Michael Caine Says It All

 

I’m late coming to this, but as the first anniversary of the vote on Brexit approaches — June 23 is the date — I see that the actor Sir Michael Caine caused a furor a few weeks ago. Caine’s crime? Admitting that he had voted for Brexit. “For me,” Caine said, “it was about freedom. I’d rather be a poor master than a rich servant.”

In a single sentence, Caine summed up the entire case for Brexit — and several centuries of the sheer groundedness and common sense of the ordinary Briton.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    If you haven’t read Michael Caine’s most recent autobiography, you are missing out. Better yet, listen to him read it on Audible. Great stuff.

    • #1
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:15 am
    • Like3 likes
  2. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member

    Satan.

    “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” Milton, Paradise Lost

    (and I’m in favor of Brexit, but the quote can be awkward)

    • #2
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:15 am
    • Like4 likes
  3. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    Of course there was a furor. He had the cheek to speak truth in a world where that is now verboten.

    • #3
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:22 am
    • Like9 likes
  4. Profile photo of NigelT Member

    It’ll be interesting to see how it affects whatever’s left of his acting career.

    • #4
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:23 am
    • Like3 likes
  5. Profile photo of Z in MT Member

    It is hard to say that Michael Caine is under appreciated, but he is probably the most prolific actor ever.

    • #5
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:26 am
    • Like7 likes
  6. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    I knew there was something I liked about him.

    • #6
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:37 am
    • Like12 likes
  7. Profile photo of Viruscop Member

    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    • #7
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:40 am
    • LikeLike
  8. Profile photo of Jamie Lockett Reagan

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    • #8
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:42 am
    • Like7 likes
  9. Profile photo of Jonah's Pants Leak Inactive

    • #9
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:43 am
    • Like12 likes
  10. Profile photo of Viruscop Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    Enlighten me.

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    • #10
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:44 am
    • Like1 like
  11. Profile photo of Jamie Lockett Reagan

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    Enlighten me.

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    I think Caine’s intent here is that a man who is his own master, who has liberty, is better off than even the most well off slave. Regardless of his personal circumstances.

    • #11
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:56 am
    • Like18 likes
  12. Profile photo of Arnold Falk Member

    For us here in Switzerland (non-EU, non-Euro, but unfortunately in Schengen), we are wishing the Brits Godspeed in their forthcoming negotiations. They must be willing at all times to walk away from the table. This is the only way to deal with Brussels.

    My British friends here are to the man pro-Brexit. They are like Michael Caine. They all recognize the likely economic pain for a while, but believe that in the long term, avoiding the EU overhead, regulations and outright stupidity (e.g., Schengen, lunatic immigration and asylum policies, the Euro) will work to make them the best performers in Europe. Would they rejoin if, by magic, the EU returned to being the EEC? Very likely.

    • #12
    • May 19, 2017 at 10:07 am
    • Like23 likes
  13. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    KC Mulville (View Comment):
    Satan.

    “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” Milton, Paradise Lost

    (and I’m in favor of Brexit, but the quote can be awkward)

    That is the first thing that came to my mind in reading Cain’s quote.

    • #13
    • May 19, 2017 at 10:15 am
    • LikeLike
  14. Profile photo of Annefy Member

    Michael Caine’s quote capsulizes why I am so disappointed in Scotland and their lack of support for Brexit. If anyone I know there voted for Brexit they have held their tongues. All the voices I hear from there are still loudly against it.

    I’ll be there for the June 8 election by the way

    • #14
    • May 19, 2017 at 11:01 am
    • Like4 likes
  15. Profile photo of Max Ledoux Admin

    I know I’m not the only one who read that Michael Cain quote in Michael Caine’s voice.

    • #15
    • May 19, 2017 at 11:11 am
    • Like13 likes
  16. Profile photo of Viruscop Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    Enlighten me.

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    I think Caine’s intent here is that a man who is his own master, who has liberty, is better off than even the most well off slave. Regardless of his personal circumstances.

    I took it to mean that. I don’t agree with it. It sounds nice, but I don’t agree with it.

    • #16
    • May 19, 2017 at 11:51 am
    • LikeLike
  17. Profile photo of Knotwise the Poet Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    If you haven’t read Michael Caine’s most recent autobiography, you are missing out. Better yet, listen to him read it on Audible. Great stuff.

    I borrowed it from the library and read it. I enjoyed it a lot, but I know it definitely would have been even better if I had the audiobook of him. If you watch any interviews with him, Caine’s always a fun and very eager storyteller.

    • #17
    • May 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    • Like4 likes
  18. Profile photo of Arizona Patriot Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    KC Mulville (View Comment):
    Satan.

    “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” Milton, Paradise Lost

    (and I’m in favor of Brexit, but the quote can be awkward)

    That is the first thing that came to my mind in reading Cain’s quote.

    The Milton quote is not on point. Think Patrick Henry instead.

    I think that this is why Brexit resonated so strongly with American conservatives.

    • #18
    • May 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm
    • Like5 likes
  19. Profile photo of Brad2971 Inactive

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    Enlighten me.

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    I think Caine’s intent here is that a man who is his own master, who has liberty, is better off than even the most well off slave. Regardless of his personal circumstances.

    I took it to mean that. I don’t agree with it. It sounds nice, but I don’t agree with it.

    Biggie Smalls (RIP) understands Caine’s point. Why can’t you?

