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Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Case for Ethnographic Borders




Daniel Hannan

Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the European Union is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free.

European integration does nothing for peace

Eurosceptic? I suppose you want the First World War to break out again!
Happy Europe Day. Or is it 'Merry Europe Day'? I always forget. No doubt most readers will be spending the day in prayer and fasting, but here in Brussels we're being treated to a series of receptions, parades and wince-making songs sung by children.
In the chamber just now, speaker after speaker stood up to deliver the solemn clichés that the occasion demands. 'We must not retreat into narrow nationalism!' 'The solution to the crisis is more Europe, not less Europe!' 'The people are demanding that Europe acts!' 'We cannot go back to the wars of the twentieth century!'
It's easy to mock but, in the spirit of Europe Day, let me instead do Eurocrats the courtesy of taking their argument seriously. The desire to end war is surely a high-minded one. The founders of the EU had passed through horrors which we, thank God, have been spared. It is understandable that they should be prepared to try anything – anything – rather than risk a third European conflagration.
That argument is dusted off every year on 9 May. Indeed, it is the ultimate backstop of the Euro-integrationist case. Yes, the budget is bloated, but it's much cheaper than conflict! True, the CAP is wasteful, but surely it's preferable to shooting at each other on the Western Front! You're against giving more powers to Brussels? Would you rather have another Holocaust?
This last argument was made, in terms, by the then Swedish Commissioner, Margot Wallström, at a ceremony in 2005 to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Terezin. Speaking in the run-up to the French and Dutch referendums on the European Constitution, she addressed 'No' voters directly:
There are those today who want to scrap the supra-national idea. They want the EU to go back to the old purely intergovernmental way of doing things. I say those people should come to Terezin and see where that old road leads.
There are several objections to this line of reasoning – beyond the obvious one that it turned out to be untrue: France and the Netherlands voted 'No' without any consequent Nazi revival. Any ideology which presents itself as the sole alternative to fascism and war is allowing itself a great deal of leeway. It could be pretty abominable while yet remaining the less bad option. Nor, in any case, is it true that nationalism led to the monstrosity of Terezin. On the contrary, national citizenship was one of the few defences which European Jews, and other victims, had against the murderers. As Robert Wistricht showed in his harrowing, because matter-of-fact, chronicle, Hitler and the Holocaust, even fascist and Quisling governments tended to draw a distinction between their own Jewish passport holders and refugees who had sought sanctuary on their territory. The Nazis well understood this tendency, which is why their first act, on occupying a new territory, was often to declare all Jews stateless. The worst atrocities took places in those parts of Europe where there was no national government at all, namely the Nazi-occupied parts of Poland and the USSR, whose Jewish inhabitants were statistically far less likely to survive than their coreligionists in Germany. During the Second World War, as so often, the nation-state was a more secure vessel of freedom than any trans-national ideology.
Believe me, I don't enjoy this argument any more than you do. If we hadn't been forced onto this territory by the Wallströms of the world, I wouldn't dream of going near it. But, by constantly arguing that the EU is the only reason we have enjoyed peace since 1945, the integrationists more or less oblige us to address the question. To take just two recent examples, here is Herman van Rompuy:
We have together to fight the danger of a new Euroscepticism. The biggest enemy of Europe today is fear. Fear leads to egoism, egoism leads to nationalism, and nationalism leads to war.
And here is Angela Merkel:
 Nobody should believe that another half century of peace in Europe is a given — it’s not. So I say again: if the euro collapses, Europe collapses. That can’t happen.
Alright, then. Since we have been pushed into this wretched debate, let’s at least be accurate. Was the EU a cause of European peace, or was it rather a consequence of the peace brought about by the defeat of fascism, the spread of democracy and the Nato alliance? Is it a vaccine against Nazism, or simply the latest in a long line of presumptuous supra-national ideologies?
The notion that, as Van Rompuy puts it, ‘nationalism leads to war’ is more often asserted than explained. Looking back over the past half millennium, we find plenty of wars that have ideological rather than national roots. Europe was, for example, more often plunged into conflict by religious than by national differences. The wars of the counter-reformation were not patriotic conflicts. From Münster to Drogheda, terrible atrocities were committed by people of the same blood and speech. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was the longest continuous war in Europe’s history and, on some measures, proportionately the most lethal, yet it divided people by belief, not nationality.
More recently, political differences came to replace religious ones, generating the same fanaticism in twentieth century men that sectarianism had been capable of generating in their great-grandparents. Fascism and Communism were to cause far more death and destruction than any nationalist conflicts. It’s true, of course, that, as with any wars, national interests became entangled with the doctrinal schisms. The Second World War and the Cold War were not simply ideological clashes; they also ranged whole countries against each other. But they were primarily ideological wars, which cut across national differences. This was obviously true of the Cold War, but it was true, too, of the Nazi aggression. There wasn’t a country in Europe which didn’t have combatants on both sides. When Berlin fell in 1945, the last troops still standing in its defence were the Scandinavian and French soldiers of, respectively, the Nordica and Charlemagne Waffen-SS regiments (both of which, incidentally, had sought recruits on grounds of ‘defending Europe’).
Where nationalism was at the root of a conflict, it was usually the nationalism of a people who had been, as it were, incorporated into the wrong state. The nineteenth century saw several wars which began as risings against foreign rule, or as attempts to embrace irredenti populations. When Euro-enthusiasts blame the two world wars on ‘nationalism’, they rarely emphasise what kind of nationalism it was. The Great War was sparked by the demand of the South Slav citizens of Austria-Hungary for statehood; the Second World War by Hitler’s annexation of German-speaking parts of Poland. It's true, of course, that these were by no means the sole causes of the conflicts; but it is striking how many wars begin over the misalignment of state with ethnographic borders.
Look around the world today, and see how many conflicts are rooted in the denial of national self-determination. Pushing different nationalities into common structures tends to make them more, rather than less, antagonistic. The EU shouldn't expect to be any different. It launched the euro as a means to bring the peoples of Europe closer together. Look how that worked out.

