I recently ordered a copy of The Strange Death Of Europe, by Douglas Murray. It arrived yesterday. And I’ve read the Introduction, which starts with the words:
Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide. Whether the European people choose to go along with this is, naturally, another matter.
Those words could pretty well summarise the growing political divide within Europe, between on the one hand the European political elites, and on the other hand the ordinary people of Europe.
The book is subtitled Immigration, Identity, Islam, and so I suppose that the rest of the book is about those things. But I haven’t read the rest of the book yet. The first paragraph of the book was quite thought-provoking enough.
And one of the thoughts that it provoked was that Europe already has committed suicide. It’s past history. It did so in two world wars: WW1 and WW2. Prior to those wars, Europe was a global superpower, and had been one for about 500 years. After those wars, Europe ceased to be any sort of superpower at all in a world that was divided between the USA on one hand, and the Soviet Union (and Red China) on the other. For the past 70+ years, global politics has been all about the confrontation of these new main players. And actually it still is. It’s not people like Theresa May or Emmanuel Macron or Angela Merkel who matter in our present world: it’s people like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Any thoughts to the contrary are delusional.
And therein lies the origin of the identity crisis of the European political elite. They are the scions of a once-rich and once-powerful European aristocracy. They used to be somebodies, but now they’re nobodies. They’re the bankrupt descendants of kings and dukes and earls, living in one or two rooms of grand palaces that have fallen into ruin, because they can no longer afford their maintenance, no longer afford to to employ an army of housekeepers and chefs and butlers and gardeners.
Such things have happened before. It’s what happened after the fall of the western Roman empire circa 500 AD. Rome fell into ruin when there ceased to be tribute and taxation flowing into it from its empire. The Colosseum and the Circus Maximus and the imperial palace on the Palatine hill fell into ruin.
Ever since that time, Europeans have been dreaming of reconstructing that empire. Charlemagne had a go at it. The Holy Roman Empire had a stab at it. Napoleon took a shot at it. Hitler did too. The current European Union is the latest try.
But the European Union remains what it has been for the past 70+ years: an outpost of the US global empire which emerged post WW2. It’s what goes on in Washington that really matters in Europe, not what’s said in London or Berlin or Paris. European leaders have been getting above themselves in recent years. They’ve started to imagine that, with the EU, they’ve managed to recover an empire, and with it their former standing in the world. Take this headline in the Independent in 2017:
Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world, not Donald Trump
It’s just wishful thinking. Angela Merkel is a nobody. So is Emmanuel Macron. Brussels is full of nobodies trying to be somebodies. And they’re all delusional. They’re all just silly dreamers.
But if the European political elites are delusional, the peoples of Europe are not equally delusional. The peoples of Europe have never been interested in constructing vast political edifices like the Roman empire or the European Union. They just want to put food on the tables, and a roof over their head, and a few dinars or francs or pounds in their pockets. They just want to be able to sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer and smoke a cigarette.
And that’s why the peoples of Europe are beginning to take leave of the delusional European political class and their various increasingly deranged projects – which include mass immigration, a one-size-fits-all euro currency, a European army, wall-to-wall windmills, and draconian smoking bans.
European politics over the next few years is going to see the self-important, delusional European political class getting squeezed between on the one hand a populist US president, and on the other hand growing and multiplying populist political movements everywhere in Europe. It’s already happening. Brexit was an early example of populism in action. The new populist government of Italy is another. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a populist government in France and Germany and Spain. The old political aristocracy of Europe is going to be completely swept away.
The new European political class will be realists rather than idealists like the current bunch of delusional dreamers. They’ll be patriots of their own countries rather than nationalists. They’ll primarily be concerned with the interests of the people who elected them rather than with any global ambitions or schemes. They’ll probably restore their national currencies in place of the euro. And they’ll restore national borders and national armies. And they’ll probably all be global warming sceptics, and so they’ll demolish all the windmills and solar farms. And they’ll stop mass immigration, and start repatriating immigrants.
There isn’t going to be a European Army. That’s another pipedream. US presidents like Donald Trump are not going to allow the appearance of armed forces in Europe that are not under US control. And this is why Trump has just been telling European leaders last week that they’re going to have to pay for the US protection they’ve enjoyed for the past 70 years. They won’t be able to pay for both US protection and a European army.
Political power is going to drain away from Brussels, and return to the nation states of Europe. Brussels will just be somewhere convenient to meet.
I’m cautiously optimistic that the incoming new realist populist political class will also start tearing up smoking bans. If nothing else, many of them – e.g. Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen – are smokers. And the global war on smoking is as deranged and delusional as global warming alarmism or the dream of a New World Order. It would be distinctly odd if smoking bans did not disappear along with all the windmills and solar farms and euros.
As for immigration and Islam and identity, well, it isn’t the first time that Islam has tried to invade Europe. It did so in around 700 AD, shortly after the fall of the western Roman empire. And it had another try about 700 years later, when it got to the gates of Vienna. Every 700 years they have another try, and it never works. It won’t work this time either.
P.S. Tomorrow, Saturday,16 June, is the first anniversary of the launch of the Smoky Drinky Bar, so we’re having a party there 8 pm – midnight UK time. Everyone is invited (except antismokers).