Struggles with democracy

For centuries, Flanders has been a huge battlefield for many nations who wanted to expand their territory.

The southwest of the Low Countries, the coastal region of northwestern Europe, consisting of North-West France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, seemed to have been an ideal place for serious battles. In the 9th century, a remarkable line of Flemish counts managed to succeed in erecting a quasi-independent state on the borders between the French and German kingdoms.

Up to 1947 there were three nations looking to build a democratic system where citizens could feel united and live free. Together the three countries Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg formed the Benelux (in full Benelux Economic Union), with the objective of bringing about total economic integration by ensuring free circulation of persons, goods, capital, and services; by following a coordinated policy in the economic, financial, and social fields; and by pursuing a common policy with regard to foreign trade.

Belgium and Luxembourg had bilaterally formed already an economic union in 1921 and to the neighbouring countries, this did not look like a bad system. In 1960 the Treaty of the Benelux Economic Union signed on February 3, 1958, became active.

Benelux became the first completely free international labour market; the movement of capital and services was also made free. Postal and transport rates were standardised, and welfare policies were coordinated. In 1970 border controls were abolished.

Following the ratification of the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)  in 1952, first proposed as the Schuman Declaration by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on the 9th of May 1950 (today’s Europe Day of the EU), however, interest in such developments shifted to plans for the European Economic Community (EEC; later succeeded by the European Union), of which Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are original members. For practical issues of economic integration, Benelux served as a useful example for the EEC.

Robert Schuman aimed to

“make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.”

The ECSC was the first step to achieving different regions that felt part of a democratic unity, by regional integration spared from internal battles.

The ECSC stood as a model for the communities set up after it by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community, with whom it shared its membership and some institutions.

Continental Europe had, for many years, struggled with foundational divides — with periodic warnings of civil war — as recently as the 1950s. Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands were divided into ideologically opposed subcultures, sometimes called “spiritual families” or “pillars.”  One can fairly say that these countries became models of “consensual democracy,” having the willing agreement of all the people involved, accepting and respecting the subcultures to share power through creative political arrangements, and trying also to implement a fair voting system.

For the time being, however, in many countries that call themselves ‘democratic’, it is still difficult to set up a voting selection system in which the elected are selected on the basis of and in accordance with the percentage of votes.

The fact that the non-adoption of the distribution of seats according to the percentage of votes creates a big problem is clearly noticeable in the United States of America, where someone can still obtain the presidential seat even though he has fewer votes (just look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton).

In the nation that many looked forward to as the ‘Land where everything is greener’, however, a development has been seen in recent years that should give us cause for fear, for democracy there is deteriorating noticeably. Christian nationalists are increasingly claiming the right to determine everything for the entire American community. But their concern is not to bring universal freedom to everyone. On the contrary, they want to get it through with all their might that the man will be all determining in the course and determination of laws.

Equality before the law has always been a difficult matter in the U.S.A., where a person with coloured skin was always considered less and was considered guilty in advance until proven innocent. For such people the right to a fair trial was and is until now very much the question.

But also for the white people, we do now see a danger, having no freedom of thought, conscience, and religion anymore. Those white right-wing Christians demand that their idea of mankind shall be followed by law and that their religion has to be taken to construct or determine the legal rules to be implemented. By Donald Trump giving the U.S. Supreme Court a conservative majority, he seems to have succeeded to bring the nation deeper into a white nationalist loophole.

 

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Preceding

  1. One year ago people who said they love America stormed the Capitol
  2. The Independent looking at June 09 – June 15
  3. Global Headlines looked at the beginning of June 2022 by Bloomberg
  4. NYT selection of articles for the first part of June
  5. The Guardian’s view on the world 2nd week of June
  6. Points to rescue America

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Find also to read

  1. 2019 was #2 a Year of much deceit in the U.S.A.
  2. Stress-test for democracy #1 Storming of the Capitol in Washington
  3. The death knell of an Empire
  4. Strasbourg – Conference on the Future of Europe
  5. 2021 in review #1 the most startling point
  6. One year ago a sacred place was attacked
  7. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  8. Freely & fairly
  9. 60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century
  10. A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy
  11. Tribes Redux
  12. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  13. Looking at an American nightmare
  14. The American democracy wasn’t built in a day, but it could be destroyed swiftly and imperceptibly
  15. Facts: Why they matter and how to check them
  16. : A Failed Apocalypse
  17. As Expected
  18. So-called own sacred values under threat
  19. Evangelicals & Seduction
  20. Obeying the King
  21. Egypt in the picture
  22. Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’
  23. Belgium showing signs of pre-Nazi Germany making certain people afraid to show up in public
  24. Vote!
  25. You Are Called To Stand Up, Even If You Are Standing Alone
  26. The Golden rule not always as easy as its sounds
  27. Today’s thought “Godly and dignified” (May 22)

