Lest we forget: The neglected roots of Europe’s slide to authoritarianism

Europe is being torn apart by a titanic clash between (a) the unstoppable popular rage against misanthropic austerity policies and (b) our elites’ immovable commitment to more austerity. Precisely how this clash will play out no one knows, except of course that the odds do not seem to be on the side of the good. While at the mercies of this crushing uncertainty, it is perhaps useful to take a… short quiz. So, dear reader, will you please read the following ten quotations and, while so doing, try to imagine who uttered or wrote these words?

[1] “Above and beyond the concept of the nation-state, the idea of a new community will transform the living space given us all by history into a new spiritual realm… The new Europe of solidarity and cooperation among all its peoples, a Europe without unemployment, without monetary crises, … will find an assured foundation and rapidly increasing prosperity once national economic barriers are removed.”

[2] “There must be a readiness to subordinate one’s own interests in certain cases to that of the European Community.”

[3] “The solution to economic problems… with the eventual object of a European customs union and a free European market, a European clearing system and stable exchange rates in Europe, looking towards a European currency union.”

[4] “The results of excessive nationalism and territorial dismemberment are within the experience of all. There is only hope for peace by means of a process which on the one hand respects the inalienable fundamental patrimony of every nation but, on the other, moderates these and subordinates them to a continental policy… A European Union could not be subject to the variations of internal policy that are characteristic of liberal regimes.”

[5] “A new Europe: that is the point, and that is the task before us. It does not mean that Italians and Germans and all other nations of the European family are to change their spots and become unrecognizable to themselves or to one another, from one day or one year to the next. It will be a new Europe because of the new inspiration and determining principle that will spring up among all these peoples.” … “The problem of the hierarchy of states will no longer arise. At least in its usual form, once we have cut off the dragon’s head; that is, the notion of state sovereignty. Moreover, this does not have to be dne outright, but can be achieved indirectly, e.g. by creating interstate European bodies to look after certain common interests (exchange rates, communications, foreign trade etc….)”

[6] [Here I shall quote from a well received, at the time, policy document which recommended the need to] “…put forward a European con-federal solution based on free cooperation among independent nations” [culminating into uniting Europe] “on a federal basis” [and adding that, to see this federation process through], “all that is required of European states is that they be loyal, pro-European members of the community and cooperate willingly in its tasks… The object of European cooperation being to promote peace, security and welfare for all its peoples.”

[7] “We must create a Europe that does not squander its blood and strength on internecine conflict, but forms a compact unity. In this way it will become richer, stronger and more civilized, and will recover its old place in the world.” “National tensions and petty jealousies will lose their meaning in a Europe freely organised on a federal basis. World political development consists inevitably in the formation of larger political and economic spheres.”

[8] “It is not very intelligent to imagine that in such a crowded house like that of Europe, a community of peoples can maintain different legal systems and different concepts of law for long.”

[9] “In my view a nation’s conception of its own freedom must be harmonised with present-day facts and simple questions of efficiency and purpose… Our only requirement of European states is that they be sincere and enthusiastic members of Europe.”

[10] “The people of Europe understand increasingly that the great issues dividing us, when compared with those which will emerge and will be resolved between continents, are nothing but trivial family feuds.” … “In fifty years Europeans will not be thinking in terms of separate countries.

OK, now that you have read the quotations, you may take a look at the list of their authors below.

Lest I be misunderstood, allow me categorically to state what the purpose of listing these quotations is not: It is not to imply that the European Union we have created since WW2 was founded on nazi-fascist principles. And it is not to insinuate that today’s Germany bears similarities with Hitler’s Germany (for why else would I be calling for an hegemonic Germany?).

No, the reason for relating these quotations here is that we Europeans have a moral obligation to dispel the dangerous illusion that the notion of a European Union, within which nationalisms and the nation-state might gradually dissolve, was an enterprise to be understood as the polar opposite of plans drawn up by the autocratic, misanthropic, racist, inhuman war-mongers that rose to prominence as a result of the mid-war European Crisis.

As the quotations above demonstrate (and however insincere their authors might have been), the notion of a European Confederation or even Federation is, in itself, not incompatible with what the Nazis had in mind. The lesson to be drawn from this is not that the European Union is totalitarian by nature but, instead, that it is not incompatible with totalitarianism and, thus, that the current democratic deficit that grows with every twist of the austerity screw bodes ill for Europe’s democrats.

