Just as Stalingrad was the beginning of the beginning of the end of the Third Reich, is Brexit the beginning of the beginning of the end for the European Union?
The Third Reich began with Hitler’s election (leading the National Socialist Party to victory) in 1933. A mere decade passed before the brutal, grinding death dance that we call the Siege of Stalingrad. Until then, the Wehrmacht had pretty much expanded control of Berlin constantly. With the surrender of Von Paulus and his Sixth Army, the contraction began. It would take a mere two years before the Gotterdamerung of Berlin brought the regime to an end.
Consider the similarity to the EU.
The EU started with the Common Market, in 1952: six nations working together on trade and cooperation headquartered in Brussels. It grew: the UK foolishly entered in 1973, one of the many steps in abandoning its independence, its empire, and its legacy. It has continued to grow since, the last addition being Croatia in 2013. (This does not count all the business about overseas territories and crown colonies and the like.)
Now, the Union is broken. And, at least for the time being, peacefully. Whether that will hold is to be seen. As is the potential for the EU to further fragment.
Spectator.org has recently published an article which contains a lot of good points. Britexers, as the article points out, don’t want democracy. They want liberty. They want freedom. Like their American cousins, and like the masses of Europe, they’ve confused things for years. The European Union is founded (officially, at least) on the principle of democracy.
They equate democracy WITH liberty and freedom. History shows that democracy can be the enemy of liberty. That freedom is usually (if not always) harmed by democracy. (A republic CAN have elements of democratic processes, but even then, history shows that the republic deteriorates with time, into a democracy.)
Why is this? Because in democracy, the majority rules. And government has no limits: it can legally do anything that the majority agrees that it can do. The People replace the king – as an absolute ruler. Even if the constitution of a democracy establishes limits on the powers of the government, those limits can be overturned, legally or not, easily or not, by majority rule. The government – and theoretically that majority of the People – recognize no higher authority.
But because the People – at least the majority of the People – and their elected representatives can be stampeded into voting for (or against) almost anything, democracy is nothing more than a form of mob rule. The People can be pushed into voting (and not voting) by any number of things: demagogues with their emotional and manipulative words and deeds, fads, superstition, bias (racism included), and more. And as Stalin pointed out, the people in control are not the ones who cast the ballots, but rather, the ones who COUNT the ballots. Democracies are virtually NEVER truly government by even a true majority of the people: instead, a cabal manipulates the crowd, the mob, the majority made up of various groups.
Because there are no limits on democracy and democratic government, that translates into Mao’s dictum: Political power comes from the end of a gun. Democracy is no less a user of the tools of power than a dictatorship. (And it is often democracy that paves the way for, precedes, and establishes dictatorship.) The raw power may be hidden from casual view, but it is still there: the iron fist no matter how padded.
The EU (or for that matter, the modern United Kingdom government) is hardly the first time the evils of democracy have been revealed. We have seen it in Germany (including the Third Reich); we have seen it in Italy (rise of Fascism). We have seen it in France, multiple times over the past 250 years. We’ve seen it right here in the Fifty States.
But we never seem to learn – at least not learn and remember for very long.
I’d like to think that the Brits have learned, at least for now, that democracy is bad. That it is EU democracy that wrecked their nation: their political system and their economy and their society. But I fear that is not the case.
It is the same in most of the nations of the world today. Including every one of the Fifty States: the Federal Republic died more than a century ago, after being fatally wounded by Lincoln and the Radical Republicans (enabled, I point out, by the Democrats). It took longer for the individual state republics to die, and for the local republics of counties and cities and towns and townships. But they have. And Americans are left with a bunch of democracies.
Just as those still in the European Union are left with democracies.
And so the life of the EU is limited. Just as the life of the present FedGov is, and the life of every one of the Fifty States’ governments. (And the UK.) Whether it fragments more or collapses as a whole, whether it is still officially “democratic” or overtly becomes a tyranny of some sort. Whether it remains mostly socialist or becomes “capitalistic.” Or (and here I am being too optimistic) whether its people rebel and replace it with some system of government that is more free. That does not fight against liberty.
It is just a matter of time. Governments are parasites – and ultimately, they kill the organism (the society) on which they prey. Unless that society wakes up and rejects – ejects and kills – that government.