I can get along with almost anyone, but there are very few people without whom I could not get along. I am giving of my time, but not to the point of forgetting its value. I live for each moment, but not as much as I worry about the next. I consider ambition to be of the utmost importance, but realize that it is useless without the support of hard work. I am a very competitive person, but only when competing with myself. I have a million dreams, but I am more than just a dreamer. I am usually content, but never satisfied.
Nor is the EU a paragon of democracy. The decision to introduce the euro in 1999 was taken largely by technocrats; only two countries, Denmark and Sweden, held referendums on the matter (both said no). Efforts to win popular approval for the Lisbon Treaty, which consolidated power in Brussels, were abandoned when people started voting the wrong way. During the darkest days of the euro crisis the euro-elite forced Italy and Greece to replace democratically elected leaders with technocrats. The European Parliament, an unsuccessful attempt to fix Europe’s democratic deficit, is both ignored and despised. The EU has become a breeding ground for populist parties, such as Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, which claim to defend ordinary people against an arrogant and incompetent elite. Greece’s Golden Dawn is testing how far democracies can tolerate Nazi-style parties. A project designed to tame the beast of European populism is instead poking it back into life.
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On May 1st, 1983, two of us walked in Dorothy Day’s footsteps in Union Square at Fourteenth Street to distribute the twelve-page anniversary issue of The Catholic Worker. Joseph Zarella had been a full-time volunteer at the Catholic Worker when Peter Maurin was in his prime, in the years from 1935 to 1942. Zarella had travelled with Peter Maurin in 1936 to visit the newly founded houses of the Catholic Worker movement. He remembered the talks that Maurin had given to the struggling groups, as well as to monasteries, seminaries and parishes throughout the country. I had encountered Maurin in the early nineteen forties on visits to the Catholic Worker. What we most remembered about Maurin was his utter selflessness, his total absorption in the message he was impelled to share. We cherish the memory of that craggy face, illuminated from within, as he delivered the carefully phrased concepts. We recall what it was like to have the index finger of that broad peasant hand brandished before our faces as Maurin “made his points.” It was these “points,” lived out dramatically by Dorothy Day, and enfleshed not only in her memorable writing but in the C. W. movement, that captured the minds of young people and set them on fire with zeal to remake the world.
— John Schilling is the chief operating officer of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s largest educational-choice advocacy organization.