Jack Wharton delves into the non-economic argument as to why EU membership threatens liberty under the nation-state
The European Union is the biggest impediment to true liberty in the United Kingdom. Within, it enshrines the worst features of socialist logic, and its influence is growing. Its aim, to use the EU’s own Orwellian language, is to ‘harmonize’ member states. To remove any shred of individuality, innovation or competition; in other words, the things that, historically, made the European continent so successful.
Such a gargantuan task, the likes of which even the Soviet Union never truly managed, requires a vast, monolithic, monopolistic bureaucracy, which MUST ultimately suck power from the periphery towards the centre. As we know, a bureaucracy of this size simply cannot comprehend the discordant nature of personal liberty and individuality. Freedom must be sacrificed.
But are there any redeeming features? Well, not a day goes by without someone making the thoroughly illiberal claim that the European Union protects the ‘human rights’ of its citizens. That must be a good thing? Not likely. If like me, you subscribe to the notion of natural rights, then this particular example of Europhile logic should alarm you.
I take the side of John Milton. Rather than enjoying protection from the EU, my rights, existing both prior to, and in spite of, the state, cannot be endowed, but only eroded by such an institution. Perhaps not surprisingly – and slowly, but surely – any organization founded upon the sole aim of centralization will undoubtedly pass power from the individual to the bureaucrat. The EU sees the state not as a means to an end, but as an end within itself.
For example, the way in which British energy policy has been effectively seized by the European bureaucracy should be a national scandal. Having rolled back the frontiers of the state at home, they have, in energy policy at least, been re-imposed at a European level, and then some.
Yes, our dear leaders followed like lambs to the slaughter, enamored by their unshakeable political consensus on the merits of the European project, but the ‘climate change’ and ‘de-carbonisation’ targets which are crippling our manufacturing economy are, in essence and function, European.
British energy production, in a bid to meet these unrealistic goals, has been all but renationalized. Meanwhile, countries like the United States with their vastly cheaper energy, steal a competitive advantage over dear old Blighty. As a result, the remains of our semi-skilled industrial jobs are being exported on a massive scale.
The carbon dioxide is, of course, still emitted somewhere: it’s just not us that benefits anymore. Our semi-skilled jobs are being exported, and, all the while, our unskilled labour is being imported. Thanks to the free movement of people, an entire generation of unskilled young people in the United Kingdom is condemned to descend into an underclass.
Uncontrolled, unskilled mass immigration is a disaster. Yes, our welfare system creates perverse incentives and our education system is not fit for purpose, but driving down the living standards and hopes of our young working class is not the answer – particularly if you purport to be advancing the cause of liberty.
Who will the unemployed, disenfranchised and demoralized masses turn to? Throughout the course of history, in these cases, where the masses have been so economically disenfranchised on such a large scale, liberalism has been nowhere to be seen. As we see today, across the peripheral countries of the Eurozone, protectionism and violence reign supreme.
But more compelling than that, by importing colossal amounts of cheap, foreign labour, our politicians are able to sustain the swollen state that afflicts contemporary Britain. Without the net positive tax contribution of mainly Eastern European labour, the future spending capacity of our beloved state would appear even more precarious.
But it’s about even more than this. It’s about identity. A nation is more than a name on a map. Whilst the United Kingdom is a ‘member state’ of the European Union it cannot be a functioning nation-state. This is of vital importance because the nation-state is at the centre of our political and social life and identity.
An allegiance to a nation is at the basis of what we know as citizens. It binds us as a collective, providing us with a commonality around which we can gather. The very aim of the EU is to rip us from this collective identity, which is the foundation of our democracy.
Consequently, the democratic deficit of the European Union is not something that can be solved by a few more elections with minuscule turnouts.
It is an inherent feature of it, and one that should worry us. If you remove the people you are left only with power; exercised at a level above the people, and to which they have no influence or access. As a result, political apathy will reign supreme and our political discourse will become even more distorted. Liberty will undoubtedly be the loser.