Green EU Leader: People should Not be Allowed a Direct Vote on Some Issues

A new model for a greener democracy?

A new model for a greener democracy?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Rebecca Harms, a senior member of the German Green Party, and co-President of a major Green Group in the European Parliament, thinks referendums, direct plebiscites, should be limited to issues which don’t endanger power structures which she thinks are important.

According to Breitbart;

Greens Want To Ban Referendums On European Questions, As Direct Democracy Threatens the EU

A senior Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the German Green Party has called for an end to referendums on issues “not suitable” for direct democracy because they threaten the very existence of the European Union (EU).

Rebecca Harms MEP (pictured above), a qualified tree surgeon and Co-President of The Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, has said that some questions relating to the EU are not suitable for referendums.

Showing how much she values direct democracy, Ms. Harms used the shock of the recent rejection of the EU-Ukrainian agreement by the Netherlands to make the case for limiting the use of referendums in future warning that they could “endanger the existence of the EU”, reports Austria’s largest newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

According to German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the list of subjects which others have deemed “not suitable” for referendums include the controversial but yet-to-be-finalised Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the U.S., the principle of open borders within the EU, and the future of the euro currency.

Even worse, the left wing German newspaper Junge Welt reports that Ms. Harms claimed it is unacceptable for a mob of people to be able to reject an agreement that was “supported by all governments of Member States and their parliaments.”

Read more:

This is not the first time WUWT has noted the authoritarian tendencies of some greens, ranging from praising the “efficiency” of the Chinese dictatorship, complaining about democratic “paralysis”, Bill Gates rant against representative democracy, or President Obama’s $500 million giveaway, without congressional approval.

Far too many prominent greens seem to think that some decisions are too important to be decided by voters. I guess when you believe the world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe, it is horribly easy to feel contempt for the wishes of ordinary people, especially when those wishes impede your great mission.

159 thoughts on “Green EU Leader: People should Not be Allowed a Direct Vote on Some Issues

    • “The Utopian attempt to realize an ideal state, using a blueprint of society as a whole, is one which demands a strong centralized rule of a few, and which is therefore likely to lead to a dictatorship.”
      ― Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume 1 : The Spell of Plato
      Rebecca Harms got harmful ideas. She demonstrates a very shallow respect for human rights.
      Article 21.
      (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; …

      • Ultimately all governments exist by the consent of the governed. Yes, in some cases an established totalitarian regime may require considerable loss of life and bloodshed to dislodge, but it is always the case that governments are the way they are because the people have allowed them to be that way. Such is the case today in the EU and the US.

        • «Getting rid of the dictator is only a first step in establishing a free society. The dictatorship must also be disassembled.»
          – George Ayittey
          And that´s not easy. That´s why we need to keep our eyes open and continuously work against totalitarian idea´s at all levels in government.
          (Totalitarian: Common to all definitions is the attempt by a state to mobilize entire populations in support of the official state ideology, and the intolerance of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, entailing repression or state control of business, labor unions, churches or political parties.)

      • Government is a necessary evil. If a population does not establish one of its own, one will be ptovided, with great force.

    • I am not so sure of the need to use the “almost”. Today’s environmentalism is a Trojan horse stuffed with little wanna-be tyrants.

    • Scratch a green, you’ll find a Marxist almost every time? They gave up their communist party and went into environmentalism rebranded themself. The political solutions stay the same.

    • Elected by PR so no-one voted for her directly. Even that is an improvement on the people in positions of actual power in the EU. Not only are they nominated, rather than elected, but as a rule they are failed politicians who have got the job because they were voted out by their own country’s electorate.

  1. This is a very good idea. Direct democracy has wrought untold misery and destitution on the wretched citizens of Switzerland. In contrast, that paragon of political culture known as Greece has prospered ever since adopting representative democracy and submitting to the superior wisdom of the politburo of the EUSSR.

  2. Well when a qualified tree surgeon opines that PhD level physicists, economists, mathematicians, geologists, astronomers, biologists, chemists, engineers, lawyers, doctors and so on ad infinitum aren’t in any position to judge – who are we plebs to argue?

  3. Well, I went voting last Wednesday (it is a NO, of course), and we made the minimum attendancy. So the referendum is valid and kind of binding…. But most Dutch are afraid that our “government” will weasel themselves out of it. An “official position” of our parlement is delayed by about half a year(!!). It is expected that the next election will show an extreme swing to the right (PVV, Party for Freedom). When this happens we will at least save more than € 100 Billion (!!) of damaging and useless investments in windturbines and such.

