Europa er overbevist om at det er de som følger den demokratiske vei, og at USA har gått seg bort.
/Det går igjen i stort og smått. Igår ble USA også nevnt blant landene som fremdeles bruker barnesoldater!)
Kan det tenkes at Europa tar feil? Var det ikke her de verste grusomhetene ble begått? Hvordan kan vi være så sikre/trygge på oss selv?
I Europa har de demokratiske institusjonene vist seg skjøre i flere land. EU-politikerne foretrekker å drive politikk på kammerset. Folket er staffasje. Det er den nye realiteten. I USA derimot står demokratiet fremdeles sterkt. Det viste det siste valget. Men europeerne misliker resultatet så sterkt at de har vanskelig for både å svelge og se det.
Dette er Janet Daleys tanker i en op-ed i Daily Telegraph. Vi ser ned på den lave valgdeltakelsen i USA, men glemmer at den i EU-valget er mye lavere. Det er demokratiet som skiller, sier hun, og underskuddet befinner seg i Europa.
The American Constitution may have borrowed much of its frame of reference from French revolutionary ideals, but the historical outcomes parted company pretty quickly. The United States ended up with a federalised system and an iron-clad Bill of Rights while France was descending into the Terror. We do not have a shared reverence for the robustness of democratic institutions because, in continental Europe, democratic institutions have been anything but robust.
That is why the EU is busily moving away from the idea of government being directly and transparently responsive to the popular will.
The monstrous global crimes of the 20th century – the collective guilt which is still the motor force of European political consciousness – were all thought to have been generated (or at least condoned) by popular will.
The political instincts of the people are far too inflammable and mercurial to be trusted. Better leave the serious business of law-making and governance to a professional class of administrators, an enlightened elite who will not be subject to the whims and volatile passions of the mob whose vicissitudes have brought such disgrace on our countries.
Public opinion manipulated by national political leaders has to take the rap for the hideous events of the two world wars and the Cold War that followed them, and so they will all be cut down to size. Democracy is all well and good in its place but the power of the people must be sieved, regulated and heavily supervised if it is to come to the right conclusions.
It may sound apocalyptic, but I do believe that the democratic experiment in continental Europe, begun just over 200 years or so ago, is coming to a close.
The European Union is creating what it hopes will be a benign oligarchy. Real political power will reside once again within elite circles (as it does already in France) which will conduct their business in the corridors rather than in the assemblies.
Meanwhile, the United States will persevere with the belief, which Europe regards as crass, that giving ordinary people power over their governing class is the only hope for peace and security. Democracy, and what it entails, is not what unites us, Mr Blair. It is what divides us.