Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Irish Say NO!

Theodore Dalrymple is one of my favorite writers, and is a contributor to City Journal, a publication from the Manhattan Institute, where Dalrymple is also a fellow. In this article, Dalrymple talks about Europe’s political elites repeated – and rather forceful – attempts to create a new European super state, often over the wishes of its constituents. Recently, the Irish had rejected a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, which were inimical to Irish interests. Why? Dalrymple writes

Another explanation for the Irish “no” vote was that Irish citizens had been frightened by the proposal of the French finance minister to equalize tax rates throughout Europe, thus destroying unfair competition (all competition is unfair, unless the French win). No prizes for guessing whether the high tax rates of France or the low rates of Ireland would become the new standard. Ireland’s golden goose would find itself well and truly slaughtered in the process.
The Irish know that both France and Germany, by the virtue of their size, would dominate the European Union both economically and politically; and smaller (and richer) states like Ireland would be at their mercy. To make it more equitable, in my view, the European Union, instead of having a unitary system like a single parliament, should adopt a system used by the United States to check the power of its most populous states – bicameralism.

But such a balanced approach is an anathema to Europe’s political elite, who don’t take criticism too well. Bred to rule, they think they are doing God’s work - secularly speaking, of course. Much of the European media parrot what their political leaders say, rarely questioning the wisdom of their decisions or, for that matter, what the common people think.