  4. Just a general observation that seems to fit, somehow:
    “The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” — Thomas Sowell

    • The lefts main object is to attack and destroy the Western world, culture, capitalism and middle class. They know what to destroy but have no idea what they want instead.

  5. ” Rebecca Harms, a senior member of the German Green Party, and co-President of a major Green Group in the European Parliament, ”
    ..Don’t they have any ” Conflict of Interest ” laws ” ???

    • Exactly my first thought. She should probably go over help the Brexit ‘leave’ campaign. They could not ask for a more convincing spokesman.
      This is typical eco-fascism. There is something about the extreme ‘save the planet’ meme that appeals to extremists. No one could possibly be against “saving the planet” could they, without being a total bastard.
      So by definition you are either with them or a total selfish bastard who deserves to die, and dead people don’t have a vote so why should you?
      We plebs should only be allowed to vote on silly things that don’t metter. Really important stuff must be decided by super-beings like Harm, apparently.
      Well if she’s so super-human smart why is she only a tree surgeon and not a friggin BRAIN SURGEON?

    • That was my first thought, here is a prime example of why the UK needs to leave this dysfunctional political system, whether we will be able to re-establish a working democratic form of government remains to be seen but one things for sure it won’t happen if we stay in the EU.
      On another note I was wondering the other day what all these companies with Euro in their names are going to do if we do leave?
      James Bull

  6. What’s socialism got to do with this? Greens are and alway have been arch-conservative.

    • The greens are “arch-conservative” if and only if one buys the Stalinist libel that the National Socialist German Workers Party is “conservative”.

    • Please define “conservative.” I suspect you have a misguided idea of what it means.

    • The greenies are leftist, and hard left at that. They believe that “the commons” is owned collectively by all people and it cannot be legitimately converted into private property. There is nothing “conservative” about that idea. It’s radical collectivism.

  7. German Greens fond of a bit of compulsion? Pity the leather look is out these days with so many vegans in high places. Then they could really look the part again.
    When shaping and holding together an empire which is as crumbly as last week’s ryebread, democracy is the last thing needed. Germany’s old buddy Croatia is at last in the fold but some of these new and prospective member states are very awkward. You can’t have all sorts of riff-raff voting for any old thing, but It’s not like ’39 when you could just march in. Now it’s all market-this and climate-that.
    But never mind the Brexit and the anglos with their democratic obsessions. Forget the west. It’s on to the Carpathians again!

    • Once a country is in the Euro club the people can be asked to vote on things that
      a. don’t matter and
      b. only get listened to if they give the right answer, otherwise they’re asked to vote again till they give the right answer.
      James Bull

  8. UK Brexit. Reject the EU before it is too late! I’ve been appalled at expressions by seemingly intelligent commenters talking about the risks of leaving! Fear from the greatest empire builder the world has ever known!!
    Please, be afraid instead of what this sick continent will ultimately do to you. Indeed this could be the last referendum you will ever be allowed to have. These people never had an idea of freedom. It was invented by you guys!They invented the mouldy marxbrothers and it keeps rising from the ashes of every one of its failures.
    You invented the industrial revolution. You and your English speaking progeny garnered most of the Nobel Prizes! Dig down and find your pride and the good sense you also invented. I’m just a prairie boy from Manitoba but I have the guts of a lion that you also gave us all. Don’t let us down! You have a whole world to trade and do business with. Remember you have a couple of billion people who have your language, values, energy, talent and ferocious desire for freedom! I wish this letter could be put in front of every one of you.

    • Well Gary, It got in front of me and I like the sentiments that you express. We (the Brits) should have the courage to give the EU the old heave-ho.

    • Gary, like Old’un above I’m entirely with you in those views. I am 100% Out, as are most people old enough to compare Britain pre-EU to the hollowed-out shell we live in now. If we don’t get out now, there won’t even be the shell much longer. Wake up, Britain.

    • I’m with you, Gary, all the way.
      I’m of an age that actually remembers life before the EU AND the weasely way in which we were encouraged to join the “Common Market”. In those days we had a large placard at our gate which said “NO to the Common Market”.
      I also remember, with much embarrassment, the heart-felt cries of “Foul” from our, up until then, partners in the Commonwealth. As always, the leaders are relying on younger voters with no knowledge of what life was like before we joined the wretched European Union.
      Wake up Britain. There is a whole world out there ready and willing to trade with us.

