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Rejecting the European Project - Daniel Hannanís book deserves a wide audience.
City Journal ^ | 7 September 2012 | Theodore Dalrymple

Posted on 09/08/2012 11:18:00 PM PDT by neverdem

A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe, by Daniel Hannan (Notting Hill Editions)

There is nothing quite like self-interest for blinding people to the obvious, and it is the genius of the European Union to have placed an entire cadre of powerful but blind beneficiaries—unable and unwilling to see writing on the wall, even if inscribed in flashing blue neon lights—in strategic political and economic positions in every European country. And so the continent limps toward the abyss, its “ever closer union” resuscitating old national stereotypes and antagonisms and increasing the likelihood of real conflict.

Daniel Hannan is a British Member of the European Parliament who first came to wide notice with his brief but devastating (because entirely accurate) attack in that body on Britain’s then–prime minister, Gordon Brown, who responded to it with all the wit of a hanged sheep. Hannan has now written a short and brilliant book setting forth with inexorable logic and a fine command of the salient historical and economic facts the deficiencies of the so-called European Project, from its premises to its practices—all of which are not only wrong, but obviously wrong.

Like all people with bad habits, politicians and bureaucrats are infinitely inventive when it comes to rationalizing the European Project, though they’re inventive in nothing else. Without the Union, they say, there would be no peace; when it’s pointed out that the Union is the consequence of peace, not its cause, they say that no small country can survive on its own. When it is pointed out that Singapore, Switzerland, and Norway seem to have no difficulties in that regard, they say that pan-European regulations create economies of scale that promote productive efficiency. When it is pointed out that European productivity lags behind the rest of the world’s, they say that European social protections are more generous than anywhere else. If it is then noted that long-term unemployment rates in Europe are higher than elsewhere, another apology follows. The fact is that for European politicians and bureaucrats, the European Project is like God—good by definition, which means that they have subsequently to work out a theodicy to explain, or explain away, its manifest and manifold deficiencies.

Since, as Gibbon puts it, truth rarely finds a favorable reception in the world, it is worth inquiring why so lucid and cogent a book as Hannan’s will not have the effect that it should—an answer that the book itself supplies. Here we must descend to the ad hominem, but we are dealing with men, after all.

The personal interests of European politicians and bureaucrats, with their grossly inflated, tax-free salaries, are perfectly obvious. For politicians who have fallen out of favor at home, or grown bored with the political process, Brussels acts as a vast and luxurious retirement home, with the additional gratification of the retention of power. The name of a man such as European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, whose charisma makes Hillary Clinton look like Mata Hari, would, without the existence of the European Union, have reached most of the continent’s newspapers only if he had paid for a classified advertisement in them. Instead of which, he bestrides the European stage if not like a colossus exactly, at least like the spread of fungus on a damp wall.

Corporate interests, ever anxious to suppress competition, approve of European Union regulations because they render next to impossible the entry of competitors into any market in which they already enjoy a dominant position, while also allowing them to extend their domination into new markets. That is why the CAC40 of today (the index of the largest 40 companies on the French stock exchange) will have more or less the same names 100 years hence.

More interestingly, perhaps, Hannan explains the European Union’s corruption of so-called civil society. Suppose you have an association for the protection of hedgehogs because you love hedgehogs. The European Union then offers your association money to expand its activities, which of course it accepts. The Union then proposes a measure allegedly for the protection of hedgehogs, but actually intended to promote a large agrarian or industrial interest over a small one, first asking the association’s opinion about the proposed measure. Naturally, your association supports the Union because it has become dependent on the Union’s subsidy. The Union then claims that it enjoys the support of those who want to protect hedgehogs. The best description of this process is fascist corporatism, which so far (and it is of course a crucial difference) lacks the paramilitary and repressive paraphernalia of real fascism. But as the European economic crisis mounts, that distinction could vanish. One should not mistake the dullness of Eurocrats for lack of ambition, or the lack of flamboyance for the presence of scruple. History can repeat itself, even if only analogically rather than literally.

Hannan writes from a British perspective, which I share. Whenever I read the French press on the subject of the European crisis, for example, I’m struck by how little questions of freedom, political legitimacy, separation of powers, representative government, or the rule of law feature, even in articles by academic political philosophers. For them, the problem is mainly technical: that of finding a solution that will preserve the status quo (there is no such solution, but intelligent people searched for the philosopher’s stone for centuries).

