Globalism, championed almost exclusively by political and economic elites, has been the dominant force in the West for a hundred years. World War I and the League of Nations established the framework for multinational military excursions, while the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank set the stage for the eventual emergence of the US dollar as a worldwide reserve currency. Progressive government programs in Western countries promised a new model for universalism and peace in the aftermath of the destruction of Europe. Human rights, democracy, and enlightened social views were now to serve as hallmarks of a post-monarchical Europe and rising US.
But globalism was never liberalism, nor was it intended to be by its architects. As its core, globalism has always meant rule by illiberal elites under the guise of mass democracy. It has always been distinctly anti-democratic and anti-freedom, even as it purported to represent liberation from repressive governments and poverty.
Yes, libertarians advocate unfettered global trade ..
But the EU, GATT, WTO, NAFTA, TPP, and the whole alphabet soup of trade schemes are wholly illiberal impediments masquerading as real commercial freedom. In fact, true free trade occurs only in the absence of government agreements. The only legislation required is a unilateral one-sentence bill: Country X hereby eliminates all import duties, taxes, and tariffs on all Y goods imported from country Z.
And as Godfrey Bloom explains, the European Union is primarily a customs zone, not a free trade zone. A bureaucracy in Brussels is hardly necessary to enact simple pan-European tariff reductions. It is necessary, however, to begin building what globalism truly demands: a de facto European government, complete with dense regulatory and tax rules, quasi-judicial bodies, a nascent military, and further subordination of national, linguistic, and cultural identities.
.. It’s true that libertarians ought not to concern themselves with “national sovereignty” in the political sense, because governments are not sovereign kings and should never be treated as worthy of determining the course of our lives. But it is also true that the more attenuated the link between an individual and the body purporting to govern him, the less control — self-determination — that individual has.
Ultimately, Brexit is not a referendum on trade, immigration, or the technical rules promulgated by the (awful) European Parliament. It is a referendum on nationhood, which is a step away from globalism and closer to individual self-determination. Libertarians should view the decentralization and devolution of state power as ever and always a good thing, regardless of the motivations behind such movements. Reducing the size and scope of any single (or multinational) state’s dominion is decidedly healthy for liberty.