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The False Premises Upon Which The European Union is Founded And Why It Is Doomed To Fail

European UnionGuest Post Peter Wood

Some critics of my articles claim that they are too one sided and that I’ve broad brushed all Liberal /socialists with the same nefarious intentions. My articles, however, I specifically accuse left-wing Liberal /socialists of undermining Western democracy. In my view, the other shades of Liberal /socialists are complicit because they are either actively or passively supporting these goals on the basis that the result will benefit themselves and their party, which in the USA is the Democratic Party and in Europe almost all the mainstream political parties.

The False Premises Upon Which The European Union is Founded And Why It Is Doomed To Fail

I admit there are well-intentioned, moderate and right-wing socialists who ascribe to the Enlightenment idea which held that human nature and civilization, through the expansion of scientific knowledge, are able to progress away from the collective violence created by irrational superstition, religion, and ethnic or nationalist loyalties. Once liberated from this destructive ignorance, so the theory goes, people can create political and social orders that would promote peace, social justice, political freedom and prosperity.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly these socialists, like most politicians, are motivated by an anti-Christian belief that people are either good or bad, civilized or savage depending upon how well they understand and harness their physical environment, and that human nature, far from being a constant as Christianity has it, is developmental and progressive when detached from “superstitious religion” and national identity and combined with scientific knowledge. These are basically the philosophical constructs contained in Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay Perpetual Peace, which called for a “federation of free states” that would form a “pacific alliance . . . different from a treaty of peace . . . inasmuch as it would forever terminate all wars.” The atheist Kant (although he never claimed to be his work proves that he was one) predicated the possibility of such global peace on:

“The uniformity of the progress of the human mind. A universal human nature progressively becoming more rational and possessing more knowledge about itself and the world can create a world order that would lessen if not eliminate the evils that have afflicted the human race for all of its previous history.” https://librivox.org/perpetual-peace-by-immanuel-kant/

This statement conflicts not only with Christianity but also with history, both of which teach that human beings are unable to significantly alter their base natures through their own efforts. Christianity holds that only God, through belief and acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, can restore human nature to its humane innocence, while the past teaches that the collective human nature, despite material, cultural and technological advances, has remained unchanged throughout written history. Kant’s statement also implies that scientists, engineers and doctors (philosophers notwithstanding) are the most advanced human beings on the planet; which makes one wonder how we’ve acquired nuclear weapons and all the machinery of war, not to mention the doctors who rid the “civilized” world of its millions of unwanted babies. It also begs the question of what to do with the 99.9% of the population who don’t belong to the “enlightened” elites. The EU was founded on many of these false assumptions about human nature and the role of the nation state in creating a people’s identity which have been accepted as facts for 200 years, when in reality they are questionable ideas disputed by history.

Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in 1932:

“In the nineteenth century, transnational treaties, conventions, and institutions were created to realize the dream of establishing and securing international peace by placing it upon a foundation of international understanding, international appreciation, and international cooperation”. ¹

The Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, and the establishment of an international court of arbitration all reflected this ideal. The preamble to the First Hague Convention in 1899 expressed the Kantian ideal in its goal:

“To ensure the maintenance of the general peace and the friendly settlement of international disputes based on the solidarity which unites the member of the society of civilized nations and their shared desire for extending the empire of law, and of strengthening the appreciation of international justice.”

The assumption behind such internationalism was that the national and ethnic differences underlying people’s collective identities were not as important as the new universal, transnational identity created by the expansion of scientific knowledge, globalized trade, and globe-shrinking technologies. More importantly, this belief in a unified human identity assumed that people everywhere desired the same things as European westerners.

In the two decades between the First and Second World Wars, the League of Nations, called for “collective security, disarmament, and the resolution of conflict through arbitration.” The Locarno Treaty of 1926 ludicrously stated: “France and England Ban War Forever,” and the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact condemned “recourse to war” and urged that parties to disputes seek settlement by “pacific means” only. Both of these included the future Axis aggressors (Germany, Italy and Japan) among the participants and signatories. Neither the First and Second World Wars, nor the Cold War have been able to divest the European civilization of its idealism which has most obviously manifested itself in the form of the United Nations – an organization which has done little to save the 80 million victims of invasion, genocide, civil war and ethnic cleansing since the Second World War and has proved powerless in preventing conflict between its member states.

This record of failure would hardly have surprised political theorists from as far back as Thucydides to James Madison and John Adams in the more recent past. For them, human nature is permanently flawed by what James Madison called, “passions and interests that necessarily conflict with those of other people or nations, and often lead to violence between them.” John Adams in his Defense of the Constitutions of the United States in 1787 wrote:

“Though we allow benevolence and generous affections to exist in the human breast, yet every moral theorist will admit the selfish passions in the generality of men to be the strongest. There are few who love the public better than themselves, though all may have some affection for the public . . . Self-interest, private avidity, ambition, and avarice, will exist in every state of society, and under every form of government.” http://www.constitution.org/jadams/ja1_00.htm

Neither did these realists believe that better education or prosperity could permanently mend these flaws of human nature. The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, called “the tragic contingencies of human existence”:

“a dangerous world of imperious necessities which would always create stresses and be a rough master that brings most men’s characters to a level with their fortunes.” http://www.classicpersuasion.org/pw/thucydides/thucydides-
passages.php?pleaseget=3.82-86

In other words, in times of prosperity both states and individuals can be motivated by higher ideals, but when some private or national crisis removes the comfortable provisions of life the characters of most will reflect their circumstances.

Equally false is the assumption that national identity should be weakened and marginalized because it is “irrational, exclusionary and parochial”. World War II and the evils of Nazism supposedly proves that nationalism is inherently bellicose and therefore “hinders the spread of universal human rights, tolerance, and the rational adjudication of disputes”, all of which would eventually result in “global peace and prosperity”. This tarring of nationalism with the brush of fascism has been one of the main arguments for selling the transnational European Union to its citizens and weakening national sovereignty. However, attempts to suppress and conflate all nationalist expression with Nazism and fascism, will only result in forcing those who reject socialist internationalism and the destruction of their culture by the socialist and socialist oriented governments into the arms of right-wing extremists. Nationalism is a positive emotion until it becomes abused by politicians. In the past Germany’s problem has been one of militarism and not nationalism. The militarists from Bismarck to Hitler used and abused the nationalist sentiment for their own negative ends just as the anti-nationalists of today are using it to promote internationalism.

This assault on national identity is not just historically dubious, it also ignores the role the nation state has played in creating the collective identity and solidarity which has made liberal/socialist democracy possible. The French political philosopher Pierre Manent wrote:

“The sovereign state and representative government are the two great artifices that have allowed us to accommodate huge masses of human beings within an order of civilization and liberty.” “If our nation suddenly disappeared and its bonds were dispersed, each of us immediately would become a stranger, a monster, to himself.” http://www.sar.org.ro/polsci/?p=632

Without those complex “ties that bind” a people cease to be a coherent political community, and become instead fragmented, disconnected groups with irreconcilable interests and aims – a phenomenon most apparent in multi-culti America, increasingly in a multi-culti Europe and the former Soviet Socialist Republics where loyalty to one’s ethnic group supersedes national loyalties – a form of ethnic nationalism within the nation state itself.

The stubborn nationalist sentiment becomes most vocal in times of crisis, for example during the 2009 financial meltdown onwards, when hardworking Germans resented bailing out the indolent Greeks, and the Greeks in turn evoked the brutal German occupation of their country during World War II as justification for demanding that the Germans rescue their corrupt government, and the growing strength of nationalist, Euro-skeptical political parties testifies to the continuing hold national identity has on millions of Europeans. Given the conflicting “passions and interests” of human nature, this “despised” and “disregarded” nationalism is unlikely in future to remain content with sporadic protest votes or flag waving during football championships.

Moreover, Western Europeans still have to live with neighbors who are passionate about their nationalism, and none more so than Russia. In the Ukraine the EU has enraged nationalist Russia by attempting to separate the country from Russian influence and incorporate it into its own ranks and supporting the overthrow of democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych, by pro-EU rebels. It shows, in reality, just how little respect for democracy the EU has in its endeavor to create the rest of the world in its own image. It now finds itself in the situation that so many countries in the past have done which has ended in war, of having taken a hard-line stance and then being unable to back down for fear of losing face.
One thing is certain, Vladimir Putin (who is of course misusing Russian nationalist emotions to secure support for his foreign policies) with 90% of the Russian people behind his Ukraine policies, will not be the first to blink.

The EU functions more and more like a bloated socialist bureaucratic elite, equipped with invasive regulatory powers, isolated from the citizens it is supposed to serve and without democratic accountability. The surrender of European financial and political power to Brussels has been consolidated by the appointment of one of the biggest champions of federalization to the post of European Commissioner, Jean-Claude Juncker. In fact the selection of Juncker in tandem with the hard-left SPD socialist Martin Schulz as parliamentary leader amounts to little more than a crude institutional power grab by the socialists in the European parliament and is an affront to democratic accountability. It ignores the strong anti-socialist protest vote in the May 2014 EU elections, and demonstrates why public trust in EU institutions has fallen to an all time low.

The tiny elite of cosmopolitan, globetrotting, socialist politicians, journalists, academics, businessmen, and eurocrats may live in a post-Christian, post-modern, post-national world but millions of ordinary Europeans do not, and if I were to predict one thing as being certain it would be the demise of the European Union on the grounds of an arrogant and ignorant socialist ideology.
Peter Wood
August 2014, Nuremberg, Germany
¹Butler, Nicholas Murray, The International Mind: An Argument for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes. New York, Scribner, 1912.

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