Conditions for the establishment of a great European democracy (part two)

In the perspective of a great European democracy with a directly-elected president, I’ve decided to publish two absolutely fundamental texts by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède and Montesquieu, taken from „De l’esprit des lois“ (1748). I’m publishing today the second text, which is rather complex, but the conclusions that can be drawn from it are no less important.

Montesquieu tackles the central problem of the difficulty of running a vast state, and warns us against territorial expansion and the propensity of large states to have authoritarian regimes…

The conclusions I draw from this text, with a view to the advent of a great European democracy, is that the central power of a large state must be limited in its scope of action, and must leave a great deal of freedom, particularly economic freedom, at state level, especially as regards innovation, which must not be restricted in any way. This requires a lightly regulated market that favors small businesses. Its duty is to establish competition, undistorted in particular by controlling its external borders and levying customs duties, but also by encouraging the establishment of foreign factories on its soil and facilitating the circulation of capital.

A great state must have a constitution, but it must be limited to the protection of fundamental rights. It must be a short text, no more than ten pages long, and must command a broad consensus. The central state must have the means to enforce this constitution, i.e., it must have a federal police force capable of enforcing the constitution in all its constituent states. Finally, the central state must have an army that does not replace the national armies, but complements them. The supreme leader of this army must be the president of the union, elected by direct suffrage. Mechanisms for impeachment must be enshrined in the constitution to prevent the great European democracy from sinking into dictatorship. The European army must be equipped with nuclear weapons and all the vectors needed to project destruction on the Union’s enemies.

I leave you now to read Montesquieu’s text and hope that it will inspire you too. Happy reading and happy dreams.

Distinctive properties of monarchy (chapter 17)

A monarchical state must be of mediocre size. If it were small, it would form a republic; if it were large, the principal members of the state, great in their own right, not under the prince’s eyes, having their court outside his court, assured moreover against swift executions by laws and morals, could cease to obey; they would not fear punishment too slow and too remote. Charlemagne had scarcely founded his empire when it had to be divided, either because the governors of the provinces did not obey, or because, to make them more obedient, it was necessary to divide the empire into several kingdoms. After Alexander’s death, his empire was divided. How could these great men of Greece and Macedonia, free, or at least leaders of the conquerors spread across this vast conquest, have obeyed? After Attila’s death, his empire was dissolved: so many kings, no longer restrained, could not return to their chains. The swift establishment of unbounded power is the remedy that, in such cases, can prevent dissolution: a new misfortune after that of enlargement! Rivers flow into the sea: monarchies are lost to despotism.