Group Formation in the EP: Conservatives Team Up With Reformists. What Will UKIP Do?
From the desk of Thomas Landen on Tue, 2009-06-23 11:32
The British Conservatives have finally left the European People’s Party (EPP), the Christian-Democrat group in the European Parliament. The intention to leave the EPP was first announced at the “Congress of Brussels,” a two-day conference, organized by Daniel Hannan, a British MEP (Member of the European Parliament), in Brussels in December 2005. The 2005 conference was attended by politicians from the British Conservatives, the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of President Vaclav Klaus, Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS) of President Lech Kaczyński, and others, such as Alexandra Colen, a member of the Belgian federal parliament for the Flemish-secessionist Vlaams Belang party. The second day of the conference coincided with the election in London of David Cameron as the party leader of the British Conservatives. Before his election as party leader, Mr. Cameron had promised Mr. Hannan to pull his party out of the EPP within weeks of his election as party leader. It took him three and a half years to do so. Yesterday, the British Conservatives, the Czech ODS, the Polish PiS, and a couple of tiny parties from five other EU member states, announced the formation of a new group with a somewhat contradictory name, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).
The ODS would have preferred to admit parties such as the Italian Lega Nord and the Danish People’s Party to the ECR group, but this was vetoed by Mr. Cameron’s party, which stated that it did not want to team up with “racists and extremists.” One of the things held against the Lega Nord was that Mario Borghezio, one of its MEPs, was arrested on September 11, 2007, at a Brussels rally to commemorate the 9/11 terror attacks in America in 2001. The rally, where several Vlaams Belang politicians were also molested and arrested, had been banned by the Socialist mayor of Brussels at the demand of Muslim organizations.
The Danish People’s Party, too, is regarded as “racist and extremist” by the British Conservatives, though the DPP cannot be called either racist or extremist unless one considers its opposition to the admission of Turkey to the EU and its demand that Muslim immigrants to Denmark assimilate and accept Danish freedoms, such as the right of cartoonists to caricature whomever they like, as racist or extremist.
Another party vetoed by Mr. Cameron’s party was the Reformed Political Party (SGP) from the Netherlands. The SGP is a small Calvinist party with only one MEP, which causes controversy because it refuses to put forward women candidates for election. The female voters of the SGP do not seem to mind, but Dutch feminists have taken the SGP to court for violating the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. For many years, the SGP formed one party in the European Parliament with the ChristenUnie, another Dutch Calvinist party. The CU was allowed to join the ECR group, but the SGP was asked by the British Conservatives to change its position on women in politics, which it refused to do, and was subsequently barred. As a result the CU-SGP alliance fell apart.
Other parties which the Conservatives allowed into their group are the Belgian Lijst Dedecker, the party of the maverick Flemish politician Jean-Marie Dedecker, who calls “Zionism as bad as Islamism,” the Finnish Centre Party, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party and the Ulster Unionist Party. It is generally expected that the French aristocrat Philippe de Villiers, the only politician who managed to get elected on the list of the pan-European Libertas party, will also ask to join the ECR group, though Mr. de Villiers is opposed to granting Turkey EU membership.
With currently 55 MEPs (26 British, 15 Poles and 9 Czechs) from 8 countries, the ECR is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament, after those of the Christian-Democrats, Socialists and Liberals. While the three big groups are “Europhile,” meaning that they promote European federalism aimed at creating a genuine European state to replace the existing European nations, the ECR says it stands for “Euro-realism” or, as the ECR charter says, “the sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to EU federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity.” The group can already prove to be a powerful player in the upcoming debate about whether José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, may prolong his presidency for another five years. Mr. Barroso is backed by the Christian-Democrats and the Liberals, but needs the support of the ECR if he wants to be reappointed.
It is important for MEPs to belong to a formally recognized group. MEPs who do not belong to such a group get less speaking time, may not table amendments in the plenary session, have fewer staff and less financial subsidies. The bigger the group, the bigger the perks and the more extra funding a group receives.
For a group to be formally recognized in the European Parliament, it must consist of a minimum of 25 MEPs from at least 7 of the 27 EU member states. The parties which have been barred from joining the ECR group are currently negotiating with the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) about forming their own group. UKIP, which became the second largest party in Britain in the European elections earlier this month, after the Conservatives, advocates the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union. It is “Eurosceptic,” rather than “Euro-realist.” Lega Nord, the Danish People’s Party and Vlaams Belang also tend to be Eurosceptic rather than Euro-realist because they believe the EU cannot be reformed and is a danger to the democratic nation-states in Europe.
UKIP has 13 MEPs, the Lega Nord 9, the Danish People’s Party 2, the Vlaams Belang 2, the Greek Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 2, the Austrian Freedom Party 2, the True Finns party from Finland 1 – which makes 31 MEPs from 7 countries. Such a group could become a strong voice in the fight to dismantle the EU, oppose the Islamization of Europe and, given that the Danish People’s Party and the Vlaams Belang are outspoken supporters of Israel, support for the Jewish state. If Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (4 MEPs) should reconsider his principle not to join any group, he could even play a prominent role in such a constellation. The Italian neo-fascists will not join this group. They have been admitted to... the Christian-Democrat EPP.
Submitted by Monarchist on Mon, 2009-07-06 22:17.
PiS, Polish conservative pretending member of this group is criticized by Polish conservative circles, because they made alliance with Torries lead by clearly anti-Christian David Cameron.
Human disorder # 6
Submitted by marcfrans on Fri, 2009-06-26 22:56.
@ pale rider
Yes, I am aware that the people can be easily 'wrong'. So can monarchs be, constitutional ones as well as other ones, and so can 'Republican' leaders be too. I am aware about Hitler and Allende being 'elected', although I take issue with your characterisation of Hitler being "democratically elected ". Not really, I would say, but I won't belabor this point. What I want to say is that Stalin and Khamenei were not 'elected', and certainly NOT democratically elected (i.e. a society were individual rights, especially freedom of political speech, were de facto respected!). Would that, similarly count as an argument against NONdemocracy?
I agree with you that, ideally we should be guided, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, by "morality and tradition". And we should always be guided by morality. But we should not let 'tradition' stand in the way when real circumstances change. That requires often difficult judgements. But what we cannot have is 'arbitrariness', and that is precisely what nondemocracy leads to. Every generation has to fight anew to maintain democracy. And, once lost, it is usually very hard to regain (unless the pre-Obama Uncle Sam takes an interest).
RE: Human disorder #6
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Sat, 2009-06-27 00:46.
Marcfrans, that's a reasonable and understandable position that I can largely agree with with and I think I understand your opinion better now. I'm entirely aware that neither Khamenei or Ahmadinejad were elected though. However, if they were, that would still not make it morally 'good', would it? At least, not from a Western or Christian perspective in general. Anyway, it's a topic where there's a lot left to learn I realize now, especially because various systems of government can have so many definitions that may differ depending on the historical context in which they developed.
