The English Channel is wider than the Atlantic Ocean. If Thomas Friedman can write a bestselling book saying that the world is flat, then Daniel Hannan — a member of the European Parliament — can make the case that Britain is really closer to America than it is to Europe.
Few Americans appreciate how limited is the freedom and democracy that prevails on the Continent compared to the massive amount of liberty allowed in the English speaking world. As Hannan points out in his book, Inventing Freedom, Eurocrats do not grasp the fundamentals of democratic governance or much believe in them.
For the French, Germans, Italians, Belgians, Dutch, Spanish, and Scandinavians, government by hereditary aristocracy has been replaced by control through a largely hereditary bureaucracy and civil service. The concept that election by the citizenry confers special standing to speak out about political issues is alien to the Continent. More likely, fear of political demagoguery — deeply instilled in a Continent that has suffered the likes of Napoleon, Hitler, and Mussolini — inhibits European democracy at every turn.
Hannan discusses the essence of Anglo-Saxon freedom and traces its rise to come to dominate the character of English-speaking peoples.
When we Americans suffer criticism from elite circles on the Continent, Hannan bids that we remember how fundamentally unused to freedom our critics are. What better example could there be than the French law forbidding criticism of the sitting president? Even though there was enough evidence out there to convict Jacques Chirac, after he left office, of extortion during his tenure as Mayor of Paris before becoming president of France, no journalist could write about it while he served as president for fear of prosecution.
As our own President Obama leads us ever further down the garden path that leads to Euro-socialism, we would do well to read and heed the warnings brought to us from the other side of the Ocean. From his vantage in Brussels, Hannan has a unique chance to see up close where Obama is leading us. His report is scary, all the more because we sense that Obama’s identity politics is bringing us ever closer to that denouement. Hannan discusses how the Continental model is fundamentally incompatible with Anglo-Saxon liberty and the very concept of freedom.
A great book and a good read!
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