I really liked the Opinion piece in Tuesday’s US print edition of the Wall Street Journal, by Bret Stephens (see In Defense of Christendom). I have not seen much of this chap, but what I saw in this piece, I really liked. In a nutshell he is talking about how Europe, and in general I think the West, has lost what put it where it is on the map. The West became the dominant force in the world only in the last four hundred years or so – see Niall Ferguson’s Civilization: The West and the Rest. Before that, the middle east and further back, the East, was larger, stronger, more dominant either militarily or economically. For over 1,000 years the East or near-east was more advanced than what we now call the West.
Today Europe is dying, according to the article. “Europe believes in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are secondary.” As Mr. Stephens says, “[w]hat Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things.”
He looks are the ridiculous juxtaposition of Angela Merkel and her attempts to placate the participation of Turkey in the European Union – long a cornerstone of east-west relations between Islam and Europe. Turkey is led by someone that really should not be at the same table as the European leaders – if you can believe the article.
Yet correctly the author knows that his article will be pilloried by the very same members of this community that don’t even understand the articles real meaning. The ignorant, the progressive, the (new) liberals, will assume the article means that they are wrong, and therefore such a perspective must be wrong. How wrong can that be?
This is a great article – if only because it puts into words the emotional, passionate logic that requires refutation – that cannot and will not come from the left, or the right. But from those whose hearts will necessarily give up the fight and settle in front of the TV for another beer and another soap opera. Oh what have we become?