Europe’s dystopian present — and why, because I’m helpless to stop it, Schadenfreude overwhelms me

H.L. Mencken on Democracy

Beginning on September 11, 2001, and with increasing speed since January 2009, I’ve had a very strong sense that the world — not just America, but the whole world — is unraveling. At home, venerable and often cherished institutions and ideas are falling into disrepair or being perverted beyond all recognition. Abroad, the Pax America that stabilized the world for so many years, with America acting not as a conqueror but as ballast, has broken down. I’m afraid of the world into which I’m launching my children. The dystopian future that become a stable of countless young adult novels seems to have become the dystopian present.

In many ways, the worst thing about watching the passing spectacle is that I’m helpless to do anything. Sure, I blog, but I recognize (and I don’t mean this with any disrespect, dear readers) that I’m mostly preaching to the choir. I’d be delighted if my words changed one mind, swaying one person from unthinking Progressivism to thoughtful conservatism, but I’m pretty sure that the best I can do is offer comfort and comradeship to people who share my values and my concerns. There’s nothing wrong with binding people together, but I don’t see what I’m doing as effecting any real change.

I’ve also tried to help my children understand that the Leftist political pieties forced upon them in their schools and through their media are false. Mostly, I’ve been successful — my children, when they’re willing to think at all about politics, seem to have absorbed my conservative world view, one that fears big government, believes in strong borders and self-defense, and is fanatic about a free market and the virtue for able-bodied people of self-reliance. I don’t know, though, if I’ve done them any favors. Their values clash with the world they’re entering and put them at odds with their generation. Maybe they could face their socialized, possibly Islamic, future with some equanimity if they didn’t believe in the alternative.

On my Facebook page, I politely tweak my Leftist friends by subtly inserting conservative ideas into their Feeds, but I’m not kidding myself. Even the most open-minded of them are open-minded only to the extent that they don’t “un-friend” me or get nasty. I can practically feel the pity radiating across the feed as they think “She was smart once. What the heck happened? Early dementia perhaps?” None think, “She has always been a really smart, well-informed person. Maybe she’s on to something.” Sigh.

Faced with a domestic scene that saddens me and an international scene that frightens me, I’ve come to a necessary conclusion if I’m to continue functioning — and I must continue functioning. After all, even as things come down around my ears, I still have meals to prepare, laundry to wash, bills to pay, and people (and dogs) dependent upon me for their care. I can’t allow existential anxiety to make me useless.

So here’s my philosophy: To the extent I can bring about change, I’ll fuss and try to come up with solutions that make a difference. However, when there’s nothing I do or say to make a damn bit of difference, I’m going to sit back and get whatever pleasure I can out of the show. I’ll only make myself crazy if I continuously bang my head against walls to no effect.

My lemonade-out-of-lemons philosophy applies strongly to Europe.  If there were any way I could save it from its present existential collapse, I actually believe I would.  However, because there is absolutely nothing I can do, I’m opting for the pleasures of Schadenfreude as I watch Europe’s passing parade.

I should say that I’m of European stock (both my parents were born and raised in the chaos of Europe’s Depression and WWII), and that I therefore have a lot of strong European values, including cynicism, a tendency to be nasty and condescending (which I periodically fight), and a palate that likes European food. I’ve lived and traveled abroad extensively, and have met good people and bad on those trips. Heck, I even met nice French people.

Thirteenth-century Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, one of the most beautiful religious spaces in the world.
Thirteenth-century Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, one of the most beautiful religious spaces in the world.

I have a solid knowledge of European history (especially British), art, and architecture, as well as a surprisingly good understanding of European-style Christianity in the pre-modern era. Europe was once a shining light in world history. I don’t think that anymore.

Twice in the 20th century, Europe did its best to commit suicide. Both times, America saved it. After the second saving, Europe changed dramatically in some ways and fossilized in others. It embraced an anodyne socialism, one leached of the twin scourges of nationalism and the urge to conquer. Its post-war structure echoed Mussolini’s ideal, which was “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” It didn’t go full-communist however.  While it regulated private business so tightly that Europe essentially placed large parts of its economy under government control, it managed to refrain from nationalizing most of it.  For a while, flush with America’s post-war cash transfers, this new model seemed to work economically, allowing people to work short weeks, take long vacations, and retire early, all without saving a penny.

At the same time that it socialized its economy, Europe also managed to fossilize itself. Both to recover from the damage wrought by war and to attract American tourist dollars, Europe began to invest as much in its past (and what a glorious past it was) as in its present and future. The end result is that Europe is a wonderful living museum. Of course, that gives it the same dynamism as a museum, which is to say not too much.

A gallery in the Rijksmuseum.
A nice, sterile gallery in the Rijksmuseum.

The net effect of a fundamentally stagnant economy (the stagnancy of which became apparent when the American flow of Cold War dollars ceased) and self-immolation on the altar of its own history is that Europe is a revenant, a kind of classy zombie. No wonder its citizens stopped reproducing. There’s no future in a country chained to its past, with a government firmly stifling initiative to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

You’d think that I, a lifelong Europhile, would weep copious tears over Europe’s pathetic economy, frozen mien, and struggles with the same Muslim hoards that sought to destroy it in past centuries. In fact, though, I weep no tears. Because there’s one other piece of European history I want to discuss, and it’s why, given that I can’t save Europe, I’m able to sit back and watch Europe’s struggles as I would a TV show or a passing parade.

First, a little back story.  I don’t think it’s a secret that Europe has always fervently supported the Palestinians, and has used the UN (and, most particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, aka UNRWA) as the engine of that support. The following are some of the myriad reasons why it turned its back on Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, and instead threw its support behind adherents of a totalitarian, misogynistic, antisemitic, homophobic, anti-Christian theocracy.

