Europe and Anarchy

 

AnarchyDraw back from the day-to-day news in Europe and think a bit about the wider trends, globally and regionally. Without a feeling for these, it’s harder to make sense of individual items in the news.

The eerie thing about Trump is that his campaign echoes so many themes of the so-called European far-right. I say  “so-called,” because the word “right” confuses matters. These parties go beyond traditional left-right categories. I’d prefer to call them “Trumpist” or “Putinist” parties, and call their opponents, “traditional” or “establishment” parties.

Like Trump, these candidates tend to run on platforms of protecting very high levels of welfare and social spending. Thrift and budget discipline are not part of the program. Like Trump, they’re protectionist, anti-globalist, and thoroughly unimpressed by the blessings of free trade. Like Trump, they promise to limit or end immigration, and like Trump, they’re particularly concerned about Muslim immigration. Like Trump, they admire Vladimir Putin, and don’t see why there should be such a fuss about Ukraine.

They suggest that if voters are economically frustrated, it’s because the Establishment — be it the Acela corridor or the Eurostar corridor — is comprised of a bunch of Davos-brained idiots who’ve determined to rip them off, or permit them to be ripped off, or to destroy their national sovereignty. They hate and distrust the media. Like Trump, even if the candidates are not themselves anti-Semitic, they’re the candidates of choice for those who are. In Europe, these parties also tend to be anti-American.

Most people who vote for these parties have been on the losing side of globalization and technology change. If neoliberal trade regimes have benefitted anyone, it sure hasn’t been them.

What differs, of course, is the country that’s the star of the story. In every case, the candidates appeal to a time when his or her own country — be it the United States, France, Russia, or Great Britain — was “great,” “respected,” and less embedded in an international system that deprives it of sovereignty. (Obviously, if all of these countries become “great” again in the way these candidates suggest, this will be a planet with too many pigeons and not enough statues.)

Is the deeper story behind all of this the seemingly-eternal fallout of the financial and the Eurozone crises? Or is it something even bigger?

If you grew up reading Robert Kaplan’s thoughts about geopolitics, you’ll know that he’s been predicting anarchy since 1994, when he wrote his famous, Malthusian essay, “The Coming Anarchy.” I don’t always agree with him, but he’s a writer for whom I always have time. First, because he’s deeply learned. Second, because he gets out of his armchair and spends time in the places he writes about, a lot of time. He isn’t just building geopolitical models from the comfort of his mom’s basement. Third, because he’s a pessimist to the bone, which is of course the correct foundation for conservatism. So whenever things seem to be falling apart, I think, “Perhaps it’s time to read Kaplan again. He did predict this, after all.”

In 1997, well before it was fashionable to ask this question, he wrote “Was Democracy Just a Moment?”

The collapse of communism from internal stresses says nothing about the long-term viability of Western democracy. Marxism’s natural death in Eastern Europe is no guarantee that subtler tyrannies do not await us, here and abroad. History has demonstrated that there is no final triumph of reason, whether it goes by the name of Christianity, the Enlightenment, or, now, democracy. To think that democracy as we know it will triumph—or is even here to stay—is itself a form of determinism, driven by our own ethnocentricity. Indeed, those who quote Alexis de Tocqueville in support of democracy’s inevitability should pay heed to his observation that Americans, because of their (comparative) equality, exaggerate “the scope of human perfectibility.” Despotism, Tocqueville went on, “is more particularly to be feared in democratic ages,” because it thrives on the obsession with self and one’s own security which equality fosters.

I submit that the democracy we are encouraging in many poor parts of the world is an integral part of a transformation toward new forms of authoritarianism; that democracy in the United States is at greater risk than ever before, and from obscure sources; and that many future regimes, ours especially, could resemble the oligarchies of ancient Athens and Sparta more than they do the current government in Washington. History teaches that it is exactly at such prosperous times as these that we need to maintain a sense of the tragic, however unnecessary it may seem. The Greek historian Polybius, of the second century B.C., interpreted what we consider the Golden Age of Athens as the beginning of its decline. To Thucydides, the very security and satisfactory life that the Athenians enjoyed under Pericles blinded them to the bleak forces of human nature that were gradually to be their undoing in the Peloponnesian War.

