Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Where Is Europe Headed?

Archonix, one of our regular readers and commenters from the UK, explains in the comment thread from one of yesterday’s posts why the EU will not work in the long run.

He is addressing his words to another commenter who ends his thoughts with this:

The Fjordmans and DeWinters of Europe must divorce nationalism and embrace a new Europe, with a new federal EU structure, with representatives from the individual European states that support both European integration and a European cultural and civilizational identity against assaults from the Islamic world.

Archonix replies (edited slightly for clarity):

Gordon, you make sense in general but you’ve contradicted yourself:

The will of the European political elites can be overborne without resort to Kalashnikovs. It can be overborne through elections held in individual European nations

and:

the key problem with the anti-Muslim political faction in Europe, as epitomized by Fjordman in his columns here, is that the cause of protecting Western and European civilization is terminally polluted with individual nationalisms…

If voting in the national elections to reduce or abolish the power held by the EU isn’t “nationalism” then I don’t know what is.

We do not need a “federal” Europe, or any sort of political union, to deal with this problem. We need strong borders. We need nationalism, patriotism, individualism and the right to defend our nations.

You federalists don’t understand the history of Europe, the reason why it’s a stupid idea to try and squish us into any sort of union, federal or not. Europe doesn’t have a single culture, or even the metaculture that the US has. I travel through the United States and I know I’ll find differences but there’s an overarching culture to it, which doesn’t exist over here. A German is not a Spaniard is not an Italian is not a Bulgarian. They’re as different from each other as you are from the Chinese.

That situation cannot support a political union of any sort for long because it will force compromise, not in detail but in fundamental issues that are brought about by cultural differences. Integration would be the death of those cultures and what would it achieve in return? Nothing!

Those individual cultures are what we fight for — look at the countries that are fighting back the most. They’re the ones that haven’t sacrificed their culture on the altar of political correctness. Look at Sweden, where the very idea of a Swedish culture is considered racist, or here in the UK, where even our nominally conservative politicians talk about the threat from the natives to foreign cultures.

“Europe” in 2067
Your plan for the EU would cement that attitude across the entire continent by forcing those disparate individual cultures into a political straightjacket. I don’t care how “federal” it might be. There are compromises that have to be made in any political union that ultimately alter the cultural balance of the nations making up that union.

What we need is strong national identities and an alliance based on one thing: the right for a nation to choose its own path. We don’t need an overarching government or any federal structures for that, we don’t need a currency or a flag or a bloody parliament, or a senate, or a president or any of that. We need our individual cultures to be strong, to unite the people they encompass.

No “federal Europe” will ever have that power.

You’re American. Your experience is with the United States, and long may it remain a positive one, but your experience is limited to a relative monoculture. You apparently don’t understand that part of the problem is the very idea that disparate, opposing cultures can somehow function within a single society. They can’t.

That’s what borders are for. That’s what the fence around our garden is for, to keep out the neighbour’s dog and stop him sh*tting in the pansies. I don’t set up a sharing agreement or some sort of “union” with the neighbour and his dog…
- - - - - - - - -
…pulling down the fence between us so we can collectively defend against the dog across the road. I put up a bigger fence, I advise him to do the same. Why should I let his dog crap on my lawn just because we’re both defending ourselves against the dog across the road? I can lend him my hose to squirt at it, sure, but that’s a trade agreement, an alliance, not a garden “union” because it’s still my garden. If I tear down that fence, how long before we start arguing about where the dog is allowed to take a crap? He doesn’t understand why I get so worked up about a dog taking a crap on my nice lawn because he’s always lived with dogs, he’s used to it. That’s his culture. My culture is to squirt water at them.

Then, of course, he might start to argue that perhaps letting the dog across the road enter our collective garden isn’t such a bad idea after all. After all, it’s just a dog like his. So he lets it in through his gate and then I suddenly have two dogs crapping on my lawn. Up goes the fence, but now we’re arguing about whether I have the right to do that in our collective space…

See the point? A national border is just a bigger fence and an invasive culture is just a bigger dog. We can let that dog keep crapping on our lawn or we can send [the dog] back and close the gate.

As a nation we can do that, but as part of a federal European union there are suddenly 26 points of failure to consider, because that dog can enter any one of those 26 other nations, some one of whom might think it is to their advantage to let this invasive culture enter so they can knock back their competitors.

You see that’s the thing you’re ultimately dealing with here, Gordon. Nations, individual nations, with a history that goes back to the time of Christ in some instances, and certainly back to the early fifth century in most. These are cultures that are in some cases entirely incompatible with each other; the only difference is that they don’t resort to exploding in market places.

All those wiggly lines you see on a map of Europe represent the gradual establishment of those cultural boundaries though — yes — wars, trade, population movements and treaties. World War Two could have been the last solidification of that.