    • I’m for Out too, but we have to get out there, people. I have leafleted the long road where I live. Email one of the Out campaign groups and they will post you as many leaflets as you like. Do your road, speak to your neighbours, talk to your work colleagues, and friends on Facebook. Get the message out – to get Out.

    • The problem we have is that the Leave campaigners are doing their level best to help the Remain campaign with their sheer ignorance and unbridled stupidity in not having an exit plan. They have handed the narrative to our lying prime minister on a plate when had they listened to those more intelligent than they are it would all be about the fact the Cameron’s signed bit of paper that he claims reforms the EU has no standing and the changes will never happen. Frustrating for us in Leave Alliance who have put the effort in to create the Flexcit plan for leaving the EU and for the years after.

    • Well, all the above is quite correct, but how on earth it happened that the entire UK has fallen for this global warming BS?
      (The same applies to the great German nation, well let’s be generous and include French as well)

      • Samuel C Cogar commented: “..I”MF: ‘Very Real’ Brexit Risk Could Pummel World Economy”…”
        More scare tactics from the same cabal as AGW. They have the nerve to make such a claim after all the damage they’ve already caused to the world economy. The IMF has no credibility.

  9. I may have mentioned previously the impression made on me by the Magna Carta Exhibition held at Durham Cathedral last year . It was as much about the breaking of the provisions of the Charter as about the making of it.
    One violater (according to Parliament who brought him to trial) was Charles I who declared that the people of England, whether in parliament or not, were , quite literally , subjects. They “had no role to play in the decisions of the State , which were the prerogative of the Monarch alone”. For this assertion he lost his throne, his head and the respect of succeeding generations of his “subjects”,
    It is amazing that someone can come along 300 years later and assert the same arrogant rubbish.
    Note also that Charles I could by no stretch of the imagination be considered a socialist . This arrogance springs from many different sources , but perhaps mainly and quite simply from a belief that you alone have the key to the world’s problems and no-one else should be allowed an opinion.

    • Charles wasn’t a socialist but the effect was merely an exaggeration of same – The totalitarian sentiments of green solcialist Ms Harms arises from the elitist view of the great unwashed who shouldn’t be able to do other than what they are told. The marxbrothers showed how a leader can become a King Charles.

  10. Rebecca Harms firmly believes that the moon every night is drawn with yellow crayon by a child in nightinggown onto the starlit sky.
    And dolphins communicate telepathic so we can’t here them wisper in the deep – they just should come less often to the surface.

    • Well, not really worse than to firmly believe that man can control climate via massive reduction of fossil fuel burning.

  11. Rule by dictate is becoming the norm in western societies. Other than being undemocratic, it assumes that some people are better than others. This is a common religious, not political theme and we need to stop going down this path ASAP. Someone said all democracies always degrade into dictatorships – maybe they were right.

    • Someone said all democracies always degrade into dictatorships – maybe they were right.

      Any form of government can be abused this way.

    • “Someone said all democracies always degrade into dictatorships – maybe they were right.”
      I just saw a quote from Plato saying just that:
      “Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.”
      – Plato
      Here is another, more amusing take:
      “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.”
      – Charles Bukowski
      Anyhow, by the following characteristics of totalitarian, several western democracies including the United Nations bureaucracy, are well into becoming totalitarian about Global Warming:
      Totalitarian: Common to all definitions is the attempt by a state to mobilize entire populations in support of the official state ideology, and the intolerance of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, entailing repression or state control of business, labor unions, churches or political parties.

  12. Well, I’m from the Netherlands myself and the lady has a point. The referendum had a very very low turnout (32%) for dutch standards, and the people that voted against it didn’t vote against the actual issue at hand (a treaty with Ukraine) but just as a general sign of discontent a la D. Trump supporters in the US.
    So for this very specific type of decisions a referendum is not the right way because it gets hijacked by other interests.

    • benben, no not at all! The other 68% didn’t care – obviously this wasn’t support for Ukr joining EU either. I worry that eventually the 32% will also withdraw in despair from such votes. There is much you don’t know about Ukraine, too – certainly the faction that is pressing to join the EU. I’ll leave that for you to investigate on your own. I’m hoping for UK to exit the EU itself before it is too late (this may be the last referendum allowed!!) and I would hope that Nederlanders, who have the same issues, would get out too.