I know I recommend a lot of articles, but I recommend that one particularly highly. It’s prescient. That’s one among a number of passages that makes the essay worth reading. Here’s another:

Democracy loses meaning if both rulers and ruled cease to be part of a community tied to a specific territory. In this historical transition phase, lasting perhaps a century or more, in which globalization has begun but is not complete and loyalties are highly confused, civil society will be harder to maintain. How and when we vote during the next hundred years may be a minor detail for historians.

And remember, he wrote this in 1997, when this wasn’t an especially fashionable view:

… trouble awaits us, if only because the “triumph” of democracy in the developing world will cause great upheavals before many places settle into more practical—and, it is to be hoped, benign—hybrid regimes. In the Middle East, for instance, countries like Syria, Iraq, and the Gulf sheikhdoms—with artificial borders, rising populations, and rising numbers of working-age youths—will not instantly become stable democracies once their absolute dictators and medieval ruling families pass from the scene. As in the early centuries of Christianity, there will be a mess.

Last February, he wrote a piece for Stratfor titled “Why So Much Anarchy?” He elaborates his argument and updates it with new observations. Also worth reading. I’m thinking about Kaplan this morning because of this item in the news. Mario Monti, the former Italian prime minister and European commissioner, is alarmed:

“The EU is going through a crisis which leads me and others for the first time to consider whether we are not heading towards disintegration,” Monti said, with his calm tone and deliberate cadence only emphasizing the seriousness of his words.

“The EU has never been hit by such a high number of different crises of this gravity,” he continued, referring to the migration problem, the rise of terrorism, and the bloc’s persistent economic malaise. “What I am concerned about is that, although the EU has developed itself historically through a process of crisis, response to the crisis, and advancement, this time around it may well not happen.”

“The degree of mistrust and sheer prejudices between North and South and between East and West has never been so high and so unashamedly voiced,” he said. …

“Unfortunately, this has started to pay off, at least in the short-term, for politicians who cultivate the gut feelings of their citizens. Even heads of government and ministers belonging to traditionally pro-European parties now indulge in this habit. They hit out at the EU and also to other member states in bilateral acrimony.”

I have no special affection for the EU, which is indeed as bloated, bureaucratic, and inefficient as reputed. But I see no reason to expect it to be replaced by something better. On what historical experience would that expectation be founded? People who suggest that Europe’s future without it would naturally be more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic have no evidence to which they can appeal. The condition of Europe before the EU was none of those things. I’d feel much more confident in the Euroskeptics if I saw from them realistic proposals to build new mechanisms for European trade and cooperation, rather than just the proposal to tear this one down.

Kaplan’s just written another piece, for the National Interest, in which he argues that vulgar, populist anarchy will define the 21st century. He accounts for these political movements in terms of growing world disorder, this occasioned among other things by the end of the American imperial moment:

[T]he underpinnings of the global order today attempt to replace the functions of empire—from the rules-based international system to the raft of supranational and multinational groupings, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the International Court of Justice and the World Economic Forum. Silently undergirding this process since World War II has been the undeniable fact of American power—military, diplomatic and economic—protecting sea lanes, maritime choke points, access to hydrocarbons and, in general, providing some measure of security to the world. These tasks are amoral to the extent that they do not involve lofty principles, but without them there is no possibility for moral action anywhere. This is not traditional imperialism, which is no longer an option, but it is a far more humane replacement for it.

