Find out why the operators of guided democracy begin to fear their peoples.
Precarious is the existence of small countries because they are easily overlooked. Would we knowingly crush a worm crossing the sidewalk? Not seeing the little fellow, we take the step to terminate his existence. A paraphrase from the road to the world war comes to mind. Do not mind the “far and small” that we “know nothing about”.
A fair and thereby stable order, demands knowledge. That, in turn, requires that, as in this case, a distortion be understood and rectified. The following is penned in the knowledge that, if not realistically comprehended, small nations are easily bulldozed under by a world blinded by ignorance.
As elsewhere, so also in Switzerland, the era of “politics as usual” is ending as the traditional ways to governing her are being challenged. A recent vote that received international attention makes the point while it also indicates a global trend. In a referendum – they are reoccurring events under the system of direct democracy - the people, which are “the boss” here, are asked to express its opinion regularly. This time, the citizens have opted to change the national policy regarding immigration.
Through the decision to limit the inflow, the Swiss have admitted what is obvious. Their country became an overloaded steamship because it has let on board all that were willing to sail. Now, Switzerland has declared herself cognizant of her limits, and so it admitted that it is not an aircraft carrier. Therefore, the Federal Government is commanded to terminate uncontrolled immigration and to impose qualitative and quantitative criteria upon applicants. This has consequences. A treaty with the European Union –Switzerland is not a member- must be renegotiated. Originally, Switzerland had been assured that yearly about 20 000 would come. Instead, high salaries and generous welfare have brought in 80 000. The trend points north. For a country of eight million out of which 23% are aliens, this is a stressing and hard-to-assimilate mass.
Prior to the plebiscite, the folks “that count” was mobilized to reject the proposition. Internally, the left liberal press, most professors, artists, the churches, the green- red Socialists, seconded by the rubber-spined center, and the supposedly classical Liberals, urged a “no” vote.
From abroad, official “Europe” chimed in. Barroso, Schulz, and the like, were not only demanding a “no”, but also threatened ostracism, economic boycott, the expulsion from the EU’s market and, for good measure, hellfire and brimstone.
It is safe to assume that the threats of a spanking influenced the vote. The promised ruin as punishment for disobedience induced the intimidated to vote “no”. Without the threat, the result would not have been close. The cautious voted not according to what they knew to be but according to what they were commanded to believe.
The Swiss’ decision has significant consequences. This unadulterated people’s voice will influence the European elections in May. Seeing the trend, the “Eurosceptics” will make gains. In the EU’s member states, the demand will strengthen to reconsider Brussels’ ineptitude. Lastly, elites are told that they are leading in a direction in which the people they claim to represent decline to follow. The advocates of “more state” find themselves sitting on a thin branch that stretches over a deep ravine.
Finally, a word about what the Swiss did not vote for. The vote is not directed against foreigners be they residents or potential entrants. The policy only intends to limit immigration to the employable. This is to assure integration and to remove the burden that the structurally unemployable immigrants impose upon the welfare system. If this sounds like what London wishes to re-negotiate with the EU, then you are right. The Union’s bureaucratic centralism has gone too far. Therefore, popular resistance is growing in the residually sovereign member states.
As a non-member of the EU, Switzerland will ask for a revision. Treaties regulate that relationship. These pertain to product standards, the north-south traffic, the right to settle, student exchange and such. Her treatment by the enraged “Center” will reveal the true nature of the organization that claims the right to run Europe.
It is most likely that, moved by “popular sovereignty”, further groupings will appear to demand that national sovereignty –the local treatment of local problems- replace centralism. The response to the demand of more self-government will determine the future of the EU. Theoretically, Brussels is committed to “subsidiarity”, the delegation of power to the lowest possible level, promised at the time of entry into the union. Hardly any of the EU’s promises has been more clearly violated than this promise.
When a “United States of Europe” was a dream, its purpose had been to preserve diversity through mutual security. Europe’s reality diverges from the context in which the USA emerged. In Europe, numerous ethnicities, languages and ways of life coexist. Peace without a subjugation is only possible in an arrangement that is cognizant of unity’s limits. That means a system that provides through concord to compensate for the weakness of its small members. This consensual system is to guarantee liberty for nations and individuals. Furthermore, it is also a prerequisite of a free economic order that is the foundation of general welfare. These freedoms then are the reason for the creation, existence and maintenance of the association.
Ignoring that, today’s EU attempts to replace the chaos of autonomous components by creating a centralized system. This intended entity moves in the dictatorial direction of the earlier efforts to unify Europe. The attempted new polity not only lacks a people, it is also devoid of direct popular approval.
Having reason not to trust the mass to be forged into a people weakens democratic legitimacy, forces the hand of the elites. Inadvertently, a horrified letter commenting upon the Swiss referendum to the Editor of Germany’s weekly “Spiegel”, has expressed this. It concludes damning the decision by opining “…this has been… a clear warning to all that demand more democracy /expressed/ through popular votes”. Indeed, the trend on both sides of the Atlantic tells the arrogant advocates of guided democracy that they have a growing reason to fear their deserting peoples.