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On the Way to Self-Destruction - Historian Mária Schmidt on Europe's Real Troubles - Part I

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Mária Schmidt is a well-known historian and the director of the House of Terror museum in Budapest.

Nobody can have any doubt anymore about the painful fact that the European Union is desperately lacking in any defense capability of practical use. It is becoming increasingly evident that the reason for the European community’s lack of a common army or border control force, indeed for the lack of will or any effort to set up one, is the absence of commonly held values that its members would see as worthy of protection. Consequently, this community does not and cannot even have a shared future vision, and thus it cannot forge itself into a true community. This is how things are despite the fact that the potentially devastating immigration crisis we are witnessing could offer a good opportunity for Europe to put the cohesion vacuum, resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, behind itself and to gear up for the 21st century by channeling all the diverging forces in the same direction.

Part I.

“Have Courage to Use Your Own Reason” Kant

Danish socialists proposed back in the 1980s that instead of having its own army Denmark should settle for an answering machine responding to any incoming calls by saying “we surrender” in Russian. I have a proposal for the European Union’s profile picture. It should feature a Juncker posing and staggering in a waiter’s uniform, surrounded by the members of the European Commission, shoving the gates of Europe wide open ushering new settlers inside. “Wherever you like! We are at your service! Just come on in, you are warmly welcome!” Angela Merkel actually produced her own new profile picture when she took selfies with the new settlers.

Nobody can have any doubt anymore about the painful fact that the European Union is desperately lacking in any defense capability of practical use. It is becoming increasingly evident that the reason for the European community’s lack of a common army or border control force, indeed for the lack of will or any effort to set up one, is the absence of commonly held values that its members would see as worthy of protection. Consequently, this community does not and cannot even have a shared future vision, and thus it cannot forge itself into a true community. This is how things are despite the fact that the potentially devastating immigration crisis we are witnessing could offer a good opportunity for Europe to put the cohesion vacuum, resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, behind itself and to gear up for the 21stcentury by channeling all the diverging forces in the same direction.

The European Union is divided. There is a particularly deep divide between the countries on the two sides of what was once the Iron Curtain. The peoples living in Europe’s western parts have looked at the peoples and nations living here with a disdainful scorn and sometimes with a forgiving contempt for hundreds of years. It was a golden opportunity for them when after World War II – with the helpful assistance of their beloved Churchill – they let the region be taken over as part of the Russian sphere of interest, giving a free hand to Moscow to carry out its experiments with communism. In response to the Soviet challenge Europe’s western part, aided by the US, bolstered by the Marshall Plan, managed to build up social market economies, letting NATO take care of defense issues and the US to direct its foreign policies. During a nearly half a century spent under such conditions the West European countries lived through a sort of a golden age while their intellectual and media elites adopted a not only permissive but too often supportive affection towards the operators of the totalitarian communist dictatorships. Their attraction was not in the least influenced by the fate of tens of millions of Central and Eastern European citizens suffering the horrors of the communist dictatorships. 

This is said because progressivist cheerleaders (an expression coined by Frank Furedi) were, from the seventies, recruited almost exclusively from among leftist, Marxist opinion leaders related to the movements of 1968, whose identity was rooted in wealth and convenience, while cherishing their concern and affection for the repressed masses. They liked to accept appointments to the most lucrative supervisory board positions (Gerhard Schröder, Joschka Fischer) and jobs on Wall Street or in the City. This was one of the reasons they found no excuse for the penniless East Europeans who reappeared in their fields of vision from 1990 on again, who were anti-communists while they were Marxists and equality-fetishists; who thought in national terms while they were internationalists and globalized; who were faithful Christians in contrast to them who were atheists; and Europeans instead of having developed into cosmopolitans the way they had. They have always communicated with the Eastern part of Europe from the altitude of a podium, the way they always had with their colonies and this attitude was not in the least affected by our accession to the European Union in 2004, allegedly as equal ranking members. Václav Havel was right when he said that the West did not know what to do about the collapse of communism. ...

Read entire article at Hungary Today


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