A reminder that European democracy is something of a myth

In America, we think of historical Europe as a place were voiceless mastered were ruled by high-handed aristocrats. We assume that those days are over, wiped away by war, revolution, and the simple passage of time. The European Union, however, periodically provides timely reminders that Europe is still ruled by high-handed authoritarian figures who ignore the masses, ostensibly for the latters’ “own good.” As it happens, this new aristocracy isn’t one of blood, though; it’s a political class made up of well-attired Leftists:

European Union countries agreed in Lisbon to approve the union’s new constitution Wednesday, and today Denmark’s parliament is expected to do the same, reports Politiken newspaper.

The news was released via the Liberal Party’s newsletter and indicated a majority of political parties are ready to ratify the treaty for Denmark. There was no press release or conference held for the move, which will effectively put an end to any possibility for a referendum.

Many experts had previously expressed their belief that a majority of Danes might vote against the treaty if a referendum were held. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a staunch supporter of the EU treaty, will now be spared any difficulties from such an occurrence.

The original treaty was recalled for revision three years ago, after referenda in the Netherlands and France voted against ratification. But experts also say that Denmark’s current move to ratify the treaty without a public vote goes against tradition and poses a democratic problem.

‘Politicians with the “yea” parties have an obligation to put the treaty debate up for discussion,’ said Marlene Wind, head of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for European Politics. ‘They haven’t done that, and now their failure to get the EU issue on the agenda almost looks like a scandal.’

And if you wonder why I accuse these new tyrants of being Leftists, look at who is defending this move that will destroy individual freedoms around Europe:

Michael Aastrup Jensen, the Liberal Party’s EU spokesperson, denied that the treaty was slipped in behind the public’s back.

‘All of us in parliament agreed that this was the most talked about treaty ever,’ he said. ‘We’ve had hearings, written blogs and debated it on our homepages, and there’s been over 500 formal parliamentary questions put to the government about it. So I’m not buying the claim that this has been done in silence.’

Note how talking about it is, in Jensen’s mind, just as good as actually letting the little people vote on the damned thing.

If you’d like more information about the new European aristocracy, one as cavalier of the “little people’s” rights as the old one, and one that is every bit as damaging, you should read three books:

Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It

Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within

Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan

And while I’m on the subject of Europe, a word about Poland, a country that continues to distinguish itself in the post-War era with a social conscience that other countries should envy and would do well to copy.  In today’s Warsaw Voice, there is a moving article about the April 15 ceremonies honoring the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, an act of staggering courage that the Polish President Lech Kaczyński beautifully describes:

“World War II witnessed a lot of heroic deeds,” Kaczyński said. “But the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising stands out even amongst heroic deeds. The ghetto insurgents weren’t fighting for victory but for honor. They resolved to fight in what was a hopeless situation. Living conditions in the ghetto are best summed up by the fact that 100,000 of the initial 450,000 people sent here died from hunger, disease and German oppression within a year,” the president said, referring to the Nazis cramming 450,000 people into an area of less than four square kilometers in the spring of 1941.  (Emphasis mine.)

A speech such as this one constantly reminds us that Europe, like all countries, manages to encompass the best of man and the worst of man.  I can only up that in the upcoming and inevitable culture war between Europe and the radical Islamists the European elitists have invited in, a humane, but strong, Europe emerges, one that is willing to fight honorably the the continuation of a civilized, pluralistic Western culture, rather than the dark side of Europe, one that gleefully slaughters those it classifies as lesser and different.

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  • Mike Devx

    Sometimes the agenda is so transparent, it’s amazing. The latest attempt to create a supra-national EU identity requires the renaming of geographical areas. Especially the forced renaming of ‘The English Channel’ into ‘The Channel Sea’.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=561342&in_page_id=1770&ct=5

    I have the feeling that when an EU bureaucrat has breakfast, the sight of an English muffin makes him nauseous. “Everywhere I look, I see signs of dangerous national identifications!” he thinks grimly. “We must purge the world of these obsolete identifications!” he then resolves firmly. “Continental muffin is the correct phrasing. I shall have to speak with Commissioner Volking on how we can push that through in Brussels.”

    Thankfully, while the NAU (‘North American Union’) concept does exist, its maturity is decades behind the EU. The EU began as an attempt at a common currency and common trade regulations. It took decades to get the point it is today. The NAU is only at the very beginning of the EU road.