If only the people behind the EU — and behind the more general malaise affecting our nations — hadn’t come along and knocked all the fences down and let in a new and invasive culture. Now we’re facing probably another thousand years of upheaval and war because of people like that blathering on about unions and federal structures.

They ignore the fact that it is nationalism, an alliance of strong, unified cultures, that would defend us against the Islamic invasion. All the talk about “unions” and federations and so on weakens those cultures, just as much as mixing slag into iron weakens it.

Needless to say, I agree with Archonix. The citizens in the nations of Europe were slowly set up by their elites to take this fatal fall. The average person paid little attention because it started out innocently enough on an economic path — what was the Common Market but a European version of NAFTA? And what could be the harm in that?

But the elites, starting wtih Charles de Gaulle, knew they weren’t ending it there, as Bat Ye’or has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt.

I wish Fjordman were wrong, but he’s not. The Dark Prophet of Norway has been only too accurate in his descriptions and predictions of what has happened to Europe and what is to come.

In a final betrayal, the citizens of Europe were not even allowed a say in their destiny. A creature called “The Treaty of Lisbon” was whelped in Portugal and will now proceed to swallow the countries of Europe and digest them. What this metabolic process produces no one can really know, though we can see through the mists something de Gaulle lusted for: a united Europe and Arabia. This mess will be ugly, producing no end of wars and conflicts.

The Treaty of Lisbon will go down in history as a betrayal leading to war and destruction, much as the punitive Treaty of Versailles led with inevitable steps to World War Two.

29 comments:

Paardestaart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paardestaart said...

Well - the overriding problem with the federalism advocated by our european power-elites is that it is not an organically evolved ideal, but an incomprehensible scheme; part and parcel of an idiotarian ideology which is incompatible with the freedom and self-determination we have attained only so recently

It sounds completely paranoid, but there is absolutely no vital argument to further this unholy project against the will of the European populace, if it weren't for an even more disastrous hidden agenda of it's architects: the incredibly silly belief in Transnational Positivism..an obnoxious weed which has pervertedly sprung in the garden of the cursed isms that murdered millions of people in the last century, and which made even more people miserable until their dying day

It's 'communism-light', 'cultural marxism' or 'Eurabia', and it's the foolish concoction of burocrats who have bided their time, and patiently plotted to rob the people they claim to serve of the freedoms that have always been a horror in the eyes of commissars and nobles who believe it's they who should rule the world..and damn the proles
The same thing incidently is going to happen in the USA, if you aren't careful - hasn't your president signed a trade-agreement recently with Canada and Mexico? That's how they started in Europe..you better watch out, Gordon

Joanne said...

Multiculturism does not work in North America, western Europe or western civilization. People can tolerate most cultures and religions, but Islam has crossed the line - they are the intolerable who refuse to tolerate the tolerant.

Let's face it, if Muslims want to instill their beliefs, laws, and cultures in western lands, then why don't they want to stay home. I'm sure we can all think of many reasons, and not one of them will be to our benefit.

John Savage said...

"All those wiggly lines you see on a map of Europe represent the gradual establishment of those cultural boundaries though — yes — wars, trade, population movements and treaties. World War Two could have been the last solidification of that."

A point that is made forcefully by Pat Buchanan here. (Read the linked article by Jerry Muller too.) Many Americans don't realize how an enormous amount of blood was shed in large part to define boundaries among the various peoples of Europe. Now the EU is undoing this process of homogenization. If history repeats itself, the result may be more war on the scale of the two world wars.

Findalis said...

I have always thought the idea of the EU to be a bad one. Why America works is that we share a common history, a common culture (of sorts). It cannot work in Europe. Each nation, each region has their own culture, their own history. The EU erases all of that. They have tried to put all the cultures into a blender and mix them together. What they have ended up with is a mess. A creation that is doomed to failure.

Charlemagne said...

I've commented before on the topic of the consolidation of power at the federal level and can guarantee you that the problems the EU is causing for Europe are also happening her in the US. Our founders envisioned a federal government with very limited powers and the majority of powers residing at the state level where politicians were accountable. As the federal government has usurped more and more power from the states the voice of the individual citizen has become more and more diluted.

For example, we have had great success at the state level in places like Arizona and Oklahoma in making it very hard for illegal aliens to find work, housing, public benefits, and sanctuary. So much so that the unemployment in those states has dropped and the Mexican government is complaining about the influx of its citizens back to Mexico. But the debate at the federal level over amnesty continues and if ultimately passed will have made a mockery of all the time and effort millions of citizens have given to turning the tide against the invasion of our country.
So please don't think that because we are fairly culturally homogeneous and have been a single nation from the start that the damaging effects of federal power can't tear us apart. Secessionist movements are starting to grow and in a few decades time may become serious forces.

And on the subject of the UK, Muslims to outnumber Christians by 2035

Sagunto said...

@paardestaart,

"..Well - the overriding problem with the federalism advocated by our european power-elites is that it is not an organically evolved ideal, but an incomprehensible scheme.."

