Old Europe's Old Recipe for a Very Modern Failure

With a sneer and a half-lack of comprehension of what I’d actually written, The Old European returned to grace my comments section, to answer yesterday’s “Good Question.” With this:

So Osama bin Laden is now your ultimate guide on Islam and building permits in NY city? Less coffee, more sleep and the bad, bad world out there (including the Cordoba Initative [sic]) will soon look like a much nicer place.

I hadn’t said anything about whether the Cordoba Initiative should get a building permit. That’s New York City’s business — and besides, I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to private uses of private property. More so perhaps than the Germans, who just closed down a mosque in Hamburg, and then went so far as to ban the group behind it. Now in this country, the Communist Party remained perfectly legal, and put candidates on the ballot, even during the darkest days of McCarthyism.

Some countries are just more liberal and tolerant than others, I suppose.

No, what I questioned was the “moderation” of a group named after a formerly-Muslim city. As I’m sure The Old European is aware, bin Laden is hardly the only Islamist hankering for a re-reconquista of old al-Andalus.

Indeed, we’d just as rightly question the motives of, say, a German group calling itself the Danzig Corridor Association. The interwar status of the “Free City” of Danzig — and Hitler’s desire for direct access to it — was the proximate cause for the German invasion of Poland in 1939. That Danzig was really just an excuse to get the Wehrmacht on the march only bolsters my point: Groups naming themselves after lost provinces might just be surreptitiously desirous of regaining them.

Of course, the “Danzig Corridor Association” is a silly notion, nearly unimaginable. German irredentism is dead and buried. Losing millions of people and a quarter of your territory, then having your country split in two for half a century by rival occupying powers can do that to a people.

Islamic irredentism is, shall we say, somewhat healthier. In fact, it’s so healthy, some in the Islamic world are busy trying to reconquer territories they never even held before — imagine that! (In)famously, Islam has “bloody borders,” which the rest of the world is forced to resist or endure — or retreat.

The Old European probably knows all this, as he seems like an educated guy. But he also seems to have selected his nomme du blog a little too well.

British historian Colin McEvedy, writing about the postwar division of Europe into American and Soviet camps, said that a “purely” European power could never dominate the world again — a definition, he was quick to explain, excluded the Eurasia-spanning USSR. Today, that’s just no longer so. Poor Russia is so reduced (and has practically de-peopled its Siberia territories) that, no matter what the maps say, Russia is now a strictly-European power. Which is to say: Second-rate.

Europe’s much-reduced stature is due to two things. Obviously, most of the credit must go to Europe’s Great Civil Wars (August, 1914 – November, 1989), which bankrupted the Continent financially, morally, and spiritually. But after the Wars, Europe saddled itself with the world’s first Corporate Nanny Multi State, which has sapped Europe’s demographic health, just as surely as its near-endless Total Wars sapped Europe’s cultural confidence.

It’s only natural then, that the heirs of the British, French, and Russian empires — which between them once ruled or “influenced” damn near everything in the Old World — might view the USA with a combination of nostalgia and envy.

That’s not to say we’re somehow immune. We, like Europe, might piss it all away. That is, in fact, exactly what we’re doing right now. And we’re doing so by following to the letter the European prescription for continental atrophy. All the while, old Europeans cheer us on to our doom: Socialize this, mandate that, multilateralize the other thing — give up your false God of Liberty and worship instead the State.

Well, they’ve seen the results over there. So when they encourage us to do likewise here, I don’t wonder whether their cheerleading comes from a place of ignorance or of bitterness.

Old Europeans know exactly what they’ve lost, what they’ve squandered, what they’ve flushed down the drain. Old Europeans understand exactly how they’ve hobbled themselves, lest they again be tempted to greatness. They know. They understand. The old ones, they can remember.

And we’d be wise to remember, too.

It’s just plain silly to take advice from Europeans on how to manage matters of private property or religious tolerance. And in the long run, that advice is much more dangerous to this country’s stature and security than Islamic terror ever could be.