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Abolish The European Union By: Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 05, 2002


AMERICANS SUFFER FROM A CURIOUS DELUSION:

Reading their newspapers and perusing their atlases, they continue to believe that such geographical entities as France, England, Italy and Germany are nations. But in fact they are, or more accurately are rapidly becoming, mere provinces of the Holy Belgian Empire: the European Union (EU). This empire has been getting continually more malignant for years without attracting significant conservative opposition on this side of the Atlantic. But American conservatives should realize that it represents the European manifestation of the odious ideology of globalism, or the liquidation of nations. It should therefore be abolished forthwith.

The EU seems to have a unique talent for bringing out the worst in its member states. It is like the universal alloy of medieval alchemy: a mixture of all metals that turns out to have the liabilities of each and the virtues of none. Each of its member states has its own dishonorable reasons for participating in it.

For example, one motivating factor behind the ongoing attempt of the EU to become a superstate is the colossal unresolved guilt felt by Germany about her Nazi past. Germans would very much like to abolish Germany as a nation and declare themselves citizens of "Europe" so that their consciences wouldn’t have to bear the burden of being Germans. After having tried to liquidate the other nations of Europe by the sword twice in one century, they are now trying it a third time to weasel out of their well-deserved guilt over the first two. It is an utter scandal that nations like Britain, France, and soon Poland, which sacrificed millions of lives fighting German aggression, are being asked to liquidate their nationhood to expiate German crimes.

Another motivating factor behind the EU is the determination of French bureaucrats to rule Europe. France, because of her history, the structure of her government, and her educational system, produces the most ambitious bureaucrats in the world. Her tradition of dirigisme or state-directed capitalism is precisely suited to present world economic conditions, in which competitive pressures make expanding socialism impossible but the inexorable will of the state to grow has not gone away. They are convinced that the expanded powers of the EU will by nature fall into their lap, the Germans being too shy about asserting their power, the British not being statist by instinct, the Italians being too disorganized, and everyone else being too small.

Those Italians who like the EU like it because it absolves them of the need to get their own national act together and fix the most chaotic government and economy in Europe. Rather than fixing their own budget deficits to save the ever-falling lira, they adopt the euro. Rather than fixing their own government, they prefer to sign away their sovereignty and with it, the ability of future generations of Italians to be masters of their own political destiny. The idea of an Italy governed in all essentials by foreigners in Brussels doesn’t seem to scare them or bother their national pride at all.

Other nations, like Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, have knuckled under to the EU essentially on a basis of bribery. They have been paid billions in subsidies to support obsolescent farming sectors in exchange for compliant votes to expand EU powers. It is a classic case, writ large, of the old warning about selling one’s freedom in exchange for welfare.

The other openly admitted motivation for the EU is to create a political entity large enough to blunt "American hegemony." Given that it is US hegemony over Europe since WWII that has given the continent the greatest peace and prosperity it has known in the 20th century, this is for a start monumentally ungrateful. Given that Europe cannot even deal with local crises like the wars of the Yugoslav succession without American help, it is pathetic. Despite all talk of a common foreign policy, the minute bullets start to fly, pronouncements of European unity vanish and the member states go their separate ways. And what wonderful geopolitical agenda does Europe intend to pursue once it stands tall next to America? What terrible harm at our hands does it propose to rectify? No one has answered this question because frankly, the motivation here is pure ego, leavened only by the cynicism that passes for political sophistication in Europe. Fortunately, Europe is unlikely to ever match American military power, since it cannot afford to match our defense budget and maintain its bloated welfare states. This is not even to mention our 40-year technological head start; the European armies, with the limited exception of the Americanized but very small British military, are perfectly nice 1960s-era militaries, a joke compared to our Star Wars forces. All of Europe put together cannot field a single state-of-the-art stealth aircraft.

