Thursday, 9 June 2016

How many very influential people think

SHARE
PVE Wood

It comes down to this. Do we want to be ruled by foreigners and have we gained much from being in for 43 years to compensate for loss of our independence? Everyone has his own answer. I think it has cost us a lot and we are now ruled by people who refuse to use navies to stop an invasion of Europe.

Christoph ****


It is this kind of thinking that I think we should reject. Even the very language represents attitudes that need to be overcome. We should not use the term foreigner, it represents the social construct of boundaries between peoples that is harmful. All people are humans, our brothers and sisters. The construct of the nation state needs to be overcome. Likewise the word "ruled" is no longer appropriate, we are free people, nobody rules us. I am proud of the fact that in my small family, all three of us each have a different nationality. The EU is a progressive vanguard where the nation state is overcome on the principle of subsidiarity, so that there is still meaningful local decision-making. It is interesting that the British, who once governed a good part of the globe, seem to have greater problems with that then some of the nations that were literally under "foreign rule" for quite a long time (Ireland, Eastern Europe etc.)


PVE Wood


Of course we do - they are used to being ruled, we to ruling ourselves.





Christoph ****


That really makes no sense on any level. Those that were subjugated have a much higher yearning for freedom.


PVE Wood

It makes every sense. Are you really a Professor of International Relations? Small countries know the limitations on their freedom and want to be protected from big ones who threaten it - for them the EU makes sense. The EU after all is in E Europe in certain respects a replacement for Austria Hungary and a way of preventing German and/or Russian dominance of the region. Ireland likes the EU as a way of escaping from dominance by UK. I should have been a don and would have taught my students decent values.



Christoph ****

That really makes no sense at any level. States in Europe are not threatened by other states. I lived in Ireland for ten years, they do not want to be ruled by someone else, but they think they can defend themselves against Britain, and yet they are enthusiastic members of the EU. You have to dig a lot deeper to begin to understand this phenomenon. But our difference is philosophical. I don't accept the basic concepts you use, "ruled" or "foreigner". I consider these as part of a very retrograde philosophy that I hope will die out.


PVE Wood

States threaten other states constantly in various ways, though not necessarily in the sense of being a military threat. London's financial dominance threatens Paris and Frankfurt and vice versa. This is much of the reason the EU exists. The power cultural and economic of the UK made Eire a satellite until they joined the EEC or even until they foolishly adopted the Euro. Macedonia and Hungary feel very threatened by the German government's migrants policy. Do you not understand the concept of governments ruling? Or of foreigners? Without foreigners there are no countries and no boundaries. Without boundaries there is no freedom, no democracy and no social cohesion, no culture.


Christoph ****

Governance is not the same thing as ruling. Ruling is a pejorative term now. I have not lived in the country of my birth since I have been 18. I understand the term foreigner but I reject it as retrograde. I don't perceive myself as a foreigner, or any of the people I know. I reject the idea of countries and boundaries should be transcended as much as possible. The very nature of states or countries has changed dramatically. Borders limit human freedom, they are social constructs that need to change. From an IR point of view, the purpose of international institutions is to alter the behaviour of states so that they cooperate rather than purely pursue national interest because the latter results in conflict. I also object to your use of the word threat, this is securitizing phenomena that are not about security.

I see the EU as a vanguard promoting freedom of movement which in the future should encompass the world. 


PVE Wood


Democracy means rule by the demos. You have to have a demos. The EU obviously doesn't have one nor ever will. There cannot be a European nation and the Professor doesn't like nations


Christoph ****


I am against nation states. But I am skeptical if people say something cannot happen. I never believed there would be German unification in my lifetime. There now are many states that did not exist 30 years before. There can be a common sense of unity of identity and governance by comment consent in Europe. The problem in the UK is that politicians have neglected for decades to build a European identity as was done in other member states

11 comments:

  1. Interesting exchange.

    In my "guts" I cheer for the British to "vote leave". I know why: just because of a sort of teenage foolishness of mine, because of an immature joy of mine when someone slaps the establishment, transgresses, because I cherish individualism over groups, because I am not a team player, because I'm sick of reading only negative articles about the Brexit in continental media (French and German).

