Why the Roman empire worked – and the EU empire doesn’t
June 11, 2016 Leave a comment
The principle of countries working harmoniously together is wholly admirable. Why, then, has the European Union become such a disaster area? The success of the Roman empire may offer a clue.
Romans won that empire almost entirely by military might. But they could not have maintained it that way: for some 500 years, a mere 300,000 legionaries patrolled this area of approximately two million square miles and about 60 million inhabitants. So what was their secret?
The key is pleasingly paradoxical: the Romans never consciouslyplanned an empire at all. Once they had started down that road, they saw the material advantages it could bring, but there was no blueprint for it. Success was a result of hard-won experience.
This, of course, is the period of history we were taught to call the Pax Romana. It’s essentially the longest period of peace that Europe has known. But while the Concert of Vienna held, and the British controlled the seas, there was the Pax Britannia, and after the exhaustion of the wars of the twentieth century, the Pax Americana.
And that has held from 1945 until today, and make no mistake, it was NATO, led by the US and the UK, that held the ring, allowing Europe to mostly waste its inheritance on spending the windfall of the Marshall Plan without having to worry about defending itself.
The EU for all its pretensions had very little to do with it, the ring was held by GI Joe and Tommy Atkins, and the US Dollar, as it is to this day. The EU was envisioned as a common market, to allow the Europeans to use resources where they could do the most good. In many ways, American influence spread as the Roman Empire did, we rarely interfered with anything in our client states and let them follow whatever chimeras they chose, as long as they didn’t get into a war about it. It’s worked pretty well, and if the bureaucrats in Brussels didn’t get too big for their britches, it still would be.
But they did, with the worst outcomes possible for their populations, because Brussels is all about the power of the elites, and while talking a good game, nothing about improvement for the citizenry, or should we say, peasants. See that’s one other thing, there are no successful democratic traditions in Europe, only in the Anglosphere. Europe goes through the motions, as long as we are watching, but when we get distracted, their old aristocratic habit comes back to the fore, with all its memory of divine right to tell everybody else what is best for them. In their zeal for the status quo, as opposed to the future, well, does anybody really think that if it was 1901 they wouldn’t regulate motor cars into oblivion for the benefit of hay farmers, and buggy whip manufacturers?
And so, as Europe stagnates and comes under unceasing pressure from other people migrating in to get the free stuff, it threatens to collapse, which explains the panicked efforts to keep the fifth largest economy in the world (the UK) more or less in it. It also explains why so many Britons are so anxious to unchain themselves from an anchor that will drag them underwater.
I think they should remember what happened when they unchained themselves from Europe last time. When Henry VIII, turned his back on Europe. What happened? The world as you and I know it. It all stems from that.
Will the EU likely collapse sooner if the UK leaves? I think so. Is that necessarily a bad thing? I’m not sure that it is, perhaps if they went back to their nation states, the Europeans, who don’t fit any of the conditions necessary for a cohesive national identity, only for an empire based on force, might figure out a better way. After all, they have an example to follow, they don’t have to invent it, as the British and Americans did. And always remember two things:
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.
from Maggie Thatcher, and the folk wisdom of common sense,
Things that can’t continue, won’t.