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Europe is not a country, but a civilisation, Mr. Verhofstadt

FreeWest columnist and author Dan Roodt takes issue with some of Guy Verhofstadt's glib post-Trump election pronouncements about "populism", that overworked noun. Patriots, nationalists and “populists” of every stripe caused none of Europe’s current problems, he reminds Verhofstadt.

Published: November 30, 2016, 7:29 pm

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    In a recent opinion piece in the leftist French rag, Le Monde, the Euro-MP and ex-Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt argues that the solution to countering Donald Trump is to give Brussels more “federal” powers enabling it to compete on an even keel with the United States. He even calls for a common defence force against Vladimir Putin of Russia, “who feels that much more free to act under Donald Trump’s presidency”.

    According to Verhofstadt therefore, Europe or the EU has two enemies: the USA under Trump, and Russia under Putin. Instead of the bipartite division during the Cold War between East and West, we now have a tripartite demarcation into Western, Eastern and Middle Empires, with most of Western and Central Europe making up the Middle Empire, a dream of socialists, liberals and eurocrats.

    Guy Verhofstadt

    Guy Verhofstadt. Photo: Wikipedia

    And yet, what has characterised the US presidential election is precisely a reawakening of the much-maligned “European-American”, that forgotten creature whose demographic demise both Bill Clinton and the New York Times had so vocally – albeit prematurely – celebrated.

    We have an expression in Afrikaans, our ancient West-Germanic language transplanted onto African soil, which goes: Gogga maak vir baba bang, which may be loosely translated as: “The insect is frightening baby.” It is usually employed in reaction to fear-mongering or when idle threats are made. Although now a champion of the pan-European empire writing in French, Mr. Verhofstadt might still know enough Flemish to appreciate this idiom.

    Not only does Mr. Trump see Mr. Putin as “someone he could do business with”, as Mrs. Thatcher told Reagan about Mikhail Gorbachev, but the US president-elect has at various times criticised the folly of EU immigration policy, especially that of the German chancellor, Mrs. Merkel. Surely, if Mr. Trump had been an enemy of Europe, he would have welcomed current immigration policy in Europe, that programmed, long-term suicide which socialists and liberals alike have chosen for the West? On the contrary, Trump’s remarks on immigration and on the decline of the West – a theme which made the globalist New York Times shriek in horror – exemplify a concern for and even a love of Europe.

    But Europe is not a country. Unlike what some Africans and Brussels eurocrats might think! When Africans visit Europe, they are usually amazed to discover that its peoples proudly speak and write their own languages, instead of English or French, those two imperial tongues. Unlike Americans, Europeans do not share a nationality or a patrie as the French say. That is why Verhofstadt’s logic is undermined by its first premise, that there should be a United States of Europe. But Europeans, all Europeans, share a common civilisation which – especially in these times – is worth fighting for.

    I daresay that both Trump and Putin understand this, deep down. Whence their inchoate willingness to strike up some kind of entente, while Brussels hankers back to a more extended version of the Cold War, together with a divided European world and consciousness.

    Verhofstadt fears further “populists… hatching” in Europe, and he rails against both Poland and Hungary for trying to curb the influence of media with a foreign agenda, undermining their countries.

    It is certainly ironic that the EU’s “bobos” or “bourgeois Bohemians” who still pretended to care about “the people” should now experience trepidation about their own nations finally asserting their democratic rights to be heard in debates and decisions that will determine not only their future as citizens, but also that of the West itself.

    Verhofstadt’s complaints about Europe’s economic and banking problems that will supposedly be solved by giving more power to the eurocrats and oligarchs, fail to take into account the authors of these misfortunes, the banksters and financial imperialists who wanted to build Towers of Babel reaching unto heaven. It would behove Verhofstadt well to have a look at the ill-fated Bank of Scotland takeover of ABN-Amro merger, one of Europe’s biggest disasters that cost the taxpayers of several European States tens of billions of euros each. According to at least one UK newspaper, it was the worst takeover deal ever. Why should the European man in the street have to suffer for the folies de grandeur of the globalists in pinstripe suits?

    Patriots, nationalists and “populists” of every stripe caused none of Europe’s current problems. At any rate, technological changes mean that most nations are not able to close their borders to capital flows, either in or out. So there are limits to “economic patriotism”. However, that does not mean that the peoples of Europe should be thrown to the wolves, nor does it prevent closing one’s borders to unwanted migrants and pseudo-refugees. In fact, the same technology that facilitates cross-border capital flows and trade, makes possible very precise border control and information exchange on criminals and terrorists.

    Recent history has however shown that Europe’s pampered and cloistered elite, living in their own ethereal version of a gated community, does not care about terrorism or rising crime rates. In their post-national world, such issues are always someone else’s problem, not theirs. It may be blamed, not on real people or the ideologies they espouse, but on abstract nouns. Or the ultimate refuge of the Left: sociology and its arcane processes that may be endlessly speculated upon.

    I discern something of that order when Verhofstadt writes that he does “not see how a wall will solve the migratory question in the United States, of which the acuité derives from the global economic situation in the two Americas”.

    What does that mean: the “global economic situation in the two Americas”? It sounds like a euphemism for some left-wing doctrine, such as the “dependency” theory of some Latin-American Marxists, not unknown to Brussels bobos.

    That is the problem with the thinking of the European elite: it is built upon antiquated left-wing ideas that should have died out in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down.

    Whereas we need a few good fences to make good neighbours as the English saying goes, we should not tolerate walls around our minds. For global Europeans, whether in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia and even Latin America, Trump’s election has been nothing if not liberating.

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