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FOLLOWING THE EUROPEAN UNION

 
 
Lash
 
  -1  
Fri 29 Jun, 2018 11:10 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I refer to America as an experiment, as well, for the same reason. Because that's what they are.

I did note the date. The issue continues.
cicerone imposter
 
  0  
Fri 29 Jun, 2018 12:20 pm
@Lash,
Why is America an "experiment?"
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Sat 30 Jun, 2018 03:24 am
@cicerone imposter,
From tomorrow onward, the presidency of the Council of the European Union will be held by Austria: Servus, Europe.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 08:39 am
Nationalist populism has been emerging across most of Europe for the past decade, but with the rise of the reconstituted former Northern League Party in Italy, the ongoing refugee dispute in Germany, and recent actions by the Governments of Spain and Austria, it appears to be near the point of coalescing into an EU wide movement. This could in some areas become a direct threat to the core principles of the Union.

I hope that doesn't happen, but believe the EU needs to readdress the democratic (and possibly federal) elements of its rule. "Ever closer union" appears increasingly to have been a mantra for an increasingly interventionist authoritarian bureaucratic state that ignores local interests and reaches ever farther into the details of governance in every region. If to meet strongly felt local interests in member countries, it becomes necessary to challenge the whole EU, then democracy and the union itself will become opponents. That won't be good for anyone.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 08:55 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
ignores local interests
That's ... well, facts can be seen differently, since there's a lot be done by the EU for the regions of the EU-member countries.

For instance, the EU allocates money from EU Structural and Investment Fund to each European nation to support sustainable economic development and reduce regional wealth disparities - it’s their way of trying to give a boost to the poorest parts of the continent.
Then there's the European Regional Development Fund, ... and ... and ...


georgeob1 wrote:
Nationalist populism has been emerging across most of Europe for the past decade

During the past three decades [in Germany for an even longer period, namely since 1949], a variety of populist parties have taken root in many (not only European) countries, gaining legislative seats, reaching ministerial offices, and shifting the balance of power. Individual populist leaders rise and fall, for all sorts of reasons.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 09:14 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Apparently the Austrians, Italians, Hungarians, Greeks …. and lately Bavarians aren't sufficiently grateful for all the EU funds ( the money ultimately comes from those who are taxed for it). The problem of course is that freedom and money are not mutually interchangeable.

I agree that political leaders come and go, but the growing trend for nationalist populism across the EU (and indeed the world) is unmistakable. Now the new leader of the reconstituted Italian "League", Matteo Silvini is proposing a union of the various EU national parties. I doubt that he will succeed, but it appears clear to me that such movements are gaining force across the EU, and so fast the EU appears to have no policy but opposition. Not a realistic long-term solution.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 09:27 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
I agree that political leaders come and go, but the growing trend for nationalist populism across the EU (and indeed the world) is unmistakable.
Yes.

Bavaria, for instance, always kept their own nationality as long as possible:
- in the German Empire (until 191), they had the so-called Reservatrechte:
Special rights granted to the Kingdom of Bavaria when the German Reich was founded in 1871. They mainly concerned the railway, postal and telegraph services, the military*, the tax on spirits and beer as well as the general state administration. These territories were exempt from the Reich's supervision and legislation. Railway, post and beer tax were important sources of income.
* the German Emperor wasn't the commander-in-chief of the Bavarian army but during the war (then together with the Bavarian king).
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 09:49 am
@cicerone imposter,
Some people cobbled together what they thought were optimal structural components from a few different governments, tweaked it, and trotted it out as a country.

An experiment.

Maybe de Tocqueville coined the term.
revelette1
 
  0  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 12:11 pm
@Lash,
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  0  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 01:06 pm
I’m not sure you can cite one government, established by men, that’s not accurately described as an experiment, but I see that accuracy isn’t an interest among current participants.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 01:59 pm
@Lash,
There's not a government left from classical times anywhere in the world. Indeed very few last more than about five hundred years. With that in mind they can all be considered experimental.

There have been numerous attempts to create governmental "systems" that sought to both protect the security of those governed and also perfect the workings of society from the many contradictions inherent in human nature. All have failed as a result of their own internal contradictions and, in some cases, failed attempts to change human nature (think of Lenin's "socialist man").

The 16th century Italian Philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, wrote an interesting work, entitled "Discourses on Livy" , an examination of the history of Rome as described by Livy, its eminent historian. He also included observations from other sources including histories of the Greek Republics. His self described goal was to determine what form of government would best ensure the long term stability of a city or republic.
He concluded that there is no ideal form of government for such purpose: all have their excesses, limitations and failings - all arising from the contradictions in human nature. His formula for the best that can be achieved is a system with build in limits on the excesses driven by competing classes of citizens, and a means for compensating for them when they occur.