And this is his prediction:

World disorder will only grow. The weakening and dissolution of small- and medium-size states in Africa and the Middle East will advance to quasi-anarchy in larger states on which the geographic organization of Eurasia hinges: Russia and China. For the external aggression of these new regional hegemons is, in part, motivated by internal weakness. They’re using nationalism to assuage the unraveling domestic economies upon which their societies’ stability rests. Then there is the European Union, which is enfeebled, if not crumbling. Rather than a unified and coherent superstate, Europe will increasingly be a less-than-coherent confection of states and regions, dissolving into the fluid geography of Eurasia, the Levant and North Africa.

With the great multinational empires and totalitarian regimes gone, and their surrogates — the United States and the EU — fading, he predicts “a maelstrom of national and subnational groups in violent competition.”

And so, geopolitics—the battle for space and power—now occurs within states as well as between them. Cultural and religious differences are particularly exacerbated: as group differences melt down in the crucible of globalization, they have to be reforged in a blunter and more ideological form. It isn’t the clash of civilizations so much as the clash of artificially reconstructed civilizations that is taking place.

Kaplan has been predicting anarchy for years, so it’s no surprise he’s predicting it again, but might he be right?

In sum, everything is interlinked as never before, even as there is less and less of a night watchman to keep the peace worldwide. Hierarchies everywhere are breaking down. Just look at the presidential primaries in the United States—an upheaval from below for which the political establishment has no answer. … vulgar, populist anarchy that elites at places like Aspen and Davos will struggle to influence or even comprehend will help define the twenty-first century. The multinational empires of the early-modern and modern past, as well as the ideological divisions of the Cold War, will then be viewed almost as much with nostalgia as with disdain.

Just one recent news item for your consideration. The Catalan cauldron: The prospect of the break-up of Spain poses yet another challenge to Europe.

In a nightmare scenario, radicalisation and unrest could emerge in Catalonia, with division between Catalans and memories of the Spanish Civil War coming to the fore. In this context, it might become very difficult to prevent violence. …

In that event, the peninsula will become the hottest point in an emerging “arc of crisis” across the southern flank of the EU, stretching from Portugal across Spain, an Italy struggling along with everything else to cope with the flow of migrants, the troubled Balkans, to Greece, which is perpetually perturbed. This highlights yet another flaw in the EU. It has no institutional framework for dealing with Catalan demands to become a nation within the Union, or those of other populations. Merely insisting on Spanish state sovereignty will not make the problem go away for Brussels, or for Europe as a whole. This is a potential matter of life and death not only for Spaniards and Catalans, but perhaps for the EU itself.

My larger question, for the purposes of this book, is whether this series of crises in Europe will result in a kind of muddling-through, with or without the EU, which preserves a Europe much like the one we’ve known in the past half-century. That is, a Europe comprised of nation-states that have embraced a tolerant and democratic form of governance, and which trade and cooperate peacefully among themselves.

Or is it more likely to result in competing authoritarian and nationalist regimes? Would this return Europe to its traditional bloody past, or to an inter-European arms race and Cold War?

Or is the more likely outcome outright anarchy?

What do you think, and why?

Thank you for making it possible for me to work.

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  1. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Apropos of nothing, I was amused to read this (the quote, not the article):

    Political risk is now the new climate change, a catch-all narrative for the future which enables the bourgeoisie to enjoy one of our favourite pastimes: showing off by scaring everybody at dinner parties. We all use the key words with abandon: “migration; nutters; Trump; Brexit: twitter; Boris; Corbyn; Putin; hollowed out middle class; etc.”

    • #1
  2. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    I’ll have to read Kaplan again.  He gets his mind around far more than most of us would even attempt.  One observation,  anarchy is the natural state, it is exists always everywhere, but we usually call it entropy and what amazes us is that there is so much order in spite of it.   What we’re seeing is, at least in part, the creative destruction with the creative part being  thwarted, slowed or channeled by the accumulation of centralized interests, and others, perhaps, I don’t know, like the marxists before them seeking to advance their own correlation of forces by accelerating entropy.  So yes the EU can and should have trade as it did before the Euro and the accumulation of a burdensome bureaucracy.  Trade is the thing that keeps us all from becoming stale and stagnant, but it also is a major source of entropy.  And the regulatory bureaucracy,  and the welfare state, the attempt to bring order and rules based change and reduce the pain  is what slows adjustment and gives rise to the erosion of the working class’s ability to adjust.