    (If the problem of staying or leaving would be posed for Romania, I would definitely vote to stay. You may argue that the EU has a negative cultural influence -- the ideas of 68 -- but I think that the EU brings modernity, liberalism, a moral policing in public life, investments, and, most importantly, with an eye on what's going on in the East, security.)

    But then I tried to reason and said: What do the British reproach to the EU? They are out of the Euro. They don't bail out Greece or Italy. They have the rebate. (Are they still a net contributor to the EU budget or does the rebate make the balance even?) They are out of Schengen and control their borders. Do they really resent so much that Romanians, Bulgarians and maybe other poorer EU citizen come to the UK? On the other hand are those poorer EU citizen fewer than the culturally more distant South-Asians? Or the problem is that they can control the influx of the latter but not that of the Europeans? Which EU Commission/Parliament decision do they resent so much? I know that the EU law overrides national law, and I suppose some EU decisions are too bureaucratic and go against English business culture. I am aware that the British would like more of a common market that an "ever-closer union" but, excuse my EU-illiteracy, in what way is the EU more than a common market for the UK, more of a straitjacket? The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice? There are these examples of European absurdity, like the length and curvature of bananas, but then the UK kept its Imperial Measures, its electricity sockets, it still drives on the left.

    Somehow I feel they have the best of both worlds. Access to markets, to research projects (ESA, Airbus, Galileo etc, Erasmus projects) and they are not sucked into such crises as the Euro crisis and the refugee crisis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UK’s annual £8.5 billion net contribution to E.U. funds makes us the third largest contributor. The EU is very statist but the UK is also now very authoritarian. The ECJ has huge power over our lives and some say more than half of laws in the UK originate in the EU - it depends on how you define a law. We have lost most of our imperial measurements unfortunately. I suppose the case for leaving is about independence - being captains of our own destiny - and about the fact that the EU, though on balance a force for much good in post-Communist countries, is a failure in the non-post- Communist Eurozone countries.
      Clearly it will never do anything effective in foreign policy terms or ever be democratic - because Europe has no demos.
      I don't think leaving the EU will necessarily end free movement of Europeans to the UK and the British to Europe though it might. I agree that European immigrants are much closer culturally than South Asians. It will not reduce the huge flow of immigrants from outside the EU to the UK (177, 000 legal non-EU immigrants last year) but many people will vote to leave because of the invasion of asylum seekers from Africa and Asia which is only just starting and threatens to overwhelm the continent.

      Delete
    2. Will the UK Parliament respect voters' wishes, if they vote to leave? I imagine not and that instead they will negotiate a new deal and hold another referendum - or even referendums, until the electors get the answer right. Probably, though, the UK will vote to stay in understandably frightened by the propaganda from Europe, the USA, all the British parties and most institutions. Then we shall see what effect the referendum has on thinking in France and Holland where 'populist' politicians may advocate similar referendums.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for the clarification. I understand very well the desire to determine your own destiny as a state. Mainly I understand your argument as follows: whether the decisions/laws of the EU are good or bad matter much less than the fact that the EU has power over the UK to impose these decisions.

      Regarding the UK's contribution to the EU budget: once outside of the EU the UK will want access to the EU market. So either it will negotiate bilateral trade agreements or it will pay a kind of market-entry tax like the "Norway grants". According to wikipedia, the Norway grants amount to 180 million euros. Scaling to the size of the UK economy, the UK would pay about 1 billion euros if a similar agreement would be hammered out.

      I don't think that the weak foreign policy of the EU is a good argument for leaving. On the contrary, it means that EU membership does not interfere with an independent foreign policy (see Iraq, Libya, Israeli-Palestine conflict). But then again, I see your argument that a weak master does not justify accepting a master.

      I am surprised about you deploring the lack of democracy in the EU. I've been reading your blog for a longer time and my impression is that your conservatism should be antagonistic to the current shape that modern democracies took. I expected that you support a kind of aristocracy, the rule of the "good", of the "elite", a kind of 19th century democracy. The voting rights would be enjoyed by the bourgeoisie in a German sense: the joint classes of Grossbürgertum (high bourgeoisie: bank, insurance, industry owners), Besitzbürgertum ("possession" bourgeoisie, those who inherited their wealth, old aristocracy, landowners, etc), Gewerbebürgertum (the commercial classes, shopowners), Bildungsbürgertum (the educated classes, professors, intellectuals, writers, but not necessarily salaried engineers for example), and liberal professions (doctors and lawyers mainly). I had the impression that you think that the current democracies pander too much to the mundane needs of the masses, and too little to a civilisational dimension, to future cultural heritage, that it leads to extreme fragmentation, to an amorphous mass of petty needs, and to demagogues who promise to satisfy them.