The real foundation for the, so far, enduring American experiment at representative democracy, is , in my view, the checks and balances the founders deliberately put in the structure of the government. These limit the powers, both of the legislature and the Executive, and the Judiciary limits both. In our history we have already seen excesses by all three branches, but the system was able to contain them all. I have often suspected that some of the framers might have been inspired by old Niccolo.

Lash
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 02:17 pm
@georgeob1,
Nods.

0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 02:19 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
The 16th century Italian Philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, wrote an interesting work, entitled "Discourses on Livy" , an examination of the history of Rome as described by Livy, its eminent historian. He also included observations from other sources including histories of the Greek Republics. His self described goal was to determine what form of government would best ensure the long term stability of a city or republic.
He concluded that there is no ideal form of government for such purpose: all have their excesses, limitations and failings - all arising from the contradictions in human nature. His formula for the best that can be achieved is a system with build in limits on the excesses driven by competing classes of citizens, and a means for compensating for them when they occur.
In early modern absolutism, in which all power, and in particular undivided legislative sovereignty, belonged to the sovereign, the powers were not divided.
John Locke and Montesquieu, on the other hand, supported the concept of a mixed constitution with a division of sovereignty between several political powers (king, nobility, representation of the people). According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's concept of popular sovereignty, however, the people should have undivided legislative sovereignty.



Iceland, btw, has the longest running parliament in the world (since 930 AD, the Althing).
Setanta
 
  1  
Tue 3 Jul, 2018 11:54 pm
In The Social Contract, Rousseau pretty well picks apart Machiavelli's works--The Prince, Florentine Histories and The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius--by pointing out that Machiavelli was pandering to the Medici and that his hero, Cesare Borgia was also opposed to the liberty that Machiavelli claimed to cherish. Cesare was the son Pope Alexander VI, and although that pope was dead, it is possible that Machiavelli was trying to ingratiate himself with the church. The Discourses are valuable, partly because of his elucidation of what he claimed were the settled policies of the Roman republic (which was never a friend of individual liberty), but mostly because it illuminates the politics of early 16th century Italy. As is so often the case with historical works, his tell us far less about their subject matter and far more about the prejudices, preferences and fears of the author.
Lash
 
  1  
Wed 4 Jul, 2018 03:50 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Iceland, btw, has the longest running parliament in the world (since 930 AD, the Althing).

A relatively successful experiment.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Wed 4 Jul, 2018 06:52 am
@Lash,
Lash wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Iceland, btw, has the longest running parliament in the world (since 930 AD, the Althing).
A relatively successful experiment.
Well, actually the Isle of Man has the oldest continuous parliament (Tinvaal [English: Tynwald] in the world (said to be from 979). The Althing, is older, but it did not function for a number of years, so it is not the oldest continuous government.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Wed 4 Jul, 2018 03:35 pm
@Setanta,
A whiff of pedantry there.

Machiavelli's work did indeed reflect many of the prevailing views of his time, and some of his own prejudices - as does that of all historians. To say that all such works tell us "far more" about the authors prejudices and "far less " about the subject matter is a ludicrous condemnation of history and rather deceptive.

As I noted Machiavelli's work was based on Livy's Histories of Rome, and to some extent that of Athens. His focus was on the often competing interests of the various classes in the societies he examined and on the structures they created over time to limit some of the excesses caused by each. Human nature was a constant preoccupation in all his writings. His involvements with the politics and interests of his time are undeniable, but there is no concrete reason to believe his conclusions and observations, on the points to which I referred, were particularly tainted by them.

A favorite of his aphorisms from this work is " Men are industrious only out of necessity" .
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Wed 4 Jul, 2018 04:35 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
15 longest empires in history.
https://www.quora.com/What-has-been-the-longest-running-government-in-history
Yes, I was surprised too!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Wed 4 Jul, 2018 04:41 pm
@georgeob1,
More than a whiff of pedantry from you--and ham-handed pedantry at that. The history of Titus Livius, Ad Urbe Condita, is largely legendary. The Gauls sacked Rome about 390 BCE, and only the linen rolls at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus survived, which told Livius who held civic, military and religious offices in each year--everything else was legend. Even Livius did not have a complete, reliable account on which to base his first ten books. Additionally, no complete copy of Ad Urbe Condita exists, nor did any such complete copy exist in the 16th century. Machiavelli's work was necessarily highly interpretive, and as Rousseau noted, was eager to placate the Medici and the church.

When you try pedantry, I suggest you acquire even just a passing familiarity with the material before you begin your typical pontification.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Sun 8 Jul, 2018 06:04 pm
@Setanta,
More distracting pedantry. Machiavelli's observations arose mostly from his knowledge of human nature and the general trajectories of the Athenian and Roman empires. In several respects they were consistent with those of Thucydides on this matter. The lack of a detailed record of the Roman Tarquin age bore little on the merit (or lack thereof, depending on your view) of his writings on this subject. It appears you are looking hard for such disputes. That's your problem, not mine.
 

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