Category Archives: euro

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

Eurocratic contempt for the great unwashed

The single-currency disaster

Dalrymple points out that whenever and wherever pooling of sovereignty has been put to nations’ electorates, it has been rejected. He writes:

There was probably no European nation that had been in favour of the establishment of the common currency. Nonetheless, the European leaders went ahead with it, as if public approval of what they were so momentously doing were unnecessary, indeed irrelevant.

The failing unitary European state

Dalrymple notes that the European Union is

  • corrupt
  • bureaucratic
  • cumbersome
  • archaic
  • inhibitory of enterprise
  • economically dysfunctional
  • undemocratic

He points out that

its two most recent major innovations, the single currency and free movement across borders, have been disasters for many of its members.

Europe, disaster zone

voted Leave in the Theodore Dalrymple: voted Leave in the 2016 UK European Union membership referendum

Theodore Dalrymple: voted Leave in the 2016 UK European Union membership referendum

Dalrymple points out that the common currency

has been a disaster for many countries — and it was predictable that it would be a disaster.

The political union necessary for a single currency to work has not emerged, and in any case,

such a political union would itself be a disaster.

No economic and social policy can be

good for both Greece and Germany.

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-22-06-33

Superior rationality of the Eurocrats

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-45-29Thwarted élites, Dalrymple points out,

are not good losers. They resort to any manœuvre to ensure that they prevail.

Brexit

is by no means a certainty.

But just say that Britain were able to effect the departure from the European Union that most of its citizens want. In that case,

the EU’s hopes for survival would rest on catastrophe for Britain. If it were able to prosper outside the Union, or maintain its level, the value of the Union would be called into question by the peoples of Europe even more than it is today.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-47-28Imperative that the British be made

  to suffer for their impertinence,

as Admiral Byng was shot pour encourager les autres. This could not be done

without causing harm to European companies that do a lot of trade with Britain; but when it comes to the EU, politics overrides economics. If it did not, the common currency would not have been created, for there was little justification for its creation; to the contrary, there were many obvious disadvantages for most member countries.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-49-44The ‘European project’, Dalrymple explains,

is a political rather than an economic one. A prosperous economy is only desired insofar as it is necessary to produce a strong and powerful polity. The aim of the EU is not peace but power. The driving force of the Union and its so-called project (never spelt out) is megalomania.

The wishes of Europe’s people not only must not be followed,

but should be neither consulted nor even known. This contempt for the opinions of the ruled was inherent in the European ‘project’ from its inception, its founders believing in the incapacity of populations to know what was in their best interest, and that a cadre of the enlightened knew their interest better than they.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-19-52-24‘Democratic oversight’

should be appearance rather than reality,

that the masses might believe

they are ruled by consent. Any pretence of such oversight must not be allowed to interfere with the serious business of benevolent, wise, but bureaucratic or technocratic control of society. Politics is to be abolished in favour of administration: the dream of every utopian from Plato to Marx and anarchists of every stripe.

But Dalrymple notes that

riding roughshod over a population’s opinions and sentiments in the name of a supposedly superior rationality is not a very wise policy.

A public flogging

That is the proper penalty, writes Dalrymple, for any man

who uses the phrase European project without spelling out its denotation.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-19-12-06

L’union fait la force

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 08.57.05Dalrymple reports that Arnaud Montebourg, who was Ministre de l’Économie, du Redressement productif et du Numérique under François Hollande, accepts that the EU is bankrupt. Montebourg suggests

  • a return to real national borders
  • the reduction of the number of European bureaucrats by 97%
  • the ending of the tendency to regulate the cocoa content of chocolate or the market for goat’s cheese
  • the return of money-issuing powers to the various countries’ central banks (while keeping the euro)

Montebourg also calls for an alliance of the grasshoppers (France, Spain, and Italy) against the great wicked ant, Germany. Dalrymple comments:

What a wonderful way to promote peace and harmony between France and its neighbour across the Rhine!

The Yugoslavia de nos jours

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 09.04.37

Koversada socialist naturist park in Istria, Vrsar, on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, Yugoslavia

For those, writes Dalrymple,

who have nothing but contempt for the European Union and the political class that has formed it, these are happy days.