    • #2
  3. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    To have a nation you have to have a people, to have a people you have to have a common culture and default assumption of ingroup preference.

    Internationalism shreds all of that and replaces it with a fools paradise similiar in its delusion to communism.

    People are reduced to machines that poop.  All the rest is stripped away and discarded of.

    • #3
  4. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Unimpressed with the “blessings of free trade” could have something to do with “free for thee but not for me”. Truly free trade is our goal but until then, how about fair trade? Our markets remain welcoming to your goods as yours are to ours. Our patents and intellectual property are respected by your country as we respect yours. You may purchase property in our country as a complete legal owner, but so may we in yours. Until then, one way streets are reasonably questionable arrangements, don’t you think? They aren’t always bad, but it is not unreasonable to question them.

    Immigration is also a great thing, when it is legal and controlled. Otherwise how can one look at 20 million people crossing our borders surreptitiously as anything but an invasion? Why is our culture not worth defending? Why must our language make way for that of the invaders?

    The welfare state is absolutely a quagmire that can only destroy what remaining pride we may have as a people, not to mention our basic economic stability. I do have a problem when Social Security is labeled an entitlement. I have paid into it for 40 years. The government has stolen my money to spend elsewhere. Don’t now turn around and tell me the thieves are kind enough to send me some crumbs in return and I am just a beggar who must be pleased to receive them.

    • #4
  5. Robert Zubrin Inactive
    Robert Zubrin
    @RobertZubrin

    This is a very sharp article, with important implications. Trump, like the European “far right,” is not a conservative. He is a national socialist. (NB: nationalism + socialism = national socialism.) The essence of national socialism is tribalism. That is what makes it so powerful, and lethal. In contrast to Marxian socialism, which is based on an intellectual construct, national socialism is based on primordial tribal instinct. It calls not on the human mind, but on the animal nature beneath the mind; not on the superego but on the id. Identarianism = Id-ism. This makes it the ultimate political philosophy of tyranny, because it mobilizes the raging herd instincts of the tribe against free individual reason. This is why the European far right is being actively promoted by the Kremlin. It is not just to break up the EU and NATO as political entities ( although that is also a goal), but to transform Westerners from citizens into tribesmen – from rational humans into volk-members. Such herd animals can readily be ruled. If you want to understand the enemy program, read the writings of Kremlin totalitarian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, and of the Nazi antecedents he draws upon, notably Carl Schmitt and Heidegger. “Essence! Essence! Essence!” shouts Dugin, citing Heidegger. That’s what’s it’s all about.

    • #5
  6. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Robert Zubrin: ar right,” is not a conservative. He is a national socialist. (NB nationalism + socialism = national socialism.) The essence of national socialism is tribalism. That is what makes it so powerful, and lethal. In contrast to Marxian socialism, which is based on an intellectual construct, national socialism is based on primordial tribal instinct. It calls not on the human mind, but on the animal nature beneath the mind; not on the superego but on the id. Identarianism = Id-ism. This makes it the ultimate political philosophy of tyranny, because it mobilizes the raging herd instincts of the tribe against free individual reason. This is why the European far right is being actively promoted by the Kremlin. It is not just to break up the EU and NATO as political entities ( although that is also a goal), but to transform Westerners fron citizens into tribesmen – from rational humans into volk-members. Such herd animals can readily be ruled. If you want to understand the enemy program, read the writings of Kremlin totalitarian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, and of the Nazi antecedents he draws upon, notably Carl Schmitt and Heidigger.

    Everybody that isn’t a machine that poops is a NAZZZI.  Got it.

    • #6
  7. GKC Inactive
    GKC
    @GKC

    Muddling through, to answer your final question.

