Sunday, 1 October 2017

Eastern Europe, the last hope for Europe and the world

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You might be interested by this articleWhy the West Can’t Unite Against Terrorism, written by Richard Storey, who thinks Eastern Europe the last hope for Europe. 
I assumed Eastern Europe was the best part of Europe before I got here in 1990 and I have never doubted Romania's superiority to the West, in innumerable, intangible ways, since I came to live in Romania in 1998. But when asked 'In what ways?' I always have difficulty in answering - apart from saying they still believe in God here.
But, as I type this, I think of many strong reasons. They also still believe in the nation, their tradition, in freedom, hierarchy, the divine order in the universe that makes men men and women women. I could think of many more reasons if pressed.

Mr. Storey says, rather gushingly:
"How else are we to explain Europe’s indomitable civilization, despite being beset by barbarians at the gates and the plutocratic pursuit of political power? The answer is apparent to much of Eastern Europe; they have seen where the unstable forces of leftism lead them and have returned to the Church as that common transcendent system of higher cultural values which bound Europe together into a network of communities. This is why they stand strong and terror-free, boldly declaring their Christian identity and closed borders in the face of the EU taking Poland, Czech and Hungary to court."
I wish that were true but I am not sure it is. Eastern Europe, Romania and Poland excepted, is starting to forget its religion (Hungary never had that much, nor the Czechs) but not its cultural Christianity. Cultural Christianity is very necessary, though not sufficient.

Mr. Storey's argument, that Europe's bedrock is or was its Christian faith, is the central point of Douglas Murray's book The Strange Death of Europe - that Western Europe no longer has a faith in which it believes. Douglas Murray, a very interesting and highly intelligent writer, has lost his faith and calls himself a 'Christian atheist'. 

He explains that after religion lost its hold, art, science and progress failed to be substitutes and now people are left with 'nice holidays'. 

Douglas Murray could also have mentioned sex. He could have said that welfare states, human rights and non-discrimination are other attempts to fill the void left by the sacred. 

Christianity, by the way, gave rise to the Enlightenment and 'Enlightenment values' might not survive Christianity's disappearance. 

The Strange Death of Europe touches on Eastern Europeans and their attitudes to mass immigration in just two pages and says, very truly, that they still retain 'the tragic sense of life' that Western Europeans have lost. 

This is, perhaps, the reason above all else why I love living here and why this part of the world is more serious, in a sense more truly civilised, than the decadent West.

Earlier in the book, talking about Western Europe, Douglas Murray had said this about the tragic sense of life.
For even the mass movement of millions of people into Europe would not sound such a final note for the continent were it not for the fact that (coincidentally or otherwise) at the same time Europe lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy. Countless factors have contributed to this development, but one is the way in which Western Europeans have lost what the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno famously called the “tragic sense of life.” They have forgotten what the World War II generation so painfully learnt: that everything you love, even the greatest and most cultured civilizations in history, can be swept away by people who are unworthy of them. Other than simply ignoring it, one of the few ways to avoid this tragic sense of life is to push it away through a belief in the tide of human progress. That tactic remains for the time being the most popular approach.

2 comments:

  1. Good piece. Agreed that "Cultural Christianity" is not enough. It's but a stepping stone to that globalizing secular liberalism now unwinding our societies faster than we can even think.

    I think a lot can be gained from Rod Dreher's recent book THE BENEDICT OPTION. Whether or not he is right about the best strategy for resistance, he is very good at diagnosing the malaise. See Rod Dreher's Wake-Up Call

    I suspect political factors, as in a growing recognition of the problem and a rebirth of a nationalist right, are possibly going to make the landscape quite different from the one Dreher addresses and projects for the near future. But who's to say at this point? And it's not certain that even resurgent nationalism would bring the Church back to the center of European culture.

    Appreciate your pieces. Keep blogging. Myself, I'm an American expat in Taiwan.

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  2. I agree - Eastern Europe is the bulwark that saved Europe from Islam for 1000 years - and it may come to this again. Ruslan

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