      • Gary, this wasn’t about Ukr joining the EU.. It was just a trade agreement, and visa free travel for ppl from Ukr. Turkey is in that position since 1963 and we even have one of them with Venezuela. And because this was an ‘advisory’ referendum it doesn’t mean anything so a lot of ppl don’t care, thus making these referenda useless. And if people don’t care what the Dutch government does it is automatically a vote for yes, go ahead IMHO. But democratic rules say otherwise.. It’s time to get rid of that direct democracy as soon as possible again.

    • Your argument has it backwards. The referendum was turned into a general vote of non-confidence in the EU precisely because people have no other way to express their sentiments on that question. Had there been two separate referenda – one on agreement with the EU leadership and direction in general – who knows, people might even have voted in favour of the Ukraine treaty.

      • People have no other way to express their sentiments? All they need is a pen and paper.. Hardly anyone does that.. It’s their own fault. This referendum was organised by people themselves however.. So there was no need to misuse this referendum for anything else than the vote for (or against) Ukr.

    • Thanks R2D2, you’re right. This specific referendum was dumb and shouldn’t have happened. And the green MP is perfectly in the right to point that out. Has nothing to do with the ‘tyrannical overlords trying to take away our democracy’ fantasy that many on this website seem to entertain.

      • The quote at the beginning of the article was ;
        “A senior Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the German Green Party has called for an end to referendums on issues “not suitable” for direct democracy because they threaten the very existence of the European Union (EU). ”
        Ms Harms may have used the Dutch referendum as an example , and there may be something in what you say about that example , but it seems clear to the general reader that she is advocating removal of populist consideration from a list of subjects that she has decided are not suitable for public debate , especially questions about the future of the EU.
        Who is she to decide that , and why cannot we have an opinion on the EU . It is the single most important body in the lives of most Europeans , and the Commissioners who run it are not elected so a referendum is probably the only way to draw the attention of the Commissioners to the fact that there 500 million (or so) of us out there who would like to have more say in what regulations , laws and directives are promulgated.

      • History shows that a referendum is rarely about the question on the paper. When it comes to the vote, there is another agenda at work. As the official campaign leaders are announced on Friday, it remains to be seen quite what our referendum will actually be about.

      • And that is exactly the problem. A referendum should be such that is is exactly about the issue that is being voted on, otherwise its not a good referendum. Look at how the swiss do it for a good example.

    • So for this very specific type of decisions a referendum is not the right way
      perhaps you could hold a referendum to decide which specific types of decisions should not be put to a referendum.

    • The people voted against, I’m sorry you try to find an excuse. You must not have noticed the military part of the agreement.

      • if with ‘the people’ you mean that <20% of the population gets to decide what happens, then by all means, declare this a triumph of democracy.

  13. This is where the EU became self aware and started to take action to defend itself from all attempts to unplug it.

  14. Well the political parties in the US obviously agree with this policy as blatantly exposed in the Colorado primaries.
    What democracy really means is the will of the people is important only when it agrees with the will of the party elite. When the two do not match up, it is “fair and reasonable” to undermine the will of the people using money to corrupt the process.

    • Political primaries are not subject to democracy, they are subject to the rules of the party. The political party is not a public entity but rather an organization of people of like political thinking similar to any other organization that is composed of people with certain beliefs. The idea that a primary should be open to all is ludicrous as the purpose is to determine who the party wants to put forth as a candidate not who the public wants.

      • Our political parties are all elitists who want little direct participation and such. This is why all the screaming at Trump comes from. He isn’t one of ‘them’.

  15. And of course all the greens want another Million migrants brought to mid europe.
    So the greens haven’t to leave climatized bureaus when doing human right works with taxpayers money on refugees.
    They can’t do that in greece, turkey or syria when their mommies are home in germany.

  16. jawolh! Einzatsgruppenfuhrer Harms! Our beloved but late Fuhrer would be so proud of you!
    Seig Heil!!

