Philosophers warn Europe: protect borders, restore marriage if you want to survive

 

Philosophers warn Europe: protect borders, restore marriage if you want to survive

October 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – European conservative scholars and intellectuals have released a manifesto aimed at restoring Europe to its “true genius” and actively recovering “what is best in our tradition.”

The manifesto, called the Paris Statement, details how “technocratic tyranny” and “false freedom” prevails in Europe, threatening its very existence as well as the Christian roots that undergird it.

The statement, released October 7, lists concerns about the growing secularization of Europe, Muslim immigration, and the rise of a “false Europe.” It outlines ways Europe can return to respecting the sovereignty of its nations, overcome “isolation and aimlessness,” and restore “true liberalism.”

“The true Europe is at risk because of the suffocating grip that the false Europe has over our imaginations,” it says. “Our nations and shared culture are being hollowed out by illusions and self-deceptions about what Europe is and should be. We pledge to resist this threat to our future. We will defend, sustain and champion the real Europe, the Europe to which we all in truth belong,” the authors state.

These false ideas about Europe are “invincibly prejudiced against the past,” they add.

The “patrons of the false Europe” are “unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing.”

“Sunk in prejudice, superstition and ignorance, and blinded by vain, self-congratulating visions of a utopian future, the false Europe reflexively stifles dissent,” the authors continue. “This is done, of course, in the name of freedom and tolerance.”

The authors wrote the statement after a meeting last May in which they took a sober look at the current state of European politics, culture, society, and the state of the European mind and imagination.

The authors state that instead of “simply wringing their hands in fruitless anxiety, or adding yet another tome to the ample literature that diagnoses ‘the decline of the West'” they decided to write a statement about what makes Europe great and how it is being threatened.

The Paris Statement identifies threats to a “true” Europe and corresponding solutions.

Solidarity and civic loyalty must be encouraged, the statement says, so that justice may be pursued. Europeans must not be “passive subjects.”

“We share our common life and the res publica,” it says. “We assume that it is our duty to take responsibility for the futures of our societies. We are not passive subjects under the domination of despotic powers, whether sacred or secular. And we are not prostrate before implacable historical forces. To be European is to possess political and historical agency.”

Although the continent is characterized by kinship, “the nation-state is a hallmark of Europe,” the document says. “We do not back an imposed, enforced unity.”

Cultural unity can be found through Christianity, the Paris Statement says:

“The true Europe has been marked by Christianity. The universal spiritual empire of the Church brought cultural unity to Europe, but did so without political empire. This has allowed for particular civic loyalties to flourish within a shared European culture. The autonomy of what we call civil society became a characteristic feature of European life. Moreover, the Christian Gospel does not deliver a comprehensive divine law, and thus the diversity of the secular laws of the nations may be affirmed and honoured without threat to our European unity. 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.”

‘Roiling sea of sexual liberty’ leaves young people lonely and unfulfilled

“The achievements of popular sovereignty, resistance to empire, cosmopolitanism capable of civic love, the Christian legacy of humane and dignified life, [and] a living engagement with our Classical inheritance” are all “slipping away,” the authors write.

This is thanks to a “one-sided” commitment of “human liberty” that cares about politically correct “freedoms:” “It sells itself as liberation from all restraints: sexual freedom, freedom of self-expression, freedom to ‘be oneself.’”

But this hedonism “often leads to boredom and a profound sense of purposelessness,” especially for Europe’s young:

“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.”

The Paris Statements notes that while Europe boasts of many new sexual “freedoms” and “equality,” it has dramatically increased government regulation of other aspects of life.

“Rules—often confected by faceless technocrats in league with powerful interests—govern our work relationships, our business decisions, our educational qualifications, our news and entertainment media,” the Paris Statement warns. “And Europe now seeks to tighten existing regulations on freedom of speech, an aboriginal European freedom—freedom of conscience made manifest.”

“Political leaders who give voice to inconvenient truths about Islam and immigration are hauled before judges,” it continues. “The false Europe does not really encourage a culture of freedom. It promotes a culture of market-driven homogeneity and politically enforced conformity.”

The authors note how “government power, social management and educational indoctrination” are constantly increasing in Europe.

“European societies are fraying badly,” they state, noting, “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.”

Reject ‘utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders’

The Paris Statement proposes the embracing of reality and encouragement of critical thinking.

“We must recover an abiding respect for reality,” it says. “Language is a delicate instrument, and it is debased when used as a bludgeon. We should be patrons of linguistic decency.”

National unity and solidarity, the restoration of a “moral culture,” and the restoration of marriage and family life are essential to rebuilding society, the statement says.

It finishes:

In this moment, we ask all Europeans to join us in rejecting the utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders. We rightly love our homelands, and we seek to hand on to our children every noble thing that we have ourselves received as our patrimony. As Europeans, we also share a common heritage, and this heritage asks us to live together in peace as a Europe of nations. Let us renew national sovereignty, and recover the dignity of a shared political responsibility for Europe’s future.

