Is copying the European model really so bad?

Daniel Hannan, and EU parliamentarian who gained notoriety in America thanks to a stunning diatribe directed against Gordon Brown, has a piece in the Wall Street Journal that asks the question; Would it be so bad if America were more like Europe?

His answer is a resounding "yes:"

I have been an elected member of the European Parliament for 11 years. I have seen firsthand what the European political model means.

The critical difference between the American and European unions has to do with the location of power. The U.S. was founded on what we might loosely call the Jeffersonian ideal: the notion that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect. The European Union was based on precisely the opposite ideal. Article One of its foundational treaty commits its nations to establish "an ever-closer union."

From that distinction, much follows. The U.S. has evolved a series of unique institutions designed to limit the power of the state: recall mechanisms, ballot initiatives, balanced budget rules, open primaries, localism, states' rights, term limits, the direct election of public officials from the sheriff to the school board. The EU places supreme power in the hands of 27 unelected Commissioners invulnerable to public opinion.

The will of the people is generally seen by Eurocrats as an obstacle to overcome, not a reason to change direction. When France, the Netherlands and Ireland voted against the European Constitution, the referendum results were swatted aside and the document adopted regardless. For, in Brussels, the ruling doctrine-that the nation-state must be transcended-is seen as more important than freedom, democracy or the rule of law.

This doctrine has had several malign consequences. For example, it has made the assimilation of immigrants far more difficult. Whereas the U.S. is based around the idea that anyone who buys into American values can become American, the EU clings to the notion that national identities are anachronistic and dangerous. Unsurprisingly, some newcomers, finding their adopted countries scorned, have turned to other, less apologetic identities.

If Obama and the Democrats would only be honest enough with the voters to run on this notion that we should be more like the Europeans, at least we could give them credit for telling the truth. Stupid, but brave. But they won't because they know a vast majority of voters would oppose them. So they hide their true agenda from the public while couching their programs and promises in the rhetoric of "fairness," class warfare, and claiming they are doing it "for the children."

Hannan bears watching. He is an up and coming politician who speaks plainly of personal liberty and economic freedom. Read the entire piece in the Journal.


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