As a hardcore libertarian, I am accustomed to being disappointed by elections. While I consider myself a long-term optimist, I am generally a pessimist when it comes to people entering a voting booth.
I find optimism where many other libertarians fail to open their eyes of what is right in front of them. Homeschooling has exploded in the United States. Despite the efforts of the left, gun rights have remained relatively strong. Meanwhile, thanks to technology, communication and information is better and faster than ever before. There is even hope that information overload will bring down Hillary Clinton and all of her crimes.
But forgive me for being a pessimist when it comes to elections. On that front, libertarians are used to losing. And even when we “win”, it is usually a loss when we find out that the person who won is not really on our side.
Elections that don’t involve individual candidates can be a different story. It not only impacts policy going forward, but it gives us a good idea of where public opinion stands.
I was surprised with most others when the Brexit votes came in. I was watching television at 11:00 EST at night. I had just seen the preliminary results on the Internet. I changed the channel to find some news of the Brexit. Fox News was running a repeat of O’Reilly, or something like that. The only station I found with Brexit coverage was CNN.
It just shows how little Americans were paying attention. Unfortunately, that plays in to the stereotype of Americans living in their own little bubble, as if nothing else matters on this planet.
But Americans quickly started paying attention in the morning, especially as stock futures showed a steep decline.
By the end of Friday, the Dow finished down over 600 points. Gold surged over 4%, blowing past the $1,300 mark. The 10-year yield sank below 1.5% before finishing the day around 1.58%.
The British pound absolutely tanked. It went below $1.35 per pound at one point after having been near $1.50 before the results. The euro was also down, although not as much. The U.S. dollar surged in comparison, yet gold still spiked in dollar terms.
I have seen speculation already that the establishment purposely took down the markets as revenge for the vote, in hopes to scare people. But while I like a good conspiracy, and it is certainly possible to a certain degree, I think it is a simple explanation of the status quo being broken. Financial markets get volatile when the status quo is disrupted.
In the days leading up to the vote, stocks were surging because investors thought the vote to leave was going to fail. If there had been high expectations of the “leave” vote winning, then stocks would have already been lower before the results.
One thing that I will have to revisit with this whole story is how virtually everyone got this wrong. The thing that surprises me most is the financial markets. Even the bond investors were not on top of this one.
In 2012, I knew that Obama was going to win the election. Well, I couldn’t know for sure, but I was reasonably certain. InTrade told me at the time. It nailed virtually every state. The only one where it was wrong was Florida, but it basically had that one as close to a toss-up, so it wasn’t even that wrong there.
This is a fascinating subject, as the betting sites were far more reliable than the polls. When large numbers of people bet with their own money, most or all of the little factors get factored in. It is the wisdom of large numbers acting individually.
But the betting sites got the Brexit vote wrong. I think these sites are far less reliable now. The U.S. government essentially outlawed them in the U.S. Unfortunately, even these markets are too regulated to be particularly useful any more.
As far as the leave vote winning, it is quite encouraging for libertarians and anyone who leans that way. I’m sure most of the people voting to leave in the U.K. are not libertarians, but they at least understood how foolish it was to be controlled by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. At least now they can be controlled by a bunch of elected (and still some unelected) bureaucrats closer to home.
I’m sure there were a lot of varying reasons for the 52% that wanted to leave. Some are probably against immigration. Some are probably tired of helping to bail out Greece. Some are tired of the establishment in general.
Americans are wondering if it will impact the U.S. presidential election. I don’t think it will impact it much, but it may be giving us a good look at public opinion. People are turning away from the agenda of the globalists and listening more to the nationalists. Trump is a nationalist, so he has to be feeling pretty good about the vote in the U.K.
Still, every libertarian should cheer this vote that just happened. Decentralization is almost always positive for the cause of liberty in the long run. This was basically a secession.
It is nice that the British people (at least 52% of them) are so open to the idea of secession. If only the British crown had been more understanding in the 1770s. If only Lincoln had been more understanding in the 1860s. Let’s hope the European Union doesn’t send in the military to suppress this secession.
The entire establishment was against this. Obama spoke against it. Janet Yellen essentially warned of it. Presidents and prime ministers all around were opposing the Brexit. And most of the establishment media swung hard against it. Yet despite all of the propaganda, the leave vote passed.
This just shattered the dreams of the one-world government people. The one-worlders lost this one. Now they are afraid that the whole European Union may break apart. For me, it couldn’t happen soon enough.
Libertarians, let’s savor this moment. We don’t get to brag that often about victories at the ballot box.