At the Boston Review, Andrea Mammone sees the British Brexit vote and similar expressions of a national turning inward in other Western countries as not unprecedented. He traces part of their lineage. Here’s a bit:
Since the (Brexit–ed.) vote, I have found myself contemplating what for me—a seasoned émigré—is a quite uncustomary question: I cannot help but wonder, “Do they really want me here?” In this I finally have an inkling of how refugees must feel, constantly barraged by the likes of Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán, Donald Trump and Geert Wilders, being told over and over you are not wanted here, you are a potential subversive, a radical Islamist, a welfare-state parasite—in sum, you are not and will never be “us.” The experience contains echoes of when some Western governments of the early 1900s fretted about “alien immigration”—by which they meant Eastern European Jews—and of course the ensuing fascists with their scapegoating of Slavs, Roma, and, once more, of Jews. After studying the history of European far-right and nationalist politics for about a decade, I find that I am now living it.