  17. Democracy as we knew it in the twentieth century has had great success in exporting itself to a pile of countries that were previously under authoritarian rule, and in combination with moderately free markets, has raised billions out of multi-generational poverty.
    Democracy in countries where it first developed (loosely – Europe and the Anglosphere) is under threat from two directions.
    The so-called “green” movement, which has been taken over from within by a core group of zealots using the AGW model to intimidate anyone who might still have the idea that being green means clean air, clean water, preserve a bit of habitat for wildlife (i.e. normal stuff that almost everyone believes in). Their position is “we know best and we can’t trust democracy to save us from all roasting” and they have convinced a lot of politicians to go along with this and force their low-energy agenda onto national and sub-national governments.
    On the other front, “big business” has caught on to the power of creating and maintaining employment to push through things like the TTIP and all the other “trade agreements” that have stuff in it that says “Our right to make a profit in your country, and to export said profit to somewhere else where we don’t pay so much tax, supersedes your right to elect a government to run the affairs of your country in accord with the wishes of your people (except when we need a subsidy to establish or maintain a plant in your land, or when we screw up, lose billions and need a bailout)”
    Our way of life has been a bit of a balancing act between the traditional “right” and the traditional “left”. Both of these forces are becoming sidelined as shallow, spineless, deceitful politicians (how’s that for a triple redundancy?) get manipulated by these forces that barely existed a generation ago. Sigh.

    • “…the traditional ‘right’ and the the traditional ‘left. Both of these forces are becoming sidelined….”
      They were sidelined a long time ago. The real struggle for many years now has been between we-the-people and the special interests. The idea that there has been any real struggle between right and left has been a convenient fiction that distracts the electorate and allows the special interests to continue to buy influence and to control governments.
      At least people in EU and US have begun to see the illusion of two party systems and representative governments for what they really are. It is the first step in bringing about needed change.

  18. She is green and seems to have overgrown her place a bit. Perhaps she just needs a touch of pruning here and there?

  19. I can hear the claims of ‘conspiracy theory’ echoing with the MarxBrothers throughout the UN and EU every time someone points out their blatant moves to consolidate control over the people of the world. China and Russia are impervious to these machinations because they’ve already achieved such totalitarian control and aren’t about to give it up to anyone. What’s that tell you?

      • Same as an unqualified one.
        Surgeon was a marketing ploy of the 1970s. Before that they were called either gardeners or tree fellers, depending on how big the bits they cut off were.
        Surgeon? A pretentious name if ever there was. You don’t do 7 years of medical college to become a tree “surgeon” ! You just learn to climb a ladder.

    • Well no, one has to study and practise to become a ‘practical botanist, tree manager and plant pathologist’, to varying levels of course.

  20. May be slightly off topic but…I believe that this Green thinks that regulations are good; my problems with regulations are the process by which they are developed. All are bureaucracies.
    Bureaucracies are in some cases necessary evils. The problem with bureaucracy is that they always feel the need to grow, even when their mission is met. Growth means more regulations, more capital and more personnel.
    Self-regulation has failed in the past; look at Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” for the food industry and the prevalent smog problems in the US during the 50’s and 60’s. The Food and Drug Administration calmed the public fears of food poisoning, and the Environmental Protection agency did manage to clean up the environment.
    The problem isn’t with the initial purpose of the agencies, but their desire for growth and more power. Instead of reacting to a public need, they present possible problems and proceed from there.
    This is evidenced by the EPA’s classification of CO2 as a pollutant. How can a component of the atmosphere and a necessary part of the life cycle be branded as a pollutant? But this classification allows the department to add more divisions to monitor and regulate emissions and hence ask for more money from the public. And it can be used as cost justification for “renewables” by the Department of Energy.
    Bureaucracy is insidious. The energy groups lobby non-governmental entities such as ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) to set energy standards, standards that are non-binding but are written in code language. These standards are usually adopted by the ruling bureaucracy and the public is usually unaware of the impact. So a small group, influenced by the government sets standards which become code and hence the law.
    Supposedly the regulatory agencies are acting in the public, not political interest. However, all these groups are headed by political appointees. Is the party in power to place a department head that disagrees with their philosophy?
    I don’t know about other countries, but in the US more and more people are either hired into these bureaucracies or supported by the government there is less and less available for the common person. There is less and less democracy, and like ancient Constantinople we ae doomed to fail under the weight of all the paper.

    • There is less and less democracy, and like ancient Constantinople we ae doomed to fail under the weight of all the paper.

