June 13, 2009

Elites vs. the people

From the WSJ, here's Mark Leonard, the executive director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, on the recent election across Europe of MEPs who wish to curb rather than expand the EU's power:

From the beginning, European integration has been defined by two trends: technocracy and populism.
The success of the technocrats has been phenomenal. They created first a coal and steel community, then a customs union, then a single market and even a single currency.
It was the very success of the EU as a bureaucratic phenomenon that fueled a populist backlash. This first started as a localized phenomenon, with Margaret Thatcher famously demanding a refund for Britain in the 1980s. Now, it is a pan-European force. The populists come from the left and right, but their common complaint is that the EU is an elite conspiracy, a project to build "Europe against the people." In its place, they plan to mobilize the "people against Europe."

The whole thing at

Posted by EBD at June 13, 2009 12:25 PM

Graf Harry Kessler, aka the Red Count, was a prime mover in the genesis/birth of the EU pyramid scheme.


"His [Kessler's] is really an account of the early days of that chimera, the United States of Europe
-- single currency and customs union and all -- reminding us that it was on diplomats' lips long before the moral disaster that is conventionally thought to be its raison dê'tre.

Then as now, it was primarily a French-German affair."
"An aesthete and aristocrat, Harry Kessler recorded the life of cultured Europe after 1918."

Posted by: maz2 at June 13, 2009 1:06 PM

Thanks for that, Maz.

Posted by: EBD at June 13, 2009 1:14 PM

It just keeps growing...
If that doesn't raise some hackles nothing will.

Posted by: DaninVan at June 13, 2009 1:19 PM

Of course, it's more diplomatic to say that the EU is a victim of its own success than to say that the EU was built on sand. If it wasn't, then it's becoming the whipping boy for bad trans-European national policies.

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at June 13, 2009 1:25 PM

Links aren't automatically created as 'live' here(?)...
By intent? Just curious, EBD.

Posted by: DaninVan at June 13, 2009 1:25 PM

Interesting article. During the election I googled (and more) most of the parties in their national guise. It seems that the liberal-conservative spectrum nomenclature is mostly for North America whereas in Europe they tend to the left-right analysis. Some European parties describe their philosophy as "liberal conservatism" and at least one was "conservative liberalism".

Eventually I started rating the parties as to whether they would be pro or anti EU. That showed the most revealing trend, which is reflected in this WSJ article.

Thanks EBD

Posted by: glasnost at June 13, 2009 1:47 PM

DaninVan, it's true, live links are unlikely to go through, although some occasionally do.

I can't speak for Kate, but it might have something to do with the fact that spammers love d'live linkage. Everyone knows not to click a link in a spam email, but similar links could (theoretically) be posted here, as a tiny URL or otherwise, without eliciting the concomitant caution one would apply to a spam email.

Non-live links are the way to go; if someone is interested, they'll check it out.

Posted by: EBD at June 13, 2009 2:14 PM

I find this piece interesting:

The 1950 UNESCO Statement denying Race as a fac-
tor (see above), was denounced by the world's most distin-
guished scientists, and by men in the streets who knew race when they saw it. In 1952 UNESCO retracted its statement
acknowledging finally that “Races are ‘real’ and not mere
“artifacts of classification.” But, true to its Marxist orienta-
tion, UNESCO conveniently forgot its apology. Its original
(1950) position as stated now appears in almost all reference

Posted by: Aaron at June 13, 2009 3:02 PM

We don't need no stinking think tanks.

Thule Society
Bohemian Club
Cosmos Club,M1

Posted by: Catch Up at June 13, 2009 3:07 PM

Interesting article, not a single word about why people are objecting to the EU. Nothing about loss of control over domestic regulation and policy, nothing about democratic accountabiliyt or lack of, nothing about mass immigration and all its problems, nothing about Islam and its attack on western standards.

Guess its just needs some more PR from the technocrats and all will be well

Posted by: Bruce at June 13, 2009 3:17 PM

EBD; thanks.

Posted by: DaninVan at June 13, 2009 6:15 PM

Excellent article EBD thanks for the link. It essentially confirms my hypothesis of the populist backlash against effete Euro-elitist statism. It correctly identifies the populist force as being both left and right which validates my point that the shift is not a left-right battle but a populism vs elitism governance battle. Interestingly this assessment comes from very horse's mouth of the Euro political elite, the ECFR.

Posted by: voltaire's bastard at June 14, 2009 9:10 AM

I was fiercely pro-European Community back in the 80s and 90s, i.e. when the ideals were basically liberal, i.e. free trade, free movement or labour, free movement of capital, free movement of goods, etc.

Unfortunately, EU has morphed into a super-nation, un-democratic and elitist. It is built on essentially fascist ideas, i.e. the cooperation (corporation) of governments, big business, and big unions, with no regard for the individual or local democracy.

These latest voter trends are therefore not surprising, and quite encouraging. The next few years will be very interesting.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada at June 14, 2009 1:38 PM