    • #19
    • May 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Like1 like
  20. Profile photo of Arizona Patriot Member

    As I claim the title of Ricochet’s #1 SciFi nerd, I also want to reference the Talosian’s concession speech to Captain Pike in Star Trek: The Cage:

    The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it’s pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs.

    Of course, Pike eventually returned to Talos IV, as only the Talosians could heal his crippling injuries. But I do not view this as a return to captivity. The Talosians gave up on their effort to enslave humans, and I interpret their later benevolence to Pike as recompense for their prior wrong. You know, as if the EU entered into a free trade agreement with the UK after Brexit.

    • #20
    • May 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    • Like1 like
  21. Profile photo of Joseph Stanko Member

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    I think Caine’s intent here is that a man who is his own master, who has liberty, is better off than even the most well off slave. Regardless of his personal circumstances.

    I took it to mean that. I don’t agree with it. It sounds nice, but I don’t agree with it.

    So you’re a progressive who believes material wealth is more important than liberty?

    This is my shocked face.

    • #21
    • May 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm
    • Like5 likes
  22. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    There is no such thing as a “poor master.”

    You seem to not understand what Caine meant by master.

    Enlighten me.

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    They are.

    • #22
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm
    • Like1 like
  23. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    KC Mulville (View Comment):
    Satan.

    “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” Milton, Paradise Lost

    (and I’m in favor of Brexit, but the quote can be awkward)

    That is the first thing that came to my mind in reading Cain’s quote.

    Heaven is Iowa, not the EU.

    • #23
    • May 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm
    • Like1 like
  24. Profile photo of ToryWarWriter Member

    @Annefy one of the big supporters of Brexit was the Scottish Fishing industry or whats left of it. They sponsored Lexit the movie.

    • #24
    • May 20, 2017 at 3:29 am
    • Like1 like
  25. Profile photo of Doug Watt Member

    The Scots are a strange group. The British at one time always made sure that not all the Highland Regiments were in Scotland at the same time. I believe that was not due to British fears of them marching on London, the fear was that they would turn on each other and deprive Britain of a good deal of their military strength.

    • #25
    • May 20, 2017 at 7:34 am
    • Like1 like
  26. Profile photo of Annefy Member

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    @Annefy one of the big supporters of Brexit was the Scottish Fishing industry or whats left of it. They sponsored Lexit the movie.

    Understood. But the majority of the country overwhelmingly voted stay. Now they are talking about leaving the U.K. so they can join the EU

    I could respect a desire for self-determination, but I haven’t seen any of that from the people I know condemning the Brexit vote

    I think their hatred for England is clouding their judgment.

    I am sick to death of friends and relatives from Scotland clogging my FB feed with anti-Trump screeds, so I will be listening a lot more than talking while I am there. I am hoping to understand their thinking better.

    • #26
    • May 20, 2017 at 8:02 am
    • Like1 like
  27. Profile photo of Viruscop Member

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Some people seem to think that wealth and freedom are separable. They are not.

    I think Caine’s intent here is that a man who is his own master, who has liberty, is better off than even the most well off slave. Regardless of his personal circumstances.

    I took it to mean that. I don’t agree with it. It sounds nice, but I don’t agree with it.

    So you’re a progressive who believes material wealth is more important than liberty?

    This is my shocked face.

    Material wealth is an indicator of liberty. Do you think that the resident’s of Garbut, NY are more free than an office manager in Shanghai?

    • #27
    • May 20, 2017 at 8:58 am
    • LikeLike
  28. Profile photo of Joseph Stanko Member

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Material wealth is an indicator of liberty. Do you think that the resident’s of Garbut, NY are more free than an office manager in Shanghai?

    Absolutely I do.

    1. Residents of Garbut have access to the entire Internet, the office manager in Shanghai can only read what the Chinese censors deem suitable for his consumption.
    2. As Kevin Williamson infamously said, a resident of Garbut at least has the option to pack up and seek employment anywhere in these United States. Residents of equivalent poorer regions of China need to apply for government permission to move to Shanghai.
    3. Alternately, the Garbut resident can stay put and campaign for Trump, hoping he can shake up the Washington establishment and reverse Garbut’s economic decline. If the office manager in Shanghai joins a campaign to oust the Communist party from power, he will very quickly learn just how limited his “liberty” really is.
    • #28
    • May 20, 2017 at 1:24 pm
    • Like5 likes
  29. Profile photo of Texmoor Coolidge

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Material wealth is an indicator of liberty. Do you think that the resident’s of Garbut, NY are more free than an office manager in Shanghai?

    Absolutely I do.

    1. Residents of Garbut have access to the entire Internet, the office manager in Shanghai can only read what the Chinese censors deem suitable for his consumption.
    2. As Kevin Williamson infamously said, a resident of Garbut at least has the option to pack up and seek employment anywhere in these United States. Residents of equivalent poorer regions of China need to apply for government permission to move to Shanghai.
    3. Alternately, the Garbut resident can stay put and campaign for Trump, hoping he can shake up the Washington establishment and reverse Garbut’s economic decline. If the office manager in Shanghai joins a campaign to oust the Communist party from power, he will very quickly learn just how limited his “liberty” really is.

    Exactly. There is no room for dissent in the PRC. Being that high up in the company may be dependent on being a party member anyways, especially if it is a state owned company.

    • #29
    • May 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm
    • Like1 like
  30. Profile photo of Randy Webster Member

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    I know I’m not the only one who read that Michael Cain quote in Michael Caine’s voice.

    From “Zulu.”

    • #30
    • May 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm
    • LikeLike
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