Why Europe gets no respect

by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

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Politically, the European Union has not squared the circle of uniting diverse peoples, languages, and cultures with long historical grievances into a pan-European nation—at least without a level of coercion that is inconsistent with democratic values. Instead, members increasingly find European Union dogma at odds with human nature, at least in terms of entitlements, immigrations, and national security. For a continent that celebrates diversity, the European apparat is quite intolerant of dissident voices.

The result is frustration and polarization, as the EU is slowing becoming trisected. Eastern Europeans revolt at the open-borders bullying of Berlin and Paris and are beginning to refuse entry to any more Muslim men from the Middle East. Meanwhile Mediterranean Europeans see their frontline burdens of dealing with massive illegal immigration not just as underappreciated, but also as another manifestation of an earlier northern European financial diktat. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom just drifts away. In the center of these regional tensions stands Germany, the EU’s largest nation—and the one with its most problematic history. In theory, Germany asserts that it no longer is the bully of 1871, 1914, and 1939. In fact, Berlin shows little patience with those who object to its plans of dealing with Brexit, Muslim immigration, and indebted southern European Union members.

These rifts are symptomatic of an existential paradox, similar in some sense to the contradictions of the progressive movement in the United States. European government is largely run by an elite class of professional and bureaucratic careerists. On matters such as illegal immigration and financial sacrifices, their privilege exempts them from the concrete consequences of their ideology and policy: someone other than they will bear the immediate consequences of massive illegal immigration on the schools, neighborhoods, and public safety.

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