In an astonishingly frank statement Mrs Merkel today told the Parliament,
"There are those who think there is little to be gained from trying to determine Europe’s nature; I have to say, speaking frankly, that I take a completely different view. I think back to Jacques Delors, who, famously, said: ‘We have to give Europe a soul’.
To that, I would add, putting it in my own way, that we have to find Europe’s soul, for the fact is that we do not need to give Europe a soul, since it already has one".
To me this suggests that somebody has lost it, which is a tad concerning. As she then went on in what was more like a sermon rather than a political speech she attempted to define this pre-existing but missing soul she claimed it was about diversity, but not quite, about freedom, and so on.
Indeed her high sounding words,
"It is, for Europe, a matter of life and death always to be aware of the fact that freedom is not something that, once gained, can never be lost. Freedom must be won anew virtually every day, and freedom does not exist in isolation; it is not without obligations. It is inseparable from responsibility."
were excellent and I cannot agree more, so why did she then blow it by uttering a rank piece of hypocrisy,
"If, then, we are to talk about freedom, we are actually talking about the freedom of others;
it involves us saying, in Voltaire’s celebrated words, which I quote: ‘I may detest what you say, but I will give my life to defend your right to say it’".
Of course this absolute freedom is in her case not in fact absolute as she has already suggested that she would like to make holocaust denial a criminal offence right across the EU. We defeat the idiots and thugs of this world not by the 'cordon sanitaire' or by banning people, but by fighting their ideas with the truth. Selective rights and thought crimes are the tools of states that have lost confidence in their people, which no doubt happens when, as in this case the people have lost confidence in the superstate.