Whereas Britain has been in almost every major European war since we acquired Hanoverian kings (and quite a few before). The arrival of the airplane and the submarine torpedo in modern warfare meant that neutrality in a major European conflict became impossible-- the victor would always go for us (be it Germany or Russia)-- the English Channel ceased to be a major barrier (in the sense that a Continental Power could always threaten our supply lines and links to the world). Our line of defence moved from the Channel to the Continent itself (first the German-French frontier, and then the Polish-Russian one).

You don't remember Britain in the old days. Business here was artisclerotic, and the landowning class was in total control, and locked into a death vise with the worst excesses of single nation socialism (remember the Left was opposed to EU membership until into the 1990s- -George Galloway, a classic Trotskyite rabble rouser, still is).

The Single Market has had a huge impact on internationalizing British business, and joining the EU on internationalizing Britain's outlook and society. Britain has become a hub of international creativity, design, art, innovation and that is all about its access to the whole EU.

True enough. Prior to the EU, Britain was some Island no one had ever heard of, other than of stories of wild men painted in blue, shooting lighting bolts out of their arses.

Jesus Christ, this was hilarious.

http://www.amazon.com/Towards-Imperfect-Union-Conservative-Europe/dp/1442270640/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463327923&sr=8-1&keywords=dalibor+rohac

Your link did not work for me

Tyler, you forgot to mention that Brexit will cause increased jock itch.

Just for once, I'd like to see an anti-Brexit argument that was a) convincing and b) did not make the EU sound like the Dark Side of the Force.

"You do not understant the power of the European Side. You MUST obey your master!"

How likely is it that any organization, any polity, will extend to a seceding state the same privileges as before at the same time that the seceding state divests itself of any responsibilities to the polity?

The privilege to sink with the boat?

So, you don't care about Britain losing its previous access to the single market?

From the blurb for Rohac's book:

"The flourishing of democracy and free markets in Europe has gone hand in hand with the integration project. Europe’s pre-EU past, in contrast, is marked by a series of geopolitical calamities."

Perhaps a little true, but not for Britain, of course - which has traditions of democracy and economic liberalism all of its own, long predating the European project. But anyway only a little true, as the great strides in European economic liberalism were in its early decades; since the 1990s, managing the stumbling integration project (as Rohac calls it) has become the exclusive focus of European political energies. I understand that for those in central and eastern Europe the EU may represent the vessel carrying hopes of political and economic liberalisation, but for Britain the story seems to be increasingly one of political restriction. These problems are perhaps made worse by Britain's place outside of the contintental mainstream - confrontational politics and evolving common law doesn't fit well with the European mould.

The "path is everything"? Well, no. Transitional costs need to be weighed against the supposed benefits over the coming decades. You might say there are no possible benefits of Brexit which would justify the likely transitional costs - but that isn't simply a matter of the path, but the destination too. (Comparison with the exit of a region from a nation-state is inapt, by the way. This is the exit of a nation-state from a set of international institutions.)

We can argue all day long about the extent of those transition traumas - but in the long run, as Wolfgang Munchau says, the likely impact will be limited because the UK's economic future will be driven primarily by the innovation of British business and the skills of its workforce.

But the questions of long term cost and benefit are really ones of political economy. If the EU is so fragile that, as you say, it "could unravel in response" to Brexit, then perhaps it is not the great achievement that its defenders suppose it to be? I'm sceptical of that. I think that Brexit will, after some ups and downs, force a consolidation of the EU as Eurozone, and allow it to evolve the institutions to make a success of the Eurozone. I think that the UK's remaining in the EU but outside of the Eurozone will frustrate that process, and make it far more likely that the Eurozone's problems will deepen with each further recession. Therefore, remaining in the EU means increasing the risk of further Eurozone crises, but also greater exposure to sharing their burdens; leaving the EU lowers Britain's exposure while also improving the prospects for avoiding such crises.

You point out that cutting EU immigration would not help living standards, but that's far from clear-cut, even accepting the implicit assumption that immigration is always and everywhere beneficial to living standards. Assuming current levels of immigration are politically sustainable, cutting low-skilled EU immigration (a large part of it, because of free movement) would allow for increased immigration from anywhere around the world, with a far greater prospect of contributing to improved living standards. If current levels of immigration are not politically sustainable, then it is surely better that the state has the ability to recast policy to retain the support of the vast majority of the public, rather than see more and more support to the kind of extremist politics we see on the rise in France or Austria today.

As for 'security issues', consider: the much greater success of the British authorities in preventing terrorist attacks than in other EU member states; the UK's Five Eyes loyalties, long resented within the EU; the ability of Europol to already work with other non-EU member states; the continued role of NATO. All of these factors suggest the security issues need not be a major problem in the event of Brexit.

"Assuming current levels of immigration are politically sustainable, cutting low-skilled EU immigration (a large part of it, because of free movement) would allow for increased immigration from anywhere around the world, with a far greater prospect of contributing to improved living standards."

Rare are the people who are talking about boosting immigration from abroad. The far more common sentiment seems to be opposition to immigration generally. Brexit would not lead to a diversification of immigration at current levels, but rather greater restrictionism.

If Britain leaves the EU it will escape from being behind the EU barriers to imports. There will be an overall gain to consumers and the economy. Some producers that gain from protection from imports will lose but these losses will be outweighed by gains to consumers. These inefficient protected producers provide much of the resources for the lobbying to stay in.

The economic arguments should be secondary to the basic fact that this is not an in-out referendum but one between two different versions of out.

The UK acts as though it is just a member of a free trade zone.

The EU is instead a political project aiming at ever closer union - we have opted out of that.

The EU aims for all members to use the euro - there is no prospect of the UK adopting the euro.

The core of the EU is the Schengen area - and the UK is not part of that.

So, we have opted out of the three key projects of the EU, and are then surprised that we are marginalised in the organisation.

Doesn't it make sense to admit we are not real EU members and get out now rather than drag out the process of detaching ourselves from the EU one policy at a time?

it doesn't stop with Brexit .. then comes Scoxit and Angloxit .. why stop there.,,, forward to the past and go back to the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy .. in my case Suxit for Sussex independence .. as for re-uniting former British North America with the UK .. we have a perfectly good elective monarchy and don't want you nasty hereditary republic thank you very much ...

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