In brief, a multitude of evils can hide behind the ideological veil of top-down European integration, especially when it is accomplished in the midst of (even by means of) a vicious, asymmetrical recession. So, I am writing today’s post as a Europeanist who wants to imagine Europe as our common home but who also fears that Europe is sliding into an unbearable authoritarianism threatening to turn our common home into a shared concentration camp.

—————————————————————

[1] Arthus Seyss-Inquart, Minister of Security and the Interior in the post-Anschluss Nazi government, 1938, and later Prefect of Occuppied Holland – here he is addressing his Dutch subjects

[2] Walther Funk, Finince Minister in Hitler’s government, 1942.

[3] Memorandum of the Reich Chancellery), 9 July 1940, signed by Hermann Göring

[4] Alberto de Stefani, Finance Minister in Mussolini’s government, 1941

[5] Camillo Pellizi, editor of Civilita Fascista, in an article entiled ‘The Idea of Europe’

[6] Cicile von Renthe-Fink, Nazi official holding the diplomatic rank of minister of state, 1943.

[7] Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian Nazi Collaborator, ‘Prime Minister’ of Occupied Norway, 1942

[8] Adolph Hitler, addressing the Reichstag, 1936

[9] Joseph Goebbels, 1940

[10] Joseph Goebbels, 1942

40 thoughts on “Lest we forget: The neglected roots of Europe’s slide to authoritarianism

  1. Each stage of society’s development tends to generate a new form of government that reflects the changes in social relations between the citizens and their government. The emergence and rise of new elites collides against the monopoly and privileges of the old ruling elite. What in crisis times initiates so-called “people’s revolutions” often leads to civil wars. But, because the new ruling elite maintain the paradigm of autocracy under the guise of democracy, such “democratic revolutions” only result in a transference of power from one group of elites to the next, something which is of little benefit to the well-being and development of society. And with each social movement, the process repeats itself again and again. Meanwhile, the real revolution with the potential to change the status-quo in governance starts with new, innovative ideas and a “eureka” moment.

    A new, MULTIPOLAR political system.
    http://www.modelgovernment.org/

    The new democratic governance system can minimize eternal problems of the power such as corruption, infringement of rights and freedom under the imperfect legislation, etc. They are solved by cross check of several competing parties within the multi-polar democratic government: any blunders of the contender raises the rest participants’ chances for survival in the power. Therewith the mutual competition of several competitors is more objective and constantly active motivation for fight against corruption etc. than the whim of any one ‘National Leader’. Thus the health-enhancing competition of political movements can benefit to the whole society.

    This governance revolution do not gives preferences to any of the political ideologies; it is a self-balancing democratic governance system, a step to collective common sense and a new civilization.

  2. Remember the 1980s when really astute observers could see the writing on the wall for the Soviet Union? Those whom we debated could not imagine a future without the Soviet Union, and everything would collapse if the Soviet Union did (aka scaremongering, same as what they do now).

    Surely, Latvia, Armenia, Tadjikistan and Moldova would be better off in a union with Russia and having their laws dictated to them from Moscow, all under the pretense of ‘democracy’ (yes, those that remember will know the Soviets tried to claim that their system -with Duma elections- was democratic). Not too different from Eurocrat arguments today.

    The Soviet Union is a far better thing to compare the EU with. Nazi Germany, as it is, actually stopped Euro politicians from trying earlier than 1957). Same mentality in Brussels as at the time in Moscow: ‘thou shalt not question the existance of the union’.

  3. If only the allies had not imposed such draconian austerity on Germany through the Versailles Treaty maybe things would have worked out okay.

  4. I see your point. However, there were two essential ingredients of the Nazi rise to power that are not present in EU – the freshly demobilized military and the freshly dethroned royalty. The epigones of the Hohenzollern monarchy (the Junkers and the industrial magnates) were the main anti-democratic forces in Weimar Germany, while the freshly demobilized military (freikorps and its spinoffs) provided the organization and the muscle to the fascist movement. And there is a third element, or rather catalyst – the clear and imminent “danger” of a Bolshevist revolution. Nothing of that sort exists in EU. What you see instead is a bunch of technocrats and corporate officers who are committed to democratic governance because they know how to use it to their advantage, and a bunch of angry grunts who have no other place to go but to stay with the current system. There is no Bolshevist alternative promising rosy distant future, and there are no freikorps promising instant power grab now. So I do not see the European history repeating itself, as it were, twice – except perhaps as the farce of football hooligans passing for fascists.

