Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paris Postcard
Maimon Schwarzschild

I've been in Paris teaching a mini-course at the Sorbonne on US constitutional law.  (In English, I hasten to add.)   In class once or twice I've alluded wryly to the fact that France, like all European Union nations, no longer really governs itself.  The students smile ruefully each time.  They are perfectly well aware that the new EU President (an obscure Belgian politician, a fervent "federalist" of course; "federalism" in this context meaning "All Power To The Brussels Eurocracy") and the new EU "foreign minister" (a mindless British lefty) were just chosen behind closed doors without the slightest democratic pretence.  The students are also well aware that the voters in France (and Holland; and Ireland until they finally succumbed) all voted against the "European Constitution" - and that voters in almost every major European country would probably do the same if given a chance.   No matter: the Constitution was simply re-named a Treaty and put into force anyhow.

The European political class - the satraps of the EU bureaucracies and their gravy-train riders - have discovered that they can get away with anything.  A solid majority of Europe's people are against them and their "project", but cannot or will not resist effectively.

Given Europe's horrific history in the twentieth century - a suicidal First World War; Nazism; Communism; pervasive collaboration therewith; a Second World War; and the utter political and moral discredit brought on by all this - it is almost understandable that Europeans would now be too morally exhausted to stand up for democracy and self-government.

The political class in the US is now embarked on somewhat similar "projects" - vast government takeovers which a majority of Americans do not support.  The assumption seems to be that American voters, too, cannot or will not resist effectively.  It will be, as it were, interesting to see whether this assumption proves correct. 


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Maimon Schwarzschild


So depressing, no comment will do.

Posted by: athena | Nov 25, 2009 6:01:37 AM

It is indeed depressing. I hope that we can stop this from happening here. It will be tough, because nearly all the Dems support this effort. They realize that they can't get most of their wish list from a government that is even somewhat at the mercy of the voters, but they can get their wish list from politicans and bureaucrats that are completely insulated from voters.

Come to think of it, this is similar to what the left and liberals have sometimes obtained from judges who don't have to face voters. The left has at least five shots at instituting their preferred policies in the United States: state legislatures, state court judges, Congress, federal judges, and now international institutions or treaties. The first four aren't quite as good as the last, because one state's policy usually doesn't have a huge impact on the entire country. And actions by Congress or judges can, at least in theory, be reversed. Congressmen can be defeated at the polls and new judges can occasionally change previous judicial results. But international institutions and treaties are highly resistant to any leverage from the people, as you have ably described above.

Posted by: Larry | Nov 25, 2009 8:34:36 AM

I think there's a big difference between the US and EU in that, with the possible exception of France, nationalism is so discredited in Europe as to make resistance to "integration" morally very difficult. Americans have no such compunctions. Even if we enact major centralizing legislation, it will be of a particular American form, and subject to change or elimination at the popular whim. Ask Woodrow Wilson.

Posted by: mike livingston | Nov 25, 2009 9:29:12 AM

I want to have a postcard from Paris. I wonder what it looks like.


Posted by: direct marketing postcard | Nov 26, 2009 9:10:40 AM