Sunday, March 22, 2009

President of European Union fears loss of freedom; calls for libertarian solutions

Even in Europe, not everyone believes the rush toward more statism is a good thing.

From the Times:

THE leader of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, has warned that a “Europe of states” is in danger of turning into a “state of Europe”, legislating on almost every aspect of people’s lives but lacking in democracy and transparency.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, President Vaclav Klaus drew parallels between Brussels and the failed communist dictatorships of eastern Europe.

“My criticism is based on the sensitivity towards attempts to restrain freedom and democracy, and it does relate to the fact that for most of my life I lived in a political, social and economic system which was not free and was not democratic,” he said.

Klaus also predicted that Gordon Brown’s attempts to produce a European solution to the global economic crisis in time for next month’s G20 summit in London could make the problems worse.

Klaus, 67, an economist by training and a successful finance minister after the fall of communism, said he believed Brown’s plans for more regulatory supervision of the financial system would resolve nothing. Instead, Europe should let business and markets go free.

“The crisis cannot be solved by restraining human initiative and putting further burdens on businesses,” he said. “I propose the exact opposite: deregulation, liberalisation, removing barriers and unnecessary obstructive legislation at the European level.”

Oh shit footnote: I was going to run Vaclav Klaus' photo with this post. Fortunately, at the last second, I realized that the photo situated in the logical place on the Times page for Klaus' image to be was that Austrian who just got convicted of rape, incest, and murder. Never import pictures when you're really tired.


Anonymous said...

The "Libertarian solution" is exactly what got us into this economic mess to begin with. There has to be government oversight and regulation to keep runaway greed from wrecking our nation! I am surprised, Steve, that that message has not penetrated.

Perry Hood

Hube said...

Steve: Just don't ask Perry exactly how that happened. He'll be flummoxed, write some gibberish, and then when called on it will say "we are twisting his words" or that "we fail to understand him" ....

Anonymous said...

Hube, you insult Steve, who we all know well is more capable than most in speaking for himself and for defending his point of view.

Perry Hood

Hube said...

LOL, Perry. Steve actually has a sense of humor, unlike some people around here. Nevertheless, he's as cognizant of your M.O. as everyone else.

Steve Newton said...

If you go back and search the Let's Be Like Europe tag, you will find that Klaus is also referring to the creation of a massive "surveillance state" and violations of civil liberties.

Government regulation and oversight is a wonderful platitude, and I am not against transparency and regulation, but do you actually have any real information about what's happening today in Europe, or are you just--as usual--arguing general talking points without specific evidence?

Real Estate in Toronto said...

I don't understand Mr. Klaus' hate towards EU. All of the ideas he proposes are that EU should just be broken up and forgotten. And yet here he is talking about deregulation and removing barriers. I don't understand that man sometimes.

Take care, Elli