The other great aim of EU supporters is that it be their last chance to salvage the statist, over-regulated, socialistic economic policies that have been pushed to the wall by the worldwide free-market revival of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It is no accident that the movement to turn the EU from a free-trade area to a superstate rose with this free-market revival. Their essential premise is that these failed policies will work if the political unit of their operation is large enough. Naturally, this is absurd: the Soviet Union had nearly 300 million people and couldn’t make socialism work. The justification for this claim is the idea that there is no real superiority to free-market policies and that these policies have only been offering them competition because they are embodied in the United States, which uses its vast size to bully other nations into adopting them. (I have discussed the tendency of the world’s losers to see their self-inflicted problems as caused by America in another article.) So if the EU is large enough, it will be able to sustain these discredited ideas by hiding behind a protectionist shield. They will of course eventually discover that this won’t work, that mistakes are mistakes regardless of scale, but the attempt could doom a generation of Europeans to continuing economic sclerosis.

Some examples of the dirigiste economic policies of EU nations:

High taxes on everything from incomes to retail goods. High social charges on employers. Legally-entrenched labor union power. Laws against firing people, which just cause employers not to hire them in the first place. Massive subsidies for obsolescent industries like agriculture and steel. Cozy cartels to restrict competition and divide up markets. Massive government intervention in business decisions. Outright government ownership of sectors of the economy. Anti-business cultural attitudes. Protectionism against American and Asian goods.

There is no meaningful doubt that the nations of the EU pay a high price for its dirigiste practices. For the last decade, the EU’s unemployment rate has averaged roughly double that of the United States. Since 1980, the US has created 30 million new private-sector jobs; the European Union a net of zero. (Source: National Center for Policy Analysis).

Fortunately one of the saving graces of Europe has traditionally been competition between governments. For example, the most economically free nation in Europe (thanks to Margaret Thatcher, not the current Labor government) is currently Britain, which has been attracting investment away from more regulated economies in Europe as a result. The French fume about this and call it "social dumping." British workers call it an unemployment rate far below that of France. The EU would like to end this ability of nations to compete by having lighter tax burdens. It would like to "harmonize," as it says in its inimitably dishonest eurobabble, tax rates across nations. It also raises taxes simply by having a budget, which taxpayers of the member states ultimately finance.

Like every undesirable thing in politics, the EU has its own characteristic varieties of sophistry that are used to justify it. The key piece of sophistic reasoning used to justify the European Union is the claim that opposition to the political construct that is the EU constitutes opposition to the existential fact that is Europe. Anyone who opposes expansion of the powers of the EU is tarred as "anti-Europe," which has become an epithet exceeded only by "racist" in its ability to both mean nothing and brand its victim a pariah. But Europeans have been benefiting from their relations with other European countries for millennia without the benefit of this superstate. It is entirely possible, indeed desirable, to be pro-Europe and anti-EU.

Another EU sophism: the benefits of free trade within the EU require its existence. False: all they require is the absence of tariffs between the member states, as the old Common Market, predecessor of the EU, used to provide. The European Union uses the promise of free trade as a tool to bribe the nations to its East to submit to its political control. I am not Polish, but it makes me want to cry to see this proud, nationalistic nation, which has suffered so many cruel affronts to its independence in its history, being prepared for subjugation to Brussels, along with Hungary and the Czech Republic. All the preposterous claims about the economic benefits of membership in the EU crumble on contact with the fact that some of Europe’s most successful economies, like Norway and Switzerland, are outside it, and one of the most successful countries inside the EU, Britain, has the least degree of economic submission to it, having not adopted its currency, the euro.

The lies spouted in favor of the euro are a rich topic in their own right. The fundamental premise underlying the euro is the same bald empirical falsehood that underlies most EU thinking: bigger is better. When it comes to economics, one can compare the success of the currencies of Russia and Singapore, or Brazil and Switzerland, and come to one’s own conclusions. Supposedly, having a common currency is necessary to weld the individual economies of Europe into one big economy. Naturally, since the euro is backed by the sagging over-regulated economies of Continental Europe, it has been sinking relative to the dollar and the pound since it was established. It was issued in 1999 at a value of $1.17; it is now trading at 94 and has been lower. This loss in value is not an abstraction: it has wiped billions off of the value of pension funds, especially German ones, which used to be denominated in the rock-solid mark. Britain, which remains outside the euro, has less inflation, less unemployment, and more growth, than the average of those nations within it. And the euro does not promote foreign investment: in 1999, Britain attracted a grossly disproportionate 40% of all US and Asian investment into the EU.

