Blandt andre store emner er om Europa (i genkendelig forstand og defineret som noget værdifuldt) har en fremtid. Vores allesammens Mark Steyn har netop udgivet en bog, der siger nej (europæere formerer sig ikke og er hastigt på vej til at erstattes af muslimer), som jeg vil vende tilbage til.
Her vil jeg lægge ud med at henvise til en diskussion fra tidlige iår på Cato Unbound, hvor Theodore Dalrymple (= Anthony Daniels) bl.a. havde dette at sige:
a pall of doom does currently overhang Europe. In retrospect, the Twentieth Century may be considered Europe's melancholy, long withdrawing roar (to adapt Matthew Arnold's description of the decline of religion) … Europe's loss of power, influence and importance continues to this day; and however much one's material circumstances may have improved (just take a look at photographs of daily life in France or Britain in the 1950s and compare them to daily life there today), it is always unpleasant, and creates a sense of deep existential unease, to live in a country perpetually in decline, even if that decline is merely relative.
Combined with this is the fact that most European populations experience a profound feeling of impotence in the face of their own immovable political elites … This feeling of impotence is not because of any lack of intelligence or astuteness on the part of the populations in question: if you wanted to know why there was so much youth unemployment in France, you would not ask the Prime Minister, M. Dominque de Villepin, but the vastly more honest and clear-headed village plumber or carpenter, who would give you many precise and convincing reasons why no employer in his right mind would readily take on a new and previously untried young employee. Indeed, it would take a certain kind of intelligence, available only to those who have undergone a lot of formal education, not to be able to work it out.
Så kommer han til sagens kerne som jeg fremhæver a propos mit tidligere indlæg idag om tryghed og risiko. Altså, at Jacob Hacker kan have ret, men svaret er ikke "flexicurity" eller velfærdssamfundets illusion af tryghed kombineret med spild og dårlig, dårlig værdi for pengene:
The principal motor of Europe's current decline is, in my view, its obsession with social security, which has created rigid social and economic systems that are extremely resistant to change. And this obsession with social security is in turn connected with a fear of the future: for the future has now brought Europe catastrophe and relative decline for more than a century.
What exactly is it that Europeans fear, given that their decline has been accompanied by an unprecedented increase in absolute material well-being? An open economy holds out more threat to them than promise: they believe that the outside world will bring them not trade and wealth, but unemployment and a loss of comfort .. the more … other nations advance relative to themselves, the more necessary does protection seem to them. A vicious circle is thus set up.
In the process of course, the state is either granted or arrogates to itself (or, of course, both) ever-greater powers. A bureaucratic monster is created that takes on a life of its own, that is not only uneconomic but anti-economic, and that can be reformed only at the cost of social unrest that politicians naturally wish to avoid. Inertia intermittently punctuated by explosion is therefore the most likely outcome …
The dependent population does not like the state and its agents, indeed they hate them, but they soon come to fear the elimination of their good offices even more. They are like drug addicts who know that the drug that they take is not good for them, and hate the drug dealer from whom they obtain their drug, but cannot face the supposed pains of withdrawal. And what is true of Britain is true, with a few exceptions, everywhere else in Europe.
In the name of social justice, personal and sectional interest has become all-powerful, paralyzing all attempts to maximize collective endeavor … The goal of everyone is to parasitize everyone else, or to struggle for as large a slice of the economic cake as possible …
But there are other threats to Europe. The miserabilist view of the European past, in which achievement on a truly stupendous scale is disregarded in favor of massacre, oppression and injustice, deprives the population of any sense of pride or tradition to which it might contribute or which might be worth preserving …
This loss of cultural confidence is particularly important at a time of mass immigration from very alien cultures … If the host nation is so lacking in cultural confidence that it does not even make familiarity with the national language a condition of citizenship (as has been until recently the case in Great Britain), it is hardly surprising that integration does not proceed very far.
The problem is multiplied when a rigid labor market is capable of creating large castes of people who are unemployed and might well remain so for the whole of their adult lives. To the bitterness caused by economic uselessness will then be added, or rather be multiplied by, the bitterness of cultural separation. In the case of Islam this is particularly dangerous, because the mixture of an awareness of inferiority on the one hand, and superiority on the other, is historically a very combustible one.
Anne Applebaum forsøgte i sit svar at finde nogle lyspunkter:
I'm going to .. list three factors which could, over the next decade, help reverse Europe's course …
The first, and probably most serious problem Europe faces is a dearth of political leaders who have not only identified the source of the economic problemsthe regulation, the over-extended state, the absence of entrepreneurshipbut also have ideas about how to fix them, and know how to sell those ideas to the public. To put it differently: Most of Europe is still waiting for its Margaret Thatcher. Most of Europe still doesn't have serious, economically liberal, center-right political leaders who win elections, and who present economic opportunity, economic choice, and economic freedom as positive, not terrifying.
This is not to say that there could never be such leaders. Portugalnot a country known for its libertarianismdid recently produce a free-market government (or freer-market government; these things are relative). So did Denmark.
(Pause. Kynisk latter, som går over i frustreret gråd).
The second thing missing in "old" Europe is an acknowledgment of the possibilities presented by the new members of the European Union … Butas with everything elsethe expansion of Europe has led not to a sense of victory, or a perception that Western ideals were vindicated, but more fear: The Polish plumbers will take our jobs, the Lithuanian construction workers will put ours out of business …
Maybe the rapid expansion of European markets for goods and labor will jump-start the flagging economies of the West. Or maybealas it's possibleWestern Europe will bribe the best easterners with EU jobs and scholarships, and convert them into negative, fearful Euro-statists before anyone has even had a chance to notice that it's happening.
Finally, Europeans need to ditch their increasingly bizarre obsession with the evil United States. I realize that the current virulence of European anti-Americanism is in some senses an accident, the product of the election of G
eorge W. Bush (whom Europe
ans hated even before Iraq), the events of Sept. 11, the war, and truly terrible American diplomacy. But it's becoming a problem for Europe now too. Relatively mild free-market reformsprivatization, lower taxes, de-centralizationcan be skewered, in Europe, if opponents simply refer to them as "too American." Without a sense of solidarity among Western countriesall of the Western countriesit's impossible to construct a coherent response to Islamic radicalism either.
Det er der sgutte megen trøst i.
Hvad mener I? Er vi enige med Henryk Broder i Berlin, som ligeud siger, at "den der elsker friheden må forlade Europa"? Hvad anbefaler vi vore børn? Eller tror vi for alvor og dybt inde, at vi og de stadig har et nogenlunde fungerende rets- og velfærdssamfund (i ordentlig forstand, ikke i Foghs) om 20 år? 30?
Litteraturen om dette emne vokser eksplosivt, og jeg vil fra tid til anden bringe indlæg om den. Intet forekommer mig faktisk vigtigere.