"Voting for Brexit demonstrates a frightening lack of imagination"by Tom Streithorst / June 20, 2016 / Leave a comment
Conservatives are supposed to appreciate the status quo. It’s the radicals on the left who want to tear things down. Edmund Burke, the grandfather of modern conservative thought, taught us to recognize the value of that which already exists. Jacobins and Bolsheviks are willing to destroy the established order in the hopes of creating the perfect society. Burke was wiser than that. You don’t just tear down an edifice because you notice some imperfections. It could well be replaced by something worse.
Neither you nor I know what will happen if Britain leaves the European Union on 23rd June. Perhaps it will all work out brilliantly. We will continue to trade happily with Europe, a manageable number of immigrants will come to our shores, Spaniards will still let us live in Malaga, the French will still let us work in Paris. Or maybe not.
Remember when Tony Blair and George Bush lobbied for the invasion of Iraq? They promised a new democratic and moderate Middle East. The occupation would pay for itself. Streets in Baghdad would be renamed Tony. Saddam was a tyrant; anything that replaced him would certainly be better.
At the time, these claims did not strike us as implausible. One could indeed imagine a scenario in which the invasion of Iraq would have led to a regime kinder and gentler than the Ba’athists. Nonetheless, I opposed the war. I figured the risks outweighed the benefits. That’s the Burkean in me. Even those of us who opposed the war never imagined the horror that has resulted from Bush and Blair’s blithe invasion. The consequences were worse than our worst nightmare. The world is more fragile than we think.
The International Monetary Fund tells us Brexit could plunge the world back into recession. Scottish nationalists tell us it could cause the dissolution of the United Kingdom. Financiers tell us it will damage London’s standing as a global city. Businessmen tell us it will hamper their ability to export. None of us know what will happen. Perhaps the doomsayers are wrong. Or perhaps they are being optimistic.