    • “…committed to democratic governance” ? Are you living on another planet? There is no commitment to democracy left in the EU: it is nothing more than a facade, which is itself threatening to collapse. If you have not understood that this whole mess is actually about democracy and not primarily about economics, then you have understood nothing.

    • Actually there was another very important element in the Nazis’ rise to power that no longer exists in any but the most backward European countries today — a dirt-poor rural peasantry desperate for more land in order to gain a tolerable standard of living.

      German statistics from 1933 showed 29% of the workforce as working solely in agriculture — which underestimated the total agricultural workforce due to the fact that most farms were small and relied heavily on unpaid labour from family members, and that there were also many tiny plots worked by part-timers.

      Land hunger was a real issue for German peasants — the arable land area per farmer in 1937 Germany was only 2.1 hectares (compared to 12.8 hectares in the USA, 3.8 hectares in the UK, 3.1 hectares in the USSR or 2.8 hectares in France). The fact that 25% of Germany’s farmland was still owned by just 0.2% of its farmers (the Junkers) made matters worse. Most farms in Germany were financially unviable, only kept afloat by protectionist methods which forced German workers to pay twice as much for food as British workers

      It was a desire to improve the standard of living for these peasants (without forcing them to abandon their rural way of live) that was one of the biggest drivers of the Nazi plan to depopulate Eastern Europe.

    • Most likely a lot of Greeks with bank accounts in Cyprus got a good haircut too :-)

    • No, Dean.

      You are right in this: she and the Euro-elite are killing the golden eggs goose; that is certainly nonsense.

      They don’t do this out of ignorance, however, but out of greed and arrogance.

      She and her clique are not ignorant, they are evil.

    • She’s not ignoramus, she’s protecting the German banksters and the losing bets they made in the casino hedge and swap markets.

  5. Pingback: Lest we forget: The neglected roots of Europe’s slide to authoritarianism | Fifth Estate

  6. ”The unstoppable popular rage against misanthropic austerity policies and (b) our elites’ immovable commitment to more austerity”

    Its a very difficult problem.

    Imagine you or me, with too many personal debts caused by overspending and consumer goods. The creditors will freeze the credit cards, start harassing and force the repayment of the debts and possibly freeze part of the salary.

    Transfer the personal debt problem to a country that over extended its budget and has too much debt for the revenues it has. The creditors will freeze some cash flow and demand austerity measures to cut expenses. This is just like a banker with a company running into trouble.

    Further imagine that this country is part of a group of countries using the same money and credit line, just like a company being part of a group of companies.
    The problems becomes much more complicated because that company is tied to the others and cannot simply default without major unknown complications.

    In the mean time, this country with a serious budget deficit, is imposed cash flow restrictions, that exacerbates the living conditions of the residents/taxpayer, just like a bank would almost paralyze a companies ability to survive in order to repay the bank.

    This austerity program seems to be just like a debtor who wants to contain and manage the personal debts of a person.
    But this person is barely living and may have to declare personal bankruptcy, something the debtor does not want and is in fear paralysis mode…..

  7. I would have never guessed the source of these statements. That was revealing, indeed!

    I would like to add another perspective. Back in 1967, in my senior year in High School, we spent the obligatory ‘get-to-know-your-capital-week’ in Vienna. Part of the program were presentations about what was happening on the road towards a United Europe. The spirits among us were exhilerating. Most of us would have subscribed to such statements, not as predators of fascist developments but because we really felt that way.

    Today, I am frustrated that the light bulbs no longer work the way they used to and I am told that we will soon have to buy new applicances for the bathroom as a result of EU regulations. And, of course, I see the economic disaster over much of Europe.

    The original idea was good. The failure today just proves what happens when self-appointed elites ignore the basic rule that governments are supposed to be ‘elected by the people and for the people’.

    What a missed opportunity!

  8. I do not believe this. This is shocking. Where can I find the original quotes? are they ín one/several of your books?

  9. Other than that the post is great! The question should be asking is why are EU-Nazis better than all kind of other Nazis?

  10. “Europe is being torn apart by a titanic clash between (a) the unstoppable popular rage against misanthropic austerity policies and (b) our elites’ immovable commitment to more austerity.”

    How about (c) an unbearable risk of guarantees (to profligate ClubMed countries) put on the taxpayers the North of the EMU?

