Post-Cultural Europe

The rule of the amnesiac generation

The actuality preceded the announcement by several decades. With all the groping uncertainty of the amnesiac, Angela Merkel officially inaugurated post-cultural Europe in September 2015. She had amnesiac European youth on her side, and was buoyed by it.

The frame of reference of the amnesiac generation is shrunk to a point: the individual who only feels. The doomed search for a chimerical equality in education has broken cultural continuity, dissipating the focused energy of teaching into countless rivulets of irrelevance. Indeed, to the amnesiac generation, everything that has gone before is by definition of no consequence: not history, not geography, not race, not gender, not values. All of these can be chosen.

Unable to discriminate, robbed of taste, and just plain bored, amnesiac youth invented diversity, both out of ignorance and because it failed to recognise its own native family. The cult of indifference to everything that gave it existence, identity, continuity and context, led the amnesiac generation quickly to the primacy of unexamined compassion and the novelty of the exotic.

To the amnesiac generation, the nation is like an extended international airport. The depredations of mass immigration on the townscape are barely distinguishable from those of industrial-scale tourism, and so these two become morally equivalent. But incongruence and anachronism remain behind in the ghettos and the schools after the sleepwalking tourists have flown home, ceding Europe to winter – the season of maximum authenticity.

There is no juxtaposition that is either incongruous or anachronistic to the amnesiac generation, because all contextual information was interred beside the ability to discriminate when memory was severed. Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, the call to prayer of the muezzin over church bells: all would be heard, if at all, as counterpoint. Laying hand on ancient stones in Nîmes would evoke nothing. But for those who still remember, the whole point of European culture is to be permanently intoxicated by its prodigious native diversity.

The liberal-progressive elite in politics and the media, they who never passed a mirror without throwing a glance, should be distinguished from the amnesiac generation of underemployed youth. Soixante-huitards for the most part, they search improbably for value in ‘values’, rather than in culture. This essentially is what now has cast Europe as a vassal of history, praised and ridiculed at the same time by the leaders of the continental states, who know a little better where their interests lie.

In the civil war of the two illusions, liberal and reactionary, there is an arbitrator’s account where the truth can be held in escrow, safe from manipulation by either party: that of events. Neither party can escape an intellectual lynching at the hands of objective reality. Events will continue to smash their own path between the two protagonists’ now disintegrating illusions.