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don't get complacent
European Nationalism Isn’t Dead Yet

Political developments in Europe over the past six months—Angela Merkel’s ongoing strength; Emmanuel Macron’s sweeping victory; the humbling of Theresa May and declining prospects for a strong Brexit—have led many observers to conclude that the wave of populist-nationalism that once looked poised to engulf the Western world has now been decisively beaten back.

These prognostications could well turn out to be correct. The Merkel-Macron alliance, along with the possibility of a more integrated UK, may give the European project a second wind. But despite the upsurge of Euro-optimism of the past six months, many of the forces that were tearing the union apart and boosting populist parties remain potent across the Continent.

A new Gallup poll, for example, shows the persistence of concerns about terrorism and immigration. Notably, even though France handed the anti-immigrant Marine LePen a resounding defeat, more than two-thirds of French continue to see immigration as a “serious problem” for the country.

Gallup data noting the persistence of nationalism across Europe.

The European establishment’s enthusiasm at the way the political winds have been blowing over the past few months should be tempered by numbers like these. If the EU’s migration and refugee policy continues to be beset by incompetence and finger-wagging sentimentality while failing to Dassuage the legitimate concerns of European voters, the populists will be back, faster than you can say, “Schengen.”

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  • Europe is only nationalist and honorable in the east countries like Hungary. There’s no real nationalism in Germany or Sweden or France or Netherlands or even U.K. UK has three terror attacks in two months and May is talking about much of nothing and lost seats to a crazier guy.

  • Pait

    Not dead. But at least in Western Europe, contemplating the train wreck that a populist-nationalist presidency is creating in the US seems to have brought voters to their senses.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Indeed, our Trumpian nincompoopery is resonating and focusing minds elsewhere. But for us? We’re doomed to the nincompoopery.

      • Pait

        There’s reason to start hoping the nightmare won’t last that long. I read that Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer has hired a lawyer….

        • FriendlyGoat

          If you could tell me we can impeach Trump, Pence and the rest of the presidential line of succession (virtually all Republicans) at once, I would feel better. There is, of course, the chance to flip The White House in November, 2020. But, for now, knocking out Trump to get Pence is just a dream of Republicans, not the rest of us. Pence is not better. He is actually worse.

          • Pait

            Before Trump, Pence might have been a old-school Republican – constrained by the barriers of rationality, tradition, outer propriety, and patriotism. Now that the bounds have been broken, I agree that he could be more dangerous.

            My Brazilian precedent suggests that ideally one should impeach the vice president 1st. However the case is not yet clear enough – as it wasn’t against the Brazilian vice-president last year.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Pence would sign the GOP wish list and not tweet. Pence would not carry the problems of the emoluments clause which Trump supporters can never escape as an embarrassment.
            Pence as president would absolutely be seen by evangelicals as evidence that God performed an interventional miracle using the circuitous route of Donald Trump to save America.

            We of the other side understand that Mike Pence could not have independently won the presidency under any circumstances whatsoever. We understand that it does not matter much whether one Republican ruins the country from The White House or another one does. Net, net, human rights are screwed over as a result of the Trump Shtick for a minimum of four years and the fallout lasts much, much, much longer.

            We were supposed to vote down our Le Pen, but we didn’t. We helped France not go over the edge, but France or no one else could help us when we needed the help. Sorry to be a “downer dude”, and wish I could be brighter about all this. But we’re in thick soup. When the tax code is gone, it’s gone. When the courts are gone, they’re gone. The road back from this stuff could take decades and probably will.

          • Pait

            Your totally right. Add voting rights to the list. Abridging voting rights of “those people” would delay redemocratization by decades.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, and I do not see any circumstances under which voting rights are not under permanent assault. Red states will do what red states will do. There is either a blue Supreme Court to say no—–or there isn’t. Meanwhile, we have nothing less than the Koch Brothers network and ALEC attempting to completely hijack the Constitution via an Article V Convention. See

          • Pait

            The idea of a constitutional convention is nothing short of a threat of a coup. I think it’s somewhat remote, but an enormously dangerous one indeed.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The most remote part is getting 38 states to ratify whatever a convention of that type might produce, but that link I gave you should rattle us that there are serious people behind the idea. The spectacle of an impeachment, if any, might pour some fuel on the movement.

          • Pait

            Right – if such a convention starts, everything is possible. The Bill of Rights could be repealed by simple majority, or in fact any and all the constitutional experience and precedent accumulated in more than 200 years.

            The depressing thing is that the idea of giving politicians absolute power is coming from people who claim they mistrust politicians, and with the pretext that politicians have misbehaved.

