Tag Archives: European Nationalism

Ella

 

Ella was born on the 31st March, in Germany. She shares her birthday with Henry II of France, Rene Descartes and Olli Rehn. She has a claim for citizenship of Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland. She could live and work in over thirty countries, without impediment.

She has relatives in Germany, China, Australia, Austria, England, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola. She has close personal connections in another ten countries.

She will likely speak four or five languages, have friends and colleagues spread throughout the world. She can expect to travel widely and have the benefits of a liberal democratic upbringing. She will face the perils of social unrest, health issues, personal problems, and Acts of God, but she will be well equipped for these, having many personal, family and governmental resources to assist her.

Ella

Ella

Excepting war and plague, she will have a very good chance of living to the 22nd century, when her grandparent’s youth will have slipped from Modern to Ancient History. Her life will be measured, calibrated, photographed and recorded in every moment. Distance will not impede her communications, and location will not define her. Privacy and solitude will be art forms for her.

She already carries the heavy responsibility of the promise that we as a society vest in her. The promise of a brighter future and a better world.

The world ahead will be exciting, challenging ever-changing and totally unpredictable. The rapid and accelerating societal changes of the last twenty years will be multiplied exponentially. The society she will grow old in would be as strange to us, as New York would be to Amazonian Indians.

But there will be stability as well. While we cannot fathom the technological, medical or societal changes to come, we can see in retrospect that the spirit of humanity, personal values and the basis of personal relationships have not changed over the centuries, and are unlikely to in the future.

What we have to hope for and strive for is a society that bases it’s policies on human values, and not on material or totalitarian values. What she needs is a society that will allow her freedom, and the ability to achieve her potential. These are values held as self-evident in the American Constitution, but realised in their fullest in Europe today.

This is a Europe that strikes the balance between materialism and liberalism. A Europe that allows material entrepreneurship without oppressing personal freedoms. A Europe that declares high aspirations, and strives to achieve them. A Europe that defines itself in the 21st Century by aligning itself constantly with democratic ideals and rejecting oligarchic values, wherever they are found.

Ella is a child of Europe. She represents the best of what we are as a continent, and as a society. She represents pan-nationalism, tolerance, social justice and personal freedom. She represents that highest of emotions that the human spirit can aspire to – hope for the future.

 

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The Last of Europe?

Are we witnessing the break-up of Europe? Is the Grand Dream over, and was it ever a reality? Has the initial vision of Adenauer and his co-founders come to its conclusion?

Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver

Europe – Satellite image – PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)

Has the pendulum moved from progressive integration to the rise of nationalism?

Over the last five years the European Union, in the face of the world monetary crisis, has shown itself unwilling to act or incapable of acting in a cohesive way. While the economists struggle with the budgetary implications of the crisis, the politicians seem incapable of seeing anything of the original vision. The cost of everything is calculated except for the cost of chaotic disintigration.

There are no good countries or bad countries in this crisis, though there is endless evidence of appalling and contradictory decisions being made by management. Voters tire of austerity and will always revert to secular self interest when push comes to shove. Ther is no affinity between Larnaca and Leipzig.  The pity is that every country is now only looking after itself, and the very democracy that Europe so espouses is the mechanism for bringing the house of cards down.

Like an observer looking at a fire in a house, hoping it will somehow go out, or be tamed, I am watching incredibly from the periphery of the continent. I am aghast at what I have seen in my own country, Ireland, and throughout the continent. After Ireland was bullied into underwriting international speculators, in the name of European Solidarity, we now find that it wasn’t necessary after all, and that Cyprus can not only “burn the bondholders” but also the ordinary citizens. Cyprus has reached new bounds in so many ways, and it points to a sad vista that undermines the very fabric of the EU, and paves the way for resurgent nationalism with all its nastiness.

I am starting this blog to document the crisis that is unfolding. I want to have an “ordinary person’ perspective on what is going on. I have no training in economics, and I consider that an advantage. My heart will always be hoping for European Integration in the greater sense. I would not care for integration that is based on a monetarist view of Europe that is schewed towards the transfer of power and money to the politico-industrial powerbase, and ignores the contribution of the periphery. Such a Europe is an anathema to the dreams of Adeneaur and Co.

Are we witnessing the end of his dream – Hopefully not.

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