Paul Johnson is one of world’s most important living scholars, and Mitch Berg points out his latest piece on the future of the EU. Johnson makes many good points on why the EU as a political experiment is not a particularly good one – because it is based on a rejection of common sense:
One thing history teaches, over and over again, is that there are no shortcuts. Human societies advance the hard way; there is no alternative. Communism promised Utopia on Earth. After three-quarters of a century of unparalleled sufferings, the Soviet Union collapsed in privation and misery, leaving massive Russia with an economy no bigger than tiny Holland’s. We are now watching the spectacle of another experiment in hedonism, the European Union, as it learns the grim facts of life.
The EU is built on a fantasy–that men and women can do less and less work, have longer and longer holidays and retire at an earlier age, while having their income, in real terms, and their standard of living increase. And this miracle is to be brought about by the enlightened bureaucratic regulation of every aspect of life.
The EU is all about the lie that people work less and the economy will somehow stay afloat. It’s basically about as naive as someone hoping to pay their bills by having a wad of cash fall from the sky. The only way an economy can expand is by increasing productivity, maximizing investment, and ensuring that people are willing to take risks to reap the rewards – in other words, a system of dynamic capitalism.
Instead the EU wants a system in which everyone has everything they could possibly want, without all the bother of having to work for it. They want to take the risks out of capitalism, which is a fool’s quest. You cannot expect to grow your economy while having less people do the things that actually achieve that end – unless you’re willing to degrade a significant part of your labor force to utter slavery in order to carry the burden of the rest.
This is exactly the nightmare scenario envisioned by the Austrian economist F.A. Hayek in his seminal work The Road To Serfdom – a society in which the nomenklatura get their free health care and public education on the labors of an underclass who by necessity must lose their political rights in order to achieve socialist utopia.
It is this reason that the experiment of Communism turned every single nation that tried it into a hell on Earth. The EU may not be going as far as Lenin did in trying to create a worker’s paradise, but the end they will achieve will be all too familiar. One would think that a continent that prides itself on its history would have learned its lessons better.