The debate about the misunderstandings of Europe today and the bright or not too bright future is shaping up two camps – pessimists who say that the end of the EU and all European prosperity is simply a matter of time, and optimists that they are as good as they have never been. Some have driven Europe into a grave, some who are trying to reanimate that, perhaps, the dead body of civilization …
This time about another funeral.
Part two. The end of the holiday
We, Europeans, are totally embroiled in the conviction that the liberation and democratization project launched almost three decades ago has now become obsolete.
The collapse of the Soviet system – the “end of history” – endless political holidays. We believed that we received them. We enjoyed them and we did not ask if they were eternal. We thought it is eternal. The history however has no end. Widespread wars, national unrest, poverty, inequality, all possible discriminations had to disappear from our of peaceful life. However, for some reasons we feel that we have to go back from the holidays. There is something new and mysterious approaching us. We feel that something will happen, maybe even tomorrow or after tomorrow. So we do not know whether to continue as it is and leave problems for the next generation, or to take real policy on board again. The condemned few decades ago friend of imperialism – the geopolitics – has reborn, and the “dying” communism has not disappeared anywhere – the country governed by the communist promises to become the world’s largest producer soon, or it will be something more for the world.
It is scary. But who is guilty? Maybe it is us ourselves who created the World according our wishes?
Democracy and the right to choose are fascinating values, but they also produce many paradoxes. Politicians, no matter how much we like them, take our desires seriously. We wanted, in short, to live better, which means, in a more sensible way, to have the best possible results at lowest. We voted for the right to live for a long and happy life, cautiously and irresponsibly. And we have it.
The essence of the so-called representative democracy is that politicians take our general affairs onto their own hands and make their beloved voters live as simple, as careless as possible. We – the voters – do not need to be interested in neither the geopolitics, the defence of the country, nor any other “unpleasant” commitments. We need only to always have a right to choose among something. The ideal of democracy should have been society as an eternal amusement. A happy person does not have to worry, to sacrifice, to not believe in God or in the afterlife, he does not have to worry about any race, gender, or nationality complexes. So, happiness – the happiness of the entertainment community – is drawn upon by many politicians and it is beloved by many voters.
We wanted our children to work less and have comfort guaranties from the first days. We are now surprised that they are not in a hurry to go to work and why they hope that someone or something (parents or government) will take care of them. We wanted them to be educated, and we are now watching that education does not end even when it reaches the fourth decade of their lives. We wanted them to grow with caring parents and not to wander the streets, now we cannot persuade them to go from home and to start their responsible family lives. We wanted our children not to kill anybody in war, and now we are observing that they do not even want to protect the motherland. Everything is correct and according our wishes.
For the first time in the last few decades, the World has no real leadership. The United States, which has been considered the only superpower able to handle the world, appears to be less and less capable. Her new leader is genuinely trying to give America proper responsibility, but Europeans still tend to mock rather than work hard. So, the G-8 or the G-20 are no longer the World leaders …. We have G-200, or maybe G-0? Rather, the latter, because the countries in the world are not in agreement. The writers of the future scenarios predict even disagreements that may lead to the disappearance of the global market … then everyone is for oneself. Such an outbreak may be less severe than a nuclear conflict. Global funeral.
Did someone ask for values? Values are not entertainment. We learned to be tolerant. To be “tolerant” is more to compromise on values than to defend them. And it is, because we promised ourselves that all conflicts were over, and we need only to defend our wallets.
The European Union’s policy is becoming increasingly de-ideologized and increasingly “practical”. European civilization is aging and dying … As in Rome, “bread and games” require much more than philosophical perfectionism, aristocratic patriotism, honorary dynasties and other genealogies. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the great poet Heinrich Heine said that if the cross disappears, Europe will also disappear, disappear into something that switched post-roman barbarians into honourable Europeans. In the broadest sense, these are the values of political philosophy. Now we can answer for ourselves why we are not as dignified as we were a few centuries ago. It’s time to go to the cemetery. There will be more Europe there than in a supermarket.
I remember the comment of an old wise man, who noticed, that European civilization is fascinated by and has wonderful Christian roots. But However, Europeans themselves hide them and are more like a picked over flower, which looks more beautiful in the vase than in the garden, but is condemned to a quick and irreversible death.
We are now in this postmodern time in politics. A century ago, it was best to be normal and physically or economically superior. More is better – more knowledge, more wealth, more understanding. This means that progress is perceived as primitively technocratic. Euro-Atlantic civilization has been the fastest growing until recently, as it has created not only a physical but also an intellectual product.
Recently we began to live in a world where opinions are more important than the truth, while respecting the debate and the diversity of opinions. You may not believe it, you may not know it, but it does not prevent you from having a reputable opinion. Today, law and order are changed by interpretation and the irrational perception of reality. The truth criterion changes the primacy of the individual opinion. No matter what is true, what’s not, it’s important – what I think about it. Truth does exist, even if I’m wrong … There is no difference.
The postmodern world is a dream world. For politicians, this means that not only the law can no longer be valid, but also there is no general order, and the “global” declarations are as universal as they are acceptable to one another. The World Order can suddenly turn into the World Disorder. Philosophers are replaced by ironic negators, philosophers – by sociologists, psychoanalysts and day-to-day experts, morality – by a pragmatic choice. Since the concepts of “good / bad” themselves become meaningless, they can no longer be relied on to defend truth. The truth of “truth” remains to be defended by force, i.e. by war. We have wars, despite all the organizations created in the modern era, to avoid wars.
Finally, political aesthetics is more important than ethics. The political reality is increasingly changing into the political image; political emotion is more important than political action. Words are not judged by the direct, but by the transitive or metaphorical meaning, the absence of the hierarchy of knowledge and law implies chaos, which gives rise to (or is to be expected) random – good or bad – decisions. Truth is unnecessary, because truth makes it binding to it as to a dogma. Politics is “made” not by lawyers and technocrats, Politics is made by the illusionists of public relations. The modern world is the “post truth” community. It is already said, that the truth can be “lighter”, “softer”, adapted to the target audience, because true truth can be too rough to the entertainment-oriented community.
Even an obituary about the death of European civilization and an invitation to a funeral is an opinion…
Thus, globally, the countries, while declaring support for the current world order – democracy, market economy and the rule of law – often do not trust and even despise it. Society do not trust all the authorities, from self-government to international organizations. The vast majority of people in the world feel cheated, exploited, dishonourable, and feel the victims of large-scale secret and cynical deals. Even if they do not publicly oppose the order, they have less motivation to defend and cherish it. Centuries ago the Romans while disliking barbarians, could not defend the empire because they did not love it. Today, our civilization, as that of the ancient Romans can become a mild prey to the “new barbarians”.
This will be in the next segment of the discussion.