I think we should learn from our mistakes [the EU] and start again, very simply with sovereign democratic states bound by treaties of close cooperation and mutual assistance, and a programme for the defence of peace.
Attentive Cats will have noticed that there is a bonus link attached to Jeremy Sammut’s piece on populism. This is a long paper by my English colleague Rod Thomas. As an academic he found himself on the wrong side of elite opinion about the EU and the British exit and his attempt to publish the paper had a hostile reception so I put it on one of my sites to give it a public run in case no academic journal will take it. His paper in defence of Brexit draws extensively from the works of Popper, especially Popper’s arguments for classical liberalism against collectivism and other dangerous intellectual tendencies which we have inherited from Plato and Marx. I recommend the piece although I appreciate it is not the thing for all Cats.
Popper’s major works were all written long before the EU but Rod Thomas informs us that two years before he died Popper gave a tribute to mark the passing of his friend Hayek.
In it he offered these interesting remarks:
Hayek’s books about the legal framework are full of thoughts about the protection of legal institutions. His thoughts recall the problem situation and the atmosphere of the founders of the American constitution. I fear that few care nowadays for these problems…The neglect of Hayek’s ideas can be gauged by their lack of influence upon the plans for a United Europe, with an executive bureaucracy in Brussels, without a clear responsibility to any democratic control, and a parliament in Strasbourg without any competence to control the all-powerful bureaucracy. I think we should learn from our mistakes and start again, very simply with sovereign democratic states bound by treaties of close cooperation and mutual assistance, and a programme for the defence of peace.
It is clear that the architects of the current plans for Europe have not studied Hayek – not even the founding fathers of the American constitution. But I fear that their ideologies make it somewhat unlikely that they will turn to these vitally important sources. Our dreams, if any, should not be of a strong Europe, but of a peaceful and civilized Europe (Popper 2012 , pp. 409-410).