However smoothly its spokesmen would deny it in public while admitting it in private, the EU is a threat to the national sovereignty of its member states. Sovereignty sounds like an abstraction, but in fact it refers to the ultimate ability of a nation to control its own destiny rather than being dictated to by others. For example, EU laws override the laws made by the parliaments of the member states. This means that the entire body of English common law, for example, a treasury of liberty, which has grown up over nearly a thousand years, is now disposable. The British parliament cannot legislate for its own people without the permission of bureaucrats in Brussels.

The EU is exceptionally dishonest in how it goes about coercing its member states. Its fundamental modus operandi is what has been called "union by stealth," namely the surrender of national sovereignty to the new superstate so gradually that the electorates of the member nations don’t notice until it is too late. Stealth combines with the narcotization of European electorates by bloated welfare states to make this possible. It is the same tactic of "progressive" revolutionaries that we have seen in America: push through fundamental changes not by arguing that they are good, but by pretending that they don’t matter. It is government by anesthesia. The politicians responsible have consistently lied about the nature of the changes they have made. It is well understood that the EU could never survive real democratic debate. Claude Cheysson, the former French Foreign Secretary who subsequently became one of France's European Commissioners, famously observed that the superstate-building Maastricht Treaty could only have been constructed "in the absence of democracy."

Politicians as a class love the EU. It gives them the ability to wield power through insider wheeler-dealing, without the accountability of pesky national electorates or judiciaries.

Leftists especially appreciate its ability to impose laws that would never be passed by their national legislature. The EU is governed by an unelected Commission; the "European Parliament" is an inert joke. The issue is usually fudged by resorting to the kind of technical discussion of the structures of government, rife with meaningless phrases like "pooled sovereignty," that have come to be known as eurobabble, but the blunt fact is, the EU has no democratic legitimacy. The legal basis for the imposition of its laws on its member states is only a series of treaties that they have signed, starting with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The treaty that contained the fundamental basis for surrender of sovereignty was that of 1972, but this was not given its full force until the treaties of Maastrich of 1993 and Amsterdam in 1997. The fundamental problem with these treaties, as a matter of basic sound political philosophy, is that they surrender or alienate the right of self-government of the nations that sign them. Our Declaration of Independence rightly observes that the right to self-government is "unalienable;" i.e. that no government elected by the people can abolish that right or surrender it to someone else, for the fundamental reason that no government owns the right to self government, but merely holds it in trust temporarily for its owners, the people It follows that the treaties that form the basis for the EU are fundamentally invalid on philosophical grounds and the EU superstate should be considered an illegitimate government against which patriots have a right to rebel.

The EU is a mortal threat to the civil liberties of those who live under it. It is currently trying to impose on those member states, like Britain, whose citizens currently have a right to trial-by-jury, a legal system known as Corpus Juris - a judicial system under which Trial by Jury and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty will be abolished. The EU is trying to extend the preposterously strict and anti-free speech hate crimes laws of Germany, a product of that nation’s unique and horrifying history, to all the other nations. It would like to make such acts as "disparaging" another religion illegal. Magazines like this one are probably already in violation of the law in some member states and could soon be illegal in the whole Union. Thank God, I must say, we are Americans. Almost needless to say, like all other non-democratic governments the EU has no respect whatsoever for gun rights. It is trying to impose a requirement that communications providers snoop on their customers’ communications and store them indefinitely for police use. It is trying to abolish Europe’s network of extradition laws. It is trying to create a central register of "troublemakers" called the Schengen Information Registry which will be used to deny demonstrators freedom of movement between member states.

The fundamental form of the political order that the EU is trying to impose can be described as soft totalitarianism. Soft totalitarianism shares with the various forms of "hard" totalitarianism that have been tried (fascism, nazism, communism) the aspiration of total government control over the life of its citizens. But soft totalitarianism does this by means of bribery (i.e. the welfare state) and bureaucracy, rather than by means of concentration camps and the knock on the door at 3 AM. Those who would scoff at this, I challenge to name one thing that the EU is not trying to regulate. This is an entity that regulates how curved a banana can be.

