Alberto Mingardi  

Frank Furedi on euroskepticism

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Sociologist Frank Furedi frequently contributes to Spiked, one of the most interesting on line publications. He is always well worth reading, but I would particularly recommend this article of his on the last European election.

Furedi calls out attention on the widening gaps between the European elites and the several demos of the several European nations. Labeling euro-critics as "populist" is a shortcut for the elites, who plays with the "medicalization" of voters that aren't quite on its same page. Now, Furedi acknowledges that the euro-critic vote wasn't homogenous: European elections are still, by and large, interpreted as national elections. But one thing Europeans have in common, regardless of the government they live under, is the impression their ruling classes aren't adequate and are pretty distant from their needs and their demands.

Furedi considers

"this reaction against an arrogant elite that treats the public as its moral inferiors is on balance a healthy development. Populism serves as a medium for responding to the EU oligarchy's culture war against sections of European society."

I am not completely sure about that. Some of the euro-skeptic groups certainly have no "uncompromising commitment to liberty", as Furedi hopes a new "popular movement" may show. However, the situation is quite ironic. The "arrogant elites" that "medicalize" "morally inferior Eurosceptic citizens" are perhaps the elite most committed to "democracy" ever: however, they entertain the idea that "democracy" will never been fully obtain, until the majority of people think and vote like they do. Their "anti-democratic" opponents ask basically to be able to express their ideas through the ballot box. Some voters choose this latter, but it is arguable that they won't do so, if they perceived that their favorite party could actually reach decisional power: they vote to voice their malaise, not to choose an alternative set of public policy.

So, basically the current ruling class appears inadequate - but so do its competitors. This should bring us to reflect to a point is seldom touched upon: these contradictions would make politics a very amusing game to watch, if only commanded a smaller size of GDP.


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CATEGORIES: Eurozone crisis



COMMENTS (7 to date)
Roger McKinney writes:

Interesting perspective! Thanks!

Europeans don't sound too much different from Americans. Republicans don't want smaller government; they want a large powerful state under their control. They just want to use the large state for different purposes than the left.

Those of us who actually want freedom are so few we could probably all meet for lunch at a restaurant.

Sam Haysom writes:

No Roger Republicans want a state that draws boundaries. It requires no increase in government to insist on the traditional definition of marriage, nor to for instance restrict partial-birth abortions. It takes an infinitely larger government to implement cap and trade, Obamacare, and coal regulations than it would to implement the entire social conservative agenda.

ThomasH writes:

@ Haysom

I'v got to give you credit; I've never heard the social conservative agenda defended because it had low costs of enforcement. And it's not even true. Much of the anti-abortion legislation is in the form of regulation to make operation of abortion clinics more costly.

Sam Haysom writes:

Where did costs come from? I mentioned size that's it. That regulations increase the cost of something says nothing about the size of the government. Even under your imputed standard of cost support for traditional marriage would add no costs so I'll take that as a point conceded even on your terms. Do you know what costs of enforcement means? Because the price of an abortion has nothing to do with the costs of enforcement which in Texas's case have proved negligible. Indeed, unlike left wing regulations that rely on taxation and fee harnessing, like cigarette taxes, social conservative legislation has rhe benefit of not creating a symbiotic relationship between the government and it's putative targets.

And again I didn't say anything about recent anti-abortion legislation I mentioned partial birth abortion restrictions. Partial birth abortion restrictions cost no more money than restrictions on human-animal genetic splicing although I'm sure some sullen would be Dr. Moreau can be found at their local Objectivist Chapter lamenting those restrictions.

So to conclude having attributed an argument to me that I didn't make about enforcement costs we are left with the fact that those enforcement costs are actually quite negligible anyways. I curious what part of my statement was actually untrue.

genauer writes:

As a middle of the road German,

I think the vote is primarily against national establishment parties.

For whom would you vote in France, a socialist ruling party with tax rates of 75%, a UMP which is thoroughly corrupt?

In England?

In Germany I have at least 3 parties I can reasonably vote for.

In Italy the PDL got with 41% the highest single party fraction in all of Europe and the highest in Italy since 1958. Italians clearly voted for the turnaround to sanity.

In all countries, even Greece, there are clear majorities to keep the Euro.

RH writes:

The "arrogant elites" that "medicalize" "morally inferior Eurosceptic citizens" are perhaps the elite most committed to "democracy" ever: however, they entertain the idea that "democracy" will never been fully obtain, until the majority of people think and vote like they do.

How is this any different than the "democracy" of Stalin or Khomeini? Nothing has the potential to change a country as much as mass immigration. If that's not left to the democratic process, then democracy has no meaning.

Lorenzo from Oz writes:

Sam Hayson: The "traditional definition of marriage" was imposed by violent state action and enforced that same way. It is precisely because the state no longer enforces those particular religious taboos with the traditional brutality that the claims for equal protection of the law are able to be agitated for.

In other words, equal protection of the law is a "cost" of a (freer) society.

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