  11. Interesting. I did not know these quotations from the Nazi period. What it might suggest, as well as your comment that it demonstrates the compatibility of the European project with Nazi objectives, is something rather structural. Namely, that political leaders of various persuasions saw the economic, political and military advantages of a unified Europe as something very desirable (maybe essential) for long-term prosperity. The actual mechanisms by which this increased co-operation and symbiotic dependence could be facilitated are not specified, if we exclude the rather general idea of economic growth and stability.

    There is some recent political science literature on the EU, comparing it with previous empire building. In particular, it has been explicitly compared with the functioning of the Ottoman Empire. (Unfortunately, I have not kept the references.) There is much to commend this sort of analysis, since many of the very serious structural problems (such as the overlarge and divergent community of the eurozone) are known to have been caused by empire-building mentality. The French are particularly reprehensible in this regard; Germany less so, in my view.

    A related issue is that of Citizenship of the Union and democratic accountability of EU structures (the so-called democratic deficit). What is so strange about the current situation is that the EU in its entire history has never been more accountable than it is now: yet, it is perceived as being perhaps the least accountable. Equally, EU citizens have never had such strong rights within Europe as now, yet this is scarcely realised. Only EU migrants located in other member states are aware of how fragile their position would be, should the EU collapse and leave them at the mercy of national laws. Of course, the explanation for these public perceptions is primarily economic crisis and the abject mismanagement of the banking situation by second-rate European politicians. Whereas economic growth — especially well-distributed — can be a mechanism for institution building, economic collapse is clearly a potential recipe for disintegration of political institutions.

  12. Astonishing to see the righteousness that even the worst of humanity can couch their evil aspirations in.

    Just as in the US – “Change” somehow turned out to mean war and stagnation all the same.

    The world is feeling unremittingly ugly these days, isn’t it…

  13. Very good post, unfortunately Europe is heading in the direction of becoming much less democratic. Grand ideas are not incompatible with terrible outcomes.
    Case in point, the Eurozone in its current state.
    Without democracy and transparency the “grand ideas” become the excuse for continuation of exploitation and abuse.

    George

  14. Personally I think authoritarianism is stamped through the EU like a stick of rock. The problem with the EU is that it is built on sand: it has not been built on the rock of popular public support. The founding fathers of the EU knew that you could never get public support for their Grand Project.

    There is what we call the ‘law of unintended consequences’. Far from creating a Europe of peace and plenty, the EU, and those who drive it, are busy creating exactly the opposite: a Europe of bloody revolution, tyranny and war.

  15. Dear professor Varoufakis,

    I’m a phd student at AUEB and this is the first time I am writting a comment to one of your posts. I generally like your views and mostly the fact that you try to help the situation by saying something when all economists in Greece have lost their voice. Indeed the similarities are scary as mentioned above and indicative of the usual hypocritical and deceitful political speeches. And we should not forget that the time of idealistic ideologies and visions is over. Everything is levelled to economic interest.
    I am definitely not a “europeanist” not because of nationalistic feelings or because I don’t recognise the qualities of the European culture. It is just that I never had the naivety to think that Europe can ever resemble the US (where my mother was born and raised and I know some things about it) which is a completely dissimilar political entity. How can ever this democratic deficit and misanthropic economic policy be remedied when few people get to decide for the lives of 500 (?) million people that speak different languages, have different national hymns, share different religions or cultural backgrounds and have different structures of their economies?
    Has there been an econometric estimation of the cost in human lives, social capital and so many more intended and unintended negative consequences in the society-economy as a result of the austerity measures that seek to make the greek economy “competitive” through “internal devaluation” and “structural adjustments? Terms with such vague meenings that students had never been tought at universities because they were policies implemented to third world or developing countries outside the fake paradise of Europe.
    How much is the cost of Greece’s waiving her nationlal sovereignty including the right to issue money? Economists say cinically that every crisis has victims. How many more victims Greece would have if she issued the new drachma? This question has become such a taboo and the usual europeanist answer has the absolute certainty of the most fanatic and Tomas de Torquemada zealot fortune-teller. European solidarity does not depend on currencies. All I know is that literally a whole generation in Greece is being wasted and economists have nothing to say about it. What is the benefit from the EMU beside “credibility” and controlled inflation? How can an economy work with such a lack of liquidity?!! Who will decide how much money will circulate and how on earth growth can be combined with designed and absolute incentive-distorting “internal devaluation? Has Keynes now taken the place of Marx and being demonised as anticapitalistic? History has shown that during crises countries behave very atomistically with no collective action just as it happened during the 30′s. I still hope though…

    respectfully, Anna

  16. No surprise then that YANIS VAROUFAKIS moves so comfortably and is welcomed so warmly in the three corners of Echelon but has no audience in real Europe and will never be translated into French or German…

  17. Keynes: “the various recipies devised by Dr. Schacht for Germany would have to be applied by Britain…” Harrod, J.M. Keynes, p. 525

  18. The Nazis indeed tried to presen themselves as seeking to win the war so Europe could live “free” (from Jewish-communist danger and financial speculation as they saw it).

