Angela Merkel and numerous parrots on her side have pledged to block cherry-picking during Brexit negotiations. And yesterday, a Russian globalist Bloomberg writer tried to criticize Poland, Hungary, and Czechia because we're cherry-pickers, too.
There are probably other examples, too. And it's conceivable that the two examples above aren't independent of one another – the Russian writer could have just gotten the meme from Angela Merkel or someone in between.
Imagine that you feel somewhat hungry and you find yourself in a cherry orchard. What will you do? You should better find something to eat. There is some soil beneath your feet. There are rocks in it. And some sand. Then you observe wooden branches of the tree. And nicely green leaves. What will you do?
Well, you will pick the damn cherries. Oops, they're so yummy. If you are at least somewhat rational, you will ignore the rocks, grass, and leaves; instead, you will cherry-pick. In fact, most of the TRF readers are so smart that they will pick the red cherries, more precisely red cherries without caterpillars. And to show how brutally picky you are, you will probably spit out the cherry stones, I mean the pits, too. Is there a relationship between spit and pits? ;-)
What is the cherry-picking that I have just described? It's also called the "rational behavior". People (and more primitive animals) as well as politicians representing themselves, their parties, or their nations are doing it, too. You just want to eat or have the things that are good for you – and ignore or avoid the things that are bad or irrelevant for you.
How can someone demonize this absolutely elementary aspect of the animals', human, economic, or political behavior? What sort of a lunatic you must be to mock these self-evident things? And how degenerated your nation has to be if no one points out that you are an idiot if you criticize cherry-picking in this most general and innocent sense? The degree of stupidity that the people must prove in order to be considered politically correct has surpassed all imaginable thresholds that you could hypothesize just a decade ago.
Let me discuss the two political examples. Brexit and the single market. British and European negotiators will negotiate about the relationships between the U.K. and the EU after the U.K. leaves the European Union. What are they struggling to achieve? Well, collectively, both sides want some sustainable setup that is good enough for the Britons as well as the other Europeans.
In practice, it is very obvious that the two sides want different things, however. The British negotiators will more or less try to get the best conditions for – and according to – the British voters. The European negotiators will try to get the best results for the European Union. If they were elected, it would mean for the "voters in the European Union countries". Sadly, they are not elected so "the best things for the European Union" must be interpreted literally, as "best things for the unelected officials and the machinery keeping their near their feeding troughs".
I will return to this not so subtle difference between democracies and non-democracies, or between accountable and unaccountable politicians, in the future.
But let's first look at the rational, i.e. British, side of the Brexit negotiations. They will propose various treaties i.e. packages, or they will be offered treaties i.e. packages by the EU side. Which one are they likely to choose? Well, because the other side cannot sign anything so they cannot build and promote the "best possible agreement for themselves" by the individual cherry-picking, they will pick those with the maximum number of cherries and the minimum number of stones or pits or caterpillars. They will try to maximize some kind of a modified/weighted difference between the number of good things (the cherries), and the number of bad things (the stones). In some averaged sense, they're still "cherry-picking". Do you really doubt it? Do you really want your citizens to be obedient imbeciles who say that it's heretical to prefer good things? Or do you want your British partners to promise that they will be looking for paragraphs that are bad for them? Or that they will at least treat the good things and bad things equally? You have to be kidding, right?
The British negotiators will try to maximize Britain's well-being. What does it mean? Well, most of the British voters primarily wanted to regain Britain's control over the immigration and asylum policies. They don't want dangerous folks from exotic nations to drift freely into the U.K. But they also don't want – the greater number of – the Poles and people from other EU countries on the Eastern side to flood Britain. That's they why most people wanted "Leave" in the Brexit referendum.
On the other hand, a majority of the Britons would prefer the free exchange of products to continue – or at least to be reasonably free. The "Leave" vote wasn't primarily about some British desire to abolish the free market. The free market has a lot of advantages and the Britons generally appreciate them. And the UKIP party that had Brexit as its main or only goal is generally a supporter of the free trade, too.
What do the previous paragraphs imply? They obviously imply that the British negotiators will generally try to keep the trade – exchange of products – with the EU27 to remain as free as possible. But they will try to regain as much of the control over immigration as they can. And they will try to reduce other disadvantages or payments that could result from such a deal. Isn't it clear? Do we have to play a stupid game in which this common sense is being obfuscated if not outlawed?
