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Another Modest Proposal for Solving the Brexit Catastrophe
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2016-06-26 10:25:21
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This rather sardonic comment appeared yesterday in Ovi magazine appended to its first treatment of the Brexit phenomenon by its editor in chief. Perhaps it bears republishing in its own right as another modest proposal to be added to the plethora of suggestions and recommendations being issued as we speak by various politico-cultural quarters.


Obviously centrifugal forces are hard at work in the EU, and the center appears to have considerable difficulty holding; it may indeed be the beginning of the end, as the editor of this magazine suggests quoting Churchill, but that too is hardly surprising for a union founded on misconceptions about its very cultural identity and now in the hands of a soulless bureaucracy and greedy bankers adoring the idols of economic wealth and prosperity, for the few and the elites...of course.


It seems rather logical and predictable that this sad trend will continue to its inevitable culmination: the dissolution of a union presently built on sand, contemptuous of transparency and democracy, leaning toward good old ethnic nationalism, or worse, good old British imperialism, not to speak of right-wing fascistic tendencies raising their ugly head all over Europe. Democracy, on the other hand, demands team-playing and cooperation, imperialism and xenophobia is a suit that does not fit it...


When several nations are already contemplating their own exit, it remains dubious that soccer games and economic carrots (such as membership in the EU) will continue to do the trick of supplying some sort of identity to a union bereft of its initial ideals. As Lincoln put it: “one cannot fool all the people all the times.” Even more bizarre, eventually the Northern Irish will realize that to remain in the EU they’ll need to join the Republic of Ireland, and the Scots, likewise, will realize that to remain in the EU (as they prefer and have just voted for) they need to become independent of Britain. Oh my, oh my, does it get complicated! Meanwhile we can always console ourselves with soccer games… and imperial parades of a DK (disunited kingdom...), and the coming happy Olympics in Brazil… Who could ask for anything more?


Today we were served to a modest proposal by the Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has twitted that after yesterday’s political disaster named Brexit, the leaders of the EU should all go to an Irish pub and “get decently drunk” to then meet the next day, at least the six original members of the EU, and attempt to analyze what went wrong and how to change the misguided trajectory on which it has embarked lately. They are conducting such a meeting as we speak.


I have a counter modest proposal, and it is this: indeed the six original founding nations of the EU should come together, but not to observe how different things look when one is sober, but to reflect seriously on the principles and the ideas on which the EU was founded some seventy years ago. What has happened was quite predictable and it was in fact predicted in a book I published some ten years ago titled A New Europe in Search of its Soul, then followed by one titled Europa: An Idea and a Journey (2012); subsequently published as an e-book in Ovi magazine with the title of Europe beyond the Euro. See Ovi bookshop HERE!


After reflecting on the ideas hinted at in those books, the EU leaders, so called, having rediscovered and vaguely recollected the ideas and principles on which the brand new polity called EU was founded, may more easily be able to analyze and correct the root causes of the present centrifugal forces affecting the EU and portending the dissolution of a union presently motivated by delusions galore, including the bizarre one of a return to the imperial kingdom of old, a kingdom, united so called, crumbing all around as we speak. As I said: “a very modest proposal.” If it then turns out to be a voice crying in the desert, so be it. In any case, history will eventually render its final verdict.

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Emanuel Paparella2016-06-26 15:01:29
A footnote: today, as we speak, there have suddenly appeared in the UK millions of signatures requesting a new referendum. Buyers’ remorse? Hard to tell, but this phenomenon, even if it culminates in a new referendum and Britain remains in the EU, does not alter the fundamental premise of my thesis; namely, that several EU nations’ intentions for entering into a marriage with the EU, are suspect. A marriage is characterized by the intention to remain a union unconditionally and attend to solidarity, and be faithful to democracy and a system intended for the common good, for better or for worse...; to reduce it to mere crass economic advantages is to make the marriage null and void to begin with.

It is the motives that ought to be explored and analyzed together with the question What does it mean to be a European?, to determine if a divorce or an annulment is called for. If that is not done the political mockery will only be aggravated in the future. For, if the intentions for the marriage remain suspect, and the marriage is merely one of mutual economic convenience and exploitation, perhaps there was no marriage to begin with.

rose2016-06-26 20:30:17
You predicted the outcome in your book and so now we will see how it will unfold. I hope it will be a new United Europe. This time the principles must not be the Euro.

Emanuel Paparella2016-06-27 10:59:50
Indeed Rose, but if the marriage was a sham to begin with, a reunion will not solve anything. What is needed is to understand the motives why people wish to form a union and get married. If those motives are bad, that is to say, if people do not understand the vows they are taking "for better or for worse..." then no amount of legal proclamations will solve the real problem. All that will happen is that the lawyers (the bankers in the EU's case) will profit from the deal.

Emanuel Paparella2016-06-27 15:06:46
The farce continues: today we hear in the news that the six original EU members having convened on Sunday in Berlin to discuss ways and means to soften the Brexit blow, have recommended a quick divorce severing ties, in order to discourage the other EU member states to consider the same solution to their social predicaments. Sounds like a shut-gun marriage coming to a violent end.

Not for one moment did the august EU politicians, partly responsible for Brexit, consider and analyze the real problem which has confused and angered a lot of people in the EU and the US, especially those belonging to the working middle class; namely that globalization has produced much wealth and prosperity but has also widened income inequality and benefited mostly the rich at the top, the politicians and the bankers.

Obviously, having gotten “decently drunk” at an Irish pub, the six have conducted the meeting the next day under the influence of a hang-over abetted by toxic substances like greed, power grabbing, inequality, xenophobia. One begins to suspect that the next advice they’ll give to each other will be to continue drinking and forget one’s problems on the isle of oblivion. Perhaps we can all agree that this is far from Aristotle’s concept of happiness (eudemonia) on the isle of the blessed… More likely it is a tale told in one of Dante’s infernal regions in the land of the damned and discontented…

Gerard Farley2016-06-28 09:02:48
And then there was The Holy Roman Empire!

Emanuel Paparella2016-06-29 10:51:01
That too alas was a sort of shut-gun marriage imposed by Charlemagne on its pagan population, albeit the idea of Christianity (hence “Holy Empire”) did function as a sort of cultural cement to hold the empire together. Constantine redivivus with a consequent confusion between the sacred and the temporal? Perhaps, but the fact remains however that the EU envisioned by a De Gasperi or a Schuman was not meant as a Crusading Christian Europe but a Europe built on Christian democratic principles of solidarity, brotherhood, mercy, and equality, for all, believer and non believers alike which are essentially Christian ideals. What you have today is a travesty of those ideals misinterpreted and proclaimed by the EU politicians and greedy bankers. Alas, the people have understood the game and are rebelling in rather devious ways. Brexit is one such. That analysis is unfortunately also applicable to the Trump phenomenon in our country.

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