Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

To Explain The Difference Between The United States And The European Union

There are those who think – urge, wish for perhaps – the European Union is or should become the United States of Europe. Lots of central bureaucratic control, the nation states left as just the remnants of once independent countries like the US states are these days. In some ways the two systems are very much the same already. No US state has any control at all over trade across its own border. Nor does any EU one. Trade is an issue solely the competence of the central organisations, respectively Washington DC and Brussels. Equally, both systems use this central control of trade and trade only to expand that central control.

In the US there was a case that Federal control of trade meant that the Feds got to decide who could grow wheat where and when. The usual sort of planning idiocy led to the Feds telling farmers who could grow how much and when. One farmer claimed he was only growing for his own consumption and this shouldn’t be limited. The centre (the Supreme Court) disagreed, the crux being that if he didn’t grow for his own consumption he would buy, this affected inter-state commerce, he had to obey the Feds. The EU takes this a step further. The Single Market rules are nominally about trade. Anything legal to be buying and selling in one place is such in all is a reasonable explanation of the nub of the matter. Sure, exceptions and all that. But this then smuggles into all law that continental (Roman Law really) idea that what is legal to do is something that the legislation defines. Instead of that Common Law idea that legislation, the law even, defines what it is illegal to do all other things being legal.

Once this is accepted then of course the next step is that there must be regulation of all things so as to tell people what it is legal to do. In this manner all sorts of things get smuggled in. Vacuum cleaner motors must be limited to a certain size or power. Because those whose lives are unfortunate enough that they’ve time to spare to be concerned about legislation on such matters note that they can be and thus incorporate their trivialities into legislation. The extent of this reach is larger than you think. The underlying legal, not political, justification for recycling targets is that some countries – Holland, where digging a hole gains nothing but wet boots – don’t have space for landfill. This would put them at a disadvantage if other countries do have the space, therefore all must recycle.

Giving the centre power always, but always, means an extension of the centre’s power. The two systems aren’t so different then.

Or perhaps they are:

A young French woman who was visiting her mother in western Canada spent two weeks in a US detention center after inadvertently crossing the border while jogging along the beach, a report said Friday.

Cedella Roman, 19, ran across the border just south of the town of White Rock in Canada’s British Columbia, into the US state of Washington on the evening of May 21, she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

She headed back when the tide began to come in, going up toward a dirt path before stopping to take a photo of the stunning scenery, then turned around to retrace her steps.

It was then that she was apprehended by two US Border Patrol officers who told her she had crossed illegally and had been caught on camera.

“I told him I had not done it on purpose, and that I didn’t understand what was happening,” she told CBC.

This is remarkably similar to another recent case:

A pregnant cow has been sentenced to death after it wandered over the EU border.

Penka, due to give birth in about three weeks, walked away from her herd near the Bulgarian village of Kopilovtsi and crossed the border into Serbia, a non-EU country.

The cow was returned to its owner, Ivan Haralampiev, and Serbian vets said it was in perfect health.

But Bulgarian officials said the bovine must be must be put down because of strict EU rules, AFP reported.

“It is not for us to decide,” a veterinary expert, Lyubomir Lyubomirov, told the agency. “We are only implementing rules that come from Brussels.”

The US system – the law has been broken, let’s hold everyone until we work out what happened and make a decision. There would be a day in court too. EU system. The rules have been broken, execute all concerned. Immediately, without courts nor evidence. Rules iz rulz, see?

At which point we might want to ponder which type of United States we’re trying to build over here.

It is possible to argue this another way. Hey, we’re liberals around here, we’ll at least consider other analyses. We all know there’s a difference between a French Woman and a Bulgarian Cow – the aroma perhaps being a clue – but the idea that our Lords and Masters have constructed a regulatory system that can distinguish? No, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

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