Category Archives: European Union

Which if not Victory is Yet Revenge


“Which if not Victory is Yet Revenge”
Thoughts on the Tory Apocalypse

by Sean Gabb
1st December 2018

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As I write, those who demand a second referendum on the European Union seem ever more likely to have their way. Their argument is: that it is now two years since we were asked to vote on leaving; that no one expected the process of leaving to end in the present shambles; that we should be asked what we now think of leaving. These calls are an obvious fraud on the electorate. Since the Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the custom in Europe has been for any unfavourable referendum result to be followed by another vote, in which the preferred result is given. This was done to the French, the Dutch and the Irish. It is now being done to us. Read more

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Mrs May’s Disastrous Deal


Mrs May’s Disastrous Deal

By Duncan Whitmore

Albeit for the wrong reasons, Theresa May never ceases to amaze. In spite of having first tabled an almost universally unpopular proposal for withdrawal from the EU at Chequers in July of this year, and then having done the equivalent of inject that proposal with steroids through the draft “Withdrawal Agreement” with the EU, she soldiers on in the face of all resistance.

Sean Gabb has summarised the contents of the draft agreement unveiled last week in an earlier post on this blog so there is no need to repeat that here. What we will do instead is to outline the combination of circumstances that have led to this situation and conclude with some thoughts as to what libertarians can make of this whole this debacle. Read more

Theresa May: A Study in Bare-Faced Wickedness


Theresa May: A Study in Bare-Faced Wickedness
by Sean Gabb
21st November 2018

Because I am writing about the European Union, I shall be neither surprised nor upset if the majority of my British readers go straight for the delete button. I write near the end of a week of fierce and increasingly unanimous denunciation of the Draft Agreement the British Government has “negotiated” for our withdrawal. However, more than half the people on my mailing list live outside the United Kingdom, and some of these have asked me to explain to the best of my ability what is happening. Here is the briefest summary I can manage that still makes sense. Read more

Theresa May: A Qualified Defence (2018), by Sean Gabb


Theresa May: A Qualified Defence
Sean Gabb
15th September 2018

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I am presently sat in a Turkish hotel, brooding over the e-mails I keep receiving from my Conservative friends. If some of them want Boris Johnson to replace her, and others Jacob Rees-Mogg, they all agree that Theresa May must go, and that this will somehow improve our departure from the European Union. I have no doubt she would make a better pole dancer than Prime Minister. But I am astonished that anyone with half a brain could want change from our existing state of affairs. It is not, I grant, the best possible state of affairs. It is, even so, the best available. Read more

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

Europe: A Simplification of the Issues


Europe: A Simplification of the Issues
by Sean Gabb
(1st March 2018)

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One of my readers has asked for my opinion on the draft treaty of withdrawal from the European Union. Since I have not read its 120 pages, and since I have no wish to read them, I am in no position to comment. Or perhaps I am just more honest than most of those who are commenting. Whatever the case, I will not comment. Instead, I will give a general view of what seems to be happening. Read more

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