Monarchist, thanks for explaining your position. I understand your reasons to support monarchy as I also believe in private property as a fundamental right. I think that you're right in saying Christianity should remain the main foundation of Western civilization. Unfortunately, lots of monarchs throughout history have tried to put themselves above the law and have disregarded their subjects' private property also. Many also attempted to curtail people's freedom of worship. I still believe in self-government out of principle, through representation of the people in government, regardless of how you wish to call it. A constitution, a set of traditions, and, above all, Christian morality or 'moral law', to restrain ALL branches of government - including the people themselves.
Thanks again for this most interesting discussion.
Submitted by Capodistrias on Fri, 2009-06-26 22:40.
Weimar Republic and the Republic of Chile
@ marcfrans #2
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Fri, 2009-06-26 21:38.
Just something I wanted to add before I log out. We know that Hitler was democratically elected, and so was Allende in Chile. The 'sovereign' people elected them. Allende would have discarded the constitution and its provisions and would have turned Chile into a Cuba of sorts. Was Pinochet wrong to intervene because 'the people' had spoken out in favor of Allende? That's why I am critical of a full-fledged democracy. The people are not always right - and who's the 'people' anyway? You might argue this is not about democracy as such but nevertheless the people have a right of free association and political parties of various ideologies are a result of that, and they all partake in the democratic process. The difficulty is of course in determining who is right and who's wrong. I believe morality and tradition should guide us in that, but nowadays parties each define ethics differently and there are hardly any traditions that restrain them. There is not really such a thing as a Supreme Court in liberal democracies, for instance, and I believe this is a weakness. You might argue democracy is weakened by moral decline, but doesn't the system in a way enhance this moral decline? Just some thoughts of mine. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
Human disorder # 5
Submitted by marcfrans on Fri, 2009-06-26 20:50.
@ pale rider
1) I am aware that the Founding Fathers of the US wanted to establish a constitutional Republic. They were after all freeing themselves from the 'tyranny' of a king. But, you are wrong to claim that they were "against democracy" (in the narrow sense of majority rule). You think that they were for nondemocracy and/or some kind of minority rule? Of course, not. But, they were aware of the dangers of potential tyranny of 'majorities' and, I suspect, that many of them knew that majorities can be 'manufactured' and be very temporary and conflicted by competing issues. They knew human nature better than our current professoriat. Hence the separation of Powers and the checks and balances embodied in the Constitution, to protect individuals from 'majorities'. I repeat, democracy in the end boils down to respect for freedom of political speech, because only that can ensure genuine 'change' and power alternation over time.
2) Democracy in the end rests on 'culture' and, even deeper, on morality. Your expression of "democratic tyranny" is a contradiction-in-terms. If modern-day America is "disregarding the Constitution", then it is no longer a democracy, because that essentially means that the individual is no longer protected from temporary 'majorities'. It means that such a majority is blocking future change (which always requires the ability of individuals to effect change against ruling cultural orthodoxies). No genuine freedom of speech, no democracy, it is a simple as that.
3) The "work ethic" is just as strong in Chinese culture as it is in Indian culture. The difference is that Chinese culture is less tolerant of 'deviation' (by individuals) from established societal norms, and demands more conformity.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Fri, 2009-06-26 21:19.
Marcfrans, just happened to see you posted a new reply so I'm going to respond right away. Well, I entirely understand your take, and I hope that you are indeed correct, but I remain rather unconvinced. Perhaps there is some point here I'm missing or that I'm unable to fully get across, I don't know. I do want to point out that democracy back in the Founder's days was really not used in the sense you use it. I have been trying to say I am not necessarily opposed to any representative and limited government, so if you wish to call it democracy, that's fine with me. In principle I'm not entirely against a constitutional monarchy either, as long as it is limited in some way (e.g. constitutional) and allows for the representation of the people. However, I do oppose Athenian-style democracy where a mob majority of people can end up opressing a minority of people and disregard their God-given rights and liberties. What you are defining as democracy is simply a representative type of government where the people rule and the democratic process is bound by a constitution or any set of rules that were agreed upon by the people. I have no problem with that even if you wish to call it democracy, please don't misunderstand me. However, I am inclined to believe that it is easier in such a system for a majority to abuse its powers. After all, a democracy assumes that the people are always right. What happens if 'the people' are NOT right? And do the people have a right to decide what is right and wrong, do they have the sovereignty to decide on ALL things? I refer to the article I've linked to for a better appreciation of what I have been trying to argue here. I admit I might not be as well-versed in this subject to get my views across clearly.
Btw, you're right about Chinese work ethic. I didn't mean to say the Chinese as a people are inferior to the Indians, of course. However, I think that another advantage the Indians have is that they are less caught up in Marxist thought than the Chinese are. I do believe that Indian culture is generally quite conformist though, the tale of the ultratolerant Hindu is an exaggeration created by Western romanticists, but they're certainly less rigid and they lack the Confucian mindset of the East Asians (especially the Koreans).
Hope you'll enjoy the weekend. I'm off now. Thanks for the discussion.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Fri, 2009-06-26 17:34.
Marcfrans, I think we will have to agree to disagree. I am willing to take your arguments into consideration when I do more research on this topic but I'm not going to keep arguing here for all eternity, I have neither the time or desire to do so. The problem seems to be in what you define as democracy. I am not against the participation of the people, in fact I think that an elected government belongs to the people. Whether that is democracy or not, well, it ultimately depends on how you wish to define it. Democracy might literally mean the 'rule of the people', but in practice the will of the people was defined by the will of the majority. Using your definition, you might argue that the United States was founded as a 'democracy', but it really was meant to be a constitutional republic rather than a democracy, and the Founders opposed democracy (i.e. majority rule) despite the fact that they were of the opinion that the government belonged to the people. So no, democracy and a republic are not necessarily entirely opposed to each other, but they are not the same altogether. I linked to that article in the hope that you would understand my point of view; it actually clearly states that 'democracy' can have different meanings and it obviously does not argue against the rule of the people. I also do judge empirically, and when I look at the modern-day American 'republic', I think it is developing into a democratic tyranny of the majority which disregards the constitution and the various checks and balances that the country's Founders installed. The reason for that is the same as the source of our own decline, and you and I both know what that is. If you disagree with my view or definition of democracy, that's fine with me. Let's concentrate on what we do agree on then, which is - if I understood you correctly - representative, limited, and constitutional government. I also agree that India is superior to China. I am positive that the country will be more successful in the end, but not merely because of their political system. I think that the work ethic, willpower, and mindset of the Indian people are the country's greatest asset of all.
Human disorder # 4
Submitted by marcfrans on Fri, 2009-06-26 16:51.
@ pale rider
1) I disagree that there is a "fundamental difference" between democracy and a republic. There can be, but it is not necessarily so. Let me emphasize again, one must make EMPIRICAL judgments, NOT THEORETICAL comparisons between abstract constructs, if one wants to avoid becoming "wereldvreemd".
Democracy simply means that the people rule, i.e. they control the government as opposed to the government controlling them. That requires 'elections' but, even more so, that requires genuine freedom of political speech for all citizens. Everything else flows from that. Now, what is a Republic? Historically it simply meant 'representative government as opposed to a king or sovereign'. One could elaborate on that much further, but it does not stand in opposition to 'democracy'.
