Bureaucrats and the wimpy politicians who defer to them are destroying the Western world

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — You know that things have really gone off the rails when you have to routinely factor local protest and strike action into your travel plans in the developed world. A recent trip between France and Canada had me plotting out travel logistics like a war general, just to avoid disruptions. Blame our unaccountable bureaucrats and the leaders who indulge them.

The major impetus for recent unrest has been the cost of living increase caused by inflation, which can ultimately be attributed to mismanagement. Although the conflict in Ukraine is a contributing factor, the problem started well before. It was during the Covid fiasco that our fearless leaders deferred to the bureaucrats who comprise the so-called “deep state”, allowing them an outsized role in shaping policy under the guise of following the science, even though the science was far from settled. They colluded in locking everything down and then showered citizens with helicopter money in compensation. So the economy was already completely deregulated and still circling the drain when the Ukraine crisis popped off.

Western bureaucrats, particularly in Europe, then jumped on this new opportunity to mess things up further by effectively sanctioning themselves. Technically, they were sanctioning Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, by attempting to deny him revenues, but they ended up forcing themselves to buy energy at a much higher price, either from the U.S. or through third-party countries who were just buying the same Russian energy and then reselling it to Europe. They should just call it a virtue-signaling tax.

Does anyone really believe that our elected officials came up with any of this on their own when U.S. President Joe Biden shows up in public these days with notes on how to properly enter the room? It also emerged during the Canadian hearings into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergency Act against honking truckers protesting Covid-related mandates. It was special interests, notably the honchos of Canadian banks, who were privately lobbying Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland over the need to crack down on the Freedom Convoy, leading to the government blocking some participants’ bank accounts. And when French President Emmanuel Macron dared to advocate in favor of negotiations over escalating armed conflict in Ukraine last December, reports emerged of nameless, faceless officials from other European countries pressuring him to stay on the militaristic path.

So there’s a whole swampy, shadowy, unaccountable ecosystem comprised of unelected career bureaucrats and policy experts, influenced by special interests, who seem to be leading our spineless elected public officials around by the nose. Perhaps the most glaring example of how undemocratic and outsized their influence has become is European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, crowned the “world’s most powerful woman” by Forbes last year.

Way to glorify authoritarianism, since there is no way by which the people of Europe can vote her out. Despite being unelected by the actual citizens of Europe, she’s constantly referred to in statements as “President", and even delivers State of the Union addresses. How modest. Why not "Queen Ursula" while you’re at it?

Queen Ursula ultimately fronts for the bureaucrats of the European Commission who concoct all the wonderful policies that are turning Europe into a dystopian hellscape of pricy living, top-down censorship, and one-size-fits-all policy across a group of countries, in total ignorance of the wisdom of former French President Charles De Gaulle, who famously asked, “How do you want to govern a country where there are 258 varieties of cheese?”

In just the latest example of misplaced priorities, Von der Leyen’s EU Commission wants to “expand the sanctions toolbox to cover serious acts of corruption” worldwide as part of the bloc’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Whoa, slow your roll there, your majesty! It was just last December that Queen Ursula decided that it might be a good idea for the EU to have an independent ethics body to set rules for EU institutions “where there are very clear rules,” adding that it would be “a big step forward.” Hey, know what would be an even bigger step forward? Going from not even having an ethics body yourself to declaring that you’ll clean up corruption in the entire world, particularly when the EU has a major corruption problem itself in light of the embarrassing “Qatargate” criminal corruption scandal currently engulfing some of the bloc’s top establishment figures.

All of the problems in the Western world can be attributed to the disconnect between the existential priorities of citizens and those of these bureaucrats who enjoy far too much unchecked power and influence. What we desperately need — and severely lack — is elected leaders who aren’t afraid to put them in their place for the sake of democracy.