December 16, 2012
In a rare moment of talking plainly, EU-Commission president José Manuel Barroso described the European Union as an Empire in the making. That alone ought to make all sorts of alarm bells go off.
Megalomaniacs tend to cause trouble on their journey to downfall. In this case, we are looking at the un-elected top dog of a political union with 500 million citizens – leading a bureaucracy with obvious ambitions to centralize power.
And Mr Barroso sees no problems with EU power grabbing. In another speech, he made it clear that there are no democratic problems in transferring powers from member states to Brussels – as long as this is made in a formal way, according to existing rules. Well... yes, it is true that democracy has the regrettable mandate and ability to dismantle itself. But is it really advisable?
It ought to be obvious to everyone that centralizing power will have undesirable effects, when it comes to citizens actually being involved in the democratic process. Having seen the EU machinery from inside, I can assure you that such a centralization of power brings no added value what so ever. On the contrary. The EU is not very competent. Rules and laws are rushed trough at a break neck speed that makes wise, balanced and dignified lawmaking impossible. (Even for the few who might know what is in the making.) And EU politicians normally holds special interests higher than public interest.
The EU is a very opaque organization. EU leaders often talk about openness and transparency. But reality is something totally different. If there is the slightest possibility that something is not in the interest of the EU, its leaders or its functionaries – they go stonewalling. At one point EU even changed the definition of what constitutes a "document", to be able to sidestep its own assurances about public access.
In most member states at least two out of three laws and regulations originates from the EU. This means that most laws are decided upon far away from people being affected by them. So, it might come as no surprise that many EU directives and regulations lacks contact with reality and often make assumptions that are not in line with simple facts. Not to mention ignoring local differences. One size is supposed to fit all, but fits no one.
Even good people are gradually being corrupted by the EU system, if getting involved in it. They soon realize that the only way is to adopt. If you don´t, you are out. But the pay is very nice.
On top of everything else, the EU is not a democratic organization as such. And the people do not want it.
A single, open market with free movement would do fine instead.
December 2, 2012
In politics in general and especially in EU politics you frequently run across the expression "striking a balance between fundamental rights and X" - where X might stand for war on terrorism, hunting down file sharers, protecting children or combating crime. Or just about anything.
Let's take this apart to see what it implies. "Striking a balance..." To achieve a balance you must weigh things against each other. An other way to put it is to compromise.
So, what is the compromise supposed to be about? "Fundamental rights." That is – the most important values that we build our society upon. The principles that guarantee democracy, rule of law and liberty.
Let's see... Hm... No.
No Fucking Way.
There doesn't even have to be any bloody terrorists – if our politicians are to disassemble our fundamental rights themselfes. Then we loose on walk over. Then politicians are the real threat to common people and to a decent society.
It gets especially absurd when X is protecting special interests from reality. For example protecting Big Busines from the free market.
Like the film- and music industry. They refuse to face reality. They demand special legislation to protect their outdated business models. And they are willing to kill a free and open Internet, put us all under surveillance and privatize law and order in the process.
Most politicians happily play along with this.
So, what's next? I could imagine farmers would find it very handy and cost effective if they could keep slaves. Striking a balance between fundamental rights and the farming industries need to make a buck.
No, there is no difference when it comes to the underlaying principles. You cannot just be a little bit pregnant. Either you respect our fundamental rights or you don't.
We cannot be sloppy when it comes to fundamental human rights and liberties. They must be defended, at all cost.
Even when the threat comes from some sweet old lady sincerely trying to protect the children. Sorry. Our fundamental rights are moore important. Naturally we should do our best to protect the children. But we shall not do it e.g. by introducing censorship, as suggested by EU officials.
The sloppiness has rised to a level where politicians often make infringing civil rights their first, spontaneous proposal - before even considering other (often better) options.
Today politics takes away a little of our civil rights here and a few of our liberties there. It is done in small steps and always with the best of intentions.
Everything can be justified or explained in one way or another. This also goes for really bad stuff.
That is why it is important that we draw a line. And that is exactly what fundamental rights are about. It's the stuff you don't touch. It is a no go-zone for politicians. It is what bureaucrats should not be allowed to tamper with.
As politicians and civil servants no longer seems to understand the value and importance of our fundamental rights – it is now up to us, the people, to defend them if we want to keep them.