Being for the most part historically illiterate, few intellectuals are prepared to admit that modern representative democracy and the basic concept of individual rights are 18th century phenomena that were the byproducts of a Christian society. They prefer to attribute both institutions to the Enlightenment, despite the fact that it was the Enlightenment that led directly to the revolutionary horrors of the French revolution and it is the Enlightenment that presently serves as the inspiration for the anti-democratic authoritarian bureaucracy of the European Union.
It is written that a house divided against itself cannot stand. In like manner, an intellectual movement cannot reasonably be considered the cause of two diametrically opposed conceptual phenomena.
And it will become increasingly difficult for intellectuals to deny the connection between Christianity and democracy as the recognized, even celebrated, post-Christianity of Europe has been closely followed by European post-democracy. The development of European post-democracy is much less recognized, is not at all celebrated, and yet it is in some ways further along than the more widely reported continental post-Christianity.
The fact of the matter is that the governments of Europe are no longer any more genuinely democratic than the Roman Empire or the Soviet Union were. In Imperial Rome, the Senate voted on behalf of the former Roman assemblies, but its votes were irrelevant and its authority was nonexistent. In the Soviet Union, the people were permitted to vote, but their preferences were ignored, even in the direct elections instituted in the Gorbachev era.
In a 1991 referendum, a majority of Soviet citizens voted to retain the Union, but in the long anti-democratic tradition of the Soviet Union, their wishes were ignored. This is deeply ironic, considering that a majority of European citizens in nearly every European country would now vote to leave the European Union if given the opportunity, but they are being denied the opportunity to do so by their treasonous national "representatives."
In the United Kingdom, all three major political parties are actively denying the English, Welsh and Scottish peoples the opportunity to vote on continued subjugation to the European Union, despite the fact that all three parties promised a referendum on the EU of one sort or another. David Cameron, the Tory prime minister who makes the weasely Tony Blair look like an honorable man of his word, is presently facing a near-revolt from members of Parliament who are rightly outraged by his treacherous refusal to make good on the Conservative Party's promise to their increasingly euroskeptical constituents.
In the Eurozone, the state of democracy is even worse, thanks to the latest version of what is improbably described as the "Greek rescue deal." The "stability union," which was announced in Brussels last week, removes the power of national governments to make decisions concerning issues of taxing and public spending. This means that the two central economic functions of national government, monetary and fiscal policy, are now completely out of government control. It also means that the people of Europe are now subject to taxation without representation, the very state that inspired the American revolution in the first place.
The Enlightenment Ourobos has now devoured its own tail. Christianity may be in decline across the continent, but European democracy is effectively dead. The European political elite is no longer even pretending to be representing the will of the European people in any way, hence the public hand-wringing over what is described as the "democratic deficit." But this is more than a mere deficit; it is the observable death of democracy.
But Americans should not take much satisfaction in the Old World's return to pre-18th century oligarchy. For the same processes that killed European democracy in only 66 years have been actively at work inside the United States for decades. The false promises of the architects of the European Union are little different than the false promises of politicians like Sen. Edward Kennedy, who declared that the 1965 immigration act would not change the racial composition of America, even though that is exactly what it was designed to do. And Americans are seeing more and more laws and popular referendums overturned by the will of judges and executive-branch bureaucrats; democracy is not yet dead in America, but it is clearly far from well.
In the Telegraph, Janet Daley conceded that the long battle against the inevitable resurgence of European oligarchy had failed. There is not much time left for Americans to learn that their political play-battles of Democrats and Republicans are not so much futile as beside the point. Until both left and right unite and turn against the Washington-Wall Street axis of oligarchy, American democracy will continue to die.