To make it even worse, such laws don’t “outlaw” some behaviour, but put a high risk on it through civil law. So, it helps multinationals (and a possible malevolent regime) and hurts small companies as well as citizens. To me, it’s hard to believe this is not intended (like so many other (mostly) EU laws.
However, always bear in mind Ayn Rand:
> “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
P.S.: Taking some risks quoting Ayn Rand on HN. :)
GDPR is a good example of another law which is potentially dangerous. However, I do see that it's hard to comply with both, but I don't see how they interact with other.
> P.S.: Taking some risks quoting Ayn Rand on HN. :)
The copyright law requires you to store metadata about the user who publish content forever while GDPR forbids you to do so.
I would say most of HN leans left not libertarian.
Then GDPR does not forbid you to do so, Article 6.1 c)
> 1. Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:
> c) processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
GDPR allows you to do so, if there is a requirement. Complying with another law is certainly a reasonable requirement. That's also why you're "allowed" to keep your invoices for ten years, because you're "required" to do so.
> I would say most of HN leans left not libertarian.
This might be true, might be false. A good discussion should incorporate different views. And back to topic: I firmly believe this law to be dangerous by itself and not because there is a (more or less) applicable quote by a controversial writer.
True. Your quote from Ayn Rand was actually a reaction from 2 characters discussing how one law make it not possible to respect another. GDPR does make it more complex, and one can argue copyright is not a subject that should infringe privacy. It’s up to debate. Debate that US based startups won’t need to have if they don’t want to.
And it was more a Kudos to quoting Ayn Rand and an upvote!
There are certainly some ideas of merit but supporting politicians that push it seems to inevitably involve benefiting the right who is pushing for many agendas that will personally damage me and mine so I cannot in good conscience do so.
And you seem to be misunderstanding.
Left-wing libertarians do not have the same set of ideas as the right-wing ones, you seem to think that there is "libertarianism" and that I am saying that some on the left also stand for those ideas that those on the right, (the only real area of agreement is an anti-war stance).
Left libertarianism is mostly about personal freedom, as opposed to authoritarianism, while still being in favor of social programs, oppose privatization of public services etc. You should read up on it.
See also .
"In the United States, the word "libertarian" has become associated with right-libertarianism after Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess reached out to the New Left in the 1960s. However, until then political usage of the word was associated exclusively with anti-capitalism and in most parts of the world such an association still predominates."
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
it means about as much as "scripting language" or "strongly typed"
Also, now I want to write a framework called "libtarianism" that includes a pseudo rand generator.
I would've thought so too, until I looked at discussions about unions on here.
Look at all the mentions of "nazi", "fascist" and "hate-speech" in this thread. You can tell when a place leans left because this is a common left-wing conspiracy theory - that the world is full of fascists/nazis, but they're all trying to hide it. They call it 'cryptofascism'.
You clearly know nothing about Rand's philosophy. You would do yourself a favor to correct that error. Even if you ultimately disagree with her, she has very many intelligent things to say and, if you give her a chance, she will challenge many of your preconceptions about morality, ethics, and their postcursors of economics and politics, and raise the level of your discourse significantly.
Of course it's fine for you to dismiss their entire point with derailment even further into meta-arguments because, after all, they started it /s
>Social shaming also isn’t an argument. It’s a demand for listeners to place someone outside the boundary of people who deserve to be heard; to classify them as so repugnant that arguing with them is only dignifying them. If it works, supporting one side of an argument imposes so much reputational cost that only a few weirdos dare to do it, it sinks outside the Overton Window, and the other side wins by default.
> Nobody expects this to convince anyone... People who use this strategy know exactly what they’re doing and are often quite successful. The goal is not to convince their opponents, or even to hurt their opponent’s feelings, but to demonstrate social norms to bystanders.
(And yes, the majority view is that Rand is not worthy of any special attention as either a philosopher, political theorist, economist or author. Not more worthy than any other random member of those groups of people.)
...and natural and efficient. ie Not wrong or right. I'm not sure where you get your ideas from.
Lots of things we consider "natural", we also pride ourselves on the ability to choose not to give in to.
Vice versa, there could be things that are "not natural" which--oh wait, no there aren't. To be "natural" is one of those really stretchy concepts that can include anything if you argue it the right way back.