      The walls of Constantinople failed under the weight of Mohammad’s guns.
      Our legislature needs to be more specific in the legislation they write and not leave the regulatory details to be written by bureaucrats. That is how CO2 became a “pollutant”.

      • You should clarify, It was Emperor Mohammad the 2nd, better known as Mehmed the Conqueror, nearly a thousand years after THE Mohammad.
        And Constantinople was never a democracy. It was the Roman Republic which fell under its own bureaucratic weight and infighting, leading to the rise of Augustus.

      • Ben is correct, except I’ve seen various spellings of his name. Unfortunately everyone seems to tink it was his artillery that won the battle, when in fact it was his decision to haul ships over the Horn that decided mthe issue.

    • Djozar commented: “….This is evidenced by the EPA’s classification of CO2 as a pollutant. How can a component of the atmosphere and a necessary part of the life cycle be branded as a pollutant?….”
      You’re assuming the EPA decided this on their own. I believe this administration directed them to do it.

        • Greg commented: “,,,No the EPA was a problem before Obama came along. He just opened a door for them…..”
          Correct, but they would have never been successful in declaring CO2 a pollutant without him so what’s the difference?

  21. The illness at the heart of the Green Gangs fear and loathing always comes forth when democracy threatens their control.
    Just as you are allowed free speech,as long as you agree with the mob, you can enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of a democracy as long as you vote in the manner approved by Gang Green.
    As the ideology spreads, very much like an infection, the consequences become ever more obvious.
    Seems the USA has 20 such victims impersonating State Attorney Generals at the moment.
    Blatantly in violation of their Oath of Office.
    Seems if you scratch any of these world saving gentle persons,you find a raving power-hungry wanna be dictator.
    Some things never change.
    Most interestingly,as the prize is snatched away from the greedy, their true natures shine through.

  22. In almost all so-called “democratic” countries, people get to vote only for parties and/or individuals. We obsess over the relative virtues of people like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin or Donald Trump, while having to guess at the legislative initiatives and executive decisions that they might actually adopt when elected. This traditional model of “representative” democracy is a dinosaur. It may have been the only workable solution in times past with their slow and limited means of communication, particularly in geographically large counties. With modern means of communication, however, it would be a piece of cake to hold a referendum once a month even in a country as spread out as Canada. There really is no valid excuse any more for denying people direct democratic participation.
    To all those who wonder whether direct democracy can really work, I suggest that they answer the following questions:
    1. Name the country that holds the highest number referenda (which is more than half of all referenda held worldwide).
    2. Name a small country that, while surrounded by Nazi Germany, Nazi Austria, fascist Italy, and Nazi-occupied France, was nevertheless strong and self-reliant enough to deter invasion by Nazi Germany.
    3. Name a country that is more peaceful, more stable, more well-to-do, and generally better governed than Switzerland.
    4. Name a Swiss politician, past or current.
    The most illuminating question here is No. 4. If Switzerland is such a well-run place, why can nobody name a Swiss politician? The reason is that Swiss politicians don’t hold much power; they don’t get to make their mark in history by imposing their misguided ideas on the people, since any such idea can be subjected to a general referendum and shot down. Indeed, Switzerland doesn’t even have a single elected leader, but only a collegial executive council (the Bundesrat). Chances are that egomaniacs like Donald Trump and Nicolas Sarcozy, or control freaks like former Canadian prime minister Harper, wouldn’t even get out of bed in order to run for an office with such limited powers. What you get instead are effective executives that are ready to serve the will of the people.
    Collegial leadership under the watchful eye of the people who can take the reins themselves at any time – this system of democracy, while old, has produced unrivalled welfare and stability; it is truly modern.

    • “4. Name a Swiss politician, past or current. ”
      Well there was …. errrm… OK, I take your point. 😉

    • @Michael
      The US founders, wisely in my opinion, deliberately designed the governing process to be cumbersome and slow. This was to prevent actions being taken in the heat of the moment where you might “legislate in haste, repent at leisure”. Obamacare being a sterling case in point. I can just imagine someone telling Thomas Jefferson that “we need to pass the law in order to see what’s in it”. And you want more of the same??

    • I can not address Europe, so I restrict my remarks to the US.
      The United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Politicians were never intended to wield a whole lot of power, so the people would not have to worry about the policy initiatives of a Trump or a Clinton.
      The Founding Fathers were terrified of democracy which they likened to unprincipled mob rule. They knew that mob rule would would degenerate to chaos and then produce a Caesar.

