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Why the united Europe enterprise must fail

US-style EU lacks rootedness in Western Europe, history, Christianity and popularityDesmond Fennell 


The euro crisis that is exposing once-exemplary Europe to worldwide disdain is the beginning of the failure of the united-Europe enterprise. I mean the enterprise that went beyond the creation of a Western  Europe free-trade area to the construction of the political entity or quasi-state that has its de facto capital in Brussels.

That quasi-state is historically rootless. It lacks even the minimal rootedness in history which the Soviet Union possessed by comprising the previously united territory and peoples of the Russian Empire.

To this fundamental rootlessness the Brussels quasi-state added by adopting as its operative ideology (in the manner of the Soviet Union) an ideology which was expressly directed against historic Europe.

The Europe of history was a civilisation founded in the eleventh century in Western Europe and existing essentially there and in its overseas colonies and ex-colonies until the twentieth.

A community of competing, occasionally warring, eminently creative nations, it was bound together by Latin Christianity and by laws that derived from that religion or respected it. Its nearest analogue in history was the community of competing, occasionally warring, eminently creative city-states, bound together by the religion of Zeus and periodic national festivals, which we call Ancient Greece.

It was in those political and ideological forms, respectively, that Ancient Greece impinged on and led much of the world, and that Europe impinged on and led the entire world. There could be no repeating of them except as continuations of them that retained their essential features. And the Brussels quasi-state has prided itself precisely on not being a continuation of the Europe of history, but something different from it and superior to it.

The new, left-liberal ideology which the Brussels quasi-state adopted was borrowed from the American state of the 1960s-1970s. It decried European civilisation as a radically oppressive and unjust society requiring the ameliorative replacement which its programme of legal innovations would supply. Because these innovations, whatever their objective merit, cancelled rules and customary behaviours intrinsic to the thousand-year-old fabric of European civilisation, ‘replacement’ of the old fabric with a new, post-European one is precisely what occurred.

The Brussels bureaucracy, having made this revolutionary ideology its own, has worked assiduously to implement it in one ordnance after another directed to the member states. As part of this construction of a new, morally superior, post-European society, it discarded Christianity because that religion gave sacral support to the essential values and moral rules of historic Europe.

A political-ideological construct put together by politicians and bureaucrats, and lacking historical rootedness, stands on cracking ice. If in addition it lacks rootedness in the hearts of the people it is made for, it is doomed to a short life. The Brussels quasi-state lacks that also.

Europeans had loved their nation-states as their chief collective definers in the world. The Brussels quasi-state proposed itself as a replacement in that role, but its subjects have declined the proposal. Far from loving the European Union as their chief collective definer, they think, feel and talk of it simply as ‘Brussels’.

There are several reasons for this. The Union’s constructors and rulers did not exert themselves to make it loveable; they assumed it sufficed to make it – by its displayed concern for democracy, the rights and equal treatment of all individuals, the environment, health and safety and so on – admirable.

For a community to be loved by its members as their chief collective definer in the world, it must honour values that distinguish it from other comparable communities. The EU honours the same values as America. Again, the leaders of said community must respect some seminal values and virtues of the people’s ancestors. Brussels disapproves of Europe’s ancestral values and virtues.

For a community, finally, to be loved by its members, they need to know where its territory begins and ends and feel that they have shared a common history there. But the united-Europe enterprise has developed from being a union of West European nations who felt that in a broad sense they had shared a common history into something different.

It has become a political union of those Western Europeans with a growing number of nations who have shared a quite different history, in eastern and south-eastern Europe. Robbing the word ‘Europe’ of any clear or felt meaning, Brussels is considering possible membership for Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia. After Eurovision in Baku we can expect its insatiable grabber mentality to eye the inclusion of Azerbaijan.

Ancient Greece showed how a great civilisation, its work done, can exit with dignity from history. After it had been overrun by its large, compact neighbour, Macedonia,  a couple of regional leagues of city-states emerged and lasted for a time. But all-conquering Rome rolled over them and supervised Ancient Greece’s twilight.

One can say ‘supervised’ because out of respect for a cultural eminence that Rome revered, Roman rule impinged lightly. It allowed the city-states to run their local affairs, the all-Greek festivals continued. A good Roman education had to include some time spent studying in Greece. It was not a dishonourable sort of twilight for a great civilisation.


Dr Desmond Fennell’s forthcoming book is Third Stroke Did It: The Staggered End of Western Civilisation.