Roger’s Rules

Brussels orders Whitehall to Fly EU Flag


Brussels has decreed (“decree” being is favored mode of governing) that, beginning on May 9, “Europe Day,” Whitehall must fly the European flag (azure field, yellow circle of stars) or be fined daily.

As drafted, the legislation, which mandates that any organization that manages development funding for the EU, would require not just one building in London but more than 1000 institutions in what used to be denominated Great Britain continuously to fly the blue menace.

For the moment, the EU is temporizing about the extension of its requirement that its flag fly over headquarters of national managing authorities. But it is clearly testing the waters. How much can it get away with?

And that question leads to two others: Will this be the straw that broke the camel’s back? Or will it be Britain’s Stamp Act: an incident that, though trivial in itself, rouses the people from their dogmatic slumbers and incites them to rise up and throw off the chains of tyranny?

Does “chains of tyranny” sound a bit melodramatic, a bit extreme or exaggerated, for the reign of Brussels? Think again. “Tyranny” can be mild as well as harsh. It need not feature jackboots and Gestapo cellars (though there is always police power hovering in the background).

A tyrannical rule  is an arbitrary rule. And what could be more arbitrary than the rule-by-elites that is the dispensation known as the European Union? Quoth Edmund Burke in Thoughts of the Cause of Our Present Discontents, a classic in the library of anti-totalitarian reflection: “It is the nature of despotism to abhor power held by any means but its own momentary pleasure; and to annihilate all intermediate situations between boundless strength on its own part, and total debility on the part of the people.”

Would you like to grow a certain type of potato on your farm? Import a certain kind of banana? Criticize an EU minister? Drive a certain sort of car? Fly, or not fly, a certain flag? That decision is not yours, Comrade, it is the decision of a bureaucrat who lives tax free in a country that is not your country and whose actions and decrees are as immune to your wishes as are those of Santa Claus. A few months ago, I wrote about the worrisome tendency of contemporary American society to bifurcate into wards and warders: dependents and those who manage them.  The phenomenon is much further advanced in Europe, where an unelected, unaccountable elite rules by fiat and is almost totally insulated from popular dissent.

It is all part of what I have described elsewhere as “the new Gleischaltung,” the effort to “harmonize” or bring into conformity laws, customs, and behavior all over Europe. “Of course,” I noted, “this is not the first time that Europe has attempted to “harmonize” its laws. Beginning in 1933, there was a concerted effort to ‘harmonize’ not only the laws but also all of social life. The German word for the process was Gleichschaltung. That time the effort came out of Berlin. It almost worked. It took the combined military might of England, the United States, and the Soviet Union to stop that earlier push for ‘harmony.’ It is anyone’s guess what it will take to stop this new, Brussels-based effort.”