Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Emperor's Old Clothes

Reader DL sends a link to Roger Scruton's wonderful piece in the National Review: Enter Eurospeak. Scruton's essay is about deception, specifically the 'Communist-like' deception at the heart of the proposed EU constitution, which he compares point-by-point to Orwell's Newspeak, itself a description of the Marxist program Orwell observed in the 1930s and 40s.

For no sooner had Marxist Newspeak evaporated than Eurospeak — the official language of the European Union — came in place of it. Turn to that extraordinary document on which the future of Europe now depends — the official constitution of the European Union — and you will again see language used as it was used by the Communists, not to describe reality, but to subdue reality to a ruling purpose.

In the draft constitution, things mean the opposite of what they ostensibly say. Grants of power to the nation states of Europe are really disguised forms of usurpation from them. Yet each of these expropriations is concealed in words whose plain meaning is never clear: purposely so because they are part of a linguistic process designed to lead people, a bit a time, towards a destination which would be rejected if baldly stated.

Take the critical term "subsidiarity," with which the constitution promises to protect the vestiges of national sovereignty. ... In Eurospeak, however, subsidiarity has the opposite sense, providing a comprehensive authorization to the EU institutions to expropriate whatever powers they might deem to be theirs. By purporting to grant powers with the very word that removes them, the EU constitution wraps the whole idea of decentralized government in mystery. A similar mystery is enshrined in such words as "proportionality," "solidarity," "ever closer union," and "acquis communautaire": words and phrases that suggest a popular process of lawful gain, but whose real meaning is loss. ...

Concealed within the crucial phrases is the non-negotiable appropriation of powers by an unaccountable body. ...  By offering indecipherable mysteries at all the points where discussion might lead to a rejection of the agenda, Eurospeak protects the privileges of the Eurocrats as effectively as Newspeak protected the power of the Communists.

Like every form of Newspeak, the 'advances' proposed by the European constitution are cast as historical inevitability. It is of no importance if no one actually chooses or votes for these goals because they are implicit in 'world-historical movements' and only reactionary churls would oppose them. Scruton says:

From the same source comes the penchant of Newspeak for "irreversible" changes. Since everything is in motion and the "struggle" between the forces of progress and the forces of reaction is always and everywhere, it is important that the triumph of ideology over reality be constantly recorded and endorsed. Hence progressive forces always achieve irreversible changes, while reactionary forces are wrong-footed by their contradictory and merely "nostalgic" attempts to defend a doomed social order.

Eurospeak mirrors this feature of Newspeak. It pins its exhortations to a pan-dynamic vision of the political process in which all positive changes are irreversible and all negative changes merely temporary setbacks, caused by racism, xenophobia, Little Englandism, nationalism, and so on. Just as the official announcements of Newspeak refer to ever more "scientific," progressive, or productive initiatives, without ever specifying just what point on the scale of science, progress, or production we have reached, so does Eurospeak build itself around a project of "ever closer union," without pausing to consider how much union has so far been attained or how much union would be desirable. Everything is constantly moving forward along the single path ...

And of course, no dialect of Newspeak would be complete without ThoughtCrime.

In a similar manner Eurospeak fills the world with its own brand of dangerous "isms," ... Chief of these "isms" is the "racism" (and "xenophobia") ...  and which has now been made into a crime. Nobody knows what this crime involves, and that is the real purpose of the label — namely, to instill in the public mind the idea of a malign force that stalks through all European society, inhabiting the hearts and brains of people who may not be aware of its machinations, diverting even the most innocent project onto the path of sin.

The post Man Bites Dog points out what is truly remarkable about all forms of Newspeak: their reliance on what is relentlessly suggested but never proved. Jimmy Carter asserts that a stronger UN and EU will weaken terrorism without offering the slightest shred of proof for the proposition. The EU asserts that the march toward a European superstate is inevitable, without saying why. Global Warming is advanced as fact even as the Populuation Bomb once was fact, though both are actually theories, with the latter lying in total discredit. Yet hundreds of millions, even billions of people routinely take these assertions as given.

Perhaps the real reason ideological propositions are set up as "obvious" and "irreversible" facts is that they are actually so intellectually fragile they must be exempted from questioning. That's why the very act of discussing these unsupported articles of faith is declared a form of "intolerance" or "hate speech" so as to make the whole ideological edifice self-supporting. But as the recent rejections of the European Charter in France and the Netherlands proved, bankrupt ideas however armored with Newspeak are bankrupt all the same with one additional property. Newspeak coated projects are prone to a suddenly catastrophic -- and to the press -- and inexplicable collapse. Keith Windschuttle in his wonderful New Criterion article The journalism of warfare cites Robert Fisk's derision at American attempts to overthrow Saddam Hussein in April 2003 as an example of corrupt reporting.

The road to the front in central Iraq is a place of fast-moving vehicles, blazing Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, tanks and trucks hidden in palm groves, a train of armoured vehicles… . How, I kept asking myself, could the Americans batter their way through these defences? For mile after mile they go on, slit trenches, ditches, earthen underground bunkers, palm groves of heavy artillery and truck loads of combat troops in battle fatigues and steel helmets. Not since the 1980–88 Iran-Iraq War have I seen the Iraqi Army deployed like this.

