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Post If the EU Weren't Democratic, Could the UK Have Left?
Created by John Eipper on 11/16/18 3:11 AM

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If the EU Weren't Democratic, Could the UK Have Left? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 11/16/18 3:11 am)

I usually disagree with Carmen Negrín's political ideas, but in the case of her November 13th response to Nigel Jones I cannot agree.

First, Carmen distinguished between the supranational and the multinational. If I understand correctly, she means that the EU is not a supranational but a multinational institution. The fact is that the EU is both:  multinational, because is constituted by several nations, and partially supranational because many of its rules and regulations are mandatory for all members. Some powers are negotiated and delegated to a supra-authority by its members, particularly regarding commercial trade and production standards. Nevertheless, most of the sovereign rights are not given up by its members; this is why Great Britain could maintain the Pound Sterling and its right to leave the Union, the unfortunate Brexit.

Is it not this fact a demonstration of the EU's democratic values as an multi-supra-national institution?

My second comment concerns Carmen's quote of the recent Macron statement, "Nationalism is the exact opposite of Patriotism, it is its betrayal." I could not agree more with this sentence.

As I wrote in my WAIS post of April 4th, "Although patriotism and nationalism might appear to be the same concepts, and they are commonly used to express the same idea, perhaps because they are inspired by a sense of belonging to a place. Both terms are sentiments related to one's nation; however they are very different." I further explained, "nationalism has been the origin of borders among societies, invasions, racial and religious persecutions, humanitarian crimes, massacres. [It] is likely the main cause of most wars and conflicts in human history."  Moreover, "Patriotism... is more a positive feeling that an individual has for her or her own country, nation or community. Patriotism is inclusive and not necessarily inspired by supremacy feelings. It is generally a pride and lovely feeling of belonging to a place, a family, a culture. Patriotism is not chauvinist or supremacist."

We should not confuse them.

In this regard I consider Brexit a product of nationalism, as is most of the populist Europhobic political movements in Europe, all of them inspired by xenophobia and racism.

Finally, I appreciate Nigel Jones's explanation of the "corruption" in the EU, albeit in an unclear and insufficient manner, but he said nothing about its antidemocratic character.

JE comments:  José Ignacio Soler poses the central question:  how undemocratic can the EU be if Member States are allowed to leave?  By this metric, the United States in 1860-'61 wasn't democratic.  Granted, the analogy is not perfect.  Brussels has no army to punish Britain for seceding.

Perhaps Samuel Johnson really meant that nationalism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.


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