Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Freedom? Why Europe Can't Be Bothered

Europe has pretty much given up on the whole undertaking [the idea of freedom and democracy] now: we tried it and it ended in the Terror. We went through our phase of proselytising democratic revolution with Bonaparte and look where that ended. Spreading freedom? All that amounts to is killing off one generation of autocrats and replacing them with another. Trust the people? They are just as likely to follow a fascist demagogue as to perpetuate the sacred principle of justice.

Better to make your cynical peace with the worst aspects of human nature than to pretend that free men will always choose good over evil. Much better to make a mutually profitable trade-off behind the scenes than to expose political decisions to the popular will. What evidence is there that the people actually know what is best for them? Most charitably, the European philosophy of government - shortly to be permanently installed under the EU constitution - is paternalistic. At worst, it is arrogant and authoritarian.

But whatever it is, it no longer has a belief in real democracy of the kind that Americans recognise - government of the people, by the people and for the people - at its heart.

Europe has traded liberty for security, democracy for reasurring bureaucratic control and over-regulation. European hatred of the US stems in good part from jealousy of American self-belief and from European shame over their lost ideals. To them, American talk about spreading freedom is a reproach.

Anyway, europeans have found something better than personal freedom. They have found the wealth one gets from spending nothing on national defense. So now they are not even fit to defend themselves or sort out problems in the own back yard like the Balkans. They have neither the will nor the military resources to help America spread freedom to anyone.