THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Who Leads The West?

Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel? | Hoover Institution.

The linked Hoover Institution article is excellent and explains, if you correct for their assumption that all European nations are like Germany, remind yourself that Locke was English and that the American Revolution was conducted on the principles of English philosophy, why Britain cannot remain in the EU. 

It is no coincidence that the totalitarian ideas of the nineteenth century were so widely embraced in Mitteleuropa  and bore such terrible fruit in countries influenced by the cancerous thought of that region’s universities. Germany’s tragic history in the twentieth century grew from a notion still held dear by its people.

Kant explicitly stated that, if called upon by his state to die, the individual should willingly do so. His successors Hegel and Marx were equally inclined to see individuals as eggs in the state’s great omelette. The EU’s open disregard of the views of member states’ citizens is not a bug but a philosophical feature.

In their — to them entirely uncontroversial — world view, which sees Anglo-American individualsm as shallow and selfish, the greater good of the collective as defined by the elite takes priority over the will and even the life of a mere individual. If “unenlightened” humans vote the wrong way, it is perfectly natural for Kantian elites either to ignore them, rebadge the measure to foil them, or if trapped into the need for a positive vote to conduct it repeatedly until it yields the “right” result! It’s actually noble to their minds to behave in ways that to our minds seem outrageously vulgar. 

Continental poltical thought always carries the embryo of the next totalitarianism in its belly because to their thinkers Liberty is a gift of the lawmaker, whereas we see ourselves as  born free, see law as a (sometimes) necessary evil, and expect lawmakers to defend Liberty above all other goods. 

When Europeans speak of geopolitics we think mainly of trade. When Merkel asserts the primacy of politics (a game) over economics (a science) we are bemused. We don’t see trade as a weapon of war or even a diplomatic bargaining chip but as a human activity as natural as sex. Tell us neither whom to love nor with whom to bargain. Call us “a nation of shopkeepers” and we’ll wonder why you think it an insult. 

The author’s mistake here is to lump us in with the people of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Marx when we were the people of Locke and Smith before their young Republic was born. And God willing we always shall be.


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James Higham

Very much so - very much Locke and Smith [occasionally Popper and von Mises].

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