Occasionally it happens that something you’ve never heard of before suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world. It happened the first time you heard the word “McGriddle,” and now it’s happened again with “Brexit,” which, it turns out, is not the brand name of a Depression-era snack cracker, but rather the decision of voters in Great Britain to leave the European Union.
The air has been filled with opinions and commentary, but you may be wondering what does all this Brexit talk really mean, anyway? Well, I’m no expert, but I have read several tweets and like half of a really long blog post about it. So, allow me to answer some common Brexit questions.
— Is “Brexit” a real word, or is it a made-up word like “Brangelina” or “portmanteau”?
It’s a made-up word, a shorthand way to refer to BRitain’s EXIT from the European Union (or EU, pronounced “Eww”).
— What words would we use for other countries if they left the EU?
Departugal, Czechout, Italeave, and Nethermind. I hope all these happen because these words are funny.
— Is Brexit a good thing or a bad thing?
It depends. If you’re the Assistant to the EU Deputy Minister for Banana Curvature Measurement Standards, when the world’s 5th largest economy stops paying membership dues, your budget is definitely going to get cut. If you’re a third-world basket case economy that just happens to be attached to Europe (Hello, Greece!), the slush fund for bailing out your sorry ass is about to get a lot smaller.
But if you’re an Englishman who would rather not send his tax money to Belgian bureaucrats or foreign governments that can’t balance their own checkbooks, it’s a good thing. If you’re just somebody who thinks the world could do with a little less bureaucracy and a little more local control, it’s a good thing. And if you’re someone who enjoys watching the ruling elites of Europe and America wet their pants, it’s a very good thing.
Again, I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I sometimes base my opinions on the “Right People Mad” theory: if something is making the right people mad, then it’s probably a good thing. And this is definitely making the right people mad.
— Since the Brexit vote, my 401(k) has lost enough money to pay for a lifetime supply of fish’n’chips. And yet you say it’s a good thing, which makes me want to punch you in the face. Why should I not punch you in the face?
If there’s one thing the financial markets hate, it’s uncertainty. Change makes them flip out, and that in itself tells you nothing about whether the change is a good, bad, or neutral one.
What is new and scary today will be business as usual in a week or two, and the markets will settle themselves down. This changes nothing about the global economy except the names of the treaties under which it does business.
— Does any of this have anything to do with soccer?
I don’t know, maybe. Europeans really like soccer.
— I’ve heard a lot of people say this move is racist. Why is that?
Two reasons: 1) Anytime something happens that liberals don’t like, it’s racist. It’s racist when the waffles at the breakfast bar are soggy. It’s racist when they have to sit through the same stop light three times during rush hour. Any person who doesn’t continually rub their bellies and tell them they’re wonderful is racist.
And, 2) Leaving the EU would give the UK more control over their own immigration policies. And so… I don’t see any reason to think this in inherently racist. But, since it involves people looking out for their own best interests rather than than being told what to do by a distant ruling authority, liberals don’t like it. Therefore: racist.
— Will the British still have those cool accents?
You mean these? Why, yes, yes they will.