2) No, it is not the "democratic system" that "encourages evil and irresponsibility". In religious terms, it is supposed to be the 'devil' who does that. In practical terms, it is potentially in all of us. And there is absolutely NO evidence that people in NONdemocratic systems are less evil or more responsible. Quite the contrary! And, at least, in genuine democratic countries there is the possibility of getting rid of 'bad' leaders in a relatively-costfree way, which there isn't in authoritarian ones (and even less so in totalitarian ones). You are simply confusing a political system with cultural degeneracy. The latter can and does exist under ANY political system. And there is absolutely no sound reason to assume that an authoritarian leader, a monarch and his/her court jesters, would be more immune to cultural degeneracy compared to you and me. Think of the parable about the 'rich man' (and the eye of the needle etc...), it certainly applies even more to the 'powerful' than it does to the merely materially 'rich'.
3) Your story about Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde is not relevant here. Belgium is not a genuine democracy. There is a difference between 'actual practice' and (Constitutional) words-on-paper. Again, you must try to make empirical observations/judgements, not abstract comparisons. Finally, yes I do think that the Indians are 'better' off than the Chinese, as a nation, and I am pretty sure that the future in this century will demonstrate that pretty clearly. The Indians are free to develop in positive and negative ways as they see fit, but the Chinese face a massive (totalitarian/monarchical) obstacle.
@ Marcrfans and Monarchist
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Fri, 2009-06-26 10:47.
Marcfrans, I realize that your points about women were written as a critique of the SGP rather than in response to what I've said. I guess we are all individuals who feel strongly about many issues and, yes, I'm young and probably too idealistic because of that, so I apologize for passing my judgment too quickly on you.
I'm entirely in agreement with your first point, and you and I are entirely on the same page concerning the fact that a lack of moral values is the main reason why we have arrived at this sorry state of affairs. However, I do believe that there is a fundamental difference between democracy and a republic. I am not saying that adopting a republican form of government will solve everything. We can't return to the 18th century either, and we probably would not want that either - the world has changed, that is inevitable. Every century has had its share of evil, and no government of man was ever perfect. I'm not utopian. As a conservative, I fully recognize the fact that man is fallible and that any man-made system can fail, including a constitutional republic or a constitutional monarchy. Ultimately, every individual must also learn to govern himself before assuming power over others.
Nevertheless, I think that our current democratic system encourages evil and irresponsibility. I have read almost the entire American constitution, and the Bill of Rights. But I have never learned about the constitution of Belgium, and I have never read it. Why should I? We have been having an issue regarding an electoral district that should be separated in two halves in order to be constitutional, but it still hasn't happend. The reason for that is quite simple. The majority does not think it is a priority, and many object for ideological reasons! Can you imagine? This, my friend, is what I consider to be a 'democracy'. It is a system where the majority decides, has the power to socially engineer society, where the divisions of power are blurred, and the parties that form the majority can pass laws against other parties or people, interfere in in private education, legislate massive bailouts, and so on. Due to a lack of moral soundness, the majority now also believes it has the right to alter societal values and discard tradition to impose their own utopian vision of what society ought to be like. If people were moral than I agree we would not have arrived at this point, but now that we're here, I think that the problems with democracy itself are quite apparent.
I think that we have arrived at a situation that effectively amounts to mob rule. And while I entirely agree that we're still better off than, say, the Chinese, what is to be said about the Indians? The people of India have a British-style liberal democracy with divisions of the branches of government and all that, but most Indians remain poor and disadvantaged due to, among other things, paramount corruption. I'm sure you'll agree that India does not have to adopt the Chinese system because the Chinese might seemingly be better off? (rhetorical question) What I mean by that is that we should never cease to criticize or point out the problems in our own system, and that we should promote reform where possible to ensure that there are enough checks and balances between the different branches of government. I think that right now this is absolutely necessary, especially in Belgium where I think it's fair to say that we have mob rule.
I think this will help you understand my position: http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html.
Monarchist, thanks for commenting on the book. I will certainly have to read it sometime, it should be an interesting read. I'm not a monarchist myself as you know from what I've written here, but I do recognize that some types of monarchy can have advantages. I agree with you on anarcho-capitalism - a strong but minimal state is imperative.
Best regards to both of you!
Submitted by Monarchist on Fri, 2009-06-26 21:50.
Of course I see superiority of republic over democracy. A state where only smaller part of society have a voting rights would be run more wisely than by ignorant democratic mob. However there are two basic reasons why I prefer monarchy.
There are two mayor points on which western conservatism is based. The first is Christian faith, the second respect for private property. Let take a look on the second issue in democracy, republic and monarchy. They key word belong to communist dictionary, it is 'public property'. As long as "public property" exist, we cannot speak about true respect for private property. Same fact that some public property exist undermine respect for private property and encourage to act against interests of owners. As we know democracies have very big public sector which constantly grow and regulations which reduce the rights of owners to their one could think private property.
Republic on other hand is much less populist and at least at the beginning amount of public property is relatively small. The problem is that every republic slowly degenerate to become democracy in the end (This is the second reason why I'm not a republican). It cannot be otherwise, if you allow even small amount of public property to exist, it will ruin your political project. The same about voting rights, few voters at the start and everybody in the end. In both cases you create a desire for expansion of public property and voting rights.
As much as I disagree with below mentioned Hans Hermann Hoppe about unnecessary existence of the state, I completely agree with him that communist public property should vanish from vocabularies. Here is a crucial advantage of monarchy, complete lack of public property. It has many further positive consequences. Democratic regime is interested to expand public property and constantly target private owners. While a monarch (a private owner of a state) is greatly interested to keep high respect for private property. Thus he is unwilling to target other private owners.
Mr Marcfrans basing his judgements of democracy on his wishful thinking, because unlike a monarch, democratic regime have not any vital interest to respect private property. Just opposite.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Thu, 2009-06-25 22:50.
Is that a clue about the subject you teach, or what you are?
Human disorder # 3
Submitted by marcfrans on Thu, 2009-06-25 04:02.
@ pale rider
Thank you for further clarifying your 'republicanism'. I have 3 further points.
1) Applying 21st century standards to previous centuries is the sort of thing that lefty liberals tend to do. I certainly do not do that. So, no, "ancient Britain and the early US" were not evil for being "undemocratic". Ancient Britain is too 'ancient' to make a judgement about, but the early US certainly was a beacon of hope and progress in terms of democratic development. One must always ask in comparison to what, and such judgements have to be made in a proper context.
2) I tend to agree with your broad negative description of the sorry state of "liberal democracy" today. But, I am convinced that the picture is even more negative in EXISTING nondemocratic states. As always, what are you comparing with? And, please, do not make the mistake of comparing concrete living human 'systems' with idealised theoretical systems. In my opinion, the current sorry state of liberal democracy in the West is a direct result of cultural degeneracy which reflects a broad decline in morals (or, if you will, the failure to transmit proper moral values to the next generations). That is a broad subject, but it has nothing directly to do with democratic political systems managing to achieve better power dispersion and limitation of governmental powers than other political systems. And, please do not make the mistake of thinking that morals are any better among the public in other nondemocratic systems. Perhaps, extended future travel to nondemocratic cultures and societies might help disabuse you of such illusions. But, if you are , as you say, for limited government and for representative government, and for government that respects individual rights (not purported group rights and so-called 'social' rights), then perhaps the differences between us are more semantic than substantial.
