Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Strange Death of Western Europe and why is Eastern Europe different?

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I am currently reading, am deeply depressed and alarmed by and am lost in wonder at Douglas Murray's new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Please read it people, if you read only one book this year.


The opening sentence is:
Europe is committing suicide.
and he continues
By the end of the lifespans of most people currently alive, Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place we had to call home.
He deals with Eastern European attitudes to migrants in a couple of pages and says this, under the rubric "Why is Eastern Europe so different?"
"....In January 2016, when the Swedish authorities, the European Commission and others began publicly to acknowledge that the majority of people they had taken in the previous year had no right to claim asylum in Europe, Jean Claude Juncker continued to insist on the Commission's proposed quota system to share out the migrants between each country. Slovakia refused to have any
part in what its government described as a 'nonsense' and 'complete fiasco'. The left-wing Slovakian Prime Minister, Robert Fico, said in despair, 'I feel that we in the EU are now committing ritual suicide and we're just looking on'. The other Visegrad countries held the same view as Fico.


"....Chantal Delsol noticed the seeds of this difference in the mid-1990s. Spending time in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she saw that Eastern Europeans increasingly considered us as creatures from another planet, even while at a different level they dreamed of becoming like us. I later became convinced that it was in these eastern European societies that I should seek some answers to our question -- the divergence between us and them led me to the belief that the last fifty years of good fortune had entirely erased our sense of the tragic dimension of life'. That tragic dimension of life had not been erased in the East. And nowhere have the consequences of this been more clearly displayed than in the attitudes of Eastern European leaders, with the support of their publics, to the migration crisis." 'The divergences between us and them led me to the belief that the last fifty years of good fortune had entirely erased our sense of the tragic dimension of life'."
To understand why Eastern European attitudes towards migrants and Islam are different from ones that obtain (at least at an official level) in the West, you have to look at Western, not Eastern, Europe. Eastern Europeans (those who have not been educated in the pieties of Western universities) retain the common sense ideas to which everyone in Western Europe subscribed in 1945.

Eastern Europeans love their countries the way they are, homogeneous and cohesive ethnic states with long and beautiful traditions, as everyone in Western Europe did until a moment ago.

But there are other reasons too. Eastern European countries have all been oppressed by empires (Ottoman, Russian, Hapsburg). They rightly see themselves as victims of imperialism, most recently by that imposed in the name of the proletariat by the Soviet Union. They do not feel post-colonial guilt, because they had no colonies. They were colonised. 

And they are much poorer than the West, though nowadays quite a lot richer than the Third World. They are emigrant countries, not immigrant societies.

Most Romanians I know think mass immigration from Africa and Asis to Western Europe has been a disaster, but all, without exception, think it is a just punishment for colonialism. 

A young, left-wing Romanian friend who won a scholarship to Yale told me that she hopes in her lifetime (she is about 30 now) that Italy will have an African majority. This, she says, will be a fitting punishment for Italy's short-lived and small colonial empire in Africa.

Mr. Murray swats away this argument effortlessly.
I’ve particularly never heard, for instance, that the country of Turkey should have a large infusion of Yorkshiremen or people from Wales, Dublin, in order to not only diversify that country but to make some kind of reparation for the Ottoman Empire.
In Eastern Europe, patriotism and the martial, masculine virtues are considered virtues. Eastern Europeans have not rethought their values to be as unlike Nazi values as possible. Communists blamed Nazism on capitalism and the recent horrors of Communist rule have in most countries (not in Poland or Serbia) displaced from folk memory what the Germans did. 

Most Eastern European countries were allied with Hitler, in any case, and many Eastern Europeans, if they are not Jews, gypsies or Slavs, think that they would have been better off had he not Stalin won the war.

Eastern Europe used always to be an ethnic mosaic and Eastern Europeans know, as a cursory reading of history, especially the history of 1939-45, or simple common sense teaches, that ethnic minorities living side by side do so unhappily and often violent conflicts arise. 

Ethnic minorities lived side by side in Eastern Europe for a long time when Eastern European societies were essentially mediaeval. With the coming (imposition would be a better word) of modernity, that changed. 


Conflict between Muslims and Christians led to the forced migrations of millions of Greeks and Turks before and after the First World War. In 1945 and 1946 a Procrustean reordering of East Europe's ethnic minorities took place across the region. An ethnic war was fought between Ukrainians and Poles which the world ignored. Ethnic Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Czechs and Ukrainians were expelled from the places across Central and Eastern Europe in which their families had lived for many centuries. The whole story of displaced persons - the so-called DPs- is calamitous. Coming after the slaughter of the Jews by the Germans, by 1950 a terrible simplicity had been imposed on Eastern European countries which had hitherto been ethnic mixtures. 

Attlee, Stalin and Truman at Potsdam in 1945 ordered these vast movements of people to get rid of the ethnic patchwork that had led to war in 1939, stipulating that they should be "humane and orderly". They were, of course, neither. 


At almost the same time as Attlee agreed this, oddly enough, ethnically homogeneous Britain began to become rapidly multi-ethnic. 

In his last chapter Douglas Murray concludes

By the middle of this century, while China will probably still look like China, India will probably still look like India, Russia like Russia, and Eastern Europe like Eastern Europe, Western Europe will at best resemble a large-scale version of the United Nations. ...This place where international cities develop into something resembling international countries will be many things. But it will not be Europe anymore.
I shall blog more about the ideas with which this very readable and well-written book fizzes. But much as I love interesting, original, perceptive ideas, this is desperately sad work. The saddest story ever told. 



A pedant writes: I wish he knew what disinterested meant and did not split infinitives. I do not necessarily expect good grammar from Oxford men, but I do from Etonians (Douglas Murray won a scholarship there).

19 comments:

  1. That may be, but I am not sure what Eastern Europe will look like. For one thing, it is being depopulated at an alarming rate.

    Romania is second in population loss after Syria for the second year in a row, Ukraine is a mess, Hungary is a mess, Russia is in a population decline as well, etc.

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    1. Birth rates are a major problem in the East.

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  2. He could be right on the ethnic composition of China, India or Russia. As for the Western part of Europe, he could be right as well. but is the purity a blessing or a drawback? Also, just out of curiosity, why are Central Europeans mixed with Eastern Europeans? Funny to see how people in countries that used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, which was hated in many ways but appreciated for its freedom of movement and settlement, are now so committed to keeping their nation pure, while going abroad to get more opportunities.

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    1. ,Eastern Europians have experience with Ottoman rule and also with marxist rule, that's why! Muslims invade Europa again with the help of Neo-marxists, that's why.

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    2. You're wondering why people want to go to work for a ton of money and still have a familiar home to come back to when they retire?

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  3. Being wiped out by your own governments policy in siding with an hyper aggressive imported proletariat which they will subsequently enslave for all time is not "suicide", it's war, for both the invader and the native and both won't see it until it is too late. The current complete overplaying of their own hand shows just how naïve these colonizers are (the infamous Interviews with the hyper aggression of Sukant Chandan and Deeyah Khan respectively show this).

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  4. More than 500 years we had problems with Turks and other muslims. Germans collaborated with islam since Kaiser Wilhelm - WWI as well as WWII. Then Russians occupied us for 50 years. And that's all. We never had any slaves or collonies. We do not owe anything to anybody. We want to live without occupation, without fear and without commands from Germany.

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  5. More than 500 years we had problems with Turks and other muslims. Germans collaborated with islam since Kaiser Wilhelm - WWI as well as WWII. Then Russians occupied us for 50 years. And that's all. We never had any slaves or collonies. We do not owe anything to anybody. We want to live without occupation, without fear and without commands from Germany.

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  6. It is just matter of years until Eastern Europe embrace the same ideals than their Western neighbours. Specially because the economical situation and the disgusting propaganda spreading beyond the Berlin wall.
    David S

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  7. I dismiss the theory that Romanians are against islamic immigration just because they were vassals to the Turks or colonised in other ways in the past. Turkey ceased being a threat after 1878 and gradually disappeared from collective consciousness. Already after 1859 it got less and less relevant. (As a side, I recommend the memoirs book --- Amintiri --- of Radu Rosetti, it is charming.) Austria-Hungary dissolved 3-4 generations ago. At most some ethnic violence in Northern Transylvania in the 40s is still remembered. Only Russia is still perceived as a threat by living generations. My father vividly remembers the plundering of his grandfather's farm when the Russians passed by in 1944.

    I have another theory of why the Romanians are against islamic immigration. There's a feeling of having missed out on everything and there's a raging desire to catch up. The necessary condition for catching up is to live in relative stability, i.e. without external oppressive masters or systems imposed from without, such as communism was perceived. (The EU is perceived as a rather benevolent master though this view is eroding.) The golden age of Romania, still in collective consciousness, is the period between 1878 and the 1920s, maybe 1930s. Culturally and economically it was blooming. (Politically I think it was the same as today.) This was destroyed when external currents troubled Europe, the war, the aftermath of the war, the Stalinist hegemony in the East. There are two combining factors: On one hand I think the East is now hypersensitive at possible external factors that could trouble the status quo again, the peace. It is bad to be pushed under water, but when you just resurfaced and took a deep breath then you're rabbidly mad at anyone who could be suspected of pushing you back again. (The EU, with all its defects, keeps the East from becoming a ground for Russian influences of the kind we see in Georgia, Ukraine, or even Montenegro.) Then, on the other hand, there's a certain nonchalance, cavalier approach of the West in face of the islamic threat and immigration that drives the East mad with incomprehension. This, in my opinion, comes from a certain developed/acquired insecurity of the East. The East could not stand its ground, it was run over. Even the proud Poles were run over. The West has 1300 years of cultural achievements behind it since Charlemagne. They are understandably (and let us hope not fatally) less impressed by a bunch of savages. The difference between the West and the East is that the West, in its self-assurance, thinks that it won't be this bunch that will tear Europe down, while the East, in its insecurity and apprehension, fears that it will. The West definitely underestimates the danger. The East maybe overestimates it. Better safe than sorry?

