Monday, May 4, 2009

The Communist Totalitarian System of Barroso

Libertas founder, Declan Ganley, is apparently publishing a book outlining his "political vision." He's hoping, no doubt, to emulate the recent success of President Obama.

Others have already written about Libertas (notably Ralf Grahn here, Julien Frisch here, and there's an entire blog devoted to derailing Libertas here), so I won't go into detail about the party. I just want to comment on Ganley's claim (made, apparently, in his book) that the European Union is a "a Communist totalitarian system of José Manuel Barroso -- a former Maoist Communist."

[Image: Barroso/Che, Josef Litobarski, 2009, Attribution 3.0 Unported, from:
José Manuel Barroso2, Besoin d'air, 2007, Attribution ShareAlike 2.0
Guerrillero Heroico - Che Guevara, Alberto Korda (Korda), 1960,
Public Domain (Controversial)]

I've not read (and probably won't read) Ganley's book, and only have access to his quote because it's in the Irish Independent. I can only assume, therefore, that the Independent has quoted Ganley horribly out of context. If not, this was an... exceedingly ill-advised thing to say.

The EU is a Communist totalitarian system? Run by Barroso? You're having a laugh, right?

If the EU were a totalitarian system, Ganley simply would not exist. I would not exist. Ganley would not be able to run an opposition party. I would not be writing this blog. Me and Ganley would both have been liquidated by the state. There would simply be no space for political opposition or for civil society. The state would have total control of both the public and the private spheres of society. Total control. Not some control. Not a little bit of control.

It's not called alittlebitarianism. It's called totalitarianism.

And yet I exist.

And Ganley exists.

So the EU is not a Communist totalitarian system.

And as for Barroso in the role of Glorious Comrade Number One? In a totalitarian state there would be no seperation of power. Power would be concentrated in the hands of the ruling dictator/junta. But the checks and balances of the EU do exist. There is a seperation of power.

By the way: Yes, Barroso was a member of an underground Maoist party as a young man. So was Andrew Marr, apparently (although he was a bit younger - 11 years old). Whether Barroso was a Maoist or not is neither here nor there - he most definitely isn't one now and the system he is part of does not permit the totalitarian concentration of power into his hands.

But I'm being silly. And Ganley is being silly. The EU is not a totalitarian system.

Describing it as such is shrill, hysterical hyperbole. It undermines Ganley's argument.

There are very valid reasons to criticise the EU. If you make up reasons, or overstate your case, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

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Grahnlaw said...

Well, well, election campaigns tend to look for catchy and simple slogans, but most responsible parties and politicians try to keep some sort of contact with reality.

If true, the Ganley quote shows no such inhibitions.

Hardly the thing to say for someone who would believe in the truth and informed voters.

Josef Litobarski said...

I can't believe he would honestly say something so silly.

But then, even if Ganley was misquoted and was actually saying "the EU might become IN THE FUTURE a totalitarian Communist system" - he's still making shrill comparisons that set completely the wrong tone. The political discourse leaves the realm of rational discussion and becomes propoganda.

The only way I can see this being good for Ganley is if the quote was actually:

"It's important to keep a sense of proportion. The EU is not a totalitarian Communist system."

In which case - the story is about the journalistic standards at the Irish Independent.

Unfortunately, I suspect this was not the case.