3) Finally, if you truly consider yourself to be "bound by morals", as you say, then you would value honesty, and you would not make false accusations. I have not, and do not, "keep trying to insinuate that (you) have a disregard for all women in politics". How could I? You have on several occasions talked about exceptions etc...No, this false accusation derives from your own discomfort with having to defend the 'fundamentalist' position of the SGB party. And, as to the latter, I did not insinuate anything. I explicitly stated that the position of the SGB (as reported in the article, i.e. an outright ban on women in political authority) is a prime example of bigotry and prejudice.
Submitted by Monarchist on Thu, 2009-06-25 17:33.
Yes, I read Hoppe and recommend it. Author con firmed in my eyes superiority of monarchy over democracy. Later he came up with superiority of anarcho-capitalism over monarchy,here I disagree with him. As far I see weak sides of monarchy as he does, I cannot imagine peaceful coexistence without a 'minimum state'.
Some here claim that weakness of democracy origin from moral degeneracy of western people. This is other way around, democracy degenerate the people. Democratic mentality is deeply immoral, it is based on a lie that everybody is competent enough to decide about big/state issues. We all know how it look like in practice. People are told to decide about big issues and more and more stripped of opportunity to decide about small/personal issues. This is the best example that those who established and control democratic regimes are hypocritical. They run such policy because they know that majority is always so incompetent to elect them. So, what is the point for conservatives or liberals to participate in a dirty game where the left must win?
@ Marcfrans, Atheling, Monarchist
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Thu, 2009-06-25 00:18.
In principle, I'm willing to accept any type of government, just as long as it is limited, e.g. by a bill of rights, a constitution, or tradition in general, and decentralized. It should not be forgotten that the United States was founded as a constitutional republic, not a liberal democracy. Many of the Founders were actually highly suspicious of partisanship and democracy. The same is true of Britain. They had a parliament and 'representative government', but nevertheless not everyone was allowed to vote, and even Edmund Burke, a Whig, was not in favor of 'democracy', i.e. majority rule. So, are ancient Britain and the early U.S. to be considered 'evil' for being undemocratic? You might of course ask yourself how 'representative' these governments actually were, and that is certainly a legitimate question.
However, if you look at present-day liberal democracy, it is not always representative of the people, and usually those in government are nothing but a group of professional liars and corrupt thieves who work on behalf of their own electorate and parties rather than the nation itself. After their terms have expired, they try to sell their ideologies to the masses through expensive campaigning, only to betray their voters once they are elected and have to form a government with parties that, in theory, have conflicting ideologies. What system has brought us 'liberal fascism', or 'soft totalitarianism', big government, excessive spending, multiculturalism, reverse discrimination, social engineering, and so on?
I have nothing against democracy in the sense of representative government, but is that really what democracy stands for nowadays? What we have today is a system where the majority dictates and changes whatever it thinks is right, and it is never held to account - after all, some problems cannot be solved in a matter of four years. For these and other reasons I have stated earlier on, I do not go around preaching liberal democracy, but limited and representative government that is bound by morals, tradition, a commitment to the people, and the individual rights of men.
When I said I support a republican form of government, I was of course speaking from a Flemish point of view, as I have little problem with the constitutional monarchy in the Netherlands, Britain and other countries, and it's up to those nations to decide for themselves in those matters. By the way, I respect Angela Merkel and Margaret Thatcher. You keep trying to insinuate that I have a disregard for all women in politics, but that's not true. I once voted for a woman, but you'll have to take my word on that of course.
@ Atheling: thanks for the comment. It's been a while since I checked the PEW website. I'm going to have to check that out. I'm not very surprised by those results. When I look at the women we've had in government so far in Belgium, they've really always been attention-seeking chatterboxes who make good publicity for their parties and make nice appearances on televized talk shows, but that's about it. Actually it's quite sad that these 'liberated' women who are supposedly equal actually just reinforce the stereotypes... if you catch my drift. Most Western women have been brainwashed into feminist thinking to some degree, which is really a Marxist theory. It's sad that you have young women today who are offended if you're treating them with good old-fashioned courtesy. They'll call you a 'misogynist'.
@ Monarchist: I'm not an ideological monarchist and certainly not in favor of an absolutist monarchy, but I do share your criticism of liberal democracy. There are libertarians who actually reject democracy as well, I once read a review of a book called 'Democracy - The God that Failed' which proposes a monarchy as an alternative to liberal democracy. The author argues that it would allow for more stability and better protection of property rights and the free market system. I would like to read that book sometime, not that I'm a libertarian, but there must surely be some merit in it. Have you read it?
@ pale rider
Submitted by atheling on Thu, 2009-06-25 00:24.
The other side of the equation is the voter. The "professional liars and corrupt thieves" are permitted to get away with what they do because of a "corrupt" people. In a representative government, you get the government you deserve, as far as I'm concerned.
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. - John Adams
RE: @ Pale Rider
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Thu, 2009-06-25 00:31.
Yes, exactly! And that's a great quote.
By the way, do you know of the following blog: meetthefounders.blogspot.com ? Definitely worth checking out.
I'm calling it a day... Good night!
Submitted by atheling on Wed, 2009-06-24 21:34.
I recall a PEW News IQ Poll in which they asked 12 basic questions, including what position Timothy Geithner holds, which US automakers were bailed out, and what office Hillary Clinton holds - in essence, FACTS.
In that poll, only 35% of women got 12 out of 12 correct, while 52% of men did.
I was at a Ladies Guild meeting at my church, and of the 40+ women at that meeting, only two (myself and one other conservative woman) answered those questions correctly. The rest of the ladies performed dismally. I fear they are too busy watching Oprah and Wheel of Fortune to pay much attention to politics or news.
And they vote. Mostly for Democrats.
Submitted by Monarchist on Wed, 2009-06-24 21:05.
I think that, above all, women need to break free from the feminist
dogma which claims that men and women are fully equal. They are 'equal'
in the sense that both are equally needed and important in society, in
the family, and in the education of children. However, this also
implies they have different roles. This is shown by both biological and
psychological differences. In other words, women and men are not
exactly 'equal'. However, it also shows that neither is inferior or
superior to the other. In the end, we are all individuals, and that's
why I'm not in favour of categorically excluding all women from
participation in politics.
I concur. Obviously this is nothing wrong that vast majority of women don't care about politics. In a normal state ( monarchy) there is a natural order and women without any pressure can do what they do the best. In a retarded state (communist or democratic) women are either forced or persuaded (from early childhood; some leftist educationists give dolls to small boys and car-toys to little girls) to compete with men on such fields where they are usually worse. Thus women go vote, even if they have very little idea. There is a sick pressure that they should vote because this is 'responsible behaviour' or 'patriotic obligation'. (Of course this apply to most of men too)
I advise you to ignore marcfrans, this is a comical example of fanatical democrat. Now when you clearly admitted that you don't belong to worshippers of secular religion of democratism, he will misinterpret your posting on regular basic. When I joined this forum I quickly realized that any debate with this person is pointless. You will simply spent 99% of time correcting his misinterpretations of your own posting.