The European Charter ratification campaign, like Saddam's impregnable defenses and the Soviet Union in 1989 collapsed overnight not because of some of some secret weapon but simply because these supposedly powerful things were really houses of cards given the impression of solidity by their publicists. They were dreams made out of Newspeak -- durable until the first light wind blew them over.


Blogger jakita said...

Excellent post. It amazes me--as I've probably already said on this and other blogs--that the EU project got as far as it did. It's crazytalk. Anyone with a legal background would be able to write reams about the dangers of various aspects of the EU. "Hate crimes" are among the most obvious, but just trying to standardize hundreds and hundreds of economic endeavors would be another.

6/12/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

There's a new theory, too, that China is a shining house of cards, hiding a rusty decrepit regime that will sooner or later collapse as their Russian comrades did 20 years ago. Of course, the Yurps are looking to slide along into the 21st Century on the coat-tails of the Chinese, so it'll be fun watching that collapse if and when it happens, because we'll be getting two for the price of one.

6/12/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Britain and France bankrupting new members to fund their rebate scheme/farms respecitively:

Because the French, who benefit handsomely from EU farm subsidies, are unwilling to budge on the CAP and the British firm on the rebate, attempts to strike a deal on the EU budget at the summit are dim.

"We've seen (French President) Jacques Chirac rule out any discussion on farm subsidies. Similarly, although he hasn't quite ruled it out, Blair has made it quite explicit that he wouldn't negotiate unless there is any movement on farm subsidies," said Alasdair Murray at the center for European Reform in London.

6/12/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Brilliant analogy! The idea of "EUrope" is slowly sliding over the edge into an abyss. Bon Voyage!

6/12/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Holsinger said...

One of the purposes of the EU is to keep the public from participating in EU affairs. Stifling public debate with bafflegab is standard operating procedure.

6/12/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

We must understand that for some, there is no Truth. All is relative. As an article of faith, the left knows whatever it believes is correct. So it can switch from opposing Hitler to an alliance in 1939, in the same way the left now allies with the Saudi killer cult, and see nothing wrong.

There is no god, so anything you want to do is OK. You are in control. There is no Truth. There is no God. That is why abortion on demand, killing the inconvenient, are articles of faith to the religion of the left. This is the Faustian bargain offered by and to the left.

Now those who know there is Truth, are the enemies. We are accused of being intolerant, the worst crime possible in a religion that worships the idol of tolerance. If you know you are god, anyone who says otherwise is a danger.

Ours is a war of truth and Truth. It started over a 100 years ago in the mainline Protestant churches, and still goes on.

6/12/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm interested in what the assembled brains think of Nahncee's post.
I've heard the same about the regime, but wouldn't we expect a lot different outcome than Russia, given the rising incomes and productivity of the people, and their abilities as businesspeople?
Or would the collapse necessarily mean the kind of bankruptcy Russia is going through?

6/12/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Orwell described Newspeak as "...designed to limit the range of thought" and believed that only a knowledge of history could save us from it.

Can't help but wonder what the legions of Brussels sprouts who wrote the 97,000 pages of rules (to explain the 500 pages of actual constitution) think of the USA Constitution, all twelve (12) pages of it. ;-)

6/12/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

May 27, 2005
. Turmoil as Chirac plots to disregard 'non' vote .
He argued that the constitution would strengthen France’s influence in Europe and reinforce the French social model. Rejecting it would create “divisions and doubts” in Europe when “we need a political Europe capable of bringing about a genuine European power”. Shazam! Done!

He and other "yes" campaigners have said repeatedly during the campaign that there is no “Plan B” if the treaty is rejected and that there would not be a second referendum.
But one option being discussed in senior diplomatic circles is for candidates in the French presidential election in 2007 to promise to ratify the treaty in parliament rather than by referendum.

6/12/2005 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Can't help but wonder what the legions of Brussels sprouts who wrote the 97,000 pages of rules (to explain the 500 pages of actual constitution) think of the USA Constitution, all twelve (12) pages of it. ;-)
They should have followed our lead and let the courts do that.
Would have given them a couple hundred years, at least.

6/12/2005 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


China is something of a house of cards.

While it's military is strong on paper, there are significant weaknesses that stem from it's communist origins. An over-reliance on officers vs. petty officers, though this is changing slowly. Many domestic weapons systems are suffering from communistic bureaucracy.

Another aspect is the incredible size, scope and inefficiency of the Chinese bureaucracy. There is an estimate 45 million mid-level bureaucrats in China. These are the ones with chauffered cars and nice perks, i.e. department heads or higher. Which only indicates a staggering number of clerks, functionaries and flunkies.

Then there is the national banking system. The problem is that the nation banking system is owned and operated by the Chinese government. The bank's primary source of assets are the savings of every Chinese worker, which on average runs to about 2-3 years gross income. The customers, for loans, are companies owned and operated, fully or partially, by the Chinese government. Then there's the issue of corruption, influence peddling and the like.

So the problem is that there are companies that should be bankrupt and shut down, but are kept operating by infusions of cash from the banks. The banks can't refuse because the people skimming the profits aren't the kind of people you say "no" to. So the inefficient company is given a line of credit, the bank gets a worthless NPL (non-performing loan) and serious shift of assets happens.

Last I checked the Chinese banks were sitting on about $600 billion, or more, in NPLs. Now the $600 billion is the official number, the number the Chinese banks and the Chinese government is willing to admit to. But the actual number might be much much higher. I wouldn't be surprised if it were more than $1 trillion, but I would be surprised if it were above $2 trillion.

