Europe's 'Illiberal Democracy'

National Review editor Rich Lowry puts it nicely:

The same clever people who created the single European currency want to move further toward a single European government. 

So Lowry wrote in an article appearing at National Review Online yesterday.  Lowry bolsters his argument, citing among other efforts Europe's ruling class deposing prime ministers in Italy and Greece in favor of a European Central Bank veep and a former E.U. commissioner.  Lowry might have added that in scuttling the Greek prime minister, European elites also nixed a referendum in Greece on E.U. dictated financial terms. 

But what was most intriguing in Lowry's article was his reference to the notion of "illiberal democracy."  Here's the passage:

A lurch into a tighter union will represent the birth of a new regime in Europe, what John Fonte, author of the book Sovereignty or Submission, calls post-democracy. Time magazine columnist Fareed Zakaria coined the phrase "illiberal democracy" a few years ago. Europe is on the brink of a "liberal post-democracy," a form of government that (usually) respects basic rights at the same time as it lacks the mechanisms for ensuring the popular consent that characterizes traditional democracy.

The concept of "illiberal democracy" is more elegant twaddle by the same sort of minds that long ago divided freedom into positive and negative definitions (positive freedom is intellectual gobbledygook that seeks to rationalize coercion).

Now, how does any nation (or super government imposed on nations) provide "a form of government that (usually) respects basic rights at the same time as it lacks the mechanisms for ensuring the popular consent that characterizes traditional democracy?" 

How can democratic mechanisms (the right of a people to decide) be struck or significantly reduced and their basic rights be ensured?  Where is there successful precedent for governments that lack true democratic mechanisms doing so - or doing so durably?

Europe's kings and royal courts didn't do so.  Communism and its kissing cousin, fascism, failed gloriously to do so.  Yet the world is to believe that Europe's modern elites will guarantee peoples' basic rights while diminishing their democratic, participatory rights in the lives of their nations?  The world is to accept that the centralization of decision making for countries (by the E.U. or some successor entity) will not end as it has in nations where power has been centralized before - in tyranny? 

The Rights of Man aren't served by soft or hard tyrannies.  Governments derive - or should derive - their powers from the consent of the governed (the people) and in no way should exclude the people from the full, vital life of government. 

European elites are increasingly moving toward excluding citizens of the nations of Europe from governance through a super government, which concentrates power in a relative handful of politicians and bureaucrats.  The current European financial and economic crisis has made this more apparent.  This is the height of arrogance and is the makings for hubris, should European elites accomplish their aim.   

 

                        

National Review editor Rich Lowry puts it nicely:

The same clever people who created the single European currency want to move further toward a single European government. 

So Lowry wrote in an article appearing at National Review Online yesterday.  Lowry bolsters his argument, citing among other efforts Europe's ruling class deposing prime ministers in Italy and Greece in favor of a European Central Bank veep and a former E.U. commissioner.  Lowry might have added that in scuttling the Greek prime minister, European elites also nixed a referendum in Greece on E.U. dictated financial terms. 

But what was most intriguing in Lowry's article was his reference to the notion of "illiberal democracy."  Here's the passage:

A lurch into a tighter union will represent the birth of a new regime in Europe, what John Fonte, author of the book Sovereignty or Submission, calls post-democracy. Time magazine columnist Fareed Zakaria coined the phrase "illiberal democracy" a few years ago. Europe is on the brink of a "liberal post-democracy," a form of government that (usually) respects basic rights at the same time as it lacks the mechanisms for ensuring the popular consent that characterizes traditional democracy.

The concept of "illiberal democracy" is more elegant twaddle by the same sort of minds that long ago divided freedom into positive and negative definitions (positive freedom is intellectual gobbledygook that seeks to rationalize coercion).

Now, how does any nation (or super government imposed on nations) provide "a form of government that (usually) respects basic rights at the same time as it lacks the mechanisms for ensuring the popular consent that characterizes traditional democracy?" 

How can democratic mechanisms (the right of a people to decide) be struck or significantly reduced and their basic rights be ensured?  Where is there successful precedent for governments that lack true democratic mechanisms doing so - or doing so durably?

Europe's kings and royal courts didn't do so.  Communism and its kissing cousin, fascism, failed gloriously to do so.  Yet the world is to believe that Europe's modern elites will guarantee peoples' basic rights while diminishing their democratic, participatory rights in the lives of their nations?  The world is to accept that the centralization of decision making for countries (by the E.U. or some successor entity) will not end as it has in nations where power has been centralized before - in tyranny? 

The Rights of Man aren't served by soft or hard tyrannies.  Governments derive - or should derive - their powers from the consent of the governed (the people) and in no way should exclude the people from the full, vital life of government. 

European elites are increasingly moving toward excluding citizens of the nations of Europe from governance through a super government, which concentrates power in a relative handful of politicians and bureaucrats.  The current European financial and economic crisis has made this more apparent.  This is the height of arrogance and is the makings for hubris, should European elites accomplish their aim.   

 

                        

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