Precisely the difference, once noted by Chesterton, between "progress" versus growth.

But also in America there have been numerous elitist advocates of the sort of superstate idea, planning and all, that inherently springs from high-minded ideas about "progress". Look at Wilson and the "Progressives" or the "Social Gospel Movement". It's all bound up with dangerous elitist ideas about "unity".

Returning to this side of the Atlantic, I'd support Hayek's proposal (I believe it was him, or perhaps Murray Rothbard) to let the current German territories within that artificial state restore part of their old traditional autonomy. Then my proposal would be (following Paul Belien) they join the European Free Trade Association. It would be a nice prelude to the disintegration of the tyrannical neo-socialist EU superstate.
Here's some audioviz educational material for Gordon about EU "integration"

Sag.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I'm actually very open to the idea of a European federation. If we all pooled our resources together, we would be much more powerful and secure. We could even conduct military and peacekeeping operations without the US holding our hand.

A federation seems pretty much inevitable. The wave of the future. However, it's impossible to say what will happen once Islamization reaches its boiling point and armed conflicts start to break out.

Archonix says that we don't need a federal Europe or any sort of political union to deal with this problem, but Islamization is not the only thing we need to worry about. Eventually, we'll either win or we'll be wiped out. If we're wiped out our worries are over, but if we win it's back to business as usual, and all the comparatively mundane problems that come with it.

Also, Europe does have an overarching culture. Now, more than ever, it's necessary to emphasize our similarities and shared heritage, especially in contrast with Islam, instead of advocating ultranationalist isolation.

We may have our differences, but they seem pretty minor to me. The difference between Germany and Spain most certainly isn't as great as the difference between the US and China. Even the difference between Western and Asian countries is small compared to the difference between Islam and everyone else.

Archonix is being too extremist and short-sighted. Political, economic and military integration would achieve nothing in return? Really? He may elevate the nation state above all other considerations, but I don't. This is the 21st century, and we simply cannot afford that kind of isolation. Separately, the European nation states are too weak to compete with everyone else. The world is also too interconnected for one country to just ignore everything going on outside its borders (if that's the kind of attitude Archonix is advocating - I'm not sure).

I'm concerned about Europe as a whole, not just my own country. If a federation is what's best for Europe, and if it means that everyone will have to compromise and maybe even dilute their national cultures, then that's fine with me.

Sagunto said...

@JC Supercop,

You're about 15 years too late. Here's some audioviz enlightenment for you and please notice the crucial difference between a superstate and federative cooperation.

You're proudly not concerned only about just your own country. Which country would that be then, if I may ask? Recently joined the EU perhaps?

You talk about "A federation" that "seems pretty much inevitable", and even about "The wave of the future..". We've heard all this Hegelian grandiose newspeak before. Haven't you? I'd recommend you to read Watson's Lost Literature of Socialism. Then reëxamine your "concern about Europe as a whole" (you probably meant to say the EU as a whole, for Europe as a whole has never existed, but for short periods under brute force).

The democratic voices raised against the neo-socialist EU project are not about "isolationism", how can you even say such nonsense? It's also pretty preposterous to liken the people's wish to uphold a certain degree of sovereignty, to a lack of competitive power. When the EU was not in place, we in Holland did perfectly well, like we did hundreds of years, when even The Netherlands were not "a whole" or a unity, in spite of your apparent disdain for smaller countries that control their own fate by democratic means and who won't bow down to a blue-printing, planning and ruling political elite. Would you seriously call the Dutch "isolated"? Do you know anything about Dutch history and international trade through the ages, to substantiate your a priori claim that national independence leads to "isolation"?

Sag.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

If a federal union were to evolve from an open democratic will then I wouldn't have much complaint against it. It won't, though. Not for a very long time at least, in part because of the top-down version that's been forced on us but mostly because there's not much point in it. Where cooperating on military matters is necessary a simple treaty would be enough, no need for a central government to oversee it.

I have been a little extreme in my rhetoric, I won't deny that. We do, in fact, have a very good example of a working federal union right in the middle of Europe, in Switzerland, where cultures aren't diluted to any great extent, the economy is good and the trains run on time. The thing is, that took about 500 years to get into the state it's at now and, in the process, it became very weak for a very long time. We can't afford anything that weakens us right now, no matter how desirable the outcome might be or how temporary that state is. We're already weakened enough as it is.

As I said, in that sort of situation I could accept a federal union of some sort, though as Churchill said to DeGaul, when asked if he'd join; the English would always look to the sea. The UK couldn't be part of it. We'd mess it up for everyone else.

If such a union were to appear it would have to come after a re-assertion of national pride and unity. Strong and confident nations joining in a federation is a whole different ballgame. Nationalism doesn't mean isolationism, it means keeping a secure fence, letting the world know that this bit of it belongs to you and they can't have it.