The primary instability in this is that there is no Social Security equivalent. If you're Chinese then you have to save for living costs for when you get older. In part this is why the Chinese save so much, there's nothing in the way of a safety net. Even healthcare is largely on a cash basis.

Another instability is the average age of the Chinese worker is around 40. It will only be a decade or so before the Chinese workers start drawing from their accounts rather than putting in. The real question is whether or not there will be anything left to draw.

The last problem is gender inequality, though not what you're probably thinking of. In China, as in many other asian nations, boys are prized while girls are not. Boys are the head of the household, and thus can provide for his parents. Girls on the other hand generally are not the head of a household and can find it difficult to help support her parents. Then there is the issue of dowry, a facet that also affects India to a degree.

The result is rate of female infanticide and abortion is many times higher than for boys. In one city, Ghangzou, there is an official tally of 145 boys for every 100 girls. Though remember that this is a communist country and the numbers could actually be anything. From various sources it appears that this discrepency is actually acelerating and that the day when there are, literally, 2 boys for every girl might not be that far off. The effects on political, economic and societal stability are pretty obvious.

Then there's the "graying" of China. The "one child per family" rule has had devastating effects, outlined partially above. The net result is that the desire to halve the population is working. The only problem is that there's going to be 600 million Chinese elderly in just 2-3 decades and there won't be anybody to take care of them. Just finding enough replacement workers for the Chinese economy at that point in time might be difficult. While the there's sufficient workers now, with massive numbers still unemployed, there's no guarantee that this will continue.

In twenty years time China might find itself in the curious position of having more work than workers. Just like they'll have more boys than girls.

A lot of possible problems for China.

6/12/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Yeah, but what if we'd started out with the 97,000 pages?

6/12/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A: I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid.
M: I just paid!
A: No you didn't.
A: No you didn't.
M: Look, I don't want to argue about that.
A: Well, you didn't pay.
M: Aha. If I didn't pay, why are you arguing? I Got you!
A: No you haven't.
M: Yes I have. If you're arguing, I must have paid.
A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.
M: Oh I've had enough of this.
A: No you haven't.
. The Argument Sketch .
Hat Tip:
Scott Berkun
. #40 - Why smart people defend bad ideas

6/12/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ed, that sure puts a different light on the miltary build-up, doesnt'it?

6/12/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


As an example there's an estimated 70 million unmarried men that probably can never get married. Their financial and income prospects just aren't good enough to either attract a wife or to buy one.

6/12/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Another aspect is the incredible size, scope and inefficiency of the Chinese bureaucracy. There is an estimate 45 million mid-level bureaucrats in China. These are the ones with chauffered cars and nice perks, i.e. department heads or higher. Which only indicates a staggering number of clerks, functionaries and flunkies."
Just put 'em to work on the farms.
Oops, that's already been tried.

6/12/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


" Ed, that sure puts a different light on the miltary build-up, doesnt'it?"

Yes it does, to a point. The problem still is that many domestically produced Chinese weapons aren't all that good. It'll take another 1-2 decades for the Chinese to get good enough at it that their weapons systems will be considered world-class. And that'll take enormous amounts of money to do it, more than what they're spending now.

Sure if the Chinese wanted to produce light infantry they could do it. One possible scenario has China invading all the regional countries to steal their women. Sounds bizzare but it's happening in slow-mo now through kidnappings and purchased brides. Quite a few North Korean women are getting into China as wives.

It's really a ponzi scheme in many ways. There's something about communism where the facade is more important than the reality. What the end result will be I have no idea.

6/12/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Does the EU strangling in the vomit of its constitution mark the true death of historicism? Perhaps not, considering the overall investment in the MSM and MSE. What will the Fabians and Gramscians be working towards tomorrow? Certainly Monnet and Kojeve must be shrieking at an ultrasonic pitch as their worst best laid plans gang aft agley.

Am I the only one who thinks that the French resistance in the UN might be linked to the loss of revenue from the Total/Fina/Elf contracts with Iraq? A revenue stream that might have allowed France to retain some semblance of solvency until the Brits (the only true moneymakers in all of Europe) could be convinced to pick up the tab for the infamous CAP?

With a bit of luck the French should be in the streets next summer and a diploma from L'ecole Polytechnique should be a ticket for a ride in a tumbrel. Those with the diploma have certainly earned a bit of abbreviation.

6/12/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A lot of possible problems for China."
Thanks, glad I asked, very informative.
You remind me that a similar question used to be asked regularly by tourists to Hawaii. They'd see planeloads of money coming into the State, and wonder how parks, roads, schools, and etc could be falling apart.
Where's it all go, they'd ask.
Had to see it to believe it.
The Black Hole for Money, Honolulu, Oahu.
Lately, the great mainland economy and the Real Estate market are masking things, but cycles come and cycles go, and I've yet to see anything done other than follow the Calif model:
Spend it while you got it.

6/12/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why don't they just make up the money from another Murderous Dictator/Buddy?
Mugabe, maybe?

6/12/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So China wants to do with Taiwan what France wants to do w/Britain.
Take the money and stay.
For a while longer.

6/12/2005 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


What has Mugabe to sell? Dead 'ndebele have a rather low market value.