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Related

  1. E. B. White on “the meaning of democracy”
  2. Fair elections depend on canceling the filibuster
  3. What Happened to Civil Debate, Open-mindedness, the Ability to Compromise, and Getting Things Done in US Politics?
  4. A View from the Land of Aloha – America is in a very bad way on multiple fronts right now – from Afghanistan to the South China Sea to the US mainland to democracy itself.
  5. We the what?
  6. The Republican Party Has Gone Dangerously Off The Rails
  7. US President Sanders’ Second Term
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  9. Why Do Republicans Seek To Destroy American Democracy?
  10. Why Aren’t Biden and the Democrats Going All Out for Democracy? | The Smirking Chimp
  11. White Rage
  12. Maybe More Americans Would Behave Like Responsible Adults If We Taught Them “How To”
  13. GOP’s Civil War in Nevada Erupts into ‘Ugly Scene’ as Far-right Extremists Try ‘To Bully Their Way into a Takeover’ | The Smirking Chimp
  14. You Can’t Tell ME What to DO!
  15. U.S. democracy is in danger
  16. We The People Get The Government We Deserve
  17. Fight Unjust Legislation and Theocracy Under the Constant Threat The GOP Switches to Live Bullets: This Is Where We Are, Do NOT Kid Yourself, Do NOT Shy Away
  18. This Is Why
  19. Karen J. Greenberg: Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
  20. There really is a vast right-wing conspiracy
  21. Steve Bannon Sends A Message To MAGA: Stand By | Crooks and Liars
  22. Hedges: The nature of neoliberalism and its consequences, with Wendy Brown
  23. Why Does Our News Media Insist On Equating Bullsh*t With Truth?
  24. Do You Remember When…
  25. Is the Confederacy a year away from winning the Civil War?
  26. Welcome to the Martians! We now live in a world stranger than science fiction | Salon.com
  27. Chris Hedges: Sheldon Wolin on Inverted Totalitarianism, with Wendy Brown
  28. Our threatened democracy: Links 12/8/2021
  29. Old Dog Thought- The Tale of two men of the media-The American nightmare
  30. Why Trump won in 2016 and lost in 2020
  31. Is Fox News The Greatest Cancer on American Democracy? | The Smirking Chimp
  32. Republicans And Rabbit Holes
  33. ‘Patriots’ are undermining American democracy | Michael Harriot | The Guardian
  34. This Is A Dangerous Time For American Democracy
  35. Scary Times For American Democracy
  36. Our Experiment
  37. Thoughts on America’s Bad Day
  38. The American Constitution Enshrined Blacks as “3/5th of a Person.”
  39. This is a WOW – ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt on the Commonwealth Club
  40. Feral States: The US Drifts Into the Pernicious Wilds
  41. Equality and Liberty are Exactly Opposite!
  42. William Astore: Is Democracy Going Down?
  43. American democracy is ruining the true democracy 
  44. Janine Jackson interviews Chris Lehmann: ‘The Race Crisis and the Democracy Crisis Are Inseparable’
  45. The Killer Ape: We Are Doomed
  46. USA Human Rights Reports Release Programme: CDPHR
  47. Things that make you go…
  48. A previously unimaginable sense of the absurd
  49. The Whole World Is Watching
  50. The Democrats–and the United States–Need a Miracle
  51. #January6- Has America returned from the cliff hanger?
  52. End of June…July…Independence?
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Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

6 thoughts on “Struggles with democracy

  1. Dear Marcus,

    Hello! I can see that you have been very busy blogging in the last few weeks. Please come over to examine my latest post as I would like your esteemed feedback on my latest thoughts and analyses, some of which very much pertain to those in your post entitled “Struggles with democracy”.

    To many, there are sobering implications of the current state of affairs whose chaos and disruptions are very topical areas for exploring the many outstanding tensions between (the sociopsychological states of) sanity/stability and insanity/instability, affecting not just reproductive freedoms but also the very existence and survival of humanity. There is plenty to explore regarding the escalating conflicts between the two major parties. Any reasonable and discerning person can conclude that the USA has been plagued by ignorance, dogma, falsity, blind faith, spiritual stagnation and epistemological impasse . . . . .

    We have been witnessing so clearly the insidious nature of political polarization perverting democracy for nefarious purposes and for justifying, obfuscating or muddying the waters of systemic sexism, racism, historical negationism, discrimination, marginalization and curtailment of civil rights. Even just the fallouts of the main event regarding the SCOTUS’ decisions on abortion and its striking down Roe v. Wade can have various implications and ramifications for the following:

    Reproductive freedoms…
    LGBTQ freedoms…
    Contraceptive freedoms…
    Migrants freedoms…
    The freedom of liberty (common sense gun safety, and police reform)…
    The right to vote…

    You are hereby invited to peruse my latest post entitled “🏛️⚖️ The Facile and Labile Nature of Law: Beyond the Supreme Court and Its Ruling on Controversial Matters 🗽🗳️🔫🤰🧑‍🤝‍🧑💉“, published at

    https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2022/06/26/the-facile-and-labile-nature-of-law-beyond-the-supreme-court-and-its-ruling-on-controversial-matters/

    I welcome your input and am curious to know what you make of my said post as well as your perspectives on those matters discussed in my post. I look forward to savouring your feedback there!

