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Jun 29, 2016

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The decision, which is the first time a country has ever opted to leave the EU, is a step in the wrong direction: toward tribalism and away from banding together for the common good. As a UK citizen working in France, I felt like I was part of a shared social fabric that was an immeasurable improvement over the vicious history of Europe -- one baron, duke, king, emperor or dictator fighting the others in a zero-sum scramble for arable farmland, wealthy cities, navigable rivers and industrial resources. The EU has let Europe channel its energy into something more productive and less fatal than military conquest. The internet spreading to every corner of our lives accelerated the growth of this social fabric. It lowers language barriers, makes it easier to figure out distant public transit systems, helps you find an electronics store where you can replace that phone charger you left at home, and perhaps most important to me, lets you instantly learn the history of any church or town or museum you stroll into. These social, cultural and economic ties are not just how you avoid going to war. It's how you build the trust and mutually agreeable incentives to cooperate when things like terrorist acts or global warming warrant a response larger than that which a single country can muster. Brexit: What you need to know 'What is the EU?' trends on Google UK Brexit and other nativist movements undo this progress.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Brexit: A step back to tribalism and a personal insult - CNET