The burqa/headscarf is unfortunately becoming so ubiquitous in the US and Canada that I am starting to get tired of getting outraged every single time I spot it. Being rightfully appalled can be exhausting business. I have noticed that I tend to bypass the appropriate emotional response (read: repulsion) increasingly more often lately, and instead just silently proceed to make more additions to my deportation wish list. I do make a distinction between the headscarf and the full-body burqa: while the former is simply disgraceful, the latter should be illegal to wear in public because it covers the face along with enough loose space in the gut area for its wearer to comfortably squeeze in a concealed weapon, which has practical ramifications for criminals on the run and would-be bank robbers. I also differentiate with respect to the nuances of disgust reserved for the spread of the burqa in Western Europe on the one hand, and across the US, Canada, and Australia on the other hand. How so?
In short, Europe stands for nothing today. Ethnic nation-states in the Old West are crumbling under a scary moral void. Too many European citizens have no such thing as a comprehensive set of principles behind their various national identities; all they’ve got is their measly “Germanness”, “Frenchness”, “Britishness” or whatnot to hold on to, all of which are rapidly eroding in the acid of Cultural Relativism that the Europeans have been so eager and so stupid to embrace. Europe cannot stomach the backwardness of its Muslim Immigrants, yet it has no new cultural home to offer them. The French want their immigrants to participate in their “Frenchness” somehow, but “Frenchness” is inherited, it can never be acquired. Of course Sarkozy’s father was an outcast because of his Hungarian last name. There’s no way to get around it: Europe never forgets anyone’s ethnic otherness. The Holocaust is very eloquent on this subject. The European identity is ethnic/tribal at its core, not ideological. Europe has no moral shelter to offer even its natives, let alone its immigrants. Now that the church has been dethroned from its historic position of moral hegemony, the Old Continent is mutely agonizing like a giant headless cockroach awaiting slow starvation.
So what do Europeans have to say to burqa wearers, or to female circumcisers for that matter? “That’s not how we dress/do things over here”?? Europeans have no firm conceptions of why some of their traditions and practices are objectively superior to the new influx from the savage world. That’s because the moral foundation of their civilization has been a mix of Christian theology (now increasingly irrelevant) and pure ethnocentricity (Cultural Relativism has rendered ethnocentric supremacism impotent.) So I do not feel as strongly about defiant burqa-girls in Western Europe. I think it would be in their best interest to renounce their backward ways and embrace the less backward European tradition, but there is no guarantee that they will be fully accepted by the nationalistic establishment even if they do so. Furthermore, because Europe advertises its culture as a nationalistic dogma instead of a cogent moral argument, of course there will be poor penetration within the Muslims: they’ve already got their own big fat dogma! It also makes European culture less appealing to defend, thus I am less outraged when I spot burqa-girls flagrantly defacing it.
By contrast, the former British colonies are not ethnic nation-states. They are essentially membership clubs, the belonging to which is based on clear ideological commitments. For example, the national identity of the US is nothing but a moral profile outlining American values. That’s all there is to it. If you don’t like freedom, then why do you come to the US? If you don’t value self-realization, then what are you doing here? The burqa/headscarf and the subjugation they imply, of women to men, flies in the face of the American tradition of freedom and equal moral entitlement of genders. It is an uncompromising culture of freedom that is supposed to make Americans “American”. A lot of Americans themselves skimp on the “all men created equal” statement here and there but at least pay it due lip service. Now if someone so visibly refuses to partake in that culture, then what is supposed to make them “American”? They clearly do not belong in the country.
Until the day comes when national boarders are obsolete and anyone can freely go/live anywhere, the US will have to discriminate between peoples of the world with respect to their admissibility into the country. Because America is not an ethnic nation-state, it would be racist to select on the basis of ethnicity (the Diversity Visa Lottery is preposterous, I know). All that remains then is ideology, and to a lesser degree, skills. Being American should not be a matter of arbitrary background circumstance, though it’s sadly becoming more and more fashionable for disaffected youths born in the country to view it as such, but rather a conscious choice affirming one’s embrace of a free life and the moral entitlements and responsibilities stemming from such a life. A similar argument goes for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand too, although these countries’ values are perhaps less explicitly outlined than in the case of the US constitution.
Back to Europe... Well you know what they say: there’s eurotrash and then there’s Euro Trash. I must confess that for practical reasons I consider most if not all of Europe to sadly be trash. I exhausted a good part of this topic above, but there’s plenty more to be said. Western Europe is plagued by rampant political correctness and a Fallen Empire syndrome: what a deadly mix!