Btw, I second Ed's analysis of China. I'm sticking with a forecast of civil war by 2015 with a lot of the fighting in Guangdong. And with just a tiny smidgen of help from the Kuomintang.

6/12/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't have too much to add to Ed's analysis but my general impression is that China has had a really rough time interacting with the outside world since about 1700---leaving out the fact that it has almost always been in hock to some foreign power for the past 2000 years (and the Jurchens, Mongols and Manchus, among others, were certainly foreign and only partly succeeding in acculturating themselves). It has also had a really rough time with maintaining stable coherence for more than a century. China is not a monolith, despite impressions, and the Communist government will not manage the transition from Maoism to capitalism as smoothly as investors want you to believe, because such a change is ultimately revolutionary, considering the contradictory nature of so many aspects of the ideologies. And ideology is Very important in China, whether you're in the mid-Ming period or late Qing period. A billion people is actually an Enormous problem for statecraft. It is probably insoluble, or anyway that's what I'm betting. I too think some sort of major civil conflict by 2020 will occur.

Take the Chicoms' view of the Falun Gong, which seems ridiculous to us, through the lense of Chinese history. Not only the famous Taiping rebellion but literally dozens of these martial arts/mystical-religious groups have toppled governments and fomented at least short-term revolutions. The Ming dynasty itself was the result of such a force.

China is its own world. They will never "enter" the modern, Anglo-derived "modern" world. Ever.

6/12/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The primary instability in this is that there is no Social Security equivalent. If you're Chinese then you have to save for living costs for when you get older. In part this is why the Chinese save so much, there's nothing in the way of a safety net. Even healthcare is largely on a cash basis.
In isolation, longer term, is this better or worse than the USA?
...the lockbox does not exist, and the ponzi scheme grows old.
And efficient healthcare ultimately depends on the customer paying for the service.

6/12/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I also wouldn't be surprised if some sort of new variety of revolution occurs in Europe too, speaking of the post topic. The French who defeated the EU constitution were actually either very left wing or very right wing--which is to say, the subdued but present heirs to the legacy of Europe's own moralizing ideological period as inaugurated in 1789. But national feeling persists; without it there could be no countries, and these certainly would have dissolved after WWII if those feelings had been somehow "constructed." They are not constructed; they are familial. And the left and right represent different reactions to the breakdown of that feeling made manifest in the monarchy. The national sentiment is what persists. There's no way to rationalize it away; it can only be conquered into oblivion. The right and the left (since the left is totalitarian, but not sincerely internationalist or even cosmopolitan; that is merely the moral-aesthetic consequence of its own -speak) know this, and embody it--just as the Islamists certainly represent some sort of nativist, atavistic manifestation of genuine Islamic and particularly Arab feeling.

The coming demographic crises just may stress the current malaise enough to bring these groups back into some sort of repute. Obviously, as much as academics are currently incapable of acknowledging, the actual foundation of the Cold War is gone. The world is moving inexorably on, and certainly away from the version of reality of which EUspeak is a bastard, simple child.

But it's going to curdle before it is overcome.

6/12/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

What is curious to me is exactly how do governments in free societies manage to sneak by the populace with rules that are hidden and meanings that change? Exactly where is the press in all of that? How badly must the system already be broken for the press to allow something as horrendous as the sneaking subversion of freedom in Europe?

What are the parallels here in the states? What are the conditions in Europe that have so hamstrung the press that they sit idly by while basic freedoms pass by on their way to the trash heap? Is it soley because of government ownership of the power of the press?

Pierre Legrand

6/12/2005 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/12/2005 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pierre Legrand said...
" What are the conditions in Europe that have so hamstrung the press that they sit idly by while basic freedoms pass by on their way to the trash heap? Is it solely because of government ownership of the power of the press?"
In France at least, from what I understand. I read that the readership of Le Monde is extremely low, (250 k ?) and that it is written for, and largely read only by the govt workers.
The untermenschen (taxpaying citizens) just assume all politicians are corrupt, and go about their daily lives ignoring them.

Pierre Legrand

6/13/2005 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

SSB accused of faulty demographics .
Sunday May 15, 2005 by Bjørn Stærk
Ole Jørgen Anfindsen takes on Statistics Norway (SSB) and demographics researcher Lars Østby for grossly underestimating the growth of Norway's non-Western population.
Norwegian kafir/Fjordman 2005-05-15 20:45 Link
With the current trends, Norwegians will indeed be a minority in our own country within a couple of generations, and in the Oslo region already about 2030. The development has gone further in Sweden, which now seems to be teetering on the verge of collapse. I hope it's ok for Bjørn if I post a couple of links about this:
Is Swedish Democracy Collapsing?
Swedish Police "Unmotivated" to Fight Rising Crime
The Norwegian parliament this April passed legislation that will make ethnic Norwegians de facto second-rate citizens in our own country in certain areas. I am preparing a post about that issue in English, which should be ready by 17th of May, the Norwegian National Day.
Det nye, norske folkeopprøret .