For instance, this discussion is about a copyright bill. Is that natural? Is copyright natural? Is economics? Politics? Rationality?
We also have a word for such terms in an debate: inconsequential.
Not to speak of the idea that anything that is "efficient" must be amoral. In my opinion exactly the opposite is true. Most things which are "efficient" read pretty damn strong on my right/wrong moral compass--either I think they're pretty cool, or I think they're pretty terrible. There's really very few efficient things that make me feel "yeaaaahhh, it's efficient sure, but meh. you do you".
Things that are efficient you need to consider extra carefully exactly because the efficiency can swing the needle on the moral compass rather dramatically!
In your selflessness, perhaps you'll consider espousing my view instead of yours? In return, I promise to dutifully, comprehensively, and correctly represent your view, as you can see I've done here now.
She was born to wealth she didn't earn and saw the confiscation of such when the communists took over Russia.
She forever thereafter decried all taxation for the common good not seeing a substantive distinction between the communists taking all her families shit and a democratically elected government taxing to pay for hospitals and roads.
Her ideal man was a criminal to kidnapped a little girl, extorted her father for money, then took the money and ditched the little girls dismembered body and took the money and ran because he refused to live by societies rules.
She gushed over him before dying dependent upon the social security she didn't want anyone else to have.
Both use cherry-picking and unfalsifiable approaches to history and sociology to construct a narrative in which there are two classes: the noble, heroic people who produce all the value; and the awful, leeching parasites who attempt to co-opt that value for their own use.
The differences between them are rooted entirely in which class each views as noble and value-producing versus which is parasitical.
Problem solved. Shall we talk about the copyright bill, now? :)
All French MEPs of the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs but one are right-wing eurosceptics, and for this law.
(Aside, the right-wing extremists MEPs were easily recognized during the Zuckerberg hearing, as their questions focused exclusively on the worry that Facebook restricts —“censors”, in their words— hate speech.)
It seems that 3 eurosceptics voted yes, one voted no, and two abstained. The bill was actually introduced and mostly voted for by the EPP, which is a centre-right and strongly pro-EU group (Angela Merkel's CDU is part of it).
A non-governmental entity can only, by definition, censor something if mandated by the government.
As with anything, some balance is required. Monopolies exist (and seem inevitable these days) and must be dealt with. But person-to-person, her views and the individual are evergreen.
“In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, despite her initial objections, she allowed Evva Pryor, an employee of her attorney, to enroll her in Social Security and Medicare.”
Medicare provides health insurance for older Americans who have worked and paid into the system through the payroll tax. Social Security is also funded by payroll taxes. Did Rand “take out more than she put in”, so to speak?
> Since there is no such thing as the right of some men to vote away the rights of others, and no such thing as the right of the government to seize the property of some men for the unearned benefit of others — the advocates and supporters of the welfare state are morally guilty of robbing their opponents, and the fact that the robbery is legalized makes it morally worse, not better. The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. Whenever the welfare-state laws offer them some small restitution, the victims should take it.
TL;DR: people might as well get back some of the money the government collected from them.
These are people with no particular horse in any race; there isn't a lot of money in rejecting one 20th century pop philosopher.
I haven't read enough of her stuff to develop my own opinions, so I'm happy to defer to them on the philosophy. I have read enough of her stuff to say that I find it turgid to the point of unreadability; a very dated style. Reminds me of L Ron Hubbard's stuff, which is also just about unreadable (dianetics or otherwise).
Like so many ideologies, the fan club is what most people dislike. If you are capable of taking Rands philosophies with a grain of salt, there are many brilliant concepts to glean.
Minitel:It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. --Adam Smith
Except in practice societies require self interest and benevolence and structures designed to promote the latter in order that we can all enjoy the fruits of our respective labor in a functional society.
So yes, there is still plenty of room and time to discuss this rather unfortunate policy.
For more info: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180618IPR...
Yes - 14 MEPs
No - 9 MEPs
Abstentions - 2 MEPs
Having said that, GDPR has actually turned out to be a very well thought through piece of legislation - I actually agree with it's premises largely and the fact we can't take a database dump anymore and have full access to people's personal details is an extremely good thing IMO.
How Facebook are in compliance with it I have no idea as it would seem impossible to justify a lot of their more intrusive/social features.