Human disorder # 2
Submitted by marcfrans on Wed, 2009-06-24 20:52.
@ pale rider
1) Yes, you have said all those things that you now have repeated in your first paragraph. No, that does NOT make you a 'bigot", and nobody has claimed that. I did claim however that the position of the SGB (as reported in the article) is an example of bigotry and prejudice. And I have also emphasized that in my 'democratic' worldview they, as everyone else, are entitled to be as bigoted/prejudiced as they want to be. At bottom, 'democracy' boils down to 'tolerance' of anyone's opinions (no matter how foolish or great these opinions might be).
2) No, you are wrong on both Belgium and on "democracy". The "very reason" why some are being excluded in Belgium is precisely NOT because the ruling elite "are democrats", but because they are NONdemocrats. Exclusion is the sort of thing that is associated with the SGB, commentator Monarchist, the current ruling political class in Belgium, etc... It is remarkable that you could equate democracy with "defying order, tradition, the Constitution and representing special interest groups". That is a nonsensical view. Reducing democracy to 'majority rule' is shallow and untenable. Democracy means that 'the people control the government, and not vice versa'. The people cannot control the government if there is no genuine freedom of political speech, because the formation of alternative political forces will then be blocked. 'Majorities' can be produced and undone, through speech-control and electoral rules. Elections can be found almost everywhere (China, Iran, Congo etc...). Elections are an important component of democracy, but they do not constitute its essence.
3) By the way, I too believe in a "Republican form of government" and republicanism is certainly not antithetical to democray. I can barely believe that there are Europeans in the 21st century who write the sort of stuff that Monarchist writes here regularly, and I was most disappointed to read your earlier reference to "the current Dutch monarch" (a naive-leftie if ever there was one, or otherwise a masterful cynical self-serving hypocrite of the first order). Now, if you had used Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel as examples of 'outstanding' women to make your point, that would have been believable...but Beatrix (who was born in her 'exalted' position)!!...Mon Dieu! How about Fabiola ? (just kidding).
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-06-24 20:41.
A County in the United Kingdom. Next question.
ps Your question rules out the possibility you are a geography teacher, at least, I hope it does.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Wed, 2009-06-24 19:59.
My post was directed at Peter and at the entire argument that has been going on here because of what I said about equality. I have little interest to further elaborate on this. I have explained my view several times over and I don't want to hijack this thread. Also, I have stated nowhere or even suggested that all women should be excluded, and I have also said that I would not vote for the SGP. In fact, I have even pointed out that all groups of people are ultimately individuals and that I judge a person as an individual. However, that does not take away that I do also make certain divisions. If that makes me a bigot, so be it.
And yes, you are correct. I am not a democrat. I believe in a republican form of government. The very reason some are being excluded in Belgium is that the ruling elite are democrats who think the majority is always right - and because a more radical party is out of line with their 'enlightened' platforms, they are to be excluded. The democrats in this day and age have defied order, tradition, the constitution, and represent special interest groups, such as the labor unions, rather than their nation. They can justify excluding a party because they keep creating laws against these people, which only serve to protect themselves. Then they campaign and lie in the faces of people and still manage to get their vote.
I am not advocating that sort of government. If that is what you choose to call 'democracy', then I am outright anti-democratic. I am advocating a republican form of government, where representative government, order, and tradition, go hand in hand, and where those who are not fit for politics and upholding order and tradition, do not have a right to vote.
Load of rubbish (2)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-06-24 19:31.
Kappert + chledophilia = too much information.
Submitted by kappert on Thu, 2009-06-25 13:12.
Sorry, I thought you'd investigated Xylokorys chledophilia.
Submitted by kappert on Wed, 2009-06-24 20:23.
Submitted by marcfrans on Wed, 2009-06-24 18:27.
@ pale rider
What is this? We are not here in a schoolyard where you just pick up your marbles and go. I detect a lot of commonality between us w.r.t. specific issues, but I fear that you are not yet ready to draw the necessary conclusions. I suspect that is a consequence of 'youth' (but do not get stuck on this point).
1) We agree that there are observable and measurable biological and psychological differences between groups, all sorts of groups (not just men and women). There are also such differences between individuals WITHIN any particular groups. And, one could argue endlessly about the degree by which SPECIFIC individuals deviate from their particular group 'norms' or even manage to have greater commonality with the 'average' norms of other groups. None of this obviates the need - no, the 'christian' moral duty - for you (or for anyone else) to first see the human individual in front of you and not a member of any particular 'group'. You have to judge every individual on his/her individual behavior and qualities (not on the basis of 'physical' group features).
2) Your second paragraph to me makes it abundantly clear that you are not a genuine democrat. Thank you for making that clear, so we know now where things stand. If you feel entitled to exclude whole groups of people from participation in a democratic political process, based on your perceptions and/or misperceptions about their "general knowledge" and/or their "emotions" etc..., then do not be surprised if other nondemocrats will eventually exclude you from the political process too. After all, politically speaking, they would be using the same sort of 'reasoning' that you seem to be employing. In your country (Belgium), today, the ruling political class already decrees which 'opinions' are acceptable and which are not, and it occasionally punishes selected individuals as examples to keep the rest in line. If many others (in the opposition) think like you, then a political power alternation or change would be a total waste of time and effort for sensible freedom-loving individuals.
What a load of rubbish
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Wed, 2009-06-24 17:48.
That's really all I can say. I began by expressing my skepticism of this new pan-European party and tried to explain why I think the Tories were wrong to exclude the SGP because, in my opinion, it consists of decent people who are not part of any kind of problem the West is facing today. Then I offered my views on gender and equality and now I am supposedly theocratic for believing in divine or natural order. What did I say about inferiority again? Perhaps some people need new glasses. I think I've had it with this thread, goodbye.
What a load of rubbish
Submitted by kappert on Wed, 2009-06-24 18:57.
I like that!
... and I like the Goddess Gaia
Submitted by marcfrans on Wed, 2009-06-24 17:20.
1) You continue to surprise me. You claim to have difficulty with a reasoning according to which (a) something exists, (b) but we don't understand it (fully) and, yet, (c) we do believe it exists. How can that be? Much of our experience in life corresponds with that reasoning. That is why I keep hammering on about the need for empirical observation as opposed to ideologically-based deductive reasoning.
Take a current example: (a) there is a power struggle going on within the ruling autocracy/monarchy (they have a "supreme leader"!) in Iran today (whatever the reasons and/or causes), (b) both you and I are smart enough to know that "we don't know exactly what it is", and yet (c) we believe in it (i.e. we believe in the hypothesis of an ongoing power struggle in Iran). The hypothesis is "reasonable" based on empirical observation and logical reasoning applied to it. Is dat duidelijker?