Now, what should the other – EU27 – side try to achieve? It depends on whom the side is actually representing. If it represents all the people living in the EU27 economies, the EU27 negotiating side will try to keep the trade free, too. In fact, it's more natural for EU27 to try to fight for a free trade more strongly than the British side because the EU27 has a trade surplus with the U.K. In absolute numbers and those are relevant for absolute comparisons, the exporters in the EU27 are more dependent on the British market than the British exporters are dependent on the EU27 market.
On the other hand, the EU27 also contains some countries such as Poland that want to defend the well-being of its workers in the U.K. So they may prefer a free motion of the people, too. But this is an amazing minority of the EU and it's questionable whether the Polish government should be fanatically defending the rights of those Poles who loved their country so much that they left it in order to earn more money. Well, I don't think that the defense of the Polish workers' convenience in the U.K. should be a priority of the Polish government, let alone the institutions of the EU27. Poland may feel damaged so it should simply be compensated in some other way. That's it.
If both sides of the Brexit negotiations behave rationally, they will ultimately pick the cherries once again. They will pick what is pretty much clearly good for both sides – the free trade – and they will spit out the stones – namely the free movement of the people across the U.K.-EU27 border. It's that simple. Collectively, two rational sides will tend to share those activities, burdens, or common interests that are good to be shared. And they won't share those that are bad to share. This is the selection or discrimination that every well-functioning system (and a competent politician) does all the time! Even the European Union has been capable of writing a web page about the "principle" that the things that weren't good to be shared are kept at the national level. It's called the principle of subsidiarity. For some reasons, all the EU warriors seem completely unaware that this principle exists at all these days.
As long the politicians properly defend the interests of their constituencies, it is very clear that the U.K.-EU agreement will imply that the free trade, which has worked more or less flawlessly, will be largely kept while the free movement of the people, which has caused so much tension in recent years, will be largely dropped. It's that simple. If someone wants to demonize or outlaw or mock this self-evidently rational outcome by some references to meaningless clichés such as the evil of cherry-picking or the "single market", then he or she is a totally irrational fanatic or a brain-dead brainwashed sheep.
Cherry-picking is what the British negotiators will try to do every minute of their working hours and if the European negotiators aren't trying to do it, it proves that they shouldn't be there and the citizens of the European countries should remove them either by some political procedures or, if they turn out to be impossible, by a physical procedure.
When cherry-picking is "bad"
We sometimes use "cherry-picking" as a verb describing a bad activity, and I sometimes do so, too. But cherry-picking is only bad if it is a distorted, not representative, review of some evidence for or against a certain theory or proposition; or when a judge etc. is supposed to produce fair verdicts. In that case, one should fairly consider the cherries and the stones. But that's not what we're talking about in the political applications. We're talking about the right way how the European Union, or the relationships between the European Union and the U.K., should work now and in the future. We're deciding what the rules should be. We're deciding about the optimum rules, policies, or the best wording of the treaties. And when we do so, of course we must pick the cherries. This is analogous to the scientific method. The scientific method itself is a cherry. Galileo and Newton have picked this cherry a few centuries ago and it tasted good.
The central European "heretics"
Let us look at a rant that Leonid Bershidsky wrote yesterday:
First, click at the map above, zoom it in, and try to answer the question who is in trouble when it comes to the most well-known effect of the mass migration from the Middle East. Curiously enough, the map above also contains another possible answer to the question why Slovakia wasn't included to the list of Visegrád Group countries that were sued. Well, the terror threat level is low in Czechia, Poland, and Hungary. It is one notch higher, "underlying", in Slovakia for some reasons.
This is clearly largely due to the fact that the politicians in these three countries haven't made some severe mistakes such as relaxing the well-working immigration rules. They didn't allow lots of unverified people from dangerous countries to come to our territories so far. Mainly for this reason, the terror threat level is low. It is high in countries like France, Belgium, and Germany.
The people in the countries that have made the severe mistakes (and they've been doing these mistakes for a few decades – the fruits often come after a delay) are probably jealous that some others haven't faced this problem yet. So they want to export this mistake. They want to force us to do all the illegal things such as the absorption of the illegal immigrants. Well, we won't do that. Almost everyone in our countries knows that it's dangerous. Even if the terror risk remained low, there are other, less violent dangers that we still find highly undesirable. So it would be a political suicide for a politician in our countries to openly join the efforts to deliberately Islamize Europe. It's that simple.
