We’re told that civilisation is fragile which is to rather misunderstand how civilisation works. For the assumption is that it’s something imposed by government upon a place and is thus something weak. Reality is entirely the other way around:
Brace yourself, Britain. Brexit is about to teach you what a crisis actually is
Cue predictions of the shops empty, riots, the collapse of order and so on. When the actual change that is being proposed is that we’ll have a different group of people sitting in different offices changing a few of the rules which govern our interactions.
It being, of course, our interactions with each other which are that civilisation. The reason we don’t have the Government Shopping Service and all those other accoutrements being that this isn’t something that governments are good at. That self-organising system of markets is what does produce that civilisation that we do enjoy.
A different debating chamber forming our laws doesn’t change any of that.
The prediction then becoming most amusing:
When the grownups fail, as they periodically do, and badly, what you need is better grownups. Awful things have happened, and do happen, in this country, chiefly as a result of bad policy and worse enactment. We don’t need to have homelessness, dependency on food banks or deprived areas ruled by criminals and bullies. We can afford to act against these evils, but we let them happen all the same. That shames us. Hand the keys and the controls over to eternal teenagers – populists of either stripe – and what you’ll get is a situation where that choice is gone.
We’re not special. If, in a deluded fit of national self-harm that ever more resembles the drift into war in 1914, we allow ourselves to wreck the complicated machinery that underpins our everyday lives without us ever having to think much about it, nobody will be coming to rescue us. Cassandra, as Cassandras are always ready to remind you, was right.
The underlying insistence there is that Brussels is the grown ups, we the children. And who can imagine a world in which that could be true?