Friday, June 20, 2008

Remembering Taxation Without Representation

They don't study much American history in Europe. Sure they have enough of their own to fill the curriculum. The European Commission really should take a day or even an hour for a very brief journey into the past, if they're to ever settle the impasse that's reared up since Ireland voted no.

Long, long ago, in a colony far, far away, the colonists were up in arms, and eventually took up arms, because they were being taxed by a body that they did not elect. The angry colonists couldn't vote for the politicians who were making laws that governed the colonies, so they had no one to complain to, or run out of office for malfeasance and general stupidity.

The colonists, boys and girls, lived in America. They stomped and shouted, "No taxation without representation" and when the King of England didn't listen, they started a war and gained their independence and damned if they didn't create a super-power that the European Union would like to compete against.

The EU has twenty-seven members, not thirteen colonies, but the bureaucrats thought it was brilliant to only have eighteen voting council members. That meant that some countries would live with taxation without representation until they had their turn to have a commissioner. And the EU thought this was good because they never studied American history.

Ungrateful Irish louts could see the problems, but we must consider the fact that huge numbers of Irish louts made up the colonial fighting force in 1776 so they're predisposed, you might say.

After lots of hand-wringing and whinging and general dyspepsia, Jose Manuel Barroso thinks that maybe the EU Commission could have a representative from every member nation. Maybe Poland's Minister of State took him aside and had a little talk. The Poles, after all, were of critical importance to the American revolution, and that whole tempest in a 'taxation without representation' teapot became a part of their history as well.

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