Unregulated finance, the ideology of unfettered free markets, and state capture by corporate interests are what ended up undermining democracy both in North America and in Europe. All industrialized countries are at risk, but it’s the eurozone – with its vulnerable structures – that points most clearly to our potentially unpleasant collective futures.
As a result of the continuing euro crisis, European Central Bank (ECB) now finds itself buying up the debt of all the weaker eurozone governments, making it the – perhaps unwittingly – feudal boss of Europe. In the coming years, it will be the ECB and the European Union who dictate policy. The policy elite who run these structures – along with their allies in the private sector – are the new overlords.
We can argue about who exactly are the peasants, the vassals, and the lords under this model – and what services exactly will end up being exchanged. But there is no question we are seeing a sea change in the post-war system of property, power, and prosperity across Western Europe, just as Hayek feared. An overwhelming debt burden will bring down even the proudest people.
Simon Johnson The European Road to Economic Serfdom
Our own red-tory Philip Blond’s Respublica publishes The Venture Society – A small state, big (civil) society, please. It’s a mess of pottage but you have got to wish them luck. Curious how the Front Porch Republicans, of whom the excellent Patrick Deneen is the latest, have taken him to heart. Meanwhile my own account of these matters is nearly presentable enough to be shown to good friends.
States are not founded on social contracts, protection of the individual, or any such idiocy handed down from Hobbes; they are founded upon congregations, as Augustine explained in the City of God. It is not common interest but common love that defines states. We do not have a âselfâ? interest as such; our âselfâ? belongs to our ancestors and our children, unless, of course, we are contemporary Europeans, who despise our ancestors and have no children, and hope to pass into extinction with the minimum of bother.
From Jerusalem came the most persuasive promise humankind had ever heard, namely the promise of eternal lifeânot the fragile immortality of the pagan gods, whose doom already was sealed by fate in the myths of all the peoples, but life with God past the dissolution of the physical world. The world will wear out and God will discard it like a cloak, Psalm 102 sings, but the Lord will establish his servants forever.
The history of Israel is the history of the world, said Franz Rosenzweig, for as soon as the peoples learned that the God of the Jews had promised them eternal life, they considered how they, too, might become part of this covenant. The Christians emulate us and the Muslims parody us. I use the word âemulationâ? with respect: as Jacob Neusner observes (and Benedict XVI quotes him), when Jesus declares himself to be Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew, he in effect proposes to make Temple and Sabbath accessible to non-Jews. The truth of this proposition or its ultimate efficacy is another matter, but there is no doubt in my mind that orthodox Christians seek the loving Creator God of the Jews. Islam is a different issue: it maintains outward forms similar to Judaism which enclose an inner pagan content.
The passions that rage over Jerusalem reveal the desire for immortality that underlies all of politics. Humankind does not want safety, security, sustenance as much as it wants to cheat death. Islamâs claim to credibility is that it represents the final prophecy, which has corrected falsified and distorted Scriptures prepared by those sneaky Jews and Christians. It does not want to appropriate the Bible, but rather loot it and leave the discredited shell behind.
David Goldman Eternal Jerusalem