Go Not Gently!

A group of concerned thinkers, including Roger Scruton, have written a rousing manifesto calling for the defense of Europe against its accelerating cultural suicide. The document is called The Paris Statement, and it is good strong stuff. (I learned about it from this article at Reaction, where you can find additional commentary.)

You can read the Statement here. With a document of this length I will naturally have a quibble or two, but something like this — a clear and ringing declaration of European identity and purpose, that names and denounces the mortiferous ideology that has brought this great civilization to the brink of death — is Europe’s only hope. If it becomes a rallying creed for a pan-European awakening, as our own Declaration did, it might have a miraculous effect.

I will excerpt a few brief passages (and have bolded some for emphasis):

From part 1:

Europe belongs to us, and we belong to Europe. These lands are our home; we have no other. The reasons we hold Europe dear exceed our ability to explain or justify our loyalty. It is a matter of shared histories, hopes and loves. It is a matter of accustomed ways, of moments of pathos and pain. It is a matter of inspiring experiences of reconciliation and the promise of a shared future. Ordinary landscapes and events are charged with special meaning—for us, but not for others.

From part 2:

Europe, in all its richness and greatness, is threatened by a false understanding of itself… the false Europe praises itself as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.

From part 7:

The true Europe is a community of nations. We have our own languages, traditions and borders… This unity-in-diversity seems natural to us. Yet this is remarkable and precious, for it is neither natural nor inevitable.

From part 9:

The true Europe has been marked by Christianity… It is no accident that the decline of Christian faith in Europe has been accompanied by renewed efforts to establish political unity—an empire of money and regulations, covered with sentiments of pseudo-religious universalism, that is being constructed by the European Union.

From part 12:

Our shared life is an ongoing project, not an ossified inheritance. But the future of Europe rests in renewed loyalty to our best traditions, not a spurious universalism demanding forgetfulness and self-repudiation. Europe did not begin with the Enlightenment. Our beloved home will not be fulfilled with the European Union. The real Europe is, and always will be, a community of nations at once insular, sometimes fiercely so, and yet united by a spiritual legacy that, together, we debate, develop, share—and love.

Part 13:

The true Europe is in jeopardy. The achievements of popular sovereignty, resistance to empire, cosmopolitanism capable of civic love, the Christian legacy of humane and dignified life, a living engagement with our Classical inheritance—all this is slipping away. As the patrons of the false Europe construct their faux Christendom of universal human rights, we are losing our home.

From part 15:

Libertine hedonism often leads to boredom and a profound sense of purposelessness. The bond of marriage has weakened. In the roiling sea of sexual liberty, the deep desires of our young people to marry and form families are often frustrated. A liberty that frustrates our heart’s deepest longings becomes a curse. Our societies seem to be falling into individualism, isolation and aimlessness. Instead of freedom, we are condemned to the empty conformity of consumer- and media-driven culture. It is our duty to speak the truth: The Generation of ’68 destroyed but did not build. They created a vacuum now filled by social media, cheap tourism and pornography.

From part 17:

Europe’s multicultural enterprise, which denies the Christian roots of Europe, trades on the Christian ideal of universal charity in an exaggerated and unsustainable form. It requires from the European peoples a saintly degree of self-abnegation. We are to affirm the very colonization of our homelands and the demise of our culture as Europe’s great twenty-first century glory—a collective act of self-sacrifice for the sake of some new global community of peace and prosperity that is being born.

Part 20:

The hubris of the false Europe is now becoming evident, despite the best efforts of its partisans to shore up comfortable illusions. Above all, the false Europe is revealed to be weaker than anyone imagined. Popular entertainment and material consumption do not sustain civic life. Shorn of higher ideals and discouraged from expressing patriotic pride by multiculturalist ideology, our societies now have difficulty summoning the will to defend themselves. Moreover, civic trust and social cohesion are not renewed by inclusive rhetoric or an impersonal economic system dominated by gigantic international corporations. Again, we must be frank: European societies are fraying badly. If we but open our eyes, we see an ever-greater use of government power, social management and educational indoctrination. It is not just Islamic terror that brings heavily armed soldiers into our streets. Riot police are now necessary to quell violent anti-establishment protests and even to manage drunken crowds of football fans. The fanaticism of our football loyalties is a desperate sign of the deeply human need for solidarity, a need that otherwise goes unfulfilled in the false Europe.

There is much, much more: the second half of the document moves from diagnosis to prescription, and it is a prescription, for the most part, that any traditionalist should applaud. Go and read the whole thing.

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  1. Whitewall says

    Malcolm, this is long over due good stuff. Thank you for it! You and David Duff seem to be on a similar wave length:

    Posted October 22, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  2. Pangur says

    At this point, sharia law is probably the best and most likely option for Europe.

    Posted October 22, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Jacques says

    I just did a ‘guest post’ complaining about the Paris Statement on Rightly Considered… Maybe it’s a bit unfair as I just kind of fired it off. Curious to hear what people think though…

    Posted October 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Jacques, I’ve just read your response. (Readers, it’s here.) Some of what you object to was what I mentioned as “quibbles”, but you made objections to passages that I had breezed right over in my initial reading (for example, your objection to “genuine progress has been made”, which somehow I had missed).

    In short, your reply is, I think, exactly on the mark, and while I still think that half a loaf is better than none, your essay has made me realize that my initial assessment of this document was far too positive.

    I’m going to link your response in a new post.

    By the way: are you the person mentioned in the “about the author”? A “former police officer”?

    Posted October 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  5. Jacques says

    Hi Malcolm,
    Thanks, I thought you might agree on reflection :)

    No, I’m definitely not a former police officer. This is confusing, and I should ask them to change it: the person who posted it is a regular contributor to the blog, and I’m posting as a ‘guest’. (He posted it for me.) There’s something at the top to that effect but it’s confusing.

    Posted October 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

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