The magical thinking of America's pro-Brexit conservatives

Britons who voted to leave the European Union did so for all sorts of reasons: immigration fears, English nationalism, economic and cultural nostalgia, post-recession funk, and so on. But many “Leave” voters are people who think life in Britain is getting worse year after year. They are highly skeptical of modern global capitalism with its disruption, dislocation, and “creative destruction.”

But did they actually end up voting for lots more of the very globalized capitalism they seem to loathe?

Many conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic seem to think so. Daniel Hannan, a pundit and Conservative member of the European Parliament, repeatedly argued that a U.K. free of the EU would be a greater trading nation, as well as one “unshackled” by EU regulation. American conservative columnist Lawrence Kudlow called Brexit a “Thatcher moment” that could put Britain “on the pro-growth path of free-market supply-side policies.” Similarly, the Wall Street Journal editorial page explained that “now more than ever Britain will need supply-side economic policies that reassure investors and make Britain a growth model for Europe.”