6/13/2005 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Googling the future By John Leo .
The year is 2014. The press as we know it no longer exists. Traditional reporting has collapsed. News is churned out by the media giant Googlezon. (Google has taken over many companies and joined forces with Amazon.)
The news consists of blogs, attitudes, discoveries, preferences, claims and random thoughts, gathered and shaped by computers and a few human editors, then fed back to ordinary people who produce the continuing conversation.
The New York Times is off the Internet. It still publishes, but the newspaper has become a newsletter read only by the elite and the elderly.
This is the finding of a clever, eight-minute mock documentary, "EPIC 2014," produced by the fictional Museum of Media History (in reality, journalists Matt Thompson of the Fresno Bee and Robin Sloan of Current, a new cable news channel in San Francisco). Messrs. Thompson and Sloan recently added a short section taking the story up to 2015.

According to Advertising Age, Google and Yahoo will take in as much ad money this year as the prime-time revenues of the three major networks combined.
Another sign of the times: Bloggers now try to set up a consortium to draw heavy advertising themselves. In the mockumentary, the new electronic media basically blow away the old by paying attention to what people want, most of which would be called soft news or non-news today.
"EPIC 2014" is a very sharp bit of media analysis. Check it out at

6/13/2005 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

And here is how the current chairman of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed himself:

"We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don't understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back."

6/13/2005 02:03:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

I understand another big problem for China is the catastrophic environmental condition the rapid industrialisation has brought along. Of the ten worst polluted cities in the world, seven are in China – another study found 16 of the 20 worst polluted cities in China. Near all the beaches are polluted. Already strapped for water, they’re going to have huge problems in the future getting enough clean water for all. Acid rain, deforestation, farmland erosion and desertification as well as toxic waste pollution annually reduces the available farmland. The air is polluted with particles from all the coal-powered energy plants – where the managers commonly even remove the scrubbers and other minimal pollution reducing technology to have it produce the extra 1%. In some pollution categories China is behind more than 3/4 of the world output. Especially heavy metal into the air and oceans – which can be felt as far away as The Faeroe Island.

It’s a lot easier to rack up an impressive economic growth if you care little for cleaning up the mess, but it has to be clean up eventually – and then their economic growth will take a hit.

6/13/2005 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

ANOTHER problem for China can be seen in their slogan, widely publicised, when China swallowed Hong Kong: "One China, Two Systems"

In addition to the problems posited above, add to them the social friction generated in the 'classless Communist society, Comrade' as the genii of INFORMATION slips from the grasp of the Central Committee and starts -no, CONTINUES- to work his magic among the Chinese people!

Rising expectations; awareness of the upper-class's abuse of privilege; frustration at lack of life-changing choices continually being made by the elite (You will go to college, you will not. You will study THIS and THAT. No, you may NOT study that or that.)

I daresay it will come sooner rather than later, and will be swift and violent when they eject and eliminate the 'ruling class' in their 'classless society'!

6/13/2005 03:57:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Britains rebate is not bankrupting the EU,Britain is still the second largest contributor after Germant even with a rebate.
The rebate was demanded simply because Britain was paying and it still payning a disproportioante contribution whilst France derives most of the benefit from the Common Agriculture Policy for its inefficient small holding farmers.
For Britain the whole thing has been a rip off from day one.
We are an Island surrounded by fish which have been taken from us and given to the Spanish,British fishermen have to scrap their boats whilst the Spanish fishing fleet rob them of their living.
The whole enterprise is designed to allow France,Luxembourg and Belgium live off the wealth of others.
BTW You have bought Chiracs ploy to deflect blame and provide a wedge issue between Britain and New Europe.

6/13/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Doug said:

I'm interested in what the assembled brains think of Nahncee's post.
I've heard the same about the regime, but wouldn't we expect a lot different outcome than Russia, given the rising incomes and productivity of the people, and their abilities as businesspeople?

The development is very uneven.

Trade and manufacturing on the coast is prospering. Agriculture (80% of the population) is suffering.

If the Communists maitain control with their outmoded ideas of agricultural organization (no private farms, no ability to buy land) they will fail.

If they lose control they fail.

They also have the problem of all socialist systems: endemic corruption. Made double bad by lack of democracy. The corruption alone is a significant limiting factor.

Their population will begin aging rapidly (9 months per year) in about ten to fifteen years. Demographics. There is nothing they can do short of mass murder. Of course with all the external business contacts that is pretty much a last resort.

Whatever they do they are screwed.

They have a window for military action against Taiwan of about 10 years. After that internal problems will be much more significant.

6/13/2005 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Absolutely agree. Do not scrap the rebate without a throughout reworking of the farm subsidiary rules. They were there to jump start European farms after 1945. But now they’re mostly there just to keep alive small unproductive French farmers. The French stand on farm subsidiaries is a complete disgrace. Especially the socialist leftwing French support for tax walls to protect them from poor 3. world countries. It completely boggles the mind how the far leftwing organisation Attack – which was very active in the recent French "no" campaign, has its origin in upholding farm subsidiaries and combatting globalisation, when much everybody agree that precisely those farm subsidiaries and the close markets are what hurt the the most. Hypocrites.

And now Spain is having her knickers in a twist over seeing her massive regional subsidiaries phased out with the enlargement of the much poorer eastern European and Baltic countries. Great show of solidarity Spain! ...bah The whole enlargement is turning out to be a farce. Where we should have rejoicing at seeing our European brothers freed from 40 years of communistic tyranny and welcomed them in with open arms and open markets, Europe is preoccupied with hand wringing over cheap Polish plumbers and fear of having to share fat subsidiaries with more needing neighbours. Oh, how I wish those faint signs of new alliances within the EU which were seen in the run-up to the Iraq war would come to something. We need to drive the continental socialists out of EU.

