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Does Britain need a Macron?

By Alex Chatham
June 27th, 2017 at 10:14 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in Liberal Philosophy

Walter Ellis is an accomplished writer but his columns for the excellent news website Reaction are depressing. He believes that Brexit is a huge mistake and frequently reveals his contempt for the public. His latest piece is no exception.

His interpretation of the vote to leave the EU, like so many on the Left and even some on the Right, is about a long standing dislike of foreigners: whether it is dressed up as getting back sovereignty or to stop migration. Even classical liberals who argued for taking back control see the debate in terms of being in charge of policy. It seems not to have occurred to anyone that the Brexit vote, by a slim majority true, is a liberal call to arms. People want to control their lives and feel they don’t. Leaving the EU might be the beginning of that.

But the most depressing bit of Ellis’s article is hie belief that the new French President can solve everyone’s problems. Ellis is also unhappy that there isn’t a British Macron. The belief that one individual can transform a country and make it better is a myth that keeps on getting revised despite the disappointment of voters every time they vote for such an individual. Ah they say later, we made a mistake about that one but the next one will be better. The truth is, it isn’t the individual. The way real change happens is when it evolves and is created by people. They don’t need one person to lead them to a promised land. For many reasons, that can’t be done: society is too complex, one person doesn’t have all the knowledge to make the right decisions and so on.

If Ellis and others would trust people, trust spontaneous order, he would see the sort of change he wants.