Who Will Remain Brussel’s Sprouts?

by Cato6/27/16

Think back about 26 years to the moment you first realized the USSR had just evaporated. No shots fired. No riots; no coups; no tanks rolling through Prague and Budapest. It just ceased to exist. Guards along borders with Kalashnikovs who yesterday shot to kill walked away. People with sledge hammers pounded the Berlin Wall into souvenirs.

Here’s the foretelling in this rough history, to be found in the Brexit vote … not for the UK but for the remaining states of the EU: some of the SSR’s welcomed the freedom and quickly became democratic republics, and some including Russia flirted with republicanism and failed. These latter few, many along the southern rim with ‘stan’ in their names, migrated back to dictatorship and various forms of Stalinism. No revolution is ever complete and it doesn’t uniformly alter the landscape.

So I’m looking down the road a bit, asking which of the EU’s remaining 27, and the Euro’s 17 especially, will embrace the UK’s independence and welcome the return of self-governance and which of them will cling to the Politburo-lite, anti-democratic bureaucracy in Brussels, choosing to remain under the rule essentially of the Germans.

That Europe will split … either formally into self-governed and Brussels-controlled blocs, or informally with strong economies grouping to the north and weak ones to the south … seems, as George Soros opined, inevitable. But the real question is, for me, which ones will embrace the gradually hardening authoritarianism that prompted Jürgen Habermas to decry the EU’s “democratic deficit” and which ones will step back as has the UK, placing liberty above submission and willingly paying the price liberty always exacts. It comes down to which you value more: ‘freedom from’ or ‘freedom to’.

The collapse of the USSR from its own internal rot was a stunning event. The question in my mind is whether the EU, a construct of the same rotted timber, will in one or another way echo that event 26 years later.

Michael Booth, often posting and commenting as Cato, lectured in finance and economics at the Univ. of Texas, and worked for 20 years as an independent contractor and managerial trainer on financial topics in the technology industry.
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12 Responses to Who Will Remain Brussel’s Sprouts?

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Figuring out what will happen next is a bit like reading entrails. And I’m still not sure that the UK vote was for liberty over Brussel’s bureaucracy with a new patriotism emerging over impersonal statism. And the vote was so close, with the younger crowd being overwhelmingly for remaining in the EU, that I suspect this separation vote will be easily forgotten This is a process that will apparently take years. I’ll actually be surprised if the separation is accomplished. But we’ll see.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      And I’m still not sure that the UK vote was for liberty over Brussel’s bureaucracy with a new patriotism emerging over impersonal statism

      The mere action of a major nation voting to break off from the “dictatorship of the bureaucracy” in Brussels is, by its very nature, an increase in liberty.

      Cheer up. If a right thing happens, even if for the wrong reasons, be happy.

      History and life do not proceed in a straight line. Perfection is never achieved. Lethargy, cowardice, stupidity and evil will always be with us. So take what wins we can get.

      This is a never-ending battle.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s certainly a vote to keep socialism and Big Brother closer to home. Does anyone really expect British voters to ditch the NHS?

        AND it was the British elites who bought into the EU thing and have fed it as well through Parliament. Cutting the umbilical cord to Brussels is just one of the various Leftist tentacles deeply embedded in British society. We’ve both read what’s happening in the UK in the books by Theodore Dalrymple.

        I will take my pessimism to bed with me and sleep well. The best explanation I’ve heard is that people were shocked by the amount of violence among Muslims and saw the flood that Merkle and others were fomenting with this whole “refugee” baloney (and dangerous baloney it is). The only way to stop it is to pull the plug.

        But is this really the reason? I’m looking forward to some detailed and accurate polling data on the Brexit vote.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I’ll actually be surprised if the separation is accomplished.

      It is looking like your prediction is closer to becoming true. A British Court has ruled that the government cannot trigger Brexit, only parliament can. Funny, it was parliament which voted to have a referendum to decide whether or not to Brexit.

      The special interests and elites are the same the world over. They care little for the people’s votes, and will fight tooth and nail to protect their positions.


      One can understand why, at a certain point, people sometimes resort to violence.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It would likely take widespread violence, or the credible threat of same, to ever get a true Brexit. Passions cool. Bureaucracy endures.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Some of the Mediterranean kleptocracies, such as Greece, are already talking about leaving the EU, and now that they have an example, I think they will in time. I also suspect that many European countries will decide that the current immigration rules are a deal-breaker — get rid of the rules (which, to some extent, is already happening) or they’ll pull out, too. But the original EEC nations (other than Italy) will probably stay in (barring an unexpectedly strong vote for Marine Le Pen).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Hahahaha. Never thought of that angle, Timothy. What a perfect time for Greece to leave and tell the EU “thanks for the gifts” (or what normal people call “loans”).

      Conventional wisdom would seem to be that countries such as Greece, which are the welfare queens of the EU, would hang around and be the deadbeat son who stays in his room playing video games in his underwear rather than putting on a suit-and-tie and going out to find a job.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The Germans have this unpleasant tendency to want to get their money back, and to demand Greek austerity so that they can pay what they owe. (Since the austerity usually involves tax increases, for some reason, it doesn’t actually work.) This is why Greece has occasionally threatened to depart the Eurozone (which isn’t quite the same thing as leaving the EU, but does make the latter easier).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Good luck collecting that debt. They could always invade Greece again. And that’s not meant as a flippant comment, the kind you get from Leftist trolls. It could do Greece a lot of good if they could be peaceably Anschlussed. You wanted to act like a dependent child? Okie doke. We’ll be the parent.

  3. Steve Lancaster says:

    So, lets see; German economic and military dominance of western Europe without the stabilizing factor of the UK.

    From the UK Express not the most reliable of the British tabloids but still something to think about. This might explain the hurry to invoke article 50.

    “The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an “ultimatum”. Under the radical proposals EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.”

    A single multi-state union facing an expansionist Russia. I wonder whose world view this fulfills? I wonder is Hitler still painting roses on the walls of hell?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Niall Ferguson argued in his excellent study of World War I (The Pity of War) that what Britain faced if Germany won was actually very similar to what it ended up facing in the EU. He thinks it might have been better for them not to intervene. (It was Ferguson who noted that Woodrow Wilson’s America had the worst censorship of the major powers.)

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        There is an increasing interest in scholarship of WWI. Christopher Clark has written an excellent history of the spring and summer of 1914 leading up to the war, It is titled The Sleepwalkers.

        You don’t need to tell me about Wilson next to our current resident he is still the most vile SOB in American history.

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