Friday, November 25, 2011

How Brussels Stifles Democracy in Europe | Standpoint

Daniel Hannan has a persuasive analysis of Europe's euro disaster. An interesting aspect of it is the way sensible critiques have been dismissed, as they still are, out of dislike of those making the critique. It is a similar form of laziness to that of substituting conspiracy theories for analysis. I remember a student in one of my classes at the University of Texas with a concern about a book I had assigned. Her roommate had told her that the author just said what he said because he was a 'liberal' - and she wanted me to assure her that this malicious slander, as she saw it, was unfounded. Since I too considered "liberal' a derogatory term, but from the security of my marxist position, I thought her concern amusing.

But much more common in academic and elite circles is the no less easy or lazy dismissal of serious arguments because they come or come mostly from the right. Busing for racial balance in American schools was to be supported at all costs because of dislike of those who opposed it, working-class parents included. Religious freedom and conscience exemptions in health care are denounced by the 'new intolerance' out of hatred of orthodox Christians who take their faith, and indeed the very idea of conscience, seriously. Moral wrongs are turned into new 'rights,' which then require a soft totalitarianism. If basic shared understandings of a prepolitical institution like marriage are to give way to a definition based entirely on what the state says it is, a tyrant state that brooks no dissent is required to enforce it. Hence Canada's Star Chambers with names like human rights commissions and human rights tribunals that fine pastors for teaching their faith. Hence the drive to push faithful Catholics and Catholic health and social service organizations out of business unless they buckle to the state's definition of morality.

Hannan here points out how intense the hatred is on the part of Brussels bureaucrats and their euro-enthusiast supporters in governments throughout Europe, how much they loathe democratic processes, and as Greece and Italy have just shown, how ready they are to overthrow democratically elected politicians and replace them with unelected eurocrats, how completely the bureaucrats have subordinated the will of the people of every nation under their control to their own 'enlightened' wisdom. Hannan has made these points eloquently for years (check his Youtube clips.) What is sobering is how blindly and persistently both bureaucrats and politicians are pursuing a course that has proved ruinous and is opposed by electorates throughout the EU. And the main argument in favor of their policies is their contempt for their critics.

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