Basic common sense has already lost. After the most massive economic crisis of our lives, in which europeans institutions played a dramatic role, the major trend in the coming European elections is a surge in aggressive sentiments. But not against economic planners, central bank managers, financial regulators, and not even european institutions or politicians… but against other people.
The views and policies of the parties that are set to win the elections should give us pause. A crisis that affected the entire Eurozone and was related to (1) countries losing sovereignty to print currency (2) bailing out european banks hold sovereign debt, (3) general apathy and lack of political resolve to tackle the problem, seems irrelevant now. The problem, we are told, are the muslims, north africans, and even other europeans who want to find work. Political parties advocating the view that stopping the free movement of people should be our main concern, are set to have major victories in several of the major European countries.
In a way, common sense has already lost the elections. Instead of debating what are the institutions we want for the future, the kind of controls on banks that should (or should not) be in place, how to manage a common currency union, etc.. we find ourselves debating immigration and border controls. It should be obvious that border closings make none of us safer from the effects of future financial crisis. At least as disappointing as the anti-immigration views of the parties set to win the EU elections, is that they were able to completely set the public debate, and topics affecting our future in the EU were the subject of only marginal discussion.
The concerns and anger of europeans are quite understandable and should not be mocked or minimized. That they are being addressed by xenophobic parties, says at least as much about their success as it says about the existing limitations in coming up with credible mobilizing responses.