Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world

Richard Alston
09 September 2021 | OP185
Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world

The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism.

This paper reflects on the idealistic roots of early European integration in the wake of two world wars, before exploring how these worthy intentions have long given way to a bureaucratic cadre steeped in etatist doctrines.

At its heart, the EU is an elite-driven project that rejects the primacy of market economics over social welfare models, compounded by a disdain for democracy. Its relentless quest for top-down uniformity ignores what was once Europe’s guiding principle of governance, subsidiarity, which holds that decisions should be taken as close as possible to the people and communities affected.

The original noble purpose of saving Europe from itself has now turned into a self-preservation exercise of saving the elites at the expense of the masses. Yet the EU’s answer to widespread loss of public faith in — if not opposition to — ‘ever closer union’ seems to be ‘even closer union’. The rationale for Europe today is thus arguably not peace but power.

Latest Publications

The Threat of Identity Politics
Simon Heffer
01 September 2021 | OP184

Global outrage over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in America last year has been harnessed by activist groups such as Black Lives Matter to support demands for social and political upheaval that go way beyond making racial equality a reality. This has led to the weaponisation of identity politics across much of the Western world, causing…

READ MORE
The Psychology of Populism: Tribal Challenges to Liberal Democracy
Joseph P. Forgas
19 August 2021 | OP183

The resurgence of both left-wing and right-wing populism presents a serious challenge for liberal democracies. Whereas liberal democracy is based on the Enlightenment principles of individualism, tolerance and freedom, populism is a fundamentally collectivist, anti-individualist and anti-Enlightenment tribal ideology. This paper goes beyond economic and other explanations for the resurgence of populism to provide a much fuller psychological account —…

READ MORE
Scaling up success in majority Indigenous schools
Noel Pearson
08 July 2021 | OP182

Addressing the Centre for Independent Studies, Noel Pearson outlines his insights and observations from decades of experience supporting education in remote majority Indigenous communities. He outlines the 6C Education model — Childhood, Class, Club, Culture, Civics, Community — adopted at Good to Great Schools, the organisation he co-Chairs, and the critical role played by teacher-led, direct instruction. Noel argues that…

READ MORE
Afghanistan on the brink of an abyss
William Maley
01 July 2021 | OP181

Australia’s recent closure of its embassy in Kabul, and the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan after 20 years by 11 September 2021, casts a deep shadow over Afghanistan’s future prospects. In this paper, leading expert on Afghanistan, William Maley, examines the implications of the US withdrawal. He discusses how the ‘peace process’ that was supposed to flow from…

READ MORE
Indigenous suicide: Finding a catalyst for action
Anthony Dillon
06 May 2021 | OP180

This paper aims to provide a catalyst for the actions needed to address the crisis of Indigenous suicide. It begins by examining a major barrier to addressing Indigenous suicide—the politicisation not only of Indigenous suicide, but all Indigenous issues—before discussing some of the likely causes of suicide, and factors that make Indigenous suicide qualitatively different from non-Indigenous suicides. It then…

READ MORE