Good luck with SEO under such rules, in fact it would be nice if Google then offered an easy way to filter out all the sites that require paying to link to them.
: Article 6(1), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A...
Who voted in favour? Conservatives, social democrats, liberals and the Nazi.. uh nationalists.
Against? Greens and the left
You should be able to find the original list here, by opening the PDF for 20 June:
The actual content of the amendments is here:
That's not a constructive way to look at the world. It's the left-wing equivalent of claiming Obama is a Marxist. Get some perspective.
But not that much time. The main European Parliament vote is due in July.
For those of you in the EU, now is probably a good time to be writing to your MEPs.
Whatever the negotiate out will then by voted on by the MEPs. The negotiation is likely to take a few months, and I kind of expect a fight about the speed: those against the proposal will want to stall to get the vote as close as possible to the elections in May 2019, whereas those in support likely want to get it out the door as quickly as possible. I've seen some people suggest December as a likely time for the final vote.
But there's still another chance afterwards, which might be more successful given the timing of the election and people now maybe more likely to argue that it can be "fixed" in negotiations.
Don't "write". Modern politicians don't open paper letters and they delete emails even more quickly. Tweet. Scream on Facebook. Most importantly: get the support of social media celebs. Between elections, any photogenic teenager with a thousand twitter followers has more political power than a thousand grandmothers writing letters. If you can, get some Hollywood celebs. A visit from an attractive movie star is better than years of campaigns and lawyers.
This is the sorry state of the world in which we now live but we can only act within the world we are given.
It's far, far too easy to tweet or facebook something. A passing emotion with no commitment. If someone writes a letter they have put a lot of effort in and are seriously involved in the issue. They might even do something as outdated as vote or talk to their neighbors.
That's the kind of behavior that is dangerous to a politician and gets noticed. So written letters and phone calls are the best way to get a politician's attention.
But I also think that not speaking a common language does indeed make campaigning for any particular issue more difficult.
It's a trade-off. Not having a say in Europe doesn't necessarily mean you don't have to comply, which will become painfully obvious in the near future.
I'd be in favour of dissolving it back to counties with a senate.
The south never does anything for us up North.
Shrugs, Brexit is going to be interesting if the impact on the financial and legal services is as large as predicted.
That's a rather ignorant comment.
The 'Great Repeal' bill as it was called was/is - I lose track of where it is in the law process at the moment - effectively did/will do a 'mv' of all EU regulation that the UK was beholden to over its own UK laws and when this has to be done before the UK leaves and will probably be done sooner.
Then the parliament will cherry pick the bits they want to keep and update/change/remove those that we do not.
> I'm assuming you mean the 30% who actually voted to leave?
Actually while the Brexit vote to leave was significantly more than 30%, the past polls that have asked a more specific question of sovereignty/law making by the EU commission that seems to override UK Law is significantly larger than the amount that voted to leave.
Voting Leave != Does not like EU Commission making Laws by people the UK did not and cannot vote out.
> Voting Leave != Does not like EU Commission making Laws by people the UK did not and cannot vote out.
And this betrays a very poor understanding of EU law making while hiding behind the shallow notion of who is elected and ejected on the behest of voters. The UK's political system is not exactly setup to satisfy that notion even after Brexit, since voters have no real choices & accountability is not seriously practiced. Bad politicians even after breaching ministerial code are simply reintroduced after a brief periods in the naughty box. Some are even rewarded for lying by getting high ranking cabinet jobs. Nothing so hollow as Brits handwringing about EU democratic processes while ignoring the problems with its own system.
There are very few of those. One of the problems people kept banging on about is that the UK "copper bottoms" any EU regulation, making it more onerous than it could be, when they add it to UK law.
Fancy naming a few laws that 'we' don't like?
If we want to trade and have anything to do with the EU, we're going to have to follow their laws and regulations whether we're in the EU or not.
Does the US follow EU laws and regulations?
There are still multiple checkpoints that can be used to counter this, and the proposal will almost certainly be voted on by the entire EP, probably in December/January.
That's why calling your representative makes a difference.
Therefore, their explainees think they are doing genuinely good things.
Sometimes that's a "benefit", but that's when calling them yourself helps the most.
So I guess this is bad.
--goes and reads article--
> Article 11, requiring online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content, was also approved.
What the fucking FUCK?