38 comments:

  1. So today in the world the situation for the Jews is as follows...

    Europe murdered 6,500,000 of them, stole their lands and property...

    In the Arab occupied lands of the middle east, the arabs, which supported hitler, expelled 650,000 Jews from their historic lands and drove them to one small 1/900th of the middle east, new re-liberated Israel.

    The Arabs (and Persians) ethnically cleansed the Jews from their lands, stole their holdings, their factories, their homes and businesses.

    The UN tried to create a another new homeland for the arab peoples of the territory call "Palestine", of course the Arabs of the the area were not interested in creating a national state called "Palestine" ( a recently stolen label that had been applied to the Jews for almost 1200 years) The Arabs said no, the Jews said yes.

    and as they say, all the rest is history...

    now the arabs/moslems of the world control 1/4 of the world and are spreading through out the Americas and Europe, seeking to turn western areas" of the world into sharia friendly zones...

    From Dearborn MI, to Londonstan England it is happening.

    Driving out the "others" in their midst the Moslems are seeking ethnically "pure" zones which rather than trying to create a "state" they are trying to extend the Ummah

    "The phrase Ummah Wahida in the Qur'an (the "One Community") refers to all of the Islamic world unified. The Quran says: “You [Muslims] are the best nation brought out for Mankind, commanding what is righteous (Ma'ruf, lit. "recognized [as good]") and forbidding what is wrong (Munkar, lit. "unrecognized [as good]")…”

    So forget islamic "nationalism" it's about ethniccentric islands of Islam that is now being set up to bring about a new caliphate.

    Remember for over 1000 years Islam had a system to rank the worthiness of peoples.

    Christians and Jews "people of the book", pay a tax? dont die

    Heathens? Convert or die...

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  2. Maybe people are just assholes.

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  3. Happy "Mothers Day" to the gals

    (that happen to be mothers, I guess.) :)

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  4. Honduras and El Salvadore fought a "War" over a Soccer Game.

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  5. The number one cause of Wolf deaths is territorial infringement, and chimpanzees routinely kill each other over boundary disputes.

    We seem to just be "hard-wired" for greed, and territorial warfare.

