Friday, June 24, 2016

A Letter to the English People

Dear delusional cretins,

I speak as one of those despicable overly-mannered continentals who skipped right over the cliffs of Albion to the other continent to become a crass, brassy, loudmouth ugly American. My main interest in the British Isles resolves to an utter disgust with the nonsensical, slapdash, disorganized nightmare of Heathrow layovers.

Now, when I heard of this whole Brexit debacle, I immediately and as it turns out quite mistakenly assumed it would turn out like the Scottish secession, a tempest in a teapot brewed by nationalist reactionaries stirring up the discontent of the lower classes for their own self-aggrandizement. Well, I'll hazard a guess that italicized portion holds true. Then again, every single region of the globe has its share of chauvinists somehow convincing themselves that their particular city / state / country / country-club, if only it would isolate itself from the despicable foreign element, would become a shining beacon of civilization yadda-yadda bullshit. I realized the Scottish referendum was akin to, say, Texan separatism, and most Texans and Scots know damn well there's more to a functional society than chest-thumping tribalism, no matter how appealing it may be.

But if it would be self-destructively impractical for Texas to secede, it would be utterly suicidal for New York to do so. The core of London seems to know this as well. The most interesting part of this whole thing to me are the demographics of the referendum, particularly the very clear regression toward separatist idiocy with increasing voter age. Precisely the opposite of what I'd have expected. After the initial shock at this lunacy actually climbing over 50% of the populace, I assumed it must've been the result of some spur of the moment rabblerousing, the sort of revolutionary spirit which tends to run rampant among the youth of any society. I pictured several million chavs and football hooligans swarming the polls to dictate the fate of their betters.

Shows how little I know about the English mentality. So what are we looking at here? The young realize England's part of Europe. Scotland and Ireland know better. The educated center of London seems to realize it must cling to its continental ties. Is all this just the lingering resentment of the aging English provincial middle class pining for the glory days of imperial wealth? For the respectability of sitting in the epicenter of a dying world empire, the glorious past today's fifty-somethings imagine their parents might have enjoyed?

Okay, details aside, I'd just like to point out one tiny core concern: Britain's golden age was a plunder-based economy. You no longer have your precious empire, and you're not getting it back. The next world empire's going to be China. Deal with it. England is now a very overcrowded piece of chalk, fifty million of you dancing on the head of a pin. Your main export these days is nostalgia. Your industrial growth was based on wool and peat bogs. Your early 20th century economy hinged on parasitic militarism. What do you even have that's relevant to an information-age economy? Uranium? Oil? Silicates? Copper? High-turnover intensive agriculture? Give me a freaking break, your wheat needs tanning salons just to sprout up there. "More powerful" without the EU? You can't even feed yourselves!

England's (and Britain's overall) fate since WWII has been the inevitable dieback the center of any empire experiences with the loss of its victims. I cannot begin to fathom the myriad inscrutable cut-throat machinations by which British leadership has staved off the collapse, but your inherently untenable position cannot last much longer. Whatever time you've borrowed you've done so at the mercy of your hated continental cousins, and economic unity, that amazing first move toward a truly open, cosmopolitan, post-nationalist society is your only chance toward a peaceful, respectable senescence instead of the apocalyptic vision of a starving, bankrupt former European aristocracy tearing up highways in desperation for more arable land.

Quasi-sincerely yours,

P.S.: By the way, when it comes to economics, trade and anything else money-related? Might want to actually listen to your stingy Scottish constituency...

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