Did I just contradict myself? :D

Incidentally, my thanks to Dymphna for editing me to sound more coherent than I am.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

sagunto:
You're proudly not concerned only about just your own country. Which country would that be then, if I may ask? Recently joined the EU perhaps?

Am I supposed to feel ashamed or stupid for being concerned about people outside my country?

I'd recommend you to read Watson's Lost Literature of Socialism. Then reëxamine your "concern about Europe as a whole."
What does socialism have to do with this?

You probably meant to say the EU as a whole, for Europe as a whole has never existed, but for short periods under brute force
Perhaps it exists now.

The democratic voices raised against the neo-socialist EU project are not about "isolationism", how can you even say such nonsense?
I don't know, since I never said such a thing.

When the EU was not in place, we in Holland did perfectly well, like we did hundreds of years, when even The Netherlands were not "a whole" or a unity, in spite of your apparent disdain for smaller countries that control their own fate by democratic means and who won't bow down to a blue-printing, planning and ruling political elite.
Just because things were a certain way in the past doesn't mean they'll remain that way forever. This is 2008, not 1908, 1808 or 1708.

Would you seriously call the Dutch "isolated"? Do you know anything about Dutch history and international trade through the ages, to substantiate your a priori claim that national independence leads to "isolation"?
We're talking about entirely different kinds of isolation. Obviously it's hard to survive without international trade, as North Korea has volunteered to show us.

Sagunto said...

Thnx JC sc,

for your answers; no more rhetorical "questions" on my part this time, so I'll repeat my first Q as short and simple as possible: What country?

Kind regs. from Amsterdam,
Sag.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

Well, Baron (and Archonix), for the benefit of readers who missed my entire set of posts on the last thread, I will repeat a key point I made in my discussion with Archonix a couple of days ago:

For you, and for all readers of Gates of Vienna, I would point out that there remains an example of aggressive nationalism on the European Continent. It is opposed to the dilution of its cultural core. It has ruthlessly suppressed and attacked Islamic terrorists, and anyone else (including its own citizens) who got in the way, on purpose or by accident.

The name of this nation is - RUSSIA. That is the model for you, Archonix.


To elaborate, the nation-state model of Europe has proven itself to be inherently unstable, and a return to it in response to the Islam problem/menace will result in defeat, not victory and survival.

The first problem is that Archonix seems to have a misty ideal of strong nation states living in harmony with each other. In contrast, the development of a strong nation state inevitably leads to "border conflicts," such as France and Germany have had for centuries regarding the area between the Rhine and the western border of Lorraine. More disastrously, a strong sense national identity leads to a strong sense of superiority, whether it be the French under Louis XIV and Napoleon, the Germans under Bismarck, the Kaiser, and Hitler, the Poles under Pilsudski and his military successors, who foolishly and greedily participated in the 1938-39 evisceration of Czechoslovakia blinded to their own almost-immediate doom, and, most recently, the utter disaster that nationalism has caused in the former Yugoslavia. My earlier proffered example of Russia fits in right here too.

The second problem, even more important when facing a menace like Islam, is that the history of Europe when faced with outside invaders has not always been one of nation-states supporting each other, but rather nation-states allying with the invader against each other.

Some examples from this blog's own namesake/metaphor - from Wikipedia:

On the political front, the Ottoman Empire had been providing military assistance to the Hungarians and to non-Catholic minorities in Habsburg-occupied portions of Hungary. There, in the years preceding the siege, widespread unrest had become open rebellion upon Leopold I's pursuit of Counter-Reformation principles and his desire to crush Protestantism. In 1681, Protestants and other anti-Habsburg forces, led by Imre Thököly, were reinforced with a significant force from the Ottomans, who recognized Imre as King of "Upper Hungary" (eastern Slovakia and parts of northeastern present-day Hungary, which he had earlier taken by force of arms from the Habsburgs). This support went so far as explicitly promising the "Kingdom of Vienna" to the Hungarians if it fell into Ottoman hands.

Yes, the Ottomans were allied with Hungarians against the Austrians, with both the Hungarians and the Austrians motivated by nationalism.

As for the earlier Siege of Vienna in 1529, the Habsburg defense was complicated by the fact that they were also at war with France at the same time. France and the Ottomans actually formed an alliance against their common enemy. This has been documented in an article by scholar Michael Heath entitled "Unholy Alliance: Valois and Ottomans," the abstract for which reads: The political alliance between the Valois princes and the Ottoman sultans had a significant impact on international jurisprudence and diplomacy in the 16th century. Fear of Charles V and his imperial ambitions motivated the French to seek this alliance.

In contrast the Pollyannish view of Archonix that revived nation-states in Germany, France, and Britain would form an alliance to fight Islamists, it is far more likely that one or more of these states would form alliances with the Islamists themselves against their enemies. Such nation states would have little problem with throwing their little neighbors "under the Islamic bus," so to speak, as well.

To reiterate - those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it. To save itself Europe must not dissolve the EU, but elect new leaders who will protect and promote the common Western heritage that Archonix so belittles.

There is indeed a difference between a Brit and a Bulgarian. But the difference between a Brit and an Arab (or a Bulgarian and an Arab) is as Grand Canyon compared to a muddy ditch.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

Sagunto, I'm from Finland. Why do you ask?

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Gordon, I shall simply quote my answer to you.

Actually, Gordon, I know my history quite well. It was Nationalisms that stopped most of those wars. In fact it was the strong nationalism of England that stopped, or helped to stop, nearly every major war on the continent since the 1500s. It was nationalism that rallied people to defence against hitler, against Imperial germany, against napolean, against the islamic invasions...

Nationalism doesn't have to be aggressive, which makes me glad you included that qualifier. Nationalism is concerned with the nation. It can be expansionist and aggressive, wherein it becomes not merely nationalism but a sort of internationalism, as exemplified by Imperial and Nazi Germany, or Napoleonic France, or Russia; or it can be defensive, merely concerned with independence and self-determination, as exemplified by the UK (in the past; not so much now), Israel, the United States, Australia...

let me put it this way. is it Israel's nationalism that causes the current troubles, or the repudiation of that nationalism by the arabs? Is it the US's nationalism that is causing friction with Mexico, or repudiation of nationalism - patriotism - by left-leaning media and government figures that is causing your immigration problem?

See the point?

Sagunto said...

Well jesus that's simple:
because I had some preconceived idea based upon your initial comment, where you might be from. But such ideas are sometimes misguided, so the one simple thing to do is check and therefore ask.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

Archonix: with regard to your examples:

1. England's continental policy from the 16th century on was to play off competing continental Nationalisms, and general opposition to the most strong of them, so as to prevent the uniting of Europe and the consequent invasion and possible conquest of the British Isles.

The EU is designed to end those competing nationalisms on the continent, and therefore take way the threat to Great Britain. It has worked. Why do you want to return to a nation-state system where Great Britain had to be on constant guard against the Continent, instead of embracing a system that will end the need for Great Britain to face episodic threats to its existence?

3. The threat faced by Israel is fundamentally different from those faced today in Europe, or yesterday in Europe. Israel faces the combined rabid hostility of both nationalistic and religious forces. Israeli nationalism is the proper, and only feasible, response. In a sense, the corollary to the threat Israel faces is the threat Europe AS A WHOLE faces from militant Islam. Thus a EUROPEAN national identity is necessary and proper to meet and defeat this threat.

3. As for the U.S. and Mexico, I agree with you that the U.S. and Europe and fundamentally different in the nature of our ethnic and racial identities. The "nationalism" of the U.S. embraces immigrants of different races, religions, and ethnicities, with the requirement that these immigrants assimilate and become "Americans." I'll admit that there is a significant contingent of nativist "know-nothing" sentiment in the U.S. that fundamentally misunderstands the true nature of their own nation, but so be it (that's another whole topic of discussion!). The questions being raised regarding Mexicans are 1) are they too close to their native land, with too great ties, to truly assimilate?, and 2) are there too many of them - will they "tip the balance" in the U.S. by sheer numbers? I happen to think the answer to both questions is "No," but there are certainly countervailing viewpoints.

Sagunto said...

@gordon,

"..To elaborate, the nation-state model of Europe has proven itself to be inherently unstable, and a return to it in response to the Islam problem/menace will result in defeat, not victory and survival.."

Well, one could agree on the "model" part, 'cause isn't any model (i.e. arbitrary, artificial) of Europe bound to be inherently instable? It might also be feasible to temporarily recreate Europe along the lines of a stable blue-print in response to the threat of Islamization (forget, for argument's sake, about the level at which actual Islamization takes place, which is that of neighbourhoods, not states). So imagine some sort of EU superstate that would actually garantee some sort of stability you envision. At what cost would it come, especially when freedom is concerned?

I'd agree that should your argument have pertained to the Congress of Vienna anno 1814-1815, and the artificial redrawing of national lines upon the continental map, you might have had a point in saying that quite a few of such "nations" were highly unstable. But that is not what you're saying and secondly such would not justify the case for some sort of superstate in any way. Quite the contrary: opposition against Islamization will i.m.o. most probably be bound up with the successful recovery of much smaller traditional units (e.g. Flanders' independence; still or even better able to cooperate, but less founded upon megalomanic schemes that won't work anyway, but at the cost of oppression like in Russia that has no democratic tradition whatsoever).

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Stephen Renico said...

You federalists don’t understand the history of Europe, the reason why it’s a stupid idea to try and squish us into any sort of union, federal or not. Europe doesn’t have a single culture, or even the metaculture that the US has. I travel through the United States and I know I’ll find differences but there’s an overarching culture to it, which doesn’t exist over here. A German is not a Spaniard is not an Italian is not a Bulgarian. They’re as different from each other as you are from the Chinese.