French, Belgian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, English, German, and Dutch philosophers and academics signed the document. It’s available online in nine languages.

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2 comments on “Philosophers warn Europe: protect borders, restore marriage if you want to survive

  1. [Another and more realistic analysis of the Paris Statement]

    Paris Statement Defends Old Europe and Its Values

    REV. JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J.
    10/16/17

    “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, state—and love.” ∼ The Paris Statement, #12.

    Aristotle had trouble comprehending the feasibility of Alexander’s Empire. It was designed to accommodate itself to all conquered peoples under his grandiose rule of common brotherhood and law. It seemed like such a noble scheme. This empire, stretching from Macedonia and Africa to India, was a vast and complicated undertaking. Aristotle thought that it would encourage an irresponsible random, undisciplined freedom. It would take a divine mind to rule it. In comparison with Alexander’s empire, even with sophisticated technology, the size and complexity of Europe and the world today make the divine mind even more necessary to cope with the varied deficiencies and goals of ambitious men.

    The just-published document, “A Europe We Can Believe In,” maintains, in effect, that the European Union officials, under another guise, have assigned to themselves precisely this divine mind. They think themselves capable of replacing the old varied Europe with a collective, even globalized entity run not by Alexander, the Romans, the Popes, the emperors, or even the parliaments, but by themselves, by efficient bureaucrats, intellectuals, and scientists. They would allot, distribute, and administer everything in due proportion to the needs of peoples everywhere.

    Such a development is the “false Europe” that has arrogated to itself the real genius of what was once known as the Europe of nations, with its diverse lands, with a common spirit and tradition. This “Paris Statement” was signed by ten well-known scholars from various European countries—Rémi Brague, Roger Scruton, Robert Spaemann, Ryszard Legutko, and six others. Significantly, no Italian, Spanish, Irish, Greek, Balkan, or Scandinavian name was signatory. The document can be classified as a conservative “manifesto,” provided we recognize that what it is trying to “conserve” is the very reality of “what it is to be Europe” seen in the relative autonomy of its different nation-states.

    The Statement’s title, “A Europe We Can Believe In,” is somewhat misleading. Europe itself is not an object of faith, though it is the home of Christianity, its spiritual root, as the document insists on recognizing in several ways. The present European Union, however, denies or downplays its own spiritual origins. It is itself, as the documents maintains, based on a bloodless secular “faith” that substitutes itself for a religion. “The universalist and universalizing pretension of the false Europe reveal it to be an ersatz religious enterprise, complete with strong creedal commitments—and anathemas.”

    Europe’s historic unity is formed more like what we Americans know as “a pledge of allegiance.” It is founded on something more than justice or obligation, though those too. Chesterton said that America was the only country in history built on a creed, on a set of ideals to which its citizens assented as the price of their belonging to its body politic. The extremist argument today insists that one can enter any society by right without having to accept that society’s rules of entry and order. In a way, the recent evolution or usurpation of power by a centralized, bureaucratic state in America parallels the similar phenomenon in Europe. The authors of the Paris Statement reject the premises of this all-seeing and powerful centralized state that promises to take care of everybody.

    II.

    The American notion of federalism—with its roots in Thucydides—originally sought to combine the values of locality with those of a vaster array of interests. In reading this document, Europe seems more like what we once called a “confederacy” than either a centralized government or even a federal union. Europe today seeks and needs its historic differences. Current nationalist unrest in Europe, often made graphic by un-assimilating Muslims in its midst, almost always indicates a loss of local identity. People normally identify themselves with their own neighbors, with those of their own language and manners. In itself, this endeavor is a good, not an evil.

    The Paris Statement takes a path away from what it frequently calls a “false Europe.” It affirms: “These lands are our home; we have no other. The reason we hold Europe dear exceeds our ability to explain or justify our loyalty. It is a matter of shared histories, hopes, and loves.” In the origins and growth of nations, something more than application of abstract principles is ever present.

    This introduction calls to mind the warning of Edmund Burke about the dreamy, lethal French Revolution. The reformers of this “false Europe” are seen in the document to travel with a similar revolutionary hostility to religion, local customs, and family memories. The document implies that if this centralization continues, we will end with the same violence that erupted in the French Revolution.

    In this light, the title of the document should not be “A Europe We Can ‘Believe’ In,” but a Europe we can thrive in, or breathe in. Europe as a political entity is not an object of transcendent faith. Reason gives us enough insight to do what is natural for our mortal being. This is what “the things that are Caesar’s” means. The modern state is not, and cannot be, the Kingdom of God on this earth that Europe, as Europe, seems to be striving for. Post World War II Europe sought to unify itself. Its wars were due to its divisions. This reconstruction was a vague imitation of the American experiment with federalism and central government.

