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The United States of Europe: a political structure with a philosophical foundation

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Commentary. If democracy works, it works as a virtuous circle, because it promotes the development of the maturity of its citizens, something it desperately needs. But if this process becomes jammed, the circle becomes a vicious one, and democracies commit suicide.

written by Roberta De Monticelli

Topic European Union

Also filed under commentary

May 25, 2019

There are few things more discouraging than the state of the public debate on the European elections. Two ideas of Europe will face off against each other—however, given the fact that the debate has been reduced to a tug-of-war between more sovereignty and more integration and solidarity, these ideas both show extreme intellectual poverty.

That’s a shame. Because today, the European Union, seen as the long, slow process of the formation of a federation of a United States of Europe, is, at least in terms of possibility, the largest and most innovative political laboratory in the world. It represents the actual ongoing construction of an edifice whose architect has been political philosophy: that is, the universal soul animating political thought, which is, or at least tends towards, cosmopolitanism.

In effect, cosmopolitanism is the form of a civilization based on reason, which means, simply put, our ability to ask others and ourselves “why?” for every action and every statement—and to ask this question, in particular, of those who are making decisions that affect the life and the fate of everyone. Asking for reasons and justification is the most universal thing there is: it is, we may say, something constitutive of the human mind, of human language itself, the only form of language among all animals that possesses the characteristic tone and symbol of the interrogative: “Why? Why are you doing this to me? Why do I have to suffer this?” Being born in a desert or in a region plagued by massacres and war is not a........

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