Check of the Irish
July 14, 2008
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English nā, from ne not + ā always; akin to Old Norse & Old High German ne not, Latin ne-, Greek nē- — more at aye
Date: before 12th century
>1 achiefly Scottish : not b—used as a function word to express the negative of an alternative choice or possibility
>2: in no respect or degree —used in comparisons
>2: in no respect or degree —used in comparisons
>3: not so —used to express negation, dissent, denial, or refusal <no, I'm not going
>4—used with a following adjective to imply a meaning expressed by the opposite positive statement
no uncertain terms
>5—used as a function word to emphasize a following negative or to introduce a more emphatic, explicit, or comprehensive statement
no, it's gigantic
>6—used as an interjection to express surprise, doubt, or incredulity7—used in combination with a verb to form a compound adjective
8: in negation no>
[See: Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/no ]
Of the 27 European Union member states, Ireland, the only to require a popular referendum, has usefully tested an otherwise very insulated, elite-driven expansion of EU power. It has rejected the best-laid plans of Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso and allies. At this point, the EU should realize that its long-term prospects require it to acknowledge the legitimate objections of real, actual voters. This, of course, was the same lesson that went unheeded in 2005, when France and the Netherlands issued comparable "No" votes to the EU Constitution, killing it.
In the runup to Thursday, Mr. Barroso announced with much drama that "There is no Plan B," warning of "a very negative effect for the European Union" before an audience at the European Policy Center, as if he meant it. This, it turns out, was bluster. Now he says: "I believe the treaty is alive and we should now try to find a solution."
The intended solution, which could only be described as a "Plan B," is to press on with the Lisbon Treaty anyway, with some Ireland-only modifications.
Mr. Barroso wants Ireland to resubmit the treaty for a vote once its opt-out clauses are in order. The approach suggests a belief that a treaty that fails its only popular vote faces no questions of mandate or long-term viability. The willful obtuseness here is the real danger to the EU's prospects.
[SO MUCH FOR INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS & POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION!! EUROPEANS BEWARE!! THE BRUSSELS BUREAUCRATS WILL CRAM DOWN ANYTHING THEY WISH IF THE IRISH SUBMIT TO THIS KIND OF INTIMIDATION!!!]
Any political institution that aims for longevity must develop a healthy respect for the public will. The best ones are grounded in it. The sad truth of the EU is that its leadership has never been willing to do this. It openly disdains "the rabble." Mr. Barroso and allies try to avoid public input wherever possible, conducting end-runs around non-elite checks on their authority. They failed to learn the lessons of France and the Netherlands three years ago. This week they fail yet again.
The EU will survive, as will the integrated European economy. The real casualties this week are the credibility of those who made the direst of predictions on Wednesday but little more than 24 hours later were found pledging to carry on as if nothing had happened.
[UNFORTUNATELY, THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS OF MODERN BRUSSELS HAVE FAILED TO LEARN THE TRAGIC LESSON OF THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS OF ANCIENT ATHENS.]
[See: Eva Brann, Plato's Impossible Polity, A review of Plato's Republic: A Study, by Stanley Rosen
["...So, first, who is this philosopher-king for whose benefit the Republic has a metaphysical center? Open the book to its middle by page count and there he is (or she, as Socrates explicitly says)—the central human figure of the dialogue, whose introduction will raise a huge wave of derision. Rosen rightly emphasizes a crucial aspect of these philosophers: they "depend upon the existence of Ideas"; their "most important qualification is to 'see' the Ideas." Accordingly, Rosen has not only explained very clearly in various places what a Platonic idea is—minimally, a formal structure necessary for identifying and speaking about things—but he has also set out lucidly what is problematic about it. He emphasizes that these structures are conceived as patterns or models, and Part III begins with a very illuminating discussion of the several meanings of Plato's term paradeigma. Thus, philosophers have non-sensual patterns to look to. But then the question is: how does that make them fit to be kings? Rosen thinks that Plato has shown only that philosophers are lovers of ideas but not at all how the ideas bestow the practical knowledge required for kingship. I would respond that the Socratic position is that to know the ideas of Courage, Temperance, and Justice is to be courageous, temperate, and just—surely a good beginning for the life of a ruler. The source of the being, growth, and knowableness of the ideas themselves is that notorious Good. It too is, I think, a defensible preoccupation for those who are to govern. Socrates presents it in a simile, a verbal image (eikon). The Good is like the sun in its being and power—except that it has no being, for it is "beyond being" (509 b). Rosen reasonably asks us to accept the idea of the Good as "intrinsic" to the intelligibility of human existence. But then he balks at the one metaphysical feature assigned to it, its "beyond-being."Yet the Good is not quite sufficiently delineated as perhaps "a set of properties of Platonic ideas," nor put aside as "too cryptic to be amenable to an entirely satisfactory explanation." The ancient tradition is that "The Good" was a name for "The One," the comprehending source of unity, the principle of "one-out-of-many," not itself a being but the unity of all beings. It is the very principle of our republic: "E pluribus unum." That is why the philosopher-kings must come to behold it; far from being useless, it is the knowledge of communities, whether of ideal beings in their ontological context or of human beings in their private friendships or in their civic associations. For the philosopher-kings, even if they have, by my notion, no city but only themselves to rule, are yet friends and fellow-citizens. Don't those of us who still teach the liberal arts (the very arts set out in the Republic's curriculum for philosopher-kings) hope to educate citizens in just that way, by asking them to think about what it means to be together as a community emerging from individuals?"]