Summary: The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray

Europe is killing itself. Within a few generations, what has been recognizably Europe for thousands of years will cease to exist. The people are not reproducing and there is an existential fatigue that has set in—the widespread feeling that Europe no longer has the will or the right to exist. The inevitable demise of this culture and people is the result of two simultaneous occurrences: (1) the massive migration of peoples from all over the world into Europe at a rate too high for adequate assimilation; (2) the loss of trust in Europe’s religion, cultural inheritance and institutions. From a traditional standpoint Europe is built on Athens and Jerusalem—the pillars of logic and faith respectively. Now that Europe has shifted into a post-faith society, questioning its own values at a time when many are moving in who do not share its traditional beliefs, can the superstructure of this continent survive? Essentially, Europe has lost itself at precisely the same time when the peoples of other cultures are calling Europe home. In the words of Douglas Murray, “the European peoples have decided to become a ‘utopia’ only in the original Greek sense of the word: to become ‘no place’. This book is an account of that process” (8).

Chapter 1—The Beginning

For the vast majority of its history, Britain has had a static population with minimal influx from the Norman Conquest and Ireland. This changed in the 1940s when Britain opened its doors to the Commonwealth to fill certain labor shortages after WWII. Although some of the most outrageous predictions of the 1960s concerning immigration were met with censure, they have since been proven to be underestimates. Similarly, if one would’ve predicted, from the 2002 census, that the next decade would see White Britons becoming a minority in London and the Muslim population doubling, they would’ve been met with cries of racism, Islamophobia, and scaremongering. With such labeling tactics, how can a society have an honest conversation on immigration?

While the public was concerned about immigration policy, they were remarkably tolerant to the mass migration that began in 1997 with the election of Tony Blair and his Labour Party. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, unspoken policy allowed immigration to steadily increase with limitations. Blair ended this trend, opening the floodgates of immigration. He eliminated the filtering of fraudulent marriage applications and redefined “skilled laborers” to include virtually everyone. One Labour speech-writer remarked that this was done to, “rub the Right’s nose in diversity” as well to acquire loyal Labour Party voters. More disturbing however, was the Minister of Asylum and Immigration, Barbara Roche, whose intention was to restructure Britain’s immigration policies. She dismissed all criticism of her policies as racist. Such policies included accepting all who claim asylum, whether legitimate or illegitimate, and categorizing everyone as “economic migrants” regardless of whether or not they were headed for a job. These actions of the Blair administration seem to be for the purpose of cultural warfare, weaponizing migrants against an unsupportive electorate. Another possibility however, not entirely removed from the former, is that the whole thing just got out of control. This is evidenced by the fact that there is a huge gap between expected and actual immigration figures, even from the estimates of the most fervent proponents of mass migration. Whatever the reason, Britain is now facing much larger immigration than expected and a radical shift in culture.

Chapter 2—How we got hooked on immigration

Europe opened its doors to the peoples of the former empires, and in recognizing the economic benefits offered, many immigrated and decided to stay, spread roots and bring their extended families to share in this higher quality of life. Most of the public felt that some level of immigration is good and makes their country more interesting. Yet, any discussion of the downside of mass immigration has been met, by politicians, with labels which have inevitably fueled other issues. For instance, in 2011 nine Muslim men were convicted of the sex trafficking of children over the course of eight years. Local law enforcement had resisted reporting the crimes out of fear of being labeled “racist”. There is simply a certain percentage of the immigrant population with radically different cultural views concerning: women, other religions and races and sexual minorities. It is madness and mindless political correctness to forbid honest discussions about indigestible aspects of certain cultures welcomed into Europe.

In addition to resisting honest conversation concerning the downside of mass immigration, some, such as Will Self, Professor of Contemporary Thought, suggest that the destruction of European societies is karma. This line of thought holds that Europeans have imperialized the world and thus, it is only fair that such a society by destroyed. This position seems to ignore the past imperialism of non-European societies as well as the innocence of the people currently alive. However, this view encapsulates a significant portion of the European population.

