Category Archives: supranational organisations

The self-professed philosopher-kings

Dalrymple writes that while

a comity of nations, each pursuing its own interests, is not the answer to all man’s political problems or conflicts,

it is better than the alternative, that is to say

universalist or supranational doctrines that claim to offer a full and final settlement of mankind’s woes.

He points out that supranationalism

in practice necessitates the rule of self-proclaimed and (more likely than not) self-interested philosopher-kings who will have no sense of personal limitation and who will be infatuated with their own virtue.

Why they can’t abide the Jewish state

Hell hath no fury like a universalist contradicted

The belief in a supranational order which is now very common among European élites accounts in part, writes Dalrymple, for the fury they direct against the Zionists.

A conceptual anti-EU

Israel, Dalrymple notes,

is a European state, but instead of subscribing to European supranational pieties, it pursues its national interest with determination and without apology. It is particularist rather than universalist.

Believers in universalism

brook no derogation from their principles.

The Western European superiority complex

Dalrymple points out that as a European state, Israel

is held up to a different standard from Arab states, Iran or Turkey, because European states have supposedly now reached a higher ethical stage, that of national altruism rather than national egotism, a stage which those of lesser breeds without the (moral) law, still mired in egotism, have not attained.

It turns out that

it is rather more difficult to disembarrass yourself of feelings of superiority than at first might have been supposed.

Liberal supranationalism is dangerously dictatorial

Dalrymple notes that José Manuel Barroso, while head of the European Commission, on one occasion

let fall the true nature of the European Union. It was, he said, an empire, albeit an empire of an entirely new type. He said that for the first time in history nations had agreed to pool their sovereignty.

To what end, Barroso did not say.

The Trading Bloc Cup

Thrilling

Imagine, writes Dalrymple, a football match between a team representing the European Union and one representing, say, NAFTA, or ASEAN.

Would anyone take the slightest interest in the result, or be either pleased or downcast by it?

He notes that human feelings are mutable, so he supposes that

it is possible that one day emotions similar to those that millions feel for national teams might attach to teams representing supranational organisations.

But

I suspect that that time is a long way off. For the moment, we’re stuck with national sympathies and passions, which perhaps is just as well. Genuine patriotic attachment to whole blocs of nations would bring us close to the situation imagined in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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.