We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

After this, anyone who likes the EU is a weirdo

“She’s a communist. A real one.”

Some thirty years ago I, then a bookish sixth former, attended a week long “Introduction to Philosophy” course at London University. One of the tutors was a commie. She was quite pleasant, introduced us to philosophy more than adequately, but truly, really was an actual no-kidding self-declared communist. First I had ever met.

I and some of the other kids from various different schools on this course found this even more interesting than Logical Positivism and we all tried to get into debate with her about it. Got nowhere, of course. A woman who had been defending the party line in all its various manifestations for decades was more than capable of disposing of the arguments of a bunch of seventeen year olds.

All of us but one – there was one boy who did, just about, make an impression. The tutor had some particular link with East Germany and this boy simply repeated, politely but insistently, several very basic statements about that state. “Nobody is allowed to leave.” “They have a wall and and barbed wire to stop people escaping.” “If you try to escape they shoot you.” And when he said this he sounded honestly astonished that anyone could be – could allow themselves to have become – the sort of person who would sincerely defend East German communism. It was not just wrong but weird. I mean, what? The wall, the shooting people, and she says she likes that?

I am moved to write about a communist I met thirty years ago because the second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty will be held tomorrow. The European Union is not remotely as bad as Communism. But there are some very basic things wrong with it and this referendum has brought them out. The European Union will not accept a vote against it. It will not allow a vote at all, if it can get away with it. If people do vote against something the EU wants it makes them vote again and again, knowing that the donors and volunteers for the opposing side will be exhausted eventually, as will the voters, whereas its side has bottomless coffers and power to keep on pushing till it gets its way. The European Union lies to get what it wants. The Lisbon treaty is the rejected Constitution under another name. The Lisbon Treaty is deliberately written in confusing language so as to hide what it means. That is what con-men do. The Lisbon Treaty is a con.

I think that anyone who has allowed themselves to become the sort of person who would sincerely defend these lies and abuses of democracy should be regarded as a weirdo. Amazing, and not in a good way. Yeah, sure, people might be bribed or bullied or bored into doing what the EU wants – all these I can understand, if not admire. But the “neverendums”, the Constitution written like the small print of a dodgy timeshare agreement – you say you like that? I mean, what?

Of course my view as to how such people should be regarded counts about as much as a “no” vote three referenda ago. What is more to the point is that I am almost sure that in Britain at least, my “should” has become, or is in the process of becoming, an “is”. At some point during the Lisbon treaty saga normal people in Britain became embarrassed to actively like the EU. This does not mean that they cannot be bullied or bribed or bored into going along with it, as the Irish will be tomorrow, if the polls are to be believed. But when did you last meet a person who passionately and proudly supported the EU? And what were they, some sort of weirdo?

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VKEmail this to someone

27 comments to After this, anyone who likes the EU is a weirdo

  • Sunfish

    What would happen if Ireland simply refused to hold a vote on the EU?

  • Paul Marks

    The BBC has reported on the second Irish vote.

    As well as the endless repeating of the line that the-economic-crises-proves-the-E.U.-is-needed-for-jobs-and-investment (which makes a much sense as saying the economic crises proves that 1 +1 = 67 ) the only critics of the EU that the BBC has had on have said the that the problem with the EU is that it is too free market and not collectivist enough.

    If the only arugments I heard or knew were from those “critics” of the E.U. – I would vote “yes” to the E.U. Constitution.

    No one seems to be saying “the E.U. is another layer of government – an expensive farce that we can not afford in these hard times”.

    Of course the whole thing fits into the BBC narrative that the world economic crises was caused by greedy businessmen (especially bankers – who were in no way affected by a government credit money bubble, and in no way effected by American government policy to invest the credit money into the subprime housing market) and only government can save us.

    Especially transnational government – World Government being the best of all.

    “Paranoia” – already even pay levels are considered a fit subject for “international agreement” and the establishment media considers this world government stuff in no way sinister.

    The only critics on the BBC (and so on) are (like the E.U. critics) people who shout that it does not go far enough – that it is the sell out to the capitalists (and so on and so on…..).

    I hope there are some free market critics of the E.U. on Irish television and radio. And I hope there are some free market critics of World Government (anywhere).

  • lukas

    Well, here in Dublin there’s posters (most of them put out by Libertas, some by CÓIR too) focusing on the lack of transparency, accountability and democracy in the EU. Some more that insist on national sovereignty and the “no-means-no” meme.