Long comment to follow:

Machiavelli said the same thing centuries ago in his book The Art of War when he spoke of "virtu".

Before reading the passage, one must first understand what Machiavelli calls "virtu". According to Dr. Neal Wood- Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, it is a difficult concept to translate. Dr. Wood describes "virtu" as "a necessary quality of of effective military and political leadership, and it is essential to the survival and well-being of a people in this alien and hostile world....."
"Virtu in the special sense is basically a military quality. There is no synonym for this use of virtu. Machiavelli employs it to characterize masculine and aggressive conduct that is exhibited in a dangerous and uncertain situation of tension, stess, and conflict. The concept entails the idea of tremendous force of will and inner strength that will enable one to overcome the most recalcitrant opposition and to endure the most perilous adversity. Among the attributes included in virtu are boldness, bravery, resolution, and decisiveness."
The passage in question is below:
____________________________

"Cosimo: I should be very happy to learn if you have ever considered how it comes to pass that we are so degenerate, and that not only these exercises, but all manner of military discipline, have now fallen into such neglect and disuse among us.
Fabrizio: I shall give you my opinon on hte mater very freely sir. You know, then, that there have been many renowned warriors in Europe- but few in Africa, and fewer still in Asia; the reason for this is that the last two mentioned parts of the world have had but one or two monarchies and only a few republics om tje,. amd that Europe, on the contrary, has had several kindoms, but more republics in it. Now men become excellent and and show their virtu according to how they are employed and encouraged by their sovereigns, whether these happen to be kings, princes, or heads of republics; so where there are many states, there will be many great men; but where there are few states, there will not be many great men. In Asia, there were Ninus, Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Mithridates, and a few others like them; in Africa (without mentioning the ancient Egyptians), we read of Masinissa, Jugurtha, and some Carthaginian commanders of eminent note. The number of these men, however, is very small in comparison with those Europe has produced; for in this part of the world, there have indeed been numbers of excellent men whom we know about, and doubtless many more whose memories are now extinguished by the malevolence of time; because every state is obliged to cherish and encourage men of virtu, either out of necesity or for other reasons- where there are more states, ther must of course be more men of virtu.
Asia, on the contrary, has not produced many men of virtu because, to a great extent, that part of the globe is subject to one monarchy alone- to so great an extent that most parts of it languish in indolence and cannot form any considerable number of men for great and glorious enterprises. The same may be said of Africa, although there have indeed been more commanders of virtu in that region than in Asia, thanks to the republic of Carthage. There will always be a greater number of excellent men in republics than in monarchies because virtu is generally honored in the former, but feared in the latter; hence, it comes to pass that men of virtu are and encouraged in one, but discountenanced and suppressed in the other.
If we consider Europe next, we shall find that it was always full of principalities, kingdoms, and republics which lived in perpetual jealousy of each other and were obliged to maintain good discipline in their armies and to honor and encourage military merit. In Greece, besides the Macedonian monarchy, there were several republics, and every one produced many excellent men. In Italy there were the Romans, the Samnites, the Etruscans, and the Cisalpine Gauls. France, Germany, and Spain abounded with republics and principalities; and if we do not rread of as many excellent men in any of them as among the Romans, that results from the partiality of historians, who generally follow the stream of fortuna, and content themselves with praising the conqueror. It is only reasonable to suppose, however, that there were a great many illustrious men among the Samnites and Etruscans since they defended themselves against the Romans for 150 years. The same may be supposed of France and Spain; but the virtu which most historians fail to celebrate in particular men, they are forward enough to praise in whole nations, when they tell us with what bravery and resolution these nations exerted themselves in defense of their liberties.
Since it is obvious, then, that where there are many states there will always be many men of virtu, it is certain that when the number of those states is diminished, the number of such men will likewise decrease by degrees- just as the effect must cease when the cause is taken away. Thus, when the Roman Empire had swallowed up all the kingdoms and republics in Europe and Africa, and most of those in Asia, virtu met with no countenance anywhere but in Rome; so that men of virtu began to grow more scarce in Europe, as well as in Asia, until at last there were hardly any to be found. Just as all virtu was extinguished, except among the Romans, so when they became corrupt, the whole world was similarly corrupted, and the Scythians poured by swarms into an Empire that, having extinguished the virtu of most other nations, was not able to preserve its own."

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

It's like the Israeli correspondent said in his letter, Europeans define themselves by the threat of the "other". The truth is that's how all humans define themselves in some way. We're a competitive species, and paradoxically a cooperative one. Harnessed correctly this competition makes us strive for greatness. Harnessed incorrectly it makes us insular and tribal.

