“Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable, become intolerable once the idea of escape from them is suggested.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the Revolution
Is the European Union headed for the kind of collapse that would make it this decade’s Soviet Union? Tocqueville famously observed that the collapse of political institutions usually seems inconceivable, right up until the moment it happens—at which point the collapse is seen to have been inevitable and over-determined by the underlying corrosive trends that were pulling the institution apart.
This mismatch of perception with reality is more than just a function of…