Heute Tolerant, Morgen Fremd

Heute Tolerant, Morgen Fremd

2018-00-00 widgets.001“Tolerant today, strangers in our own country tomorrow. Strong borders. Merkel must go!” In the wake of the ‘BAMF-scandal’, in which asylum applications were improperly approved by the Bremen office of the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge¹, a poll conducted for Cicero Magazin für Politische Kultur shows that a majority of Germans now want a federal Committee of Enquiry into the conduct of migration policy since 2014. Germany’s generous Willkommenskultur — its still-current policy of welcoming migrants — is coming more and more to be seen as ein Luftschloss ohne Ausweg”. A daydream with no exit.

CICERO MAGAZIN FÜR POLITISCHE KULTUR : A majority of Germans want a Committee of Enquiry on refugee policy. That is the finding of an INSA poll undertaken on behalf of Cicero. Even amongst those with a migration background, almost half were in favour.

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Europe’s Auto-Immunity

Europe’s Auto-Immunity

2018-00-00 widgets.001Asked recently whether he thought Brexit was a pivotal moment in European history, the writer Alain Finkielkraut responded: “In order to put an end to the distinction — judged potentially genocidal — between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, the European Union has sedulously drained Europe of all content. It has replaced civilization with values, it has dissolved identity in rights, norms and procedures. The English have said “no” to these developments: we [the French] don’t need to emulate them, but seize the occasion of Brexit to reconstruct the European Union.”

And thereby “defend our European civilization”. Mathieu Bock-Côté, the québécois sociologist, shares this formula with Finkielkraut, and in the article translated below asks what precisely it is that must be defended. A good question that demands another: that of how European civilization is to be defended, assuming that it can be identified.

❝ This alien therapy has produced a cultural auto-immune reaction, a kind of political lupus eating away at Europe’s prodigious heritage.❞

The “replacement of civilization with values”, and identity with a porridge of “rights, norms and procedures” is the foul work of generations of European politicians and bureaucrats. European “civilizational identity”, to use Bock-Côté’s formula, has been redefined as its own self-abnegation, as the endorsement of everything exotic. This alien therapy, exercised through the education system, has produced a cultural auto-immune reaction, a kind of political lupus eating away at Europe’s prodigious heritage. What is it that we wish to defend? An inconvenient question with an even more inconvenient answer — to which Bock-Côté alludes: thirty centuries of European high culture, the sine qua non of continuity and development through education. Who today would come to the defence of that, apart from Matteo Renzi? In an apparent response to the destruction of the temple at Palmyra, the Italian prime minister announced last year that on attaining his or her majority, every citizen would receive from the state a debit card charged with €500, to be used exclusively to gain entry to institutions where heritage was protected and revered. An exceptional gesture for a politician of the Left, and one that cannot be imagined coming from the islamo-gauche in France.

It is high culture that teaches values, not the other way around as neoliberal orthodoxy demands. High culture is the criterion, literally the senate, by which values are made true. On the other hand, received ‘values’ such as human rights and the rule of law, while essential for a functioning society, are defenceless against corruption. Only ‘civilizational identity’ has the authority to regulate them. Abuses of the rule of law, as of human rights, are legion. In Germany, one may not insult a foreign dignitary or deny the Shoa. Everywhere in the so-called liberal democracies, freedom of speech is honoured only in the breach. Representative democracy represents only those who own the law and profit from it. The law itself is becoming indistinguishable from a taxonomy of victimhood.

❝ It is high culture that teaches values, not the other way around as neoliberal orthodoxy demands.❞

High culture, by contrast, is the senior authority standing above received values, which are essentially bureaucratic in timbre. It is free of humbug and corruption, because winnowed by time and the force of countless great minds. A piece of ancient architecture might be eroded according to the second law of thermodynamics, or even physically attacked, but it cannot be corrupted in the sense meant here in relation to ‘values’. The Greeks taught Europeans how to think, but that lesson is immune to corruption. The mysterious theme that arrives in the first movement of Mozart’s 40th symphony might be mangled by pop culture, but the original endures and cannot be corrupted. Lilliputian minds dice up the freedom to speak according to the demands of this or that self-referential group of victims, and this is what is served up by western political elites as a received ‘value’. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains the reductio ad absurdum of received ‘values’: in this respect it is resistant to improvement. Meanwhile, high culture, ‘civilizational identity’, legislates for taste and discrimination and common sense humanity. Who then are the preferred lawmakers: Mozart and Brahms, who taught us how to feel; Euclid, who taught us how to think; or the mandarins of the European Union, who are showing Europe how to die in the name of ‘universal’ — in truth, ephemeral — values?

