Saturday, March 31, 2007

Europe is not the sum of its parts

Spengler of the Aisa Times is one of those authors who, when you don’t agree with him, usually puts up the best argument for the other side. This week he has a very perceptive article pointing out that Europe is not the sum of its parts. That seems obvious to me, but why does he think so, why does he think this is important?

. . .Europe existed before any of its constituent nations, and the unified Europe of Church and Empire created the nations along with their languages and cultures. As individual nations, Europe's constituent countries will die on the vine.


Why do European nations exist in opposition to Europe? That fact, I believe, is not a measure of Europe's political maturity but rather of its decadence.


Nationalism as an antipode to Empire did not effervesce from the rising bourgeoisie, or develop out of Protestantism. It was the invention of Cardinal Richelieu during the reign of Louis XIII. As I have reported elsewhere, [1] Richelieu for the first time proposed that the welfare of Christendom could be represented in a single European nation, whose particular interests thus defined the interests of the Christian world. . . . Europe's nationalism of the 19th century was a response to France, specifically to Richelieu's successor Napoleon Bonaparte. . . . Ethnically defined nationalism led Europe into World Wars I and II, from which it has not recovered, and from whose wounds it yet might die.


But I do not think that is the end of the matter. As I argued last month, Russia has become the frontier between Europe and the Islamic world and, unlike Europe, is not prepared to dissolve quietly into the ummah. [3] Pope Benedict's recent pilgrimage to Turkey, it must be remembered, only incidentally dealt with Catholic relations with Islam; first of all it was a gesture to Orthodoxy in the form of a visit to the former Byzantium, . . . For the time being, Europe's constitution will be stillborn. But Europe is not yet dead. Russia is the place to watch, and the quiet conversation of Catholicism is the still, small voice to listen for.

Read the whole article, and his articles that he links. It is a good assessment of the general problem with the current state of Europe and an interesting take on a solution.

H/T: Orthodoxy Today


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