6/13/2005 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The skillful French rider never actually go to ride the German horse,but got it to pull the French cart.

6/13/2005 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"On the flight from Dallas to Frankfurt I sat next to a German air-compressor specialist who had been on assignment in the US.
He made two comments about the EU constitution and France and Holland’s recent rejection of the document.
His first comment:
“Our politicians voted for it.”
(Germany did not hold a referendum– Germany’s elected reps voted for the EU Constitution.)
His second comment:
“No one has read it and knows what it says. Not completely. I certainly haven’t.”
(Given that it’s 450 or so pages in length, his comment is an understatement.)
This is posted as an anecdote – a tidbit, but nevertheless food for thought.
“Our politicians voted for it.”
I know Germany won’t hold a referendum, but I wonder if the EU Constitution would have passed in Germany, given Germany’s present political discontent and economic malaise.

. Austin Bay - Arrival in Bahrain

6/13/2005 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

June 9, 2005: Lots of folks in sub-Saharan Africa snicker when they hear France’s president Jacques Chirac complain of US “unilateralism” and American imperial aims. France still maintains an empire and if you don’t think so, check out the way the Ivory Coast, Chad, and the Central African Republic (CAR) work – or don’t work.

And then there’s Djibouti, an independent ( at least nominally) nation located on the Horn of Africa. At one time know as the French colony of “Afars and the Issas", the place has something State Department real estate agents understand– strategic location, strategic location, strategic location. It’s near the mouth of the Red Sea– and for the region it has excellent logistics capabilities. Djibouti got its independence from France in 1977, but the way France “de-colonialized” was something of a fiction. France and Djibouti maintain very “close ties.”

Since 2002, Djibouti has served as a base for U.S. military and intelligence operations against terrorist groups in east Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Djibouti had a “minor” civil war that lasted from the early-1990s until 2001. Afar ethnics –chafing under an Issa dominated government– occasionally blew up things and ambushed convoys. That fracas seems to be settled, though settled in the way France likes to settle things. President Ismail Omar Guelleh was recently reelected president. In April 2005 Guelleh won 100 percent of the votes in the presidential election. He was unopposed.
. Djibouti

6/13/2005 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Upheaval on Los Angeles Times Editorial Pages .
This week, the newspaper, will introduce an online feature called "wikitorials," as a way for readers to engage in an online dialogue with the paper. The model is based on "Wikipedia," the Web's free-content encyclopedia that is edited by online contributors.
"We'll have some editorials where you can go online and edit an editorial to your satisfaction," Mr. Martinez said. "We are going to do that with selected editorials initially. We don't know how this is going to turn out. It's all about finding new ways to allow readers to interact with us in the age of the Web."
Mr. Kinsley said that he was just trying something new with the wikitorials.
"It may be a complete mess but it's going to be interesting to try," he said. "Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It's the ultimate in reader participation."

6/13/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tony:Fact Checking Rich

6/13/2005 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

A friend of mine who has spent some time in China told me that the Chinese will never be a threat to us militarily because they lie so much to one another. Thinking about that observation, lies probably are an absolute necessity in any kind of totalitarian regime. If you admitted what is going on you would not be doing it, or at least most people would not. Also, the penalties for failure are very high in such a society, so no one fails. How many times has anyone said "With all due respect, Mein Furher, El Duce, General Tojo, Comrade Chairman, Dear Leader, that idea is absolutely freakin' nuts"? Perhaps it does not happen enough here, but over there it does not happen at all.
So how much of that 400 plus page tome called the EU Constitution was Newspeak designed to cover up lies and how much was simple but utter confusion? I doubt that anyone knows. And if he does know, he is afraid to tell.

6/13/2005 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

All that is old is new again.
In Europe they march towards Unity.
United in What? Well, they are not quite sure, the future perhaps.

Unelected Government is a bane to all free people, in Europe or US.
Newspeak is alive and well in both Societies.
Imagine in the US, the 10th Amendment consistently overruled by the Commerce Clause or newly found Privacy Rights. The 1st Amendment is overruled by Campaign Finance Reform
On many political issues in US, from Abortion to Gun Control to Medical Bud and Eminent Domain we find "Original Intent" is lost, and the unelected, Judges or Bureaucrats carrying the water of an overpowered State.
In EU they have not progressed quite so far. They have no Constitution to ignore.

6/13/2005 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The June 11 9:40 AM comment by flenser (scroll way down) throws interesting light on the national vs 'other' divided-loyalties theme.

Thanks, Rune--t had never dawned on me how--assuming globalisation (read capitalism) is 'good'--the agonies of the sub-sahara are so tied into French small-holder subsidies. You're right; it really is inexcusable.

6/13/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Wretchard wrote: "Perhaps the real reason ideological propositions are set up as "obvious" and "irreversible" facts is that they are actually so intellectually fragile they must be exempted from questioning."

I guess that's why this initiative started with the early adoption of the international currency, the Euro, before there was a unified constitution to support such a bold leap of faith in communality.

They would have been better off just adopting the global currency everyone else uses, the US dollar.

6/13/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The Euro has been a success in so many ways, leading the formation of the common market. But if the CM is not going to be, it's very difficult to see how a common monetary policy can possibly survive so many disparate fiscal policies. This bodes well for a strong dollar, not so well for global growth, which needs at this juncture some demand from the continent.

