Category Archives: European Affairs

Britain: A World Power Again, if by Accident?


Britain: A World Power Again, if by Accident?
Sean Gabb
(22nd December 2018)

One of my Books
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In London, and it seems elsewhere, the political and media consensus is that Britain is in its weakest international position since the late summer of 1940. Because we have a government of fools, we are at the mercy of the French, the Germans, the Spanish, and even the Irish. If we accept Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, we become a colony of the European Union. If we withdraw our notice to quit, we suffer a different though probably equal humiliation. If we leave without any deal, we face some degree of economic disruption. Which of these options is worst may have some bearing on the lack of agreement within our political class – though which brings more or less advantage to any of the individual groups in Parliament also has much bearing.

I disagree with this consensus. I still regard Theresa May as our most incompetent and possibly treasonous Prime Minister in at least living memory. At the same time, we find ourselves with the greatest power to shape our destiny since 1938. It needs only minimal work from our diplomatic establishment, and minimal cooperation among our leading politicians. Let me explain. Read more

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Sore Losers: “Remainers” and the EU Referendum


Sore Losers: “Remainers” and the EU Referendum

 By Duncan Whitmore

In spite of the fact that we are now more than two years after the event, the sore losers on the “Remain” side of the Brexit vote persist in their efforts to deny the legitimacy of the referendum result in favour of “Leave”. The most strenuous effort, in accordance with the propensity of the EU to require repetitive voting until they receive the right answer, is the push for a second referendum – either on the so-called “deal” that our government is trying its best to fashion into a resemblance of EU membership in all but name, or a rerun of the entire process.

In the first place, it must be nothing short of astonishing that every single argument that is advanced in order to discredit the outcome of the referendum is exactly the same as every argument that was made against democracy itself prior to its ascension as the unquestionable holy grail: that the voters are too uneducated; that people didn’t know what they were voting for; that the majority is not a real majority; and so on.

Particularly following Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s polemic, it is true that libertarians are at least suspicious of democracy, and are likely to view it more as an enabler of state growth rather than a straightjacket. However, such suspicion applies only to representative democracy or the kind where we are, essentially, voting on how tax loot should be divvied up. It can scarcely apply to a referendum the very purpose of which is to determine the sovereignty of a nation, and where there is a chance to move that sovereignty closer towards the individual through a rejection of state centralisation and consolidation into ever larger behemoths governing wider territories.

Although the efforts from the “Leave” side to defend the legitimacy of the result are all cogent enough, they are usually content to address the “Remainers’” objections on their own terms instead of challenging the underlying assumptions. This short essay will attempt to provide some additional, more fundamental ammunition in order to refute the most typical arguments. Read more

Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic Vs. Deplorables


By ilana mercer

To say that academic elites don’t like ordinary folks is to state the obvious.

To them, Lanford, Illinois—the fictional, archetypal, working-class town, made famous by Roseanne and Dan Conner—is not to be listened to, but tamed.

A well-functioning democracy depends on it.

Taming Fishtown—Charles Murray’s version of Landford—is the thread that seems to run through  a new book, “The People vs. Democracy,” by one Yascha Mounk.

You guessed it. Mr. Mounk is not an American from the prairies; he’s a German academic, ensconced at Harvard, and sitting in judgment of American and European populism.

If only he were capable of advancing a decent argument.

“The number of countries that can plausibly be described as democracies is shrinking,” laments Mounk (“Populism and the Elites,” The Economist, March 17, 2018):

Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratizing … The United States—the engine room of democratization for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of ‘lock her up’ and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.

 

Elites ensconced in the academy are likely selected into these mummified institutions for a certain kind of ignorance about political theory or philosophy.

Plainly put, a chant, “lock her up,” is speech, nothing more. This Trump-rally chant might be impolite and impolitic, but on the facts, it’s not evidence of a “strongman.”

Notice how, deconstructed, nearly every utterance emitted by the technocratic and academic elites turns out to be empty assertion?

Even the subtitle of the book under discussion is sloppy political theory: “Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It” implies that democracy is the be-all and end-all of liberty. Quite the opposite.

