Events taking place around the Western world have their roots in common trends and similar sentiments, but many people either don't see it or don't want to admit what it means.
When voters in Great Britain voted to leave the European Union ("Brexit") in 2016, it wasn't because they don't see themselves as "European," don't want free trade with the rest of Europe or harbor hostile animus against other continental European nations. And it certainly isn't — globalists' hysterical rants to the contrary notwithstanding — a desire to return to the conflicts that sparked two world wars in the last century.
The British who voted to leave are tired of unelected Eurocrats in Brussels dictating to them, imposing regulations over which neither the British people nor their elected representatives have any say. They are fed up with the flood of migrants into England, whom Brussels insists must be subject to the Schengen agreement. (Once migrants make their way to any EU country, they must be allowed to move freely to any other EU country, just as all EU residents can.)
At this writing, British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a vote of no confidence and will stay in her current role (although she announced she would not run for re-election). But the defections in her own cabinet, as well as protests in London and elsewhere, make clear Brexiteers' views that the deal May is trying to make with Brussels concedes too much, requires the payment of too much money and still leaves the EU with too much control.
It isn't just Great Britain that is unhappy with the impact of Brussels' control. Although there are numerous issues triggering dissatisfaction, the migrant crisis has been the most visible flashpoint. Since 2010, between 10 and 12 million migrants have made their way to Europe. Over a million arrived in 2015 alone, and Greece was the entry point for almost 900,000 of them. Germany has taken nearly 2 million migrants since 2014. Sweden, a country of just over 10 million people, has taken more migrants per capita than any other European nation.
Crime, terrorist attacks and fiscal strains on Western European countries' generous social safety nets are creating widespread outrage and political backlash. In Germany, Austria, Italy and other European countries, center-left "social democratic" parties that have enjoyed unthreatened political power for decades are seeing their comfortable majorities eroded by populist parties listening to citizens' concerns about crime, taxes, unemployment and loss of their culture. By way of example, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has become enormously popular for his blunt criticism of the EU's policy on migration, his support for Israel and his insistence that Italy maintain strict requirements for asylum. (In typical fashion, Salvini is routinely described by the media as "far-right." In fact, it is virtually impossible to find an article in so-called "mainstream" media that does not describe any of the European populist parties or their leaders as "far-right" or "extremist.")
And France has now been racked by weeks of violent protests by the "gilets jaunes" (or "yellow vests"), French citizens infuriated by French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to raise taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel and electricity. (No wonder; France is already the highest-taxed of any wealthy nation, according to data recently published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.)
But those determined to impose their will on millions of people are plowing ahead, either blind to current realities or arrogant or both. The United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco, this month. The compact declares migration to be a "human right," and one member of the European Parliament, Marcel de Graaff, warns that it effectively criminalizes criticism of migration by defining it as "hate speech."
In fact, it is the globalists — not the populists — who are increasing the risk of widespread violence — by ignoring the will of the people, taxing them to death, demonizing them, silencing and censoring them, criminalizing their free expression and implementing policies that neutralize or even negate their votes.
The same can be said here in the United States. The election of Donald Trump was an electoral "middle finger" from 63 million people tired of being ignored and run roughshod over. Our elites have made their displeasure clear. The media spends 90 percent of its time criticizing President Trump for conduct they were happy to ignore or dismiss when it was done by a Democrat. Academics and entertainers routinely call Trump and those who voted for him "racist," "sexist," "fascist" and worse. Robert Mueller's "special investigation" machine chugs along, shifting gears ("Russia collusion!"; "Oops, no, obstruction of justice!"; "Nope, campaign finance!"; "OK, then, how about sexual infidelity?!") whenever a paucity of facts for one claimed misdeed requires coming up with a different one. Career Republicans refuse to help the president, even if it means breaking their own campaign promises. Congressional Democrats seem to think that they can indict or impeach a duly elected president, and that the millions of people who elected Donald Trump will take it and walk away. And this is without mentioning the elites' new consternation with things like the Bill of Rights, the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate, or their determination to game the system and steal elections when they can't win them fair and square.
Europe should be a warning: Ordinary citizens have their limits, and when those limits are reached, revolutions happen.
To find out more about Laura Hollis and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.