2) I used the expression "divine order" because it was the one used by pale rider, and I wanted to maximise my chances to be heard by him and for him to understand me. I have no illusions that his perceptions about the "divine order" will be quite different from mine (e.g. I certainly do not consider bigotry or prejudice against 'groups' as part of the "divine order"), but I do believe with him that there is a "divine order". Without it, there would be no credible basis for morality, a fundamental point (I know) on which you and I disagree.
When addressing a secularist (but a rapidly-maturing naive-leftist) like yourself, I would not use an expression like "divine order". That would only make them 'tune out'. So let's replace the expression "I believe in a divine order" by the following longer one: "I believe that (human) life has a metaphysical source, which gives it meaning, which we cannot fully comprehend, but which we are duty-bound to try to understand as much as possible".
3) That 'old fox', Atlanticist, has been trying to bait you again, and he has managed to expose your religious-like belief in 'scientism'. There is no difference between you and me about the need and the value of scientific inquiry into the physical world, nor do I believe is there a difference between us and the Vatican on this matter. But I do think that you are easily seduced into confusing science with pseudo-science. And since the history of 'science' seems to be one long series of refutations (or improvements, or better understandings etc...) of what came before as 'science', it behoves that you treat all so-called scientific proclamations with a healthy dose of scepticism. That last statement rests on the empirical historical record of 'science'.
A Crisis of Faith (2)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-06-24 16:40.
Even so, I'll bet a £ sterling to 100 euros of funny money that the original 10 Commandments will be remembered, observed and respected long, long after the 10 Commandments of the Cult of Climatology have been consigned to the dustbin of history.
Submitted by Capodistrias on Wed, 2009-06-24 15:57.
Pale Rider said:
"So far I have also met very few women who genuinely care about politics or know anything about it."
RE: Sheltered youth
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Wed, 2009-06-24 17:51.
Sheltered????? I have no idea what you are talking about. Explanation, please?
A Crisis of Faith
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-06-24 15:20.
Allow me to let you into a little secret, and that secret is that at some point in our lives even some of us religious types, sooner or later get a crisis of faith, and here is mine.
Don't scoff because in time this same crisis of faith might well happen to you. And I pray to the goddess Gaia that one day it does.
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Wed, 2009-06-24 15:58.
Well, at least we can't say every "belief" is equal. This particular belief’s prophecy is based on scientific work like this : http://climate.jpl.nasa.gov/
I personally think its credibility is a bit higher then the credibility of the Bible.
Firstly it isn’t written 2000 years ago, by a group of unknown writers that produced also a great number of apocrypha that were then rejected by an other mystic group of unknown people. Secondly unlike the bible it’s based on mathematical models and backed by most of our finest scientists. But more fundamentally it lists its own weaknesses, a rare thing in traditional believes. It has is draw backs of course. There are the large bunches of lunatics that are indeed misusing the theory for there own private little war against capitalism and the industry. Not hindered by any knowledge they invent new not-existing “evidence” and “upcoming disasters” to gain peoples minds based on fear and remorse. (A not totally unknown technique in traditional religion) Never the less, as everything we can’t possibly proof or disproof ourselves is by definition a belief, I doing my best to decide on mine. I use some personal guidelines for this, and climate change does past the test, whereas the Bible…
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-06-24 12:33.
Peter, Atheling didn't suggest that all women should be deprived of their right to vote, and you know it, she simply queried their judgement when exercising that right, which is a legitimate criticism you and I might make about each other when we cast our vote. Take the topic of Europe, immigration or abortion, for example.
Cheap shot, indeed.
Submitted by atheling on Wed, 2009-06-24 18:02.
Thanks, A911 - you understand exactly what I mean. For all the (often justified) criticism of men, it seems that it's verboten to do so to women among the left. Until women (and girly men) accept constructive criticism, they will never be mature enough to properly participate in the public sphere.
ECR # 4
Submitted by marcfrans on Wed, 2009-06-24 03:41.
@ pale rider
Thank you for your clarifications. We obviously agree and disagree at the same time, which is the 'normal' state of affairs among most people.
1) You are a recent arrival on the Brussels Journal. Only that can explain your mistaken notion that I could want "to justify modern-day militant egalitarianism". Far from it!
2) While I do believe in the reality of a "divine order", I am very wary of people who claim to know, with certainty, what that divine order exactly or precisely consists of (particularly here on earth). In that sense, perhaps, the calvinists of the SGP are not that different from islamic fundamentalists. Indeed, I tend to view all types of fundamentalism, Western and nonwestern alike, as lacking in the moral virtue of humility. And I do consider as "primitive" any interpretation that would exclude GROUPS of people from political authority on the basis of physical differences (over which they have no control as individuals). In fact, I would see such an interpretation as a direct betrayal of one of the greatest achievements of Western civilisation, and which distinguishes it from most (if not all) other civilisations, and that is a broad recognition of the centrality of the human individual (as opposed to 'groups', any groups) for making moral value judgements and for giving purpose to human 'organisation' (including political organisation).
3) You are perfectly at liberty to consider the action of the Tories to exclude the SGP as being "offensive". Yet, that action is based on the particular beliefs of the SGP, and these beliefs are freely chosen or held by the SGP. They control themselves what they want to believe. I consider it infinitely MORE OFFENSIVE that the SGP would exclude any individual woman from political authority simply because she is a woman, a condition that she herself has not chosen and, thus, does not control, and that is totally irrelevant for the function of "political authority". Yes, I repeat, it is 'primitive' to judge and exclude people, i.e. any individuals, on the basis of criteria over which they have no control. Talking about "unfairness"....
4) Finally, an extremely minor unimportant point. You wrote that you "agree with Monarchist about...whatever". That, in and of itself, is a bad sign....
While western civilisation is clearly much more threatened today by cultural decadence on the political left, it has also always been threatened by certain anti-democratic forces or quarters on the political right. We have a leftist elephant in front of us, but we should not ignore the snake in the grass.
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Wed, 2009-06-24 14:06.
I must say that as usual, I find a lot of wisdom in your responses, although I do not always agree, their well thought of. Allow me however to highlight one sentence I’m particularly uneasy with:
“While I do believe in the reality of a "divine order", I am very wary of people who claim to know, with certainty, what that divine order exactly or precisely consists of”
For me it reads as follows: “Something exist” ; “we don’t know exactly what it is”; “But we do believe in it (in what exactly?)”
It must be my mathematical mind that makes it impossible for me to grasp such forms of reasoning
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Wed, 2009-06-24 12:36.
Marcfrans, thanks for the response. To some degree I can concur with you on your second point because I favor a more individual approach and I tend to judge a person as an individual based on character more than such things as gender. However, I believe that the biological and psychological differences exist and should not be dismissed as having no basis to suggest that women are not as suited for politics as men, and should not have different roles in society. Quite frankly, I have no problem with women rights because I see men and women as being equally important in society, and because I tend to be in favor of individualism. However, I do have a problem with full equality because it is unnatural and forces men and women to deny the gender differences ("inequalities" ?) and it usually manifests itself as an extremist ideology that has already lead to the erosion of the family.
