Monday, January 14, 2019

Fool me once.

A little perspective on the issue of referendums that is percolating up in the Gilets Jaunes phenomenon in France:
The referendum is a bitter point in France, a powerful silent underlying cause of the whole Gilets Jaunes movement. In 2005, President Chirac (unwisely from his point of view) called for a popular referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, certain it would be approved. The political class, with a few exceptions, went into full rhetoric, claiming a prosperous future as a new world power under the new Constitution and warning that otherwise Europe might be plunged back into World Wars I and II. However, ordinary citizens organized an extraordinary movement of popular self-education, as groups met to pour through the daunting legalistic documents, elucidating what they meant and what they implied. On May 29, 2005, with a turnout of 68%, the French voted 55% to reject the Constitution. Only Paris voted heavily in favor.

Three years later, the National Assembly – that is, politicians off all parties – voted to adopt virtually the same text, which in 2009 became the Treaty of Lisbon.

That blow to the clearly expressed popular will produced such disillusion that many backed helplessly away from politics. Now they are coming back.[1]

This anger at having the popular will thwarted seems to spreading. The final chapter of the Yellow Jackets has yet to be written but so far it doesn’t seem to have an overt anti-immigration tinge to it, which I find strange. That said, of course, venturing out onto that thin ice in just about any European country is not for the faint of heart. Ms. Johnstone emphasizes how the Yellow Jackets are determined to remain leaderless and allow the important issues to swim into focus from many individual and local sources.

Nor does my cursory investigation reveal any kind of an anti-E.U. sentiment. It’s not hard to see the same contempt for mere mortals in the E.U. itself, however. In 2008, the Irish News published a summary of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty that included this (accurate) gem:

All proposals for EU legislation will have to be sent to national parliaments, who will then have eight weeks to offer a ‘reasoned opinion’ on whether they believe the proposal respects the principle of subsidiarity (this is the principle by which decisions should as far as possible be made at local or national level). If enough national parliaments object to a proposal, the commission can decide to maintain, amend or withdraw it.[2]
In short, the European Commission can blow off the national legislatures in its sole discretion. This call may be monitored for quality purposes. Please leave a message after the sound of the beep.

As I say not something on everyone’s lips in France just now but since Macron’s recent joke of a speech at the New Year[3] indicated that more “Europe” is in the cards to cure France’s “malaise,” the protestors may have this kind of built-in E.U. contempt for national sentiment in the back of their minds too. Filed away for future reference.

Not that they have any expectation of their own legislature having their own interests in mind. French citizens do not, however, lack for other evidence of the contempt of national or European elites for the voters themselves or their national institutions, treasonous and contemptible as they may be. Pretty soon you’ve got a certified Zeitgeist that filters in through your pores and gives a funny taste to the water. See the occasional really odd thing in your country and, before you know it, the cry of “WTF?” is on everyone’s lips.

Every once in a while real politics take place, as Donald Trump has demonstrated rather well. It’s interesting to observe and I rather suspect that, as the early Chinese communists might say now, the masses are developing a revolutionary consciousness. It’s sad to cheer on an inchoate and anarchic citizens’ protest as I like to think that national life should ideally be governed by reason, debate, and the consent of the governed forever in mind. If there’s one thing one can say about Western civilization as a whole, however, it’s that the beautiful people with exotic fragrances on their cuffs think they have been ordained to rule over the lower orders.

[1] "French Democracy Dead or Alive? The Gilets Jaunes in 2019." By Diana Johnstone, By Ron Unz, The Unz Review, 1/11/19.
[2] "The Lisbon Treaty for dummies." By Irish News, 5/15/08 (emphasis added).
[3] "The many projects of Emmanuel Macron." By Tiberge, Gallia Watch, 1/1/19. When Milton Smith coined the term “bafflegab” he most certainly did it with this feeble man-child in mind.



IIRC a similar thing happened with Ireland. The Irish had a referendum to join the EU, voted NO, and were told to vote again until they got it "right".

Witness, now, the attempts to make ANY criticism of unlimited migration illegal. Just look at a story I read this morning about DNA's co-discoverer Watson being stripped of every title / honor for DARING to suggest that there might be racially-based differences in IQ (despite there being, clearly, evolutionary pressures that created other differences)… note, I'm not saying to discriminate, and but acknowledge science! The same for the whole transgender thing.

