May 18, 2010 3:00 am

Claims of historical inevitability are dangerous

From Mr Paul Nabavi.

Sir, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa proclaims that “The euro remains on the right side of history” (May 14). For those of us who thought that European Central Bank board members (even former ones) were sober and rational, his article comes as a shock. What is not surprising is that he is in favour of a new political order in which political union must follow economic and monetary union. What is deeply shocking and distasteful is that Mr Padoa-Schioppa claims the mantle of historical inevitability for his proposals and that he portrays the recent market turbulence as a battle between good and evil. Not only is this breathtaking in its arrogance, it is also somewhat sinister.

Mr Padoa-Schioppa refers to the dynamics of history and to an inexorable search for “ever-wider human aggregations”. Whilst some of his syntax is a little obscure and puzzling, he seems to be justifying a supra-national state as best representing the common good and that history will deliver this.

No consideration is given to the consent of the people of the European nations for what is proposed. Nor is there any recognition of the enormous challenges people across Europe are currently facing in different ways. The advent of the euro and the current dilemmas of monetary union are dismissed as a minor episode in the building of “the post-Westphalian order”. Those who question the logic and durability of the euro are portrayed as simple minded and ideologically motivated.

However, it is Mr Padoa-Schioppa who is guilty of gross simplification, for he is someone who knows what the common good is and who knows where history is headed. Why bother to consider a few local economic difficulties? What need of consent when right and history are on your side? What need for rational arguments?

There are those who make a good case for a federal Europe. Mr Padoa-Schioppa is not one of them. Indeed, the nature of his sentiments and opinions can only detract from his cause. Mr Padoa-Schioppa would do well to read more European history. He might then reflect that politicians proclaiming historical inevitability for a new and better political order have been disastrous for the peoples’ of Europe in the past.

Paul Nabavi,

Stonegate, East Sussex, UK

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