    As a side note, when traditions laid down for centuries are grimly wiped away – and this includes national patriotism and national pride and identity – what replaces them? If you haven’t carefully thought about this and encouraged alternatives, you end up with a rootless, lost, frightened people. Easily cowed, easily led, prone to demagoguery, prone to passions of the moment. No stability. (The loss of religion in particular, with nothing of any spiritual worth to replace it, is a real killer here. The nihilism, loss of hope and optimism, loss of community, is simply apalling.)

    The “Europe Of The West” certainly is a dying light. It’s not so much that Muslim civilization is too strong to resist; it’s that Europe has become a structure built upon sand and the tide is all the way in. There’s no strength anymore. It is such an easy target.

    Any resistance – which would in fact be VERY bloody – will come from resurgent nationalist movements within countries. But there’s little to the movement now, and every year that passes makes it more and more futile to begin organizing. A time will arrive when *some* will fight, but they’ll be fighting a Muslim population after it has become much stronger, and they’ll be fighting their own government(s), which will support the Muslims, and because the governments are suicidal. That will happen, but the question is, will there be any support? Will they join into the bloodshed or will they recoil from it? A very unhappy question with surrender on one side and genocide on the other.

    Did I hear a story correctly, that the EU has reinstituted the death penalty for only ONE category of offenses, and they are for a certain set of offenses against the power of ‘The State’, or the EU?
    Once the EU sides with its Muslims, any resistance by Western Europe, because it will be required to be against the EU, will find itself under extreme threat by the EU itself as well, and the death penalty in these cases would be invoked.

  • Danny Lemieux

    This is the classic case of slowly boiling the frog alive in a pan of water. It will take a bit of time for the EU to consolidate its power and I can guarantee that the large majority of Euros has no idea of what is happening because they don’t want to know. Soon, perhaps 3-4 years, they will realize that the stifling climate of taxation, regulation and economic stagnation has become unbearably hot and that there is no longer redress to be had in petitioning their new aristocracy.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when EU subjects eventually take to the street, Europe’s traditional venue of protest, to seek satisfaction. My prediction is that the EU will respond to their subjects’ attempts to escape with violence and news blackouts. It will be done to protect their elitist march toward a kinder, gentler vision of how society should be.

    Europe – plus ca change…

  • Danny Lemieux

    And for an especially rich look at the quality of people that comprise Europe’s new aristocracy, please visit: http://timworstall.com/2008/04/24/our-glorious-european-union-2/

  • Ymarsakar

    If war is so terrible, one wonders how come the European Union, formed without warfare or American military intervention, is so inferior to the Union formed through the Civil and Revolutionary Wars.

    Then again, slavery and rule by the mob are oftentimes considered superior to the Americans and their United States.

  • Ymarsakar

    Poland was part of the lands divided up between German and Stalin in their little non-aggression cum alliance pact.

    France, Spain, Italy, Britain, and the usual peanut gallery did the typical European thing and ignored that event in favor of short term national or personal gains.

  • suek

    If info about Europe interests you, you might want to check out http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/ if you don’t already. Much of their prime interest is the advance of islam in Europe, but of necessity, they include much of general political interest.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Europeans don’t understand the concept of “freedom” the way we do. Frankly, I think that they are somewhat scared of it. A part of me suspects that a large part of what is happening in Europe today is a reversion to their historical comfort zone…a comfortable and interdependent relationship between landlord and serf.

  • Ymarsakar

    At least 49% of Americans are scared of liberty as well.

    It just happens to be that America isn’t run on a majority rules platform, where the nuts can form a coalition that has 51% of the vote. 20% of any population are essentially insane in more than one fashion. in addition to acquiring some traitorous behavior. If you combine that 20% with the 30% of your regular socialist and communist ideologies, what you have is pretty close to 51%, which only needs some vote fraud to pump up.

    The 13 Colonies wanted to ensure that everybody was represented. And the Civil War and WW1-2 ensured that everybody really was represented.

    Europe’s political history wasn’t about ensuring that everyone got represented, Europe’s political history always revolved around certain family dynasties like the Hapsburgs or Prussian Junkers for good or ill.

    Their culture does not have a preference for liberty just as the Islamic culture does not have a preference for initiative and personal responsibility.

  • expat

    Danny, Germany has been enacting laws against smoking in bars and restaurants. This controlled by the individual states (Laender), so there were variations in the proposed regulations. Cries went up that people would have to adapt to new laws when they went to a different state. How hard is it to adapt to “no smoking” versus “smoking room available”? The fact that this degree of freedom was unsettling to some says a lot.

    Years ago, when I first moved to this area, I was at a party and was asked by a new aquaintance about the differences between America and Germany. The setting was not conducive to a philosophical discussion, so I tossed out, “Americans are better at dealing with chaos.” That may be the most insightful comment of my life.

