Baseball91's Weblog

June 14, 2008


From faraway, the European Union does seem mostly an artificial project.  What was the purpose of this European Union?  And what was going on in Europe, with this Irish vote?  


Currently the battle was between the rights of smaller nations against larger ones.  History shows that there is distrust between governments and Europe is not united.  And the smaller nations remembered what a larger one had done in 1939.  Smaller nations knew that history always repeated itself.  The Czechs were celebrating the decisions of the Irish this week, where Czech President Vaclav Klaus called the defeat of the ratification of the proposed treaty by the Irish, the only nation giving their people a direct chance to vote on the matter, a “victory of freedom and reason.”  It was said that the people of the Czech Republic had evolved from the same tribes that were found in Ireland.  A government once called Czechoslovakia could not forget a past that was still with them, the knowledge of the tradition of elitism in Europe where the strong tried to reign over the weak, either in governments of monarchies or by governments waging war.  Europe was now more civilized, yet the same battles seemed to be fought. The past was always with them. 


Klaus spoke of how with this vote the people had spoken of artificial elitist projects and European bureaucracy. The irony is that the European Union is coming along at the time when the fractures of Christian Europe are so evident. The Russians were the prime source of energy, and under Vladimir Putin, little had changed in the relations of Russia with European nations under the EU. Russia continued to make deals, playing off one nation over the other, reflecting a similar time when a nation formed an alliance with another.  As a current example, look at their treatment of Ukraine or Belarus by Gazprom which supplies 25% of natural gas.  And look at who owns and control Gazprom. 


Amidst all this talk of unity, Europeans worry about immigration and cultural identity.  In 1994, I sat on a plane next to an American born woman who had graduated from a Boston area college, married a Scot, and moved to Scotland.  She was returning home from burying her father. It was a time when skinheads and young neoNazis were in the news.  And she explained that the movement was filling a void of national identity that was being eroded in Europe.  That trend had only accelerated with an influx of Muslims, with the movement of other Europeans into places where identity had never been challenged.  It occurred at a time in Europe when it was extraordinary if 25% of the populace regularly went to church.  It seems as if Europe was like an addict who had rejected the God once found in the EU nations, and His replacement was centered around this safety net called the EU, whose basis was all about money.  European governments seek economic union with rights of free movement to member states, amidst illegal immigration. Amidst the turmoil, identity of a specific culture was being challenged at a time when culture diversity was being celebrated only on the surface in the United States. Was there truth to this identity, was there meaning here in the first place?


The underlining philosophy of the EU seems best summarized as, “Hurray for me! Nuts to you.”  I had worked around guys in my first summer job at a big league ballpark who mostly had only high school degrees.  And they were quick to point out who the phonies were, who it was that was quick to jump on the bandwagon.  The environment did not seem much different today about the world of government and politics. It was where I had heard this “Hurray for me! Nuts to you” phrase first expressed.  It was all about who was authentic. 


In a world never as challenged by issues of trust, the truth was more and more elusive, tainted by politics, by lobbying groups.  When the EU was nothing but an economic force that shaded the truth, the Irish seemed to have an instinct to see it for all it is worth.  One day you wake up and realize where your own identity came.  Mostly it came in from what you learned to be the truth.  It came from academic institutions.  Artificial projects, like a man-made dam, one day would collapse. When your identity was lost, a vacuum was left.  As people lost a sense of belonging, a sense of anger seemed to be a substitute, directed towards others, those of the other party, to someone who might be responsible for the current state of affairs.  I think the Irish have seen a few things about the state of the world, much like that woman from Boston saw 14 years ago at her time of loss. 


So how authentic was this union anyway?



  1. I think it was Colvin R. de Silva who said in reply to the popular expression that the sun nevr sets on the British Empire, “Because God does not trust the British in the dark.”

    Comment by Matt — June 14, 2008 @ 7:24 PM | Reply

  2. WOW! You are right. The NY Times reported this weekend:

    “Europe, for all its diversity, can be remarkably provincial. The latest Italian government came to power two months ago on a platform promising to crack down on illegal foreigners, who immigration opponents here say are associated with crime.

    “All across Europe attitudes are stiffening toward immigration, nowhere more so than here. About eight million illegal immigrants are estimated to live in the European Union. This past week the union’s parliament passed tough rules for expelling and detaining them. And here, the far right wing of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s new government has just proposed one of the strictest anti-immigration laws on the Continent, provoking heated opposition from human-rights organizations, the Vatican, the United Nations and also Italian prosecutors fearing courts swamped by criminal cases.”

    Comment by paperlessworld — June 25, 2008 @ 7:42 PM | Reply

  3. Comment by baseball91 — January 31, 2012 @ 8:38 PM | Reply


    A piece concerning “Whither Europe?”

    Comment by baseball91 — March 8, 2016 @ 10:43 PM | Reply

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