.. we need to talk about “grassroots activism”. From verbal puritans turning free speech into a hate crime and invasions into our online privacy to our boarded-up high streets, people feel their personal agency and sense of belonging slipping away. Brexiteers should be campaigning for individual freedom, not just from Europe but in the humdrum of everyday life. They should be redefining community in local terms.Well, as a Localist and a democrat, that chimes with me. My use yesterday of the term 'Patricians' for those we oppose is neither novel nor original. We were also reminded (hat tip Mr Drew) of Cicero's support of the elite patrician class against Caesar, whose leadership of the populares brought change to Rome that presaged her greatest years.
Above all, Brexit offers hope to the young, those worst affected by the bigoted illiberal authoritarianism of the new puritans that seeks to censor, forbid, restrict, govern, ration and throttle what they say, think, listen and respond to on their 5G devices. Robert Nisbet was an American sociologist inspired by Burke and de Tocqueville rather than by Marx or Engels;
Revolt has trumped tradition, and the price is paid daily with distinctively modern pathologies such as social isolation, moral uncertainty, and personal anxiety. True freedom, Nisbet insists, is not found in the empty spaces of an omnipotent state, but in a pluralistic society where a variety of social groups and institutions intermediate to the individual and the central state have real functions or responsibilities and, by definition, enough autonomy to carry them out, thus offering individuals a sense of purpose, identity, and belonging. The continual weakening of human association bonded by kinship, ethnicity, faith, work, locality, voluntarism, private pursuit, or shared interest by a jealous, power-hungry state creates what Nisbet calls “loose individuals.” These are untethered or atomized souls drifting from the safe harbor of community into the torrents of an impersonal, bureaucratized state that cannot, from its elevated seat of vertical power, replace the intermediary social bonds and moral community it has dissolved in ever pressing its claim for still greater responsibility for each of its subjects or citizens.It is for the victims of the well-meaning but suffocating State that Brexit stands - again, mostly the young. The obsession of the modern state, here and in Europe perhaps more than anywhere, with constructed 'equalities', rights but not responsibilities, freedoms 'to' defined behaviours but not freedoms 'from' interference and restriction, multiculturalism and diversity, all of which actually rob the individual of the freedom to seek and form alliances and social institutions that have both authority and effectiveness. The modern citizen has become the casualty of an increasingly interventionist, paternalistic state always seeking to increase its power and influence for the sake of 'the Public Good'.
The greatest single revolution of the last century in the political sphere has been the transfer of effective power over human lives from the constitutionally visible offices of government, the nominally sovereign offices, to the vast network that has been brought into being in the name of protection of the people from their exploiters. It is this kind of power that Justice Brandeis warned against in a decision nearly half a century ago: "Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the governments' purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."When I look at the capos of the EU, at the Patrician class in the UK, at our political, judicial, public service and journalistic elites, I see these well-meaning zealots that simply don't understand the harm they have done, the freedom they have destroyed, the young lives they have manacled to their altars of illiberal authoritarianism.
If Brexit means anything it means not only throwing off the chains of the EU, but emancipating the people of Britain, our youth and our future, from the slavery of these well-meaning inquisitors. With legislated fire and regulatory torture, they destroy lives whilst seeking to conform the human spirit into their didactic ideals of perfection.
Brexit is not the end of our battle. It is the start of another campaign.