Monday, November 21, 2011

“Europe Needs Enemies”

In an entirely roundabout and subconscious manner, Prague’s Hospodářské Noviny newspaper explains the purpose of Europeans’ outlook toward Americans: because Europeans seek unity and high personal regard by imagining that they have enemies. It also helps that those enemies won’t actually do anything about that enmity, and otherwise just ignore that atmospheric hatred, especially when they are in a pinch.

This crisis of having nothing to hate is downright existential:

So long as Europeans do not feel a sufficient sense of belonging, the French and Germans will be able to go on negotiating coordinated taxes or changes to the Lisbon Treaty. In the long run, though, this kind of united Europe is doomed to disappear all the same.
Since many of them regard any form of national pride as jingoism, and they’re willing to let each other drown economically, “the enemy without” appears to be their source, (and possibly their sole source,) of unity and pride in the circle jerk of stars.

Nothing illustrates that childishness like thinking that “pride in Europe” is in fact anything other than nationalism too:

In a global economy, one has to lay aside old national and ideological categories. A stronger European identity, which could be the basis for restoring the prosperity of the peoples of the old continent, could be created by tighter restrictions on a quite different class of people: politicians who are unable or unwilling to look beyond the horizon of a term in office, who speak a language remote from the everyday lives of ordinary Europeans, who are unwilling to resign even while dragging their countries towards the brink of bankruptcy...
not to mention that it also make a tidy argument for suspending elections, very much after the fashion of Canadian fake-crisis promoter Naomi Klein, who James Delingpole calls out to be the tyranny promoter that she is.

The “Europe needs toothless frenemies” screed is no less of a reality-evading useful bit of catnip.

National identity has all too often been shaped by a variety of traumas, as societies were brought together by a sense of shared fate. European identity, Professor Řezník believes, needs a deep, thorough-going crisis, in order to test its own viability.
So the instead of people making valiant sacrifices for the good of society, people have to be made a sacrifice for the good of society. Got it.

That’s sharp thinking Perfesser, bus hardly new despite being incredibly European. Let’s test that theory by making professional political philosophers destitute, and start from there. After all, I think you ran out of Jews, Gypsies, and whatever Foreign laborers are around to use as a unifying instrument a long time ago. I’m not being cute. That was precisely the purpose of that form of hatred then, and in it’s distinctly less plausible form the reason now: to serve in the absence of a unifying, positive social principle.

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