Friday, July 6, 2018

Has Merkel Destroyed the European Union?


Bret Stephens has had it with Angela Merkel. He is not alone. In his column yesterday he declared that it’s time for Merkel to go. 

How could it be otherwise when the lioness of European liberalism has revived the radical European right. That is, Merkel revived those who hated the European ideal. Stephens then adds that Merkel ceased to be conservative. Since conservatives are, by definition, not idealists… one needs some time to ponder his sloppy thinking. Why does he or anyone else think that the European ideal was anything more than a pipe dream?

Stephens wrote:

…Merkel created the conditions that gave the enemies of the European ideal their opening. She refused to cap the number of asylum seekers Germany would take and then pleaded with other European countries to take them. That almost certainly gave Brexiteers the political imagery they needed to carry the vote a year later. The AfD was a minor Euroskeptic party before the refugee crisis gave it a rallying cry. The xenophobes of Austria’s Freedom Party, Italy’s Northern League and Sweden’s Democrats have all profited politically from Merkel’s decision.

Generosity is a virtue, but unlimited generosity is a fast route to bankruptcy. Humanitarianism is commendable, but not when you’re demanding that others share the burdens and expense. A very liberal immigration policy is wise, but helter-skelter migration isn’t. Knowing how to set broad but clear limits is one of the essentials of conservative governance. Merkel’s failure is that she ceased to be conservative.

Admirers still speak of Merkel as if she is Europe’s last lion, the only leader with the vision and capacity to save the E.U. There is much that is admirable about the chancellor, but as things now stand she is likelier to be remembered as the E.U.’s unwitting destroyer. The longer she’s in office, the more the forces of reaction will gain strength. And isn’t 13 years in office more than enough?

Perhaps it just means that idealism does not work. One understands that liberals near and far are in terminal anguish over the failure of their idealized version of human governance. And yet, we suspect that it was always going to fail. Merkel just exposed its basic unreality.

4 comments:

Sam L. said...

Not yet, but give her time...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

A country without borders is not a country. A nation without a unifying, stable culture is not a nation. Migrants who go to countries and refuse to assimilate because they believe their native culture is superior are invaders.

It is increasingly obvious that Christianity held Western Christendom together, and lthat shared heritage was the likely the platform for the European Union experiment in the post-WWII era. Abandon that, you abandon the foundation, and the. People abandon the EU.

Anonymous said...

Angela Merkel...
The underpants gnome of Europe:

Step 1: Steal underpants.
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit.

Becomes...

Step 1: Corrode Identity, create Un-elected, Feudal Super State...
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit.

Anonymous said...

Correction:

Becomes...

Step 1: Corrode Identity, continue to promote Un-elected, Feudal Super State...