Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear of a Lonely Planet

The left of center European press has responded to Prime Minister Cameron's veto of EU 2.0 with all the hysteria of a man on a desert island who sees the rescue plane flying off into the distance. Equal to them is the American press which is already barking that if we don't sign on to Durban's boondoggle and accept a global environmental court, then we have doomed the planet.

This pathological drive toward regional and global union regardless of the negatives seems more like a neurotic reaction than serious policy. Is the UK really doomed outside of the EU, especially since for all the hyperbole it isn't anywhere near to being outside the EU, and is a failure to create another disastrous bureaucracy in the name of saving the planet from disaster really going to doom the human race?

Union has become the neurotic obsession of progressive politics, regardless of whether that union does anyone any good or not. If we could pretend that EU 1.0 was leaving behind the ghosts of nationalism for union, EU 2.0 is mostly compensating for the failures of EU 1.0 with greater centralization and wishful thinking. There isn't even the ghost of optimism or idealism on display here, it's the board of Olympus deciding to cook even more books in the hopes that shareholders don't notice that the whole thing is unworkable.

The problem with federalizing and unifying everything is that it's expensive. Multiple authorities mean more costs. Bulking up the bureaucracy isn't a triumph of the human spirit, it's the last days of half a dozen empires.

The unified humanity under a global government project is a bad idea spawned by people who couldn't properly run nations, let alone the world. And even more foolishly, its proponents like H.G. Wells assumed that such a project would be run by likeminded European socialists who would whip the religion and the nationalism out of all the peons. Their vision was really the British Empire, administering a global bureaucracy of reason, in which people might speak different languages, but they would all think the same way.

In its shameless arrogance this vision didn't account for a Gandhi or a Mohammed, it assumed that the day when Europe and the Anglo Colonies agreed to fall in line with a rational brotherhood of man, then all the little brothers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East would join the consensus and learn to love the smiling mustachioed face of Big Brother.

But China, India and the Muslim world have their own agendas, which are the old-fashioned kind, national greatness through industrial prosperity and armed force. And Western leftists have been left standing there like the successful elder brother who drops out of his law practice to join a cult and then returns home shocked to realize that the rest of the clan is still working for a living.

What the left mistook for the triumph of reason is actually a cult of the smug who have learned to preach to themselves so well that they are incapable of stepping outside the box and understanding that their way is not the path to a new utopia, it's a bunch of silliness so hopelessly detached from human history and human nature that they might as well be wearing white robes and munching on lotus sandwiches.

A dominant culture imposing its mores and laws on the regions under its culture is nothing new, but trying to do it without being dominant only makes you seem foolish. And trying to export your own assumptions, without at least having the sense to wrap them up as a religion, and then assuming that all reasonable people think the way you do is a formula for being either an annoying tourist or a leftist activist.

The Jews are probably one of the best examples of a small group of people which managed to spread  its ideas and values around the world, but in universalizing their values, they also became universally hated, and those ideas and values took very different forms the further they traveled. Islam is related to Judaism in much the same way that Islamic democracy is related to American democracy, it adopts some of the forms while entirely missing the point because its administrators and actors share few of the same values.

Judaism or the American version of open elections are based on assumptions that are not exported along with the forms. And the same goes for any system which is exported to people who adopt the forms, but not the values. One G-d or one man, one vote, are concepts, how they are implemented depends on the value systems of those who take them on. Value systems that are fundamentally authoritarian will adopt anything from religion to democracy within the limits of an authoritarian system.

The United Nations alone should have been a cautionary tale of how the idealistic assumptions are not transmitted into the actual functioning of a system, and how that system is furthered altered when it is slowly taken over by people coming into it from authoritarian political and social systems.And the EU is a refresher course in how idealism applied to controlling people rapidly turns into a dysfunctional totalitarian system that disdains the individual and refuses to listen to criticism.

After the Civil War the United States dived headlong into unionism and you can measure that by the number of places named or renamed something with the word "Union" in it. Having come close to splitting apart there was a national obsession to federalize everything. Universal education, universal authority and universal everything became the motto.

Some 70 years after a war fought over whether states could secede from the union, the New Deal apportioned unlimited authority to the president and the subsidiary bureaucracies under his control. Much of that authority was eventually rolled back, the country has never recovered from that hiccup of absolute power vested in a central authority during a crisis.

If Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism at least attempted to put the people at the reins of an unlimited authority, his cousin's New Deal was scientific government in all its totalitarian horror and bureaucratic incompetence. A horror that no one learned anything from. The New Deal gave way to the New Frontier and the Great Society and finally Hope and Change, leaving the country deep in debt and at the mercy of an ideological bureaucracy tightening its grip on power.

And yet any attempt to roll back the rolling disaster is met with cries of "Reactionary" as if local power and local authority were nothing less than cave-dwelling cannibalism. The only solution is to go forward, to bigger unions and larger federal monstrosities that share all the flaws of the old version but promise to restrain them by having smarter people sitting in one room and making all the decisions. Anyone who points out that this is a bad idea is treated as if he had suggested that maybe the sun does revolve around the earth after all.

