Monday, March 21, 2005

European collectivism threatens democracy

Pete DuPont examines the current trend toward the collectivization of Europe. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and the only thing that can prevent it is the former Soviet satellites standing up and telling the French and Germans that 45 years of subservience to Moscow is not goint to be replaced by subservience to Brussels.

Key excerpts from DuPont's column, which discusses the misgivings of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the protege of the great Vaclav Havel:

President Klaus sees an unsettling new challenge: the zeal of Old Europe--France, Germany, Brussels--to impose collective choices on New Europe--Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Ireland. "Ten years ago," Mr. Klaus writes, "the dominant slogan was: 'deregulate, liberalize, privatize.' Now the slogan is different; 'regulate . . . get rid of your sovereignty and put it in the hands of international institutions and organizations.' "

"The current European unification process is not predominantly about opening up," he continues, "It is about introducing massive regulation and protection, about imposing uniform rules, laws, and policies." It is about a "rush into the European Union which is currently the most visible and the most powerful embodiment of ambition to create something else--supposedly better--than a free society."

* * *
So what is making President Klaus "more and more nervous" about the Czech people's future? His conviction that the authors and enforcers of the new EU Constitution believe:

• That "competition is not the most powerful mechanism for achieving freedom, democracy and efficiency, but rather an unfair and unproductive form of dumping."

• That "intrusive regulation, ruling and intervening from above are necessary because market failure is more dangerous than government failure."

• [ ]"the premise that government is ultimately a benevolent force, obliged to guarantee equal outcomes by redistributing benefits and privileges between individuals and groups."

Could the Brussels bureaucracy, for example, constitutionally impose France's 35-hour work week on the other 24 nations in the European Union? Indeed it could, and with a vote of only 15 of the member states (if they represented 65% of the population of the EU). A state voting "no" would have the law imposed upon it.

It seems likely that the European Union intends to centralize decision making in Brussels, while President Klaus believes in "the inherent morality of markets, in the ethics of work and saving, in the crucial link between freedom and private property. It is not possible (or desirable) to legislate a better world from above or outside."

Only the former Soviet lickspittle states, now learning the value of freedom, can stop the EU's post-democratic disaster. They need to step up and do so.

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