Many (including me) believe that Europe never forgave the Jews for Auschwitz. It was in its maddened fury to rid itself of the Jewish outsider that Europe revealed the most loathsome side of itself. It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to figure out that Europe wants to erase that stain by saying that the Jews, through their proxy nation of Israel, are just as bad as the Europeans were, thereby relieving the Europeans of their unique genocidal burden. The reality that the facts don’t support the Europeans (fact number one being the soaring population growth amongst Palestinians) is meaningless to a group that’s found a lie that allows it to walk away from its sins.

The easiest way to forgive yourself for causing this is to say that the victims have become as bad as you once were.
The easiest way to forgive yourself for causing this is to say that the victims have become as bad as you once were.

Anti-Semitism also runs deep in the European gene pool. The 70-year-long post-WWII period of self-reproach has ended and Europe has reverted to type, with anti-Semitism being one of old Europe’s dominant features. Just last week, a majority of French people announced that it’s the Jews’ own fault that they’re subject to murderous hatred. Apparently you can take the French person out of the 12th century, but you can’t take the 12th century out of the French person. It helps, of course, to have those fires stoked by Islam.

The Nazis would have recognized the antisemitic propaganda in this medieval woodcut.
The Nazis would have recognized the antisemitic propaganda in this medieval woodcut.

Because Europeans have always been completely dependent on Middle Eastern oil, they also couldn’t afford to alienate the oil-producing countries. When the Palestinians were displaced, the surrounding Muslim countries didn’t want these troublemakers — and that was the case despite the fact that the points of origin for most of these so-called “Palestinians” were Jordan and Egypt. The surrounding nations also liked the idea of having a permanent “people’s front” supporting the Islamic doctrine holding that Jews must be wiped out, and most particularly be wiped out of the Holy Land.  Lastly, by keeping Israel in the headlines, the Muslim nations could convince their beleaguered, abused citizens to ignore the miserable governance to which they were subject.  And for oil, Europe went along with all of this.

Drilling for oil in 1950s Kuwait.
Drilling for oil in 1950s Kuwait.

Apropos those perpetual refugees, the ones that serve the Muslim nations so well, keep in mind that, after World War II, the Allied powers, led by the United States, were able to relocate or repatriate 15 million refugees within less than six months of war’s end. It took them only five years to find permanent homes for the remaining 45 million refugees left behind at war’s end. Assimilating those dislocated by the 1948 and 1967 wars would have been the work of a few months had the will existed. The Arabs, though, didn’t want them, and the Europeans didn’t want to upset the oil flow.

Europe’s support for the Palestinians also arose from Europe’s affinity for Leftism.  Although Europe basked under America’s military protection during the Cold War (something that allowed Europe some extra dollars to have “socialized” medicine, courtesy of American tax dollars), the fact was that European socialism meant many of its values derived more from the Soviet Union than from the free West. Add to this its resentment that ancient, educated Europe was dependent crude, pushy Americans, and you can see that European’s thought they were being edgily transgressive when they sided with the Soviet Union on the Palestinian question.  (The Soviet Union, of course, sided with the Palestinians because it viewed Israel as an American client state.) It was this merry little dance that saw Europe and the Soviet Union provide unlimited support to UNRWA, an institution that has ensured the Palestinians’ perpetual refugee status for 68 years.

And of course, in recent years, Europe has been inviting in more and more Israel-hating Muslims. Europeans claim to have done this out of guilt for their own imperialist past.  There’s a more pragmatic reason, though:  European demographics are in such collapse that the only way governments can support retirees (who have no savings because they handed all their excess money to the state, believing it would care for them in old age) is to bring in cheap foreign labor — and there’s no labor more cheap, or more foreign than Muslims.

Behind Merkel’s high-flown humanism regarding the latest batch of European refugees lies this same demographic reality. She’s delusional, of course, because there’s no way illiterate, culturally-foreign refugees, most of whom are too old to be re-educated in Western norms, can replace the European babies that never got born . . . but that’s a subject for another post.

Muslims at prayer in a European street.
Muslims at prayer in a European street.

Combine all of the above forces and you end up with a European political class that, for more than fifty years, has been ferociously hostile to Israel and extremely supportive of Palestinians, whether with money, political pressure on Israel, or moral support for the Palestinians. Europe has done everything it can to leave Israel alone and unarmed against a people who are open about their desire to wipe out the Jewish nation and to leave its Jewish inhabitants dead in bloody heaps or driven into the sea.

So you’ll forgive my Schadenfreude when I look at the Muslims now overwhelming Europe — raping its women and children, despoiling its streets, taking over its homes, and bankrupting is treasuries — and think that this invasion couldn’t happen to a more deserving continent. I’m not so lost to decency and common human feeling that I’m not horrified by the terrors visited on the individual victims — the women and children raped, the men beaten, the old people driven from their homes. I wish I could hand all those people guns to prevent the crimes committed against them.

Oh, wait! I remember!  Barring the helpless children, those women, men, and old people are the same people who have, for decades, sneered at and reviled Americans for their old-fashioned belief that self-defense is an individual responsibility, best effectuated by privately-owned guns.

And really, how sorry can you be for a culture that produces this:

German woman for rapists

At this point, the only ones I mourn are the children, who had nothing to do with the toxic European mentality and the Jews who, once again, are finding themselves at the spear-tip of European hatred.  I can’t fix Europe so I may as well enjoy its entirely deserved suffering.