Melancholia might fall upon us when we remember president Kennedy’s famous words "Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner". A symbolic and magical moment of converging policy unity among the diverse and exotic crowd of political families in the “free word”.
During the polish shipyard strikes in 1980 Lech Walesa became the main actor in this heroic struggle for freedom. However with the fall of the wall this powerfull narrative dissipated. Since the end of the cold war policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have been struggling to redefine credible foreign- and domestic policy purposes in life. The vacuum needed to be filled.
It's in this context that Amitai Etzioni's communitarism presented itself as an attractive solution to fill the void and was quickly embraced by influential leaders from across the political spectrum. Amitai Etzioni's central claim that he wanted to move away from the traditional right-left foodfights by putting more emphasis on the role of the community, culture and virtues was embraced by both Tony Blair and Jan Peter Balkenende.
The religious socialist roots of communitarism were off course not mentioned, nor the strong ties between traditional socialism and Etzioni's ideological father Martin Buber. It's amazing how Christian Democrats across Europe embarked on a honeymoon with an ideology that has it's roots in socialism. We have all seen the results in recent years. Christian democracy has reached a dead end in Europe. Signs of desperation abound. Christian democrats selling out to communitarianism, Keynesian economics and xenophobic populism have become the rule.
Donald Tusk message of a United Europe, economic freedom and his strong defense of civil liberties stand out from the crowd.
He admits freely that he identifies himself with the Austrian school of economics: “If I had to identify myself with someone, at this time it would have to be with Friedrich von Hayek who, talking about the business cycle, highlighted the fact that every artificial boom caused by the expansion of credit by banks works in the end against itself. Today in the philosophy of operating American financial institutions there are too many footprints of the Keynesian tradition of regulation, such as intervention for achieving – in effect – only temporary results.”
Donald Tusk's succesfull election campaign on a platform of economic freedom and civil liberties reminds us all once again of the heroic struggles for democracy and prosperity across Europe. Poland has lived through a transformation since 1989. A process of historic proportions in which the EU realized it's historic mission. The Civic Platform is a beacon of light in a sea of Christian democratic despair, I would add.
Donald Tusk and his civic platform are poised to send shockwaves across the political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic. This is not a liberal victory over conservatism, but a libertarian victory over communtarianism. We are standing at the entrace of a new era of liberty!