    This vision of a United Europe was supposed to give the German occupation some degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens of those occupied countries.

    At the same time, it was meant to give those Germans who were not fully convinced of the Nazi idea of subordinating “inferior” people for the sake of German expansion a more noble cause to fight for and to justify their deeds.

    There was really some degree of similarity between the more idealistic ideas that (if such thing is not a contradiction in terms) some “more reasonable” or “moderate” Nazis had of a United Europe and today’s EU. The Brits say that all the time!

    Be that as it may, I believe that the core of what we can learn from all those – at least to some extent – fairly reasonably sounding statements by the terrible people who made them is:

    The more grandiose a vision expressed by people in power, the more scepticism is appropriate.

    Nazism, communism and others all had some fairly convincing sounding messages that managed to inspire people – and help them commit incredible crimes, because the “noble cause” seemed to justify the measures necessary to bring the paradise-like state about.

    Much better to not be blinded by grandiose visions and instead to focus on simple steps that intend to bring about a win-win situation for the parties involved. So maybe, the British-preferred way of a European Union (more loose) is actually the better way.

    Let’s try to combine power where it’s to all Europeans’ benefit, e.g. in terms of Foreign and trade policy against, say, China. And in terms of a common European army.

    But maybe avoid complex, “grandiose” visions like the Euro: very difficult to implement and with unforseeable side effects.

  19. nice quotes, do you guys know when and who started planing these common european markets and United States of Europe?

    “Limited trade keeps the amount of wealth within the borders relatively constant, but the more trade a country engages in, the wider the market becomes and the more potential there is for additional labor and, in turn, additional wealth.” -Adam Smith

    Too bad its just wealth for a few, not for whole nation…

  20. That’s what I write since years. The Europe of the ‘elites’ is by design and purpose authoritarian and undemocratic. All the efforts to glue together what doesn’t belong together won’t change this. Said efforts are mainly the fatal common currency and the various keep-afloat attempts for zombie banks and failed economy structures in certain countries.

  21. Of course I had no clue who wrote 1 – but found it out using ixquick.com. Now I’ll go on reading – a superb idea, dear Yanis Varoufakis.
    … (after ten minutes^^)…

    (Read the “solutions” now). How horrible, 8-10 are Hitler and Goebbels quotations, the ones that with millions of enthusiastic followers killed and tortured my family at the time.
    Indeed, you are right, and we all had to learn that our somewhat naive hopes about a very social, friendly, open Europe were not the plans the founders had.
    I rarely watch TV these days. But arte had a good film about lobbyists in the EU, and part of the film dealt with the anti-social ideas the founders had, wrapped in a blurb of nice sounding “visions” that were none.

    Blogs like yours are invaluable, dear Yanis, but it takes so long to persuade people.

    In Germany it is still horrible to see poorer folks talk like it was in their own and southern Europe’s interest to support our liberal-middle-mud-parties.
    The elections in Italy opened a few eyes though. The endless repetitions of the austerity-politicians start to sound like lies for more people. Yet….ways to go.

    As a few of my family even died in concentration camps I naturally shy away from those comparisons. But I of course get what you mean.
    In fact there are so many ways to describe all of this.
    Some, not only right-wing parties now, favour a society where social welfare is cut so deeply that we willl (well, let’s look around us in Europe) fall back into ugly times where 2/3 are “for it”. 1/3 poorer folks do not matter…
    This way they think the system will stay for ever. It works like in the USA where all very poor are told it was “their fault”. (And usually many of the poor in this lovely country believe that, too, and Europe is getting nearer to this view).
    Of course you’d find as many quotations coming from those favouring such a anti-social Europe singing the sweetest sounding lullabies to hide these facts as you found from fascists and others…
    Each country has its nice sounding horror-words to hide the facts….in Germany it was the social democrats and the green party who started the neoliberal desaster. It was a rather perverse turn that made things easier for Merkel and our true neoliberals, for example. Not to the best for Europe…

