Europe. A land of many nations, cultures and customs, victim of centuries of countless wars, a war torn and bloodthirsty continent driven by imperialist ambition, the dream of forging an empire and unified continent has long been a European obsession since Roman times.
And since Roman times, we have had the Germans, the Ottomans, Napoleon and the French, the Austro-Hungarians, Hitler and the Nazis, and the Soviet empire all have a crack at glorified conquest in an attempt to keep and hold onto their dreams.
History may not repeat exactly, but it often rhymes. Quite why it is that human beings have such short memories is not often clear, but history does tell us one thing; that we have a poor record of learning from our past mistakes. As Albert Einstein once dryly observed: “Only two things are infinite – the universe and human stupidity – but I’m not sure about the former”.
The Romans called their era of conquest Pax Romana. This refers to the Empire in its prime. The Roman legal system on which much of European countries law is based brought their version of law and order to the provinces and the outer reaches of their Empire. Fascism is the means by which they achieved their aims – the citizens of an empire had to do whatever the lawmakers decided – or else. The word fascism is derived from the symbol of Roman times, the fasces. Across much of Europe, you will see remnants of the Roman philosophy where the fasces is incorporated into various insignias and emblems from Benito Mussolini’s tomb to the cover of a French passport.
The fasces was a cylindrical bundle of rods and an axe bound together with leather straps (see above image). The bundle of rods represented strength in unity because it was much more difficult to break a bundle of rods together than one on its own. The axe represented what would happen to those who did not obey the laws. It was the symbol of the unification of the Roman people under a single authoritarian government. Wars and rebellions by those who wanted freedom and independence were ruthlessly crushed.
Is history repeating? – “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes” – Mark Twain
The formation of the European Union (EU) started with good enough intentions, and after World War II the motivation to stop and discourage another episode of human conflict and misery was great. And like all good intentions the ideals on which the bedrock of the EU are based may well remain to be just that – ideas that may not work in reality and which may yet pave the road to hell.
Much of European nation states’ laws have evolved from the old system of Roman law, which are created arbitrarily by the country’s lawmakers. Meanwhile, in England a significant event happened in 1215 – the reigning King John had to sign the Magna Carta relinquishing arbitrary power and the evolution of common law started which set the country’s fate on a different path to that of her European neighbours. Common law follows the ideas and philosophy of natural law.
Few people recognise the connection between natural law and peace and prosperity. Europe has a long history of fascism and significant civil unrest caused by the absence of natural law. Natural law is the belief that there are laws that are higher than any government law, that right and wrong are not subjective matters of opinion, but granted by nature (or even God if you prefer). The opposite to this is the view that the state or ruler of a country is supreme, and that all must obey the law or suffer penalties.
Indeed the combination of this form of legal system and the idea that sovereignty is not vested in the people but in the nation state, and that all individuals and associations exist only to benefit the state, which is exactly what the EU is – is an extremely toxic combination. This is what philosophers call statism. It is the road to tyranny. What it amounts to is a soft form of fascism.
Things are vastly different in the UK
The assumption that a British citizen has liberty and rights by default is the bedrock of this country’s law. This isn’t quite the case in the rest of Europe where laws have to be codified and the only rights that citizens have are those that are granted by the state. Codification also bring it’s own problems, the most significant being that it is prescriptive, rather than being reactive which is the way the common law model works.
So what does political union REALLY mean?
Political unity across so many countries with different cultures and customs can only be achieved by one method. By creating laws that all must obey, just like the way the Romans achieved their Pax Romana, otherwise you cannot be part of the dubious EU project.
The supremacy of EU laws means countries like the UK, which have better and fairer rules of law which have preciously evolved over centuries of jurisprudence, must give up its valuable sovereignty in order to be a member of the EU club. Quite simply we are placing our liberty at risk.
The political trend of the domination of Europe has never ended, the whole EU project is like the former Byzantine empire – loaded with high taxes, regulations, bureaucracy, subsidies and welfare programs. Indeed this is where we derive the meaning ‘Byzantine’, where it represents a hopelessly complex and convoluted government riddled with corruption and unaccountability.
We must recognise that a state that has arbitrary power and which is unaccountable to its voters is the greatest threat to individual liberty, because the state, whilst it is supposed to represent the people, always ends up serving its own interests, especially to its political class and, without a system of natural law there is little to prevent the abuse of power. There is little question that an all-powerful state with arbitrary power is one to be feared.
The axe of the Roman fasces may not fall on our heads in today’s day and age, but the governments of many European countries generally do not seem to limit themselves to trying to protect individual liberty, but go well beyond this, mistakenly supposing that they can legislate their way to justice, unwittingly causing imbalance, chaos and civil unrest.
The trend is clear and the answer for the United Kingdom is clear; we have a system of law that models and follows the idea of natural law; countries of the EU do not. We must escape from the tyranny of the EU super-state and leave.
Politics is often a game where parties from the left and right make compromises between each other, but over certain issues in life, particularly over moral issues between right or wrong, life or death, and liberty or tyranny, there should be no compromise – for what is life without liberty?
As Founding Father Patrick Henry rousingly said in 1775 at the start of the Revolutionary War in America: “Give me liberty or give me death!”