The vote on Britain's exit from the European Union was one where there are reasonable arguments on both sides.
On the "remain" side, if one generally favors, as I do, the free flow of people and goods across borders, an exit raises risks of new barriers. And Britain was probably a force pulling Europe toward generally less socialist policies.
On the "exit" side, I can definitely sympathize with British desire not to be ruled by a bunch of far-away bureaucrats, who, if they were elected at all, were elected largely by people from other countries.
But with the results looking like a win for "exit," here are a few election-night thoughts to provide context.
2. Perhaps the breakup of the Soviet Union was the beginning of a larger trend away from decisionmaking in remote capitals (Moscow, Brussels) and toward the devolution of authority to smaller, more responsive political units, where information is easier to gather. It's very Hayekian. We're seeing that in the U.S., too, as state and local governments solve the problems that Washington is too gridlocked to deal with.
3. What will be the next exit? Texas or California from the U.S., where the Civil War gave secession a bad name? Scotland from the United Kingdom?
4. If "exit" could win in Britain despite polls and prediction markets showing a "remain" victory and despite so-called respectable elite opinion in favor of "remain," perhaps Donald Trump will be able to win a similar victory here in America, powered by similar anti-Muslim-immigration and anti-bad-trade-deal sentiment.
5. Taking the long historical view, there's something rather poetic about the country that itself was once the remote colonial taxing and trade-regulating power (See Samuel Adams: A Life ) over not only America but also mandatory Palestine and India experiencing a kind of role reversal. The British are now the ones rebelling against foreign rule lacking consent of the governed. The American Revolution was the original "exit," and it has turned out pretty well, notwithstanding the present frustrations. I wish the British as much luck with leaving as we Americans had.