The Corner

World

Macron’s Post-Democratic ‘Europe’

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks before a debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, April 17, 2018. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters)

Whatever else you may think about France’s President Macron, he is, so far as his own country is concerned, an interesting and innovative politician. But when it comes to the EU, he remains committed to the old Procrustean vision that has caused the union so much trouble, is about to cost it one of its largest member-states and, courtesy of the euro, has brought misery to millions.

Macron doesn’t seem to have noticed. Or if he has, he doesn’t care.

As the Guardian reports, he’s been speaking to the EU’s parliament, a disconcertingly powerful assembly that “represents” a nation — “Europe” — that does not exist. As such, its very existence is an affront to democracy, and, as such, it is an ideal platform for Macron, a politician with a somewhat elastic concept of what democracy means.

There is he claims, “a certain European civil war.”

There is?

“[N]ational selfishness and negativity seems to take precedence over what brings us together.”

The “national selfishness” he talking about is, in fact, national democracy, the right of voters in individual nation-states to decide for themselves how much they want to be “brought together” with other countries. To Macron, the notion that such voters might have a vision for the future that differs from a blueprint drawn up by a handful of technocrats in the middle of the last century is negativism, selfishness, or something akin to a form of war.

This was too much even for Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party, the leading center-right bloc within the parliament, a grouping that generally supports the idea of an “ever closer” EU:

Weber told Macron that Europe welcomed his election, but people should not be divided into good and bad Europeans.

“Some people call this the old Europe. I call this the democratic Europe,” Weber said, gesturing to the ranks of MEPs representing parties ranging from Communists to the far right.

That is not, it seems, something that Macron is willing to accept. His notion of democracy seems to have little room for the idea that people can, you know, disagree.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More
Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
Immigration

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More