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European Disunion
Juncker: EU Can’t Extort (or Enforce) Democracy
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  • Observe&Report

    Juncker hinself holds an unelected office, so at least he’s being consistent.

    As for German taxpayers being asked to “up their financial contributions to foreign governments that spit on their basic commitments”, the nature of the eurozone is such that it’s rigged to favour Germany with an ever-growing trade surplus at the expense of smaller eurozone economies. So those German taxpayers are already getting plenty back in return.

    • Eurydice

      Yes, and Germany has commitments, too – even if one of those commitments seems that it should pour money down a rat hole.

      • Observe&Report

        If the Germans don’t want to pour money down the “rat hole” anymore, they could always support debt forgiveness (there is no way the bailout money will be repaid in full any time soon), and allow the economies of Southern Europe to ditch the euro and return to their own currencies, thereby giving them a fighting chance through competitive devaluation and the newly reacquired ability to control their own monetary policies.

        Of course, the Germans won’t do that of their own accord, because that would involve cutting loose weaker economies whose membership in the eurozone drags down the value of the euro (to German’s undeserved advantage).

  • Stephen

    Why shouldn’t Brussels expect German taxpayers to up contributions to others that spit on their commitments when German politicians and taxpayers spit on their commitments while expecting commitment from others? Ah…right. Brussels assumes that Germans are not hypocrites. A category error to be sure.

  • FriendlyGoat

    You can’t legislate love, as they say. You can’t enforce commitment to “goodness”, to “honorable sharing”, to “ideals”, to “responsibility”, to “pursuit of truth”, to “altruism”, to “vision”, to “kindness”, to “hopefulness”, to “brotherliness”, or to anything else of a high aspiration. You can keep trying to make sufficient numbers of people WANT to participate in those kinds of things. That’s about it. History is completely full of examples of other outcomes—–generally “he with the biggest megaphone and the biggest weapons gets to call the shots here or there for a while until somebody else pushes him off “King of the Hill”.

    • Beauceron

      No, but you can enact legislation to force your opposition to do what you want and insist you’re doing it because of your deeply rooted commitment to “love”, “goodness”, to “honorable sharing”, to “ideals”, to “responsibility”, to “pursuit of truth”, to “altruism”, to “vision”, to “kindness”, to “hopefulness”, to “brotherliness.”

      And because your opposition is based only on hate, racism, bigotry, oppression, selfishness, corporatism, and divisiveness.

      Sounds familiar, no?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Not familiar enough. If it was familiar enough, the “hate, racism, bigotry, oppression, selfishness, corporatism, and divisiveness” would not be in control of American government—–as it presently is.

        • Beauceron

          Thanks for proving my point.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re welcome. It does not and would not matter what I say to prove your point. Your point is always pre-proven to yourself before we start. We can’t inhabit these comment sections without noticing this characteristic of being here.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The most amusing part of the whole thing is that he really doesn’t get it, and just keeps digging the hole deeper for himself…

        • Boritz

          The people in control of the government are the ones who passed Obamacare, defended it twice successfully in the Supreme Court both times with the indispensable help of the chief justice who tortured the law to produce the outcomes because he could and who was appointed by the forces of HRBOSCD, the people who block the president from exercising immigration prerogatives expressly granted him by the constitution by using judicial rulings totally at odds with the law just because they can and in banana republic fashion refuse to accept their loss in the election and insist it was stolen from them. The people you don’t like are in nominal control of the White House but not “government”.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Maybe. More often than not, conservatives get on the Supreme Court and conclude over time that their former conservatism was, at least in part, a delusion. It is my private belief that John Roberts was influenced on PPACA by his wife. I hope my confidence in her (which I hold without evidence) is not misplaced.

    • Eurydice

      Progressive thought has deemed societal values to be cultural constructs, which means that there are differing, yet valid, definitions of what is good, honorable, responsible, true. If that is the case, then love can be legislated. People will cooperate together to define their values, set up a system and then enforce it. The problem here is that the EU is an incomplete system which signed on members before completely defining its values.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Your last sentence is particularly cogent, but I suspect you see that as a bug, when it was actually a feature. The ONLY way that the EU could have signed on more members was to avoid defining its values. Would the “Club Med” states have signed on if they understood that the real point of the EU was to enrich Germany at their expense? Would the Eastern European states signed on if they knew that their future would be tutelage from ‘their betters’ in the west? Would any of these states (other than perhaps France, of which the less said the better) have signed on if they understood that the future that was intended for them was subordination to an unelected bureaucratic superstate?

        Nope, this was simply a promise of peace, prosperity, and LOTS of free ice cream for everyone….

        • Eurydice

          It’s actually a feature AND a bug (it’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!). As you say, the framers knew that the Euro would be unworkable eventually, and they knew that they couldn’t sell a political union, but they hoped the inevitable crisis would be far enough down the road that the member states would have no choice but to agree to political union. (I remember attending meetings in which various EU officials actually said this as a selling point to American investors.) Of course, time marches on and you can’t always count on a crisis erupting exactly how and when you need it, or that you’ll even know what to do about it when it comes. Who is it that said “Begin as you mean to go on.”?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Is there anything that Shimmer cannot do? (grin)

      • FriendlyGoat

        So shoot it and start over. Maybe a few more devastating wars and punishing economic catastrophes will focus the minds (again) on which “values” were worth having and which ones were testosterone gone wild.

        • Eurydice

          Lol, perhaps you mean “drain the swamp’? 😉

          • FriendlyGoat

            No, I mean that being dumb is something Europe has done before. I’m not one for making fun of those who would rather see something better than too many nations in too small a space—-especially if they start being led by people given to strutting like roosters.

          • Eurydice

            Well, the last couple of “shoot it and start over” were WWI and WWII – I suppose it depends on who’s doing the shooting and who’s doing the starting over.

  • Anthony

    “…But his position here only highlights the complexity and contradictions of the European project. In theory, a commitment to democracy and the rule of law is the foundation of the European Union….” (Walter Russell Mead)

    An observation: Humans are not innately good – just as they are not innately evil – but they come equipped with motives that can orient them toward cooperation (one would supposed the same could be said about countries). Juncker and certainly Merkel and others know as much and will align the EU’s interests accordingly.

    “What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe.” (Blaise Pascal)

  • rheddles

    Juncker, being a multiculturalist, should investigate how other societies in the world have dealt with this problem. He might then stumble upon Section 4 of Article IV of the Constitution of the United States of America which states “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence”

    But then they would be reduced to being cowboys.

  • Eurydice

    Oh for heaven’s sake, of course it’s unenforceable – there’s no structure there to enforce and they know it.

  • Angel Martin

    Since when did the EU worry about democracy ?

    There have been multiple referendums against the EU, which have all been ignored.

    The attempt to ignore the Brexit vote is the latest in a long tradition.

  • Proud Skeptic

    “adherence to democratic principles and human rights”
    OK on the first. The second has a recent history of being hysterical lunatic hyperbole.

  • Fat_Man

    “In theory, a commitment to democracy and the rule of law is the foundation of the European Union.”

    In theory, theory and fact are the same, in fact they seldom are. The EU is is a case in point.

  • “how does Brussels expect German taxpayers to up their financial contributions to foreign governments that spit on their basic commitments?”

    That’s just the problem.: “their commitments”

  • Kevin

    Funding is a lesser issue. Democracies subsidize various authoritarian regimes all the time.

    The much more fundamental issue for a democratic state is allowing autocracies a say in the writing of laws that apply to the democracy.

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