On the Further Development of the European Union
From the EU to the United States of Europe
We were promised a unified Europe a long time ago but it has not been realized (to the expected degree)! As of today, such a reality seems quite remote and it has now become inevitably overt, that the EU is in a dire condition. And so as the saying goes, desperate measures are needed!
I believe that the way forward out of this mist of uncertainty is effectively transforming the EU into the more whole and unified United States of Europe, much of in the light of the USA. In fact, this idea seems so obvious that as a newcomer and idealist one cannot cease to amaze at the fact that 75 years after World War 2 we still fall short of being near this end goal.
This essay aims at a superficial re-examination of the idea rather than an in-depth analysis of why the current union is insufficient.
There are three groups of human responses to this problem roughly speaking: First, there is the naysayers’ group which are for the most part fueled by stray beliefs and world-views. Second, there is the enthusiastic pro-group and finally -the most harmful group-, the indifferent group, which are the target audience of this article. And so we have to go back to the most basic and fundamental question: why would Europe in the model of the USA be more beneficial than the current state of affairs?
Looking at the whole history of homo sapiens, it can be fairly said that one of the main drivers behind human progress so far has been the cooperation of an increasingly larger clump of people (which is incidentally, the reason why the current world population is insufficient). The following is somewhat a gross simplification as there are many other (more important) factors that come into play, but the earliest cities & cultures dating up to 7000 years ago -if one is being charitable- were formed sometime after the agricultural revolution, which caused the transition of humans from a band of hunter-gatherers consisting of at most hundreds of individuals to cities, states and empires with hundreds of thousands and up to millions later on. Since then, notwithstanding temporal drawbacks, development has soared like never before in the long history of our species and more dramatically so starting with the last century. The idea that we are in this all together is finally starting to dawn to an increasingly larger number of people.
But one need not go down that far in the annals of history. Indeed, one of the main reasons why Lincoln is rightfully hailed as the greatest US president of all time is that he preserved the union at the time of its greatest crisis. In his own words:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.
This is a big “what-if”, but had it not been for Lincoln as perhaps the strongest optimization process (intelligence here viewed as a process that ‘steers’ the future into a particular set of configurations) during the war then the union would probably have been shattered and the whole course of world development would have spit out differently. The genius of Lincoln, therefore, is that he saw back in the 19th century with great clarity that preserving a hardly forged union was the top priority and that everything else would follow from it (including abolishing slavery were it not so during the war).
One must think that today in 2020 such an idea should appear clear and plain even to a child and yet it seems that a great blunder was made when we somehow assumed that Europe would automatically come together and go about its ‘right path’ without any great effort, that this was the natural order of things, that it could not happen otherwise…
In addition, it seems to me to be an incorrect way of thinking when the inhabitants of Europe today still view themselves as Germans, Albanians, or even more ridiculously so, as Catalans. We should rather think ourselves as good Europeans and work towards the further development of Europe as a whole (fun fact: we have the same origin going back not so far in history after all!). The arguments of a joint Europe are fairly apparent and one could go into great depths but I am going to limit myself on two points and very succinctly so.
On a lower level of analysis, a thus unified Europe would be able to better further our interests in the current area of global superpowers such as China or the USA or future ones such as India. Indeed, how could 5.3 million Norwegians possibly play a role (isolated, that is taken by themselves) in the future decades when compared to 1.4 billion Indians?
But on a higher level of analysis, put together the EU is one of the leaders in science and has the second-highest GDP in the world. Above all, a more unified Europe would enhance the rate of development in the European countries much more than what is currently the case!
I should also mention in passing, that this would also probably solve the current predicament of the developing countries of Europe such as Albania which have proven quite incapable of state-building. Trailing the multifarious problems in these countries almost always leads to the ruling coterie of politicians. If on the other hand you only (and suppose you do just this) install, say German officials in key parts of the apparatus, then such a country would receive a massive boost in all areas. History shows that the first thing -part of a series of steps when analyzed more deeply- that spurs a people on its path of development is a leadership and management team committed to the goal of transforming their country or region.
Viewed in this light we should then be grateful for the current plight of the EU as it provides ample opportunities for major metamorphoses (as necessity almost always drives change), which could otherwise not be possible. This is a time of high uncertainty and thus for precisely that reason a ripe time for change!
There seems to be a discrepancy between the people who run a country and the best (top 0.1%) that the people of a country can achieve. Apart from very few leaders (or more exceptionally, Singapore), the leaders of a country seem to constitute some kind of an average in the strength of their people. Should it not rather be the case that they constitute the very best of a people?
In this way, they might accelerate the further development of the vast majority which currently is in a discrepancy after all. It goes without saying that in this way, better decisions across all human facets would be taken. It is high time that we take the first step -in a series- in introducing some major changes to the current democratic system. To my view, representative democracy has shown itself severely flawed in 1001 ways. It would be quite sufficient to simply lightly touch upon the fact of how the masses are directed by the outcries of powerful orators, that is more generally, how much susceptible they are to demagogy of every form (with the current technological developments, bots have also taken over this task). As a prime and quite recent example, one might take Brexit: When the opinions of a people of a fairly developed country are so easily swayed and molded, what is to be expected with developing countries?
We should very much concur with the fact that we are neither born nor shall we die equal. Likewise, that yes, equality of opportunities is desirable but no, equality of outcome is to be averted in every possible way. Thus it seems to me to that the following is another rather very obvious proposition:
Experts and people of knowledge should be chosen in every single domain as leaders not excepting the role of president or prime minister! And the reason for this is as clear as the broad daylight and has been so since Galileo’s time at the very least (though dating much earlier): The belief in the supreme utility of science and the person of knowledge! Yet even today it is frequently parties -what used to be the norm in the previous century- that vote even in the most developed nations of this planet! I believe that it is crucial that the current representative democracy system evolves towards a Technocracy. Truth and honesty demand it!
What might, therefore, be needed for this purpose is some sort of political entrepreneurs who will bring about sorely needed change, just as it has been done so in other human facets by far. People who “do not go gentle into that good night”, who understand that this is a process offering overwhelming resistance (and perhaps this is the very reason as to why they are so pertinent) and that in that they obsessively try to surmount it, they eventually will. So, as a field that has seen no clear developments, it fits the ‘ripe environment’ of entrepreneurial undertakings.
Starting from the second half of the last century, we have made quite some progress in many a field and yet in the political arena there has been a total lethargy -for the most part- and even worse, frequently enough, madness. Some sort of atavism of the greatest degree one might say: we get eruptions of a pathological autocratic desire, which seems to be deeply embedded within our species, every now and then. One is, however, to question as to whether in reality, it is not species-cultivating after all, though at any rate, an enormous existential threat might lurk there at this point of development in our species.
Thanks for reading, and of course feedback, constructive criticism, and debate are most welcome!