It's the unionists though who put forward a determinedly geocentric model of the human solar system. It is they who insist that the massive sun of the people must revolve around the planet of government, rather than that government should revolve around the people. Adding more mass to government does not make it into a sun, a source of energy and light, it makes it into a heavier satellite, but no matter how heavy planet government becomes, it will not unleash a gravity field that will force the people to revolve around it.

On the lonely planet of government, the neurotic left keeps crying that we must all unite or be isolated. Countries must tear down their borders, nations must give up their identities, lawmaking must be given over to vast undemocratic global associations and anything else is primitivism. To refuse union is to linger in the tribal hut while ignoring the wider world where everyone is integrating into one great shapeless mass of brotherhood, sisterhood and transgenderhood.

But outside of a few neighborhoods in some parts of Western cities, that world doesn't actually exist, and it hardly exists even there. True integration takes centuries and it forms around a new national and ethnic identity. Take the English for example or the Italians. Even the American experiment mainly blended various flavors of Europe, some more exotic than others, into a meta-identity built on hard work, self-reliance and national patriotism. Attempts to repeat that experiment without the hard work, the self-reliance and the patriotism, and extended beyond immigrants from Europe, has not exactly been successful.

All the neurosis that we must unite or be divided is misplaced. It is not unity that ends loneliness, but our unique identities that give us a place in the world. Local values define who we are much more so than any universal values do. Excessive unionism is much more divisive and isolating than a local sustainable national culture.

In a fragmented Europe where the elites are bent on union, people are still far more enthusiastic about their soccer teams, than they are about the European Union. The neighborhood, the city and the nation, the micro-identities that build up contribute far more to character than the vision of a united world.

But there is no place so lonely as a crowd, whether it is a crowd of men or a crowd of nations, losing themselves in a shapeless mass. It is only the lonely world governmenters who fear local identities so much that they must escape into fantasies of regional and global orders.


Lemon said...

That unity will come in Europe and it will be ugly and deadly.
Their track record as individual nations is bad enough.
I have said that Britain would leave for a long time now and got laughed at.
But they did and good for them.
Germany will not let them go easily though and war could be in the cards somewhere down the road.

mindRider said...

.....and let us build a tower that reaches to the heavens.....
What occurs now in the forced attempt of ever increased "European Union"is no different from Nimrod's tower of Babel. ......and G'd confused their tongues
..... and G'd confused their economic "languages"......
with exactly the same result: total chaos.

Anonymous said...


Britain hasn't left the EU. It is still very much in it. But the caterwauling leftist idiots realise this is the opening shot across the bow from HMS Britain, which hopefully will lead to the UK leaving this ridiculous socialist superstate behind in the dust. Terry smith, a prominent figure in The City here in London, said "the UK's so- called isolation now is akin to standing on the quayside at Southampton, watching the Titanic sail off into the distance". I think I read on here once something like "we are moving back toward the nation state, not away from it". Is that one if yours, Daniel? I couldn't agree more...

Anonymous said...

As an addendum to my above comment, a close family member of mine has worked at the European commission in Brussels for many years. And believe me, it is much worse than you think. Much, much worse. I have been to numerous lavish taxpayer funded (of course) cocktail parties and spoken with these eurocrats. It's like being in fuc*ing 'Logan's Run'. Thousands of beaureucrats living inside a college thesis, a texbook utopia, with no idea what is going on in the world outside. Staggering, just staggering...

Keliata said...

Great article.

Lemon, I couldn't agree more.

but pygmies said...

"On the lonely planet of government, the neurotic left keeps crying that we must all unite or be isolated."

"Neurotic left" -- For me, you paint the picture of a child in his crib crying when Mommy turns out the light and leaves the room so the baby can go to sleep. When he grows up, he kvetches about being isolated, rather than feeling gratitude for having been given the chance for a good life and the tools of self-reliance.

You only get to "unite" when you feel equal, and the other party involved feels equal; i.e., nobody is crying "I'm better than/not as good as you."

Paardestaart said...

Anon, it´s a pity you did not think of an interesting nick. I wanted to use your remark about the shot from the bow as a signature, if that´s alright with you. Only now I have no choice but to put ´Anonymous´ as source..Won´t you try and find something more inventive?

Gloria said...

Only the Anglo-Saxon countries are waking up to the ideology of internationalism. Cameron was right to distance Britain from the EU. Canada has just withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord. It seems that the countries with the longest tradition of freedom and democratic government are also the first to understand the totalitarian nature of the internationalist movement.

Altalena said...

I think presently the question of unity is mostly an economic issue and the identity part is only the surface rhetoric.

People may be more enthusiastic about soccer than the EU, but they sure were delighted about the prosperity the EU brought that allowed them to watch more soccer. By trying to keep the bungle together, governments are seeking to keep that promise of prosperity: wealthier countries sticking to the markets they gained with the EU, and the poorer ones to the financial and infrastructural aid that allowed them to prosper way above their individual possibilities.

The UK straying from the flock has to be an economic decision as well rather than a proud British patriotic stance.

The situation being mainly a problem for economic scientists, it is hard to tell which is worse: letting politicians decide or asking the people. I don't trust either of the two groups of being able to make informed decisions right now.

Lemon said...

I said that
Britain WILL leave the EU.

Anonymous said...


No, you clearly said "they did and good for them". Read your own post again. I'm responding to what you wrote, not what you think you wrote.

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