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.