That is the essential point. Received values, being corruptible, cannot stand the test of time. ‘Compassion’, raised to Angela Merkel’s geopolitical scale, can lead in time only to resentment or worse, and finally to its own antithesis. As for the defence of our European civilization, the struggle has one primary theatre: education.

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The Other Inconvenient Truth

The Other Inconvenient Truth

The fate of Europe is now fully engaged, as on so many occasions throughout its thirty or so centuries of prodigious cultural and economic development. Driven to a moral fervour in September 2015 by President Erdoğan’s migratory ‘push’ and Angela Merkel’s complementary ‘pull’, the neoliberals of Germany and Sweden briefly demonstrated their enormous capacity for humanitarian concern. The over-confidence necessary to carry off the first few weeks of mayhem seemed to be induced spontaneously by the enormity of the challenge itself: it could hardly have existed beforehand. Neoliberals have always insisted on diversity they can see; but this was on an altogether new and overwhelming scale.

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Bosnia-on-Rhine

Bosnia-on-Rhine

Human Rights legalism already meets all the criteria of a religion, and the institutions of global capitalism are well on their way to meeting all the criteria of the superstate that the European Union sought unsuccessfully to become. Further, the Church of Human Rights, with its clergy of lawyers and its vast supporting laity both inside and outside national governments, is the established church and jesuitical instrument of the emerging global superstate. Continue reading “Bosnia-on-Rhine”

The Pope: Secularism is Essential

The Pope: Secularism is Essential

Dark pages that seem to have been torn from some postmodernist catalogue of verities are nowadays thick in the political wind, as threatening as Hitchcock’s birds. But this leaf‡ from the Bishop of Rome is distinguished by its authenticity. Un pape pour tous? If so, his distance from the pre-November convictions — now unceremoniously dumped — of the French gauchiste state,  must be thin indeed.

To be wilfully blind, even now, to the risks of attempted vivre-ensemble on which the pope is cheerfully insisting, would require the sort of political hubris of which only Frau Merkel is capable to be maintained indefinitely and throughout Europe. This clearly cannot happen. Europe will never again be able to relax as it did in the decades of its stable prosperity.

One is left with the distinct impression that the pontiff has aligned himself politically with Frau Merkel and the Archduke of Brussels, M. Jean-Claude Juncker. Mere mortals perhaps ought not to guess at the pope’s personal frame of reference: nevertheless, some of the furniture is clearly recognisable — South America and the Vatican. Neither of these bearings is particularly useful in making policy for Europe.

Has the Bishop of Rome joined the Coalition of the Blind, whose individual instincts are first and foremost self-referential? But let the pope opine: freedom of speech belongs to him too, even though in stopping little short of a public endorsement of the Merkel-Juncker line on immigration, he himself menaces that very same freedom.

The article, translated from the catholic daily, La Croix, is an extract from the Pope’s interview of 16th May.

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Rootless in Canada

Rootless in Canada

Multiculturalism as Performance ArtLe Figaro has published brief excerpts from Le Multiculturalisme Comme Religion Politique (Multiculturalism as a Political Religion) by the Canadian sociologist Mathieu Bock-Côté, who wonderfully evokes the contemporary West as a collection of fictional performances, each with its own multicultural channel-surfing sociology. Continue reading “Rootless in Canada”

Finkielkraut Plays With Fire

Finkielkraut Plays With Fire

This interview appeared originally in Le Monde on 23rd October, 2013, on the publication of Alain Finkielkraut’s book, L’Identité malheureuse — The Unhappy Identity. It typifies the then attitude of much of the official French media to the breaking of received taboos. Now, two years later, and under the weight of subsequent catastrophic events such as Charlie Hebdo and the migration crisis, the first hairline cracks in the media front are coming into view. However, to all appearances, Le Monde remains today as staunchly bien-pensant as before.

The tone of the article appears ironic more or less throughout; and the final paragraph is characteristically moralizing. Le Figaro, on the other hand, seems to be taking a more balanced view of political and social issues as Europe enters what many observers regard as some kind of endgame.

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