Isolationism stops ‘creeping,’ gets up, takes a stroll, has a smoke

It sure is nice to see a major politician smoke again, isn’t it? I mean, in view of the cameras.

Despite an assertively rootless parochialism that may be our chief character trait, your average American Memorial Day celebrant may nonetheless find the distribution of Ukip voters in this week’s election interesting.

John Smith’s hometown in Lincolnshire went for the anti-EU insurgents this week, as did Yorkshire and South Somerset, all points of origin of the colonial Cheseapeake’s oldest, less permanent architectural traditions, like the Virginia frame.

As the sort of person who saves his fortune cookie slips, I find something poetically satisfying about this. Tom Rogan frets that the U.S.’s interest is in the U.K. playing a moderating role as a fully-integrated member of the EU, which is the sort of realpolitik that usually gets you called heartless.

Whatever’s going on in the gash suddenly torn open in progressivism’s teleology, the new nationalism of the 2010s is more isolationist than that of the mid-20th century, as James Traub notes: “As India has grown stronger, it has become more defensive about sovereignty and less prepared to defend the international order.” In an echo of the last broad-based American antiwar movement, Modi has tried to downplay his Hindutva associations with the pan-ethnic national concept of “India First.”

*****

How easily this goes over with our neoliberal thought-leadering class probably depends to a significant extent whether they can be convinced to accept the growing body of classical liberal scholarship in support of these trends. Given that the very notion of exit is a neocolonial dye-job to the ideologically committed left (or, like, totally fascist), optimism may be misplaced at this point. Take heart, though — the Hawaiian independence movement, monarchy-tinged as it is, is heavily represented by professors. Sometimes the academy does catch up.

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