Is Europe losing faith in the EU? Happy Europe Day! … If you don't know May 9 is Europe Day, then you find yourself in good company with a majority of Europeans. Even in the most buoyant time, this holiday – marking the Schumann Declaration, presented by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in 1950, that launched the European Coal and Steel Community – doesn't come with the transcontinental fireworks of America's July 4. It does, however, provide occasion to reflect on the growing perils to Europe, and the enormous risks they pose to both the United States and the global future. For all the talk of Europe's fiscal deficits, or the "democracy deficit" that leaves European Union institutions lacking accountability and legitimacy, the most dangerous deficit is one of Europeans. – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: We need Europe as much as Europe needs us. And real leaders even more.
Free-Market Analysis: This article is written by Wall Street Journal veteran Frederick Kempe and in it he seems to be sounding a slightly new subdominant social theme … that Europe has failed because its leadership is failing.
There are two main paradigms at work here. One is free-market oriented and holds that people exercise human action and can take care of themselves if only they have the opportunity. The other is a more globalist paradigm that sees people being led by their superiors through force of government.
Mr. Kempe is very obviously enunciating the second point of view, and no doubt considers himself a realist for doing so. But is it realistic to think that top Eurocrats in Brussels are men of vision attracted to public service as a matter of principal?
We don't think so. We would tend to believe that human beings act out of self-interest, enlightened or not. Start with this and you will build a more logical paradigm of human relations.
Kempe will have none of it, though. Here's more …
Europe needs leaders who can personalize and dramatize the historic mission of a more united Europe in closer intimacy with America. In Western Europe today there is a dearth of historical imagination and of global ambition.
There is no Churchill, nor De Gaulle, nor Adenauer. Current political discourse is dominated by narrower perspectives and by the more immediate preoccupations of their constituents. But in the process the inspirational vision that is expected of democratic leaders is absent.
European leaders are aware enough of their problem that they dubbed 2013 as "The European Year of Citizens." For its part, the European Commission has released this Europe Day video. But PR won't solve the problem, any more than a banking union could.
Without a rediscovery of moral, historical and global purpose, the deficit of Europeans will grow. We will all suffer the consequences.
Kempe obviously believes that strong leaders can rally Europe round the vision of a United Europe. But interestingly, many of the figures he mentions above are badly flawed.
For instance …
There are plenty of people these days that see Churchill for what he actually was, a man of courage and action with a sociopathic streak. He was, he admitted, attracted to war and chaos because it alleviated his own almost unbearable internal misery.
We know more about Churchill's real personality thanks to the Internet and the information it allows us to compare and contrast. We can surely say that if Europe were to throw up a Churchill-like leader, it would not be long before people understood his flaws as well as his apparent greatness.
What is also true is that Churchill manipulated war rhetorically, casting it as a noble and even moral cause. It is hard to justify a greater Europe on moral grounds, though those who support it try to do so.
But really, the EU is not moral. In fact, it has operated in a profoundly immoral way, ruining cultures and casting tens of millions into poverty. The vast, intrusive regulatory state that the Eurocrats are trying to create is not in the least moral.
It is difficult to see how better leaders would help salvage the EU, which was never a moral proposition to begin with. It was created as a globalist apparatus and those behind it have shown full well that they are willing to increase human misery to achieve their goals.
There is nothing especially admirable about the EU, no matter who leads it.