Europe

Game of States

June 29, 2016

Multiple Pages
Game of States

The question of whether Britain should be in or out of the European Union might seem like a complex technical matter upon which people of goodwill might differ.

But nationalism is now the worst idea of all time, because Hitler. Lex at WWTDD notes:

Some portion of the American public is vexed about Brexit. Almost none of them understand the precise meaning of the vote…. If it weren’t for the catchy Brexit moniker, ninety percent of them wouldn’t have been tracking it. It’s always important to ask yourself, did I discover this issue through my One Direction Fan news feed?

The near universal response of the punditry to a majority of Brits voting to leave the E.U. has been so enraged that the average voter must have begun by now to notice that their furious elites just plain don’t like them. As a Bizarro World Sally Field might have exclaimed in wonder, “You hate us, you really hate us!”

The past week has been the mirror image of the Stale Pale Male taunting and touchdown dances that followed Obama’s reelection. Then, it was Democracy Rules (because we’ve imported millions of ringers). Now, it’s Democracy Sucks (because voters are stupid).

I’ve long been suggesting that it would be prudent for elites to moderate the policies under which they’ve flourished, such as by scaling back mass immigration. Open borders might make sense to individuals who see themselves as Randian supermen who could dominate anywhere. But the more humble or realistic might prefer a place to call home—“Home is where you don’t have to explain yourself.”

The Establishment’s refusal to moderate its policies—for example, “Britain today receives more immigrants in a single year than it did in the entire period from 1066 to 1950,” as Benjamin Schwarz recently observed—inevitably leads citizens to seize upon the few opportunities they are afforded to offer their opinion, such as the Brexit referendum.

“Is it any surprise that British voters chose to exit in 2016?”

What has ruined the E.U. is the ideological momentum of elites. Now that the public has twigged to the fact that globalism is basically a scam to allow those who would do pretty well in life anyway to do even better, the globalists have doubled down on their claims to be justified by their more advanced morality of universalism.

Personally, it’s interesting to finally see become widely admitted what I’ve been pointing out for the entire 21st century: that the contemporary globalist ordering of the world (in comparison with the postwar nationalist structure) is very good for the people at the top, and perhaps for those at the bottom (although they are more used as virtue-signaling totems by the ruling class), while it exploits those in the middle. This predation is then rationalized by arguing that the victims, the typical citizens, deserve their fate because they are evil.

That’s the KKKrazy Glue that holds together this high-low coalition.

And yet, one obvious problem with the European Union is its “democracy deficit.” The word “democracy” still is prestigious, but democracy is pragmatically incompatible with a European-wide polity. As I wrote in 2000:

A single language unifies a country into a shared “information sphere.” When citizens can understand each other, they are much more likely to identify with their compatriots—and sacrifice for them. They can also monitor politics across their society and intelligently participate in debates.

[James] Bennett comments, “No one person can really follow European politics as a whole, since that would require reading and speaking such a wide variety of languages with subtlety and ability to understand context, that only a few handful might even try. A ‘European’ politics outside of the corridors of EU headquarters in Brussels does not and cannot exist.”

One example of the problems of conducting politics in translation:

…Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev notoriously told the U.S., “We will bury you.” American citizens took that as an extremely aggressive threat. Yet, according to [Jamie] Hamilton [of a translation firm], in Russian the phrase actually “connotes something fairly mild: ‘we’ll outlive you,’ ‘we’ll be there at your funeral.’”

…These days, most citizens get their political opinions from watching leaders and pundits speak on television…. If the Euro-politicians were speaking different languages and therefore would have to be dubbed like a bad kung fu movie to make them intelligible to the citizens, apathy will reign.

Historically, multilingual rule tends to lead to self-perpetuating autocracy:

An older word for “superstate” is “empire.” The rigorous demands of running an empire naturally tend to undermine democracy…. The Roman Republic discovered this when Julius Caesar conquered Gaul.

Yet the reality that has become apparent in the sixteen years since I confidently explained why the European Union is doomed to be controlled by its Brussels bureaucracy is that the E.U. has turned out to be a house of cards dominated by the leader of its strongest old-fashioned state, which is Germany.

Progressivism is a facade for rule by the strongest. Nationalism is still the way the world works. What ultimately matters in terms of political power is employing armed men to collect tax revenue. In Europe, the leading state at that is Germany, so Europe today is more or less run by the chancellor of Germany. Marine Le Pen of France wrote on Tuesday:

President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain take their lead directly from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, without running through Brussels. A quip attributed to Henry Kissinger, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” now has a clear answer: Call Berlin.

Vast unaccountable powers have thus been seized by the German leader.

Before 2015, the E.U. could plausibly assert to be a joint effort by Europeans to garner the benefits of cooperating with their fellow Europeans. But that was increasingly sounding continentalist, and thus racist.

Therefore, the German chancellor’s decision in late August 2015 to unilaterally change the demographics of Europe in the name of newly discovered “European values” by admitting random Afghans, Eritreans, and Syrians in tracksuits doubled down ideologically on leapfrogging loyalties.

Yet Merkel also revealed to the cynical that the E.U. had become to Germany what China and Indonesia were to Imperial Japan: The Greater North Europe Co-Prosperity Sphere.

In 1999, I attended a Hudson Institute seminar addressed by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. I sat at a dinner table with retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Administration under President Reagan. Having spent much of his career in the U.S. Army in West Germany, he was a warm admirer of the Germans. He asked Mrs. Thatcher an impudent question about why she had been so unenthusiastic about German reunification in 1989.

After the speech, the baroness came over to continue the argument over Germany with the general. They went at it for about ten minutes like a baseball manager and an umpire arguing over a called third strike. Sitting three feet away, I was more agog over the intensity of the argument than I was following it closely.

That’s too bad, because history has moved on, and Great Power politics have returned to their traditional ruts, making the Thatcher-Odom argument over the threat of German hegemony relevant again. As in the days of Lord Byron, the English sympathize with the Greeks, the Russians sympathize with the Syrian Christians, and the Germans, much like in 1914, make deals with the Turks. But now the German leader is presumed to act for all of Europe.

According to a E.U. poll, the percentage of E.U. voters citing immigration as one of the top two most pressing issues jumped from 10 percent in 2013 to almost 60 percent in 2015.

Why? Because the European Union proved worse than useless at defending Europe from the hegira of Merkel’s Muslims. The basic question of all politics is: Whose side are you on? In 2015, the European Union gave every indication of not being on the side of Europeans. Is it any surprise that British voters chose to exit in 2016?

Granted, Dr. Merkel claimed that she had to destroy Europe to save it. But, to a Brit, what was the point of 1939–1945 if a German chancellor still wound up ruling over Europe?

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