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    1. The Canadian greys, a larger and alien genus, have run out the locals, the lobos.

      And if you are a dog, watch out.

      b

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  6. Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting take on California...

    Jerry Brown just announced a shortfall of $16 billion, not $9 billion, as he predicted

    Nine million residents who were not born in the U.S—or one of every four Californians.

    In recent public school science testing, California school students ranked 47th in the nation.

    Of the last ten million persons added to California’s population, seven million of them are now on Medicaid.

    In that same last twenty years the number of new tax filers (150,000) was almost matched by the number of new prison inmates (115,000).

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    1. Only 150,000 new tax filers in the last twenty years? I'd bet we've had more than that in Idaho.

      Not to worry. 'Moonbeam' will get it figured out.

      b

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  7. If Ca could get back the money it sends to Mississippi, and other "Red" states it would be in Surplus.

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  8. On defense alone, the more you have, the more you have to defend as high value areas are high value targets.

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  9. The one thing I'm not worried about is another World War I or II in Europe.

    When Berlin fell in 1945, the last troops still standing in its defence were the Scandinavian and French soldiers of, respectively, the Nordica and Charlemagne Waffen-SS regiments (both of which, incidentally, had sought recruits on grounds of ‘defending Europe’).

    That did not know. I thought it was the 14 year old blond blue eyes, and the old men.

    b

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  10. California gets back $0.78 for every tax dollar sent. Linky-Poo

    California "sent in" 313 Billion in 2007 Linky-Poo II

    So, 313,000,000,000 X .22 = 68.86 Billion that they sent in and didn't get back.

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    1. I looked up the poverty levels by state and there's pretty good correlation - except for Alaska. Must be the legacy of Ted Stevens.

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    2. The sparse population, The huge Air Force/Missile Defense/Coast Guard presence, and the fact that Oil companies are pretty good at not paying Federal Taxes might be contributing factors.

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    3. I was moving in that direction (before I got interrupted.) I noticed a couple other states with similar profiles. Someone should generate one of those diagrammatic visuals - like cloud charts - using arrows to show revenue flow among the states. Might be interesting. Or not!

      RE the thread subject, EUrope is not California is not the Middle East (none of which are USA (certainly not California!).) Three different circumstances and problems. If anything, the writer's argument seems to apply more to the ME than EU where the divisions were more ideological than ethnographic. (There were something like 20 attempts on Hitler's life.) Look how well Nasser's Pan-Arabism worked out.

      USA went through its period of ethnographic violence early part of last century when the Italians and the Irish went after each other. How long before the Jews were allowed into the WASP Ivy League?

      People need to get over themselves. As per usual USA is way ahead of the curve.

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  11. Francofornia -

    http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/california-353814-france-percent.html

    b

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  12. So, if Kaliforneeay wasn't a "Donor" state they would have a Budget Surplus of $54 Billion.

    The Republican Caliphobes never mention that, do they?

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    1. .

      GOP?

      If you listen to Barbara Boxer, over the last few years California has actually been receiving around 1.45 times what they send into the feds once you start counting in other transfers such as ARRA funds that are not funnelled through normals channels like the Highway and Transportation funds.

      There is so much money flowing in and out of Washington these days it's always hard to track it.

      .

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  13. The people of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama "thank you," Californiay.

    (but we really wish you'd quit spending so much on yourselves, and send more.)

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  14. .

    Speaking of CA, here is an interesting take on a problem that affects more than them.

    Could Eurozone Collapse Hit California?

    .

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  15. Replies
    1. The main voting cohorts (old farts) are agin it. I'm really having a hard time believing it will move any thing but the tightest general election, though.

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  16. Agreed. Thought it was interesting - the difference is purely generational/cultural. Nothing to do with ideology or religion.

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    1. And, "Educational Level," of course.

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    2. True - to a point - I'd say up to high school.

      Percent of college among today's adults? - I'm guessing 50-60%?

      But 'critical thinking' skills seem more important - not sure those who have it are 'educated' or 'self-taught.'

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    3. Poorly educated people tend to be poor, pissed-off, intolerant people. As do old farts.

