22 November 2011
Over the past several generations, the United States has undoubtedly been the leader in exporting cultural degradation to the rest of the world. Still, when it comes to misrule by unelected elites under the banner of “science,” Europe has been out in front of us for a while now.
Of course, it hardly matters where dehumanizing trends originate these days. Globalization guarantees that wherever it starts, each new attack on freedom, morality, taste, or common sense will rapidly spread in a worldwide race to find a new lowest common denominator for humanity.
That is why Americans who fear the encroachment of technocracy on their lives are used to looking toward the EU countries to get a glimpse of the still greater horrors that lie in store for us soon on this side of the Atlantic.
However, this week there was welcome evidence of a growing backlash against government by technocrats in Europe, on both the political and regulatory fronts.
The latest ridiculous regulation to be handed down by an EU commission of 21 scientists—after a three-year investigation costing who know how many millions of euros—has been met with such jeering and mockery from all quarters that we are perhaps justified in hoping that it will prove to be the last straw.
The new regulation forbids—on pain of two years’ imprisonment—bottled water manufacturers from claiming in advertisements that water prevents dehydration.
I hesitated to report on this nugget at first. The story had a distinct whiff of The Onion about it. But apparently the absurdity is entirely genuine. It is now being derided everywhere from London’s Daily Telegraph to Fox News.
Even more invigorating was a YouTube video that went viral this week. The video shows Nigel Farage, co-founder and present leader of the UK Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament for South East England, delivering a blistering attack on the European Council bureaucracy—unelected technocrats all—who have engineered coups d’état in Greece and Italy in recent days.
I confess to having been initially gratified by the downfall of Andreas Papandreou in Greece and especially the egregious Silvio (“Bunga Bunga”) Berlusconi in Italy. However, after mature examination (in the estimable French phrase), I see I was too hasty.
Venality, venery, and vulgarity are not sufficient reasons for suspending democracy. If they were, there would be no democratic governments left in office anywhere, including right here in the United States.
So, I am now rather of Nigel Farage’s opinion. And whatever one’s feelings about Berlusconi, it does one’s heart good to hear a politician pose the technocrats the question of questions, in no uncertain terms, with none of the usual wooden language worthy of Dickens’s Circumlocution Office (Little Dorrit).
Speaking directly to European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, Mr. Farage said the following:
You, an unelected man, went to Italy and said: “This is not the time for elections, but the time for actions.”
What in God’s name gives you the right to say that to the Italian people?
For further analysis of these developments, see “Conspiracies, Coups and Currencies,“ an op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times by columnist Russ Douthat.
Here is a video clip from Nigel Farage’s electrifying speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg three days ago: