Hans Bonfigt
Saturday May 26th, 2018

Moderne Zeiten

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 24th, 2018

Why the DSGVO is moving in the wrong direction.

Roland als Insel-Philosoph mit (sauberer) Wäsche in Sifnos (Kykladen, Griechenland).

A philosophical analysis.

My theory:

We have too much property and too little common land.

We strive too much after ownership and too little after shared social life and survival, experiences, …

Here are a few facts that support my theory:

  • 62 super rich people practically own half the world.
    (62 Superreiche besitzen so viel wie die halbe Welt)
  • Why is it a matter of course that humans (“natural persons”) can acquire (buy) soil and property to their hearts’ content?
  • Why is everyone allowed to own a car that causes considerable damage to the common good? Or a yacht? Why can huge social systems with an economic goal be completely owned by few people or other social systems?

Something is rotten with property. To be sure, I understand to some extent – and even wish for myself – that people, who in our legal system are called “natural persons”, can own property to a reasonable extent.

But why do “legal persons” like capital companies (GmbH, AG, Company Limited … – in French, they are called  “society anonyme“) have the same rights?
If a “natural person” dies, the problem of inheritance is added, which strengthens the polarisation of “poor and rich”.

“Legal Persons” will not die naturally. But they can become bankrupt. And what then? Even with our modern bankruptcy laws, the protection of those who are owed something has priority over saving the enterprise.

In addition, money will usually increase by itself. That makes property more and more powerful and power richer and richer.

Now let us look at the components of ownership.

Initially you own objects. As I see it, that is ok as long as we are not talking objects that should belong to the community and as long as the situation does not do any damage to the common good.

It gets harder when we are talking the ownership of rights. Is it really fair that someone who, with his team and in a fortunate communication system, developed a patent and therefore has a huge income over many decades, can buy any property he feels he wants in Munich City every year? That the authors of bestselling novels or soccer stars will be billionaires after a few years?

To be sure, I understand that the effort of an artist should be suitably paid for. But why is the right to mental property given in the same way to “legal persons” as to “natural persons”? Why does the music of Bob Marley or of the Beatles not belong to all the people of this world, rather than to a few concerns? The same is true for the dramas of Bert Brecht?

And now we also have ownership of data? Isn’t that totally grotesque? As I see it, we do not need data security but the obligation to be transparent! And that we should not try to protect ourselves against institutions that manipulate us. Instead, we should abolish them.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday May 5th, 2018

People and Their Characteristics

WARNING:
The following text might be a little hard to digest for many of you.

A few years ago in the South Sea – guaranteed to be far removed from seminars and all kinds of mentoring.

It is not the people who are good or evil but what they do.

For me, this is a very central idea from the age of enlightenment.

Similarly, you can say
It is not the managers who are correct or incorrect but their decisions.

“Incorrect” in this context means “wrong“.

Mind you, it is even more problematic when it comes to decisions than when it comes to behaviour. What you do often has consequences. More often than not, you cannot really know, even à posterior, what consequences your decisions really had for the enterprise or for the world. Because the question is always ”how real is reality?“, which you can read about in Watzlawick. And decisions that seemed to be the right decisions at the time often turn out to have been totally wrong in retrospect.

You cannot give people and managers characteristics like good or evil. They are not gear-wheels that function as part of a clockwork in your family or enterprise.

With humans, even trivial measurements such as weight and height are not too easy. You see a tall lady with unbelievably long legs – then she takes off her shoes and becomes a dwarf. An overweight person might easily turn into a slim one because he lost 20 kilograms.

Nor can you decide about beauty. One day, the hero shines in all his splendour wearing his gala uniform; but what about when he wakes up hungover and has not shaved (for reasons of gender fairness, I chose a male example and abstained from using the example of the one-night stand and the terrible morning after).

With intelligence, there is also no objective measure. You determine the I.Q. – but what about emotional intelligence , see Emotionalen Intelligenz in his book ”EQ … “.

Consequently, we should not give people characteristics such as fat, tall, beautiful or intelligent. They are frivolous and inadequate. But you can do a lot worse.
Some people told me that I am a “brain-controlled person”. Others testified that I am a “person who decides following his gut-feeling“.

They all were persons who are close to me and presumably even meant well by me. They believed they had learned enough about me to judge my personality. And they pitied me because they believed that I, being a brain-oriented or gut-oriented person, cannot do a fair job as a manager.

These – incidentally they were all male – people all saw themselves as great leaders. I saw them as idiots, or rather: I perceived them as such.
But that is exactly what it is all about:

It is all just our perception.

We all wear masks and act in the way we think we need to inter-act, which does not make communication and understanding easier. This is how we are (too) quickly prepared to make others look “smaller”, rather than “taller”.

There is no such thing as a person who is “brain-oriented or “gut-oriented“, “cold“ or “emphatic“, “sensitive“ or “insensitive“, “weak“ or “strong“, “emotional“ or “unemotional“, etc. These are all values you cannot measure. Regardless of the fact that some charlatans claim that they can do exactly that and make a lot of money selling the idea.

It is something we should permanently remember.

Especially, we should be careful when it comes to our self-perception. It is mostly wrong!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I can easily prove this last statement by relating discussions with many people who come to see me as my mentées. More often than not, it is truly shocking for me to see how they make themselves look small.

Roland Dürre
Sunday April 1st, 2018

April, April, April.

This is another way to perceive April, 1st.

Even as a child, I rather liked April-Fool’s. It was such pleasure to play it upon my small sister on April, 1st.

Later, as I grew older, I found April Fool’s more and more interesting. When reading the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on April, 1st, the first thing I did in the morning was look for them. And more often than not, I found something that did not really qualify.

Naturally, later in life, the April-Fool’s were also prominent in my IF Blog. I even remember one year when there were three of them.

In 2018, I started thinking about a good April-Fool’s early in the year. Perhaps because, these days, there are so many daily news that I would prefer to have been (poor) April-Fool’s.

This morning, my old eagerness to read them was re-kindled. And I found one that I really liked.


Bike Town Münster
Press Release (Pressemitteilung:):
After what happened recently in our city, we, the interest group Bike Town Münster, concluded that the effort it would take for us to really become a bike town, is extremely huge. Consequently, we will decide by an internal majority vote to no longer work towards this goal.

Instead, we will focus on making the already quite noteworthy car-friendliness in Münster even more of a success. The promising developments of the past show us that it is far easier to have far more success in this area with far less effort.

We hereby offer our full support to the ADAC and the ACV Automobil-Club Verkehr for all their projects that promote car-friendly cities. The highly promising NO on driving bans we hear from such model cities as Stuttgart motivates us to now fight for our highest goal “all citizens are free to drive“.

This is what our name stands for!

Best wishes

Die IG Autostadt.ms
(Of course, our Social Media Domains will shortly be changed, but Facebook and Twitter need a little time for name alterations. We hope to finish the process as soon as possible.)
Westfälische Nachrichten
Münstersche Zeitung
WDR Lokalzeit Münsterland
ANTENNE MÜNSTER
Radio Q
Münstersche Volkszeitung
Die Wiedertäufe


I really, really like it. Perhaps because, deep down, I am a little worried that it might not be an April-Fool’s but a true statement. But also because what is an April-Fool’s in Münster is actually the generally accepted strategy in Munich.

And this is not only true for Munich, but also for my hometown Neubiberg. They still spend a considerable amount of money on public car parks in the town centre. Through the entire region, they build parking spaces on, under and above ground. Sports centres eventually cannot be built because there are not enough car parks, and all over Bavarian, they cover natural ground the size of soccer fields for parking lots near schools, cemeteries, railway stations,… in no time with concrete.

And wherever there is a place of resistance against the car-mania, as there seemed to be in Oberhaching, the reader will notice on perusing his newspaper that this bastion, too, has now been cut down.

But this year, we all get our Easter Eggs for free on April 1st! And today, Haching will win against Rostock.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Sunday December 31st, 2017

Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann

Und wieder einmal stehen wir unmittelbar vor einem neuen Jahr.

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 26th, 2017

Dear Evil Sexual Drive.

My road. On a narrow path. On a dangerous route.

Currently, I sometimes write about sex. And electric bikes. Today, it is again about sex.

For me, this is not about sex as such. It is more because it makes me rather sad to see how this is a topic where there is so much hypocrisy and moralizing. And how people lie to themselves, perhaps because they are afraid of their own urges and sub-conscious wishes.

As I see it, we could live better lives if we did not damage our own lives and the lives of the “others” by installing unnecessary taboos and morals.

If, these days, my articles are breaking patterns, then it is certainly not because I want to hurt or insult anybody. It is only because I want to promote a little thoughtfulness and questioning of your own habits.


There was quite a bit of headwind coming my way after my article on “meetoo“ (meetoo). Basically, there were two statements:

(1) “Men, too, should be able to control themselves, no matter what they are currently doing“
and
(2) “No matter in which situation, we always have to respect another person’s right to self-determination”.

Well, both of these arguments sound nice to me. And actually, I try to live by them. And I also believe both should be true for all people and all sexes, not just for men
(note: incidentally, we now have three sexes. When it comes to sexuality, the bit now has three values – informatics insider).

But then let us take a close look at (1). What does “men, too” mean? Men in the same way as women? As children? Or as pets? Or as car-drivers? Is there anyone who should not be able to control himself/herself?

On reading (2) with diligence and time, my first idea is “wow, what a nice sentence”. But then, is it not utopia, or just a phrase? What do we see in reality, where we were socialized and where we socialize our children? In my life, it happened to often that I experienced the opposite of statement (2).

It would have been so nice if other people had respected my right to self-determination! Especially those in charge of my education and upbringing!
Is there any law that protects our self-determination? I am afraid there is none. Can I deduce the right to self-determination from the guarantee of human dignity? After all, freedom also means to “live your own life in self-responsibility”. And is that not frequently limited whenever someone says they “want to protect me”? From myself!

🙂 The only self-determination I know is the self-determination as far as my data are concerned. …

My “self-determination” suffered under more powerful people or issues all the time. I could give you an endless list of experiences in life from my childhood home, school, the army, my college education, my professional life, in special situations such as for instance traffic and the “shared” everyday life. My stories would fill many pages.

However, this does not concern me alone. In the public environment, I see almost constantly how people do not respect the right to self-determination of others at all. It happens in all the dimensions we share when living. And the most harmless kind is still “moralizing”, which can easily become mobbing.

Regardless, I try to live by (2). And by (1). However, living by (1) is not so easy, either. Is it really a good thing for me to always practice self-discipline? And why should I condemn, persecute and punish others just because they are courageous enough to do things I am not courageous enough to do? For instance if they take the liberty of telling another person that they think he/she is beautiful. For fear of being called sexist, I do not dare saying such a thing. Should I condemn them because I envy them their courage and their freedom? And should it annoy me that they will then get a positive reaction to their “outrageous behaviour”?

And as far as moralizing is concerned, let me – for a change – cite the new testament (only roughly, because you cannot do it in any other way). 
Let those who are free of fault throw the first stone!

After all, we must never forget that, when all is said and done, “humans” (we all) are just mammals. Sometimes more sympathetic and sometimes less so. Once in a while, we are full of enmity, and then again full of friendliness/humanity! To be sure, we are mammals who have a moral cerebellum, but it is still only the small part of the brain. And it makes people believe they are ever so wise, strong and free. Regardless of the fact that the really relevant memories and experiences are saved in the sub-conscious.

How do the Bavarians pay tribute to their Franz-Josef (Strauß):
“Well, he was quite a number, wasn’t he?“.

There is so much information (almost all of it) that we cannot consciously access. Basically and de-facto, the subconscious makes and prepares all decisions. We are not the noble, god-like race, without flesh and only made of soul that is so different from animals. Consequently, we should not try to pretend or, even worse, to become such a different species.

Basically, we have no un-influenced and conscious will. Which means that our criminal responsibility, too is only very limited and very artificially constructed. This (scientifically proven by modern neurology) highly probable reality is not something we like to hear. With many (most of the) people, it will usually trigger outrage and a strong counter-reaction. The consequence is that, for instance, a prison sentence given for wrong (socially detrimental) behaviour is no longer punishment but instead a measure that wishes to prevent things from happening again.

What I ask myself is: does it make sense and is it legitimate (in the sense of truthful) if I lift myself over “culprits” or even speak in terms of “culprit categories” by condemning them? What social advantage is there in me or us becoming part of a witch hunt and also, for instance, ignoring legal facts like, in such a case, the limitation period?

Thesis (1) – not being capable of self-discipline – is something especially men are accused of all the time. I am a man and do not know the “instinct urge situation” of women. Some women told me they also knew “urge-like situations”. I believe what they said, because it matches my own personal experience. Sexual drive is part of being human (or of being an animal?). To be sure, the intensity can differ, depending on the socialization or even the genetic predisposition. Perhaps even down to the zero set.

And I am sure you can lie to yourself by just pushing the sexual drive away. Perhaps in some cases even successfully. Or perhaps doing a lot of damage to yourself in the process. The very upright but latently homosexual citizen in the piece “Orpheus steps down” by Tennessee Williams comes to mind. He hates and prosecutes homosexuals with extreme vigour. Perhaps because he secretly feels that he himself is also homosexual – but in the upright-citizen-milieu of the quiet and well-organized small Dixie town, this is unthinkable! A stranger comes – and the witch hunt starts. It is a play I saw in the Kammerspiele and it really gave me pause.

So far, they have not really found out how the brains work in this respect, and consequently, I do not know it either. But I assume that the person who hates homosexuals and kills them because he is or might himself be homosexual suffers maximum unhappiness. As is so often the case when culprit and victim are the same.

What annoys me most about discussions like the one we currently have about sexism is that groups are severely criticized. For instance single mothers. I really have all the respect in the world for them.

I know people who actually discredit them. If they do not outright call them prostitutes, they at least accuse them of having carelessly become pregnant. After all, their cerebellum could have been watchful when the sexual drive came. After all, today everybody knows how you become pregnant. The physics teacher taught us all the poem for memorizing the words concave and convex: 
If the girl behaves, her stomach remains concave, but if she has sex, it will be convex.

Other – particularly virtuous – moralists say they should have said NO. Which indicates a failure in the sense of (1) “Women, too, should actually be capable of a little self-discipline, no matter what they are currently doing.“ 
And then there are the very strict moralists who say: “It is their own fault, why didn’t they have an abortion?“.

Of course, a pregnancy has something to do with sex, and it changes the life of a woman considerably. There are women who “chose the right method of contraception” and still became pregnant. For instance because they used a product like the “copper spiral” that has the characteristic “unreliable” even written in its product description (Pearl-Index). And it was developed from men for women.

Others have become pregnant because they were weak for a total of eleven minutes. It was a huge awakening for all parties concerned. Some corrected the error and had an abortion. They were often supported and encouraged by their social environment. That is also an area where I think nobody has the right to judge these people morally. That also goes for the men involved during conception because they could not control their sexual drive?

I admit that the temptation to postulate a moral demand such as “you must be able to say NO” is huge. Both in sex and corruption. Except, as I said above: “Who has the right to throw the first stone?” Why don’t we offer all people respect, instead of morally condemning them?

Mind you, there were times when it was even worse than now. I remember times when it was amoral for a woman to have an orgasm. Because sex included a sacred mandate to multiply and not meant for satisfying your lust. If a woman enjoyed sex, she was a harlot. And, as I already wrote, the men sought the harlot and wanted the saint at the same time.

Poor stupid, in this case male, cerebellum!

Let me say it again: using violence against other people is an absolute #nogo. It is totally irrelevant to what end you apply it. There is no justification. Here is a final provocation – which is not meant as it sounds, but only as an inspiration and impulse for another thought process:
Violence and the application of violence in the context of sexual urges is severely criticized and enthusiastically prosecuted.
That is OK!

The most brutal violence against people is tolerated, promoted and actively supported or organized. By the same people and the same society!
That is not at all OK!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
In our society, contraception is in the hands of the woman as a matter of course. I think that is rather disrespectful towards WOMAN. It is another facet of the morals in our society that I would call sexism.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 7th, 2017

Sex and Electricity

At the height of my Catholic-Christian career!

On electronic bikes and #MeToo.

Some IF blog friends asked me why I do not write about new and more important topics.
They suggested that I write about e-bikes. After all, they said it was an interesting and relevant topic.

That is true!

So I will do it. Now that I have some e-bike experience, I understand even less than before why anybody would want to drive a car.

Or, to express it more refined: why does anybody punish him-/herself and drive a car? We are apparently a nation of masochists  (I almost wrote maso-christians).

Which brings me to the second topic I was asked to write about: our sexual hypocrisy.
Some of my readers asked me tell them my position on it. For instance, I got the following tweet:

…If you are perfectly honest, my dear @RolandDuerre
I assume all this sexism debate is something that annoys you, isn’t it?

Yes, it is true! It does annoy me.

As soon as anybody talks sexuality, hypocrisy blooms. Both among men and women. They all start campaigns that, in my opinion, simply ignore the real problem in our society. Or even worse: they deflect from the real problem. Because in all discussions, evil men violate and exploit nice women. And because, allegedly, when it comes to sex, our society forgets “to accept borders”. Well, if it were only in connection with sex that we forget those borders, and if we were not constantly doing it in our everyday lives …

With increasing enthusiasm, they demand that these borders be restored as fast as possible. The sheer joy in punishment increases. Except that, when all is said and done, this behaviour deflects from the fact that, for millennia, power has been the valid substitution strategy and the common behavioural principle when it came to suppressing and manipulating people. And consequently, it would certainly be strange if this rule from “normal life” were to be invalid when it comes to sexuality, which, after all, is rooted in “instinct”, rather than “greed.

So up from now, I will also occasionally write about the e-bike (as a very normal topic) and about sexuality (in order to break a few taboos). I will establish two new IF Blog categories: eBike and Sexuality.

So far, they are both empty. But the next thing I will write is about #MeToo. And then I will start with the e-Bikes.

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 15th, 2017

Great Orators and Their Stories – #7 Jolly Kunjappu

I started with the “Day Labourer” Alain Neumann. Then I told you about Hans-Jörg Bullinger and Hans Strack Zimmermann before arriving at Augustinus Heinrich Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, Klaus-Jürgen Grün and Rupert Lay .

Today, it is my special pleasure to add my friend Jolly Kunjappu to the list of names in my personal hall of fame.
Jolly’s motto is INSPIRING PEOPLE. Today, he sees himself as a Performance Artist, Keynote Speaker and Philosopher. In his life, Jolly Kunjappu lived many different roles. Among other things, he played music with such well-known musicians as Mick Jagger. He also organized “drum” seminars for top managers.

One of the activities I shared with him was my cooperation in the series of presentations about peace. Here is what he himself says about it.

You will find several articles about what he does in the IF Blog.

I bow to Jolly and his life work.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 12th, 2017

Failed Emancipation

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #54)

“Waiter – please bring a double cognac as fast as possible …!“,  Carl cried out excitedly while he was literally gulping air …

“Under way”, groaned the waiter while hurrying along his table. Thick drops of perspiration were building on his broad forehead.

“Whatever is the matter with you, Carl? Is it really necessary that you start filling up on cognac this early in the morning, when morning has hardly broken?”, Gerlinde irritably asked while taking a small sip of her freshly pressed orange juice with a worried expression on her face.

“Fear thee not, Gerlinde, I only need something really stiff to digest the news I am just reading in the paper here!“

“So – what sort of news is it?“ Gerlinde asked with raised eyebrows.

“Just imagine, the king of Saudi-Arabia and his very ambitions sun Mohamed bin Salam actually now, in the 21st century, want to allow women to drive cars!“

“How come?“

“Well – starting on June 2018 – women in Saudi-Arabia will be permitted behind the wheel of a car even without the consent of their husbands. Isn’t that absolutely maniac?“.

“Great! But as I know these brothers, there will certainly be some foul exhortation idea behind the deal… “

“Perhaps – but before you judge them too quickly, my dear, maybe we should remember that in Germany, too, the husband had the exclusive right to say what his wife and children should do until 1958.“

“Hm – great! But at least the women did not have to wear veils, did they“?

“No, they did not have to do that – but even if men allowed their wives to work, they were the ones who decided what happened with the incomes!“

“Super – that is what pimps still do for their sidewalk birds, isn’t it? “.

“Correct. The world is still as it should be in this patriarchal milieu!“

“It seems to me that you really need more cognac, Carl! If you are under the influence of alcohol, you definitely do not talk quite as much nonsense …“

“Yes, but only because I mostly go to sleep immediately! But where is this incompetent waiter now with my medicine?“

“Perhaps the waitress is quicker”, said Gerlinde. She jumped up and set a not-bad-looking young waitress onto the path of the dreamy waiter.

“And besides, if their husbands had not consented”, Carl, who obviously now knew no peace, continued, “women were not allowed to open their own bank accounts until 1962. How does that strike you?“

“There you see, my dear Carl, that is exactly why I absolutely do not wish to marry. I certainly would not want that to happen to me!“

“However, my dearest Gerlinde, this precaution is not necessary, because ever since 1969, every married woman in Germany is fully contractually capable.“

“Wow – that means everything really went at breath-taking speed with respect to the emancipation of the females – I am sure the CSU was the absolute pacemaker …“

“You mocker”, Carl smirked. He was still waiting for his cognac and getting more and more impatient …

“You are really poorly off with your cognac, Carl! In the meantime, would you like to take a sip of my orange juice? …“

“Excuse me! Has the day come when we men can no longer even drink our own cognac ?…“

“Carl, I will soon break out in tears“!

“Yes, please do – because otherwise I will have to do it”, Carl moaned.

“But there is truly no reason for you to do that, my dear Carl – with the exception that your cognac does not arrive, you men have no reason at all to lament, do you?“

“Oh – oh – and what about the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’; she is not only Honecker’s Late Revenge but also the Revenge of all Women Against Men for suffered wrongs!“

“As always, you are exaggerating, Carl!“

“I am not exaggerating at all, because the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’ would even be elected by all the women and elderly persons if she were ’a mounted specimen’  …“

“You know, instead of talking such nonsense, you probably had better get your own house in order “!

“Why is that..?“

“Why don’t you look at all the ’male specimens’ – for example the wonderful Herrn Schulz – or the kissing Herrn Junker – or the divine Mr. Trump – along with the grinning Kim Jong Un – or the eternal Bavarian drooling Herrn Seehofer… or – or – or … compared to those honourable gentlemen, even a ’preserved specimen of the Female Chancellor’ looks like an improvement to me …“

“Well, unfortunately, and as an exception to the rule – and very reluctantly – I have to agree with you, dear Gerlinde: the guild of men currently active is really a unique example for the word pitiful!“

“There you see, Carl …“! – when Gerlinde said this she had enough tact to suppress all display of triumph!

“But still, God has mercy on us men, Gerlinde: because at long last, my very dearly craved cognac is arriving!“

In fact, the friendly waitress suddenly came scuffling from nowhere and placed a huge brandy balloon – into which Carl might actually have jumped directly – in front of him under a thousand apologies and manoeuvres for the endless waiting time. And before Gerlinde could look around properly, his head actually already hung in the balloon up to his neck…

This was the only possible explanation for the fact that Carl, immediately after the cute waitress had vanished as picturesquely as a gazelle, could come up with the dry statement that, regardless of all currently felt superiority of the females, nobody could seriously doubt that even this lovely waitress was still moving on a pair of ’waiting upper legs’  …so why would we need a superiority complex? When all was said and done, women were, like in all times, basically just ’a piece cut out of man’, weren’t they?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 6th, 2017

Catalonia

My Dream of EUROPE

La senyera – The Catalonian Flag.

Currently, everybody talks about Catalonia. So I will also add my “five cent”:

I would be quite glad if Catalonia were to secede from Spain. It would not do any harm to Europe, either. On the contrary.

And Catalonia would not be able to escape the EURO, either. Consequently, we would also have to permit them to remain in the EU and ignore a possible veto from Spain if Catalonia applies for EU membership. After all, they already were members, which means that it is not a new membership.

Maybe the remainder of Spain wants to continue with the monarchy as established by Franco and apply for leaving the EU? However, I would not recommend it to them. They definitely should refrain from re-erecting Franco monuments and leave fascism well alone.

We might need a few additional stars – just like we need more of them in the skies?

But this is not about Catalonia. For me, it is all about a vision for Europe that would probably contribute a little towards solving a few of the current problems.

What we need is a EUROPE that is a close-knit federation of regions (i.e. regional countries or states). These regions should have more or less the same size and thus be able to cooperate at eye-level. My assumption is: the smaller the states, the more of them we have and the closer they are connected, the better!

