Posted by Lexington Green on November 19th, 2003 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Barbara Amiel in a recent article in the Telegraph had some good insights:
The problem is the way that the EU developed and is continuing to develop. Now it stands for Western values in name only. In substance, it stands for accommodation with those forces of the world that are the opposite of such values.
Perhaps this can be explained by Europe’s history: accommodation has almost always been the way small countries deal with more powerful forces ranged against them. The dream of Prodi, to create what he calls an “association of minorities”, is not an illegitimate response to the painful European history of national and ethnic conflicts. The dream of many Europeans, from Stefan Zweig to Luigi Barzini and the founders of the EU, has been to escape their own history through a unified Europe.
But for Britain to continue further into this union means forsaking or potentially injuring a natural ally – the United States – and an alliance based not only on common values but a common legal and cultural heritage. In anybody’s books, this looks like a bad bargain.
I concur heartily with Amiel’s Anglospheric note about the basis for the Anglo-American alliance.
Europe, as a Grand Project, is all about the escape from history, and a flight from the present and the future as well. In other words, it is a fantasy project, performance art, smoke and mirrors, a collective delusion. If everyone whistles past the graveyard in unison, then Europe will somehow have the money to pay for its unsustainable social goodie-bag, and the blind luck to avoid being damaged by the evil forces at work in the world today without having to pay for real military power in the necessary (large) quantities. The European project bears a family resemblance to an earlier pan-European vision: the Thousand Year Reich. Hitler’s visionary “Europe” was also phony baloney all the way down, a papier mache Wagnerian stage set pretending to be a polity. Brussels doesn’t want to gas anybody, which is one small thing in its favor. It just wants to turn the continent with the most glorious history in the world into a three-hundred- million person Registry of Motor Vehicles office. Less malign than Hitler, though with less snappy uniforms — but just as impossible.
Britain does not need to escape from its history, or hide from the present or the future. As part of the global Anglosphere, Britain is poised to continue to play a significant role on the cutting edge of world civilization. Britain has, there for the grasping, a brilliant future which the continental Europeans cannot share. I hope they figure it out in time.
A bad bargain, indeed.