Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy

The European Union and its member states are already well into the throes of a crisis of legitimacy:

Lenin famously defined communism as Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country. In other words, the ideological project of building communism was supplemented by the technocratic project of electrification, the latter being an important source of legitimacy for the new regime.

The present-day European Union is engaged in its own expansive electrification project – the energy transition – that similarly inhabits ground where ideology meets technocracy and underpins legitimacy.

Yet in the past year or so, something has gone badly wrong, and a backlash against the climate agenda and its technocratic enforcers has been spreading across Europe. The energy crisis – far from catapulting the continent further along the path toward a carbon-neutral future as it should have – has exposed just how elusive the goal is, as Europe has scrambled to sign expensive LNG deals and even restart coal-fired plants. Farmers dissatisfied with EU policies that they regard as devastating to their livelihoods have been grumbling for years, but recently their protests have reached a crescendo, and built up political weight. Right-leaning and far-right parties, meanwhile, are gaining ground by the day. Standards of living are dropping and industry is shutting down or moving elsewhere.

Discontent with suffocating bureaucracy and regulation is widespread. A recent survey among German small and medium-sized companies – has registered a massive shift in sentiment against the EU. This is particularly concerning because the so-called German Mittelstand used to be among the strongest pillars of support for European integration.

What is embroiling Europe is deeper than a political crisis – it is approaching what can be called a crisis of legitimacy for the ruling elite.

The EU is illegitimate by every measure: politically, economically, militarily, and spiritually. It has already failed, completely, and betrayed every single promise that was ever made to the European nations in order to convince them to place their trust in the single European superstate that vowed up and down it never had any intentions of becoming what it was always designed to be.

But the USA is facing an even more serious crisis of legitimacy, as at least the EU’s illegitimate elite is, for the most part, actually made up of Europeans. The illegitimate elite presently in power in the United States is neither American nor culturally Christian; it isn’t even civilized. Which is why it rules so poorly and so recklessly; what works in the interests of a small and subversive tribal group is entirely unsuited for successfully guiding a large nation, let alone an entire civilization.

The disaster that has been David Tepper’s ownership of the Carolina Panthers is more than a little illustrative in this regard. What works beautifully when the deck is stacked in your favor simply will not work when you’re forced to compete on an equal playing field, and the experience and habits you developed in the easier situation actually tend to work against you once you no longer possess any structural advantages.

The great Israeli general Moshe Dayan once said that the secret of the IDF’s stunning historic military success was that it fought Arabs. If there is one lesson of the post-WWII period, it is that the secret of the stunning Jewish political and economic success in the USA is that they were competing with Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And that is quite clearly not adequate preparation for competing with the Chinese, the Russians, and the Persians on the global stage.

The political entities of the USA and the EU are both going to collapse, almost certainly within the next ten years, because no political structure, and no society, can survive an incompetent and illegitimate elite.