George Soros is the wealthiest, most influential member of an influential but dishonest and delusional elite that claims expertise in international relations but chooses to ignore evidence and theory, argues Bruce Newsome.
Last week I warned readers of a secretive, subversive plot by “Best for Britain” to overturn Brexit by influencing the Labour Party, while pretending to be a non-partisan information service.
This week, the primary founder and funder of “Best for Britain” (the Hungarian billionaire George Soros) gave the keynote speech at the annual meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris – yet another organization for which he was the primary founder and funder. He entitled his speech: “How to Save Europe.”
How important! This was an opportunity to hear from a man who rarely speaks on the record, who prefers to influence through proxies, is brilliant at playing the money markets and cheering progressives, has poured millions into promoting European integration, and has publicly focused on reversing Brexit since 2016.
How disappointing! Soros credits the EU with false achievements and ignores its flaws; he idealizes European integration and ignores the real opposition. His reductionism leaves him looking silly, fallacious, misinformed, ignorant, dishonest, and delusional – he sounds like an EU apologist and denier, a supra-nationalist fantasist, a pretend historian and theorist of international relations.
Soros’ first eccentricity is to describe “the European Union as the embodiment of the idea of the Open Society” (the “Open Society” is also the title he gave to his own foundation). He continued: “The idea of Europe as an open society continues to inspire me.”
He never defined what he meant by open society, so we’re left with his sweeping mischaracterization. The EU is definitely not an open society. Yes, the EU has open borders and free trade within itself, but it is protectionist with non-members, and its supra-national government is far less transparent than most of its national governments. The European Commission is not popularly elected and does not meet in public. Most of the day-to-day deals in Brussels between states are conducted by unelected appointees who hide between national and supra-national accountability. The occasional summits between leaders of member-states also are closed to the public. Journalists are lost in the complexity or peddle the EU’s lines, bribed with free food and booze in lavish halls that permit only journalists and the EU’s various non-governmental partners. The EU audits itself in a particularly confusing way: in most years, its own Court of Auditors has ruled that its accounts are inaccurate and that its payments partly erroneous: the error rates are not far off national equivalents, but are subject to less Parliamentary and journalistic scrutiny that Britain’s.
Soros peddles an impossible contradiction about the EU: “It was a voluntary association of equal states that banded together and sacrificed part of their sovereignty for the common good.” This is an impossible contradiction that betrays his misunderstanding of international relations. In fact, only the sovereignty norm grants equality between states – otherwise, states are not equally sized, shaped, located, or anything else. As soon as states sacrifice any part of their sovereignty, they sacrifice their equality. The member states are subject to the EU and to each other, such that one member-state’s failure to control its borders or control terrorism or properly license its medical practitioners or provide welfare for its citizens becomes a collective problem.
Soros does not admit this particular structural reason for dissatisfaction with the EU. He does describe the European Union in “existential crisis” and “beleaguered,” but not because of its own flaws – no, he blames member states. His argument is long on spin and short on specifics and evidence, but reduces to this: member-states (principally Britain) chose “austerity” after the financial crisis of 2008, or refused (principally Germany) to forgive their debtors (principally Greece), or failed (principally Hungary) to share the surge of external migrants since 2015 (to the burden of principally Italy).
According to Soros, actions by individual member states, not the EU’s mishandling of them or its structural flaws, led to “populism,” which in turn led to Brexit in June 2016 and the election in March 2018 of parties in Italy committed to reforming the EU’s finances. He ignores the pro-EU Italian President’s refusal of the Italian government’s finance minister just last week – instead, he states that populism is the only reason that “Italy is now facing elections in the midst of political chaos.”
Soros’ solutions to his “existential crisis” are twofold.
First, he proposes a European equivalent of the “Marshall Plan” – to be spent on “democratically inclined regimes” in Africa, in the hope that they would spend the aid on “education and employment.” This is stereotypically naïve, profligate advice from the world’s 20th richest man and misguided philanthropist: to throw colossal sums of money at problems that have already absorbed colossal sums without resolution. The Marshall Plan cost more than $110 billion in today’s money; Soros estimates that Africa would require “at least” $35 billion, to be financed by borrowing from international markets. Africa has already absorbed more aid and credit for several decades without general democratization or even public education. Soros’ intellectual pretensions amount to progressive dogma in defiance of the evidence. His prior focus was to counter poverty, but his solution was the same – aid, even though aid feeds the bad actors (the militia, dictators, insurgents, tribal leaders) more than the needy. The Marshall Plan promoted private enterprise, free trade, decentralization, and national sovereignty, but Soros is promoting public centralization at both national and supra-national levels.
Second, Soros would make the European Union even more authoritarian. Don’t forget: he thinks that members states are the problems, thus his solution must be more supra-national control, starting with “a unified migration policy.” In fact, the EU already has a unified migration policy, but Soros complains that some member states choose to ignore it, so he’s recommending that the EU should gain the powers to force member states to accept the migrants that the EU allocates. However, he’s too dishonest to put it like that. In his spin, he states that “European countries could welcome migrants from these and other countries to meet their economic needs through an orderly process.”
Finally, he turns to Brexit, where his contradictions and hypocrisies are breath-taking. He claims that “it’s up to the British people to decide what they want to do.” However, the Hungarian admits that he supports “Best for Britain” in trying to influence the British to “render Europe a great service by rescinding Brexit and not creating a hard-to-fill hole in the European budget.”
To the EU, he urges reform to make the EU more attractive to the British. He claims that this reform would not be “cosmetic.” However, his spin betrays him. He criticizes the “multi-speed Europe” and suggests a “multi-track Europe” – what’s the difference? The difference is laughable. Whereas the “multi-speed Europe” had all European countries ending up at the same union but joining when each is economically ready, Soros’ “multi-track Europe” has “a wider variety of choices,” which he never specifies!
Soros is the wealthiest, most influential member of an influential but dishonest and delusional elite that claims expertise in international relations but chooses to ignore evidence and theory. Unless most of us insist on evidence and theory, and take the trouble to point out the ignorance, Soros and his ilk will win – not just in defeating Brexit, but in defeating the empiricism from which liberal democracy is derived.