As of last night, the United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union. This decision will have a cascade of effects: the decline of the pound, Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation, the potential for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom, and the end of the European Union itself.
To this New Yorker, grumblings of secession have usually come from either Texas or Quebec. Both of these have been mostly punchlines, with any actual movement toward making them reality never really taking hold.
This UK move is surreal. Major cairn alert.
With the UK leaving the EU, the world is waking up to a reality that millennials have felt for quite a while: the story we’ve been told about how the world works isn’t bearing out. The world is an uncertain place, becoming more so every day.
In terms of careers, millennials get a bad rap for not staying in a job for more than two or three years. We are lazy, entitled narcissists, the criticism says.
What this criticism misses is that we feel (or maybe just I feel?) distrustful of institutions that we were told would protect us and be stable. The church protected priests who raped children. The law protects police whose actions lead to the death of black and brown people. The cost and value of postsecondary degrees are at opposite ends. And on and on.
The underlying message is that you have to do you, boo boo, because Littlefinger ain’t coming to save you with the Knights of the Vale.
To me, the Brexit will signal a continued distrust of institutions. My guess is that the increased uncertainty about how the world works will lead to an increase in novel stimuli to fill that gap. Buy stock in short-term thrills like concerts and alcohol in 2016.
God save the queen.