6/13/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Pierre Legrand said... "What is curious to me is exactly how do governments in free societies manage to sneak by the populace with rules that are hidden and meanings that change? Exactly where is the press in all of that?

You assume that reporters are working for their readers, rather than operating in their own personal interests.

What valuable assets does a reporter have? His most valuable assets are his sources. In Europe, the best sources are members of the power elite: senior officials, wealthy power brokers, etc. To be a successful reporter, you must be someone these sources would consider talking to. More, you must be somebody these sources are comfortable talking to, as a member of the same club, somebody who they are confident will operate to advance the agenda of the power elite. In essense, the media operate as the PR arm of the power elite, and its senior people are members of the power elite.

The power elite desires stability above all else. One of their desires is to pass on their power to their own kids. They know their kids are not more intelligent than the average middle class kid. What they DO have is access to a network of contacts built up over years and generations. It's upsetting to have a relationship to the CEO of a rich company, nurtured over the years, suddenly become useless because some upstart start-up has taken over the market and driven the old market leader into bankruptcy.

In a heavily regulated, government controlled environment, contacts have great value. In a dynamic market economy, intelligence, energy, and vision are dominant.

6/13/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


"A friend of mine who has spent some time in China told me that the Chinese will never be a threat to us militarily because they lie so much to one another."

One of the more amusing stories I've been told, and had personal experiences to back it up, was from a friend of mine who worked as a computer programmer in Singapore. He worked in an office with a few other Indian programmers, and a lot of Chinese programmers.

The strange thing is that the Chinese programmer would all arrive at the office at 4am while the Indian programmers arrived at the normal 8am. During the daytime he'd notice that the Chinese programmers were either goofing off, taking a smoke break or snoozing in their cubicles.

Curious about this he asked one Chinese programmer about this. The answer is that one Chinese programmer came a little early one day, to earn brownie points. After that it became a race to the bottom where each successive day brought the start time earlier and earlier. Finally, by unspoken agreement, the Chinese programmers settled on a 4am to 11pnm "workday".

But this made it very difficult to get anything done as the Chinese programmers were tired all the time. So they then started taking unofficial naps during the day to make up for it.

A strange but true story because I've worked with Chinese programmers in the past, and each and every single one of them has done something similar.

6/13/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Harley said...

The EU like China are artificial nations, like Yugoslavia and Iraq.
Nation held together by a strong man/or group, that keep the mutual antagonism of his nations people in check.
Ethnically china is nearly as Diverse as the EU, and with that brings up its own set of problems.
from what i have heard before southern Chinese have a visceral dislike for the Mandarin, and other northern Chinese,I don't know how deep it runs today, but historically it Ran VERY deep.

as other commenter's have said China is headed toward a disaster, and the only way i see them, "avoiding" it to any degree is with a foreign adventure, and i believe the Chinese leadership knows that.
But then what do i know I'm just a dumb hick from Missouri.

6/13/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Tha's okay, harley, me too--tho, not from Mizzou.

6/13/2005 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Worked for Bill Gates, Also .
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Apple Computer Inc.'s CEO Steve Jobs told Stanford University graduates Sunday that dropping out of college was one of the best decisions he ever made because it forced him to be innovative _ even when it came to finding enough money for dinner.

In an unusually candid commencement speech, Jobs also told the almost 5,000 graduates that his bout with a rare form of pancreatic cancer reemphasized the need to live each day to the fullest.
Kinda fits w/ed's post,
...and and another dumb hick dropout from mizzou:
Rush Limbaugh
And the other half of the folks that weren't dumb okies where I grew up.

6/13/2005 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Well I’m European, and we Europeans are very sophisticated.

6/13/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Got any dog pictures?

6/13/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Baghdad Court TV

6/13/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Unlike that appearance, where Saddam was combative and tried to exhibit his authority, the tape shows a man who appears to a shadow of his former self.
There are heavy bags under his eyes, he often clasps his hands and squeezes his fingers -- clutching them together when apparently trying to make a point. His hair appears unkempt and his beard has more gray flecks running through it than a year ago
Sounds like Larsen, or someone else I know.
Hope they aren't mistreating the poor guy.
...and that he has access to King James version of Koran.

6/13/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Horowitz AutoBio, Post Cancer, Post 911

6/13/2005 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

he often clasps his hands and squeezes his fingers -- clutching them together when apparently trying to make a point.
M Simon,
Now see how insensitive that comment in previous thread to me was?
(squeezes fingers while typing "previous thread to me.")

6/13/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Re. the Chinese birth rates and skewed sex ratio.

Well it is my understanding that they’re already trying to do something about the sex ration. If the parents should be so unfortunate as the first child is a girl (..gah! I have two girls, and plan at least two or three more kids – and if they’re all girls I’d count myself a lucky, if impoverished, man), if the first is a girl the one child rule has been amended so the parents are allowed another child. Also I believe the ratio has only been skewed 1-2%.

But if is so obvious that they’re having a serious problem with an aging population why don’t they simply scrap the one child rule altogether?

6/13/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...


I don't see China as going the way of the Soviet Union. I see them as more-or-less analogous to National Socialism - A nationalist country with socialist government an capitalist economic engine. The only thing they lack is a competent military - but that is the easiest of all to change.