Again, just like in the British case, the Czech, Hungarian, and Polish politicians are primarily paid – and they have pledged – to protect the interests of the citizens of Czechia, Hungary, and Poland, respectively – just like Donald Trump's primary job is to defend the interests of the Americans and their country. There is nothing illegitimate about these facts. They're elementary, almost defining tautologies within politics and life in general. They are common sense.
Now, have we "run into trouble" as Bershidsky claims? Not yet. By the lawsuit, the European Commission primarily increased the rift that exists within the European Union. The lawsuit hasn't been decided yet. Both sides may win. And the EU officials have revealed that they feel to be in trouble because their jobs etc. seem to be threatened by what they would like to call a revolt in the central European countries. But indeed, this hostile act against the sovereignty of Czechia, Hungary, and Poland has made the situation even worse.
The EU apparatchiks are in deeper trouble than they were before.
Our three countries won't start to embrace macroscopic numbers of illegal migrants, many key folks in the governments have promised. We're not in trouble: We're working hard to avoid the trouble! It is likely that we won't pay any fine, either. In some atmosphere, even this modest act could be a political suicide for a politician. Moreover, the legal procedures that could end with the verdict "pay a fine" are likely to last almost a year if not many years. If e.g. Czechia is ordered to pay a fine, it's rather plausible that the government will say "No". In that case, the European Union may subtract the money from some subsidies.
You know, if the subsidies get smaller, or even zero, it would be one of the great things that could happen to us. We could have fewer bike paths or Stork's Nests (the fraudulently subsidized luxurious farm of billionaire Babiš). The total amount of money we get through the inflows is of order 1% of the GDP – and much of it is canceled by some "forced spending" that Czechia has to realize according to the EU regulations.
I began to seriously think about various types of conflicts and their solutions that could take place if Czexit began in a tense atmosphere. Now, our economy became heavily dependent on the EU. In particular, Germany represents 1/3 of the Czech imports and 1/3 of the Czech exports. If someone were really malicious on that side, they could try to hurt us. But on the other hand, I've never quite appreciated another thing. About 5% of the Czech GDP is flowing away in the form of dividends paid to the foreign owners or stockholders of our companies. Only Malta and Ireland (6%) has a higher number. Clearly, Czechia and Ireland boast high numbers because we've been welcoming towards foreign investments in recent two decades or so.
So there is a certain amount of money every year, 5% of the GDP (note that it's much higher than the EU inflows! Including the dividend flows, Czechia is obviously a net donor), that Czechia could freeze in an extraordinary situation as a response to some hostile act by Germany or the rest of the EU. More ambitiously, foreign owners own a lot in Czechia so a threat of some blanket confiscation could be a very loud defensive response to some hardcore economic bullying from other side, too. While the big outflows look excessive, they may also be an extra muscle that is helpful under some circumstances. Some people should think about these matters and economic weapons. It's plausible that the situation will become this tense in the future. Needless to say, I don't want the situation to be this tense. I obviously want the free exchange of products between Czechia and the EU to continue, whether or not we leave the EU, and Czexit is something that I still consider a hypothetical scenario that won't be decided in 2017. But I think it's self-evidently wrong to claim that countries like mine would be on the guaranteed losing side in similar hardcore economic conflicts.
Bershidsky's subtitle says:
The European Union may not longer be so tolerant of blatant rule-breaking from the east.There are so many crazy things about this sentence. First, it's rather bizarre when a Russian writer uses the word "East" for countries such as Czechia. Prague is Northwest from Vienna. The longitude of Pilsen is the same as that of Berlin's. Moscow is 2,000 km to the East. I think it's obvious that the word "East" was "cherry-picked" for the three central European countries as a slur of sort. That would be fine except that it looks extremely weird when the author is Russian.
Second, the European Union is tolerant of much of blatant rule-breaking. For example, Greece and Italy have violated pretty much all the rules when they failed to defend the external border of the Schengen area – even though it is absolutely straightforward to do so, as e.g. Macedonia showed us a year ago. Germany has violated tons of other things when it allowed illegal immigrants to spread all over Germany – and indirectly all over the Schengen area, too. These crimes weren't just violations of picky rules on the paper. Many of these illegal immigrants have already committed terrorist attacks, too. Lots of European citizens have died.
Those who breached the vital laws of the European countries and the EU itself – such as the politicians' duty to defend the borders – have turned into accomplices in numerous murders. And the number of the people who have been killed may vastly understate the devastating impact of these treacherous acts. Several terrorist attacks in recent years may soon be seen as negligible relatively to the decay of the European civilization that may become more likely with the higher number of people whose habits aren't compatible with the European culture.