Alas, the British political class is composed largely of careerists. The only thing that will move them to action is popular anger, which, though it exists, remains muted. One can only hope that it is not catastrophe that brings about change, but Hannan’s brilliant little book, which could hardly be bettered or, more importantly, refuted—not that anyone will try, since in the Eurocrats’ world, ignoring arguments is the highest form of refutation. A Doomed Marriage deserves the widest possible circulation. Perhaps its author could apply for a European subsidy.

Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: europeanproject; europeanunion

1 posted on 09/08/2012 11:18:05 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Did Hannan really think Obama was the right guy for President in 2008? How could someone who seems so intelligent have such a malfunction?


2 posted on 09/08/2012 11:20:06 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: GeronL
Did Hannan really think Obama was the right guy for President in 2008?

Do you have a link that he did?

3 posted on 09/08/2012 11:25:05 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
theodicy third paragraph and I have to look up a word, my spell checker doesn't even think its a real word. lol.
4 posted on 09/08/2012 11:27:42 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: neverdem

books like htese, and reports and movies liek these that expose the president for the type person he really is and show what he’s really after do indeed deserve a wide audience, however, they aren’t goign to get a wide audience because the mainstream media will never report on them for fear of tainting their idealist portrayal of the president

Fox news has had on speakers from britain who have warned America against going socialist because of hte problems it will bring, but the MSM media here simply ignore these speakers, and the only ones that really listen to them are we conservatives and perhaps a few independents who have woken up to the fact that the left wantrs to drag us into the bondage of socialism- everyoen else simply either don’t care, or are unaware because the MSM is all they listen to, and hwen books liek this or speakers try to warn agaisnt socialism, the MSM simply portrays them as ‘radical right wingers’ who ‘want to bankrupt this coutnry by giving tax breaks to the rich’

Sadly booksl ike this and messages tryign to wake America up fall on deaf ears because many in america are addicted to government handouts- like hte black woman said on TV to the itnerviewer “I’m so excited because I’m gonna get me soem of that obama money’ and sadly that’s how peopel think- government handouts are more important than freedom and dignity to these people


5 posted on 09/08/2012 11:28:31 PM PDT by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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To: neverdem

March 21, 2008

Why I am for Barack Obama
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/3676781/Why_Im_for_Barack_Obama/

June 14, 2010
I admit it, I was wrong to have supported Barack Obama
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100043479/i-admit-it-i-was-wrong-to-have-supported-barack-obama/


6 posted on 09/08/2012 11:29:57 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: CottShop

I don’t know if the book is good but this article is great


7 posted on 09/08/2012 11:32:09 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: GeronL

it may be, but I don’t even liek reading things liek that anymore because I know that hwen I do I’ll find things that outrage me but the info will do no good because so many peopel i nthis coutnry are addicted to gvoernemnt handouts and will not listen to anything or anyoen that tries to warn them that socialism is bankrupting this coutnry- their mentality seems to be to get everythign they can out of hte governemnt while the gettign is good because funds may dryu up soon, and to heck with future generations- We sadly are stuck i nthe ‘me me me’ generation, and hte left is fulyl exploiting that mentality


8 posted on 09/08/2012 11:36:25 PM PDT by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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To: CottShop

That is exactly what the article and book is about.


9 posted on 09/08/2012 11:38:28 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: GeronL

Thanks for the links!


10 posted on 09/09/2012 12:41:59 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Yes....I have SEEN him say it.....but he’s not for him anymore, thank GOD!


11 posted on 09/09/2012 1:00:36 AM PDT by Ann Archy ( ABORTION...the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: neverdem; All

The real problem is that we have many in the USA, including a lot of GOP, who want a similar EU type of mess for North America....NAFTA and the North American Union

Why anyone would still want to emulate the EU in any way are insane. The EU is proof positive that Free Trade Globalism does not work, will never work, and will end up a bigger mess than anyone can imagine.

The world economy can only improve by ending Globalism and Regionalism in all forms. Let nations compete again economically


12 posted on 09/09/2012 2:53:19 AM PDT by SeminoleCounty (The DNC Convention is like the Nuremburg Rallies for non-white folks)
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To: GeronL

is it? lol i didn’t read either one- just the first few lines of the article


13 posted on 09/09/2012 11:01:44 AM PDT by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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To: SeminoleCounty

[[Why anyone would still want to emulate the EU in any way are insane.]]

Because the dolts in congress think they are ‘smarter than’ ALL the socialist nations that have FAILED tiem and time again

There is an old saying about not learnign from mistakes, and EVERY nation that thinks they can buck the trend shows why they are so foolish- but of course in their own minds, they are brilliant and woudl never ‘let it get’ to the point where the nation suffers-


14 posted on 09/09/2012 11:06:07 AM PDT by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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