6/13/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Looking back after the fall of China, it will be obvious to everyone why the fallen nation could not possibly have sustained itself with so many internal inconsistencies. Even those who now laud the "Chinese century" will by then understand the inevitable doom toward which China was lumbering, back in the first decade of the 2000s.

6/13/2005 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


"But if is so obvious that they’re having a serious problem with an aging population why don’t they simply scrap the one child rule altogether?"

Because bureaucracies move very very slowly. Because it takes time for people to realise that there is a problem.

The problem isn't having a second child. The problem is in having the female infant in the first place. In many asian cultures a girl is not welcome. A boy is celebrated, but girls sometimes never. THE mark of a good wife is more than one boy. In some places it's perfectly acceptable to divorce a woman if she has too many girls.

And in part the issue is economic and not just cultural. Boys will generally earn 2x-5x more, or more, than girls will. As head of their households boys will be the ones who determine what money goes where. Such as in supporting the boys parents in their old age. The age old practice of giving dowries is an example of this. The practice came about because boys can earn more so the girl has to bring cash into the marriage to offset the earning power of the boy. So the secondary effect is to impoverish the girl's family.

But even in a modern asia there are new reasons for the preference for boys. Along with higher incomes there are added costs to raising children. Sure you can have more than one child, but reducing the number of children increases the resources that can be devoted to that child. Would having one child go to college and become a doctor be better than having three children who work in factories? Well yes.

So there's an additional dynamic involved. It's all fairly disturbing.

It's a terrible financial analysis.

6/13/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

Ok. There are two issues. The imbalanced sex ratio. And an aging population.

The sex ration is worsened by girls having a lower chance of surviving to adulthood, and the introduction of prenatal scanning equipment will worsen it. But I have never seen anything to indicate the imbalance amounts to more than 2% of the whole population – and that may be set too high since many girls in China have not even have been registered with the authorities (so the parents can have another child). Also one should expect that if girls become a scarcity, their value will increase. And men can no longer expect such things as dowries when they should count themselves lucky to have a wife at all. Perhaps it will lead to female emancipation?

Speaking of sex ratio. This blog has got to be one of the most imbalanced around. Are there any women here at all?

Where do you (simon) get that China’s population is aging so rapidly (9 months per year)? According to CIA World Fact Book, the total fertility is still up at 1.72 child / woman. While below replacement level, not disastrously so, and still a great deal above European where the population is aging with something like 2-3 months / year.

6/14/2005 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fernand_Braudel said...
"A nationalist country with socialist government an capitalist economic engine."
And that economic engine is pumping out a heck of a lot of high quality product.

6/14/2005 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

ummm.. don't know why my "sex ratio" keeps comming out as "sex ration". Probably a Freudian slip of some kind.

6/14/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rune said...
"Ok. There are two issues. The imbalanced sex ratio. And an aging population.

The sex ration is...

Where do we line up for that?

6/14/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Should have refreshed the page before posting.
Then I would have known to ask Dr Freud.

6/14/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Now there Doug. You already used yours for the decade. You’ll have to wait until 2010 to apply again.

6/14/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'll be so needy.
I'll only be able to pay in Euros.

6/14/2005 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This will become known as the night of Rune's
"comming out"

6/14/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Night? Why, you UScentric bastard?! How dare you?! It’s day over here on the right side of the pond thankyouverymuch! Off to sensitivity training with you my friend.

What’re you doing up so late Doug? I hope it’s not because you maxed out on your ration and now can’t fall asleep. Poor bastard.

6/14/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


"Also one should expect that if girls become a scarcity, their value will increase. And men can no longer expect such things as dowries when they should count themselves lucky to have a wife at all."

That already describes a lot of men in China. However China is not asia, it is in asia, but it is not asia. In asia there is the culture of dowries. In China this practice has largely died out, except for those men who buy their wives from kidnappers and smugglers.

Frankly a very good way to research this is by googling "population implosion" and adding names of countries for more specificity.

The industrial revolution ruled the 19th and 20th centuries. Population demographics looks like it's going to be the one that rules the 21st century.

6/14/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Population Revolution,
Starring Paul Erhlich as the Soul of the Black Hole.

6/14/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm halfway to Asia, so I just dream of a dower, and of course my ration.

6/14/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Revolution occurred when the Soul of a Nation was defined by the Black Hole that was It's Ration.

6/14/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


Doug. You need a beer.


Buy. Open. Drink. Now.


6/14/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

Heck! I’d need a beer too if my ration was spend for the decade! Come by Copenhagen, and I’ll buy you a Carlsberg Doug.

6/14/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Carls for Breakfast.
Sierra Nevada for Lunch.

From "The Sound of Silence."
J. Random American said...

I think that is more likely to result in greater age disparity in marriages instead of a war. The 1 child policy has other effects; Western gov'ts aren't the only ones whose policies have unintended consequences. Since parents can't have many children, they pamper the one(s) they do. Scarcity increases their value, like anything else. I have seen 1st hand how Chinese parents and grandparents spoil and dote on these "Little Emperors." It will be much harder for the PRC to sustain the attrition wars of its past without creating huge domestic unrest now that most of those KIAs are the family's one and only precious baby boy. We think of our baby-boomers as the "me" generation. I wonder what the long term effect of China's own spoiled youth will cause. Perhaps their 1968 is just ahead. :)

6/14/2005 03:15:00 PM  

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