    So EU headquarters were set up in Brussels and Strasburg. A common currency was established, borders were easily crossed, and rules could be enforced. The major complaint about America in the document is that it sent to Europe multiculturalism, diversity, and identify politics. These current ideologies undermine the genius of Europe’s spirit of keeping the uniqueness of its many differing nations joined by a general spirit that comes from its Greek, Roman, and Christian heritages.

    III.

    This document is filled with memorable passages. The following one is most graphic:

    Marriage is the foundation of civil society and the basis of harmony between men and women. It is the intimate bond organized around sustaining a household and raising children. We affirm that our most fundamental roles in society and as human beings are as fathers and mothers. Marriage and children are integral to any vision of human flourishing. Children require sacrifice from those who bring them into the world. This sacrifice is noble and must be honored…. A society that fails to welcome children has no future (#33).

    It would be difficult to find a better statement of this issue in our or any society.

    The present birthrates in Europe already indicate a dying society. In many cities, Muslim immigrant children outnumber European ones. Ever since Plato’s Book Five of the Republic, with its commonality of wives and children, recurring efforts seek to replace the family by the state or today by science. The family is the foundation of both human life and any civilization worthy of the name. Its existence is seen by utopians as the cause of prejudice and a block to instituting those aspects of government that would, it is claimed, make the world free of corruption. This Paris Statement is one of the few public declarations to face squarely the fact that the family is the principal obstacle to establish a “false Europe” with its supposedly more perfect society.

    IV.

    The document discusses the place of the free market and its limits. Its authors point out the dangers of “human rights” in the Hobbesian tradition, almost the only kind that still exist in the public order. In this sense, “human rights” presuppose no natural order. Hence, a “right” is whatever the state says it is. Our notion of individualist freedom underpins our “right” to have whatever we want. Here a “right” means merely what the state, at any given time, enacts, permits, and rewards. However, the document reads: “Human dignity is more than the right to be left alone, and documents of international human rights do not exhaust the claims of justice, much less the good.”

    We will always need a “prudent use of law to deter vice.” There is room for forgiving human weakness “but Europe cannot flourish without a restoration of common aspiration toward upright conduct and human excellence.” The over-emphasis on both freedom and equality can turn an orderly society into either chaos or inertness. “For Europe’s younger generation … libertine hedonism often leads to boredom and a profound sense of purposelessness. The bond of marriage has weakened in the rolling 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.”

    The Statement also points out some unexpected things about the Christian nature of Europe’s foundations.

    The true Europe affirms the equal dignity of every individual, regardless of sex, rank, or race. This also arises from our Christian roots. Our gentle virtues are of an unmistakably Christian heritage: fairness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace-making, charity. Christianity revolutionized the relationship between men and women, vaulting love and mutual fidelity in an unprecedented way (#10).

    From these considerations, little doubt exists in the minds of the authors that a direct relation exists between the health of the family, the health of a society, and the religious and philosophical ideas that explain them.

    This Statement is not merely an “analysis” of a dire political situation. It is a wake-up call to action. We see a certain urgency in its arguments. Europe can be saved. “We reject as false the claim that there is no responsible alternative.” What is the problem? “Europe, in all its richness and greatness, is threatened by a false understanding of itself. The false Europe imagines itself as a fulfillment of our civilization, but in truth it will confiscate our home.” Again the theme of home and what it stands for returns.

    The issue of the moral obligation to accept millions of immigrant foreigners comes up: “Talk of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism is empty.” All of these justifying phrases imply that no need can be found to change from whatever one wants to a new situation. It is always well to recall that immigration into Europe has much to do with the deliberate choice of large sections of European society not to have one’s own children. This lack leads to a need for labor from elsewhere. Still, “We rightly expect that those who migrate to our lands will incorporate themselves into our nations and adopt our ways.”

    What is the future of European conservatism? Does it relate to American conservatism? The first step is made with this Statement. We need to understand and appreciate what made Europe. Key elements of this history have been obscured and rejected. William Bennett remarked that we now have an administration even more conservative than that of Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, by most standards, in Rome, we have a papacy that can only be objectively described on most issues of politics, economics, philosophy, and environment as classical leftism, one that shadows much of what the Statement calls “a false Europe.”

    American and European conservatism has in common a shared understanding of the Greek, Roman, and Christian understanding of man and the world. They see the origins of utopianism itself within the realm of western political philosophy. They see that in many ways the “false Europe” is a Christian heresy that seeks to establish by human power alone a purified Kingdom in this world, one that solves by political and technical, not moral and religious, means, the chief disorders of man that keep recurring in his history.

    The Paris Statement describes the actual human nature that we have been given. It seeks a home in this world, one that recognizes that man’s final end is transcendent. We can only keep and live in our European dwellings if we realize that, lovely as they are, they are not our final homes.

  2. Quote: “Meanwhile, by most standards, in Rome, we have a papacy that can only be objectively described on most issues of politics, economics, philosophy, and environment as classical leftism, one that shadows much of what the Statement calls “a false Europe.” ”

    Well, it looks like the author may not get an appointment to the Pontifical Academy.

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