Letter: Gullibility can lead to disastrous votes

Gullibility can lead to disastrous votes

To the editor:

As a Brit living in the United States, I was deeply saddened by the outcome of last week's Brexit vote.

Many years ago, while living in Brussels, I saw first-hand the excesses of European Union spending and I was all in favor of leaving. But two things changed my mind.

First, as Eastern Europe became liberated from Soviet imperialism I saw that the European Union provided a model and a goal for those newly freed countries that aspired to Western-style democracy and free trade. The European Union became a source of stability and cooperation in a dangerous, changing world.

Second, I came to realize that far from sharing my ideal of global rather than regional free trade, the "Little Englanders" were headed in exactly the opposite direction.

Gullible people, when faced with real or perceived grievances, sometimes have a tendency to support populist leaders who make unrealistic or dangerous promises to them. Russia in 1917, Italy in 1922, Germany in 1932, China in 1949, Cuba in 1959, Venezuela in 1998 — the list goes on.

It is to be hoped that the United Kingdom decision doesn't have such disastrous consequences. We need to ensure that the United States doesn't make the same mistake as the UK this November.

Brian Hailes, Lenox


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