Friday, September 02, 2005

Palliatives and root causes

John McCaslin hints at the presence of a silent majority in Europe. Benny Peiser wrote to his 2000 newsletter readers:

«"I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all our American friends and members who have been affected by the tragic events wrought by Hurricane Katrina," writes Benny Peiser, professor of science at Liverpool John Moores University in Britain. "Notwithstanding continuing rescue and support efforts, the calamity has triggered a rather opportunistic and cynical reaction by opponents of the current U.S. administration. In an eerie development . . . environmental campaigners, 'green' journalists and European officials are blaming (once again) the U.S. and its people for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"Instead of supporting the rescue efforts, demagogues are using the human tragedy in a futile attempt to score points (on the impact of so-called
global warming). . . .

"Europeans in particular, who have been rescued and liberated from themselves by the U.S. no less than three times in the course of the 20th century, should feel ashamed for kicking a friend and ally when he is down. "Let me(reassure) our American friends and colleagues that this pitiless mind-set of environmental activists is not representative for the vast majority of Europeans who are following the heartbreaking events with great concern and empathy. . . ."»
For those inclines to sent thank-you notes, Mr. Peiser’s email address is

There are root causes to what Benny Peiser is trying to ameliorate. They are the same ones that caused Czech President Václav Klaus to warn those around him of a cloud inhabiting the European zeitgeist:
« “There is a well-known saying that we should not fight the old, already non-existent battles. I find this point worth stressing even if I do not want to say that socialism is definitely over. There are, I believe, at least two arguments, which justify looking at other ideologies as well. The first is the difference between the hard and soft version of socialism and the second is the emergence of new ‘isms’ based on similar illiberal or antiliberal views.”

“Illiberal ideas are becoming to be formulated, spread and preached under the name of ideologies or “isms”, which have – at least formally and nominally – nothing in common with the old-style, explicit socialism. These ideas are, however, in many respects similar to it. There is always a limiting (or constraining) of human freedom, there is always ambitious social engineering, there is always an immodest ‘enforcement of a good’ by those who are anointed on others against their will, there is always the crowding out of standard democratic methods by alternative political procedures, and there is always the feeling of superiority of intellectuals and of their ambitions.”

“These alternative ideologies […] are successful especially where there is no sufficient resistance to them, where they find a fertile soil for their flourishing, where they find a country (or the whole continent) where freedom (and free markets) have been heavily undermined by long lasting collectivistic dreams and experiences and where intellectuals have succeeded in getting and maintaining a very strong voice and social status. I have in mind, of course, rather Europe, than America. It is Europe where we witness the crowding out of democracy by post democracy, where the EU dominance replaces democratic arrangements in the EU member countries, where [some people] do not see the dangers of empty Europeanism and of a deep (and ever deeper) but only bureaucratic unification of the whole European continent. …

“[Europe] is a system of relations and relationships of individual countries, which must not be based on false internationalism, on supranational organizations and on misunderstanding of globalization and of externalities, but which will be based on good neighborliness of free, sovereign countries and on international pacts and agreements.”»
In other words, not on foolish but fashionable notions and talking shops populated by a social and academic elite. This is the source of, and the affirmation for the envious, lecturesome screeds coming from the mainstream press in European, the very ones that embarrass Peiser, and good people everywhere.

Many thanks to Paul Belien for his reporting of Klaus’ address.

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