    • Michael, Switzerland is a poor example as they are a small society of like people. Compare that to the U.S. with it’s diverse population. Democracy always fails when the 51% squash the 49% and leave them without recourse. The Founding Fathers understood this very clearly. The problem with the current situation we have here was the passing of the 17th Amendment which changed the way Senators were chosen. Originally they were chosen by the State legislatures thus owing their allegiance to the States. That was changed to a direct election by the people because it was deemed to be a more democratic way. But lo and behold, Senators now owe their allegiance to whoever gives them the most money and helps them stay in power.

    • I’ve got nothing against Founding Fathers, but it is clear to me that the system of governance they created is inferior to the Swiss system. I agree that the size and the diversity of the U.S. has its own challenges. However, Switzerland stacks up extremely well against most European countries. Take Germany, for example. The country would very clearly be better off if the people had been allowed to vote on, and likely reject, the brain-dead decisions taken by Merkel alone, in the last couple of years, regarding Greece and the refugee crisis.

    • “Name a small country that, while surrounded by Nazi Germany, Nazi Austria, fascist Italy, and Nazi-occupied France, was nevertheless strong and self-reliant enough to deter invasion by Nazi Germany.”
      Not strong and self-reliant to deter invasion as such, although the population is fully armed. More a practical insurance policy – if something goes wrong one can disappear with the bank account and proceeds intact.

  23. Whowas it – I think it was President Nixon – who said:
    ‘The People have spoken – the BASTARDS….’

    The observation in this post is important and reflects more direct admonitions, such as those of Dr. Tim Ball, about what drives today’s ongoing and growing, authoritarianism. Only recently, however, have we seen actions by legislators (with their hangers on), attorneys general, and the judicial system ramp up the state’s legal machinery to silence dissent. And should it surprise us, then, if law enforcement soon gets into the act?
    Till now “Climate” has mainly generated (barring private legal actions) only an exchange of words: “sticks and stones,” etc. The shift to legal steps for enforcing government policy has been very gradual, almost laughable, just short of imperceptible. It is here, however, and down deep I do not think they are fooling.
    For a thoughtful consideration of what it could all lead to if not directly addressed and restrained, there is perhaps no more provocative an historical background than Martin Durkin’s three-part history of militant environmentalism in Europe, beginning way back with the free market’s destruction of feudalism through the rise of state socialism as a reaction.
    Durkin is a TV documentary producer (“The Great Climate Swindle”). His essays below ought to be obligatory reading for political dissenters of any stripe. Well argued and articulated, and copiously footnoted, they are very worth your time and consideration.
    Otherwise, I am just your friendly neighborhood alarmist crying, wolf!

  25. ……it is unacceptable for a mob of people to be able to reject an agreement that was “supported by all governments of Member States and their parliaments.”……
    Of course Ms. Harms must also believe it is unacceptable for a mob of voters to be able to reject her kind of bureaucrats and politicians.
    Voting is so messy when it doesn’t go your way.
    I reckon Ms. Harms will be in favor of forcing the Brit mob to remain in the EU if they reject it at the polls?
    Brexit – Rebecca Harms

    She cites the Paris Climate agreement as a reason to keep UK in the EU.
    Rebecca Harms talk about Fracking

    Ms. Harms, I don’t think I like you.

  26. With permission I would like to link this post with that of the RICO/AG post earlier .
    The irony of this, and the similar debate about prosecution of sceptics that was raised a few days ago, is that the Warmists and Greens who support suppression of free opinion and prosecution of sceptics do not need these measures to get all that they desire .
    On the scientific side of the debate on climate change most people , lay and professional , accept the principle of radiative forcing , and that in the last 50 years all indications of heat content and temperature have shown a global warming, and associated ice loss and glacier decay. There are details to argue about, and especially about what socioeconomic measures, if any , need to be taken , but the basic science argument is won by the Warmists.
    On the specific topic of the EU, also, no country is going to defect so Ms Harms’ fears are groundless because people are too scared to leave. So there is no need to fear a referendum . It will not lead to any change in EU status.
    In consideration of the political,engineering (renewables) and economic measures of climate change the argument with the political leaders has also been won , not least through the enthusiastic assistance of the mass media.There was no need for draconian measures to eliminate the relatively few professional , and larger lay population , of opponents to CAGW because there influence was so small.
    What Ms Harms , as an extreme Green and Gore/Hansen with their AG hit squad have done is to raise the hackles of people who had no great interest in climate science or indeed the EU , but cared passionately about free speech, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
    On the subject of climate change did they calculate that it was worth angering people concerned with individual freedom if it meant finally wiping out the lingering traces of climate scepticism . It looks as if they did , and I think that they may have have miscalculated – I could be wrong of course.