Pay to send companies actual traffic? Pay to be allowed to use the basic building-block of the world wide web on the world wide web?
Just how is it possible to be so out of touch with how things work, and still be allowed to pass regulation?
I'm honestly not able to come up with an analogy which sufficiently illustrates just how backwards this whole thing is.
In Germany, Google started to delist news sites from their index. After traffic dropped, the publishers gave Google a license to link freely. Law defeated.
In Spain, they went a bit further and wrote into the law that Google had to list news sites in their index. So Google News shut down in Spain. Law defeated.
I guess, third time’s the charm?
The idea is to make it impossible to give Google a free license.
The best outcome would be if Google would refuse to link to any content of European publishers.
Not so much sure that's the "best" outcome as the only possible one. As rich as Google looks, when you start dividing their income by multiple multiplicative factors it doesn't last long; the log of Google's income isn't all that large.
On the other hand, Google definitely has a lot of cash to weather what to them will be at most a partial disruption of their money making system (as this is back in the linear domain rather than the log domain), whereas the online publications that get delisted from Google will be devastated.
I would predict with some confidence that if this does pass all the way into law in the EU that it would be unlikely to last very long as law. But it can cause a lot of damage in the meantime.
The difference this time, is that contracts with individual rights owners are specifically excluded.
So the fee is likely going to be an amount that Google can afford. But for the good of the Internet, it would be best if Google refuses and shows EU citizens that copyright has gone way beyond reasonable.
Isn't that because the music creator already entered an agreement with a rights organization? If the music creator didn't enter an agreement with a rights organization, the station would have to directly enter an agreement with the musician. The musician has the power to decide whether to sign with the organization or not.
Another thing rights organizations are notorious for are overbroad claims. They invert the burden of proof and require all performances to prove they are not playing licensed songs, and all music publishers to prove they are not publishing licensed songs. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved with this inverted burden of proof, which has no legal basis except that rights organizations can afford big legal bills and those on the other side mostly cannot.
I find this whole rights organization business to be nothing but a legalized racket.
I wanted to link this, but "BigMedia" want me to pay, so now I'm not even mentioning their title of the topic.
It's actually more damaging than that from the perspective of EU regulators: "I can't link to that Le Monde article, so here's a WaPo piece about the same subject".
Internet content delivery spans borders, by design. All this does is disadvantage the local producers and force their customer's eyeballs offshore.
Coupled with GDPR and many websites around the world shutting down or closing their doors to European users, there won't be many places to go.
The overarching trend of artificial borders on the internet is terrifying.
GDPR is a reasonably written attempt to preserve some measure of citizen privacy (i.e. you and me). It's an extension and continuation of Data Protection that's been there 20 years. Companies coped with no ill effect.
The copyright proposal is entirely for the benefit of large media companies, and the smell of lobbyists is overpowering. (i.e. not you and me)
That’s hyperbole. Most websites provenly don’t.
The GDPR is reasonable. This is not.
No need to conflate them.
(or you can link and replace every snippet with 'censored by the EU' or something - might be a good strategy for raising awareness)
A better question is whether it's good for the user. Filter bubble, and all.
Exactly. But publishers still think they're in the 20th century
So Google has left the option that sites either give Google their content for free, and go out of business, or get delisted from search entirely, and go out of business.
https://theoutline.com/post/1399/how-google-ate-celebritynet... is a pretty good example of why this is happening.
Law is not defeated.
It means that Google, due to its market power, got the clips for free. Everyone else might be asked to pay.
It's actually anticompetitive.
I totally understand the intention behind it - you see what the death of good media and rise of clickbait/shill articles did to US and UK. The other EU governments are terrified their own information landscape might go similarly downhill - and all you have left is spam, lies, propaganda and corporate ads hidden as articles.
It's just that the approach taken here is the wrong one. They are trying to fix something but shoot at the symptoms, not the cause.
It's also true that Google is exploitative in how it uses its ad + News Power (Look at the content preloader discussion) so clearly it's not aiming at the innocent. It's just not the right tool for the job. Probably because so far no one has figured out how to fix this...
The law still applies and all that happened is that Google gets a free license and everyone who is not Google has to pay licensing fees.