For some reasons, none of these vital rules, none of these human lives matter to the officials in the European Union. Instead, what is a bigger problem for these EU jerks is that Czechia, Hungary, and Poland dare to point out that these EU and Western European politicians have made brutal mistakes and adopted dysfunctional policies that we won't ever join. And we have never joined them. Well, at least Hungary and Czechia voted against the migrant Ponzi scheme (along with Slovakia and Romania). Poland didn't vote against but it would have voted if the government could have been refreshed a few weeks earlier than it did.
So please, most of us won't accept these distorted claims that we're "rule-breakers". The breakers of the rules that actually matter and that were adopted in a legitimate and consensual way are exactly the other side. OK, let me look at the subtitle – which summarizes much of the article below – again:
The European Union may not longer be so tolerant of blatant rule-breaking from the east.What you can read in this sentence is that globalists such as Mr Bershidsky and his soulmates in the European Commission etc. are getting ready for some spiteful action. They may consider the lawsuit against Czechia, Hungary, and Poland to be the first example of such spiteful action. Too bad for them, everyone in our countries so far says that they're just being ludicrous.
But these people could start to purposely decide about many things that are designed to hurt countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Czechia. Bershidsky looks excited about that prospect, doesn't he? Spiteful action could become business-as-usual for the European Union officials. You know, there are very good reasons to think that this may happen soon - in fact, this campaign may have already started. You know, if it is true, it will become increasingly obvious that it's rational for us to leave the European Union as soon as possible. So far, the expenses and risks look too high to careful people like me.
However, if there's clear evidence that the treatment of our nations as second-class if not undesirable nations or trash of Europe will be getting worse and increasingly resemble the Nazi era, instead of the EU's taking our political representatives and views seriously, then we're in a similar situation as a wife whose drunk husband (who is more than analogous to Juncker in my fable) began to increasingly beat her. We are just unlikely to benefit from such a relationship much. The marriage could have been good and useful in the past, there could have been some love, but when a husband starts to beat you every day and resemble a drunk Juncker, you should better escape as soon as possible!
Some bonus. The first paragraph of Bershidsky's tirade says:
In any union of entities with diverging interests, cherry-picking – or, to use a beautiful German word, Rosinenpickerei -- is an issue. The European Union is no exception, and right now, the bloc's post-Communist members stand accused of cherry-picking from EU rules. It may cost them.I had to laugh out loud when I read about his focus on Rosinenpickerei. Is it a beautiful German word? Not really, it's one of the typical German-sounding, long, composite words that the German language creates all the time. But why would Bershidsky distract with this totally irrelevant linguistic issue in the first paragraph of a tirade that is pretending to be about a serious issue? And why would he say that Rosinenpickerei is beautiful? Is it more beautiful than the phrase cherry-picking, for example? Or "vybírání/vyzobávání rozinek/třešniček" in Czech?
The answer to this mystery looks completely clear to me. English is no longer good enough for hardcore Nazis who dream about some harsh treatment of the nations in Central and Eastern Europe. Just like in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they see Germany as the main vehicle credibly working on the division of nations to the Übermenschen (which includes Germans and now, unquestionably, also Arabs), the defenders of the laws (who violate every other essential law related to the humanity and European values), and the Untermenschen or the rule-breakers (who defend all the important principles but who are harassed for refusing a dysfunctional scheme that they have always opposed).
Too bad for the Russian author that a predecessor of Angela Merkel killed himself in 1945. Mr Bershidsky would surely love to climb into his rectum even more deeply than to Merkel's rectum, in order to have a snack – some brownish Rosinenpickerei. Well, the notorious German leader is dead but Mr Bershidsky already cherry-picked a new leader that will allow Bershidsky an even more tasteful Rosinenpickerei than Ms Merkel: Martin Schulz. Excited and aroused, Bershidsky quotes some disgusting intimidating phrases by this German social democratic thug that were directed against Hungary.
Hungary is a big defender of the European Union but I am afraid that if a fanatical filth of Schulz's type wins the German elections, he will really conquer the EU and the hostile quotes we can see today will express the status of Hungarians – but also Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, and others – within the European Union. So yes, I think that e.g. our reasons to abruptly leave the EU will skyrocket if Martin Schulz is elected the German chancellor. His wouldn't be the EU that we may afford to be a part of. He is fanatically hostile towards us. With all my reservations, I would prefer to become a part of the Russian sphere of influence in that case.