After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a certain sort of proud U.S. triumphalism was in vogue in intellectual circles.
Our victory in the Cold War was seen as proof that after a long struggle between competing worldviews, American values had emerged supreme, and we were on our way to a planet in which liberal democracies with free-market economies would hold sway everywhere one looked.
The days of central authorities issuing diktats telling people how to live their lives and businesses how to sell their wares, we were told, were nearing an end.
Alas, Europe apparently never got the memo. The emerging European Union superstate is a quasi-socialist nightmare — and the bureaucrats are in charge.
Think that’s an exaggeration? Member nations must follow EU laws, but the only institution allowed to propose legislation is the European Commission, staffed by thousands of paper-pushers bent on collectively stifling a continent.
The most recent evidence:
The commission is in the final stages of drafting a law that would bar TV programs, movies or any form of entertainment that do not “respect human dignity.” Who will define what is disrespectful? Bureaucrats using the vaguest of guidelines. (One result is likely, noted the Financial Times: the banning of “vast swaths of Italian television.”)
The commission is considering a law that would compel operators of Web sites to provide rebuttal space on their sites to anyone who has been criticized in a posting. Sites that won’t cooperate in the name of preserving “human dignity” could be closed.
Going beyond long-established racial employment quotas, the commission is pressuring businesses to have their work forces reflect the “age diversity” of their local communities, whatever the pay levels and job demands.
The list could go on and on. No one can say these do-gooders devoted to micromanagement aren’t productive when it comes to killing productivity.
The irony is that the European Union was formed to reinvigorate Europe as a player on the world scene. Instead, it is hastening the continent’s long decline — one onerous regulation at a time.
But at least when the EU loses its status as a major power in a generation or two, it will die with “dignity.”