Is Multinational Democracy Possible?

Vaclav Klaus

Vaclav Klaus

While chewing on my Frosted Shredded Wheat this morning, I read a thought-provoking speech by the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.

A highly educated economist as well as a top politician in his country, Dr. Klaus says that Europe’s current economic malaise is the result of a decadent and paternalistic economic culture, especially in the wake of increased unification and the implementation of a single currency.

After distinguishing between integration (a good thing) and centralization (an ominous turn away from democracy), he spoke the line that really caught my eye:

It was forgotten that states are the only institutions where real democracy is possible.

His ideas are an interesting counterpoint to my last post, Morality, Fractals and the Arab Spring, where I waxed optimistic about the increasing scale of democracy in the world.

You can read his speech here: The Crisis of the European Union: Causes and Significance.

What do you think? Can democracy function at a super-national level, or is the nation-state the largest scale where it can be accountable to the people?

6 responses to “Is Multinational Democracy Possible?

  1. Pat Condell just released, today, a video named: “Europe Needs a Revolution”. Pat is a vocal opponent of the European Union and this latest video sums up his reasons. Vaclav Klaus echoes much of what Pat has said (or is it vice versa?) so you might want to watch the video. It’s available on YouTube or on my website. The English transcript of the video is available ONLY on my website ( I transcribed it myself.

    Pat also asserts that states are essential to democracy.

    Anyway, check it out. It’s a good, focused, criticism video.

  2. A couple of Pat Condell quotes on this topic:

    “I think it’s ironic that, just as the Arabs are finally claiming their right to self-determination, we in Europe are busy handing ours away, or rather having it signed away, by a political class who openly despise the people they purport to represent. Soon, the Arabs will be lecturing us on democracy.”

    “unlike the American constitution which empowers the people, the European constitution disempowers the people and empowers the unelected bureaucrats and career politicians for whose sole benefit it was created.”

  3. It’s absurd to point at the European Union as a cause for the current social-economic failure. There are obviously thousand of issues that ought to have been addressed years ago (like expenditures, bureaucracy, etc.), but shouldn’t the Crisis had exploded in 2008, no one would be asking this type of questions today. What’s more, nobody is actually addressing the real causes of the current crisis, and a potential and each day nearer, aftershock with devastating efects in all global economies.
    I feel these are the two aspects concealed in his false disjunctive assertion: one, that expressed above. The second, is whether Occident -so called- Democracies are truly representative and really work as they should. If we go back to its’ origin, among the greeks, Democracy was related to Polis (cities), not even states. It was the closest humanity got to a direct government system.
    I’d dare say under the light of this and the way governments “fail” to succeed in their delegated tasks when in power, that Democracy is even impossible in terms of states.
    God bless us (and I don’t believe in God).

  4. Second paragraph: “… in this false disjunctive ….”

  5. Heck, Canada is too large to represent its population. In the western provinces, we have no say about our leadership due to the population density in the east (that and we don’t vote for our leaders only our local representatives) imagine the disparity in a global democracy. But what do you do? Make a vote from a low density area worth more? I really hate to say it but the most effective form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. Not that I support the idea but it is the most effective. In the political environment nature selects for the ability to run a campaign, not run a country.

  6. Pingback: Another oxymoron … « Living out of Eden

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