At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was the most influential civilization in human history. It had the most dynamic economies on the planet, and had self-confidence sometimes reaching levels of extreme arrogance. At the beginning of the 21st century, Europe is in serious economic decline, its populations being replaced in its own major cities, it is the most pessimistic region in the world and its media, its universities and its intellectuals keep reminding their countrymen that their culture is worthless and evil. In part, this reads like the story of the rise and fall of any civilization, but there is something special about Europe, something almost pathological. Europe is a continent of extremes, sometimes changing in rapid succession. Unless this pattern is changed, the pendulum could soon swing back towards aggressive Fascism, partly triggered by Muslim immigration.
Anthony Browne asks why Britain became "the first country in the developed world to produce its own suicide bombers." The answer is that Britain hates itself. Schools refuse to teach history that risks making pupils proud, and use it instead as a means of instilling liberal guilt. London's internationalism is the only thing Brits are licensed to be proud of -- in other words, a characteristic of which there is little British left about it.
We need to find a middle way, and regain some of our cultural confidence. Being arrogant is definitely a character flaw, but self-loathing doesn’t make you good, it just makes you look weak and pathetic. A certain amount of self-confidence is a necessary precondition to achieve anything in life. That goes for nations as well as individuals. If you don’t respect yourself, then nobody else is going to respect you either. Those who do not have some pride in their own culture will sooner or later end up being proud of somebody else’s. Yes, Europe has a sometimes dark and violent history, but that is hardly unique to us. Yes, Europe was engaged in slavery, as have been most other cultures throughout human history. However, Europe also gave rise to the abolitionist movement, pushing to end slavery on an international basis, not the least in the Islamic world. Move on! Our culture is worth keeping, despite the incessant claims to the contrary from parts of our intelligentsia. Non-Europeans who visit our lands come to visit our great cathedrals, see our arts and enjoy some of the quaint little quirks and bad habits we have acquired over the centuries. If they want to see burkas and sharia they go to Baghdad or Karachi, not to Rome, Amsterdam or Dublin. Should Europe be reduced to an appendix of the Arab world, this would be a tragedy for world cultural heritage, not just for Europe.
If we could use a little more confidence in the cultural field, we need a bit more humility in the economic field. Europe had dynamic economies once, but we didn’t have six hour work days and five weeks holidays when we did. We’ve grown lazy and complacent, and get our collective behinds kicked every day by Chinese, Americans, Indians and pretty much everybody else. The welfare state is dead, long live the welfare state! Our demographic challenges, on the other hand, cannot be solved by immigration alone, but by a change of our cultural and religious values. The problems created by declining birth rates are not nearly as big as the problems created by the cure, Muslim immigration.
As Melanie Phillips says, the great mistake the EU makes is to confuse attachments to nation with isolationism. The desire for self-government is not isolationist. It is simply the precondition for democracy. The elements of the transnational Utopia, such as the EU, European Court of Human Rights, the UN and the International Criminal Court, are therefore nothing less than an assault on democracy, freedom and the attachments that make us into functioning communities founded on a shared sense of identity and interests. And the only way to defend ourselves against this new threat is for nations to have a strong sense of and belief in themselves. Yet it is that sense of national identification that the EU has been busily destroying, thus dangerously weakening the ability of European nations to fight in their own defence.
The political class thinks that the problem with the people is that they do not know what's in their best interest. This sentiment is particularly widespread among liberal and left-wing activists and thinkers. In Brussels, a demagogue is anyone who is critical of the EU project. The word “populism” used to mean democracy: that is, the readiness of politicians to recognise the wishes of their constituents. To many Eurocrats, however, public opposition is merely an obstacle to be overcome – a bump on the road to European integration. And the response of our elite is not to affirm national identity but to repudiate it. The loyalty that people need in their daily lives is constantly ridiculed or even demonised by the dominant media. As Roger Scruton points out, Western civilization depends on an idea of citizenship that is not global at all, but rooted in territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty. People in the West live in a public space in which each person is surrounded and protected by his rights, and where all behavior that poses no obvious physical threat is permitted. But people in Muslim countries live in a space that is shared but private, where nobody is shielded by his rights from communal judgment, and where communal judgment is experienced as the judgment of God.
Europe seems so scared of its own real or perceived demons that it doesn’t understand that demons can come from the outside, too. From the Islamic world, for instance. There is no particular reason why nationalism should be dangerous. It might be or it might not be. Communism was transnational, and responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. It is true that aggressive nationalism has been a problem for Europe in the past, but that does not mean that any allegiance to the nation state by itself has to be bad. What threatens to plunge the continent into war now is not nationalism but rather anti-nationalism, the deliberate weakening of the nation state. The sense of belonging to a shared community, a nation, is undermined both at the micro-level, through massive immigration, and at the macro-level, through faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. Many of Europe’s problems predate the EU and are not caused by it, but the EU has reinforced some of them and added a few more. We may need some kind of European solidarity and cultural alliance faced with the ongoing Islamic aggression, but it has to be based on the cooperation between independent nations that are defensible both from an identity and from a practical point of view. Perhaps the question of Turkey’s membership in the EU can be resolved by getting rid of the EU altogether. If so, Eurabia would be buried together with the institution that created it in the first place.