I don't know the detail but the way you put it seems very fair to me. Law protect publishers against Google, so they can say to Google "no", except that their interest is to say "yes". So they say "yes". Looks to me that even if the end result is the same, the publishers had a say. Without the law, Google takes whatever it wants without asking. Now, it has to ask. Looks fair to me.
This law won't hurt Google, they have the necessary lawyers and resources to deal with the ramifications. What this will hurt are the smaller search engines that don't have the same resources as Google. This law, if enacted, will end up giving more power to Google not less. For example, with the German law, Google was given a free license , but was DuckDuckGo given a license? As far as I can tell no. So all that changed is that Google has a license and its competitors don't. I can't see how this is a good thing for anybody but Google. It hurts consumers, reduces market choice and will end up hurting publishers.
 - http://www.robotstxt.org/orig.html
 - https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6062608
 - https://the-digital-reader.com/2014/10/22/german-publishers-...
Google News does not automatically take your content. You have to apply explicitely to get it included.
For regular search, there's always robots.txt. Claiming that there are any media/content producers who get included into the index against their will is absurd propaganda. Of course they want to be listed. They just want money, and Google has money, so they "convince" local politicians to make Google pay them their "share". Just like the Mafia.
No it does not, you need a lot of steps to make your website available on Google News, it does not work by default.
It's absolute madness.
Some people say that you can't solve political problems with technology but at this point it seems to me that politicians are ruining the web and there is no stopping them by political means. So it will have to be a technological solution. We need strong anonymization and strong decentralization to become the default.
The rules that are being put in place here are very dangerous to democracy. It limits the dissemination of information. You don't need to believe that there is any "evil" intent (I don't think there is, I think it's just greed on the part of businesses and lack of understanding on the part of the politicians) to see that once these limitations come into effect it becomes easier to lie to people and to control them.
We are setting ourselves up for fascist governments to be able to rise and it seems that most people don't even care :(
why do you think they're out of touch? they know exactly what they're doing: what they've been told to by the media companies
This will just mean platforms will not link to publishers. EVER
It already failed in Spain and Germany, they will just shoot themselves in the foot again.
This puts Google in a better place than any other news aggregator.
On that argument the Spanish version of the copyright law, Google decided to shut down News for Spain completely.
So this HN post would not be illegal because of the link, but maybe because of the title that was "stolen" from the publisher. The aim is at news.google.com and other search engines and news aggregators that include a blurb coming from the article along the link. To be honest, it is not yet clear if they intend for the title to be taxed or not.
All the comments quoting content would be taxable, though.
Like this one.
Not quite. My previous comment linked to another comment. I don't believe that would be covered by this copyright proposal.
What would be covered would be a HN user posting a link to an EU publication, my reading it, and then quoting from a portion of it. The simplest fix appears to be banning linking to EU publications.
What counts as a EU publication? The author residing in the EU? Someone with a special “publisher” license? The author possessing EU citizenship? EU readership? .eu domain name? The domain registrar? The physical servers of the web hosting service? The backup service? What about those that use cloud services who have their physical infrastructure spread out wherever? And various combinations of the above…
Lastly, how would checking any of these be implemented by the software that’s supposed to be scanning for content that could possibly be in violation?
In this special case, it might not be a violation as it links to a public service broadcast site.
>What the fucking FUCK?
This does not surprise me!
If your site has for example 5 article titles from CNN, linking all of them to original CNN articles, probably you have more benefit from that than CNN.
People this days like to skim through titles and not even bothering to read full articles, to click link.
That is complete and utter nonsense. Linking itself adds value - see the uproar with Facebook getting rid of news in the feed. If the publishers genuinely felt as you do, they would simply prevent content being linked to by Google News/etc. Instead they want to demand payment for it, and force the behavior instead of letting Google choose cheaper news sources to link to.
If it's forced for all publishers, it might actually have an effect.
And it is also why I used RSS in the past but I wonder how that will be handled.
RT is the same.
News aggregators can link to journalism sources like these without having to pay extra fees.
Of course, it might seem problematic that EU readers would get news from a Middle Eastern state-owned news source and a propaganda outlet of the Russian government, but if that's what the EU wants, it's their right to legislate that.
On the other hand, I think companies like Google and Facebook are FAR too large and powerful and I think the only way to deal with that is by making the Web less good at what it does.