    Another by now well known point I’m interested in and talk ’til I get blue in the face^^ is the role the media play since nearly a decade now. For example many smart postmodernists who mainly turned into “communication-designers” spread fog about the world, since at least 15 years now.
    They present, more and more successful, all things in small “Häppchen” – nice cut bits and pieces to be consumed. It works! To the profit of the media station at hand, in a hysterical manner nearly all follow the new hype for 1-2 weeks. Then it stops and is replaced. Do we hear much about Greece right now? No. Does that mean the horrible problems were solved? Of course not.
    The world goes on in the meantime… and people don’t face real problems.
    Somehow it goes on and on….trend-setters rule. How long did it take until people even realized this?
    And not all of those trend-setters and trend-followers in media waves-style even *know* how horrible they are… They “are just doing the jobs”, they find…
    A postmodernist majority at a lot of universities really helped establishing this system. They harshly criticised, from around 1990 onwards, the leftists. Leftists were successfully called “uncool”. Great – the others had the road for themselves, while our professors talked about anti-essentialism and that “there was no ideology any longer”. All of this are small parts of our problems. But too much went into the wrong direction…

    I have some hope that people will finally wake up. But neglecting all of these and more ways of how our ennemies behave is making things even more difficult. It really is a fight…
    And some don’t even know there are, indeed, ennemies. A democracy that works must be intelligent and deal with them – in a democratic manner. But a lot of us sleep or are followers, mainly.

  22. Very interesting, if somehow provocative (but I suppose that was its purpose) post. I think you could have also included some more quotes like the one bellow:

    “I wished to found a European system, a European Code of Laws, a European judiciary: there would be but one people in Europe,”

    That one is by Napoleon, another historical figure that wanted to unify Europe. His plan bore many similarities with what we now know as the EU. We now know of course that his plan resulted in wars that lasted for over a decade and devastated the continent and finally the result of his efforts was a strengthening of the national ideal all over the Europe. Napoleon’s crushing defeat in Liepzig was after all called the battle of the nations and the Napoleonic wars were instrumental in forging the German national identity.

    The quotes you have presented could have easily been attributed to any member of the European comity or any current Eurogroup head of state. This is deeply troublesome. You state that you do not wish to imply that the EU was founded on fascist principles. You seem to forget though that it took Adolf Hitler more than a decade of efforts to get from a vagabond in Vienna to being chancellor in Berlin and also that he was elected into office supported by the critical institutions of 30s German society: the unions, the military and the industrialists. The basic conclusion from this is that any society can very easily turn into a totalitarian fascist regime willingly and using its own institutions as well as democratic procedures. In fact, we cannot find any example in history of a society that did not willingly institute totalitarian regimes, meaning that these regimes had the support of the majority as well as the support of local institutions. In times of deep crisis it seems that there is something very basic within our psyche that allows this change. A relic perhaps of ancient times were times of crisis were times that life or death was on the line and people needed to unite in order to face an enemy that would otherwise obliterate them. We seem to believe that along with technology and science the human nature has grown and matured as well. This is a mistake.

    What is the conclusion from these quotations? For me the first thing that comes to mind is that the people who uttered them genuinely believed in every word they said. I know it now sounds ludicrous considering what we now know about World War II but I think that that was clearly the case during the thirties, the era that these regimes grew into power in Europe. The conclusion that I get is that it is perfectly possible for societies, regimes, elected officials to believe and pursue seemingly noble and worthwhile endeavors, social experiments like the unification of Europe, devote their energies towards the realization of these goals and produce catastrophic results instead. It all starts with two cardinal sins as old as the human race: Believing that the end justifies the means and believing that the most effective way of change is top to bottom.

    There is no goal that justifies any amount of human suffering and true, enduring, empowering, democratic change and evolution can only come from the people. For these two reasons as far as I am concerned the EU project is doomed to failure.

    • A Europe under a Napoleonic Code would be better than one under the neoliberal code it now operates under, without any doubt.

  23. Great post, Yanis, thank you. Your point that “The lesson to be drawn from this is not that the European Union is totalitarian by nature but, instead, that it is not incompatible with totalitarianism…” is very forceful. It will be very interesting to see what kind of European Parliament elections we have next year, whether the citizens will be bothered to take part…

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