The paradoxical cooperation comes out of that desire to better ourselves that, in turn, grows out of correctly harnessed "fear" of the other. I'm pretty sure there was a philosopher who said something to this effect though I can't remember who it was right now, but the gist is that humans need an external threat in order to define their internal strengths. They need a challenge. The same rule has to be applied a a societal level because societies are extended human constructs, merely a reflection of the attitude of the people that make up that society.

Nationalism harnessed correctly promotes competition between nations to be better. It raises us all up in the long run. It was nationalism and war that created the west and all of our technical and philosophical underpinnings, not cooperation and "peace". Conflict, whether martial, philosophical or just in trade, is what defines mankind. Peace is simply the absence of blood and guts in that eternal competition between people.

What the EU and other misguided socialist programs attempt to do is take away all conflict... not just war, but everything that makes us different from each other. Everyone is equal in every way. That's why the EU can never be reformed, for one thing; it is predicated on the creation of absolute equality. That's why the EU is a bad idea; it's predicated on removing the very essential nature of the west - conflict. That's why nationalism is necessary; it creates and promotes competition between groups of people.

That competition doesn't have to descend into warfare. As I have said, repeatedly in many threads, following World War 2, Europe began a process of liberalisation in trade that would have had pretty much the effect Giscard and co claimed they wanted with the creation of the EU. It would have allowed competition and conflict without the necessity of war. You see the EU was actually conceived in the aftermath of the first world war, when the big "bad" sort of nationalisms were still around, when France used its position to punitively punish Germany. It was an attempt to prevent war by preventing European nations from having the ability to produce weapons of war independently. World War 2 and the aftermath made it obsolete before it was even established by making the nations of Europe reliant on each other for trade. The EU was not necessary. All the EU does is drag down the economies of Europe, remove our ability to defend our national identity and import massive amounts of foreign labour. I'd say it's part of the problem, being top-heavy, statist, socialistic and bureaucratic and about as much point as a battleship in afghanistan.

A union of that nature is not necessary. A union of any nature is not necessary for similar reasons, as it would place unnecessary extra political hurdles on any action individual nations want to take and prevent them acting in their own best interests. Of course that was one of the other goals of the EU; it prevented the Germans from attacking France. It all comes down to the French in the end...

So in the end I'm pretty much repeating what Machiavelli wrote, but in the language I understand.

Sagunto said...

@archonix,

I agree with the bulk of your comment, except for this rather daring statement:

"..It was nationalism and war that created the west and all of our technical and philosophical underpinnings, not cooperation and "peace".."

It was war that almost destroyed the legacy of the ancient Greek/Roman philisophers that was preserved in the Irish monasteries. Can you imagine a Beda Venerabilis or an Isidore of Seville developing their great work while at war?
When you read what scholars like Lindberg, Stark (Victory of Reason) Fernand Braudel or Régine Pernoud write about the history of science and technology, free trade, art, music et cetera, one doesn't get the impression that all these achievements stem from war and nationalism, but actually more from freedom en relative peace. Capitalism for instance was the invention of the great medieval European monasteries, where continuity and relative peace allowed for future planning and reinvestment of resources. Nationalism and war however are not particularly the conditions of choice to foster a healthy environment for long term investments, often quite the contrary.
About science: the University of the 12th century was a gift of the Medieval Church to the West, not really the product of war/nationalism. And about music/art/architecture: go to Chartres and see. Al of these achievements had to be protected of course, like in 1683, when the Pope desperately called for a united effort against the Turkish invaders. In short: I can't really see how nationalism or war itself would create for instance the typically Western project of science which arose only once, starting in the so-called "Dark Ages", in Europe, with plenty of nationalists and warring mobs elsewhere in the world.

Perhaps I misunderstood your remarks.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

@sagunto, I attempted to clarify what I meant, but perhaps that line would be better read as "conflict". Or competition.

Sagunto said...

I see your point.
Still, the case i.m.o. is stronger for conditions of relative peace and freedom, especially when technical, scientific or philosophical underpinnings are concerned. I hope you don't mind me expanding on your remark just a bit more, just for the fun of it ;-) and because I think it's of some importance to offer a slightly different, broader perspective that doesn't necessarily exclude all of what you say.

I deliberately smuggled science into my comment, 'cause I think it's something distinctly different from just technology and vastly more important. Islam had technology, the Romans/Greeks had, China had, but only medieval Europe invented science.

Furthermore, for competition to bear fruit, it must be balanced/accompanied by a strong sense of cooperation. In a free market for instance, the competitive impulses are/must be restrained by the more cooperative need to cater to the wishes of free consumers. Capitalism in an open market, inherently has very strong "pacifying" incentives, a feature that is often neglected, I'm afraid. Durable free trade is based on stability and trust, not just conflict.

And surely, the idea of science itself, i.e. the belief that it is at all possible, is founded in the medieval idea that the universe "can be trusted" to be a rational, lawful, and stable structure, ready for human comprehension. For this idea, this optimistic dogma, we have to thank the Medieval rational theologians and scientists. They are the reason science only appeared in Europe and nowhere else, where much conflict and/or competition was going on.

So my point would be, that unless you bring the essential conditions of relative peace, cooperation, stability, rationality (i.e. the trust in Reason) and above all: freedom into the equation, you have no underpinnings for science/philosophy/European civilization whatsoever.

When you leave it at nothing but conflict and competition, then what you might end up with, is the essentially pessimistic worldview of the ancients (who did some splendid things, no doubt), of endless cycles of rise and decay. That's a philosophical view that doesn't preclude technology to develop - although slave labour did much to hem innovation, but not a worldview that would have fostered the birth of science in the past, as indeed it didn't.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

USpace said...

.
All these global government loons are Leftist moon bats in suits deluded by the evil siren song of utopia. They're not trying to destroy the world. They actually believe the crap they're peddling, and the 'religion' of multiculturalism and the chains of political correctness massively stifle intelligent and reasoned debate. It's absolutely surreal.
.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
expand the welfare state

favor the immigrants
till the natives vote you out


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
give your country away

to those unelected
by your citizenry


absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
ONE world government

on the way to Star Trek
LONG LIVE THE FEDERATION

.
Help Halt Terrorism Now!

FREE Absurd Thoughts eBook!

:)
.

leadpb said...

It cannot be a good idea to attempt any sweeping union of weakened states that are socially and politically mired in a worldview blinded by modern liberalism. This is the case of present-day Europe and the EU. Stronger states with a more narrowly focused goal can be more productive by their joining together on a temporary basis. It should be obvious that a loose affiliation of states is stronger in many ways than an amalgam that has thrown away sovereignties in exchange for collective power.

Analogy: The chances of K-Mart going down is much higher than some large percentage of individual merchants across the country folding at the same time. The effects of such a failure would be catastrophic and national in the first case, versus regional and more easily absorbed over time in the second. By similar reasoning the British should **never** give up the pound sterling.

Commenters here know a lot more about Europe and the EU than I do but it seems to me one consideration has been conspicuously absent from this particular thread: the economic one. The real purpose of the EU is to provide economic advantages for the various stakeholders and to eventually join hands with other regional economic "blocks" around the world so as to fulfill the promise of globalism. It is simply about money and the engineers of the Union believe they can out-maneuver any cultural resistance or difficulties from within or challenge from without, Islam in particular. No doubt they feel as Mr Bush feels that democratization of ME countries is quite possible and will come about in due time. In fact this must occur in order for globalism to succeed. This is very likely the reason our national leaders insist on impressing us with their delusional views of Islam and Arab leaders-- just follow the money, and follow it into the future. Obviously this implies that the democratization of Muslims in Europe is a sure bet.

There is overflowing evidence to tell us that leaders on both sides of the Pond believe such things and they are well on their way to convincing their respective populations that everything will turn out great so long as we respect one another and tear down the barriers that keep us divided. Hence the promotion of a hyper-liberal ideology that would ordinarily be rejected by business-oriented players.

In addition to what has been said above about competition and conflict, l would add contrast as well. Relative differences or contrasts at all levels make life possible-- dark and light, left and right, peace and war, poor and wealthy. The contrast between these opposing states makes their existence and our appreciation of them possible. The greater the attempt to deny or subvert this reality, the harder reality bites back. The EU is a good example of one such attempt.

Randy said...

The map of Europe after the "Hudna of Lausanne" is very amusing. Spain is going to become Muslim, with something like 85% of its immigrant population and >95% of its total population being of Christian stock? The rest of Europe likewise, given the general convergence of non-Muslim and Muslim fertility rates (the former up, the latter down)? The continent's largest Christian power being Russia, the same country's that's not only undergoing a demographic freefall but has a population that's already 15% Muslim ...

Hilarious, I tell you!

(One question: Is Israel, with a population nearly 20% Arab, set to become part of Eurabia any time soon?)

undercloak said...

The sky is falling!! You lot are just so self-consumed in your little minds and little bodies, afraid of shadows. How can you draw a future map, when you don't know the current map. You got it wrong.
But then again, mental aptitude has never been strong with the right wingers, which is fortunate - I'm safe in the knowledge that I can go about enjoying my life, living life full throttle and you lot will still be right here in 2067 redrawing a map wrong again, blaming something or someone else. It would be frightening what you guys come up with, if it weren't so pathetic.

OK, time to hit the throttle again, surf's up. I'll leave you with a bit of 'inspiration' from a guy who blew his brains out on 30th April 1945, you may know him - 'How fortunate for leaders that men do not think'

BTW, did you hear that Barrack Obama is the democratic nominee? That should keep you busy for a lifetime - bye

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Hey, don't answer the substantive issues, just make fun of the shiny colourful picture!

Well done!

Homophobic Horse said...

I hope that "undercloak" becomes a regular troll, because then he is a regular reader.