It seems hard to believe now, but it wasn’t that long ago that the elites in both the United Kingdom and the United States had largely given up on capitalism.
In the 1970s, there was broad agreement that we had entered a new era in which the hard-knuckled edges of traditional capitalism were no longer appropriate. In America, President Nixon — a Republican — announced plans to provide a guaranteed income to families with children. Throughout that decade, the top tax rate in the United States was 70 percent. Businesses were tightly regulated.
Both the Bushes and the Clintons supported a new era of cooperation whereby Americans gave up sovereignty to international organizations.
In Great Britain, the situation was even more severe — large parts of the economy, such as the coal industry and the steel industry, were simply nationalized. Even as the economic performance of the English-speaking world deteriorated throughout the ’70s, few elites expected a return to full-scale capitalism. After all, hadn’t capitalism led to the Great Depression? Wasn’t it too controversial and out of date? Even Ronald Reagan’s own future running mate, George H.W. Bush, famously referred to Reagan’s ideas as “voodoo economics.”
But Reagan — like Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom — remembered something that many of the smart people on both sides of the Atlantic had forgotten: No one can ever run a business as efficiently as the person whose own money, effort, and sweat have gone into it. The great strength of capitalism is that people work harder, and better, when their own future is at stake. By unleashing the forces of capitalism, both here and in the U.K., Reagan and Thatcher freed business from the clammy hands of bureaucracy, and set off two decades of booming economic growth. That performance ended most doubts about the potential benefits of capitalism. By the end of the 1990s, even Bill Clinton — a Democrat — was telling voters that the “era of big government is over.”
But the great boom of the 1980s and 1990s led to a different form of hubris among policymakers. With the end of the Soviet Union, and a Chinese government apparently open to making deals with the West, our leaders grew less and less concerned about the importance of preserving our independence. Both the Bushes and the Clintons supported a new era of cooperation whereby Americans gave up sovereignty to international organizations.
There was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, which gave special privileges to Mexico and Canada. Then in 1994, the United States joined the World Trade Organization — effectively agreeing that its trade policy would no longer be made by Congress, but by the WTO Appellate Body. More and more such “free trade” deals followed — with Korea, Australia, Colombia, and other countries. Every such deal eroded our sovereignty, making it harder for the U.S. government to do what its own people wanted. And, of course, we let China into the WTO — effectively telling the world that we would do very little to defend ourselves against whatever unfair actions that country chose to take. Meanwhile, in Britain, the government followed a similar path — not only signing on to many trade deals, but extinguishing its own sovereignty in an ever-closer European Union.
The United States and the United Kingdom also gave up control of their borders. For centuries, both countries jealously guarded the privilege of deciding who could — and who could not — live there. Under the new globalist regime, however, the doors were effectively thrown open. Of course, no one voted for this new policy — but that didn’t matter. In America, we’ve had a series of presidents who effectively refuse to enforce our immigration laws. In the U.K., the leadership’s hands were tied by the policy of free movement throughout the E.U. In both countries, massive population changes took place over the objections of the people in whose name the government was supposed to operate.
The voters did what they could to change things. When Barack Obama said he would get tough with China and renegotiate NAFTA, he was placed into the White House — where he swiftly abandoned those promises and began negotiating even more sovereignty-killing trade deals. When David Cameron promised to obtain better terms from the E.U., he was elected prime minister — where he promptly re-emerged as more of a spokesman for the E.U. than someone who truly cared about British interests.
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By the beginning of 2016, it was obvious that people in both the United States and the United Kingdom wanted their sovereignty back. They were tired of being ordered around by their own elected officials. They were tired of hearing that their own government couldn’t do what they wanted. They were tired of being treated like enemies in their own country. They understood that independence is essential to good government, just as private enterprise is essential to good business.
Private enterprise works because the entrepreneur has a personal stake in the business, which creates the incentive to do a good job. Independence works because members of the government have a personal stake in keeping their own citizens happy. When a government is no longer independent, and policies are made by officials who care more about the opinions of foreign leaders than the views of their own people, the quality of that government’s policies will inevitably deteriorate. That is exactly what has happened in the English-speaking world, and that is why so many of us on both sides of the Atlantic are so furious.
But the elites in Britain and the United States, who have benefited so greatly from globalism and who so dislike their own people, fought back hard. After decades of giving away sovereignty and building international structures designed to block the will of the voters, the elites both here and in the U.K. have come to despise independence. Rather than doing what their voters wanted, our elites found it easier to denounce those voters as hateful nativists and protectionists. Only outsiders — people like Nigel Farage in the U.K., and Donald Trump in the United States — were willing to fight for national independence.
Of course, elites who are unwilling to compromise risk losing everything. And so now, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union altogether. Despite months of fear-mongering and vitriol from their supposed betters, the common people of Britain have decided to reclaim their independence. They still have a ways to go, but at least they again have the chance to follow their own path — just as their ancestors did for so many centuries.
What about Americans? Do we have the courage to do the same? Or will we listen to the haters and critics among the elites who sneer at the very idea of independence, and at people who would dare try to govern themselves? No one is more committed to the globalist ideal, and the end of American independence, than Hillary Clinton — she has spent her career building the globalist system in which we now live. If she reaches the White House, we will see a blizzard of new treaties designed to kill off our national sovereignty once and for all.
The elites know that Hillary is not popular; they know that the people don’t want her, but they don’t care. They are gambling that by demonizing Donald Trump, they can scare people into submitting to Hillary’s rule. For the next four months, we will see a sustained attack on Trump, and anyone who supports him, unlike anything in recent history. The intellectuals, the bureaucrats, much of the business community, the rest of the world — everyone who benefits from the end of American sovereignty — are united in their hatred of Trump. But their real target is his voters, who must not be allowed to reclaim their independence.
So when you think about this election, remember that the key issue is not whether you trust Trump — but whether you trust yourselves. Do you believe that the United States can reclaim its independence, and once again act as a sovereign nation, in which the government does what the people want, instead of the other way around? If so, you have only one choice — and it’s an important one. Use it well.