Politics, Culture, the Public Square
“. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The standard attitude on the American Right toward Europe has moved beyond irritation, frustration or outrage into contempt. Conservatives generally take note of Europe nowadays with a sneer — at her socialism, her secularism, her sterility, and, most recently, her escalating ordeal by Islam, which is really just a resumption of a very old ordeal.
This attitude is, I’m afraid, itself contemptible. The time for deriding Europe is long past. We have seen enough of this petty little game for deracinated souls. There is no honor in scorning a friend in need. The pious man does not dismiss his brother because his voice has been taken from him. A patriot does not mock the torment of his allies.
The Canadian/American/English journalist Mark Steyn has come to exemplify this contemptible attitude of contempt. The burden of his commentary (for the American audience) on Europe is this: Europe is doomed demographically and her confidence is shattered; Islam is ascendant, and will soon be triumphant; there is little or nothing we can do. The critical reader may be forgiven for detecting the occasional note of pleasure in Steyn’s reporting of this coming catastrophe; and he will certainly be forgiven for failing to detect anything like sorrow or mourning. Not only is Europe dying: it will also be an unmourned death.
One is inclined to interject a few points in the midst of this harangue of inevitable decline. (1) The history of Christian Europe has hardly been an uninterrupted tale of shining resistless advancement, and she has seen dark days (and ages) before. (2) Often when collapse did come, it came by betrayal: We do not need even look past the history of the final centuries of the great Christian city of Constantinople, broken by the treachery of the West in 1204, and then deserted, but for some few Genoese and Venetians, in its last agony in 1453. (3) Demographic projections are not even, properly, predictions; the future is always like the present, until that moment when it is not.
What should our attitude toward Europe be? It should be one of solidarity, challenge, magnanimity and defiance: solidarity with her ordeal, challenge to her lassitude, magnanimity with her failings, and defiance of her enemy, which is, of course, our enemy. The day may soon dawn when we must approach all of Europe as we approached Eastern Europe under Communism: as a gallant people, subjugated by a foreign oppressor. What wisdom is there in preparing for that day by cultivating contempt against her in our hearts?posted by Paul Cella | 8:57 AM |
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I have joined on with yet another blogging adventure, which may seem to whatever readers I have left here to be a rather comical ambition considering the late decline of my output. Nevertheless it is an eminently worthy project, conceived by my friend Josh Trevino; and to it I will lend what meager talents I have.
The weblog is Enchiridion Militis, taken from Erasmus’s work Enchiridion Militis Christiani or Handbook of the Christian Soldier. It is dedicated explicitly to the defense of what is left of the West, against enemies both foreign and domestic.
Long may it prosper.posted by Paul Cella | 11:10 AM |
Friday, February 03, 2006
1:57 PM |