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The EU’s foundations were laid with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, a trade agreement that harmonized supply chains of said critical resources. Not only would it be economically expedient, it was marketed by its architect Robert Schuman in 1950—and like many another vain hope before it—as something that would “make war materially impossible.” From the beginning, European technocrats realized that economic integration would inevitably lead to political integration.
History proved them right. Trade agreement after agreement followed, each justified on economic grounds, and supported by conservatives—who could say no to free trade or to the prosperity it promised? And perhaps the EU did enrich Europe, but at what cost? A single market requires a single law: European nations sacrificed their political independence upon the altar of economic interdependence—Europe now shares an increasingly powerful legislature, single currency, and constitution.
We laugh at the Left for its cognitive dissonance on a host of issues, but we should be careful not to commit the same sin. Make no mistake, political and economic globalization are more than siblings, they are the two faces of Janus—by placing our faith in one, we venerate the other. It is time we returned to the measured and deliberate isolationism that America’s Founders recommended.