Out of the European Union and Into Europe | Netherhall House

Much has been said recently about the decision of the UK to leave the European Union. The reality is that the UK is not so united on the question of departure as its name suggests, and probably never will be. But the writer’s view on this broad subject is clear: we should celebrate this variety of opinion and favour a greater degree of subsidiarity, rather than repress it with Draconian threats about a March 2019 apocalypse. Enough has been screamed at one another and I am no economic expert. I will offer one or two thoughts which are given scant treatment in the mainstream media, both by Brexiteers and Remoaners. Indeed, the reduction of everything to purely economic issues (while using that same economic supremacy to usher in a deracinated and deformed European culture) is one of the chief failings of the EU.

The first is this. There is nothing wrong with arguing to leave the European Union from an unselfish perspective. One of the greatest cultural blindspots of our age is the assumption that to argue for something, you yourself need to have been affected by it. This is pure nonsense. If that is the case, how could Wilberforce argue against slavery? How could male politicians vote for or against the Abortion Act (without which, lamentably, it would not have been passed)? Why was Oskar Schindler praised for his defence of the Jews during WWII? The application of this argument to the respective scenarios would surely be racist (assuming that all white people support something a distinct minority of their ancestors did centuries ago), sexist (assuming that all men hate women) and, again, racist and discriminatory on the grounds of religion (assuming that non-Jews cannot in any way oppose the treatment of Jews under the ‘Final Solution’). Similarly one can hold grave reservations about the direction and legitimacy of the European Union without being part of it or without wanting to be, and for external motives.

This fallacy cast aside, we begin to see that serious questions about the validity and the efficacy of EU institutions, law, and cultural initiatives remain. This argument does not concern just the impact on Britain, but on the future of Europe as a whole. By denying the substantively Christian roots of the values it paradoxically holds, the EU is weak in its foundation. By operating under the loosely extrapolated principles of equivalence and direct effect (which allows individuals in member states to essentially bypass national courts and seek ultimate justice in the ECJ) the EU is weak in its methods and legitimacy: the growing ultimatum of the Commission and a mock European Parliament of ‘yes men’ only confirms this. By attempting to subsume Eastern Europe and failing southern states the EU is weak in its direction. It naturally follows that, owing to such an embarrassing lack of institutional confidence, these questions inevitably arise: where did it come from? How does it operate now? And where on earth is it going? Dissatisfied by this apparent weakness in its cause, implementation and effect, increasing numbers of people throughout Europe are starting to ask firstly what Europe is, and only then, whether we need the EU to thrive as ‘Europe’. Precisely to save Europe, they will think, we might consider abandoning the shipwreck that is the European Disunion. We will build Noah’s Ark once again with our own materials, our own designs and our own captains, but above all sailing together as one fleet amid greater seas.

This lends itself conveniently to what follows. By becoming one country, Europe has lost the sense of mystery that made it Herodotus’ ‘Europa’. The EU was a necessary tool once upon a time in an age of continental strife, but an instrument cannot replace a culture or attitude to life. It has since lost its purpose and spark and it is no longer needed. As we see ‘independence’ movements sparking variously around the continent, in Scotland, in Catalonia, and to a lesser extent in Lombardy and Veneto, these peoples want their native character back. They want a degree of devolution and subsidiarity. They do not want a federal superstate managing their fiscal and cultural policies. They do not want a gang of bureaucrats who do not speak their language and have never been to their country voting to outlaw free speech in their own homes. In a recent article Steven Woolfe MEP voiced his frustration over a dangerously popular new interim report by the Civil Liberties and Justice Committee (or the Uncivilised Restraints and Injustice Committee depending on your viewing platform) which on p.10 “Strongly affirms that the denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls.” Irrespective of your views on abortion, are we really meant to believe that across Europe, elderly campaigners hosting prayer vigils for abortion providers and their ‘customers’ are soon criminals? This relationship with the EU has never been easy: in 1996 the UK and Nordic countries narrowly prevented the full implementation of a proposed EU action criminalizing Holocaust denial across the board. Whatever your reading on particular issues, Brexit being only one of them, there is a federal and ominous trend within the European Union, and those within the system are helpless to stop it, precisely because the system has been set up with such potential resistance in mind.

Despite this imposing force we hear a lot of talk about EU ‘diversity and equality’ initiatives these days. Of course the reality on the ground is far from the realisation of such clichéd nonsense. Real diversity existed long before the EU, and ‘1968’. It was most famously enthroned in our culture by St Paul’s remark in Galatians 3:28 where there is, as he said, ‘neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female’. Unlike virtually every other religion, which usually has an official language and other ethnocentric attachments, Christianity has always had a penchant for the universal application of rules to local cultures: the Tower of Babel has real world applicability. In addition, real diversity would be to live and let live, to respect Germany as Germany, the UK as the UK, and Greece as Greece and allow countries to form their own fiscal and political deals as they choose. To take this principle any further lends itself to uniformity and serious power imbalances, almost always in favour of economic and military superpowers. Real equality existed long before the EU, and was again a mark of the Christian revolution: Friedrich Nietzsche observes as much in his Will to Power. Such equality cannot exist while a protected caste of EU Commissioners gleefully prance around Strasbourg all day on their hobby horses, fully aware that their ‘Parliament’ will always and without hesitation accept their proposals as akin to the Eleventh Commandment (even despite most of the previous Ten not being met). Are they here to serve or to be served?

You will hear people say ‘subsidiarity’, ‘devolution’ and ‘freedom’ are loaded terms. They are not. If anything they are highly important at a time when we are told to believe they are but loaded terms. The EU began as a collective of distinct communities working together to rebuild a flattened continent after the war. It has sprouted into a politically and culturally inept monolith capable of – and increasingly willing to – police population sizes in countries as different as Poland and Ireland and criminalise the thoughts and beliefs of the most vulnerable in local society. The approval with which Juncker looked on as Cameron supervised a patronising ‘Grab your granny’ campaign to keep Britain in the EU, along with the increasing lack of independent thought in young people this false certainty instils in them, is a warning sign. As Christmas approaches remember one thing: no one really likes Brussels sprouts. And have you ever thought about why you eat them?

by J. A. Candia