To be sure, to make it a success, a few requirements that are hard to meet would need to be fulfilled:

  1. A federation of European regions would have to serve the people – and not the entrepreneurs, concerns and speculators.    
For me, that is a central requirement. Consequently, free markets at any price, the mindless abolition of borders do not have priority. Limitless growth, maximum consumption for all and unlimited riches cannot be the ultimate goal of a new “federation of values Europe”.  Just like a misinterpreted freedom without duties is not a value.
  2. Europe cannot be allowed to become an end in itself.    
Europe must not aim at becoming a superpower and have an internationally leading role, perhaps even be some kind of new world police. Because that is not what we need and besides, a Europe that develops sustainably will have an important role worldwide with huge influence anyway, even without nuclear weapons and carriers.
  3. Solidarity is not something that is achieved through subsidies.    
Solidarity between regions and humans cannot be achieved by handing out cheques. In particular, it cannot be achieved exclusively by handing out cheques. The subsidies for farming in the old EU are a good example. They destroyed exactly what they (perhaps) wanted to preserve.
  4. The national states must go.    
That is true for all of them, especially the big ones like Germany, France, Italy, Spain … (and also Great Britain, which, as of now, is still part of it). Because we no longer need all this nationally dominated lamenting – we could actually leave it, for instance, to soccer.

For me, the points 1 and 4 are the most important.

Ad 1.)  What is so bad about a county protecting its local markets and characteristics in a reasonable way? What is so bad about more control if crime increases? As I see it, you need some kind of border control when you have reached a certain dimension. And if that is so, then I prefer a systematic and controlled way of doing it, rather than  the haphazard way we see today.
In a living and responsibly functioning Europe, there can be no room for lobbyism and the currently existing oligarchy of interest groups they call parties.
This may sound unimaginable, because you need to re-define democracy and probably you will also need a more direct democracy. But we are entitled to some utopian ideas!
Because we have the right (and the obligation) to preserve the European cultures in all their diversity and to also preserve a heterogeneous Europe. This must be explicitly desired in a Europe of regions. It must be discussed together and supported by ample means. Otherwise, Europe will never really materialize.
And it must happen in the interest of all people – except the speculators and some super rich individuals or super powerful systems. Especially if they are de-personalized and have become independent.

Ad 4.)  
How nice would it be to have a Europe of smallish regions. The reasons why it would be nice are mostly rational. Basically, small and self-organised systems always work better than big ones, especially if those big ones are also controlled and administered externally. Flat hierarchies make a realistic form of subsidiarity easier. Politically spoken, we would only have two, rather than – as today – three hierarchical levels in the “upper echelons”.
In this model, the EU would be the top level and the international presence of all regions. It is controlled by the council of the regions, all of which can have their own autonomous structures. The nationally infected level in between, for instance Berlin, Paris, Rome – or, in this case, Madrid – would be gone for good.
You would also no longer need a veto right for individual states (no matter if we are talking a few 100,000 people or 80 million). It would be replaced by a qualified majority in the council of regions.
Whenever a region falters or behaves totally irrational, which is something that can always happen, it would be easier to heal than today. Just remember how impossible it is to influence a country like Poland. In a system at eye-level, it would also be easier and more direct to practice solidarity than it can be done with the current EU sprinkling system.
In other words, the EU would have to consist of “states” none of which can be bigger than, for example, Bavaria. But perhaps even Bavaria is too big to be just one EU region? Even here, a reasonable division is quite feasible, and thus at least a good solution would be possible.
So we have to divide the national states. It would be easy for the FR of Germany, because we already have a rather reasonable county structure. You could just take it (and perhaps improve it as suggested in the last paragraph). I would leave small states like Bremen or Hamburg. If currently Estonia qualifies for EU membership, why should not the two proud German Hanseatic Cities be a region each – just like Estonia would be a region?

If we wish to heal EUROPE, then we may and must definitely have and strive towards these kinds of utopian ideas! Otherwise it will never become true! And then comes the big hangover!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is a positive idea about the so detrimental shared currency:    
I basically believe that the best solution would be to have different currencies according to the “maturity/state” of a region (I will call them EURO1, EURO2 and EUROn). But that is a very complicated topic. I would rather not discuss it here.
However, here is a positive idea if you have only one EURO: It is quite possible that one EURO for all regions– regardless of many disadvantages – could also have a huge advantage. One EURO for all of them would be something like the iron ring that holds them all together. And thus it makes it impossible to exit and helps when it comes to overcoming future regional crises. But then, that would again need another utopia to become reality – a currency policy of the EZB that differs from the one currently witnessed under “Super-Mario“ Draghi.