          • Tom

            You two remind me of the people who think Obama doomed us all. The idea that such a convention would be willing to repeal the Bill of Rights, that voting rights are actually under attack in any kind of sustainable way, or that Mike Pence is some kind of evil dictator is so ludicrous to anyone who is actually familiar with American politics and culture that one is forced to classify it with the concerns during the Bush years about “Muslim internment camps”–that is to say, an utter fantasy based on the desire to have one’s opponents be pure EVIL.
            But you can stew all you want. If you’ll excuse me, I have an America to fix–and I don’t want either of you to “help.” You and yours are half the reason we’re in this present mess.

          • Pait

            If there is such a convention, it has full power to do anything by simple majority. It is an enormous risk.

            I cannot know how evil Pence is. I only know he serves in the administration with the likes of Gorka and Bannon, and that knowingly or unknowingly he tried to protect Flynn’s apparent treason. As a governor he was a failure of a different kind than Brownback – Kansas passed idiotic laws that quickly led the state to chaos, while Indiana was on course to boot Pence without an accomplishment to his name.

            The idea that America has to be fixed is nonsense. The only thing that was destroyed by the generations since the Depression and World War II was the absolute freedom of the powerful to oppress the minorities, steal from the poor, and destroy the environment. These are the powers that the Maga wants to bring back, even if it’s at the cost of selling out to our enemies.

          • Tom

            It would be excellent if you could argue against a point I actually made. As matters stand, though, I will just chalk your last paragraph up to leftist hysteria.
            If you could live in the world you apparently want, where petty bureaucrats get to decide everything about your life, where failing to keep up with the pronoun du jour means that you’re hounded from your job, and pretending that all white people are more advantaged than all non-white people is required to be accepted into polite society (see, I can do hysteria unsupported by anything but perception just as well as you can), without dragging me and mine into it, I would wish you the joy of it.
            Kindly forgive me if I’m not focused on fighting battles that have long since been won, and am busy dealing with the unintended consequences thereof.

          • Pait

            That’s a very rational argument, “chalking to leftist hysteria” anything that says America is not broken. And you wonder why people think it’s a waste of time discussing things with you……

          • Tom

            Dude. Everyone believes America is broken right now. Including you, based on your comments here. The only questions are just how it’s broken and what the fix is for the broken bits.

          • Pait

            Everyone that suffers talking to you, perhaps.

            The style of reasoning, so to speak, of people who want to believe that everything in this country is a disaster will quickly exclude anyone who disagrees with them, anyone who can appreciate what is great about this country, anyone who wishes to solve problems in a calm and rational way.

          • Tom

            That’s true. So why are you providing such a sterling example of the behavior that you so decry?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I maintain that if our collective American Church is not “nuts” then our politics will not be “nuts”. Most people don’t like to go there for the awkwardness of it all, but the religious people either have good political religion or they have bad political religion. Right now it is the latter and “it” is the swing factor driving all of conservatism. So, ultimately, you gotta fix The Church. (Same is true in Islam, by the way.)

  • Fat_Man

    “Dassuage” is that a French word?

    • Boritz

      Just an anagram for sausaged.

  • WigWag

    Have the Europeans started to make babies again?

    • Ellen

      Right. That is the only thing that matters in the long run. And the answer is no. Thus, they will continue to import labor from the same old places as they are now (ie, disintegrating Muslim countries on the periphery of Europe plus Pakistan) and they will end up with the same old result.

      Truthfully, it is too late for Europe. If they stop importing these people, their economies will die for lack of young workers. If they continue with the current immigration policies, their social fabric will unravel, and their economies will continue to decline albeit at a slower rate because of the difference in quality of the new workers vs the old workers. Does anyone really believe that a Syrian refugee, even the educated ones, will become as productive and harmoniously integrated into the German workplace as a retiring German was? Of course not. Neither would a Greek refugee fleeing from its declining condition be as productive as a native German. Culture and work ethic matter. Especially in countries like Germany. The whole basis for Germany’s original economic superiority, and post WWII economic miracle, was its cultural advantages over rival countries. Once you replace Germans with virtually any other group on offer, its economic performance will go down.

      Hence, Europe is doomed. The time to address this problem seriously was 40 years ago, not now.

      • solstice

        Your prediction is premature and likely incorrect. What is certain is that humans in their current biological form are doomed. There is no way that humans will survive in their current biological form with artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetic modification advancing at such rapid rates. Even if the Germans had an above-replacement birth rate, the most educated, intelligent, and hard working of them would not have a hope in hell of competing with the intelligent computers coming our way. In your predictions, what you and WigWag consistently fail to recognize is that scientific and technological trends are far more consequential than demographic and political trends.

    • ——————————

      Westerners have placed the value of accumulating leisure time and ‘stuff’ over important things like carrying on the population and passing on their genes…you know, the reason we are all here….

  • QET

    Nice work with the “legitimate” qualifier in the last sentence. The tautology circus continues!

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Euro and the EU will disintegrate just like the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, and for the same reasons.

  • Joe Eagar


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