The former is manifested in hasty and pathetic attempts by Western European countries to reinvent their identities within a contrived culture-neutral neo-leftist frame. This confirms my gut suspicion that neo-leftism is the popular fallback of the half-assed apostates of Christianity. The nanny state is increasingly replacing the Church’s traditional social and moral functions in European countries.
The latter haunts the conscience of nearly every European but they are so repressed about it that you wouldn’t have a clue, and probably wouldn’t believe me unless you have some first-hand experience with Eurobullshit. We need to remember that it’s been less than a century since the Old West gave up its imperialist status quo. The European public image has been drastically sanitized since, maybe too drastically in too short a time for the European sub-consciousness to catch up. The Old Continent is torn between its emerging proletarian neo-leftist identity and the burning shame from its fall from relevance.
A lot of it is sublimated into raw leftist strife, but underneath it all Europe deeply resents not being a superpower: it misses its old glory, its colonies. This motivation can be traced back to the foreign-policy inclinations of the former superpowers: they keep supporting their traditional vassals of centuries ago, no matter how much the dynamics have changed since. The European stance on Serbia is a prime example of this. There is no practical reason to maintain these positions because the imperialist intentions of exerting influence by proxy in any given region have almost completely disappeared. Europe sticks to its antiquated positions/favoritisms for nothing but continuity’s sake. It’s a way of reassuring itself that it’s still relevant in the world, that it can still decide the fate of smaller nations, that it has the cojones to stick with its stubborn and arbitrary nation-building (or “nation-destroying”) initiatives without being made to flinch (take that, America!). Defiance and rage against the US are outlets for Europe’s sour grapes mentality.
The bottom line: a growing army of passive-aggressive drones in chronic collective-identity crisis. So many European youths feel helpless, have no light in their eyes, lack an ideological back-spine, and are brainwashed into State worshiping. Europeans like thinking of themselves as cultured, tolerant (I’m probably repeating myself, since the conventional wisdom maintains that cultured and tolerant are synonyms) worldly, classy (unlike those brute Americans) and progressive. Yet they obsess over petty nonsense like attacks on the purity of their languages (the perpetrator being of course, English), commonly despise avant-garde entrepreneurship as plebeian vulgarity, but value the study of dead languages, equation-drilling, their regional literature, and pedantic academicism.
The truth is that while Europe has been the driving locomotive of Western Civilization for the major part of the latter’s existence, the amazing philosophical evolutions (revolutions?) it spurred have found room to burst only at the seams of Europe’s backwardness: the greatest most progressive ideas originating from the Old West were only grudgingly and halfassedly accepted by the establishment, often not before vigorous attempts to repress them. Socrates got served, the Athenians almost had Aristotle’s head on a plate, Galileo was persecuted, Roger Bacon was imprisoned, John Locke was intimidated, and the list goes on and on. The revolutionary thinkers who carried the Western tradition forward were very often cutting against the grain of their own culture, and to this day Europe has yet to fully accept and adopt what its best minds have suggested it…
There are meaningful historical reasons for Europe’s decline:
Under many variations, ethnocentrism has been ubiquitous in the world since the dawn of civilization: to view essential aspects of oneself as derivative from the collective, and not only to prefer one’s way but also to believe it best, superior to all others, has been the natural status quo for millennia. Collectivism and the firm binding of the good with one’s own way through refusing to see a distinction between the two, form the very cultural fabric of ethnic nation-states.
Greek philosophers were the first men we know to address the problem of ethnocentrism. Distinctions between the good and one’s own, between nature and convention, between the just and the legal, are signs of this movement of thought. They related the good to the fulfillment of the whole potential of the individual and were aware that few, if any, of the nations of men had ways that allowed such fulfillment. They were open to the good: They used reason to seek it out. They wanted to be able to evaluate themselves and others, and thus had to use objective standards to judge even their own practices (The Closing of the American Mind, p.36-38).
Fast forwarding to the end of Medievalism: Eventually, in as far as curious objectivity was applied to the physical world through the quest for finding new and better ways, the advancements in technical knowledge/engineering yielded such staggering tangible results to the benefit of the population at large, that most of Europe eventually embraced this new fashion of thinking (to the Church’s great discontent). It even became fashionable for wannabe enlightened monarchs to cultivate their own “pet scientist-philosophers” in their courts.
