Market Liberalism against Democracy

by Henry Farrell on June 22, 2010

“Charlemagne”: writes about European Commission officials.

bq. I would not be astonished if a majority of the [British] public assume that EU officials are primarily motivated by pay, perks and privileges. Actually, from Mr Farage’s point of view, I suspect the truth is still more worrying. EU officials, in my experience, want “more Europe” because they want “more Europe”. … EU officials live in a world in which nationalism is the great evil. … They are often highly educated, in a geeky sort of way … The town’s defining ethos of anti-nationalism is often admirable. EU officials are easy to get on with, and a decent bunch in my experience. But it brings problems: I find a lot of people in this town at best naive about how much integration public opinion will accept, and at worst a bit hostile to democracy. Get a Brussels dinner party onto referendums, and hear people rave about the madness of asking ordinary people their opinions of the European project.

I found this pretty interesting because I was thinking about writing a piece last week about how Charlemagne himself represents a political tendency that is “a bit hostile to democracy.” The occasion of this critique was his “linking”: to a “piece”: that he wrote under his own name before he worked for the _Economist_ which is all about how one _needs_ to have restraints on national level democracies for the European project to work.
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Blog recommendation

by Chris Bertram on June 22, 2010

Anyone who has been involved in university adminstration and management, as I have for the past four years (freedom at the end of July!), will know the frustration of reading communications from university leaders (Vice-Chancellors, Presidents, Provosts etc.). There are several flavours: bland corporatespeak, official pronouncements aimed at politicians, implausible (also bland) reassurances aimed at students, parents and alumni, general expressions of commitment to “the highest standards” in research, education etc. When a British VC writes for a national newspaper, expect an illocutionary act aimed at the political class (in times of resource scarcity) rather than a genuine and open engagement with the problems facing higher education. Happily, there is at least one university leader who can write about higher education in a way that’s aimed at thinking adults who might have opinions of their own (which he, in turn, might actually be interested in). Step forward Ferdinand von Prondzynski, President of Dublin City University, Ireland, who has a blog: “A University Diary”: .