When large numbers of people have grievances, in this case absolutely legitimate, and are told they can't express them, can't discuss them, can't act in their own interests to contest them, you get a vast underground "magma chamber" that when it does surface, is calamitous.

I read a story, which I may have already noted in a comment, about a young Swedish woman in front of their parliament calling the leadership betrayers. As I glean, here and there, there are a LOT of people across western Europe who feel the same way.

Gonna blow. And when it does, as Peter Grant noted on his blog a year or three ago, "... nobody goes from zero to jackboot like the Europeans."

Gonna blow. And it's going to be bad when it does.

Reg T said...

This reminds me of the union I was forced to join in order to be hired by the California Highway Patrol. In the by-laws - and I haven't a clue how they got it past the union membership - was this little gem: in any issue before the union, the board's decision overruled that of the membership. Even if all the union members voted against a particular issue, the decision of the board could rule in favor and the issue would be passed. The board didn't even have to vote unanimously, just a majority.

Howja like them apples? At least the countries in the EU can exit if they wish. No such luck with our union.


Did any of you see this:

German newspaper says supporters of party opposed to mass Muslim migration should be denied right to vote

So you can't speak out against The Elites. You can't publicly oppose their direction. You must comply with their pronouns and everything else. And now, per the above, if you are subject to wrongthink they're proposing you not even be allowed to participate in the electoral process.

I will be curious to note the reaction to the link's proposal. That the Left wants to silence and disenfranchise critics is a given - but it will be very... educational... to note how this is discussed. Will it be a full-on decrying of it, or will there be qualifying "Well, it's a horrible idea... but..."

Col. B. Bunny said...

NITZAKHON, I love the magma analogy. The betrayers play with fire when they think they can shut certain people out of public debate or criminalize certain ideas. Ann Landers, I think, had a piece on the eight most important words, the seven most important words, etc. The five most important words were, "And what is your opinion?" I'm personally ok with an action that goes against my wishes most of the time because, hitherto at least, I assumed the actors were people of good will AND I got to say my piece or had AN OPPORTUNITY to say it. I think a lot of the steam inside people dissipates if they think their opinion was at least considered. Flash forward to our execrable present and you have a lot of absolute traitors and betrayers who are deciding what sentiments are beyond the pale. Suppressing ideas goes straight to the issue of good will and oppressive power and when people start focusing on that you're opening whole new vistas of understanding. This issue of Google and YouTube censorship is hot and eminently understandable by people not otherwise politically involved.

Attempting to deny the vote is the same mistake. Really?

Reg T, I didn't know you had been in the HP. Interesting point indeed about the provision to ignore the membership. I think "Who are these clowns?" is a question that is on a lot of lips now. I've about popped every vein I have at the arrogance and treason of the elites and the seeming lethargy of the citizenry. God bless all the populists out there who are at last getting some traction. It's been slow in coming but if the left thought they had a lock on the ratchet device that made every leftist outrage permanent, they have not seen nothin' yet. The populist wave will not be patronized or reverse direction any time soon.


@Col. Bunny: Attempting to deny the vote - even voicing the concept - is silencing squared.

They think that by silencing people the "unpleasant ideas" will go away. No, they won't. They'll be driven into hiding, and in the echo-chamber minds of those who hold those ideas and only voice them to others of like mind, they'll resonate and grow. They'll distort beyond recognition and reasoned-discourse answer.

I don't want civil war, whether here in the US or anywhere. But... for example... I have seen videos / read accounts of people in numerous Western European nations pleading for their leaders to stop the immigrant flow. There was, a few years ago, a grandfather complaining his granddaughter could not walk to school without getting harassed; the mayor said "Well, that's how it is" and "Tell her to walk another way to school". You can BET that grandfather started talking with some of his buddies about what to do. Similar stories can be found about almost every country over there. Gun ownership - legal gun ownership - is skyrocketing and I have no doubt people are getting them extra-legally too.

What's that JFK quote? Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable. Or something very close to that.

Gonna blow. And the same voices that tried to suppress it will decry it. And people like you, me, Francis, Linda, and myriad others will say "We TRIED to stop it, we PLEADED with you to listen before it got this bad... but you were SO CONVINCED that you were morally superior, so advanced intellectually, that you didn't listen."