Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Black holes and the collapse of democracy

Last night I watched a Horizon programme about black holes. Experts don't understand them, and every galaxy has a giant one in the middle, weighing typically 0.1% of the mass of its host. Nothing can escape it as it continually collapses, and at its heart is a singularity where all the normal rules break down. Anything can happen at the centre; nothing is impossible.

And then I saw the ten o'clock news. The President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, with the unhappy face of a Neville Chamberlain, had caved in and signed the Lisbon Treaty, the enabling legislation that takes Europe over the event horizon and towards "ever-closer union". Klaus wrote to his country's constitutional court:

“Twenty years after the restoration of our democracy and sovereignty, we are once again dealing with the question whether we should — this time voluntarily — give up the position of a sovereign state and hand over decision-making on our own matters to European institutions outside of the democratic control of our citizens.”

And so the millennarian (it had been planned to be complete by 2000) madness sweeps another into the host. At the centre, now irrecoverably detached from the rest of the universe, the club gathers, surrounded by advisers and servants of every kind, all determined to live as high and as absurd as Marie Antoinette tending her washed sheep, as we career chaotically towards economic breakdown and the loss of law, freedom and security. The transfer of wealth and power without consent - without our consent - is crime and tyranny.

Centripetal forces create centrifugal forces. The overweening power-seeking of the mediaeval Papacy hastened the move towards a Europe of sovereign states and religious fraction. Now, the forced bureaucratic union at the top of our group of societies will lead to greater disunion lower down, of which the BNP's Nick Griffin is merely a small, scruffy symptom.

In the middle ages, the walled towns developed internally; there sprang up strong-walled houses for the wealthy elite, to protect themselves not only from each other, but from the desperate, hungry, half-naked mob outside.

In the dream is denial, and in denial is defeat.


Elby the Beserk said...

To précis - we're fucked, and we know we are.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Elby, indeed.

In one sense, the lights are going out all over Europe. It'll happen in another sense soon, if the Greenies get their way, but that is a different argument.

I suppose we can hope for a resurrection of freedoms and the rule of law at some point in the future; all those battles fought over the last 600 years or so will have to be fought again.

But it won't happen in our lifetimes.

Paddington said...

Minor quibble - centrifugal forces are simply the perception of centripetal forces.

Sackerson said...

"I knew that" - but it's the language in which such discussions used to be couched. Inertia made me do it.

dearieme said...

"centrifugal forces are simply the perception of centripetal forces": tell that to a centrifugal pump.

Anyway, the Czechs disliked the Hapsburg Empire, then the Third Reich, then the Warsaw Pact. And now they're effed again.

Paddington said...

dearieme - of course, I meant our perception, as observers.

sackerson - true inertia would have kept you on the couch.