Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fascism returning to Europe

But not under that name, of course

July Fourth is a good time to reflect on the still-astonishing difference between the form of government that was created on this continent two centuries ago, and the best efforts of our European cousins even today. Americans are constantly reminded not to overlook our own faults. Well, we don't. But lest we become sunk in obsessive self-flagellation, it is important to look at the very painful struggle Europe is engaged in today, trying to become something like a United States of Europe. Unfortunately, today's European efforts toward unity owe almost nothing to the American founders, and far more to Marx, Hegel, and Lenin.

To grasp Europe's pervasive sense of mourning and anomie today you have to understand that two dozen national identities are being systematically ground to dust by their own political elites. All those nation states are dying, or feel they are dying. When voters are consulted, they don't like it -- and as a result, voters are simply no longer consulted. Europe has given up on electoral democracy at the highest and most powerful levels.

A central EU government is now emerging, made up of centrally appointed commissions just like the "soviets" (councils) of the old USSR. The whole contraption evades normal democratic checks and balances, on the historically dangerous assumption that the elites can be trusted with centralized power without the consent of the governed. Deception and engrenage -- steady ratcheting up of centralized control -- are the essence of the new Europe of Soviet Socialist Republics. As former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky pointed out the other day, we are not seeing a United States of Europe arising today, but rather an EU-SSR.

The euro is an iconic symbol of Europe's elite strategy of deception. Physically, euros are attractive modern coins and bills. But they are pure, abstract symbols. Euros don't show real human faces or even real buildings.

"All euro banknotes have a common design for each denomination on both sides. ... The design for each of them has a common theme of European architecture in various artistic periods....Care has been taken so that the architectural examples do not represent any actual existing monument, so as not to induce jealousy and controversy in the choice of which monument should be depicted."

Queen Elizabeth's face appears on British pound notes, but euros are deliberately abstract promises of an imagined glory to come.

It is emblematic of the times. A few years ago, the prestigious Turner Prize in Britain went to a man who placed a white light bulb in a museum room, turning the bulb on and off with an electrical timer every few seconds. This was pure "concept art," untained by individuality or craftsmanship. Just space, without all the grubby business of human beings. The trendy London art establishment cheered, and the "artist" was awarded the Turner Prize.

That's the story of the euro. It's all very Franco-German, the Abstract State as Platonic Ideal. Hegel would have loved it, and Karl Marx, while Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill would have despised it, because the EU deliberately destroys the individuality of each citizen and nation. Modern Europe is equally expressed by Francois Mitterand's massive metal Cube -- a slick metal frame surrounding empty space.

(Mitterand was the Socialist President of France who also managed to be a Nazi during World War Two. Question: What do those two European imperialisms have in common? A desire to unite Europe under strong, central authority without all the fuss and bother of elections.)

The question that should be on everybody's mind is: Can this ruling class be trusted with untrammeled centralized control over half a billion people? They are certainly not our friends, these European elites, as they make abundantly clear at every opportunity. Nor do they have a track record of responsible foreign policy, witness Saddam's Oil for Food scam, which easily bought up French, Russian, and other elite figures, who thereupon easily swung the weight of Euro opinion against the United States. Today the Iranians are presumably buying just as many European politicians and bureaucrats today as Saddam ever did. As for the Saudis, with the deepest pockets in the world ... Well, with autocratic government like this, can we wonder any more at the spineless European response to terror attacks?

For the elites, the emerging EU-SSR is great, because rather than being a minor bureaucrat in London you get the chance to rule all of Europe, with bigger salaries, better food, and richer lobbyists, right across the Channel in the trendy new Euro-capital of Brussels. All you need is to make your regulations so complicated that nobody can understand them -- this is literally true -- and then you can decree the shape of Euro bananas and cherry tomatoes to your heart's content. You end up being the expert in your couple of pages of the 30,000 EU regulations that are flowing in an endless stream out of Brussels, and no one can navigate the resulting maze as well as you can.

This is government by hyper-complexity. It makes you King of the Hill on bananas and cherry tomatoes -- and very soon, with the European Arrest Warrant, you'll be able to arrest anyone anywhere for politically incorrect speech, criticizing homosexuals or Islamists, or starting a political blog without your permission. Certainly the news media will never figure you out, driven as they are by the need to make up scare headlines for tomorrow's frontpage.

Military and foreign policy control is now scheduled to switch to Brussels. The EU is no longer just absurd overregulation of tomatoes and bananas. The European Union is emerging as a classic imperial enterprise. The ghosts of Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin are giving a standing O somewhere in the underworld.

If you are a British citizen, you know that tomorrow your country will only be a minor province of the European Empire. You don't even get a vote in the matter, because the elected parties have all sold out to the EU, and furthermore, you don't even care. Survey after survey shows that European voters are supinely watching their freedoms being sucked away, and are simply too bored or lazy to care. Forget the Queen, the Magna Carta, or the City of London in all its idiosyncratic profusion. Forget the rich and variegated past; even if you don't, your children will be taught to forget it through their identikit school curricula. They will be abstract "Europeans" --- not Brits, not Dutch, Irish or Czechs. You'll be a "Euro," stamped and flattened into uniform sizes, undifferentiated and complete interchangeable.

The planned drowning of national identities is now so pervasive that no one dares to question it. It has the momentum of the inevitable. It is the received wisdom of all the PC Commissars in all the organs of propaganda from the BBC to Deutsche Welle. In the UK, even the Tories have given up on Britain's national identity. Defending Britain is left to fringe parties, which are routinely smeared and cast into the outer darkness of electoral life.

Europe's rejection of its own past is a major reason for the rise of Islamofascism in cities like Amsterdam and London. If you grow up as a rowdy teenager in Birmingham, what worthwhile identity do you aspire to? Is it the dying nation-state, constantly ridiculed by the media and educational system? Is it your neighborhood gang? Or is it the Elect of Allah, guaranteed by your local imam to result in all the girls you can imagine and glorious martyrdom in Paradise, as soon as you blow yourself up on a subway train? The Nazis notoriously mobilized the alienated youth of Germany, the "rootless proletariat." Nazism and Communism were the militant faiths of the 20th century. Today they are being supplanted by an even older and more reactionary faith. You can fight one identity with another; but you can't fight a militant faith with nothing.

As a result of planned national euthenasia there is a pervasive feeling of mourning and loss throughout European countries. But nobody talks about it. In my experience it only showed up when some English friends got very angry with me after I tried to express my personal bafflement to them several years ago. I found myself saying exactly what they believed; but when I said it they became furious and agitated, and refused to talk any more. Months afterwards I figured out what happened. After all, it's one thing when you feel hopeless about your own country, but it's quite another thing when some visiting Yank says the same thing. I simply saw the spillover of their anger and despair.

Only zealous Europhiles feel good about giving up one's existence as a nation; but socialism and Political Correctness are now so pervasive in public that nobody can say what they really believe. Wall-to-wall elite propaganda has accomplished what a thousand years of European wars and treaties never did. Europe is being hammered and melded into an artificial unity.

This sense of doomed national identity puts a very different light on the anti-American neurosis that runs through the French, German and British media. When Europeans viciously criticize America for responding to the 9/11 assault, by trying to defeat Islamic terrorists and their hosts, they are acting out of a good deal of national envy. They hate what they cannot be, and because of PC indoctrination they aren't even allowed to say their thoughts out loud. So they rage at America for not being peaceful enough, when in reality they feel like helpless victims of their own self-imposed impotence.

The really weird thing, of course, is that Europe's planned mass dissolution is completely unnecessary. There is an obvious alternative, sometimes called "a Europe of homelands." The basic idea is what the American Founders called federalism --- local control over local affairs, along with Federal control over unavoidably national matters. Europe could retain all of its existing institutions, and simply adopt US-style Federalism --- if they could tolerate the idea of granting untrammeled freedom to individuals, regions and nations. In effect, they could simply adopt the 14 pages of the US constitution, substitute "European Union" for "United States of America" with a standard word processor, and dump their vast and incomprehensible EU Constitution, with all its grotesqueries, into a dumpster. They would be much better off as individuals and nations, with much more freedom and self-respect.

The euro is an ego currency, another way to try to manufacture a new identity. Europe doesn't really need a euro for economic reasons. All it needs are national currencies that are treated as a common currency basket. The euro artificially locks in exchange rates between European countries that could simply float against each other, allowing each currency to reflect local economic efficiencies. Today the euro gives dollar nations an immense advantage in exporting goods and services. The mental ease of being able to convert pounds to francs is so "last century:" Today, with cellphone calculators you could simply get the exchange rate off the web, or have transactions handled electronically by credit card. Rather than being a practical necessity, the euro reflects a desire to control every transaction between 450 million individuals.

Decentralized control is the essence of American Federalism; but centralized control is the driving fantasy of Europe. It is a spinoff from French and German philosophy, driven by abstract fantasies that have little to do with actual people, as observers from Edmund Burke to Toqueville have pointed out over the last two centuries.

Why should Americans care about the Nutcracker Ballet of European politics? Because Europe has been the source of every major imperial ideology of the past five centuries, from Columbus to the Soviet Empire. Yes, today the EU swears it's all about peace on earth. That was also the slogan of the peace-loving Soviet Union, the last European fantasy that goose-stepped on the world stage. No doubt the EU-enthusiasts sincerely believe their fantasies about peace and love forever; but look at the track record. It's not inspiring, and the worst imperialists are always the ones who think they are spreading sweetness and light. Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium, even Sweden and Denmark, the whole gang has a long and bloody imperial history. When they are all united, Europe's imperial grandiosity will certainly assert itself again. EU rhetoric is already edging in that direction.

Europeans share a sense of indomitable superiority over the rest of mankind. That kind of grandiosity is what really drives imperial ideologies, not economics or even practical politics. And the European Union is already falling back on its old message of superiority in its rage against American intervention in Iraq.

A Europe of individual nations is actually going to be a lot more peaceful than a centralized Europe that requires Bismarckian propaganda to keep it from breaking apart. Germany only became dangerous when it achieved imperial unity under Otto von Bismarck. Russia became an international threat when Josef Stalin conquered half of Europe after defeating Hitler in the East; and the USSR only ceased to be a threat when the Soviet Empire broke into pieces. Nothing in the EU project today suggests that the old sense of superiority has been left behind. On the contrary.

When people lose their national identity the result is always a search for a new identity, which usually turns out to be more unstable and therefore more in need of imperial self-assertion. That is why Bismarck needed to whip up hatred against France, and why the French needed to hate the Germans. Franco-German hatred led to massive wars from Napoleon to World War Two. It is that insecure sense of national identity that Europe kept stumbling into in all its desperate searching for new forms in past centuries. It is what will happen again, if history is any guide. Europe's existential crisis today will therefore inevitably shape America's future, and the world's.


The degradation of Canada

By David Warren

Canada today is "deux nations." There are the people who speak and think in French; and the people who speak and think in English. Together they make up one nation, with a continuous history, of more than five centuries. And then there are the people who speak, effectively, no language; who are deracinated, who have no history. That is the other nation. There is very little communication between these two nations -- the "old" Canada, and the "new" Canada -- because little communication is possible between two such groups. The one is aging and shrinking, the other expanding while growing ever younger. (Yet all trends are reversible.)

Demographically, but also spiritually. Those who have no language, no culture, no religion, no sense of past, and therefore of destiny, remain ever young. Outwardly they may become old and wrinkly, but inwardly they retain the mind of the pre-school child, unformed and cloudless. Yet they fulfil the requirements for citizenship set out in John Lennon's famous hymn to emptiness, "Imagine":

"Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today. Imagine there's no countries: it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for; and no religion, too. Imagine all the people, living life in peace."

This is the postmodern dream, of perfect vacuity -- of the serenity we imagine will sweep over us like sleep. All we need do is abandon everything of value in our heritage, everything for which so many of our ancestors actually fought and died. In this great zero, everyone will be equal, and no person will be better than another. The heroine and the harlot will be one and the same, great saints and great monsters indistinguishable. "Judgementalism" -- the aversion that one individual has behaved better than another -- is, among the vacuous today, the only crime remaining to be punished. And likewise, under the doctrine of "multiculturalism," there is nothing to choose between one culture and another. They are all just fine, and so far as any particularity can still be distinguished, "everything is beautiful in its own way."

In a sad, sad way, this is a parody of Christianity: "Judge not, lest thee be judged." Leave out every other particle of Christianity, and any possibility of context. Retain only this, and one might well call the postmodern void, "Christian." It is a post-Christian Christianity, and I have heard it preached in several denominations. It is also a ridiculous lie, but who are we to choose between truth and falsehood? ("What is truth?") Reason itself makes people unequal, for some can reason better than others.

The Canada of the government-funded paper flag-waving and painted faces -- the "new" Canada that is celebrated each year on what is now called "Canada Day" -- has nothing controversially Canadian about it. You could wave a different flag, and choose another face paint, and nothing would be lost. It is a kind of recess from kindergarten, after which we return to "sleepy time" again.

That is the Canada that is taught in our schools, yet wasn't always. I can remember a Canadian classroom, whenas I was a child, with a portrait of Vanier, as well as of our Queen. That was Major-General Georges-Phil‚as Vanier, P.C., D.S.O., M.C., and Bar, born April 23, 1888, died March 5, 1967, the Canadian soldier and diplomat who was Governor-General from 1959 until his death. A great, good, and illustrious man, the last to fill Canada's highest office with real distinction (though Roland Michener filled it with dignity).

A lot of young people write to me in email, to say that I am dead right about what they are taught in school, and ask me what they can read to educate themselves, especially about Canada. How many times I have recommended, for a one-volume history, The Kingdom of Canada, by the late William Lewis Morton, as a good place to start. (One needs a place to start.) He was a westerner, a progressive, a "red Tory" -- so many things I am not -- and yet that book, published originally in 1963, veritably sings about the nature of Canada, and tells a history that is true, not evacuated and "imagined."

Alternatively, spend the day researching the life and career of this Georges P. Vanier. Or, by contemplating this verse from the Psalms, that every true Canadian will be able, immediately, to recognize and translate: "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae! "


I have been to Canada twice but only very briefly so I speak from no knowledge but I suspect that David Warren is being bitterly ironical in his last sentence above. For Non-Canadians, anyway, I thought I might explain:

A Mari usque ad Mare ("From Sea to Sea"), Canada's official motto, was derived from Psalm 72:8, which reads in Latin "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae," and in the King James version, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."

So the motto takes Canada's bi-coastal geography and sees in it that Canada is part of a divine destiny. How "incorrect" in today's Canada! If Canadian Leftists ever deign to notice where the motto comes from, that motto will be CHANGED!

British Jewry in crisis

The call for a boycott against Israeli academicians by the British University and College Union (UCU) reflects the depths to which vicious hostility against Israel has become ingrained in British society. It is an abomination for "educators," purporting to be liberal or progressive, to sanction a dastardly resolution boycotting academics from the only democratic state in the Middle East. It is especially bizarre because Israeli universities are pluralistic with no limitations on the enrolment of Israeli Arab students. In stark contrast, many Palestinian Arab "universities" promote a cult of death, suicide bombers and the destruction of the Jewish state.

It may be politically incorrect to describe such boycotts as anti-Semitic rather than anti-Israel. But the time has now surely come to call a spade a spade. To demonize Israel while ignoring the brutal denial of human rights in Islamic states - with 400,000 murdered in Darfur alone - does not merely reflect distorted double standards. Notwithstanding the high proportion of turncoat Jews among boycott proponents (and even ex-Israelis), by any benchmark this must be deemed an anti-Semitic act.

The noxious atmosphere radiating venom against Israel is now so intense that it is reminiscent of what European Jews must have endured in the 1930s when they were transformed into pariahs. Whereas the early Nazi anti-Jewish boycott initiatives were against Jewish enterprises, today these activities are directed against the surrogate of the Jewish people, the Jewish state. Of course Jews in England are not about to be herded into concentration camps. But there are undoubtedly other ominous similarities.