    Kaplan is a gem.  I read him in droves in graduate school in the late 1990s, picking up a copy of The Ends of the Earth while studying in South America.  I poured through a lot of his early stuff, too, including his The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite .  His unsentimental journeys, travel writing and his hawkish realism, were a brisk but necessary shower to the Washington Consensus triumphalism I was being taught (preached) at your classic DC-establishment university.

    • #7
  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    I Walton: the EU can and should

    The question I’m asking is not what I think would be a good outcome, but what’s likely, in reality, to be the outcome. And in truth we can’t know: No one knows what a postwar Europe — under this kind of pressure, but absent the stabilizing structures put in place by the United States — would look like.

    It’s possible that bureaucracies, cultures, and democratic habits here are now so deeply entrenched that the states comprising the EU would hold together as unitary democratic entities, swiftly renegotiate trade agreements, come to reasonable arrangements about their borders, and do so without suffering any cataclysmic economic shocks. And then they’d basically continue as they have been. There’s a much more developed foundation here than the Middle East, after all. But I don’t know how likely that is.

    Among things I shudder to think about is all the money that’s been commonly invested in EU projects. What would happen to the money in the European Structural and Investment Fund? What will happen in places like the former Yugoslavia, which is arguably being held together by EU money?

    I’m extremely sympathetic to Europeans who feel no natural allegiance to the EU and see it as a source of endless, inane bureaucratic impediments. But I suspect most of the anti-EU candidates have been running on this issue because it’s popular — without ever suspecting they might get what they want. I’d feel so much more confident in them if I saw plans — plans that made sense — for cushioning what would be a massive economic blow to many people in Europe, replacing the EU’s more useful functions, and collective security. No one ever seems to get past, “Get rid of the EU.”

    I think George Friedman is right that if the EU collapses, so will NATO. I’d feel so much more confident if I heard anti-EU politicians here forthrightly discuss the risk, especially for Eastern Europe, of being enslaved by Russia; talking about what, if any, they believe to be their responsibility to EU members at risk; and explaining their plans to mitigate the risk — if they have them.

    The piece by Friedman’s good, by the way.

    • #8
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Robert Zubrin: If you want to understand the enemy program, read the writings of Kremlin totalitarian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, and of the Nazi antecedents he draws upon, notably Carl Schmitt and Heidegger

    I agree, as I’ve mentioned here before. You might be familiar with the author I cite here, actually. I thought he was worth quoting at some length. A clued-in fellow.

    • #9
  10. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    GKC: His unsentimental journeys, travel writing and his hawkish realism, were a brisk but necessary shower to the Washington Consensus triumphalism

    Yes. But he does differ notably from most American conservatives in that he is, pretty much literally, a Malthusian. His arguments are predicated upon the idea of global overpopulation and savage competition for natural resources, exacerbated by environmental destruction. Do you agree with him about that?

    • #10
  11. Robert Zubrin Inactive
    Robert Zubrin
    @RobertZubrin

    The problem is that the EU is being run so badly -enforcing hyper regulation, and so forth – that it is providing fertile ground for growing demagogues who want to tear Europe apart. What is needed is political leadership to fix the EU. The people running the EU need to be told what they are doing wrong, and they need to listen.

    • #11
  12. starnescl Inactive
    starnescl
    @starnescl

    Guruforhire:

    Robert Zubrin: ar right,” is not a conservative. […]

    Everybody that isn’t a machine that poops is a NAZZZI. Got it.

    How about an actual argument instead of rudeness.  He explained himself.  You disagree.  Discuss.

    • #12
  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Robert Zubrin:The problem is that the EU is being run so badly -enforcing hyper regulation, and so forth – that it is providing fertile ground for growing demagogues who want to tear Europe apart. What is needed is political leadership to fix the EU. The people running the EU need to be told what they are doing wrong, and they need to listen.

    One problem is that everyone complains about the EU regulations — but they keep voting for the MEPs responsible for it.

