David Calling

European Illusions

The level of unreality created by the masters of Europe is reaching new heights. It is like hallucinating to observe the politicians driving in expensive cars to meet one another, inspecting guards of honor, arranging for ministerial get-togethers, and all the while the construct that put them into office is collapsing all around them. These same politicians chatter extensively about saving the euro and the European Union, about bailouts and firewalls and fiscal pacts, as though words were deeds. No satirist could do justice to the sight of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly elected French President François Hollande shaking hands and vowing to work together to save the union and its currency. Insofar as this pair has any coherent ideas, they disagree. All they have in common is the precariousness of their position. Just trounced in local elections, Mrs. Merkel and her party are well on the way to joining the gathering crowd of electoral rejects. As for Hollande, he believes that growth comes from higher taxes and hundreds of thousands more state jobs, and all in arch-protectionist France. It can’t be long before such socialist illusion comes back to haunt that country.

Our satirist will also find it comic that the masters of Europe blame the Greeks while determined to ensure that the Greeks are rescued to carry on regardless. I cannot hold it against the Greeks. Entry into the EU was their opportunity as rather poor people to enrich themselves on other peoples’ money. Who would refuse such a gift? Of course they want to go on free-loading so pleasantly. It’s all part of the joke that they have voted for a politician called Alexis Tsipras, who in his well-honed Communist style believes that Greece should continue to pocket other peoples’ money. There’s consistency! But Greece came up with the wrong answer in its general election, and the masters of Europe may well make it vote and vote again until they have the right answer — though nobody can tell what that might be.

Ordinary people everywhere recognize reality, and now do not believe a thing they hear from the masters of Europe. The last world war and the Cold War survive in folk memory, and everyone is hunkering down for the hardships and injustices now brewing — defaults, conversions into new currencies, runs on banks, mass unemployment, everything that Mrs. Lagarde of the IMF in her elegant French salon way calls “messy.” Not forgetting violence. Fascist parties are rising once more. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party did well in the last Greek election and will do better in the next. The other side of it is the climbing suicide rate, especially among retired professional people who are defenseless as their pensions are cut.

In 1940, a book with the title “Guilty Men” became a historic marker by naming and shaming the democratic politicians whose ineptitude had allowed the Hitler catastrophe to unfold. What’s wanted now is an onslaught of just that kind to excoriate and drive out of the public arena the politicians whose fantasies about power, lack of insight into human nature, and refusal to acknowledge mistakes, have brought Europe to another perilous pass.

David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

Most Popular

World

Why Trump’s Mideast Peace Deals Matter

After Israel’s resounding victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies in 1967, the Jewish state again offered the Arab world peace in exchange for recognition. And it was again rebuffed. Instead, the Arab League convened in Khartoum to formulate a consensus response that became known as “The 3 ... Read More
World

Why Trump’s Mideast Peace Deals Matter

After Israel’s resounding victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies in 1967, the Jewish state again offered the Arab world peace in exchange for recognition. And it was again rebuffed. Instead, the Arab League convened in Khartoum to formulate a consensus response that became known as “The 3 ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Jared Kushner Was Right

Over the past several years, a new certainty was added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the administration’s Middle East point man. It caused considerable merriment among President Donald Trump’s critics (and even some of his well-wishers) when he put his son-in-law in charge of ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Jared Kushner Was Right

Over the past several years, a new certainty was added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the administration’s Middle East point man. It caused considerable merriment among President Donald Trump’s critics (and even some of his well-wishers) when he put his son-in-law in charge of ... Read More

Battleground Arizona

At an August 11 Trump-campaign event in Mesa, Ariz., the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, noted in his remarks introducing Mike Pence that President Trump and the vice president “have visited the state of Arizona more than any other presidential administration in the history of our country,” adding: ... Read More

Battleground Arizona

At an August 11 Trump-campaign event in Mesa, Ariz., the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, noted in his remarks introducing Mike Pence that President Trump and the vice president “have visited the state of Arizona more than any other presidential administration in the history of our country,” adding: ... Read More

The Consequences of Biden

If you have decided that another four years of Donald Trump would be intolerable, and the prospect of four more years of the dysfunctional Trump circus in the White House fills you with dread, fine. But approach the prospects of a Joe Biden presidency with clear eyes and no illusions. Electing Biden would move ... Read More

The Consequences of Biden

If you have decided that another four years of Donald Trump would be intolerable, and the prospect of four more years of the dysfunctional Trump circus in the White House fills you with dread, fine. But approach the prospects of a Joe Biden presidency with clear eyes and no illusions. Electing Biden would move ... Read More