  • Mike Devx

    expat says,
    The setting was not conducive to a philosophical discussion, so I tossed out, “Americans are better at dealing with chaos.”

    Expat, you are so exactly right! What especially amazes me is that our political discourse must appear to most others to be complete chaos. Most other countries elect leaders via smoke-filled rooms. Those that attempt what we do end up in pitched bloody battles in the streets. We in America go all-out with the wildest (and often vicious) of commentaries, and then, when the election is over, we go on about our daily lives, having done our best.

    It’s easy to keep forgetting, in the midst of all the negativity, that often we really are amazing.

  • Ymarsakar

    We in America go all-out with the wildest (and often vicious) of commentaries, and then, when the election is over, we go on about our daily lives, having done our best.

    This isn’t true for many Democrats and their Leftist allies. Then again, it wasn’t true for Democrats in 1861 after Lincoln was elected, either. So it is not as if American virtues got “worse”.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I’ve had numerous Europeans comment to me how they admired our ability to hang out our dirty laundry and openly fight over our issues in the arena. As distinct from Europe, where they like to sweep these things under the rug and pretend they don’t exist…until they spin out of control.

    I had another European relative observe news footage of a KKK demonstration (here in the U.S.) and proudly tell me that such would never have been allowed in her country. I pointed out that, in our system, we could know exactly who and where these people were and what they believe and it was also made plain for the world to see what idiots they were. She granted that that was something to consider in that comment.

    Expat is right. We are much better at managing chaos.

  • Ellie2

    Chaos is the primordial soup out which all creativity, innovation springs. Americans are indeed better at not only “handling” chaos but profiting from it. Europe’s fear of chaos will lead them right into the comfort of tyranny. Just like that frog in the pot….

  • Mike Devx

    Y says,
    “This [peacefulness after elections] isn’t true for many Democrats and their Leftist allies. Then again, it wasn’t true for Democrats in 1861 after Lincoln was elected, either.”

    Y, despite all the widespread hollering about Bush stealing the 2000 Election, how many Democrats began mob rampages, attacks, slaughters, etc? It’s true we had the Weather Underground and SDS that were violent in the late 60s and early 70s, and we had abortion clinic bombers more recently. But in general, our level of political violence is incredibly low.

    There was a recent story about tourists from Great Britain touring our cities, especially at night. They feared, with our “outrageously armed citizenry and massive number of guns” that they would be constantly fearful. Instead they reported to their own newspapers how amazingly safe they felt, and how free and at ease Americans seemed, especially when compared to the constant, endemic threat of violence they felt looming over themselves within British cities!

  • http://www.FreeEurope.info willgot

    Free Europe Constitution is better than the Treaty:
    1. You can read it.
    2. You can vote about it.
    Vote YES or NO at http://www.FreeEurope.info

  • Ymarsakar

    Y, despite all the widespread hollering about Bush stealing the 2000 Election, how many Democrats began mob rampages, attacks, slaughters, etc?

    Just because the Republicans, moderate Americans and US military forces were ready and willing to put a stop to such things, doesn’t mean that in a more chaotic part of the world such peeps wouldn’t have tried it.

    What is different is not the people. What is different is how afraid the people are of rocking the boat or how desperate they truly are.

    People out in the third world are pretty desperate and with nowhere to turn. That doesn’t make them any different, fundamentally, than the Democrats except for the fact that the Democrats are spoiled and knows how to work the system to corrupt the system.

    Also historically, people and governments have a higher chance of creating rampages if they think the military boot won’t crash on them for it.

    We in America go all-out with the wildest (and often vicious) of commentaries, and then, when the election is over, we go on about our daily lives, having done our best.

    The idea that the Democrats simply accepted defeat and went about their daily lives, is false. They were working on how to upset the status quo and steal back their power. Just cause the situation forced them to use quasi legal means instead of military juntas and coups does not say much good about them. It only bolsters the good and health of American institutions.

    They feared, with our “outrageously armed citizenry and massive number of guns” that they would be constantly fearful.

    These people have been indoctrinated from child birth to think of guns as the weapons. Nobody needs a gun or a knife to kill. I can kill a person just by applying a moderate amount of force to wind pipe and eye. What protects people isn’t the absence of weapons, it is the absence of intent to do harm.

    It is something people in Britain, with their bans against guns, have never really been forced to think about lest it challenge orthodoxy.

    I’d like to read that article, Mike, since it sounds interesting.