By choosing Jean-Claude Juncker as lead candidate for this May’s European Parliament elections, the European People’s Party has brought a man to the forefront, who routinely acts a proponent of political lies. It’s not that the other Euro parties act differently, but they usually do not admit it.
Juncker commits openly to fooling the public and doing so in a methodic manner. He speaks out about it every now and then, apparently being seized by the urge to tell the truth, no matter what.
His most unambiguous statement is from 1999, when he described, how Europeans are tricked by their own “democratically elected” political class. The original is in German and runs as follows (own translation):
“We decide something and put it out in the open. Then we wait for a while to let things happen. If there is no clamoring und no uproar, because most people do not get what has been decided, we can go on – step by step, until there is no turning back.” Spiegel 52/1999
This feature has nothing to do with Juncker’s ideology or with his individual predispositions. He just describes a general principle, probably the only one, that can make european politics work – at least as long as politicians go against majorities in their own constituencies. The only unique “Juncker factor” is his willingness to account for this fact – and in a sense he should be praised for this behaviour.
Euro lies are different to cons, which are common practice in politics, always and everywhere. There is a method to them. It even has a name. It is called “Méthode Monnet”.There is a more detailed analysis on it in the 7th chapter of my book, which will be published on this blog in two or three week’s time.
“Méthode Monnet” is sort of a guerilla fight, some politicians put up to achieve their goals. They think, they’ve got better insight than unsagacious citizens, inferring a right to act amoral and against the (present) will of their political base. They claim, that this would be in the best interest of their voters, at least in the long run.
Core to this politics are secret discussions, in which the actors agree to actions which are irreversible, even long after they themselves have left the political stage. They deliberately create “necessities”, which bind their constituencies für generations to come.
You can compare this to a trustee, deciding all important matters on his (her) own, without talking to the trustor – with the excuse, that his (her) client does not understand anyway.
Euro politicians engage in “consensual elite decisions”, as one scholar of the “Méthode” in question put it. Virtually all european centre factions follow this practice, including greens and liberals.
And again it is Juncker – and only him – who speaks plain language:
“I am for secret, dark debates under (!) a few responsible people”, he said in a panel discussion in 2011, adding: “When it becomes serious you have to lie.”
In this case he referred to a specific situation. A situation, finance ministers easily can find themselves in – when they have to decide something that affects the markets. If players in these markets get wind of the decision ahead of time they are able to anticipate it – to the disadvantage of the general public.
This is an old notion, dating back to the 1990ies. Allegedly this situation is typical most of the time and that is, why untruths are supposed to be admissible “white lies”.
This, for instande, is the line of argument, Theo Waigel, german finance minister in the 1990ies, makes use of. He is accustomed to bring back memories to the days of the old exchange rate mechanism (ERM I), before the rollout of the single currency. Ministers then had to meet in person to devalue a Euro currency. Had it become known only, that such a meeting was taking place, financial players would have been able to guess and forerun the politician’s ruling. It would have lead to massive bets against the currency in question, at the expense of all of its users.
Waigel, a christian democrat, claims to have consulted cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on this question, who became Pope Benedict XVI later. Ratzinger allegedly answered, that in this case the politician even must not tell the truth. It would be no sin, if he asserted (after being questioned), that he would go up the mountains next weekenend, even if he knew exactly, that he was going to participate in a meeting in Brussels.
Maybe Ratzinger said so, maybe not. But, as mentioned before, this situation is not really typical. Virtually everybody can understand the way Waigel had to act.
But anecdotes like this are smoke-balls, designed to hide the real purpose of the lying. It is a special brand of falsehood. Its purpose is to decide in lieu of and without the consent of the governed, who by default are being disabled to learn about it (until it is too late).
At the heart of the matter are decisions, that in itself may not even involve a lie in a formal sense – but which are based on a wide array of deceptive strategies, as will be shown later on.
Decisions like the adoption of the Euro in 1998, which had been made against a massive majority in Germany – and knowingly so. This had been perfectly clear to german chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was Theo Waigels boss at that time. A couple of years after the fact he conceded :
“I knew that I could never win a referendum in Germany (…) We would have lost a referendum on the introduction of the euro. That’s quite clear. I would have lost and by seven to three.”