Why Europe is failing
By Bruce Walker
It should be increasingly obvious to any serious person that Europe is failing it the ultimate test of any system: survival. France, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and other European nations that failing are not failing because they are not free democracies. The democratic component of government is well established in all these nations and the peaceful transfer of power many times over the last century in these nations is evidence of functioning democracies.
Is the problem then an absence of freedom? This is an enticing thought to many conservatives, but unfortunately that is not the answer either. While it is true that statism is an encroaching problem in all of these nations, the reality is that the people of voluntarily chosen statism. The second, more significant, reality is that all these nations are still fundamentally free. Economic regulation and progressive taxation may limit opportunity, but Europeans are making there own choices in nearly every area of their lives. Moreover, Europe is not poor but rich, by almost any standard imaginable. The standard of living in most of old Western Europe is much higher than in Israel, yet Israel is behaving much more responsibly than any of these nations.
Does the failure of Europe mean that freedom and democracy are irrelevant? No. The virtues of democracy are clear: democracies keep individuals or parties from accumulating too much power; democracies, quite rightly, abhor war or violence as the way to resolve problems; democracies also confer a type of legitimacy on government that allows government to operate without manufacturing legitimacy with coercion and lies. Freedom allows information and ideas to flow freely, which today is the only real wealth and only real power. Freedom is the decentralization of that power, which in the different economic, social, intellectual and religious markets maximizes the common good.
The problem with Europe is not its systems. The problem of Europe is its loss of faith. The problem with Europe is not new, but rather old and it is the natural progression of a loss of faith in God, particularly the God of Judeo-Christian heritage and, because of the history of Europe, more specifically a loss of faith in Christianity. The seeds of failure are at least as old as the French Revolution, which was so hostile to Christianity that one hundred and twenty-five years later in the First World War France suffered from a serious shortage of nurses, which had historically been sisters in religious orders (which had been persecuted systematically in differing degrees since 1789.) How silly to imagine that France, which thumbs its nose at America, is really too timid to take on its Moslem immigrant population! The problem is that the French are trying to fight something with nothing: faith, however misguided, beats nihilism.
Although the great scientific geniuses of the Western Europe -- James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and Kepler, just to name a few -- were all profoundly religious, the "social" thinkers like Voltaire and Hume were militant atheists who, lacking real knowledge of science, propounded that science disproved God. Some people liked that idea because it let them become little gods and then become monsters.
That happened a lot in arrogant France, but it also happened elsewhere in Europe. Before the First World War authors were writing about how unserious Germans took Christianity. During the years of the Weimar Republic other authors wrote of Germany as a "spiritual graveyard." The hatred of Christianity by the Nazis was profound and authors during that awful time noted that Nazi Germany had gone farther down the road of "de-christianization" than even the Soviet Union or Fascist Italy.
Mussolini, the leader of Fascism, loathed ethical monotheism of any sort. His first essay, never repudiated, was entitled "God does not exist." Although he entered into political arrangements with the Vatican, he never embraced Christianity. He, too, made himself into a sort of little god.
This is the opposite of what happened in America. The Founding Fathers warned that free democracies only work with people firmly grounded upon faith in God. Immigrating to America was an act of faith, just like immigrating to Israel. It is not accidental that America, where church-going is higher than in any nation on Earth, the will to resist evil is still strong. It is not accidental that the historical homeland of the Jewish people has an equally strong will to resist evil. Good democracies work, but goodness comes only from God. It is not accidental that godless Europe is failing.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.
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