America’s Constitution-makers did everything in their power (except, sadly, heed the Anti-Federalists) to thwart a dispensation wherein everything is up for grabs by government, in the name of the people.

Today,” claims our author,  “the popular will is increasingly coming into conflict with individual rights.” To this end, “liberal elites are willing to exclude the people from important decisions, most notably about immigration in the case of the European Union.”

He has excluded Americans from the immigration, decision-making equation. But they, too, have been eliminated from decision-making on these matters. Perhaps the anti-populism tinkerer, for Mounk is no thinker, views the levels of “exclusion” in the US, on this front, as acceptable.

Perhaps he thinks that the flow of up to two million into the US every year—changing it by the day—is done with the right degree of democratic inclusion. (How about a federal referendum on immigration, to test that?)

The popular will is fine—provided it restores the obligations of government to its constituents, not to the world, protects nation-state sovereignty, respects the founding people of Europe and the West; and protects their traditions, safety and identity. For example, by eliminating the weaponization of political concepts against The People. In the context of immigration, constructs that have been weaponized are multiculturalism and diversity.

If anything, populist leaders who want to denuclearize constructs which have been weaponized by the state are authentic leaders. The opposing elites are the interlopers.

Your common, garden-variety academic is selected and elevated in academia precisely because of a pre-existing condition: a globalist, deracinated disposition.

For that matter, humanity does not have a right to immigrate en masse to the United States or to Europe. There is no natural right to venture wherever, whenever—unless, perhaps, migrants can be confined to homesteading frontier territory.

Regrettably, the developed world is running out of frontier territory to homestead.  Besides, the only potential immigrants who still have that frontier spirit are South-African farmers. But American and European elites are uninterested in refugees who are ACTUALLY and actively being killed-off.

That would be too much like preserving “white privilege,” which is certainly not what Mounk’s about. He moans, instead, about dangerous populists, and how they’re “willing to dispense with constitutional niceties in the name of ‘the people.’”

Which “constitutional niceties” have populists dispensed with? Repealing statutory, man-made law the Left, invariably, depicts as fascism, when in fact repealing positive law is often liberating; strengthening the natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Politics,” our author continues, “is defined by a growing battle between illiberal democracy, or democracy without rights, on the one hand, and undemocratic liberalism, or rights without democracy, on the other.

It’s hard to know what to make of such bafflegab, only that the author’s political theory has been through the progressive smelter. Democracy unfettered—social democracy, Third Wayism—adopted by all “free” nations, the US as well, in antithetical to the liberty envisioned by the American Founding Fathers.

Why so? Because in this fetid democracy, every aspect of individual life is up for government control. The very idea that a few hundred clowns in two chambers could represent hundreds of millions of individuals is quintessentially illiberal. And impossible.

The kind of “undemocratic liberalism” the author sneers at is likely the classical liberalism of the 19th century, where the claims the mass of humanity could levy against individuals in a particular territory were severely curtailed, if not non-existent.

Finally, what would an academic be without a brand of demeaning, economic reductionism? The lumpenproletariat are economically distressed. That’s Yascha Mounk’s final diagnosis. That’s why populism is surging.

Tossed in their direction, Chinese-made trinkets will do wonders to improve the mood of this seething, racist, mass of Deplorables. Then Mounk and his friends can move in to make the right decisions for us.

Harvard’s Chosen’s One chalks populism up to “the laws of globalization.” Deal with it or die.

Or, as advocated by Kevin D. Williamson, a NeverTrumper formerly of National Review:

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.” (“The Father-Führer,” March 28, 2016.)

 

You see, working-class “losers” are being labelled illiberal fascists for—wait for it!—wanting a local economy around which to center flesh-and-blood communities.

A real Heil-Hitler moment!

This populism-detesting academic (Yascha Mounk) is a theoretical utilitarian and bad one at that. He refuses to “grapple with the nuances” of the issues that make for misery or mirth among ordinary men and women. Instead, he grumbles that his gang of “technocratic elites” needs to moderate its ambitions, given that they’re not working with much (dumb Deplorables).