As far as your fourth point is concerned, I was referring to what Monarchist said in his second point. What I meant to say is that I agree that women generally know little about politics and generally are not up for the job, but at the same is true of a lot of men. I think that there should be higher requirements for party membership and eligibility. So far I have also met very few women who genuinely care about politics or know anything about it. What happens is they vote based on their emotions rather than reasoning, and of course it should be no surprise that they are usually a lot more to the left than men. I think that anyone who does not care about politics and does not know anything about it, should not be allowed or required to vote, regardless of whether they are men or women. I'm all in favor of representative government, but also meritocracy and natural aristocracy, not modern-day liberal democracy in which absolutely everyone can participate, and where the majority dictates the rules and has the power to do away with tradition, moral values, constitutional law, and so on.
@marcfrans and pale rider
Submitted by atheling on Wed, 2009-06-24 06:31.
I agree that it is morally wrong to exclude a people based on an accidental trait, but there is a problem with women and politics.
Women tend to favor socialist policy more than men. Just from reading comments and talking among women, many favor government intervention for almost every human dilemma. When the actress Natasha Richardson met her untimely death for not wearing a helmet, invariably every woman I know or read of commented that the government should enact mandatory helmet laws for skiers. It's not called the "nanny state" for nothing. I believe that the rise of socialism in the 20th century coincides with universal suffrage.
Women need to rise above the tendency towards collectivism, and study military history instead of the solipsistic "women's studies". Women must learn the loneliness of leadership and individual self determinism if they want to stand equally with men in politics, as did Margaret Thatcher. Otherwise, we end up with the soft totalitarianism of a Janet Napolitano or Jacqui Smith.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Wed, 2009-06-24 12:44.
I think that, above all, women need to break free from the feminist dogma which claims that men and women are fully equal. They are 'equal' in the sense that both are equally needed and important in society, in the family, and in the education of children. However, this also implies they have different roles. This is shown by both biological and psychological differences. In other words, women and men are not exactly 'equal'. However, it also shows that neither is inferior or superior to the other. In the end, we are all individuals, and that's why I'm not in favor of categorically excluding all women from participation in politics. Nevertheless, I'm often reminded of Isaiah 3:12 when I look at modern-day Western society - Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path..
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Wed, 2009-06-24 14:24.
“However, I believe that the biological and psychological differences exist and should not be dismissed as having no basis to suggest that women are not as suited for politics as men.”
The source of this wisdom might be Isaiah of course. And then we will have to agree on disagreeing. Any discussion on dogmas is pointless. If however it is based on more scientific grounds I would be very happy to receive the sources. Remark: the fact that women tend to vote for other parties then men can’t possibly be taken as a proof. If even we would admit that only one of them could be right (which is not the case, in my opinion), we still would need to find out which one. The lemma “I’m always right, sot the other is wrong” will not do.
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Wed, 2009-06-24 12:16.
Because Women don’t vote the way you would like them to vote, we should exclude them from voting. That’s a strange kind of democracy indeed. Sounds a bit like the Iranian Ayatollahs who decide on the appropriateness of the candidates first.
ECR # 3
Submitted by marcfrans on Tue, 2009-06-23 20:21.
@ pale rider
1) I am all for clarity and do not like "dubious stances". At the same time, I do not think that clarity is served by pretending that it is there when it isn't. What is "the concept of the European Union"? I bet you that any 5 people will put 5 different types of 'meat on those bones'. Political institutions do evolve over time. And, thank God, for that.
2) I certainly agree that the SGP does not pose a threat to Europe and, like you, I do virtually know nothing about it. I, too, stand for "traditional values" and am critical of "multiculturalism". But, I do repeat that any a priori exclusion, in the political domain, on the basis of God-given physical characteristics (over which the individual has no control) is culturally-primitive and (politically) stupid.
3) I have little sympathy for the CU, and also for the British Conservatives (these days). And I do not expect 'consistency' from the latter either. But none of this is relevant for the point I made about bigotry.
4) Indeed, conservatism does not "advocate feminism or same-sex marriages and other such nonsense". Did anybody claim here that it does? Does the ECR make such a (n official) claim? If it does, I would like to know about it.
5) On the other hand, if you think that conservatism has nothing to do with "individual liberty", then you are not my kind of conservative, and I would be as much wary of you as I am of the naive-lefties and other statists that currently dominate the European Parliament.
6) We agree that liberty and order go hand in hand. In fact, the one is not conceivable without the other, in a mature interpretation of both concepts. We also agree that radical egalitarianism is a "perversion of order and liberty". But that in no way justifies your assertion that "conservatism" has nothing to do with individual liberty. Like you, I am against "the decline of morality and the growing decadence of Western civilisation". But, I would remind you that human morality is not conceivable without individual liberty, properly understood as the marriage of individual rights with individual duties. Conventions and 'traditions', by themselves, have nothing to do with "morality". Morality means 'acting in accordance with your true nature'. That necessitates always a judgement about that nature (its source, its meaning, its origin...) and it must pertain to the individual. There is no such thing as a 'collective morality'. And there is no such thing as moral behavior, nor immoral behavior, unless it is behavior that is FREELY chosen by the human individual.
RE: ECR #3
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-23 21:01.
Marcfrans, I think we have misunderstood each other. I was not saying that Conservatism itself is not (in part) about individual liberty. I had mistaken what you had written earlier and thought you were using the principle of 'individual liberty' to justify modern-day militant egalitarianism.
As for the SGP, they are against women participating in politics and exercising authority because, from their point of view, it is against divine order. I would agree with them that women and men are not equal and have different roles, but I am not in favor of a policy that dogmatically bars any woman from authority either. Another reason why I disagree is the fact that the current Dutch monarch, for instance, is a woman. There was actually a discussion on this topic during the Reformation, sparked by John Knox. I also agree with Monarchist; political parties should bar a heck of a lot more men from membership too. Nowadays just about anyone can be a minister.
Nevertheless, the SGP has a loyal electoral base and the wives of its male members and voters are surely in agreement with the party's stance on membership for women. In fact I once read an article about women who support the SGP despite not being members. So I think it is very shortsighted to accuse the SGP of being primitive when it is, in fact, proposing nothing that is even remotely anti-Western. That's why I am disappointed by the decision of the Tories not to include the SGP. It is almost as if they are no better than Muslim fundamentalists. I think that is actually quite offensive and unfair to those Dutch citizens who vote for the SGP.
Anyway, I had no intention to turn this into some debate about the SGP because, frankly, I would not vote for the party anyway if I were a Dutchman, and it's rather irrelevant to the original topic. I just hope that what I wrote clarifies my position.
PS: what I meant by the 'concept' of the EU? Well, obviously if you look at the context in which I wrote this, I meant the very need for a European 'Union' to exist. I do understand what you mean when you say that withdrawal may depend on the current construction of the EU and that reforms may be needed. However, I think the term is really used to avoid the word 'Euroskeptic', which would lead other parties to see it as 'extremist' for being against European integration, or to be able to include parties that are not Euroskeptic in the first place. Hence, I think it will lead to confusion. If anti-EU parties ally parties that are either skeptical of the current EU or moderately in favor of European integration, what are voters to conclude from that?
