A FLAWED IDEAL
The case against "Europe" is not the same as a case against Europe. Quite the contrary. "Europe" is a project, a concept, a cause: the final goal that the European Community (EC) has been moving toward ever since its hesitant beginnings in the 1950s. It involves the creation of a united European state with its own constitution, government, parliament, currency, foreign policy, and army. Some of the machinery for this is already in place, and enough of the blueprints are in circulation for there to be little doubt about the overall design. Those who are in favor of Europe -- that is, those who favor increasing the freedom and prosperity of all who live on the European continent -- should view the creation of this hugely artificial political entity with a mixture of alarm and dismay.
The synthetic project of "Europe" has almost completely taken over the natural meaning of the word. In most European countries today, people talk simply about being "pro-Europe" or "anti-Europe"; anyone who questions more political integration can be dismissed as motivated by mere xenophobic hostility toward the rest of the continent. Other elements of the "European" political language reinforce this attitude. During the 1991-93 debate over the Maastricht treaty, for example, there was an almost hypnotic emphasis on clichés about transport. We were warned that we must not miss the boat or the bus, that we would be left standing on the platform when the European train went out, or that insufficient enthusiasm would cause us to suffer a bumpy ride in the rear wagon. All these images assumed a fixed itinerary and a preordained destination. Either you were for that destination, or you were against "Europe." The possibility that people might argue in favor of rival positive goals for Europe was thus eliminated from the consciousness of European politicians.
The concept of "Europe" is accompanied, in other words, by a doctrine of historical inevitability. This can take several different forms: a
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