- Google had to exclude the plaintiffs or shut down the service because they were not allowed to operate it without a license, and could not get a license in time;
- Deprived of Google traffic, the News site audience suddenly dropped and they granted Google a free license, as an emergency process to keep the lights on;
- Google keeps that free license for all sites, every other operator simply doesn’t have the capacity to reach out to every site, so competition to Google is completely killed.
The worst part of all this? There is a very old convention, well enforced, that already handles it: robots.txt
No idea how it'll work out.
If I understand correctly, which way this goes is completely at Google's discretion. And Google hasn't shown inclination to cooperate with such schemes in the past...
This is usually the case. it’s not possible for them to be experts on everything.
It's very naive to think that highly intelligent people don't know or care about what they regulate. I think it is the exact opposite. They care and understand deeply.
> Pay to send companies actual traffic? Pay to be allowed to use the basic building-block of the world wide web on the world wide web?
Amazing isn't it.
> Just how is it possible to be so out of touch with how things work, and still be allowed to pass regulation?
Think about who this benefits. You are just viewing it from one side. Who stands to benefit from all this?
These may be highly intelligent people, but what they are highly skilled at is the art of obtaining and keeping political office. That does not necessarily say anything about their knowledge of the industries they regulate, or their ability to write regulations that are free from disastrous side effects.
> Think about who this benefits. You are just viewing it from one side. Who stands to benefit from all this?
Maybe you could actually say something, instead of just hinting?
Agreed. That's my point.
> That does not necessarily say anything about their knowledge of the industries they regulate, or their ability to write regulations that are free from disastrous side effects.
They had teams of people helping them understand. Do you think these experts who work for the politicians and/or the industry don't know what the side effects are? Just because the effects would be "disastrous" for you and me doesn't mean it will be disastrous for the politicians or the people who they work for.
> Maybe you could actually say something, instead of just hinting?
I thought it was obvious. And I was trying to get you to actually think.
Do you think these guys just decided one day to make changes to the rules of the internet for fun? Why do you think they are making these changes? If you can figure it out, then let me know.
You seem to have it all figured out. Did you do any serious research on the subject that could perhaps justify your perspective? You criticize the proposal mostly because it brings change, but you do not really analyze its impact.
The lawmakers in the committee have probably spent hours studying this proposal and discussing it in detail with field experts and other affected parties. The result of their vote was far from unanimous, which means that they were not able to reach a generally acceptable consensus. To me, that indicates that the judgement about the proposal is not simple or straightforward and that quick conclusions of the "hold my beer" type should be avoided.
But seeing the lawmakers fucking up more and more on these kind of laws makes it harder to build a reasonable argument against all the so called "EU critics" (most of the time just straight up racists).
It also makes me wonder if the laws they pass in other areas are as disconnected from reality as this is.
I'm sorry but you do yourself a disservice if you paint people who don't agree with you as racists. Yes, concern about immigration is part of what drives euroskepticism, and some people are concerned about immigration because they're racist. But in the context of the migrant crisis I think it's foolish not to acknowledge that there's a legitimate debate to be had around immigration.
For my part I'm happy with free movement within europe (and seriously bothered by the treatment of refugees arriving in Greece and Italy, but that's another story). What turned me into a euroskeptic was the financial crisis. The troika forced Greece into a depression in order to protect German banks' interests. Trichet held a gun to the Irish minister of finance's head, threatening to let the economy blow up unless the Irish taxpayer bailed out the banks. Bank bailouts like that have subsequently been made illegal under state aid laws.
So that's where I am. The two european arms of the troika, the ECB and the European Commission, have far too much power with too little accountability. The european parliament is toothless, and when push comes to shove, countries look after their own interests first: if they don't, the electorate will find someone who will.
The EU is a half-finished project, but the political will to finish it just isn't there. We either need to go fully federal, complete with fiscal transfers from Germany to Greece, or we need to roll back to being a trading bloc. The current situation is untenable, and it's one recession away from imploding.
Or are you thinking of NATO?
> The concept of open borders in (most of) Europe is something I would never want to miss.
In what context?
"I don't have to show my passport on holidays - yay!"
"people can drive from a ghetto on the outskirts of Brussels with a trunkload of Kalashnikov's, spray bullets at Paris cafe society, and immediately afterwards they can be traced to.....er dunno..."
Steel and coal (or more generally energy) are necessary in order to to wage war. Pooling these things in a super national organization makes war between the member states impossible.
