Craig Dunn: Keep calm and bugger on
Thursday, June 30, 2016 10:22 AM
KOKOMO – I have a deep dark secret to confide. I am one of the most committed Anglophiles in the United States. I love everything British. I love the history. I love the monarchy. I love the tradition. I even love that funny language they call English. Despite the fact that George Bernard Shaw once said that, “Americans and the British are two peoples separated by a common language,” I find myself proud that my heritage springs from the land of King Harold, Robin Hood and Winston Churchill.
Heck, if Henry VIII hadn’t sent my ancestors from Scotland to Northern Ireland in an effort to whip those Emerald Islanders into shape, I might be living at the foot of Castle Hill, in Edinburgh, selling bangers and mash from a street cart. Unfortunately, the survival manual distributed by Henry VIII to the emigrants sent to Northern Ireland didn’t reveal the secret about how to grow potatoes in rocky soil. The desire to eat being a rather strong incentive, my ancestors sailed for the New World and the availability of Big Macs.
My ancestors, the Scots Irish, arrived in the New World and quickly made a new and successful life in a land of milk and honey. In a time before green cards and other restrictions, immigration was pretty simple if you could afford the price of a boat ticket. Sail to Virginia, get off the boat and go to work. It was folks like my ancestors who cleared the forests, tilled the land and began the manufacturing and commercial interests of the New World.
Even though my ancestors left the friendly confines of Britain, they still considered themselves to be subjects of the king and loyal citizens of the realm. Until they didn’t.
The American colonists slowly but surely became disillusioned with their status as the stepchildren of His Majesty King George III. Why did the American colonists have to pay steep taxes to pay for British problems on the European continent? Why did British tariffs harm some fledgling businesses and enterprises? Why should American colonists labor under laws established thousands of miles away? Why shouldn’t Americans pass their own laws for America?
What did the Dunns, Monroes, Fenns, Jacksons and friends do when confronted with gross interference from abroad? “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Old Thomas Jefferson hit the nail on the head. It was true then, in 1776, and it’s true now. It is just another one of the long list of inconvenient truths that the purveyors of big government would like to ignore. If you treat the people poorly, if you make ridiculous laws, if you fail to protect your people and, if you tax people unreasonably, then they will rise up and break the shackles that bind.
As a Great Britain-loving American, I found it to be drenched with irony that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The reasons were deliciously similar to the reasons given by our founding fathers for the original Brexit in 1776.
The general reasons a voter voted to leave the European Union included but were certainly not limited to the following:
1. Centralized power is not the way to go. Brussels-based bureaucrats didn’t really give two hoots for the problems of day-to-day life in the United Kingdom.
2. Fringe nations generally perform better than the big boys. Working on the outside of the European Union, such as Switzerland and Norway, provides significant advantages.
3. Regulations should be done in your own backyard. Currently, 65% of regulations were set in Brussels. That’s why you have guidelines governing the curvature of bananas and cucumbers in the European Union. If you grow a banana that is curved too much, no matter how tasty, it must be thrown away. Go figure.
4. People in the United Kingdom were tired of subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and slovenly in southern Europe. How do you think the average Brit related to this following tidbit from Reuters? “In a system where bonuses can add 5 to 1,300 euros to a monthly paycheck, some civil servants are paid extra for using a computer. Some get a bonus for speaking a foreign language and others for arriving at work on time, while many foresters get a bonus for working outdoors. All Greek public and private sector workers get 14 monthly salary payments a year, a structure aimed at keeping basic monthly salaries, and the pensions that are based on them, low. Half a month’s extra salary is paid at Easter and another half during the summer. The 14th salary is paid to civil servants at Christmas when the whole economy is geared to consuming it. This is in addition to allowing employees to retire as early as age 45 with full pay! Margaret Thatcher said it best, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
5. Great Britain is being overrun by both legal and illegal immigrants. With a mandated free flow of workers throughout the European Union, Great Britain faced an onslaught of unemployed workers from countries such as Poland and Greece. These workers displaced many British citizens from working in their own country. Because there is no border control in the European Union, if you can walk into Europe, you can get into Great Britain. A healthy economy has much to fear from an unrestricted influx of immigrants fleeing the Mideast.
6. Trade deals espoused by the EU have been a red herring. Since 1999, British trade with the European Union has declined by 20%. Prove to the British people that free access to the European markets has been pretty for the people of Piccadilly.
7. Integration with the EU has led to accelerated economic decline. In 1973, the Common Market produced 38% of the world’s goods and services. Today, it produces 17%. In contrast, the United States produced 30% of the world’s GDP. Today, the U.S. produces 22%.
8. If you are a voter in Great Britain, who do you hold responsible for bad economic performance? Most regulations and laws in the European Union are promulgated by unelected bureaucrats who are unaccountable to the voters. You simply can’t throw the bums out when you can’t get at the bums.
9. Seventy percent of land in Great Britain is owned by 6,000 people. Instead of paying taxes, the European Union pays these owners instead. Farm production is limited by regulation and that has led to a decline in agricultural jobs and an increase in agricultural imports of food stuffs from Africa.
10. Lastly, British fishermen and fisherwomen have been on the hook for bailing out the suffering fisheries of southern Europe. Sixty percent of all European water belongs to Great Britain and Ireland and yet European laws have limited British fishing revenues to only 16% of total fishing revenues. The EU has effectively killed the British maritime industry while artificially propping up Greek, Italian and Spanish fishing interests.
Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is just one more warning signal that the people of the world have grown sick and tired of the inefficiencies, abuse and waste of big government. The Donald Trump phenomenon is not limited to the United States. His rise is not the cause of our collective world problems, his rise is merely a symptom. Hillary Clinton, beware!
Dunn is chairman of Howard County Republicans.