What’s Wrong with Europe

Europeby Jon N. Hall6/6/16
The ancient Romans were building major infrastructure in Europe more than two millennia ago. Those Roman engineers were pretty serious dudes, as their aqueducts and other structures still stand. The birth of civilization in Europe goes back at least 3,000 years. By contrast, the first European colonies in what would become the U.S.A. started 400 years ago.

But despite Europe’s far longer history than ours, America is nonetheless the granddaddy of nations. This isn’t due to being more powerful, as in having the military muscle to project power and keep the sea lanes open. Rather, it is because America has had a continuity of government since her founding that Europeans can only dream about. Even during our biggest domestic upheaval, the War Between the States, America held elections.

When America installed her first government (1789), the Holy Roman Empire would dissolve in 17 years, the unification of German states was decades in the future, the Risorgimento that would unify Italy was yet to begin, and France was having a nice little revolution. Since 1789, the borders of Europe have been drawn and redrawn over and over again, and various systems of government have been tried, discarded, and then tried again. In 1789, France had a monarchy, which was followed by five republics, two empires, restorations of monarchy (Bourbon and Orléanist), the Reign of Terror, various periods of anarchy, the Nazi-collaborationist puppet state of Vichy, and now the dysfunctional EU. A mere ten years after the storming of the Bastille and seven years after the founding of the First Republic, France was back to dictatorship with Napoleon I. Since 1789, the nations of Europe have regularly had to “reinvent” themselves, while America has continued to operate under her founding document, the Constitution.

Despite the discontinuity of Europe’s governments over the last couple of centuries, the American left, people like Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, thinks Europe is the font of all governmental sophistication, and is forever telling us: America needs to be just like Europe.

But when it comes to government, Europe hasn’t demonstrated any sophistication. Is it sophisticated to continue loaning money to Greece? It’s doubtful that German taxpayers think it’s sophisticated, or that they will ever see their money again. The backwardness of Europe’s governments trickles down and corrupts their citizenry. The Euro masses have gotten so used to sucking at the public teat that they may never get totally weaned. That’s why one sees farmers and students rioting in the streets about even the smallest adjustments to their precious welfare states.

In his 1964 book Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism, James Burnham wrote that “what Americans call ‘liberalism’ is the ideology of Western suicide” (p. 15). Nowadays, what is meant by “liberalism” is progressivism, socialism, the welfare state, statism; systems that American conservatives lump together as “Big Government.”

If Burnham is correct, could American-style conservatism be the ideology of Western survival, and the cure for what ails Europe? Europe, however, has no tradition of anything Americans would call conservatism. Yes, there was Margaret Thatcher, but the Iron Lady was the exception. Euros rarely have a “limited government” alternative to vote for. Usually, the European voter must choose between competing brands of Big Government.

Europe’s socialist systems have a lot to do with the ongoing invasion by Muslim “refugees.” The magnet is free stuff, welfare. There are no jobs for the invaders, so they immediately go on public assistance; another assault on the taxpayer. Even before the current crisis, Europe needed to ratchet back its social welfare programs. But now they’ve just added a million more hungry mouths to feed. Europe must reinvent itself yet again.

I’m rather sentimental about old “New Wave” films from the 1960s. They show a happy Europe, a Europe that seems to be slipping away. Recently, I screened Agnès Varda’s delightful Cleo from 5 to 7, and it’s instructive about recent French history. Cleo takes a taxi through Paris and the driver turns on the radio just in time for the news. We hear references to President Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, singer Edith Piaf’s latest surgery, and this, (taken from the subtitles):

The farmers’ unrest has lasted two weeks. Today they broke through police barriers at Poitiers. Two thousand reached City Hall. There were 300 tractors.

Varda’s film was released in 1962, 54 years ago. So, only 17 years after the end of World War Two and French farmers were already creating a stink. But more to the point, the farmers’ uprising occurred in Poitiers. Poitiers is near the place where in 732 Charles Martel repelled an invading Muslim horde, saving France from being folded into a caliphate. One wonders what Monsieur Martel would think of those protesting farmers nearly thirteen centuries later, and what he would think of the continuing change coming over France. In “‘Islamization’ of Paris a Warning to the West” last September at CBN, Dale Hurd reported on this change:

Muslims are said to be no more than 10 percent of the French population, although no one knows for sure because French law prohibits population counts by religion.

But the Muslim birthrate is significantly higher than for the native French. Some Muslim men practice polygamy, with each extra wife having children and collecting a welfare check.

Does the French government allow native Frenchmen to practice polygamy? If not, then whatever happened to égalité? And does the U.K. permit native Englishmen to perform FGM (i.e. female genital mutilation) on their daughters? Those rhetorical questions point to the emergence in Europe of apartheid, dual systems for separate peoples. Hurd’s disturbing article seems to be a transcript of the accompanying video, which shows throngs of Muslims taking over French streets. (The video is also available here.)

Europe’s long history doesn’t seem to have taught present-day Europeans very much. One wonders how long native Europeans will continue to accept what is happening to them and their civilization. (On June 23, Britons have an opportunity to reverse course. Change is good, right?)

Lady Thatcher once observed that: “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” America was founded on ideas, not on brute power. America was founded on a new relationship between the state and the individual. This new type of government is America’s main contribution to the world; decent government is what America is all about. So, contrary to the elite American left, Europe needs to be more like America. But not only that, America needs to be more like America, the America envisioned by our Founders, the America in the rearview mirror.

Not long ago, some Americans looked across the pond and shook their heads at how sclerotic and inflexible “old Europe” was. But we were deluding ourselves, for we too had fallen for the seductions of Big Government. So what’s wrong with Europe is also what’s wrong with America.

The governments of the West have “corrupted” their citizens. Citizens of the West have become so silly and feeble that one questions whether they’re any longer truly capable of self-government. What’s wrong with the West is more than idiotic ideologies and feckless leaders, it’s a degraded people.


Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (589 views)

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13 Responses to What’s Wrong with Europe

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Germany had a relatively small government under Adenauer and Erhard, and the FDP was at that time a traditional European liberal party — classical liberalism. Clearly that is no longer the case, since Merkel is a member of the “conservative” CDU. Mark Steyn has been very good at pointing out the implications of Muslims breeding much faster than Europeans. This also led to the collapse of the Serb population of Kosovo.

    There are plenty of Europeans who see the danger in turning The Camp of the Saints into an omen. But so far they don’t seem to be a majority anywhere, and the elites remain hopeless.

    • David Ray says:

      I remember Stein pointing out an arresting fact; the number ONE and number fourteen baby name in England is Muhammad.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    Jon,
    The important item is the 31 years, 1914-1945. During this period Europe, all of it, cast off the veneer of our Judo/Christian heritage and embraced their inner pagan. Thus, there is a drop in the birthrate. People who have little belief in a future have little reason to reproduce. The rationalization continues to immigration; “why bother we don’t have children and someone has to work to support our welfare state”, millions of Moslems follow behind this idea.

    The Jewish/Christian values that brought America into being never had a chance after 1945. Europe cast off values in favor of lifestyle. I believe America will survive the onslaught but it will be costly in lives and treasure.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    150 years ago today, Prussia declared war on Austria. As we all know, Prussia defeated Austria pretty soundly. This insured Austria was pushed out of the soon to be united German Empire which was declared after Prussia crushed France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

    The consequences of the Austro-Prussian war were far reaching.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Indeed, the tactics used by the Prussians on the Austrians and later on the French featured fast moving units of infantry supported by cavalry and artillery. Blitzkrieg without tanks and aircraft. Napoleon III never had a clue the buzzsaw he was maneuvered into by Bismarck.

      Some credit goes to Prussian observers of the American war, particularly Jackson’s campaigns in the valley in 1862.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        From what I have read, the Prussian General Staff played a major role in the victories. They brought an important aspect of organization to war which had been, till that time, missing.

        I must believe this to be the case, as all other Western nations took the idea of a General Staff and incorporated it into their armed forces.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Moltke was largely in charge of running both the war against Austria and the war against France. (I have his account of the latter war.) Officially Wilhelm I was commander.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Your correct the general staff organization was brought to the states in the 1880s by Emory Upton, his book Armies of the World is still used as text at staff colleges.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the history, Mr. Kung. Anytime you want to write a “This day in history” column (short, sweet, easy), we’ll find a place for it.

      My interest in Europe is purely sporting. I think we should all be taking bets on the last country able to maintain its identity in the face of Islamic invasion. Poland is probably the safest bet, but I’m hoping Austria hangs in there. After all, at some point they will need to export a benevolent Hitler in order to save the continent.

      As we all know

      Ah…hahahahahaha. We certainly all didn’t know that. But your humility is appreciated. My European history is rusty. Even so, keeping track of the wars of Europe would be a full-time task. It was a revolving door of conflict.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I like your idea of a “This Day in History” column. It would be pretty easy to do. I just peruse European newspapers which let one link to old articles which were written a century or more ago. Of course, my history would tilt heavily to English and Central European History.

        Ah…hahahahahaha. We certainly all didn’t know that. But your humility is appreciated. My European history is rusty. Even so, keeping track of the wars of Europe would be a full-time task. It was a revolving door of conflict.

        Too often I assume everyone is a fount of trivia (as my wife accuses me of being) thus immediately know what I am talking about. I should not expect such things.

        Along the idea of “This Day in History” the below link is a great synopsis of “European History” and why our culture is worth fighting for. I gave this link before, but don’t think many people viewed the video. It is worth watching.

        https://www.youtube.com/embed/02nLxNzIA9g

        Due to the fact that we have forgotten our history, we in the West have become like a boat which has no sails or rudder, drifting aimlessly on the ocean subject to the whims of the winds and waves beating upon our hull.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, I knew the reference, being a student of military history with a considerable focus on Europe. I hope any lessons in history would be better than the history course in an episode of The Prisoner. That simply taught a few individual facts without any understanding. (E.g., “When was the Treaty of Adrianople?” “September, 1829.” Later, #6 was stumped when a skeptic asked “What was the Treaty of Adrianople.”)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Regular columns not only supply needed content but are easy to do because you would have (presumably) repeating graphic elements (such as with you Kung Fu Zu image). Plus…who doesn’t want to learn a little bit of interesting history in convenient bites?

          A column like that should satisfy three requirements:

          1) Be an event (or person) not generally widely known

          2) Be described in appropriate detail with snark, humor, and frivolity added as needed to spice things up.

          3) There should be some basic context to tell us why it is a good thing that we know a certain factoid.

          That is, tell us something we don’t know, tell it in an interesting way, and tell us why it really does matter that we know this.

          By all means, let’s scrape the barnacles off and install a new rudder.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Well, I can see what I can do with June 22 (Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1941) and then June 28 (the battle of Kosovo Polje, the field of blackbirds, in 1387 and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914).

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