Storm Warning: The Problem With Europe

14 Jan

Maybe I’m just depressed – I’ve had too little sleep in the past couple of weeks – but I can’t help feeling that sixty years of peace and (relative) prosperity in Europe are about to come to an end. And it is, I feel, the fault of the political elites.


The political elites are very different, if I may paraphrase a famous quote, from you and me. They are almost completely disconnected from the results of their decisions.

Why? Because there are layers upon layers of government and bureaucracy between them and the ordinary people they purport to rule. Bad news gets massaged until it becomes ‘less bad’ news, long before it reaches the people who actually make the decisions. Politicians, particularly those who have been in politics for life, simply have more in common with their fellow politicians than they do with the common people.

In such an environment, insanity can thrive. The common person cannot pass a bill to cover the cost of his own spending – and if he tries, the results are likely to be poor. A politician, however, can fall into the trap of believing the money will never run out, or that there will be no consequences for bending or outright breaking the rules. If you don’t believe this, all you have to do is look at the UK Expenses Scandal. Politicians didn’t just fiddle their expenses – flying Business Class when Economy would be suitable – they actually stole from the public purse.

The European Union is a very elite-driven institution. This is not too surprising. The EU was founded, at least in part, to homogenise Europe in the hopes of avoiding a third war with Germany. This could not be done if the politicians were accountable to a national and nationalistic population. Accordingly, they chose to run roughshod over nationality and national independence in the hope – and it was far from a poor hope – of uniting the continent before another war could begin.

However, as time went by, the elites started to buy into two separate – and dangerous – delusions.

The first was that they are always right.

The second was that multiculturalism is a good and viable solution to Europe’s problems.

They don’t seem to go together, do they? But they do. French politicians have more in common with German politicians than they do with ordinary Frenchmen. The politicians might not always like one another, but they shared a position that allowed them to understand one another. They shared a dream – European unity – that transcended whatever differences they had. Accordingly, they came to believe – like poorly-moderated internet forums – that they were really all one under the skin.

(This is not unprecedented in Europe’s history. The various Royal Families of Europe were always closely related to one another, even though this caused local political problems. For example, people may say that Hilary and Michelle are/were albatrosses around the necks of Clinton and Obama, but they are nowhere near as bad as Philip of Spain (married Mary Tudor) or Henrietta Maria (married Charles I). In both cases, the marriages were strongly resented in England.)

What happened to the politicians was what always happens when a group of people come to live in an echo chamber. When no dissenting opinions are allowed, people can come to believe the most absurd things. Lacking the common touch, let alone a connection with the common man, they simply failed to grasp the importance of certain issues to the national populations. Thus, while free movement throughout Europe seemed a sensible step towards European unity, it had (or was seen to have had) unpleasant effects in local communities.

And so we come to multiculturalism.

Like most political buzzwords, multiculturalism is hard to define. I see it as an understanding that all cultures are both equal and deserving of existence – and that they can co-exist. The EU saw this as not only true, but vitally important. Culture and intolerance had played a large role in the wars that tore Europe apart, so in future tolerance was to be enforced – by force, if necessary. The EU elites were reluctant to risk opening the can of worms that would be opened, if they allowed an open debate on cultural supremacy. This was not necessarily a false move on their parts.

Unfortunately, multiculturalism is based on two false premises, both of which are morally and intellectually wrong.

First, that all cultures are equal.

Second, that all cultures share the same opinion of multiculturalism.

I am not going to apologise for saying that I believe some cultures are superior to others. I simply know too much history and current affairs to believe otherwise. Humans have done terrible things to one another in the name of culture, from foot-binding to female genital mutilation, things so repulsive that I shed no tears for the demise of cultures that regard such practices as natural and right. It would not take more than a few minutes to come up with a list of practices that were common in Britain 100 years ago, but have now been largely eliminated from our lives. Are those things common elsewhere?

Let me put forward a simple example. In Britain, a large number of people convert to Islam every year. Do those people face attacks, pogroms, imprisonment, slow torture and eventual death? No, they don’t. On the other hand, if you happen to convert AWAY from Islam in the Middle East, you’d better have your will in order. Chances are, you will be killed for apostasy.

So tell me – are these two cultures equal?

Multiculturalism has one massive fundamental flaw. It assumes that all people shame the same basic attitude to multiculturalism – and that that attitude is that multiculturalism is correct and perfect tolerance is the way forward. This is somewhat paradoxical. A doctrine based around different cultures and beliefs – and respect for those differences – must assume that everyone is the same in a certain way.

Let me put it as simply as possible. That Culture A believes one thing does not mean that Culture B believes the same thing. Of course it doesn’t. If A = B then there would only be one culture. Accepting that A =/= B means accepting that they will differ, perhaps on something fundamental. If A believes that black men are equal to white men and B believes that black men are only suited to be slaves, then is it really a good idea to extend tolerance to Culture B? What happens when people raised up within Culture B attack black men from Culture A? Or is it somehow acceptable if Culture B only picks on its own blacks?

And what happens if Culture B uses their culture as an excuse to attack Culture A?

By the dictates of multiculturalism, all cultures should respect one another and live and let live.

But it doesn’t work out that way, does it?

I mentioned converting to Islam above as one example of the extraordinary (and unprecedented) tolerance the West extends to its citizens. However, this tolerance is not shared by every culture. Parents from immigrant communities will react with horror when they discover (and they often do) that their children are ‘converting’ to the West. Why would a young teenager (male or female) want to marry someone his/her parents suggested when they could choose their own partner? Why would a young woman accept being mistreated by her parents-in-law (and husband) when she could just leave? Why would a young man feel inclined to accept a restrictive lifestyle when he could go clubbing or drink alcohol? Why would anyone choose to remain in a restrictive culture when there are so many other options out there?

The question is not entirely rhetorical. I am often surprised to learn just what some people want from life – and, even if it is something I do not approve, it is no matter, as long as they choose it freely. The West will tolerate almost anything as long as it is done in private, between consenting adults. Its citizens do not need to fear physical harm for their choices. But they also need to learn to deal with the consequences.

But, back to immigrant parents, why would they accept their children making their own decisions? Would they tolerate their children embracing a culture they find alternatively shocking, disgusting and irreligious?

This is no idle question. Young girls (and boys, although on a much lesser scale) have been abused, forced into marriage or even killed, merely for daring to live their own lives. These people have committed criminal acts against their own kind. But trying to stop them raises an uncomfortable question. Should they be stopped if the tenets of multiculturalism are to be observed?

I could go into considerable detail, but I’m not going to bother. What I will say is this; the elites, having no contact with the victims of their decisions, will think twice about ordering any outsider intervention in an immigrant community (tacitly accepting that the immigrants are separate from the host community.) They will be fearful of arousing the spectre of racism and, perhaps more importantly from their point of view, riots on the streets. Therefore, they will not be inclined to either support the victims of barbaric cultural practices or outsiders who might be adversely affected.

But this has set the stage for long-term disaster.

There’s a theory of policing that goes a little like this. Take care of the smaller crimes (broken windows, as the theory states) and you will have fewer larger crimes. When it comes to policing immigrant communities, the ‘broken windows’ were everything from wife-beating to families and thugs trying to enforce community law. At no point prior to 9/11 did anyone say to the immigrants “if you want to live in our country, you must honour our standards and follow our laws.” It was deemed racist, or culturally imperialist, to tell immigrants that their cultures were unacceptable. There was no attempt to separate out individualist acts accepted voluntarily (and thus, at worst, stupid rather than evil) from acts imposed on people by their parents, religious leaders and the rest of their community.

The elites didn’t care. They were never touched by their acts. Indeed, they received plaudits for their tolerance, while those who questioned the presence of immigrants, including radicals, were charged with racism. There was never any attempt to open a genuine dialogue because that would, inevitably, call the European project into question. Instead, the whole subject was declared verboten.

However, the common people slowly started to lose their patience.

What is actually true, you see, is often less important than what people believe to be true. The average commoner in Britain might believe that immigrants constantly receive the best of everything, while they can get away with anything, as long as they can claim they’re the victims of racism. Thus, there was a growing suspicion that the immigrants were dangerous and the elites downright evil, which has started to manifest itself in the rise of euro-sceptic parties. The elites might insist that immigration is a good thing, but the average poor labourer in the UK might have a different impression of cheap workers coming in from overseas. So too might someone forced to go to a GP and talk to a doctor whose English is surprisingly poor. Or someone who gets into trouble for daring to question why schoolchildren, visiting mosques, have to cover themselves.

Or a cartoonist, who poked fun at everyone, gets murdered in broad daylight by a team of armed gunmen.

Immigration is not, of course, the only problem. Any commoner needs to undergo a credit check before taking a loan to buy (for example) a car. This is plain common sense. However, the EU elites failed to do a credit check on Greece (or Spain, Portugal or Ireland) before allowing them to join the EU and gain access to cheap credit. This act, which was politically motivated, caused a major credit crisis that spread rapidly across the EU and ruined hundreds of thousands of lives. But did the elites suffer? No.

Right now, the attack in Paris, the attack on free speech, has illuminated the colossal failure of the elites. They have NOT stood up for free speech. They have moaned and groaned and wrung their hands and created a situation where free speech is riskier than ever before. And it hasn’t been enough to appease terrorists who will not be satisfied until the world is under their control. The simple fact that so many people have tried to make excuses for the terrorists shows just how deep the rot has spread into our society.

And so the elites are going to face more and more challenges to their power as the years roll on.

They will fight back, of course. They will deploy all the weapons at their disposal to maintain the European Union. But this will only cause worse problems for them when they finally run out of time.

And that leads to my final thought for the day. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution a certainty.


13 Responses to “Storm Warning: The Problem With Europe”

  1. Dennis The Menace January 15, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    “What happened to the politicians was what always happens when a group of people come to live in an echo chamber. When no dissenting opinions are allowed, people can come to believe the most absurd things”

    I see this a lot here in the San Francisco Bay Area amongst your average liberal — they live in a total echo chamber. Especially when it comes to basic economics. This problem is no longer confined to just their elites.

    And when I refer to ‘basic economics’ I am not talking about the differences between Keynesianism and Supply Economics, for example. I am talking about things like just basic acknowledgement of supply and demand and the effects of taxation upon thereof. For example, Liberals always point out succinctly how raising carbon or gasoline taxes will reduce demand for it but blankly look at you like they have no clue what you are talking about when you bring up the same effects of taxation on investment (capital gains/dividends taxes) and labor (payroll taxes) and labor (ObamaCare). The echo chamber effect is so strong that it can reactively/defensively shut down entire portions of their memory or even logic centers of the brain that they were just using mere seconds ago.

    For those of you who do not believe what I just wrote, I don’t blame you but take my word for it, it is 100% true and happens on a daily basis where I live. You can also see it while watching Bill Maher’s show — how the studio audience will boo him when he brings up inconvenient truths like that and they normally love the guy like they do Michael Moore.

    This is all because of the same reason that Chris mentions regarding the elite — they don’t pay a price for being in such a state of denial or perceive that they don’t (which is usually the case, from what I’ve observed).

    Also regarding multiculturalism: It is a little known fact that after WWII mass relocations of ethnic populations occurred by order of the victorious Allies. Millions of Germans were relocated out of the Sudetenland and Poland, for example. Millions of poles were moved out of Ukraine, Belurus, Germany, etc. It would have happened in Transylvania to its Hungarian minority a lot more but it just proved too difficult. The reason why is because the Allies figured out that that was a leading cause of the war and blamed the post-WWI partion of the old Austro-Hungarian & German Empires and wanted to avert further problems on that front. I think that this is ‘a little known historical fact’ because it is ideologically inconvenient for the Left to talk about this today. Truth is, while we may have had 50 years of Cold War, ethnic rivalry amongst the nations that had forcible relocations wasn’t a factor in it (Yugoslavia was one of few the multi-ethnic countries created after WWI that didn’t under go that process after WWII and we all know what the result of that was).

  2. Mounir Naguib January 15, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    We have globally enforceable trade agreements WTO, GATT, TRIPs and so on, there is a Global will to deal with issues related to generating profit, but when it comes to The unrestricted Selling of arms, abusing children, abusing women, transferring people, limiting conflict, (war) it starts to get murky and interest starts to drop. The terrorists exist because the world allows them to. The world needs to develop enforceable minimum standards of behavior, if you want to trade with anyone you will guarantee not to invade your neighbor, not to kill your citizens, not to sell or marry off children, not abuse or mutilate anyone in your country or territory you control, break the minimum standard of behavior NO TRADE with anyone, NO support payments of any kind, No travel of any kind TO your country (the world must allow victims of evil to escape), Your leaders would be responsible, chargeable and prosecutable by any other signatory country for any such crimes they allowed through omission or commission. Anyone committing an atrocity anywhere would be subject to prosecution by any signatory nation and subject to a globally accepted minimum sentence. Today this is just discussion material, but who knows in 200 years Roméo Dallaire might be right.

  3. R Godfrey January 15, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    and with these kind of attitudes becoming more common, a third major war on the european continent becomes more likely. Trivia question for you: which ideological movement has spawned the most terrorist deaths in Europe since the fall of communism? (If you answered the right wing you win a cookie), but I don’t see the right getting slammed and derided as a group for it, what makes the right so immune to the fruits of it’s labours?

    • Dennis The Menace January 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      (If you answered the right wing you win a cookie)

      No, you’d just be outing yourself as a left-wing moron who can’t logically think.

      • R Godfrey January 17, 2015 at 10:04 am #

        No you would be someone who actually bothered to look into this, the right wing, you lovely conservatives have slaughtered far more people in the past 25 years in europe than Muslim terrorists have, so until you confront the murder at the heart of your ideology, you have not a leg to stand on.

      • R Godfrey January 17, 2015 at 10:06 am #

        Or are you somehow less capable than any other group of being held accountable for the fruits of your politics, the blind hatred and murder that is all conservatives really believe in? Conservative ideology is really simple: find a group, incite hatred, plan a genocide. That is all it has ever been and will ever be. Just admit it, at least for once in your life be honest about what you want.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

        Sir, you don’t know what Conservatives believe. You are just showing your bigotry.

  4. R Godfrey January 17, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    It really is simple, right wing terror is far more of a statistical (as in more likely to effect) the average person in Europe than Muslim terror is, so how DARE you not first apologise for that and lay out your plan for confronting it, before talking about anything else? If you do not you obviously support it. Their ~I just treated you like you want Muslims to be treated, until you lay out a 40000 word plan against terror you are to be assumed to be a terrorists and watched 24/7 with no privacy as you want done to Muslims. IS that fair enough?

    • R Godfrey January 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

      No, I am holding conservatives, and speaking about conservatives, the same standards, and talking about them the same way they speak about immigrants, most especially Muslims, if you see it as bigotry, then look in the mirror sir.

      • R Godfrey January 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

        and I again supply an inconvenient truth, in Europe the most violent and dangerous ideology is right wing.

    • Jim January 19, 2015 at 3:13 am #

      I don’t usually comment, apologies for the upfrontyness, if that’s a word, of my first post.
      Godfrey, you have missed the point. Your arguments are irrelevant and foolish. This is why:

      1. These attacks are not carried out by a government. You cannot compare government actions to terrorist ones. Apples and oranges.

      2. Right or left wing, modern versions of both are not competent enough to do much of anything.

      3. Communism is about as left wing as it gets. Stalin, Lenin, Mao etc all have a measurable body count.

      4. People have been at war since the beginning of people. That isn’t going to go away even if every single left leaning person in the world was put in charge of everything tomorrow.

      5. There will never be world peace. Ever. Even if there was a universal agreement to never do violence to anything, ever again, the very first person to simply ignore this agreement becomes the undisputed ruler of everything. Example: We’re in a chess game. You’re better at chess than me. I’m a lot scarier than you. I say mean things until you cry and run away. I win the chess game regardless of actual chess merit. That is how the world works.

      6. Nobody is advocating for constant surveillance of anybody. It’s boring and time consuming.

      7. I may have missed the point of Chris’ post as well, but I’ve typed all this now and deleting it all seems wasteful.

      8. What I believe is being asked is that is it all worth it? Multiculturalism creates issues that would not otherwise arise. Look at Paris. Christians, which most of Western Europe (probably) still is, haven’t gone about and murdered people for insulting God for a few hundred years now.

      9. Atrocities happened on both sides of the Crusades, because I know you were going to bring that up next.

      10. The Crusades are also part of ancient history. Therefore irrelevant to further discussion. If people still hold a grudge after a few hundred years then it’s time to seriously ask if it’s a good idea to go about and force these two groups to mix. You know, live next to or around people who you don’t like, will never like and keep hearing about all the nasty things “they” did/do.

      11. I may be rambling. Sleep is hard to come by here.

      12. Number 13 may be the most relevant/important point.

      13. You are attacking someone for asking a question. Stop being blinded by your own prejudice and answer the question. Attacking the author simply means that you do not have an answer and/or you concede defeat but are in fact of a quite low mental age and/or maturity.

      I know, I know. Don’t feed the trolls. It won’t happen again.

      • R Godfrey January 19, 2015 at 9:13 am #

        Actually it wasn’t state sponsored terror, it is simply right wing terror organisations, thye are far more deadly to europeans than muslim terrorists are, if we get into state sponsored then the Communist nations do take the prize, but ‘lone wolf’ or paramilitary terrorists? Right wingers, by a mile. Which, until it is ackmnowledge by the conservative community and they cast these people out, will always remain true. (Or does that only apply to Muslim communities? Are they the only ones to be held to that standard?)

  5. R Godfrey January 19, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    IT has been worth it by the way, we would be a nuclear waste land if the conservative Christian nationalists had had their love of endless slaughter, and rape pandered to.

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