European collectivism worries Vaclav Klaus

Although Communism was dismantled and prosperity came to his country, Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, sees an unsettling new challenge: the zeal of Old Europe – France, Germany and Brussels – to impose collective choices on New Europe – Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

"Ten years ago," Klaus writes, "the dominant slogan was: 'deregulate, liberalise, privatise.' Now the slogan is different; 'regulate . . . get rid of your sovereignty and put it in the hands of international institutions and organisations.'"

So what is making President Klaus "more and more nervous" about the Czech people's future? His conviction that the authors and enforcers of the new EU Constitution believe:

  • That "competition is not the most powerful mechanism for achieving freedom, democracy and efficiency, but rather an unfair and unproductive form of dumping."
  • That "intrusive regulation, ruling and intervening from above are necessary because market failure is more dangerous than government failure."
  • That "government is ultimately a benevolent force, obliged to guarantee equal outcomes by redistributing benefits and privileges between individuals and groups."

    This very same debate dominated public-policy decision making in America, says Pete du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, and chairman of the National Centre for Policy Analysis. Establishment America favours collectivism – the collectivism of public education and the current Social Security, and higher taxes to limit individual choices and increase government choices. So President Klaus's thinking deserves some consideration, for if Brussels and American collectivists prevail, the lives of the people on both continents will be very different indeed.

    Source: Pete du Pont (National Centre for Policy Analysis), Europe's Problem--and Ours: Will the EU choose collectivism over individualism? Will we?, March 21, 2005.

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    For more on International: Culture and Political Systems:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 4 April 2005
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