The Death of Nation-States and the Rise of Empire
Some readers may recall the rant of a couple years ago by Nigel Farage, head of the United Kingdom's Independence Party, against Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Union. Mr. Farage described the gentleman from Belgium as possessing "all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk." He also accused Van Rompuy of being a non-entity from a non-nation.
Regardless of Mr. Farage's insulting comments, the fact is that he has some valid observations about the nature and goals of the EU.
Farage pointed out that the European Union's unelected officials were asserting authority over (and oftentimes ruining) European nations, without those nations' peoples having any say in the matter. Belgium, he said, tells Greece what to do if the latter desires to remain a vassal-state bound to the European Union.
Unfortunately, Belgium has had far too much to say to member-nations. It never stops chattering.
French-style bureaucracy -- one in four employees has a job as a civil servant -- has self-duplicated as an EU bureaucracy, which issues a constant stream of rules and regulations so finely precise that bananas are categorized based on size. According to the Official Journal of the European Union, "having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union," the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 133.2011 sternly lays down "marketing standards for bananas, rules on the verification of compliance with those marketing standards and requirements for notifications in the banana sector."
As of that unhappy date of December 19, 2011, bananas from the Madeira, the Azores, the Algarve, Crete, Lakonia and Cyprus fall into the less desirable Class II category because they do not meet the minimum length laid down by the EU.
Apparently, for the European Commission's regulators, in the case of bananas, as in other aspects of life, size matters.
But the European Union as crazed regulator involves much larger issues than the size, quality, and categorization of various fruits.
As Mr. Farage intimated, the regulation-driven, powerful, and controlling EU may be putting the very existence of Europe's nation-states at risk. For example, the impoverishment of Greece and its consignment by the EU to the rump-end of Europe, though hastened by Greece's own feckless governmental policies, means in reality that that nation has been conquered by EU economic means as surely as if an army had marched through its borders and taken over its government. Greece is now in thrall to the EU, as Mr. Farage has tirelessly pointed out.
Portugal and Spain appear to be the next fatalities. The end-result may be the rise, once again, of German hegemony. Germany, hedged in since the end of World War II, has only to re-militarize in order to achieve dominance over Western and even Eastern Europe -- even though presently, as Europe's banker, she is utilizing mostly economic means to increase her power. The prospect of a revitalized and militarized Germany is not necessarily the horrid vision it was in the 1930s and '40s, but European nations should be aware that the death of sovereign European nation-states and the rise of any single power could result in an unimaginable tragedy.
Nation-states -- countries in which the peoples share a similar cultural heritage, language, ethnicity, and governmental institution -- have been an historic reality in Europe for some five hundred years. The immense and distinct cultural, spiritual, and historical treasures of nations constituting Europe have been a wellspring of vitality for countless countries, including the U.S. It is beyond imagination to conjure a vision as to just what the eradication of Europe's nation-states would involve.
Unfortunately, once again, Europe may be threatened by the universal and historic phenomenon that is the impulse toward empire.
It is not too far-fetched to describe the European Union as an attempt to establish a European empire by economic means via the currency of the euro, the ubiquitous regulations of the EU, and that entity's accompanying economic dictates. It is quite possible that unless Europe's individual nations fight for their sovereignty, a unified European entity -- a goal long-dreamed of by military conquerors -- could be achieved by a European economic empire.
The hope was and is that a universal economic union and the universal currency of the euro would unite Europe -- that is, that money and economic hegemony would speak louder than national interests and identities, acting as the glue to hold together disparate nations.
However, the price of membership has meant that national identities have been submerged under the purely materialist framework of the EU. A materialistic view of nations which overrides each nation's individual history and culture is to be substituted for the rich tapestry which was once the European heritage. Individual national governments and national identities are to be supplanted by institutional vehicles which seek to unify by money, finances, and trade.
Though it may be hotly denied by Van Rompuy and other leaders, the European Union is essentially inclined toward a reductionist, socialist/Marxist interpretation of governing institutions, as economic factors alone are assumed to be the essence defining and driving nations and humanity itself. Language, culture, art, and history are to submit to a purely economic/materialistic view of history and humanity. The reductionist view of nations means that some will die and others ascend according to whichever nation holds the economic cards.
The dilemma facing Europe also faces the United States, which is also seeing the tragic results of a multiculturalism that augers not unity, but fragmentation and then consolidation by a powerful entity. It is not too much to say the fragmentation and division under the philosophical aegis of multiculturalism have been accelerated by our president and his administration.
In turn, one result of this consolidation has been an increase in the power of executive branch and its supra-constitutional enforcement agencies, both of which combine to suppress state sovereignty and pull together the power of the federal government. Individual states such as Arizona are under siege from their own government. If the erosion of state sovereignty continues, the result will assure the end of the U.S. as a nation-state based on federalism.
Essentially, the current leaders of both the U.S. and the EU see the world's driving forces as superficial and almost solely material, seeking to exclude the spiritual. That is one reason why so much attention is given to material minutiae like measuring and denoting the quality of bananas while matters of the spirit/soul of nations and states are almost completely neglected. Worse yet, attacks on Christianity and the Church universal are increasing as a worldview that insists that humanity is defined by solely material rather than spiritual factors steadily increases its power.
As the great thinker Denis De Rougement noted in his classic Love in the Western World:
People are all more or less materialists today, for they are the heirs of the nineteenth century. [...] It is whatever is lower that we take to be more real. The superstition of our time expresses itself in a mania for equating the sublime with the trivial. [...] The mania usurps the name of "scientific integrity," and is defended on the ground that it emancipates the mind form delusions about "spirit."
The EU and our current administration are examples of a purely materialist economic model being forced on nations and states, whose deaths are almost assured if the materialistic model is not forsaken. For let it be said that we are not talking about mutually agreeable and beneficial trade covenants among nations. We are talking about economic empire that quashes true federalism, which itself respects the integrity of individual states.
Unless the spiritual aspects of national cultures are revived and cherished and the sovereignty of individual nations and states protected, the end-result of the trends toward consolidation of power will be the demise of European nations and of the individual states of America. All, along with the peoples within them, will be reduced to being defined by bureaucracies reveling in trivial and materialist minutiae such as the measurement of bananas.
Europeans and Americans alike must wake up to the truth that men and nations do not live by bananas alone.
Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She is currently reviving her long-neglected blog "By Fayth." She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.