      Delete
    4. I am very shocked and even alarmed that you so misunderstood me. And you are not the only one. I admit that I am not a theoretical believer in democracy in the sense that I think the English should have adopted one man one vote in the reign of Henry II, or at the latest in 1832, but I am a strong believer in democracy in our age for developed countries. The modern democracies do not pander nearly enough to the masses and most of the problems in the modern world stem from this. I am a great believer that the masses have better instincts than the academics or big business.

      Rule by an elite is inevitable of course in a democracy or in any other form of government, even Communism. If you have one. Romania where I live scarcely has one. The British elite has been corrupted by the same modish ideas that the rest of the population has received and these are doing untold damage. The referendum campaign is a revolt against the (international, post-national) elite. So, like him or loath him, is Trump.

      Delete
    5. Thank you, I think I know now the source of the misunderstanding.

      You deplore the cultural shift that brought feminism, the pervasive leftist ideas, excessive toleration for religious and sexual minorities, contrasted with witch-hunts against conservative or national views.

      Just that I thought that all this is an emanation of the demos, is what the majority wants. So I thought that you see yourself accordingly as belonging to a minority that is right, that sees better, whereas the majority is wrong. This is why I thought that you would support a sort of "aristocracy" and not the current democracy.

      But actually you say that you belong to the majority, that all the phenomena that you deplore do not come from the people but from a minority that usurped the prerogative of interpretation without democratic legitimacy. You claim that the people, were they given the option, would reject this cultural shift and that exactly the existence of this cultural shift demonstrates the democratic deficit in our societies.

      However, are you really so sure? Are you really so sure that what we have is not the will of the people? Look at the latest regional elections in Germany. The AfD got about 20-30% of the vote. The vast majority supported what I would call the leftist consensus. I grant you that it would have gotten more votes had the AfD not contain some dubious people with outlandish ideas. But also it could have gotten less votes because I assume that many ex CDU voters gave their votes to the AfD only half-heartedly and in desperation and would go back to the CDU in post-Merkel times.

      Delete
    6. I am clearly giving people a very false impression of my views. I don't deplore "excessive toleration for religious and sexual minorities". I don't know what you mean by 'national views' and hope you don't mean fascist views (which I certainly deplore) but I do deplore witch hunts unless the witches are real witches.

      I am no expert on Germany but agree that Germany is certainly not a conservative country and no countries in Western Europe are. Not Ireland, certainly not Spain. I think the changes that made them cease to be conservative began as part of the 1960s social revolution but to a fairly large extent were imposed top-down (feminist changes were almost entirely imposed by politicians) but this changed attitudes. Affluence made even greater changes and concomitant decline in religious belief.

      It is clear however that the electorate has much more wisdom than its representatives.

      Delete
    7. I didn't mean fascist views. Sorry for being unclear. I based my impression on quotes that you posted in which internationalism/post-nationalism is criticised while patriotism is considered a trait that would be beneficial to cultivate. This is what I branded, perhaps mistakenly, "national views".

      I also thought that you oppose gay marriage or minarets, for example. If it not the case then I am wrong and I apologise for asserting that you deplore "excessive toleration for religious and sexual minorities".

      Delete
    8. Of course I deplore homosexual marriage. What has that to do with toleration? You probably mean tolerance but tolerance does not require approval of this silly and wrong idea about the nature of marriage. The Greeks and Romans and many other pagans were very tolerant of homosexuality but none of the ancients suggested that people of the same sex could marry.

      Minarets can be built in a free country. I don't however like attempts to suggest the outcome of a Swiss referendum on the subject could be over-ridden by the ECHR.

      I am very much in favour of patriotism - isn't everyone? - and think there is too much internationalism in the UK and Western Europe nowadays.

      Delete
  2. If Christoph ate at my house I think I'd give him plastic cutlery just to be on the safe side.
    Dominic Johnson

    ReplyDelete