I never thought that I would write favorably of a speech made by the President of the European Union, but Vaclav Klaus’s speech, for all that it falls well short of the much-needed call for an end to the experiment in Continental Communism by stealth, is remarkably intelligent:
We must say openly that the present economic system of the EU is a system of a suppressed market, a system of a permanently strengthening centrally controlled economy. Although history has more than clearly proven that this is a dead end, we find ourselves walking the same path once again. This results in a constant rise in both the extent of government masterminding and constraining of spontaneity of the market processes. In recent months, this trend has been further reinforced by incorrect interpretation of the causes of the present economic and financial crisis, as if it was caused by free market, while in reality it is just the contrary – caused by political manipulation of the market. It is again necessary to point out to the historical experience of our part of Europe and to the lessons we learned from it.
Many of you certainly know the name of the French economist Frederic Bastiat and his famous Petition of the Candlemakers, which has become a well-known and canonical reading, illustrating the absurdity of political interventions in the economy. On 14 November 2008 the European Commission approved a real, not a fictitious Bastiat’s Petition of the Candlemakers, and imposed a 66% tariff on candles imported from China. I would have never believed that a 160-year-old essay could become a reality, but it has happened. An inevitable effect of the extensive implementation of such measures in Europe is economic slowdown, if not a complete halt of economic growth. The only solution is liberalisation and deregulation of the European economy.
And I would never have believed I’d hear a European head of state citing Bastiat with approval. Long live the Czech Republic, sovereign and free! Unfortunately, I think Klaus is far too optimistic in thinking the EU experiment may somehow be salvageable or that secession is not thinkable. It was a trojan horse from the very beginning, a fascist bureaucracy clothed in democratic capitalist slogans.