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  8. PREDICTION: If current refugee numbers keep up (I see no reason they won't), the sea blockade of the Mediterranean will go from (1) an unacceptable, outrageous proposal of "irresponsible" right-wing populists which contradicts the very foundations of European values, to (2) reality. Within 3 years.

    http://www.germanjoys.eu/the-eus-slow-demise/

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  9. Stories like this reveal the way narratives work through a series of blindspots and embedded assumptions.

    Step 1: For two centuries, European powers (armed with germs, steel, guns and factory commodities) literally remade the world -- its previous cultures, economics, its power structures, its distributions of wealth.

    But in many conservative European narratives that univited intrusion was quite positive -- Europe was (it is said) civilizing the uncivilized (while it was, not incidentally, enriching itself).

    Certainly Euro-American conservatives didn't claim that "China is commiting suicide" when it agreed to "open doors" and foreign concessions. Was Japan "committing suicide" when it ended the barriers of the "hermit kingdom"? Certainly the Aztecs WERE committing suicide when they allowed Cortez to live past the beach -- but that's now how 500 years of European narrative described it.

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  10. Step 2 Settler colonies: Over and over (for 500 years), highly marginalized "surplus" populations within Europe embedded themselves around the world and established "colonial" enclaves. As is well known, they generally fought continuous wars to conquer, remove or enslave those indigenous peoples they found there. Australia, New Zealand, southern Africa, Hispaniola, North American east coast, (there is controversy over whether to add Palestine as the last on that list)...

    And in Euro-American narratives, those effort are seen as heroic, pioneering, and as major additions to the advance of humanity (while the massive human cost is seen as tragedy-that-doesn't-define-the-whole).

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  11. Step 3, today: Now, suddenly, things have changed a bit. The world has shrunk. Mobility has grown radically. And we are in the middle of the most massive waves of mass migrations in human history.

    Hundreds of millions of people are living far outside their circumstances of origin. (The largest component is the migration for Chinese countryside to dozens of new mega-cities within China.)

    I would be the last person to claim that there are no "problems" to be seen-and-solved in this era of relocation.

    A new world culture is emerging... old national distinctivenesses are breaking down with a rapidity few would have imagined.

    But I just want to acknowledge the extreme hysteria & hypocrisy of Euro-nationalists who trumpeted CENTURIES of Euro-intrusion OVER OTHERS as a "civilizing mission," yet now wail over minor new cultural fusion that THEY are experiencing as some tragedy bordering on suicide.

    We should at least have some perspective, right?

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  12. Example of blindspot: The article describes a Romanian who hopes Italy will have an African majority and considers it fitting because of Italy's colonial empire in Africa."

    Donald Murray explodes over the onesidedness of this:

    "I’ve particularly NEVER heard, ... that the country of Turkey should have a large infusion of Yorkshiremen or people from Wales, Dublin, in order to not only diversify that country but to make some kind of reparation for the Ottoman Empire.'"

    Really?

    The eastern Mediterranean was never forced to"have a large infusion" of European refugees as compensation for abuse? Did we miss the modern history of Palestine?

    Post-WW2 100,000s of desperate, horribly-brutalized Eastern Europeans were funneled toward Palestine. It was explained (to anyone watching) that they were DUE this inhabited land because of their (very real) suffering during the war.

    THAT story is so normalized that Murray believes he's "never heard" of such a thing.

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  13. I really like Douglas Murray.

    It's a shame this will make no difference as most stupid, indoctrinated cretins will still support the most destructive policies in this area to virtue signal while Rome burns.

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  14. That's why I plan on homesteading/retiring generally in Poland. There is no future here, I will not be made to live in a slum camp like the disenfranchised South Africans.
    Fabian

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  15. Civilizations encroach upon one another continually throughout history. It naturally is due to the self interest of the stronger player. The Romans and Persians were ruthless in their conquests but left the conquered with useful knowledge they did not previously have. The Chinese invented gunpowder and paper but did not implement it as the West did to develop weapons or the printing press due to imperial restrictions. If the mass migrations of Muslims into Europe who may have little or no inclination to assimilate can benefit those Western countries it will indeed demonstrate the value of diversity for diversity's sake alone

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