Monday, February 10, 2020

Thatcher on European Integration

From Quillette:
In her speech at The Hague, as Moore summarizes it, “she prophesied that large-scale immigration caused by free movement would cause ‘ethnic conflict,’ and bring about the rise of extremist parties, that there would be ‘national resentment’ because of one-size-fits-all financial and economic policies under a single currency, and that a more centralized EC would not be able to work with the influx of new member states from the former Eastern Bloc.”
This obviously has specific relevance to Brexit and the political forces that led to it (though Thatcher herself, who died in 2013, never lived to see any of this play out). More generally, the common thread is that Thatcher understood the pattern of reaction and counterreaction that governs human affairs, including affairs of state. She stuck by the hard lessons of history even as others around her surrendered giddily to the fin de siècle euphoria that accompanied the end of the Cold War.
It must be conceded that her concerns about counterreaction—both within Russia, and among Europeans who did not want to lose their national cultures and political prerogatives—proved at least somewhat prophetic. The same goes for her warning of “the emergence of a whole new international political class,” ignoring people’s shared instincts and traditions. As discussed by others—including the journalist Douglas Murray in his 2017 book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam—this comprises a major issue in the European Union to this day. What a shame that when Thatcher warned us of its rise, she was, to quote Moore’s title, herself alone. (Read more.)

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