      I'm sure a chart of "high-school achievement" of the various states would overlay pretty well with the "acceptance of gay marriage" chart.

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  17. Maybe it's the 'folly of youth' and the 'wisdom of age' effect.

    I see Barack and company offered Rev Wright $150,000 to STFU, last campaign season.

    Heh, he didn't take it. Says he had to 'tell the truth', like a good preacher.

    Admirable.

    b

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    1. .

      I think you're right, Bob, with regard to the 'the folly of youth'. Most kids start out as Democrats if not socialists or anarchists (a little hyperbole) and we are all idealistic until reality weighs down on us. I think with the majority of people we start out liberal and gradually get more conservative as we age.

      Some seem to have bought into the libs 'education level' meme but as we saw here a couple weeks ago it doesn't always prove out as was the case with religion.

      Kids are generally accepting of life style differences; however, it is primarily, IMO, because that is their nature. Likely, most have never thought of the historical, social, cultural, religious, or political issues involved.

      .

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  18. All not well in China -

    The surging number of protests arising from this gap is another stress point in the China model. Officials rely heavily on domestic security forces to quell what they call “mass incidents,” which one sociologist, Sun Liping, estimated at 180,000 in 2010. In March, the government announced that it planned to spend $111 billion on domestic security this year, a 12 percent increase over 2011, and $5 billion more than this year’s military budget. from The Times

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/05/12/chinese-economy-unexpectedly-slows-will-the-bubble-in-china-babble-burst/

    Walter Russel Mead

    b

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    1. .

      One wonders what the U.S. currently spends on 'domestic security'.


      .

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  19. Such potential loopholes may be one reason why the proposed three-way trade agreement hasn't raised as many alarms in Japan as a competing U.S. trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Japanese lawmakers have expressed concerns that the TPP would force Japan to open up protected sectors like farming and health care to U.S. competition.

    ...

    China has instead pushed a rival vision based on the gradual expansion of its free-trade area with Asean, amid fears that it could be marginalized by Japanese inclusion in the TPP.

    South Korea isn't a party to the TPP negotiations, but it and the U.S. ratified a far-reaching bilateral free-trade deal last year, overcoming opposition from interest groups on both sides after years of diplomatic wrangling.

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  20. Will victory in November guarantee prevailing over the long run? Aren’t the defenders of the traditional family—or as we would have it, the defenders of the family—destined to be swamped by the modern tidal waves of individual choice and sexual liberation?

    ...

    All one can ask is the chance to make one’s case. All the American people can ask is the chance to decide, rather than having an answer imposed on them by social or judicial elites.

    Thanks to Vice President Joe Biden, who spurred President Obama to stop “evolving” and to come forward and state his views like a man, there will be a clear choice this November between the candidates and the parties on the issue of marriage. Defenders of traditional marriage need to speak now, or forever hold their peace.

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  21. Yesterday's result was the second major poll setback for Ms Merkel's conservatives within the space of a week. In elections in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, her Christian Democrats secured their lowest share of the vote in over 50 years.

    The conservatives' slide began last year when they suffered one of their worst-ever blows in the prosperous southern state of Baden-Württemberg, where they were ousted from power for the first time since the early 1950s by a coalition of Greens and the Social Democrats.

    The conservatives are currently in power in six of Germany's 17 federal states. Yet despite the growing unpopularity of her own party, on a personal level Ms Merkel continues to rate as one of Germany's most respected Chancellors ever.

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  22. The freedom philosophy can be boiled down to two phrases: for equality, against privilege.

    ...

    As Auburn University philosopher Roderick T. Long wrote in The Freeman (“Liberty: The Other Equality”), notions such as equality under the law and equality of freedom fall short as libertarian ideals. After all, we could be equal under unlibertarian law (everyone gets drafted) or we could all have an equally small area of freedom (everyone may do whatever he wants between noon and three on alternate Wednesdays).

    ...

    The objections to economic equality are well known. Since in the free market unequal incomes are to be expected as a result of variations in talent, ambition, energy, health, luck, perception of consumer preferences, and so on, economic equality could be attempted (but not achieved) only through monstrous and continuing aggression by government officers.

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