Excerpted from Daniel Hannan's "Democracy could have saved Europe from the single currency" Op-Ed at CapX.com,
“Elections change nothing,” said Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s tough-minded finance minister. He was talking about Greece, but he could have been talking about the entire EU racket. The Europhile elites have a guarded and contingent attitude towards democracy. It has its place, to be sure, but it must never be allowed to slow the process of political integration. As the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, put it in response to Syriza’s election victory, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties”.
He means it.
Distrust of the masses is in the EU’s genome. Its founders had lived through the horrors of the Second World War, and associated democracy – especially in its plebiscitary form – with the demagoguery and fascism of the 1930s. They made no bones about vesting supreme power with a group of Commissioners who were immune to public opinion. Sure enough, those Commissioners and their successors saw it as their role to step in when the voters got it wrong – as when, for example, they voted against closer integration in referendums.
What else do the people absurdly known as “experts” have to do to convince us that they don’t have all the answers? The euro was their great endeavour, for Heaven’s sake. Yet, even now, they won’t admit that it was a mistake.
Voters won’t always get things right: the world is imperfect, gross, sublunary. But, as a general rule, the more responsibility you give them, the more responsibly they behave. As the Nobel-prize-winning economist Amartya Sen puts it, “Don’t ask whether a nation is fit for democracy. It becomes fit through democracy”.
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