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Is Democracy in Europe now a genuinely dangerous idea?

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Suppose some crazy terroist group had come up with a plan to destablise the Euro and thus plunge Europe's-and by extension the world's- economy into chaos?

One can imagine the measures that would be taken by the authorities to prevent this from happening.

But now suppose that the strategy being employed by this terrorist group was to win power through a democratic election and-if elected- to use the legitmate levers of the state to carry out their plan by holding a referendum on wether to leave the Eurozone? Thus creating the risk of a meltdown of the Euro with all this implies for the stability of global economic order.

Are these people  still terrorists or are they now democrats?

We seem to have reached a point in Europe where democracy itself is the existential threat against which the EU Governing elites must mobilize- the forces of democracy must be defeated if  the European project is to survive.

Hence we have the president of the EU commission calling on EU governments not to hold referendums on memebership because he fears those referendums will be lost. And we see President Hollande arguing that 'there must be threat' in the brexit negotiations in order to deter more defections of EU countries- and we see a vote in the EU parliament to censor those internet sites that express views of which they disapprove. And we saw-in the case of TTIP- trade negotiations so secret that even MEP's were barely allowed access to the details.

I was once an enthusiastic supporter of the EU ideal of a democratic Europe- I have not changed my view- but that Europe no longer seems to exist- in it's place is an increasingly authoritarian structure that now seems to view democracy as a dangerous contagion that must be suppressed lest it bring down disaster on us all.

Are they right? Is democracy in Europe now a genuinely dangerous idea?

 

 

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I voted out of the EU, but I've always liked the idea of people coming together.  However the EU project has been rushed and people forced, if people wish to unite it has to be democrat with people agreeing to it.  The problem is what one generation agrees on future generations may disagree and want their national freedom back.

Democracy can give you results which defies liberal democratic ideals, probably the most profound in modern history was Hitler, prior to WWII if he had held another election it seems unlikely he would have been defeated.  It certainly seems that people have got fed up with being ignored and treated like idiots, fertile ground for those bringing law and order whether on the extreme left or right.

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from the view of the elite democracy is a dangerous idea when the masses tend to make the 'wrong' decision. Not Europe but an interesting case is Thailand, the masses routinely vote for a party the elite disapprove of and so they step in and 'correct' the situation. Democracy is on the back foot, perhaps waning american power and increasing Chinese influence is to blame in se Asian, they dont have democracy, why should we the Thai elites ask.

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An interesting post from the OP.

My hunch is that we have reached a tipping point where the majority of Europe's citizens?...consumers? are not happy with things like their life chances/how things are being run/their communities and many other reasons.

The only option many can see is to vote for something different what ever that might be. I think many are revolting against more of the same.

IMO next year there will be more "shock" results throughout Europe. The vote in Italy today might fire the flame, if not one of the next ones will.

Surely the EU putting the idea out there that countries should not hold referendums can only fan the flames!

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The pardox in the EU is that a regime that draws it's legitimacy from the  ideal of popular consent now lives in fear of 'populists' who might gain enough support to bring about it's dissolution.

But what if the populists are correct in their diagnosis that the Euro is indeed inimical to the interests of many Eurozone nations? At what point does the preservation of the EU in itself become a form of economic and political repression?

 

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A democratic entity wouldn't be worried about democracy would it? The EU isn't democratic so it is worried, but not about your plain old democracy oh no, they have removed themselves from such inconveniences. So the only way to protest the EU is to hold a referendum and tell them to do one.

What is it that the people of Europe are hoping the the EU is going to turn into? 

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35 minutes ago, wonderpup said:

The pardox in the EU is that a regime that draws it's legitimacy from the  ideal of popular consent now lives in fear of 'populists' who might gain enough support to bring about it's dissolution.

But what if the populists are correct in their diagnosis that the Euro is indeed inimical to the interests of many Eurozone nations? At what point does the preservation of the EU in itself become a form of economic and political repression?

 

Already happened when they crapped on Greece, and are keeping their boot in.

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8 hours ago, wonderpup said:

Suppose some crazy terroist group had come up with a plan to destablise the Euro and thus plunge Europe's-and by extension the world's- economy into chaos?

One can imagine the measures that would be taken by the authorities to prevent this from happening.

But now suppose that the strategy being employed by this terrorist group was to win power through a democratic election and-if elected- to use the legitmate levers of the state to carry out their plan by holding a referendum on wether to leave the Eurozone? Thus creating the risk of a meltdown of the Euro with all this implies for the stability of global economic order.

Are these people  still terrorists or are they now democrats?

We seem to have reached a point in Europe where democracy itself is the existential threat against which the EU Governing elites must mobilize- the forces of democracy must be defeated if  the European project is to survive.

Hence we have the president of the EU commission calling on EU governments not to hold referendums on memebership because he fears those referendums will be lost. And we see President Hollande arguing that 'there must be threat' in the brexit negotiations in order to deter more defections of EU countries- and we see a vote in the EU parliament to censor those internet sites that express views of which they disapprove. And we saw-in the case of TTIP- trade negotiations so secret that even MEP's were barely allowed access to the details.

I was once an enthusiastic supporter of the EU ideal of a democratic Europe- I have not changed my view- but that Europe no longer seems to exist- in it's place is an increasingly authoritarian structure that now seems to view democracy as a dangerous contagion that must be suppressed lest it bring down disaster on us all.

Are they right? Is democracy in Europe now a genuinely dangerous idea?

