Skip to comments.Europe Must Find its Roots in America
Posted on 07/09/2006 4:46:50 AM PDT by Leifur
When the Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The dark ages descended upon Europe. Christian civilisation in the West collapsed. The second christening began about one hundred years later from an area that had itself been christened by Roman missionaries but had geographically never been part of the Empire because it was situated across the sea, even more to the west than the Western outskirts of the Empire had been. From here the Saints Columba and Aidan and other holy men travelled east to bring the ancient heritage back to the lands where they had originally come from.
History never repeats itself, and yet similarities are often so striking that in a way there is nothing new under the sun. In the 17th and 18th centuries North America was colonised by freedom loving people who brought the political institutions and traditions from Europe to a new continent across the sea. Many of them had left Europe because they wanted the freedom to live according to their own conscience instead of the conscience of the centralist absolutist rulers of the new age that was sweeping across Europe from the 16th century onwards. Their traditions were rooted in the decentralised traditions of the late Middle Ages and the Aristotelian philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Europes Middle Ages had been characterised by an absence of central power, while man was bound to multiple legal systems: the legal order of his city, that of the land, that of his guild, that of the church. There was not one monopolistic ruler, as in China or in the Muslim world, but many, which guaranteed greater freedom for the individual. The philosophy of Aquinas, moreover, was centered on the individual. God had called man to be free from sin, but in order to be free from sin he had to be virtuous, and in order for virtue to have any value it had to be voluntary, implying that the virtuous man had to be free in every aspect of his life including, as Aquinas followers later pointed out, his economic activities.
Hence the paradox came about that the civil society developing in the new continent was in a sense older than the new Modern Age of the absolutist monarchs governing Europe. When the Americans rebelled in 1776 they rebelled against absolutism in order to keep their old freedoms. Theirs was a conservative revolution. Europe had its own series of revolutions from 1789 onwards, but these were revolutions of a different sort. They toppled the ruling absolutists to replace them by absolutists of an even extremer form: totalitarians. These were not satisfied with controlling their subjects political and economic lives but also wished to control their minds and souls, i.e. to become their god.
The different historical evolution of Americans and Europeans has greatly influenced them. American society is a society whose culture and view of mankind resembles that of the old mediaeval Europe from which it organically evolved. It puts man before the state because it accepts that man should come to God as a free being. Europe, having lived through the perversions of the Modern Age, has absorbed much of the absolutist and totalitarian spirit. Though the state was rendered democratic in the second half of the 20th century an event, moreover, that would not have been possible without American assistance it has in fact developed into a totalitarian democracy. Europeans still tend to put the state before man, still see the government as a god (a benefactor who feeds and supports his people), while the real God He who wants people to come to Him freely because otherwise their choice for Him is no choice at all has almost totally disappeared from present-day European society.
Americans have never lost the vital understanding that freedom has to be indivisible in order that man may lead a virtuous life. Democracy and freedom of expression represent only the political and moral-cultural fields of life. There is a third important field of social life: economics. In this field the Americans have adopted a system that allows citizens the greatest possible economic freedom and severely restricts the power of the government. It is called capitalism, which to most Americans is something positive, while to most Europeans it appears deeply repulsive.
The strength of America's political system lies in the fact that ordinary Americans have never underestimated the supra-economic function of their economic liberty. One way or another, consciously or unconsciously, ordinary Americans have always felt economic liberty to be an indispensable guarantee of their democracy and freedom. Most ordinary West Europeans do not. In welfare state Europe, capitalism is a dirty word, as despicable as communism. Its euphemistic equivalent is free-market liberalism. But many West Europeans aren't even in favour of that. Economic freedom in Western Europe is severely restricted by a multitude of regulations and laws. Although these are designed to protect the citizen against risks, they discourage him from taking risks altogether and thwart his prosperity.
Hence Western Europe's economy stagnates while Americas keeps growing. This causes jealousy, which reinforces the political frustration Western Europe already has towards its Atlantic partner. Many Europeans compensate for their frustration by feeling culturally and morally superior to the Americans, whom they regard as backward. Though the Americans live in the so-called new continent, they represent the old, pre-modern Europe: They believe in God, they refuse to realise that the state can be a benevolent institution and subsequently distrust it. Large parts of the West European population consider Americans to be naive, simple, unsophisticated, even dumb a nation without any real culture or significant history. Such views are held not only by ordinary West Europeans (who get their political education in state run schools and from state run and/or state controlled media), but also by many intellectuals who ought to know better.
Europe, however, is being overrun by barbarians. Its populations are dwindling, its welfare systems are collapsing and its old religion, Christianity, which the Europeans had cast aside, is being replaced by another one: Islam. If Europe is to be saved it must return to its old heritage which has survived in the land across the Ocean. We need to bring Americas values to Europe. These values are our own lost heritage. To survive as Europeans we have to become Americans. It is time to save ourselves by establishing a Society for American Values in Europe.
The EU will allways be what it was founded to be, an undemocratic, elitist tool for those that hate the US and all what it stands for, and want to replace our old values and old nationalities with some kind of socialliberal European values and identity.
Iceland shall not join the EU, we must continue to be free.
I don't think continental Europeans are going to warm up to American values anytime soon - even in the face of their own extinction. Part of what America became was because Europe's freedom loving people took a risk on a new life and left their more timid and complacent brethern at home to replicate and deepen their intellectual and moral crisis. Like the third world brain-drain, there may be a point where their own recovery is now hopeless without intervention.
BTW, friends just returned from Iceland and said it was the most fantastic place they'd ever been.
I fear Europe is too cool to save itself by becoming more American. Better dead than American.
Excellent article, but perhaps they'd have better luck importing American values if they called it something else and left out the 'A' word altogether.
If only this were true. Sadly, I am afraid America is trodding the path of European totalitarian socialism rather than the other way around. We are a divided nation, with half wanting to be like Europe, and the other half resisting, clinging desperately to our freedom. Fortunately, the wisdom of our founders enshrined the second ammendment, which ensures that we can never plunge totally into despostism. Even so, this safety mechanism is under attack daily, and we plod ever onward toward a bigger government with more and more power.
Lately, (last 40 years or so) our judiciary has begun to act like a dictator, ascribing to themselves the sole power to determine all things constitutional. Since the spineless congress refuses to act to reign them in, we are now living in a oligarchy, with federal judges handing out edicts like mullahs passing out fatwahs.
I had an interesting conversation with a Dutchman not long ago. He's lived in the US for the past four years. When I said world events were worrisome (discreet reference to Muslims overrunning the EU and Holland in particular), his answer was that we can't do anything anyway. Governments do whatever they want, so we shouldn't worry. Just go to work and keep your head down. (Nice man, but even after four years in the US he doesn't get it.)
That's very interesting indeed. I think I heard that today's Virginia accent is most faithful to the original.
I'm more concerned about the state of Massachuttes than Europe. All North of New York is going down the EU crapper.
Great article. A keeper. Thanks for posting.
The stereotypical English Accent (clipped, haughty, veddy veddy proper) is a very recent construct (not much more than 100 years). It's called Received Pronouncuation (or BBC English) and it was created for reasons of class. It was (still is) something that has to be learned and acquired. Americans think it is the natural way the British speak, but it's something they have chosen -- lower classes in England are easy to spot because they don't talk in RP. This allows the "best people" to easily recognize each other.
Thanks for that, say hi to your friends from me
But maybe you are correct in some way, but I beliewe the immigration issue, the failure of multiculturalism and continuing economic failure of the EU is opening up more and more people´s eyes.
But the thing is, there are more structural barriers for such a new "old" movement here as the governmental process is not as open, at least not on the local levels. The media is all part of the elitist movement that now calls the shots and although the internet is opening thing up a little it is a difficult process ahead.
And because of these barriers, and because of the past (both interconnected) it is sad that many that have the right general thinking in these matters initially go towards the far right, because they are the only ones that speak up as mainstream voices are subjugated. And then the facists rein the people in and bring them toward their evil other agendas.
At least this seems to be the case on the mainland.
Agreed. They've got modern kings instead of Democratic leaders no matter how they slice, dice and parse. Oh well, as long as they can holiday five weeks a year in someplace warm and get free medical care, all is well...
From that perspective, the EU and America aren't so far apart.
All the more reason for Americans to band together and drive all of the socialists on our soil into the seas.
That is at least the feeling of the socialliberal left. But the patriotic of the various nations feel a kinship toward the americans, and although we would not call it americanism, we must pick and choose what the US has done right and apply it in the various European countries. Specially things like assimilation (and openness for individuals to become part of the new nation), the reawakening of our old values (Christianity and capitalism) and national pride.
The thing is that european nations are probably nearly as divided in these issues as Americans, but only one voice is allowed to be heard unlike across the pond.
Of course it could not be called Americanism or anything like that. But as a resurrection of National Patriotism (of that respected country) the lesson of America, both of what we lost and what we need to take up fresh, is a lesson we must learn.
But as many here have said, the fight is in many ways the same in the US, you just have more freedom to fight back as you can elect more of your officials and influence the political process in more ways than we. You can even elect your own judges, weather directly or through the various officialities.
Here we are lost in a notion of judges beeing able to be impartial and professional (and in that almost superhuman), wich is only another way of saying they will follow the current road.
Ps. Sorry all for my english, I often lack the words best describing what I am trying to say.