  • Nuke Gray

    In EUtopia, ‘no’ means ‘now’. Shame on the English teachers! Must be an accent problem.

  • JB

    Communism means never having to say you’re sorry. . . if you’re a politician.

  • As there’s no provision in any of the main EU treaties, as far as I know, for a nation to leave it – just like Roman Provinces in fact – then it ought to be the easiest thing in the world for one just to get up and walk. We and the Irish could simply, well, just go.

  • This is becoming a modern day version of Thermopylae, with the Irish in the role of the Spartans. The sobering part is to remember that in the end, the Persians won the battle, and today, there is no Athens preparing in the wings.

  • Chris H

    If I had voted yes in a referendum but the result had come out as a no and the referendum was then repeated because the authorities had not received the answer that they wanted I would feel that it was my democratic duty to vote no the second time as that was the result that was democratically decided on. Even though I disagreed with the result I would feel that it was essential to stand by that result because it had been arrived at by the democratic process.

  • the Constitution written like the small print of a dodgy timeshare agreement

    It *IS* a dodgy timeshare agreement!

  • Paul Marks

    I repeat that no ones seems to be saying that the E.U. is just another layer of government – an expensive farce that can not be afforded in these hard times.

    Talking about “democracy” is all very well – but it is dodges the economic crises.

    If the E.U.-is-the-salvation-for-the-economic-crises line is just accepted then the Euros will walk it.

    Some people will have the common sense (or even Common Sense) to understand that the E.U. layer of government just makes things worse – but will these people be a majority?

    How can they be if no one is supporting them – telling them that their doubts are correct.

    Oh well – hope on (and fight on) to the bitter end, if bitter it must be.

  • ScotsToryB

    Bukovski said it years ago:

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/865

    STB.

  • ScotsToryB

    Bukovski said it years ago:

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/865

    STB.

  • ScotsToryB

    He was quite emphatic!

    STB.

  • Thanks for that link, STB – quite instructive.

  • Paul Marks

    It appears that arguing that the E.U. was not collectivist enough “they even want to deregulate taxis” and waffling on about democracy, has not been successful in the Irish vote.

    People were told by the “yes” side that a vote for the E.U. was vote for economic recovery – for free trade and for opportunity. This is nonsense – but it was the argument.

    And the “no” side actually HELPED this argument – by denouncing the E.U. as “capitalist”, “pro business”.

    Please note the old line about how we must “ally with the left to defeat the E.U.” is as nonsensical as any other line about why must ally with the left.

    As for “democracy” – the E.U. has a Parliament, filled with people who are no more disgusting (and no more unrepresentive) than the scum who fill the Irish Parliament (in all political parties) and who fill the Parliament in Britain.

    So “saving democracy” is an argument that will not win out.

    The argument against the E.U. is that it is an extra layer of government – that far from “helping economic recovery” it is a dead weight (in both taxes and regulations) that we can not afford in these hard times.

    That is the truth and it is the truth we should stand by.

    Anything else will get us nowhere.

  • Jacob

    It seems to me that in the current economic crisis, the EU central bank printed less money than the Bank of England, and you would have been better off if you had renounced the pound and accepted the Euro years ago.
    The argument that EU membership can save some countries from national policies that could be worse (than those of the EU) has some validity.
    Bad as the EU is, many national governments were, and are, worse. You keep bashing the EU but never examine the alternative.

  • Bad as the EU is, many national governments were, and are, worse. You keep bashing the EU but never examine the alternative.

    This is a bit like arguing that if you get an infected foot, amputation takes care of the problem because it is forever and cannot be undone… yes, the problem is cured but it is a one shot deal. Centralising power to Brussels will continue until it will take nothing less than a war to undo. Fighting these battles on the national level is hard, fighting it against a superstate… even harder, not so much for the battles you lose but to trying to later roll them back against an even more institutionally remote enemy

  • Jacob

    Take the extreme and hypothetical case of Nazi Germany. Had there been a EU after WW1, with Germany a member, maybe it could have avoided falling into it’s abysmal lunacy. You are kind of tethered to a bunch of other hikers, which might save you from a bad fall.

    The actual situation, as I see it, is that there aren’t any free, libertarian leaning states that might be hurt by the EU. It’s more like most states aren’t one iota less collectivist than the EU, and many are much more.

    Your argument is entirely hypothetical.

    “it will take nothing less than a war to undo”
    That’s a little bit funny. How many divisions does Brussels have ? I couldn’t imagine anything less threatening and more impotent militarily that the EU. Seems to me, the toughest country in Europe, as far as fighting spirit is concerned, is Switzerland (not a EU member).

