June 26, 2014

JOEL KOTKIN: European Style Going Out Of Style At The Ballot Box.

The bigger loser in the May elections was the notion that more concentration of power leads to better results. Many American intellectuals and policy wonks favor handing ever-greater control to the “best and brightest” who run academia, much of the media and the bureaucracy. Figures, such as former Obama budget adviser Peter Orszag and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, argue that power should shift from naturally contentious elected bodies – subject to pressure from the lower orders – to credentialed “experts” operating in Washington, Brussels or the United Nations. This notion suggests the popular will is too lacking in scientific judgment and societal wisdom to be trusted with real authority.

Yet, as the EU parliamentary elections suggest, people object to having details of their lives controlled from a great distance. Beyond the Right, many on the Left also nowoppose the Brussels-based EU for imposing austerity measures on several struggling economies. The British website Socialist Alternative saw the vote not just as a shift to the right but “a revolt against the capitalist establishment,” which remains, like the bureaucracy and media, devotedly pro-EU.

The EU bureaucracy — like the federal bureaucracy here in the United States — is basically a New Class entitlement project. Which is why New Class institutions like the press support it.