The Weekend Read
European Solidarity for What?

Europe’s ability to address the challenges of the 21st century hangs on one thing: it must decide what it is.

Published on: March 22, 2014
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  • Andrew Allison

    For many, Europe means the failure of social democracy writ large.

  • free_agent

    In the US, there is a lot of fear about what may happen to the US, but the idea of American exceptionalism (or the virtues which the US should exemplify) remains. And the concept that there should be an over-arching political entity as an instrument of those ideas remains. And so all the protesters agree that a central way to reclaim America as it ought to be is through political/state action. Europe has a strong sense of exceptionalism (quite reasonably, given their neighbors) but has no solid tradition of Europe as a *political* entity. But that lack of a political concept makes it unclear how “Europe” might correct any flaws in the reality of Europe.

    • Corlyss

      “Europe has a strong sense of exceptionalism”
      Not in any meaningful way, and most certainly not in the way Americans think, or use to think, of America as exceptional. French think the French are exceptional because their nation’s modern roots are in a Revolution fueled by ideas vaguely similar to those that motivated the American Revolution. But the rest certainly don’t have that common idea. Except for Germany and Italy, they’re all perpetuations of very ancient tribal associations.

  • Anthony

    “But what, if anything, do the countries of Europe share? …what is Europe.” The legacy of the civil state may be a good place to start as organizing principle – rule of law and civil liberties orienting societal governance if not solely European idea flowered under humanitarian revolution and remains civilizing contribution. To my mind, Europe’s legacy of Enlightenment Humanism provides basis to preclude ceding terrain to “alternating fantasies of market freedoms or technocratic administration” – and worth the risk cited by essay’s author.

  • Corlyss

    The silly gits never should have attempted to do away with the nation-state in the wrong-headed idea that the nation-state was the reason for 20th Century wars. They’ve already run hard up against the reality that there is no law without the state. They delude themselves that apparatchiks beavering away in Brussels because they will never decided enough is enough are creating a superstate that various nationalities will defend in any meaningful way. Europe qua Europe is already one of the most anti-democratic places on the planet, not in terms of human rights abuses (Lord knows they find human rights to uphold everywhere), but in terms of having a scintilla of legitimacy from the people they allege to govern.

  • Jim__L

    States require their citizens to buy into positive stereotypes of their fellow citizens, then?

  • El Gringo

    A shared vision of being the world’s largest retirement community.

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