Best Of The Web
“This was to be the week when the United Kingdom left the European Union. Instead, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seen that dream dashed as the Oct. 31 Brexit divorce deadline was extended despite his statement last month that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for a further delay. He is now left pinning his hopes on a new election so he can try to get a wider mandate to quickly withdraw from the European body.
The Brexit saga, of which this week’s events are only the latest chapter, is at heart a story about the U.K.’s failure to understand its place in the modern world. For all of our modern history, we have defined ourselves — as imperialists; winners in wars; purveyors of cool culture — in terms of our relationship with the rest of the globe. Now that we can no longer agree on what that is, we don’t have a shared view of what or who we are.
The divisions created during the last three years are so deep that, whatever the outcome of the next general election, we will not be coming together anytime soon. Friends and even families have fallen out. We remain divided amongst ourselves, as well as cut off from the outside world.
Our imperial history lives on in the heads of some Brexit supporters like the worst of hangovers. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s verdict on the Britain of more than half a century ago, that it had “lost an empire” and “not yet found a role,” still rings true. Many of those who support leaving the E.U. seem unable to get over the glorious benders of the past and think that disengaging with the European continent will somehow restore the golden age in which they imagine we once lived.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"The top brass of China’s Communist Party (CCP) – its 370-strong Central Committee – recently emerged from the Fourth Plenum of the 2017 Party Congress. Such meetings, usually one a year, are key forums for policy discussion. At the previous..."
"Mayor Pete is having his moment — for the second time in the campaign. Surging to the head of the pack in a recent Iowa poll, and edging out Vice President Joe Biden in last quarter's money race, Buttigieg is staking his claim to being the..."
"careful reading of Walden; or, Life in the Woods makes it clear that Thoreau never intended his cabin to be a solitary hermitage, although fans and detractors alike often misunderstand this. It was more an author’s workshop than a fortress of..."
"In the fall of 2015, a rash of posters appeared around Copenhagen. One, in pink letters laid over an image of chicken eggs, asked, “Have you counted your eggs today?” A second — a blue-tinted close-up of human sperm — inquired, “Do they swim too..."
"While there’s plenty of disagreement about how the money should be used, almost everyone involved in public-policy debates agrees that it would be good if the federal government could collect more revenue without raising tax rates or reducing..."
"On a brisk November night, a solitary man wandered around the plaza outside the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on the edge of downtown. He had just flown alone from New York to see his favorite comic, Louis C.K., and he had an extra..."
"Judaism has been described as many things: a culture, a people, a religion, a nationality, and more (including, according to answers given to the 2013 Pew survey of American Jews, a culinary disposition for bagels and smoked salmon or the..."
"US sex education is decades behind other countries. Right now, it isn’t even mandatory in every state. Add to that the awkwardness people feel about sex and bodies in general, top it with the idea of having to have these discussions in public..."