> Some point to NATO as far more significant a guarantor of peace than the EU
NATO has never been a deterrent but was used after the fact when conflicts just had to come about. Like the Kosovo War which involved factions that didn't have the mushroom assured mutual destruction.
It's not impossible, you just can't do it with an invasion, which is likely to have bad side-effects anyways. Just look at the USSR: they had tons of bombs, and their government was toppled, from within. Things are probably better there, overall, today than they were in the Soviet times, even if they aren't that great compared to richer nations. Even more so if you consider all the nations that used to be behind the Iron Curtain; many of those are thriving now, like Czechia.
Perhaps the answer to NK is to let their government evolve to something better on its own, instead of sending in an invasion force. As long as they don't invade SK, it just doesn't seem worth it.
I wouldn't use the word "toppled" in the case of the fall of the USSR. Nobody actively contributed to its fall with the desire of making it fall. The factors that caused its fall aren't even comparable to anything that would affect dictatorships like NK.
In fact it is far more comparable to empires of old. Like Napoleon's empire, the roman empire and so on.
The USSR held territories which hated the guts of the people and culture that governed them, Russia.
When Gorbachev led reforms to give more freedoms to the people, that allowed the expression of nationalism throughout the occupied territories of the USSR "empire". Once all those territories started using their freedom of speech to rally around ideas like being different from Russians and needing to form their own nation, the USSR was bound to cease to exist. Russia, the main core of the USSR, is still more of a dictatorship than a democracy, by the way. It is arguable that the idea of a dictatorship was never really toppled in the mainland of the USSR. The fall of the USSR as a system of governance was merely the loss of colonized land.
North Korea doesn't have any factor of the kind. The government will only change if its rulers want it to change. It's doubtful a starving peasant revolt could do anything.
So what I would say is this: Ignore this correlation at your mortal peril. The risk is that of total war.
>"people can drive from a ghetto on the outskirts of Brussels with a trunkload of Kalashnikov's, spray bullets at Paris cafe society, and immediately afterwards they can be traced to.....er dunno..."
Must be the second, automatic border control has rendered the reckless Schengen agreement obsolete for legitimate travellers. Last time I was in the UK passing in and out was a piece of piss, no standing in line or anything.
Not this canard again.
Countries that have known peace within their homeland territory post WW2 were countries that either owned nuclear weapons, or befriended a power that owned nuclear weapons.
The EU has nothing to do with peace within continental Europe. In fact it could NOT stop extremely bloody conflicts like the Kosovo War from happening. But I guess 1998 is ancient history?
The nuclear bomb is the true peace maker. It's what made the US and USSR so frightened of even the possibility of a conflict between each other.
Sorry, then why has the US been involved in a major war every ten years since WW2?
Because those countries didn't have nukes. Nukes create peace for those who own them, not those who don't. North Korea will never be invaded by the US as long as they have nukes.
Same thing for Pakistan. It will not see the same fate as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lybia.. because it has nukes.
Western Europe knows peace because its two strongest powers are nuclear powers (United Kingdom, France), while the remaining power, Germany, kept being pushed into proving it has become inoffensive such as signing a treaty prohibiting it from building nuclear weapons. There can be no war in Western Europe territory as long as the UK, France and the US don't want war.
The last nail in the coffin to prove that the European Union is a paper tiger that has nothing to do with the absence of war in the continent is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Nobody cared enough for Ukraine's fate to defend it and so Russia took whatever piece it wanted from it.
The EU didn't end war in Europe. Nuclear powers ended war in -WESTERN- Europe, which is not all of Europe. It would be nice to stop forgetting that there's other countries to the east of Germany and Switzerland. Considering the annexation of Crimea, the idea that there's a guaranteed peace is merely a dream, not a reality.
I do broadly agree with you that nuclear weapons have produced peace, but the EU has done quite a bit of useful work related to internal struggles, like Ireland.
Most things go through smoothly because they are so technical or orln topics that no one cares. Then once in a while you have this kind which is in some ways a big progress. Look at the education provisions in there. But here's how the EU works: the Commission (civil service) proposes a draft text. The parliament debates and changes it (mostly along national and political party group lines). The council (national governments) debate and change the same.commissiom proposal. Them council and parliament beat themselves over the head (with commission mediation and proposals on how to find common ground) until they find common ground on drafting that everyone can accept.
