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.
About the accent: I also remember reading that the American accents are more like earlier British forms.
Here is one example. Most Americans say for either "EE-ther." Most Brits say EYE-ther. EEther is the original way. The story is that when the English imported Wm.of Orange-Nassau as King, he (a German-speaker) misprounced either, saying it the way someone would read itb in German, and to make him feel comfortable, his courtiers imitated him. People outside the court imitated what they thought was proper, and the new pronunciation spread. It became established in Boston and other East Coast ports through contact with the latest British influences, and to this day is more common in those areas. The original way is EEther, and that is what Shakespeare (or Oxford) would have said.
I have always thought that the upper-class British accent was very sexy, especially in English women, who are among the best-looking in the world (IMHO). I was surprised to find that many English people are attracted to the American accent, and find it not at all irritating. I guess that it is what you are used to. I like the Irish people, but there are certain Irish accents, like that of the IRA spokesman Adams, which I find intensely irritating. It's the way it ends on an upward lilt for every sentence, as if asking a question, yet there is no question. Fortuntately, not all Irish people do that.
When the church is seen as the brake on power of the state it is much more vibrant.
British language changed and affectations abounded after the 15th century. For example, Americans use the hard r, as the Elizabethans did; today, it has practically disappeared among upper class Brits. Thus you have mothah for mother, fathah for father, rathah for rather, Chahles for Charles, chuch for church, etc. Also the a as in our cat, has been softened.
I didn't realize you are from Iceland, as I began reading this, I thought of the analogy of Old Norse (Old Norwegian) perserved in that western enclave.
The Anglican Church in England has not really played a significant role since the imposition of a stupid line of Germans in the British monarchy. The last British royal to take an interest in the Church was Queen Victoria. The present queen has no interest in Church affairs, nor does her husband, her son, or his mentally-challenged children.
I can't name or specifically locate them, but there are several places on the left coast where the dialect is very close to what came over from England;
and very unlike today's UK.
On a related note, having finally visited the UK, there is as much or more regional dialect variation on that one island as there is in the entire USA.
Today I'm afraid Shakespeare would have had to draw pictures.
Read this if you think the U.S. is NOT about individual rights.
Regional accents in Devonshire and Somerset sound a lot like American English.
I am optimistic, though, for a couple of reasons. First, I am encouraged by NATO fighters in Afghanistan. After debates in England, Netherlands, and Canada NATO has taken on a new, constructive role. Hopefully, this means that "peacekeeping" goes the way of flower power.
Second, pay attention and you will see Brits and other Europeans showing up here and elsewhere with a healthy curiosity not just kneejerk Antiamericanism. One called Rush Limbaugh last week. Studying our conservatism may enliven their national debates which have been bound tight by PC, EU PR, and government-owned media. I am sure it also helps to have the Irish economy kicking a**.
One thing we should all note is that National Health care is the death of politics. Once a country has it, their politics are those of an old folks home. That's all anyone talks about. We should avoid that.
Some of my abowe posts were directed at what you said.
About your second amendment to your constitution, can you explain to me how you have come to this conclusion? I am not contesting it, it is just so "alien" thinking to me, as an Icelander, where guns are rarely seen, except in the movies (from the US).
Has the general ownership of guns in the US actually limited the auhtorities and can you point to me some examples of this (not the civil war though weather you see it as such an example or not), both in the old days and today?
The gun issue is one of those I have not been able to make my mind on, but I think it will be one of those things not incorporated here in Europe when the National Revival will begin (if we are optimistic it will come). At least not here in small Iceland.
"...That's very interesting indeed. I think I heard that today's Virginia accent is most faithful to the original...."
If you REALLY want to hear the old English, meet some watermen in small towns on coast of North Carolina (e.g., Swan Quarter, Okracoke, Manns Harbor, etc).
Your view of history is refreshing in that it goes outside the box of the revisionist history that is prevalent today.
Having said that, I wonder about this statement:
" 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. "
The medieval serf was, I believe, far from free. In order not to be a victim of the mass chaos that followed the collapse of Rome he took umbrage under a baron or Duke or whoever had an army and a castle. He was then subservient to him and the duke's wish was the serf's command. Free? It doesn't look like it to me.
His relationship to God, meanwhile, had already been replaced by subservience to the Pope, who extirpated all who followed The Word of God instead of his word, which was and is very different.
Iceland had what was, in 900-1000 AD, a very loosely organized parlimentary system. No king, no courts, highly independent people who were not terribly accepting of authority. They acknowledged a germanic legal system that provided some sense of order and provided a way to settle differences, although obtaining a judgement was dicey, and it was up to you to exact judgement since there was no police around to do it for you.
Modern Iceland is highly literate and fiercely independent. Can't see them bowing to the bureaucratic Gods in Brussels regarding the correct shape for strawberries or the correct way to label and package cod fish.
And that's sort of the point. Because the churches are funded by the state they are not going to be inclined to oppose the staus quo the state wishes to maintain.
In this country, independent churches were instrumental, if not responsible, for the elimination of slavery, the ending of Jim Crow, the defeat of communism, and, because the socialists in the Democratic Party managed to tick them off, the resurgence of the free market system.
Note these stances were often taken in direct opposition to government agencies -- even the anti-communism (think Alger Hiss)
Of cours, on the less glorious side, is the 18th Amendment, but they certainly play a significant role here.
Sorry, you already know this! More for the benefit of the others on this thread!
Does the author, Paul Belien, need to go into hiding for trumpeting warnings of Islam?
An interested notion, although as not a native English speaker, I have trouble analysing different dialects, except those that have the most differences. I can different through a few broad though, like a vague English one, a vague celtic (Irish and scottish) one, a general American one, and a southern/Astralian one, and of course the Indian/Pakistani.
Here in Iceland we don´t have any dialects, due to the smallness of the nation, the long time rule that you could not marry anyone more related to you than in the sixth generation, resulting in people having to go far to find a suitable mate (and maybe resulting in our girls beeing viewed as extremely beutiful, yeat another time Miss World is ours) and specially the long litterary tradition here dating from the 12. century.
There was a small variation in different parts of the nation, but those disapeared into a certein neutral speak where the certein variations all but disapeared, because the people in all the other parts of the country spoke the same in these wovels and such.
Actually there was a certein local dialect much frowned upon in the east and it was conciously eradicated, by the government (schools and radio) as it also made it more difficult for those speakers to write proper Icelandic, as they had trouble differenting between e and i. Weather it was a good thing or bad I am not sure, but it at least helped to ensure a national unity when it comes to the language.
And as a side note, Icelanders view their language as the same (or nearly so) as the Vikings spoke and we see all the other nordic languages (even German in some sense) as a corrupted by external influences that we could preserve Icelandic from over the ages. So we see all the nordic languages as a dialect from Icelandic, at least jokingly.
But a language can be an indicator of the history of people´s and places, so it is interesting to note that the US has preserved many thing lost to Europe. Come to think of it, the people that still speak Icelandic in New Iceland (or Gimli) up in Canada (settled by Icelanders in the 19. century) have this very beutiful language, maybe not dialicticly, but the old words and good old ways of how they put together sentences.
And I beliewe the Icelanders there are more rooted in the old Icelandic christian values, free-loving nature of our Originals and even national pride.
God Bless Paul Belien and all of those in Europe that are fighting to save it.
I took the liberty to click the link and read many other great articles he has written over the years. Please consider posting more of his articles here at Free Republic.
His articles would be well received and greatly appreciated. Besides, it is also important to point out that I'm sure among Europeans that he's vilified on a daily basis. He needs as much support as possible.
In other words, he has FRiends here at FRee Republic. I'm going to Amazon to purchase his book. It's the least I can do to support him and his wife Dr. Alexandra Colen.
This is a very interesting article, one thing I would say from the UK point of view is that in the 80s Mrs Thatcher drove a bulldozer through the power of the state and the unions bringing Capitalism to the forefront of the Britain. None of this happened in continental Europe.
The question everyone keeped asking in Britain for years after that was "where have all the commies and socialists gone?". The answer was that they appeared in new guises, i.e. left wing think tanks and quangos, politically correct focus groups etc, all working for the state. Such was their rage and anger at being quashed by Mrs T.
They realised that Capitalism in Britain was here to stay and they could do nothing about it, but their vile mindset was accustomed to revenge in a different way like the above and now we seem to be reaping the awful consequences of the liberalists revenge since Tony Blair's New Labour was elected and the state has almost gone back to being as big as it was in the 1970s.
I think from this we can conclude that Britain is much closer to the US in the free market policy area but that we still have the same amount of state worshipping lefty's as continental Europe who keep trying to pull us backwards all the time.
Tolik--I'm pinging you to this article because I believe Paul Belien's article would be an enjoyable read for your ping list! If not, well it's still a great article.
Definitely a good "Nailed It!" nominee.
I thought so! I do enjoy Tolik's "Nailed It" reading pings!
This viev by the Dutchman is a recurring feature here in Iceland and in other places I am afraid. It is the result of to much power of the government in some ways, but interestingly I beliewe it is also the result, partially, of the more individual freedom in the market, wich seems to keep many content.
But it helps the status qo and the increasing power of the leftists/government in many other issues.
>>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.
I think that because the Left in this country, and abroad, have hammered so hard on what we've done wrong, in an effort to take America down, that it's hard to have a substantive discussion on it, because Conservatives tend to immediately circle wagons when these issues come up.
But you're right, and I don't think anyone, least of all this author, would suggest that all aspects of America need to be picked up and carried across the pond to replace what's in place in Europe.
>>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.
Here, alternate communications for political ideas really got going in the late 1960s/early 1970s with things like Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum newsletter (she was huge in stopping the Equal Rights Amendment), direct mail with Richard Viguerie for Reagan, and then Rush Limbaugh on radio in the late 80s. The Internet really got going for us in the late 90s, and I think we're really seeing the political results of all of this today.
The point is, it takes time, perserverance, and willingness to be painted as "evil", or made as invisible as possible, by your current media elites (as all of the people mentioned above were/are), to build the alternative political communications paths to overcome the existing system.
So get to work! ;-)
I took a one semester linguistics class in college and was fascinated to discover that the Southern drawl is closest to the English accent as spoken in the 18th Century in America. To this day, both Southern and British speakers use the word reckon frequently.