    • #13
  14. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Claire

    Governments, without fresh and strong leadership, don’t self correct, even blatant mistakes immediately give rise to new interests that defend the mistakes.  So these radical and angry movements, however scary, may be necessary.   The question is if it all disintegrates, will it re-ravel healthily or perversely. Do we get the wrong kind of leadership?     If we’re evidence, the wrong kind of leadership seems to have the advantage.

    • #14
  15. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    I wonder if there isn’t some middle ground between breaking up the EU and the way it is now.

    What is the British complaint?

    Is it that they have lost to much of their sovereignty to the EU? Can that be fixed without a break-up, or is the loss of sovereignty baked into the EU cake?

    Is it the actual and especially the potential flood of immigrants? Can that be avoided by a change in the EU rules about open borders without a complete break-up?

    One small anecdote. I have some relatives in Ireland whose family, since the dawn of time, has harvested (i.e., cut) peat from a family plot of land a few miles from their home. This peat was their fuel for all domestic purposes. As of last year the EU told them that for environmental purposes they can no longer cut the peat. However, that same EU has given big companies the authority to cut the peat on a massive scale.

    My point is that the EU could survive, maybe better, if it stopped doing a thousand and one similar things and left the member countries and their people alone.

    • #15
  16. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Man With the Axe: My point is that the EU could survive, maybe better, if it stopped doing a thousand and one similar things and left the member countries and their people alone.

    People who support the administrative state firmly believe the illusion that their regulations are necessary and that they can actually achieve their goals.  They aren’t and they can’t.   The important part of the EU, just like the important part of the US is the free trade within the borders, the rest, except National Defense, is harmful burden, and in theory could be eliminated entirely. But these things can’t self correct; they continue to grow like barnacles until some new leader sand blasts them off, or the place just stagnates until, at least historically, some more vigorous nation conqueres them.

    • #16
  17. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Man With the Axe: Is [the British complaint] that they have lost too much of their sovereignty to the EU? Can that be fixed without a break-up, or is the loss of sovereignty baked into the EU cake?

    That is the long-term complaint. Loss of sovereignty is baked into the cake — the ‘ever closer union’ that really does call for the dissolution of national (sounds like ‘nationalism’, which is a scary word) characteristics in a technocratic, social-democratic, transnationalism.

    I am struck that, not just in the Brexit ‘debate’ but in general, the current arguments for the EU are not positive ones — the EU is good for X — but entirely negative — trying to dismantle the EU would be messy, costly, inevitably lead to global thermonuclear destruction, etc. Fear of the alternative is no way to sustain popular support for a generations-long project, I would posit.

    • #17
  18. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    I think these words are speak to our situation:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Or, in my horribly short translation … government exists for a purpose, and if it doesn’t deliver on that purpose, we’re obliged to get rid of it.

    I argue that especially after the financial crash, people feel that government is failing. Yes, we’ve maintained relative peace (not too shabby an achievement)  but we aren’t growing anymore, either.

    • #18
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Man With the Axe:is now.

    What is the British complaint?

    Is it that they have lost to much of their sovereignty to the EU? Can that be fixed without a break-up, or is the loss of sovereignty baked into the EU cake?

    Here’s the best-argued case you’ll find for leaving, and the standard argument for staying.

    • #19
  20. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: I am struck that, not just in the Brexit ‘debate’ but in general, the current arguments for the EU are not positive ones

    Well, the debate wouldn’t be happening at all if people were in a positive frame of mind toward the EU, would it?

    • #20
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    I Walton: The important part of the EU, just like the important part of the US is the free trade within the borders,

    And this is, indeed, what most of the EU is about.

    • #21
  22. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    The EU suffers from the same problems as all bureaucracies, that of thinking they have to actively create regulations rather than merely passively regulating.

    • #22
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    The EU would work well if it was a loose federation, tying together free trade and reducing economic and labor barriers – but nothing more.