The bureaucracy of the EU has a well-earned reputation for heavy-handedness, arrogance, incompetence, and deafness to the public. The European Commission is seriously corrupt. So much so, in fact, that in the Spring of 1999 the entire commission had to resign due to corruption charges. After this, of course, many of them kept on working for the EU in other posts. The Brussels headquarters has become a feather bed for the unelectable political cronies of all the member states.

There should be no mystery why the EU is the way it is: most continental European states have no indigenous traditions of democracy. What democracy they have was imposed at the point of American bayonets. Or if they do have a democratic tradition, it is one of unstable, ineffective democracies that destroy themselves. Since one of the fundamental requirements of a viable democracy is the rule of law, it comes as no surprise that the EU is utterly lacking in this quality. It compiles governing statutes that run to thousands of pages, and then casually flouts them for brazen political reasons. For example, it established elaborate convergence criteria for national debt levels of member states being admitted to the European Monetary Union (an institutional arrangement that led the way to the euro) and then ignored them in order to get Germany, Belgium and Italy in. And the supposed independence of the European Central Bank crumbled when the French government demanded a special say over things.

The cultural agenda of the EU is to liquidate the sense of national identity in its member states and replace it with enthusiasm for "Europe." But not Europe as a meaningful pan-European culture in its own right, Europe as a bloodless bureaucratic construct. As a result, emotional attachment to this new superstate is weak. The EU's own surveys show that only a tiny minority (5%) of the EU's inhabitants consider themselves essentially "European" in identity, 85% instead viewing their nation as their sole or principal affiliation. As the EU survey ruefully admits, "a sense of sharing a common identity does not appear to have become more widespread over the years."

Tony Blair, whom Margaret Thatcher rightly described as animated by "a doomed ambition to rule Europe," would like to be the first president of a united Europe. In pursuit of this ambition, he has, to be perfectly blunt, become the greatest traitor in the history of Britain, selling out to foreigners contemptuous of Britain’s blood-bought political values not just her secrets or her interests but her very sovereignty. He has almost certainly made a private deal with the rest of the EU to be given this post in exchange for eventually submitting Britain to the euro. Margaret Thatcher’s greatest regret, she has said, is that she allowed the EU to acquire too much power. Americans should consider the threat to Britain as a threat to themselves, as the EU, with its incoherent but lethally mischievous foreign policy, is a threat to the special relationship between America and its most loyal ally. The European Union, by funding the Palestinian Authority, has directly and knowingly financed terrorism. Its member states continue to trade with Iraq, Libya, Cuba, and other nations implicated in the support of terror.

It is a distinct possibility that, in the long run, the EU will not be content with governing only Europe. Because of its lack of respect for, or foundation in, real concrete European identity, it is quite capable of redefining itself at some point to embrace the nations at its fringe, like North Africa, and then amorphously expanding to include them. Naturally, anyone who opposes this will be labeled a racist. The EU is quite plausibly the nucleus of an aspiring soft-totalitarian world state; it is in fact far more likely to fulfil this role than the justly-despised UN. I apologize if this sounds alarmist, but history clearly teaches us to think ahead to the logical implications of things that are just beginning.

Fortunately, there are signs that Europe is awakening to the monster in its midst. A number of right-wing politicians like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (closest American equivalent: Ross Perot) are actively fighting to curb the EU. Poll evidence regularly indicates that a narrow majority of British voters now favors outright withdrawal from the European Union under certain circumstances and 60% favor leaving the EU if the alternative is joining the euro. A majority of citizens in eight of the European Union's 15 member states are dissatisfied with the way the EU is progressing towards closer unity. Unfortunately, the welfare machine constructed to narcotize European electorates after WWII produces a far more passive electorate than in the US, far more used to being fed faits accomplis by their political masters so long as the public teat keeps giving.

So what’s the solution to the EU? Simply disband it. Let the nations of Western and Central Europe engage in free trade with one another. That’s it. For once, a complex problem has a simple solution.

Note: If you want further information on this topic, try eurosceptic.com. Interestingly, you can verify the strength of the eurosceptic case by perusing an official website attempting to defend the EU against the charges made against it. Its lack of persuasiveness speaks for itself: it is simply amazing how the authors apparently think their question-ducking non-answers will persuade anybody.




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