With appropriate apologies to William Shakespeare, for the use of the above title, (Macbeth, Act 2, Sc. 2, “….unraveled sleeve of care…”) selected as an illustratively useful metaphor, albeit at this late date in the progress of the subject event, to express our perception as to the historically erroneous and atavistic, separation of the United Kingdom from The European Union, i.e., “Brexit.”
As young and idealistic, undergraduate students of Political science and History, we looked forward to a World where, by the steady continuation of the dialectic or algorithm of progressive consolidation of disparate States, with prior histories of competing aspirations, peace would, predictably, be the outcome.
In partial defense of our young, idealistic vision, we had, in fact, read of the successful outcomes from the consolidations of the many former disparate States situated in the contemporary Countries of Italy, Germany, and Yugoslavia (the latter, at least for several decades, when separation led to conflict). We read about the League of Nations, formed after the First World War, to preserve World peace, and its failure in 1946, due specifically, to the unwillingness of its member Nations to surrender sufficient sovereignty. After the Second World War, fifty-one countries joined together to form the United Nations, dedicated to the maintenance of international peace and security, developing amicable relations among Nations, promoting social progress, including improvement in living standards and human rights. To the extent that the many consolidated Nations of the UN, have been less than successful, in their goals, the same has consistently been due to the veto power of the separate and disparate members of its Security Council.
An earlier attempt to promote fellowship and lasting peace was enunciated by the Esperanto movement. Created towards the end of the 19th Century, it aspired to the creation and use of a common international language, “Esperanto,” whose purpose was to minimize the differences between people of disparate cultures, as a social route to peace. Although our readings reveal that Esperanto is still spoken in several countries, its main purpose, unfortunately, was never realized.
Notwithstanding the limited success of such efforts over the decades to promote peace, the various efforts clearly articulate the accepted philosophy that the reduction of national and cultural differences is the rational and best route to World peace. All such unifying efforts have not produced optimal success, but have each laid down a common paving stone, by their identical theme of the promotion of unity, in man’s aspiration for a peaceful world. It can, unfortunately, be noted that every rational attempt by peace loving individuals, to attain a lasting peace by the reduction of National or cultural disparity, has not succeeded, in large part, due to the ignorance and atavistic mindset of influential people, whose eternal approach to world affairs is chronically rife with paranoia and mistrust.
The Englishmen who supported Brexit, and persist in unduly accentuating “self-determination”, are jealous of national borderlines, oppose immigration and hold fast to a medieval xenophobic conception of patriotism. Such fear of loss to National integrity is clearly retrogressive and maintained by those who have not yet learned the harsh human results of atavistic insularity and competitive National isolation. History shows a political analogy to the self-absorption and insecurity of insecure adolescence.
Nations who routinely do business and interact with each other are not likely to engage in mutual warfare. The psycho-social reason may be that the unproductive emphasis on “we” and “they” is diluted and the sense of “threat from the other” is thereby greatly minimized, if not totally non-existent. Someone ought to remind the Brexit patriots, that history shows no less than fifty-six conflicts, just between England and France, (not to downplay the “30 Years War”) and that the retrogressive style of “Trumpian” xenophobia and hatred of immigrants, is traveling backward in history* and thus, irrationally, and retrogressively, promoting the continuation of history’s horrific record of conflict and human suffering.
*If there were in existence such a device as an historical GPS, we would recommend its regular, consultive use to all Brexit supporters.