Brexit and Shop Floor Wisdom

The frenetic hand-wringing over the British vote to leave the European Union makes me chuckle just a little. Sanctimonious outrage will do that to me. As usual, people apply their pre-conceived notions and confirmation biases into their thinking about this development. And as usual, I step back and take the long view.

Not surprisingly, the exit has disgusted “right-thinking” people, the intelligentsia and the so-called progressives, assuming that the British have succumbed to a form of insanity for leaving what they see as the greatest gift Europe has received since liberation by the Americans. No one really knows what’s going to happen. That’s simple truth, but the press has largely failed to mention an important fact: The referendum was not binding. Parliament still has to vote to make it official, and anything can happen between now and then.

The political establishment likes to denigrate the “uneducated” opinions of the working class and older Britons who overwhelmingly supported the exit. This reminds me of my experiences working in shops and other businesses where the everyone but the bosses seem to know why the company is going under. Those in the trenches, making actual contact with the product and the customers, often have a better sense of reality than their supervisors sitting at their desks in remote sites. Anyone who’s spent anytime in the workforce (or who reads Dilbert) can relate to this.

Maybe the shop workers don’t see the Big Picture, but the big picture rarely depicts their lives with any detail. The big picture shows them as filler or afterthoughts. Except, that they are there, and they do matter. The big picture loses a lot of color and meaning without them, and in a democracy, ignore them at your peril.

I bristle at the notion of turning over more and more decisions to central authorities, no matter the perceived advantages. The working classes of Britain understand this. They voted to exit because appointed officials in an office building in a country on another continent dictated to them how to go about making a living.

Those who voted to get out bristled against those policies affected their lifestyles and professions, and in the end, voted for more democracy, not less, and history proves that people allowed to peacefully decide on their own futures is always a good thing.