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    Like

    1. Dear friend,

      thank you very much for your reaction and the link, which gives a very interesting read, so I do hope my readers will have a further look at your site.

      Steven Pinker has a very good reason to say that in 21st-century America, the control of Congress by a Republican Party that became synonymous with the extreme right has been pernicious because it is so convinced of the righteousness of its cause and the evil of its rivals that it has undermined the institutions of democracy to get what it wants.

      In the passing years, we could see that certain Republican and conservative groups wanted to impose their own thinking and wishes on others. With the help of ‘their president’, they have done everything to pave the way for conservative, not to say, fundamentalist, thinking to prevail over common sense.

      Mr Trump clearly let it be known in his ranks that people were best off going for him or else ‘get lost’ (he used an F-word at the end …off). Donald Trump’s Republican and conservative followers were only too happy to have a piece of the pie and encouraged their followers to give as much money as possible to the candidates of the Republican party so that they could prevail.

      Strange, there are no build-in regulations concerning gifts to political parties or groups. It looks like a lot of American either do not notice the corruptions which includes gerrymandering, imposing voting restrictions designed to disenfranchise Democratic voters, encouraging unregulated donations from moneyed interests, blocking Supreme Court nominations until their party controls the presidency, shutting down the government when their maximal demands aren’t met, and unconditionally supporting Donald Trump over their own objections to his flagrantly anti-democratic impulses.

      No one in that American nation seems to be surprised at the possible internal arrangements and corruptive acts, to make an end to it. One would expect that a large part of the educated and down-to-earth thinkers would complain against this, but it seems that they do not find it worthwhile to show their displeasure.

      The Republicans are counting on the fact that the laws they enact will endure for a long time. To this end, by the way, they have secured their position in the Supreme Court. It escapes them that laws are, after all, almost never untouchable and unassailable products, usually composed of a set of rational principles and neutral practices. But their laws do not bear witness to neutrality and justice at all. Many even go against the human rights and principles of a person’s freedoms, even though they sprinkle the term “Freedom” around and so often claim that their freedom is wronged by the other side and by the unbelievers.

      Non-believers and those who think differently are increasingly being pushed into a corner in the US and are finding that there is really no equality to be had in their nation. Jews and Muslims are seen as pariahs and people of different colours should leave the country. They are made to feel this very well. Settling disputes, disagreements, injustices, wrongs and transgressions is becoming more and more difficult. To settle them, one can only hope for an ever-shrinking group and politicians who at the moment just don’t have the guts anymore to put up a strong fight.

      This is likely to happen as they are not only dependent on and enmeshed in a system of meanings and values, but also on social relations that reflect and construct their environment, all of which are folded or embedded in the legal reasoning of a distorted legal culture.

      What we are now seeing in that country that wanted to feel bigger than it already is, is that the legal system does not put those who are to be tried on an equal footing. In recent years the system has reverted to the old ways, when it was preferential and sometimes contradictory, now it makes it clear that those who come into contact with it must know and feel that they are above them.
      The system has even become oppressive. It is not even shy of being abused and even exploited here and there by wealthy individuals, and organisations, but even by criminals, miscreants, lawyers, law enforcers, regulators or governing bodies.

      With Mr Trump, the free run has been given to a despotic, even dictatorial regime where it has even become possible to put and keep an unjust ruler in power.

      It could be said that every nation gets the ruler it first wanted. But one would expect that after Donald Trump’s wretched deeds, the majority of Americans would know better by now, yet that is not the case.

      For this reason, those Americans who know better and wish for better must make their voices heard more loudly than ever before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Marcus,

        I am delighted that you read my said post entitled “🏛️⚖️ The Facile and Labile Nature of Law: Beyond the Supreme Court and Its Ruling on Controversial Matters 🗽🗳️🔫🤰🧑‍🤝‍🧑💉“. Thank you very much. I would be very grateful if you would kindly leave a comment there as a token of your visit. You are very welcome to copy and paste some or all of your previous reply as part of your forthcoming comment to be submitted to the comment section of the post, to which your esteemed reply clearly pertains and also belongs. Please feel free to expand on your comment if you have additional matters to convey about the post and any salient aspects of its contents. Thank you in anticipation.

        Yours sincerely,
        SoundEagle

        Like

    2. Sound Eagle you also say ” this we now believe that we are by way of winning” but I am afraid we in the Old World believe more that the Americans are losing.

      I am afraid to many American have their eyes and hopes set too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. They have given out to much out of their hands to people who cling to power.
      People need guidance and sorts of rules and regulations, but they should be very careful how they as legal texts are shaped into a text and whether or not how they allow flexibility.

      In general, there should be a control body that further checks the legality of the written texts. But the community must also see to it that they can always be adapted to the circumstances.
      All people should be fully aware that “freedom is not to do as one likes” but is securing the freedom of others. And “the others” in the last generation of Americans are reviled.

      Liked by 1 person

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