    As it is, the EU is a monstrosity, and getting worse. Stasis appears to be the goal – and stasis is precisely what makes angry young men decide to blow stuff up instead.

    • #23
  24. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I Walton: The important part of the EU, just like the important part of the US is the free trade within the borders,

    And this is, indeed, what most of the EU is about.

    But it achieved it a long time ago – but refused to stop there.

    • #24
  25. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    iWe: But it achieved it a long time ago – but refused to stop there.

    But Britain’s not part of the Euro, so that part isn’t what they’re debating.

    • #25
  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    iWe:

    stasis is precisely what makes angry young men decide to blow stuff up instead.

    I thought it was evil?

    • #26
  27. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    iWe:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I Walton: The important part of the EU, just like the important part of the US is the free trade within the borders,

    And this is, indeed, what most of the EU is about.

    But it achieved it a long time ago – but refused to stop there.

    Indeed and they don’t have an interstate commerce clause to abuse and misinterpret, it’s open ended as everything can be called trade regulation.  Most of it is unnecessary and harmful and based on the false premise that markets can be centrally controlled toward an agreed upon direction.  They can’t.

    • #27
  28. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I Walton: The important part of the EU, just like the important part of the US is the free trade within the borders,

    And this is, indeed, what most of the EU is about.

    Here’s what the EU thinks it is about:

    The EU has a budget of 140 billion Euros. The WTO (World Trade Organization) secretariat (not a paragon of thrift) has a budget of 200 million. One oversees the freeing of world trade. The other “finances activities ranging from developing rural areas and conserving the environment to protecting external borders and promoting human rights”.

    • #28
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    iWe:

    stasis is precisely what makes angry young men decide to blow stuff up instead.

    I thought it was evil?

    The classic Brigadoon-style Angry Young Man needs a productive outlet, along with near-term carrots and sticks. I think of Singapore as a good example to follow, but the economy there is crazily-dynamic.

    Islamic Supremacy is the symptom, not the disease.

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  30. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Robert Zubrin:This is a very sharp article, with important implications. Trump, like the European “far right,” is not a conservative. He is a national socialist. (NB: nationalism + socialism = national socialism.) The essence of national socialism is tribalism. That is what makes it so powerful, and lethal. In contrast to Marxian socialism, which is based on an intellectual construct, national socialism is based on primordial tribal instinct. It calls not on the human mind, but on the animal nature beneath the mind; not on the superego but on the id. Identarianism = Id-ism. This makes it the ultimate political philosophy of tyranny, because it mobilizes the raging herd instincts of the tribe against free individual reason. This is why the European far right is being actively promoted by the Kremlin. It is not just to break up the EU and NATO as political entities ( although that is also a goal), but to transform Westerners from citizens into tribesmen – from rational humans into volk-members. Such herd animals can readily be ruled. If you want to understand the enemy program, read the writings of Kremlin totalitarian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, and of the Nazi antecedents he draws upon, notably Carl Schmitt and Heidegger. “Essence! Essence! Essence!” shouts Dugin, citing Heidegger. That’s what’s it’s all about.

    Robert,

    I must give you the Kantian perspective here. The National Socialism about which you speak (a very real phenomenon) is a perverse vision of Private & National Right. Globalization/Transnational Multi-Culturalism is a perverse vision of Public & Cosmopolitan Right.

    We must first review what a healthy vision of Right is. Public Right exists for only one purpose to secure Private Right. The collective’s only justification for existence is its ability to defend the individual against coercion. This principle is then carried to the next level. Cosmopolitan Right exists for only one purpose to secure National Right.

    When Obama goes to a properly functioning Democracy like Britain and tries to threaten it into complying with his transnational fantasy he is abusing Britain’s very proper assertion of its National Right. When Putin asserts a tribalist lunacy as justification for the absorption of a neighboring Nation he invites a proper Cosmopolitan Alliance of Nations to stop his aggression.

    Regards,

    Jim

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