The Two Visions for Europe

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    I’m writing a project on the conflict between Europe’s visions as described by Phillip Bagus in the first chapter in his book The Tragedy of the Euro

    I have been asked if I can point to any other work that also points out that throughout the history of EU, or perhaps just at the founding, there has been two clear visions of Europe that has been in a struggle of where to pull the European Union. Can anybody help with the bibliography?


    My first thought was of the rivalry in the 2nd half of 19th century between William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone led the Liberal party (in the final decades of ‘liberal’ describing laissez faire) while Disraeli founded the modern Conservative party at a time that conservative referred to maintaining state power.

    In Prussia/Germany I think about Eugen Richter vs. Otto von Bismarck.

    I know these examples are a bit more about liberalism vs. collectivism than liberalism vs. European integration…. I’ll try and think of better examples.

    *Edit* and I just reread your question and realize that you’re looking for 1950s and forward… So I didn’t help. I’ll keep looking.


    No problem I appreciate the effort. 🙂

    Jason Jewell

    Samgheb, I think your purpose would be served just as well if you could produce authors who were calling for one of the other of these visions as opposed to a third party who says, “See, here are these two irreconcilable visions,” in the way Bagus does.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a bibliography like that because such proposals had been floating around for literally centuries. I recently read Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s proposal for “Perpetual Peace through a Federation of Europe,” for example, which conforms more to the classical liberal model Bagus discusses. Mises himself called for an ultra-liberal regional or global state in “Liberalism,” if I recall correctly. Proposals for a more interventionist union shouldn’t be hard to come up with, I think.


    The problem is that my counselor tried to explain to me that there is not one dichotomy of classical liberal vs socialist empire but rather many ones. Like visions based on catholic vs protestant.

    For example Bagus’ divide is rather flawed in that the nortern European countries are protestant and why would those countries be more inspired by the catholic principle of subsidiary. And conversley why would the actual catholic countries be against this? My counselor named other ways of dividing Europe as well.

    In other words it is not enough for me to prove you can make a particular distinction between classical liberal vs socialist empire but that this has been THE important battle going on in the development of the EU. This is where my counselor was sceptical.


    Why not ask Philipp himself for suggestions?


    I already have. I asked him if there were any other book that has divided up the history of the EU in the way he has. This what he wrote me:

    “Unfortunately I cannot think on books who separate it the exaxt way as
    I did. But Hans Sennholz How Can Europe Survive? comes to mind. Also
    works by Ludwig Erhard on Europe as cited in my book (2nd ed.).
    Please send me your bachelor project when finished.”

    Ultimately I have to be able to prove that the 2 visions of Europe has existed and have been in conflict. I have considered that since my counselor didn’t buy that this was the premier conflict in EU history perhaps I could still do it by proxy. I could write it as the fight between Germany and France and in that way I can sneak the Bagus narrative through the backdoor.


    I have decided to ditch this project because my professor didn’t think it was sustainable and given that I couldn’t find much support for it I couldn’t really argue this thesis.

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