Here are some quotes from articles on the home page of today's The Brussels Journal | The Voice of Conservatism in Europe:
1) Tony Blair, the British prime minister, could end up swapping Downing Street for a job as the first full-time European Union president, under a plan being actively touted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
Mr Sarkozy is understood to have discussed the idea with other EU leaders ahead of next week’s European summit, Mr Blair’s last major international event as prime minister.
2) Tony Blair wants to hand the European Union radical new powers in his last act as Prime Minister, it emerged today.
The Prime Minister has welcomed controversial plans to bring back the troubled EU constitution by the back door – totally bypassing the need for public referendums on sweeping new powers for Brussels. [...] Britain’s voting rights would be reduced by a third under the scheme and our hard-won veto on European directives would be torn up. Britain could also lose the right to impose quotas on immigration.
3) According to the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, a former Communist hardliner, Eurosceptics are “psychological terrorists” because they suggest that there is a growing “European superstate.” Napolitano said this when he and Horst Köhler, the President of Germany, addressed a group of students at the University of Siena. The EU is not a European superstate, Napolitano said, it is a “a new form of democracy.”
What Mr Napolitano apparently means is that EU decisions are made without reference to the population, indeed against the wishes of a majority of the population in many cases. This is the current comprehension of democracy within the elites that have the temerity to believe they act in our name. It is in fact “post democracy.”
4) In Sweden, saying that Muslim Albanians are behind much of the drug traffic in Europe (a fact) is considered racism and a crime. Making derogatory statements about the native Christian population, however, is just fine.
Dahn Pettersson, a local politician in Sweden, has been fined 18,000 kronor for writing that 95 percent of all heroin brought in comes via Kosovo. “It is never ethnic groups that commit crimes. It is individuals or groups of individuals,” prosecutor Mats Svensson told the court. The court found Pettersson guilty of ‘Agitation Against a Minority Group.’
5) Jose Manuel Barroso today called on Tony Blair to “stand up against public opinion” and have the “courage to ignore populism,” in relation to the forthcoming EU Council summit in Brussels. At the summit next week it is planned that the Heads of Government of the EU 27 to sign a ‘heads of agreement’ on the new Constitution.
A responsible person never advocates violence or revolution unless there is good reason to think it can prevent a greater violence in future. At what point of democratic decay, with the loss of transparent and democratically accountable governments to which both Europeans and the rest of the world can relate in good faith, is great violence likely to befall Europe, and by extension the rest of the world? Not too long from now, it seems to me.
On the other hand, if what remains of the national and truly inter-national spirit in Europe were to organize itself now, and aim to dispatch the present gang of Euro thugs ruling oligarchically through Brussels and its satellites, would there really be many people who would come to fight on the side of the technocratic gangster elites? I imagine, when push comes to shove, most of the military and police leaders in Europe would quickly side against the Brussels crowd. Why? Because beyond the legitimate concern to organize common markets and free trade, the European project has nothing ultimately to offer in the way of defending its continuing expansion into all manner of post-democratic government and regulation, other than appealing to pseudo-aristocratic snobbery and fear of the ordinary European people and their nationalisms; and ultimately, that is rather little to hold people together. In times of crisis, people look for loyalties, however narrow, and alliances, that are more real.
Present-day technocratic liberalism, at least as this term is now understood in North America, tends strongly to nihilism with its refusal to favor any particular form of (e.g. national or religious) cultural transcendence over another; unfortunately, in the long run, nihilism can only be a ruling principle of a tyranny. Interestingly, the quote from Baroso seems to suggest that the Euro elites somehow grasp this now and are willing to pursue their project regardless, crying to hell with what ordinary European "populists" think about the EU constitution. Jim Kalb summed up the logic of liberalism quite well the other day:
...a tendency to treat the transcendent as an add-on rather than a constituent element of the this-worldly. You can’t divide up reality that way, though, because the lower depends on the higher. The same erroneous tendency to treat the lower as self-sufficient crops up in liberalism. Liberals want to limit the concerns of the state to a few secular topics like freedom and equality and say they can do so without putting other concerns like religion in question. To the contrary, however, the state has the rightful power of life and death, so it’s extremely authoritative, and its actions have pervasive effects in all social relations. If that’s so then it’s impossible to limit the concerns of the state to one narrow set of topics without causing it to act blindly and therefore destructively.And, to be clear, national identities and constitutions are transcendent concerns that, if they are to hold people together, must be open to free and rational, democratic and transparent, exchange. To my European readers I say: organize yourselves now against the current crop of European anti-national elites. The sooner you do it the more likely you can get the Blairs and Barosos running to the beaches of Bermuda for a quick retirement, without much bloodshed. But the more entrenched the new technocracy gets, the more that will have to be destroyed to bring your political culture back in touch with a human reality that is ultimately organized around truly shared forms of linguistic, religious, and political constitutional transcendence, not around thick books of regulations, Orwellian legal rulings in the name of "human rights", and other sundry techniques of dimwitted experts who want to rule you because everyone who counts knows you're just a bunch of historically dirtied white Islamophobic racists who care more about partying, holidays, and the Welfare State than anything more high minded.
The principles on which the state is founded matter a great deal. The state’s concern is the public good, and man’s public good can’t be understood without reference to the nature of man and his good in general, because the higher permeates the lower. Reason is public by nature, for example, so in the long run we will not be able to appeal rationally even in private life to principles that in principle have no right to public authority. If a principle is just my say-so, why should family and friends pay attention to it?
So it seems to me that the political order always reflects some general understanding of the good and therefore some particular answer to religious questions. That doesn’t mean that the state is necessarily large and active, or that utopian theocracy is a sensible goal. Politics is necessarily imperfect and you can’t demand too much of it. It does mean though that you can’t in principle exclude transcendent concerns from politics, as is now demanded throughout the West. To do so is a recipe for tyranny, since the effect is to turn abstractions like freedom, equality and secularism into absolutes.