 

 

...my father did not fight in WW11 for me to listen to such rubbish...democracy will win over all....the people denying democracy will fail and will continue to fail...how can they EU have an 'ideal of a democratic Europe' when it is controlled by the unelected.....?.....rubbish , rubbish , rubbish...only the start ...the people of the UK have spoken and this morning we have seen the people of Italy step up to the mark to rescue us from the 'elites' who have their snouts in the Euro trough and have lost all reasoning apart from personal greed.....:rolleyes:

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On 04/12/2016 at 4:25 PM, wonderpup said:

Suppose some crazy terroist group had come up with a plan to destablise the Euro and thus plunge Europe's-and by extension the world's- economy into chaos?

One can imagine the measures that would be taken by the authorities to prevent this from happening.

But now suppose that the strategy being employed by this terrorist group was to win power through a democratic election and-if elected- to use the legitmate levers of the state to carry out their plan by holding a referendum on wether to leave the Eurozone? Thus creating the risk of a meltdown of the Euro with all this implies for the stability of global economic order.

Are these people  still terrorists or are they now democrats?

We seem to have reached a point in Europe where democracy itself is the existential threat against which the EU Governing elites must mobilize- the forces of democracy must be defeated if  the European project is to survive.

Hence we have the president of the EU commission calling on EU governments not to hold referendums on memebership because he fears those referendums will be lost. And we see President Hollande arguing that 'there must be threat' in the brexit negotiations in order to deter more defections of EU countries- and we see a vote in the EU parliament to censor those internet sites that express views of which they disapprove. And we saw-in the case of TTIP- trade negotiations so secret that even MEP's were barely allowed access to the details.

I was once an enthusiastic supporter of the EU ideal of a democratic Europe- I have not changed my view- but that Europe no longer seems to exist- in it's place is an increasingly authoritarian structure that now seems to view democracy as a dangerous contagion that must be suppressed lest it bring down disaster on us all.

Are they right? Is democracy in Europe now a genuinely dangerous idea?

 

 

Interesting o/p which echos some of my recent thoughts

I am currently coming round to the view that the possibility of the UK leaving the EU in the wake of the last summers referendum is not the issue which has really rattled many in the political classes, senior civil service and the media . Instead,  what riles them is the  temerity of the masses in actually voting against the wishes of a group in society who consider themselves the final arbiters of all that should thought and done in Britain. In particular, it is the suggestion that there may be an alternative to the vanguardist, top down, centralised model of political governance which they find most threatening, especially as it could have a major impact financially and in career terms on some of those in of authority. It is for the same reason I think that the Italian vote to reject a more centralised consitution for that nation will be deemed to be  'unacceptable'. In fact, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the issue across Europe is not purely about  left wing internationalists or centralists against right wing nationalists (always a tenuous argument considering that some of the first proponents of a political union in Europe were fascists) but rather the conflict between mainly democratic particularists and increasingly non democratic centralists. In those terms the Brexit vote is as much non metropolitan Britain thumbing its noses at London as it was at Brussels. Faced with the consequences of this process the reaction of those in established positions of power across Europe seem to echo the responses of tottering despots and authoritarian regimes down the ages which is to shoot the messenger and to attempt to close down the routes through which dissent can be expressed. Clearly they regard this as preferrable than than addressing some of the fundamental flaws in the European project such as its dysfunctional constitution, a lack of true democratic accountability and the stifling economic impact of the German dominated Euro in the rest of the continent

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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Interesting o/p which echos some of my recent thoughts

I am currently coming round to the view that the possibility of the UK leaving the EU in the wake of the last summers referendum is not the issue which has really rattled many in the political classes, senior civil service and the media . Instead,  what riles them is the  temerity of the masses in actually voting against the wishes of a group in society who consider themselves the final arbiters of all that should thought and done in Britain. In particular, it is the suggestion that there may be an alternative to the vanguardist, top down, centralised model of political governance which they find most threatening, especially as it could have a major impact financially and in career terms on some of those in of authority. It is for the same reason I think that the Italian vote to reject a more centralised consitution for that nation will be deemed to be  'unacceptable'. In fact, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the issue across Europe is not purely about  left wing internationalists or centralists against right wing nationalists (always a tenuous argument considering that some of the first proponents of a political union in Europe were fascists) but rather the conflict between mainly democratic particularists and increasingly non democratic centralists. In those terms the Brexit vote is as much non metropolitan Britain thumbing its noses at London as it was at Brussels. Faced with the consequences of this process the reaction of those in established positions of power across Europe seem to echo the responses of tottering despots and authoritarian regimes down the ages which is to shoot the messenger and to attempt to close down the routes through which dissent can be expressed. Clearly they regard this as preferrable than than addressing some of the fundamental flaws in the European project such as its dysfunctional constitution, a lack of true democratic accountability and the stifling economic impact of the German dominated Euro in the rest of the continent

+1- and a big clue that your analysis is right is to look at the language being used by the elites to describe this siutation- there is talk of 'contagion' and the need to prevent other EU 'defections' by deploying the tactics of 'threat' ect.

This terminology reads like the kinds of things the Politburo was putting out circa 1955 in the USSR- it's the lexicon of a regime that views itself as being under siege. The problem is that the 'contagion' they reference here is not some malign virus but democracy itself.

But if the EU feels the need to defend itself from democracy then clearly something has gone horribly wrong here- this is not how it was meant to be.

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