As a presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders told us that the key to unlocking the American Dream was a larger, stronger, more centrally-organized government. But on June 23, Great Britain rejected their real-life version of Bernie Sanders’ future: the corrupt, monolithic European Union. By making a stand for personal freedom and liberty, Great Britain proved that everything Bernie Sanders told us is wrong.

For decades, political leaders around the globe like Bernie Sanders have pushed for stronger, more centralized governments. The European Union is considered a model for nations to work on a common agenda. With more centralized government, we are promised peace, prosperity and stability.

Following the Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “never forget that the idea of European unity was an idea of peace.” She also called it a “blow to Europe and to the European unification process.”

But in reality, the European Union has introduced new regulations, massive corruption, unaccountable bureaucrats, and favors for big business. These are among the factors that led Britons to vote to leave the European Union.

These problems are the same fuel for a boiling over of political turmoil in the United States. While Washington stubbornly pursues the same policies as the EU, Americans — like Britons — are increasingly wary of the promises of government-based solutions to society’s challenges.

Fans of an overarching, invasive government — often found in the Democratic party, but also among Republicans — should look at Brexit as an opportunity to reassess their policies. While goals of peace and stability are noble, the policies advanced by the Obama White House, the European Union — and yes, Bernie Sanders — will never actually achieve those goals.

The good news: we know how to achieve greater peace, stability and prosperity. The principles that were the foundation of America’s rise to prominence on the global stage don’t sound as good at a political rally, but they produce the desired results.

Here are three principles with profound and real impact to achieving peace and prosperity without corruption and the erosion of our rights:

The Rule of Law

As citizens, we abide by a set of laws that apply equally to everyone. These laws protect the rights of each individual and their property. No special interest group gets a pass. Everyone plays by the same rules. When we respect the rule of law, we respect each other.

Free Markets

Time and time again, governments try to “manage” the economy, only to end up making massive mistakes that cost jobs, seed corruption, or both. Free markets allow natural economic laws like supply and demand to let the economy flow naturally towards the best options. Free markets create economic growth, creating better jobs and more opportunity.

Limited Government

Ironically, the best thing government can do to protect the rule of law and free markets is to stay small.

Think about it: you’re running to the grocery and ask if your roommate needs anything. If they say two or three things, odds are pretty good you’ll remember. But if they rattle of 20? Not so much.

The same thing goes with laws. We know to follow the speed limit, don’t steal, etc. But with thousands of pages of laws and regulations at the federal, state and local level, the odds are pretty good that every day you break the law. That’s no way to live.

Limiting the size and scope of government does not mean that we don’t care about challenges facing our fellow citizens. It means we believe in other, more effective methods to solve those problems.

A limited government provides a common set of rules everyone knows and understands, protects our rights, and then gets out of the way. This leaves us to go about our day without worrying constantly about breaking the law. It also puts the responsibility on us to do the right thing. It’s our job to step up.

Are we capable of doing the right thing? That might be the biggest unasked question in America today. If not, then maybe the new vision of America painted by Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama is required.

What are your thoughts? Who is right: Bernie Sanders or Britons? Do we need a strong, central government to make our decisions for us, or should we make a stand for individual liberty and self-government? Share your thoughts on Facebook!

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