It is noteworthy that in the 1930s, liberals and the Left defended Jews against the Nazis. Yet today they are leading the pack against Israel and align themselves with the darkest forces of fundamentalist Islam who proudly proclaim their intent to fulfill the Nazi objective of annihilating Jews and their institutions.

THE NIGHTMARE is heightened when even many of those who recognize the potency of the Islamic threat to Britain's open society blame these Islamic excesses on Israel. In their distorted world view, had Israel not been created, Muslims would not have been humiliated and the rage against the West would not have eventuated. The extent of the grotesque distortion of reality is reflected in opinion polls which demonstrate that the average Briton has been brainwashed into believing that Israel represents the greatest threat to world peace, even exceeding Iran.

Of course, much responsibility for this negative climate rests with successive Israeli governments which failed to grapple with the war of ideas or provide guidance to Diaspora Jewish communities. The cynical outbursts of failed politicians like Avrum Burg who demonize their own country and the utilization of Israeli universities as launching pads for anti-Israeli activity by extremist post- Zionist academics also contributed toward the delegitimization of the Jewish state. However, all this does not invalidate the obligation of Anglo Jewry to defend itself.

ON PREVIOUS occasions I expressed concern about the passivity of those Anglo-Jewish leaders who, as an act of faith, rely unduly on silent diplomacy and maintain a low profile out of a concern not to rock the boat. The impotence of their proclaimed policy of "whispering" rather than "shouting" in response to anti-Semitic acts and delegitimization of Israel is exemplified by the recent painful debates over whether to hold public activities on the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War lest it provoke the enemy, and Jewish inclinations to hold protest meetings in closed areas.

Such attitudes have resulted in Anglo-Jewish leaders frequently being depicted as "trembling Israelites." Their behavior contrasts starkly with the French Jewish leaders who displayed courage and determination in the face of anti-Semitism. The core of the problem is that many British Jewish leaders remain in denial and either downplay or refuse to face the reality of the waves of anti-Semitism - disguised as anti- Zionism - which are engulfing them. This was reflected at the annual president's banquet of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. At a time of profound crisis in Israel, with anti-Semitism at an all time high in England, I was reliably informed that the address by board president Henry Grunwald centered on the obligation of Anglo-Jewry to protest against the infringement of human rights in Darfur. Of course what is happening at Darfur is an outrage to humanity to which Jews must be especially sensitive. But for a Jewish leader to refer at such an occasion almost exclusively to Darfur, virtually ignoring the fires that are burning in the Jewish world and the existential threats facing Israel, says it all.

IN THE wake of the reprehensible boycott resolution, the Board of Deputies stands exposed in all its nakedness. There is of course no guarantee that tougher counter action would necessarily have prevented the passage of the resolution. But we will never know, because Anglo-Jewish leaders relied principally on back channels to combat the resolution and were shocked when it was carried. Now they have launched a campaign to reverse the decision.

After the passage of such an abominable resolution, one would surely have expected every Jewish leader, every rabbi, and every activist, to stand up and express anger and disgust against such a moral outrage. Instead we heard expressions of regret, and reasoned academic responses. What were lacking were outpourings of moral indignation that such a biased and evil resolution could have been incubated by educators in the birthplace of democracy.

Of course there are voices of protest. Melanie Phillips the courageous journalist and author of the acclaimed Londonistan is having a major impact. Ronnie Fraser has been conducting a tough uphill campaign on behalf of Academic Friends of Israel. Andrew Balcombe, the chairman of the British Zionist Federation, in an interview with the BBC accused the UK of being the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. Many rank and file British Jews are willing to confront the anti-Semites but are being deterred by "leaders" who insist that strident protest activities are counterproductive.Perhaps the time has come for British Jews to bypass their timid representatives and initiate action independently.

THE GREATEST negative fallout from the passivity of Anglo Jews is not that anti-Semitism will grow - which it undoubtedly will. It is the impact that such cowardly behavior will have on future generations of British Jews. What can one expect in the years to come from today's youngsters who see their parents and leaders fail to confront those who demonize Israel and the Jewish people? If the official leadership of Anglo-Jewry does not change its attitude, the current malaise may only represent the tip of the iceberg.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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