    • mikewaite commented: :..On the specific topic of the EU, also, no country is going to defect so Ms Harms’ fears are groundless because people are too scared to leave. …”
      I have heard this repeated again and again and I hope it, and you, are wrong. If not it is the death knell for The Free Market and Democracy in Europe.

  27. Brecht, a Lefty, in response to the Berlin uprising in 1953: “… would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”.

  28. Maybe Ms Harms would like to bring back the Stasi to help those of the Mob who don’t hold “suitable” views on subjects like global warming.

  29. Eric,
    “I guess when you believe the world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe, it is horribly easy to feel contempt for the wishes of ordinary people, especially when those wishes impede your great mission.”
    I believe the “great mission” is actually to get us away from “democratic” governance, and the supposed climate catastrophe is merely a vehicle to justify that end.
    I realize this renders me an accuser of (the bulk of) our ostensible saviors, as in they are lying SOBs (and DOBs ; ) and have no interest at all in saving anyone from anything more ominous than basic human rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as it was once famously put) . . and worse yet, casts me as a cons-piracy theorist . . and don’t mind.

  30. The Greens and Warmistas are great admirers of authoritarian regimes and philosophies. A Green or Warmista government would bear remarkable similarities to the Chinese dictatorship, North Korea, or Socialist Cuba to avoid reactionary democratic paralysis in the pursuit of their unscientific goals
    In the end, democratic Plebocracy is a lot safer than luminary politicians leading a docile herd to destruction..

  31. Rule by plebiscite is a terrible idea. The U.S. was founded as a republic where the voters do not make the decisions, but they elect the people who do. What is the matter with you people?

  32. we are all equal but some are more equal than others
    Nature : Climate justice more vital than democracy
    “Decision-making based on
    social-justice principles could be
    more effective than democratic
    efforts against climate change(see
    N.Stehr Nature 525, 449–450; 2015).
    Democratic decision-making
    involves multiple stakeholders,
    and democracy emphasizes
    the mutual roles of actors: all
    preferences are treated as equal.
    In many regions of the world,
    however, the results of democratic
    choices can be strongly
    influenced by power relations and
    inequitable social arrangements,
    owing to differences in economic
    development, access to
    technology and knowledge.
    Elites may use democratic
    processes to entrench their status
    or encroach on other social
    goals (B.Sovacool etal. Nature
    Clim. Change 5, 616–618; 2015).
    This can lead to incremental or
    undesirable results, which might
    explain why large democratic
    nations such as the United States
    continue to oppose progressive
    climate legislation.
    In our view, sound climate and
    energy planning should not treat
    all stakeholders in the same way.
    Instead, preferences and roles
    should be weighted to consider
    criteria related to equity, due
    process, ethics and other justice
    principles. This would ensure
    that stakeholder discussions
    and resulting policies serve to
    eradicate, rather than exacerbate,
    socio-economic vulnerability to a
    changing climate.
    Jingzheng Ren, Michael Evan
    Goodsite University of Southern
    Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
    Benjamin K. Sovacool Aarhus
    University, Herning, Denmark.

  33. The two different views of the purpose of government: To some government is meant to ‘serve’ the people. To others government is meant to ‘control’ the people.

  34. I met Rebecca Harms at the 2006 COP in Milan. She’s a complete crank. Her fanaticism on global warming is only exceeded by her rabid anti-nuclearism.

  35. Environment good, human bad!
    Dictating to others was what religious leaders did, and god-ordained royalty.
    “I am friends with god. If you don’t do [whatever it is] you won’t go to heaven. It doesn’t matter if your life is miserable, at least it is virtuous.”
    Currently the dominant principle is happiness during one’s life, with the electorate deciding how that might be assisted (or not) by government.
    But now we have the new messiahs. Greens (and communists) have just secularized the old game.
    The virtuous green v the happiness of the people. Think denial of electricity in Africa…

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