February 20, 2007
Is Free Europe waking up?By James Lewis
The philosopher Nietzsche once wrote that "thoughts that come on doves' feet change the world." Amidst all the raucous Leftist and Islamist ranting in Europe, one of those silent tidal changes may be on the way.
You might not expect a French blog to defiantly wave the American flag, but this one does.
Even in the grip of socialism many of the French remember the Enlightenment, when liberty was at least as inspiring as social welfare checks. The Enlightenment gave birth to John Locke and Edmund Burke in England, and Voltaire in France --- and ultimately to the American Revolution on this side of the water. Our basic political philosophy comes from that time. Apparently it has not yet been forgotten.
Is Europe waking up to reality? Judging by some of the blogs, many people are. But they face a long, uphill battle against a rooted Leftist establishment that easily welcomes Islamist ideology. European cities are increasingly controlled by Muslims who are more attracted to Shari'a than to the Enlightenment. So much for women's rights, human rights and Gay rights. They are just passing slogans.
If you follow the big European media in their English editions, things look pretty dismal. Just check out BBC "News" Online for the latest propaganda blast from the international Left. The Beeb is the new Pravda; its highest priority is to promote the European Union of Socialist Republics, the EU, headquartered in Brussels. In London itself, Parliament has progressively less to say about British law than the EU does, feeding tens of thousands of Euro-directives into Britain, to control more and more of everyday life including new kinds of criminal offenses like politically incorrect speech, foreign and trade policy, and a nascent Euro-military. The Royal Navy was just cut in half, presumably to feed the welfare system and make way for the European Army. In the new European Union of Socialist Republics, every haulage truck will be monitored by satellite to make sure that it drives exactly where it's told to, doesn't pollute, and doesn't drive too fast. Private cars are next.
If you read the European media in their own languages (or use web translation) things looks even worse. Domestic audiences in Europe get hefty doses of Politically Correct dogma, simply filled with obsessive anti-Americanism. Europe's ruling class needs an enemy to sell their people on the scam of the EU. National loyalties are constantly being undermined, and the EU is trying to inculcate an artificial Euro-patriotism instead.
The elites therefore need to beat up on America (and Israel) for the same reason that Bismarck needed to whip up anti-French hatreds among Prussians and Bavarians --- to unify the first German Reich. (It was a big success, especially when it morphed into the Second and Third Reich). Nothing unifies like a common enemy, and America is a safe target: It never answers back. Criticizing the corrupt European Union itself is of course taboo.
During the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo (courtesy of the US Air Force), the EU briefly released a new military marching song for Europe, called "Wir marchieren fuer Europa," if memory serves. When the public found out, it was promptly yanked, for obvious reasons. But unifying Europe was in fact a major goal for Hitler, and before him for Napoleon; both killed tens of millions of Europeans in the attempt, and failed. Centuries earlier, Cardinal Richelieu harbored the fantasy of uniting Europe under Louis XIII.
The unification riff goes back all the way to Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, a thousand years ago. All of the great, failed Euro-unifiers scape-goated their enemies to try to unite the continent. But the EU is now getting closer to that goal than anybody has since the Soviets. For the international Left today, the EU is the new USSR, the hope of all nations for love and peace on earth, forever and ever. Its first objective is to humiliate the United States --- or to control the US, to make it the tugboat that pulls the rest of the world to socialism. That is presumably what Hillary Clinton meant when she recently called for more "internationalism" in US foreign policy.
But don't give up yet. The sane Euro-sphere is growing on the web --- in numbers, self-confidence and quality. Its web message is the same as the Anglosphere. Eurosphere, Anglosphere, it doesn't matter what we call it. It is all the Free Blogosphere. In fact, signs of free thought are rising in all kinds of places where it has been pushed out of public view by the Commissars of Political Correctness. Thinking people come to their own conclusions, and now they have web megaphones. It's refreshing and hopeful.
German weblogs like Davids Medienkritik are great sources of answers to America-hating rags like Der Spiegel and Stern, which love to smear the United States as a Nazi double. It seems that America's historic role in reuniting the two halves of Germany only 17 years ago is forgotten; instead, the media are run by ranting Lefties --- just like the ones we have over here. If you want to follow Euroleftist agitprop, be sure to keep up with this site.
A veritable Dutch blog-swarm reminds us that the Netherlands used to be known for its sturdy common sense, long before life there became one grand drug-fed welfare orgy. Geert Wilders, a Member of Parliament in the Hague, is now speaking out with great courage against the Islamofascist threat, even as most of the political establishment is ducking for cover.
And Brussels Journal is a leading voice for freedom in the heart of Europe's Soviet-style GOSPLAN apparatus, complete with its own Central Committee. (Pardon me, the European Commission).
It's not called the European Union, with its echoes of the Soviet Union, just by accident. Like the old Soviet Union the EU is a hierarchy of bureaucratic committees ("soviet" means committee), it claims to be democratic, peace-loving and internationalist, and it is run purely from the top. It is also in the habit of constantly lying to the public, with few visible consequences.
In Britain there are terrific sites like http://www.eureferendum.org/, which helped to spread the truth about the EU Constitution a few years ago when it was up for a vote in France and the Netherlands, and was roundly defeated by the voters. But the ruling class hasn't given up, so the bloated constitution is still being pushed, both openly and in secret. The constitution may go into effect without the fuss and bother of another vote.
Still, it looks like free speech and common sense are growing by leaps and bounds, using the web to cycle and spread ideas, and to reduce the sense of isolation induced by the PC Monopoly over the media. Obviously the Politically Correct establishment will fight free ideas everywhere it can --- through the schools, the media, the governments. But today, PC propaganda is being answered on the web. Europe does not have free talk radio, but webcasts will soon be available on cell phones and PDA's. The Left's monopoly over public speech is beginning to fray, at least for the moment. Look for new excuses at the UN and in Europe to re-impose censorship over the new media. (Already the biggest web portals are controlled by the Left, from Google to AOL and MSN).
The good news is that the Free Media stand a fighting chance. The Left is still drunk with power in the European Union, streaming thousands of directives to the peoples of Europe, trying to control everything in sight. In pursuit of power European elites make easy alliances with oil sheikhs and Red Chinese princelings --- as well as American regulators and Leftist NGO's. The ruling elites have more in common with each other than with "their" people. Most governments have peoples, as Reagan said; not many peoples have governments.
Yet it's becoming a ballgame. The silent majorities are not so silent any more. The solution to Islamic fascism is Muslim freedom. The answer to Chinese dictatorship is Chinese freedom. The web is a great liberator --- if it is allowed to be flourish without censorship.
It is often said that the War in Iraq will be won or lost at home. But "home" doesn't mean the Old Media any more. In Europe, the US, and the rest of the world, the intellectual War of the Web will have a vote in shaping the future.
Update: The Free Europe Institute deserves great credit for its excellent work.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/