January 31, 2005


(Culture) War Is Declared in Europe: U.S.-style religious and 'town vs. country' conflicts take hold. (John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge, January 31, 2005, LA Times)

[L]ately, cultural issues have begun to force their way back into the mainstream of European politics, stoked by three things.

The first is the willingness of politicians to ride roughshod over ancient traditions — and the growing willingness of what Edmund Burke called the "little platoons" to fight back.

The Labor government's bill banning fox hunting in England and Wales, for instance, delighted metrosexual Islington, where people are less exercised by the rights of foxes than the wrongs of the upper classes. But it has created a furor in rural England — and not just among toffs. [...]

The second factor is the revival of religion — or at least its refusal to die. Europe has long been the world's most secular continent — fittingly so given that the great prophets of secularization such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber were European. But now religion is again entangling itself with politics.

The most obvious example is the resurgence of radical Islam. [...]

But Christians are also causing more fuss in Europe these days. [...]

The third factor is the growing ambition of the ultimate technocratic project. The European Union is run by gray men who talk about protocols and summits with the same relish that real people reserve for sports teams. Yet their enthusiasm for both deepening Europe (by creating a European constitition) and broadening it (by admitting Turkey) is stirring up a formidable backlash. The upcoming votes about the European constitution will inevitably raise questions about national identity.

The chicken runs for awhile even after you lop off its head.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2005 8:07 PM

The Eurocrats have nothing to fear. Just increase the soma ration and everything will be back to normal.

Posted by: Bart at February 1, 2005 9:47 AM