The application of rational objectivity began to spread by contagion to the conception of human nature. The fruits of this experiment were thornier than their counterparts from the natural sciences: The emergence of Man in a new ethical frame that conceived of him as a free rational agent with inalienable moral entitlements derived from his very nature as Man, with his life, liberty, and happiness as paramount values, was an ideological stab to the heart of the collectivist ethnic nation-state and its authoritarian power structure. So this re-conception of ethics on a universal individualist plane appeared as a threat to ethnocentric culture and a dangerous uprooting charm. Politically, the development of these heretical ideas inspired administrative transformations: mostly on an incremental basis but also through bloody revolutions.
There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science. —Anton Chekhov
Yet friction from Europe’s tribalistic heritage was enormous, and certainly sufficient to considerably damp down the impact of these advancements. Compromises with the establishment were sought, which often corrupted the essence of the proposed liberal values for the sake of preserving social order: at the end of the day, it meant conserving the status quo. This resistance to liberalism didn’t originate from just the ruling class with indeed much to lose, but sadly from Europe’s masses, the people with so much to gain from the adoption of liberty. National identity pointed them back to the passionate attachment to their backward provincial ways, and away from Western Thought that was trying to liberate them from it. Science chipped away at subjectivity while universal individualist ethics eroded collectivist chauvinism, but the bulk of Europe’s population could not bring itself to turn the page.
The people of Europe had been split into fanatic religious sects at constant war, isolated in ethnic factions, pitted against one-another for centuries, trapped in puddles of provincialism infested by superstition. Embracing liberalism meant giving up the immense pride derived from the minuscule differences between their customs and myths and those of their neighbors. It meant giving up their collectivist identity with its perks of supremacist righteousness and feelings of superiority, which they had no felt need to objectively scrutinize.
They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance. —Edmund Burke
Countries like England and Holland did experiment with economic freedom with great results, but only on a fickle discretionary basis and for purely consequentalist reasons. They never accepted the moral foundations that supported free markets and free societies. Lacking firm ideological and institutional commitments to universal individual rights, these countries’ courtship of these classical Man-centric values did not stand the test of time. In short, Europe had too much cultural baggage for liberalism. The seeds of freedom had to be sewn somewhere else.
After failed efforts to conceive a new society within sterile Europe, the United States of America was Western Thought’s first love child: a country conceived in liberty, self-determination, and natural law. Indeed its initial political formulation wasn’t flawless: slavery and deficient political rights for women were ugly incumbents. Yet it’s noteworthy that the Founding Fathers never specifically banned women from voting (but the states did have that power and used it). Many of them were also vocal abolitionists throughout their lives. Most importantly, they drafted the Constitution as such an airtight argument for freedom, that with time it successfully transcended all the leftover debris of Old-Continent tyranny that were originally incorporated into the country for the sake of expediency.
Whereas Europe’s kinky flirts with freedom revolved around the whim of kings, queens, political coalitions, or angry mobs, America’s political heart was always in the right place. While Europe was still consumed by its ethnic wars well into the 20th century, America was busy getting prosperous through commerce. While Europe was preparing to butcher millions of its own, America was becoming a new home to thousands every year, affording them opportunities never dreamt of in their old caste-based societies.
So I wonder: How and why exactly did Europe pull a 180 and get so hard-core PC in just a matter of decades? What catalyzed such a drastic surgical detachment from the tribalist undertones of its billennial culture? I think it was mostly an implosion:
Marxism had an ideological binding-effect on European nations. It consolidated international strife into an intra-national dynamic of factions in perpetual state of struggle and discontent: from the old chauvinistic rivalry between the English and the French, to the more intimate strife between the proletariat and the capitalist class within the same country. Note that the Marxist paradigm is an elaboration of, and qualitatively self-similar to, the original looser frame of ethnic hatred: Like the latter, it interprets people in collectivist and dehumanizing terms (ethnicity/class), pits them against one another over grievances that are often imaginary or second-hand (differences in language, religion, regional customs/ transient relative positions in the labor market), and encourages them to consume their hatred (ethnic cleansing/class war). Marxism was a fractal refinement of ethnic conflict. It brought it physically closer to the hearts of those who had craved hatred for its own sake throughout generations. It was a deeper more “nuanced” drill into the same direction of projecting hatred inwards.