Submitted by Monarchist on Tue, 2009-06-23 18:58.
1. "EU realists"? This is just another byword to name EUphiclic parties with Brussels granted concession for 'EUrealistic' activity. This is what above mentioned PiS doing in Poland. From time to time they make a lot of noise regarding supposed disagreement with Brussels and in the end they will sign everything anyway. Their task is to take away votes from anti-EU groups.
2. Does SGP officially reject women candidates? Let be honest, vast majority of women know nothing about politics. If I would lost my mind and tried to create political party I would probably struggle to find any women that I would find enough competent to join. Of course vast majority of men are politically useless as well. The difference is that often they are at least a bit interested.
3. By the way, Vaclav Klaus left ODS some time ago. He disapprove their policy and strongly dislike their leader and former Czech PM Mirek Topolanek.Klaus recentely sympathized with Czech branch of Libertas represented by some newly created party lead by close friend of Klaus. ODS does support Lisbon treaty, so is PiS from Poland.
ECR # 2
Submitted by marcfrans on Tue, 2009-06-23 17:08.
@ pale rider
1) The term "realist", in this context, relates to a particular perception of the actual nature of the EU as currently constructed. It is not defined by, or limited to, the matter of possible withdrawal. Obviously, whether one ultimately wants to withdraw, or not, will depend on how future 'reforms' will evolve.
2) Explicit exclusion from party membership, let alone from public office, for any particular group strikes me as incompatable with any genuinely 'democratic' political project, IF that exclusion is based on (God-given) physical characteristics such as height, race, gender, etc.., i.e. if it is determinded by characteristics over which the individual has absolutely no control. By contrast, if the exclusion were based on opinions and behavior (specifically chosen and determined by the individual), then it is a natural consequence of self-determination and compatible with 'civilised' notions of indiviual freedom. So, I think it makes perfect sense for the British Conservative Party not to want to associate itself with a party like the 'Calvinist' SGP.
3) I certainly respect the right of the SGP to 'exclude' whomever it wants to exclude, and to be as 'bigoted' as it wants to be, and in whatever direction it wants to be so. And, I have even less respect for those who would deny the SGP to be whatever it wants to be, and who want to drag it into court etc.... But I do hope that any 'conservative' party constellation in the European Parliament would not confuse 'conservative values' with bigotry and prejudice.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-23 17:37.
I disagree. Parties are to serve the nation. Either they state plainly whether they want to drop out of the EU eventually, or whether they support the concept of the European Union. These sort of dubious stances are part of the reason why people are confused and end up feeling betrayed.
I'm not an SGP supporter and I'm far from an expert on what their platform is like. However, I do know that it is a religious party that is very much in line with traditional Western civilization and it is compatible with historic Dutch society. It is one of the few so-called 'Christian' parties in the Netherlands that stands for traditional values and is critical of multiculturalism. It poses no threat to Europe whatsoever.
The CU, on the other hand, has shown to be a crypto-Socialist party in matters of economics, the environment, immigration, and Islam. Although it does allow women to join the party, I believe it does not allow homosexuals to join. However, I read some time ago they did allow a lesbian to join. So how long will it take for this party before they end up allowing everyone in and giving up on their principles? Why did the Tories not consider them to be bigoted?
Last time I checked, conservatism did not advocate feminism or same-sex marriages and other such nonsense. It has nothing to do with individual liberty either. Liberty and order go hand in hand. In a few decades from now they might be using the same argument to defend pedophiles' rights. Radical egalitarianism is nothing but a perversion of order and liberty, and it has played a huge role in the erosion of the family, the decline of morality and the growing decadence of Western civilization.
I sure hope the ECR is about more than national sovereignty. Otherwise it will be just another empty, aimless and pointless waste of taxpayer money - regardless of whether it calls itself 'conservative'.
Submitted by pale_rider (not verified) on Tue, 2009-06-23 16:14.
I have very mixed feelings about this. Euro-realist? What is that supposed to mean? Yet another fancy neologism to spread even more confusion, I'd say. Either you are for full membership European Union, even if you advocate reform, or you are downright opposed to it and advocate your nation's withdrawal. I am also quite surprised that a self-styled 'conservative' European party would deny membership to the SGP simply because it refuses to let women join the party. As if they are advocating the inferiority of women, domestic violence, or stoning of adulterous women. It tells me these pseudo-Conservatives lack discernment and have bought into radical egalitarianism.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Tue, 2009-06-23 16:08.
Read the thread again and you'll see for yourself who I blame(d) for the unfortunate mess these illegals found themselves in, and who I didn't.
The answer to your supplementary question is No.
Btw are you suggesting that George Galloway was wrong about the Iranian elections but right about Britain's continued membership of the EU?
Let's get real (3)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Tue, 2009-06-23 15:49.
By the way, Peter, how is that giant house extention of yours coming along? Did it ever get completed? You know the one I mean, the one I suggested you and some of your lefty chums might consider building in order to house all those (illegal) immigrants you claimed to care so much about, the ones (illegally) occupying that Catholic church in Brussels not that long ago. You never did manage to get back to me on this matter.
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Tue, 2009-06-23 15:59.
I'm absolutely doing my share to help, thank you. I could do more of course, but then who couldn't? I guess your help for "locals" could be bigger too (or aren't you helping at all? After all it's probably their own fault they got into the mess their in the first place".)
By the way, are you suggesting that the European elections were a fraud like the Iranian elections?
Dog in the manger
Submitted by KO on Tue, 2009-06-23 15:34.
Thanks for this article, but it is not good news. I suspected the Timid Tories would find a way to obstruct reform of the EU, and it looks like dividing the opposition to the Europhiles is the way they have found to do it. Stay tuned.
The undemocratic part, as I understand it, is that all of the EU's executive and legislative power is lodged in the unelected EC, while the EP is only a speech factory. The EP can only change that state of affairs by acting boldly with broad popular support, in a fashion overwhelming the present constitution of the EU and requiring the development of a new one. However, individual countries can withdraw their support for the EU and leave the EC dictators with fewer subjects on whom to prey.
Let's get real (2)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Tue, 2009-06-23 15:20.
"Doesn't sound so undemocratic..."
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that something like what George Galloway said about the recent Iranian elections?
"The group can already prove
Submitted by peter vanderheyden on Tue, 2009-06-23 14:58.
"The group can already prove to be a powerful player in the upcoming debate about whether José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, may prolong his presidency for another five years.
which makes 31 MEPs from 7 countries. Such a group could become a strong voice in the fight to dismantle the EU, oppose the Islamization of Europe and, given that the Danish People’s Party and the Vlaams Belang are outspoken supporters of Israel, support for the Jewish state. "
Doesn't sound so undemocratic after all....
Let's get real
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Tue, 2009-06-23 13:31.
Does anybody seriously believe that the thoroughly undemocratic European Parliament is ever going to allow itself to be democratically voted out of existence? No, of course not, so the only question that remains is whose bunch of Ayatollahs will blink first, the Iranian or Eurabian? My money is on the former variety, however long that may take.