A Week At The Heart Of Democracy: You Couldn't Make It Up

I’ve spent this week in the European Parliament (pictured). The disconnect between the populace and the political nobility is just staggering.

I already translated Hax’ article about recent corruption and procedural cheating around ACTA, but perhaps the signs of lostitude are closer than that.

As one enters the European Parliament, escalators from the security checkpoint area lead up to a large mezzanine on the third floor with a coffee bar, exhibition spaces and more. Just at the end of the escalators, there are posters for the seminars being arranged in the immediate days ahead somewhere in Parliament. This sort of gives a snapshot of what’s on the political nobility’s mind right this very moment, and perhaps more importantly, what they appear unaware of.

In a time when civil liberties are discussed vividly among the commoners of the world and fears of repression are starting to transform into devastating self-censorship, where ordinary people dare not speak out or blow the whistle for fear of retaliation, somebody is arranging a seminar in Parliament with the title “Paving the way to a quieter Europe”. The poster is illustrated with a child who appears to be clapping his ears and going la la la, I can’t hear you, pretty much in the image of most of the political nobility when somebody mentions “Freedom of Speech” or “Fundamental Rights”, I imagine.

But ok, perhaps the euro crisis is overshadowing the more fundamental, structural issues of democracy at the moment. What is money? How do we make sure that money flows and the economy is healthy? How do we raise venture capital for the future growth of Europe? After all, everybody is discussing the euro right now and considering solutions to the current crisis. The answer might apparently be in the next poster, which has a seminar named “Soil as Natural Capital”.

Really, you couldn’t make it up. You couldn’t.

(as an offtopic end note, the copyright notice on the screenshot from Google Earth of the Parliament building is fraudulent. Google did not compose that image, I did. Canon does not get the copyright monopoly on images composed and shot with its cameras, the photographers do.)

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Spitz

    It just amazing how this ruling political class is disconnected from reality and from the people they supposed to represent! I am afraid Europe, that could be a benchmark of democracy and freedom, a beacon of light for all other world is no longer democratic but rather a Frankenstein – rule of closed societies, bureaucrats and corrupted politicians.

    Just latest examples: Greek PM Papandreou wanted referendum on Troika plan for Greece, but EU and IMF bureaucrats unable to confront any referendum. They replaced Papandreou, canceled referendum and appointed new PM for Greece, that is no more sovereign country. New PM is Mr. Papademos – international banker, technocrat and former governor of the Greek central bank.

  2. ANNM

    But sometimes, one of the EU institutions has a sudden outbreak of common sense: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/intellectual-property/2011/11/24/courts-cannot-order-isps-to-filter-p2p-ecj-rules-40094500/

  3. Travis McCrea

    Poor choice of words/image for sure, but the seminar isn’t about censorship… it’s about actual quietness:

  4. hashman

    The health of the soil is the health of the people.
    There is no better “natural captial” for this species on this planet.. what do we call it again?

Comments are closed.