Republicanism, Democracy, Bureaucracy, and Instability

A few thoughts on Brexit:

  • After years of handwringing over whether the Greeks would leave the EU, whether the Spanish would leave the EU, or whether the Portuguese would leave the EU, it turns out Britain is the first to leave the EU. I guess it makes sense that a relatively rich country, rather than a relatively poor one, would be the first to leave. Why? Because they can.
  • This vote says as much about referendums as it does about British sentiment or the EU. Even if 99% of the time, most people want a certain political dynamic, as long as a referendum is called at the 1% of the time when they do not, any stable political system can be undone. The lesson here is that referendums are a terrific destabilizing force.
  • Republican forms of government are much more stable than democratic ones.
  • Are weak federalist systems always doomed to failure?
  • The bureaucratic fallout from this will be pervasive and it will last decades. Thousands of laws just got invalidated and there will be a vacuum where thousands of others used to exist. This is a legal cluster without modern precedent.