What Now, Britain?

by Matt McCaffrey

Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union represents a blow for political centralization. However, it’s also a sobering reminder that the work of advancing peace and economic freedom is never done. Britain may be extricating itself from EU political control, but if its goal is genuine progress and prosperity, it will need to do much more than simply sever its ties with Brussels.

What Britain needs most is a return to the ideals of peace and free trade exemplified in the work of Richard Cobden and other 19th-century liberals. Sadly, this philosophy was entirely absent from the rhetoric of the Leave campaign, which was more often motivated by the same protectionist fallacies the classical liberals so effectively demolished. And although it’s uncertain what economic policies Britain will adopt in the next few years, it seems unlikely that protectionist rhetoric will disappear, or that many Brexit supporters will spontaneously abandon their faulty economic reasoning.

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