Thursday, 16 June 2016

Brexit: Why I Care

Given that I am a libertarian anarchist, it might be wondered why I am campaigning for Leave vote in the EU referendum.  Why do I think this is worth doing?

I have never been actively involved or voted in any prior UK* election or referendum, because I have never felt that any of the options presented to me are worth my time or effort. They are always a choice between varying flavors of statism. But this is a different matter.

To draw an analogy, suppose income tax is 20% and there is a referendum on whether the tax should be increased to 30% or be lowered to 10%. Should a libertarian bother voting? Would a vote for 10% be a violation of the libertarian principle that the ideal tax rate is 0%? I don’t think so. The vote is signalling which direction you want to move in; it does not imply that you want to stop at 10%.

In this referendum the choice is simply between more government and less government.

A vote to Remain is to endorse the EU, which is a layer of government on top of the UK government, and one which:
1) controls a larger territorial area,
2) is more interventionist, and
3) is less accountable to voters than the UK government.

 A vote to Leave is a rejection of the EU, an endorsement of the idea that if governments are to exist they should:
1) control a territorial area as small as possible,
2) intervene as little as possible, and
3) be as accountable to voters as possible.

To vote Leave does not mean I want to stop at seceding from the EU government; I want to secede from the UK government as well; but it is a vote to signal which direction I want to move in: less government, more liberty.

This viewpoint is consistent with the principles of libertarian strategy outlined by Murray Rothbard here. We won’t get to total liberty overnight, but when the opportunity to increase liberty arises, we should embrace and support it as a step in the right direction, rather than sitting on the sidelines moaning about the increase in liberty not being as great as we would like.

* I added the term UK, because I did get involved in the Ron Paul Presidential campaigns of both 2008 and 2012, albeit from afar.  Ron Paul is a unique politician in that he is a voluntaryist, as I explained in my videos here and here.