  • So idiotic it is not worth a reply really.

  • Jacob

    Ok, I see my hyperbole hurt your national pride. Sorry.
    Still, to talk about war in a European context is risible. Which shows that the EU has successfully achieved it’s main objective.

  • sardonicus

    Still, to talk about war in a European context is risible. Which shows that the EU has successfully achieved it’s main objective.

    yeah. they bloodlessly gained a vastly regulator pan-european state with institutional ways to make it impossible to undo legally like the so called ratchet. much cheaper than the way hitler and napoleon did it.

    he’s right. you’re an idiot.

  • Laird

    Seems to me that a better reply than a dismissive “you’re an idiot” would be to suggest that while a centralizing power like the EU might improve the national policies of certain dysfunctional states it will certainly bring down the policies of the better-governed ones. The levelling effect will always be toward the center (necessarily a downward path for some), if not actually a “race to the bottom”. Not a good trade-off for those in the better-governed states.

  • Sam Duncan

    It seems to me that in the current economic crisis, the EU central bank printed less money than the Bank of England, and you would have been better off if you had renounced the pound and accepted the Euro years ago.

    Those of a cyincal frame of mind might argue that this was Brown’s idea all along. It was, after all, British economic incompetence and failure that drove us into the European Project in the first place, and our relative success (allied with a dawning realisation of its true nature) that first fanned the flames of scepticism in the ’80s. And for all his own self-proclaimed scepticism, Brown did everything necessary to ready Britain for EMU when the time is deemed to be right.

  • Paul Marks

    Greenland left the E.U. – there was no war (not even a “trade war”).

    As for the present economic crises – the “corrupt” and “stupid” Warren Harding showed the correct policy in 1921 (after the bust of the World War One and post WWI credit money bubble).

    Let the bankrupt go bankrupt, let the malinvestments be liquidated and allow prices and wages (the market) to adjust and clear.

    And, of course, CUT government spending (not increase) and DEREGULATE (not add even more regulations – remember the banks and other such were doing WHAT THE GOVERNMENT TOLD THEM TO DO concerning the subprime housing market and so on in this recent crises).

    Back in 1921 the economy soon revovered – it did not in Japan (which tried to dodge a recession by government intervention) and it did not in 1929 – when prices and wages were not allowed to adjust (the market now allowed to clear) and a policy of interventionism followed by Herbert “The Forgotten Progressive” Hoover.

    And there will be no lasting recovery now – last year the German Chancellor (just relelected) said that if the policies that were being suggested were followed they would just lead to worse crises within five years (I think rather less than five years).

    This lady is no free market fanatic (far from it – her instincts are centerist), but she understood that one can not cure a credit money bubble with another credit money bubble, one can not cure wild spending with yet more wild spending.

    Yet this is exactly the policy that has been followed.

    I can now say without fear of contradiction from centre minded people (at least not all of them)……….

    “We are doomed”.

  • Sunfish

    Still, to talk about war in a European context is risible. Which shows that the EU has successfully achieved it’s main objective.

    ..because Germany being militarily occupied by a non-Euro military for 64 years, and that military in a constant stare-down with another single bloc occupying Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. for 40 of those years, and France being militarily insignificant on its own, had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  • Jacob

    Of course, the US helped a lot. I just wanted to point out that the fear of another devastating European war, or the wish to prevent it, was a major reason for the establishment of the EU. Such a war has been avoided, so far, and the EU played a role in it, even if it wasn’t the only factor or the crucial one.
    People don’t appreciate the terrible trauma experienced by those who lived trough two World Wars.
    Now, the EU, which has expanded to include most European countries, has embraced pacifism to a ridiculous degree.
    If Britain, for example, decides to retire from the Union, it will be bombarded with referenda, not with bombs. So, when Perry said it might take a war to undo it – it sounded ridiculous to me. The EU isn’t going to make war on anybody, friend or foe.

  • Laird

    “The EU isn’t going to make war on anybody, friend or foe.”

    Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life. (Sorry, I got caught up in the quote!)

    But the point is, the EU may not have the military capacity to wage war now, but who’s to say that will always be the case? The United States was originally supposed to be a confederacy of “sovereign” states, with a strict constitutional limitation on the size of its army and a navy limited to foreign “adventures”. That didn’t work out so well when a group of states decided they wanted to leave the union about 150 years ago. Your EU might very well have the same reaction if similarly provoked. Some people respond badly to threats to their power.