One important trait Marxism doesn’t share with classical ethnic chauvinism is self-victimization. While ethnocentrism is usually supremacist, leftist strife acknowledges a deep inferiority complex through its obsession with the “exploitation” of the proletariat. This partly explains why Marxism spread like fire in Russia and Eastern and Southern Europe: these nations were history’s rejects. Their powerful western neighbors, the Ottoman Empire, and other transient regional superpowers had brutalized and humiliated them for centuries, often using them as pawns in international conflicts. Marxist self-victimization appealed to these countries’ peoples on a very intimate level.
By contrast, Western Europe was too invested in its grandeur to immediately succumb to an oppressed and dispossessed internal vision of self. But around the middle of the 20th century, the Old West woke up with a terrible headache from a hangover of lost greatness. A few remarkable things had happened:
First of all, Europe practically lost all its colonies. So used were the former colonial powers to their international limbs, that they now felt stubbed. This certainly took a toll on their collective self-esteem.
Most importantly, America saved Western countries’ political viability after both world wars, besides saving their people directly from annihilation. The vital and one-sided reliance on their unrefined transatlantic cousin was hard to swallow. Both wars had exploded from the major western powers’ unhinged ambitions of world dominance. By the end of WW2 all the initial contenders were devastated to the bone, while the insolent fresh-faced USA emerged as the world’s supreme powerhouse among international applause for saving Europe from its homicidal lunacy.
The pendulum of power had permanently shifted away from the Old West, but the humiliation did not end there. Adding insult to injury, as a bonus consequence of their insane war, the USSR was now looming like a giant cancerous nuclear mole right on Europe’s ass. The troubled continent had to look for protection from the US, again.
The prospect of being vassals to the US does things to the sub-consciousness of a people whose primary notion of identity for centuries had revolved around the ability to dictate submission to the rest of the world. If you’re an American who has felt European rancor first-hand, this might explain a few things.
When the USSR ceased to be a threat, there was a collective sigh of relief, and then just silence. With no imminent threats to distract it, Europe could finally fully digest the realization that it was now irreversibly light years behind America in just about every relevant respect. Europe did slowly succumb to a pitiful internal vision of self, which allowed socialism to creep in like a virus since the end of WW2, infiltrating the severely weakened immune defenses of national pride.
Cultural relativism is an interesting highlight of Europe’s neo-leftist disposition. It’s generally touted as an umbrella to shield the mostly Muslim immigrants from cultural scrutiny but in reality it’s largely a self-serving construct. It serves as an outlet for collective neurosis through escaping reality. In a world dominated by pragmatic dynamics, led by the USA and trailed by Eastern emerging powers, Europe has to face everyday what it missed out on: the opportunity to be relevant, to institutionally embrace freedom and capitalism, and to be part of the new world order. Instead the Old West cannibalized itself in the last century over supremacist collectivist dogmas, and its consolation is now that at least its priorities were correct: that everything is culturally relative, that there is no such thing as natural law dictating what man’s proper mode of existence is, that one politico-economic system is just as good as any other (so long as a collective culture backs it) no matter the objective level of prosperity it can afford its people (so Europeans can proudly refuse to acknowledge failure or back away from their societal miscarriages), that cultural hegemony is the only thing worth fighting for (as Europe bloodily did), and that their delusions are not deluded so long as they really believe in them.
The core of Europeans’ passion for political correctness lies in their psychological need of escaping reality, of hiding their heads in the sand, of refusing to acknowledge their ideological failures, and avoiding a much needed objective assessment of their situation.
Many Europeans channel these repressed needs by applying the sophistry of cultural relativism to their backward immigrants, but in reality it’s themselves they are trying to shield and protect. When the clash between their culture and the savage Islamic influx is truly shocking, most Europeans don’t know how to react. They are so invested in cultural relativism that the path of least resistance is often appeasement.
There is a minority that fights fire with fire, counteracting the pressure from Islam with ultra-nationalistic fascist sentiment. This goes to illustrate that the European identity is mostly tribal/ethnic, not ideological, and that itself is the main problem. The most popular defense of Europe’s identity comes as a resurgence of ethnic chauvinism, rather than as an appeal to Western values on their own objective merits.
Europe needs a reality check urgently. It is sad to see America becoming more and more like Europe, when Europe is the one in dire need of looking up to what America is supposed to be. Rome didn't fall in a day, but until Europe acknowledges its big problem, gives up the stubborn and irrational attachment to its collectivist ways, and develops enough character to challenge radical Islam on a moral plane, it will remain the sick man of the Free World.If you like this post - buy me a coffee
- Beyond Conservatism: Freedom in a Godless Future
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- A word on modesty --- Theory of (Authoritarian) Mind