Note, not one thing that everyone likes, but one that everyone can accept. Despite the bullshit you might read in UK media or the claims of tyrants like Orban who claim they fought (in their xitizens:against' interest, of course) other governments over this or that, it basically never happens that something is decided at EU level that one (or several) countries strongly disagree with. So you get this kind of pieces in each legislative document - with some bites for everyone and lots of things that have as their sole virtue that no one really hates them that much. Often no one even really understands each part in detail
It's similar across the world (see the literally thousands of pages a legislation like Dodd-Frank in the US context can become) - the democratic process is messy; at EU level it's additionally messy because there are 28 national interests at stake and at play.
That’s straight up delusional. Latest example I cared for: the guns restriction imposed on Czechia against its will, in an area EU has no business regulating in the first place, with repeated abuse of procedure. So egregious that Czechia sued over it.
Never happens. (And as I learned from another comment here, I’m apparently a racist now for not liking this sort of abuses...)
But then, your bias is pretty obvious from calling Orban a “tyrant”. You may not like his politics, he’s not much of a EU-loving leftist for sure, but come on.
I think you are getting the UN/NATO and EU confused, friend.
The rest of your post is spot on.
And the EU as since it inception always been about making European nations interdependent, so that they cannot wage war against each other.
As the original proposal for precursor to the EU said: "The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible" .
But you all too often hear the false claim that EU made Europe peaceful, so the above jab should be seen in the same lights: equally inaccurate explanation meant to iLlustrate the fallacy.
You can be as defensive as you want, it won’t justify all the whistling during that campaign.
For democracy as an ideology to work well, there might be a modicum of honesty necessary from it's actors, in that they try to enact only policy they actually believe in, and not aim to simply cause destruction and dissent. This is clearly nothing that is entirely unique to one ideology, as the past few years has clearly shown.
It's unfortunate that the very stability that many seek seems to be the very thing that cause them, or others to cause instability. Maybe we as a species thrive on danger, and whenever it seems to disappear we invent some new imaginary spectre to take the place of those we erased. Like how vaccinations that have prevented untold amounts of suffering, now far to many people seem to consider it the cause of any ailments short of broken legs.
I am in favor of things like free movement of goods and services. I also in favor working together on things like European Space Agency.
However these sudo-democratic want-be centralized state is totally against the history of European has already caused a endless serious of disaster and mismanagement.
It is this form a bureaucratic technocratic center state that is primarily responsible for the nationalistic backlash we are seeing.
I am really happy that I live in Switzerland and we managed to avoid actually being in the EU even while being pretty tightly integrated.
How is the EU particularly undemocratic? I'm Austrian and most of the European branches map relatively well to our own federal structure. (Nationalrat -> European parliament, Government -> Commission, Bundesrat -> Council(although that one has more power))
The reason for stupid laws like this one is that conservative parties are currently dominating the European Parliament and national governments, so a direct result of people voting.
And I don't see how being in Switzerland will save you from any of this since this law will almost certainly also apply to Switzerland if it comes into effect. Only difference being that you don't have any say on the matter.
Look at how the EU handled the economic crisis. Nothing democratic about the decision making. But many of the decisions still implemented under EU cover.
The European parliament should not easily be allowed to make laws for everybody. Many countries didn't even get to vote popularly if they wanted to join.
> And I don't see how being in Switzerland will save you from any of this since this law will almost certainly also apply to Switzerland if it comes into effect. Only difference being that you don't have any say on the matter.
I was not talking about this one law, but rather in general.
I think this holds true in the general case as well.
The TCE would have been further reaching, establishing a directly elected president of the European Commission for instance. It's kind of funny considering how all the anti-EU people that voted against the constitution are the same people complaining about the EU's lack of democracy.
It is democracy on paper only. For a functional democracy, oversight is crucial. That requires press attention so that people are aware of how their representatives follow their will.
You never hear about directives in the works, there’s too much of it, and it happens far away. Most of it is prepared by committees and The EU parliament just rubberstamps it. Most of the time, people learn about new legislative when it is a done deal.
You only here about the worst offenders, like this one. And even that is not a topic of mainstream coverage. Our bubble writes about it. The public in general remains unaware.
How is that a well working democracy?