I read with delight Daniel Hannan’s review of Luuk van Middelar’s The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union. However, I disagree with Mr. Hannan’s statement that “the EU is in the mess it’s in” because “as time passes, government agencies tend to be taken over by dullards and mediocrities.” On the contrary, government does NOT go astray due to dullards and mediocrities but by men of ambition who wish to distinguish themselves by ruling over their fellow men. Abraham Lincoln very clearly addressed this issue in his speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838. As Mr. Hannan explained, the goals of the EU had been achieved over twenty years ago. A new European war among the Western European nations was unthinkable by the early 1960’s and the threat of war with a monolith communist empire was removed when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989. By the early 1990’s the EU had achieved its main goal of economic integration via free trade. But that is not enough for men of ambition. From the beginning those like De Gaulle who favored economic integration and the maintenance of the traditional nation state were challenged by men who foolishly desired political integration. They have insinuated themselves into positions of power and now run roughshod over the supposedly free citizens of Europe, who now find that there is no rule of law or consent of the governed. As for the euro, it was doomed from the very beginning, as explained by Dr. Philipp Bagus of King Juan Carlos University in Madrid in his book The Tragedy of the Euro. , which I reviewed for the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The economic law of the “tragedy of the commons”, thus the book’s title, explains what Dr. Bagus calls the euro’s “misconstruction”. It is a commonly held resource that will be plundered to extinction. There is no power on earth that can prevent the euro from collapsing, because its construction violates economic law.
The EU itself is now unnecessary. There is nothing that a nation can gain from the EU that it cannot attain by simply declaring itself to be a free trade nation. Statesmen must explain to their constituents that unilateral free trade is a benefit to all, EVEN IF IT IS NOT RECIPROCATED. All such a nation needs to do is mind its own business and set a good example. Its freedom and prosperity will win the day. The EU’s immediate post war goals of peace and prosperity will be achieved by such sovereign nations without the need of treaties, men of ambition, or bureaucrats. Patrick Barron