Victor Davis Hanson: Liberal Frankensteins
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.
This Fourth of July, what remains is the Founders’ vision of a limited government; the idea of a population united by common values, themes, and ideas; a republican form of checks-and-balances government to prevent demagoguery, factions, and tyranny of the majority; the sanctity and autonomy of the nation-state; and individual freedom and liberty as protected through the Bill of Rights. Everything after and against that has proved a failure.
Indeed, what makes this Fourth different from recent celebrations is the ongoing repudiation of almost everything antithetical to the Founders’ views — the redistributive, all-powerful welfare state, the therapeutic arrogance that believes human nature can be altered by an omnipotent well-meaning government, the postmodern notion that nationhood and borders are passé, and the utopian idea that war can be declared obsolete and the need for defense transcended. From Greece to California such dreams are dead.
The European Union is unwinding for two very simple reasons. First, it is not a constitutional state, but a loose conglomeration of nations run by elites who are not responsible to the people. For decades the undemocratic nature of rule from Brussels was masked by politically correct edicts on everything from global warming to anti-Americanism. But as the money runs out, the elites’ fraud becomes impossible to hide.
Second, Mediterranean countries were allowed to cook their books in such a way that northwestern European money would continue to be loaned to the siesta cultures that had not produced goods and services to justify the influx of foreign capital and the attendant lifestyle it ensured. Now we are well past any chance that German money can be paid back; the only mystery is over the conditions of the default — whether slow and incremental, or sudden and cataclysmic — and whether it will leave in its wake a downsized EU or no EU at all....
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