Clear-sighted people have long realised that

  • the single currency is unworkable without political union
  • political union is impossible with even the most minimal democratic oversight, and is therefore essentially a fascist ideal
  • in the end the so-called union will bring conflict and even violence

Having pursued, says Dalrymple,

the policy of après nous le déluge for so long, European politicians find themselves in a dilemma: they have to decide which kind of economic degradation to plump for. They can maintain demand for a time at the expense of the currency, or they can maintain the currency for a time at the expense of demand.

Arachnophobia

It's not quite what the British people agreed to in the 1975 referendumFor years, writes Dalrymple,

doubt about the wisdom of a European project (whose end can only be seen as through a glass, darkly) was attributed by its enthusiasts to a quirk, one that combined some of the features of

  • mental debility
  • arachnophobia
  • borderline personality disorder

One would not be surprised to learn that the European Union had sent lobbyists to Washington to have Euroscepticism included as a category in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

By now, though,

even the most convinced European projectors must have noticed that their project is not going swimmingly.

But

the projectors suggest that the solution to the difficulties is the granting of even more powers to themselves or people like them, that is to say those who conjured up the difficulties.

Morbid conditions

are never equally distributed geographically, and Euroscepticism was originally a predominantly British disease, an amusing consequence of our insularity; but it is spreading throughout Europe. The débâcle of the common currency, which will no doubt have a dénouement but not necessarily a solution, has lowered the estimate of the union in the eyes of practically all member populations.

What if the results of referenda turn out unfavourably?

The history of the union suggests that they will either be ignored or that there will be more referenda until the population gets the answer right: the European variant of African post-colonial democracy, that is to say one man, one vote, once.

And people like Habermas, Van Rompuy, Barroso et al.

are capable of boring the people of Europe into submission. You can bamboozle people so long as politics does not really interest them because their lives are going along quietly and smoothly, and they do not pay it much attention.

But

once their attention is caught by such things as unemployment, evaporation of  their savings, constantly increasing taxes and collapsing living standards, more precision will be needed.

Words that

connote human solidarity but denote bureaucratically administered and enforced transfer payments — on a scale that make Marshall Aid look like pocket money — will no longer suffice.

Openness, says Dalrymple,

is not the same thing as the incontinent abandonment of character, any more than hospitality is the indiscriminate welcoming, without any exclusion, of all and sundry into one’s home.

Multiculturalism as an official doctrine,

complete with enforcing bureaucracies, undermines the rule of law because it seeks to divide people, formalise their cultural differences and enclose them in moral and intellectual ghettoes. The rule of law requires a common cultural understanding, not merely the means of repression to enforce a legal code. Once that cultural understanding is lost, all that remains is repression, effective or ineffective, and experienced as alien and unjust. Nothing remains but conflict or surrender.

Supranational courts cannot supply the want of a national understanding, for two reasons:

  1. They are designed to escape any national tradition, as Rousseau knew Man, but not men. Just as the European Central Bank could set interest rates adapted to none of the member countries’ economic needs, so a supranational court or organisation can produce rulings that correspond to no one’s traditions, principles, requirements or interests.
  2. Supranational organisations, unlike international ones, escape the kind of checks and balances that can operate on a national scale. In the French press the need for such checks and balances is not even mentioned, probably because it is not thought to exist. In Napoleonic tradition, every problem is conceived as an administrative one; and even as the scant legitimacy among the French population of Europe seeps away, so it is proposed that the powers of a European administrative class be increased.

Corbyn’s endearing nature

Prophet: Corbyn divined that the euro would mean 'the imposition of a bankers' Europe'

Prophet: Corbyn divined that the euro would mean ‘the imposition of a bankers’ Europe’

The UK government is planning High Speed 2, a rapid train between London and Birmingham (where Dalrymple lived and worked for many years) and beyond.

Dalrymple states that he is wholly in agreement with the British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (with whom he took part in a lively debate on socialism at the Oxford Union) that HS2 — labelled by the rightly scornful Herpes Simplex 2 — is

patently an extravagantly expensive, destructive, unnecessary and corrupt project.

Corbyn, writes Dalrymple, possesses a

curious and in a way endearing integrity, at least by comparison with the ersatz quality of most prominent politicians.

Herpes Simplex 2

Herpes Simplex 2