Monday, June 27, 2016

George Soros: I Wonder What He Meant by That?

I confess that George Soros is to me an enigma. On the one hand he sponsors the Open Society Foundations. On the other he funds the Democratic Party and divisive leftist groups like Black Lives Matter. On the one hand he is a speculator and an investor. On the other hand he seems to be a supporter of the bureaucratic and centralist European Union.

What does George Soros want? On Friday he was writing that the EU would inevitably break up. On Monday he is writing bureaucratic EU-speak about reforming the EU.

He writes that Britain had the "best of all possible deals" with the EU, yet voted to leave. Chancellor Merkel's refugee policy "was an inspiring gesture" but "created panic" and provoked the growth of "xenophobic anti-European parties" like UKIP. Britain's economy could take a hit, he warns, as half of its economy relies on Europe; and Europe could be hit worse as xenophobes like Italy's Five Star Movement get into power. What is needed?
None of this bodes well for a serious program of eurozone reform, which would have to include a genuine banking union, a limited fiscal union, and much stronger mechanisms of democratic accountability. And time is not on Europe’s side, as external pressures from the likes of Turkey and Russia – both of which are exploiting the discord to their advantage – compound Europe’s internal political strife.
All of this elite hand-waving misses the point. The problem with the European project is that it is not a project that seriously attempts to create a European people. It does not unify the people of Europe as a European people. Instead it amounts to a divisive politics-as-usual with the usual special interests competing for favors in Brussels and the transnational elite grandly ruling over all.

But what is the solution? As usual, Bismarck has the answer. How did he unify the disunited German states and principalities? He got them into victorious wars, first against Denmark, then against Austria, finally against France. By the time he had finished he had the whole German people (except the Austrians) unified in a single political unit.

The US had a similar experience. Roosevelt unified the fractious immigrants of the turn of the 20th century, the Jews, the Italians, the Irish, by first leading them to fight the Great Depression and then drafting them to fight the Nazis. By the end of World War II the US was as unified as it has ever been, before or since.

So maybe, Mr. Soros, the problems with Russia and Turkey represent an opportunity. A nice little Bismarckian war against one or the other might just be what the doctor ordered to unite the various nationalities of Europe into a united European people.

The problem is to make sure that Bismarck and the elder von Moltke are directing traffic and not Wilhelm II and the younger von Moltke. The first two were geniuses; the second two were not.

Who is George Soros and what does he want? Maybe the truth is rather prosaic. The thing about most people is that they are experts in their own field, and develop fruitful ideas to guide them. But for the rest of their worldview they just go with the conventional wisdom. Soros has been a successful speculator, and has developed a theory to guide him. But otherwise he is just a conventional Euro elitist. He knows that the people can't be trusted not to fall for another Hitler, and so wise and educated people like him must make sure that nationalism never rears its ugly head again.

And, I think, a moneybags like Soros needs to keep onside with the ruling class. Just as Warren Buffett is known as a Democrat and serves up helpful sound bites on occasion, so a speculator like Soros needs to pay his protection money to keep out of trouble.

We have met the enemy and he is us, wrote cartoonist Walt Kelly. That is especially true in politics. What people want from politics is stuff they shouldn't have. That goes for George Soros as much as Brits that want things back the way they were and Trumpkins that want to Make American Great Again and geezers that demand our Social Security and Medicare in full and gays that want to poke at Christian bakers and teach them a lesson.

That's why conservatives think that the less government the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment