Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The European Disease

From The Brussels Journal:

Liberal politicians, like Hillary Clinton, envy Western Europe for its welfare state. They tell U.S. voters that a European-style welfare state is needed to help the poor. In reality the motives of liberal politicians are not altruistic, but egotistical. Welfare makes people dependent on the state. It is not a coincidence that liberalism and secularism are almost synonyms. Liberals want to replace God by the state.

The difference between Americans and Europeans is the state-dependency of the latter. Contemporary Europe is in crisis. Its welfare systems are running out of money. Its moral and legal order is breaking down, while the influence of radical Islam is growing. Its nation-states are being undermined by the European Union. Most Europeans look on passively. After three generations of welfare dependency, they have lost the ability to take their fate into their own hands.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, North America was colonized by freedom-loving people. They had left Europe because they wanted to live according to their own conscience instead of submitting to the centralist absolutist rulers of the new age that was sweeping across Europe from the 16th century onward. Their traditions were rooted in the late Middle Ages and the Aristotelian philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, which was centered on the individual. God had called man to be free from sin, but in order to be free from sin he had to be virtuous, and in order for virtue to have any value it had to be voluntary, implying that the virtuous man had to be free in every aspect of his life, including his economic activities.

Hence the paradox came about that the civil society developing in America was, in a sense, older than the new Modern Age of the absolutist monarchs governing Europe. When Americans rebelled in 1776, they rebelled against absolutism in order to keep their old freedoms. Theirs was a conservative revolution. Europe had its own series of revolutions from 1789 onward, but these were revolutions of a different sort. They toppled the ruling absolutists to replace them by absolutists of an even more extreme form: totalitarians. These were not satisfied with controlling their subjects' political and economic lives but also wished to control their minds and souls.

Here lies the origin of the European disease, which arose from the systematic loss of faith in the Judeo-Christian God and the Judeo-Christian moral legacy, and an increasing reliance on the state as the source of order, authority and legitimacy. That disease culminated, after causing two world wars, in the creation of the European Union (EU) as a superstate, the god to absorb all gods, with a nihilistic and atheist agenda.

The perceptive Irish philosopher (and British politician) Edmund Burke, who supported the American colonies in their dispute with King George III, noticed already at the time that the spirit of the 1789 French Revolution was totalitarian. The same secularist spirit inspired the Russian Revolution, National Socialism and European welfarism.

No wonder Hillary loves the European model.