Here’s the truth about the nationalism against which the political and pedagogic elites rail:

[It] has often been cast by the historically triumphant Left as fascistic. Yet historically, this Right rising has represented broad social strata: It has represented the bourgeoisie—middle-class, liberal and illiberal, standing for professional and commercial interests. It has stood for the working class, the landed aristocracy, the (Catholic) clergy, the military, labor unions, standing as one against the radical Communist or anarchist Left, which promised—and eventually delivered—bloody revolution that destroyed organic, if imperfect, institutions. (“The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed,” p. 234

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

The Pretty Façade of ‘Freedom & Democracy’


By Andy Duncan

One of the most wonderful things you can do, just before Christmas, is to visit the street markets of Vienna, one of the grandest old cities in Europe. As well as being able to buy an endless supply of glittering colourful things, the best aspect is that every third or fourth stall you can fill up a copious mug with a delicious draft of hot mulled wine, simply to keep out the icy cold you understand.

What you might also see, if you were to visit this year, is something that looks like this:

ViennaDisguisedBarrier

What could this oddly-sized Christmas-wrapped thing be? A super-sized electric railway set? A particularly large racing bike? A gift perhaps from God Himself?

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The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun


The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun
By Richard Storey

Before I reached out to Prof. Frank van Dun, I had it all figured out.  Like many anarcho-capitalist libertarians, I believed that the Church, far from being a hindrance to state growth, was the primary promoter of centralised statism in Northern Europe.  Whilst many of the greatest intellectual defenders of liberty were Christians (Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell etc. etc.), I assumed they were wrong about the Church.  Rather arrogantly, I thought them blind to the historical data and for emotional reasons.  I contacted the good professor, hoping he could teach me a thing or two and, of course, confirm my conclusions.  I got more of the former than I had bargained for.  Permit me to outline the historical perspective I presented to Prof. van Dun before I provide his responses. Read more

Britain and Europe: The Long Goodbye? – Sean Gabb Speech in Bratislava, 15th August 2017


A speech given by Sean Gabb in Bratislava, on the 15th August 2017, to the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS). He spoke to an audience of Slovak journalists and politicians on the background to Britain’s impending departure from the European Union, and discussed what may happen next.

The video was produced and edited by Philippa Gabb.

NB – the main speech is in English, though the flattering Introduction by Richard Durana is in Slovak.

Summary:

  1. In the 2015 general election, David Cameron needed to attract large numbers of UK Independence Party votes in order to secure an overall majority for the Conservative Party.
  2. British entry to the European Union (then called the European Economic Community) had split the Conservative Party. This led eventually to the emergence of the UK Independence Party, which was able to take enough votes in the 2010 general election to deny the Conservatives a majority.
  3. David Cameron’s strategy in 2015 was to offer a referendum on EU membership.
  4. He made an error in calling the referendum in June 2016, when much British attention was fixed on the migrant crisis of 2015. The result of the referendum was largely due to fears of more immigration from Europe.
  5. After the referendum, the Conservatives declared that Britain would leave, but had no plan for leaving. Either they were unaware of the complexities, or they were unable to agree on how to manage these complexities.
  6. They still have not plan. Even so, Britain is to leave in March 2019, and the process will become increasingly exciting for impartial observers.
  7. Dr Gabb’s own view is that the peoples of Europe are bound together by common experience and common problems, and that a close working relationship must emerge from the process of British withdrawal. His final point is that the European Union is not the best vehicle for articulating these commonalities.

Brexit: What Could It Mean?


 

 

Brexit: What Could It Mean?
Andy Duncan (Honorary Vice-President of Mises UK)
A Speech Delivered in May 2017 at the 5th Austrian School Conference of Mises Brasil

Today, I wish to discuss three related topics, how they fit together, and how we can use them to help create a freer world. These topics consist of historicism, the notion that historic destiny dominates free will; the original formation of ancient states, and what this tells us about modern states; and secession, and how this relates to Brexit and to other freedom movements around the world.

In Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, in Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’, and most recently in Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, there exists a constant idea from the left that ‘history’ exists as a living entity outside the lives of men, women, and children. This concept, in a nutshell, forms historicism. Read more

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