Additionally, politicians still won’t answer how much diversity is enough. Possibly because of this desire for spiritual justice or perhaps because the immigration crisis has grown beyond their control. Is the goal to diversify Europe until the native European population is halved, in the minority or even eliminated? Current projections suggest that White British will be a minority in Britain by the 2060s. Some might see this as justice while others see it as the failure of their politicians to connect to their populace or to handle the situation. Yet, despite the public’s historical and highly criticized concern for the loss of their culture, a view chalked up to irrational fears and xenophobia, it turns out they were right about the radical shift in culture—a shift that politicians were either unwilling or unable to prevent. What results is the swift and radical transformation of European culture not endorsed by the public.

Chapter 3—The excuses we told ourselves

Now, to make such radical societal change work, certain arguments have been put forward to justify the shift. One of the first arguments that is made concerns economics. It is claimed that large-scale immigration is actually a financial net gain—that immigrants put into the system more than they take out in social programs. However, this claim doesn’t reflect common sense or the facts. Clearly, it will take some time before recent immigrants pay more into the system than they take out of the welfare state. Contrast that with a “native” family who have been paying taxes for their entire adult lives. And this is not the only strain on the average European. Low wage labor is also affected. Since so many immigrants are accustomed to a lower wage and living standard than the average European, many at the bottom of the ladder will lose their jobs. Additionally, there is a strain on the housing market, making it difficult for builders to keep up with the rising demand for housing. Considering the level of immigration over the last few years, the UK needs to build a city the size of Liverpool, in housing every year.

Of course none of this dissuades politicians from making bogus arguments. One trick they play is to examine only wealthy immigrants to Britain from first-world countries in Europe, then assess their behavior with the assumption that such immigrants are the norm. When looking at just wealthy immigrants from other parts of Europe, it is true that they provide a net benefit in wealth. Yet, a study by the University College of London found that non-European Economic Area immigrants to the UK took out between 114-159 billion pounds more in services than they paid in taxes in the 1995-2011 period.

The fact is that the migrant is the one who benefits most. Immigrants have access to schools, public transportation and other public facilities that they never paid for, and they benefit from higher wages and living standards. Also, this money does not always go back into the local economy, but is often sent back to the families of immigrants in other countries. And while the GDP of a country may grow from mass immigration, there is no evidence that per capita GDP increases. Thus, the average individual is not made wealthier.

Another argument that is put forward is that Europe’s population is aging and therefore more young people are needed to keep Europeans in the same lifestyle they have become accustomed. Yet, Murray questions whether having a growing population is really beneficial. European countries are already some of the densest in the world and adding more people will put further strain on infrastructure and the housing market. If a growing population is something to strive for, then addressing the issue as to why Europeans are not reproducing enough may be a more reasonable solution then importing large quantities of migrants. When examined, we find that most Europeans do want children. However, many are concerned with affording a single child let alone the 2.1 children per couple needed for a static population. Additionally, when people are more pessimistic about the future the less likely they are to bring children into the world. Certainly there are solutions to these problems that do not involve mass immigration and the problems associated with it.

Perhaps Europeans need a change of perspective. Many see an aging population as a scourge on society. They contend that the aging population are living off the state, taking out more in pensions and healthcare than they put in over their years of work. Would it be so bad to raise the age of retirement to ensure that people are putting in what they take out?

And then there is the problem of low-skilled labor. Unfortunately, many highly educated young people see low-skilled labor as beneath them. Therefore, instead of getting jobs, they choose to live off the welfare state. To compensate, politicians resort to importing this labor from overseas. But, why should Europe be forced to import the labor when there are so many native Europeans who don’t quite fit into high-skilled jobs? Additionally, history has shown that we don’t know how these immigrants will impact the national economy, and in fact, these immigrants too will get older and will deserve the same rights and benefits as everyone else.

Now when such economic cases for mass migration fail, moral and cultural arguments follow. Among these arguments is that such migration enriches the culture. These migrants bring with them different attitudes, culture, language and cuisine. And while no one should doubt that such things can be a benefit to society, it does not follow that these benefits are directly proportional to the number of immigrants taken in. And if diversity really was the goal, then why aren’t politicians striving to bring in immigrants from all over the world instead of focusing primarily on the peoples under the past empires?

One of the bigger issues to mass migration is in the reaction of many Europeans. Too often the positive effects of immigration have been overemphasized while the negative have been ignored or even suppressed. In an interview of 500 British Muslims, zero percent claimed that homosexuality is morally acceptable. Supporters of mass migration will claim that these views are only a few generations behind that of the British people and must be allowed time to catch up, so to speak. However, Muslim views on women are hundreds of years behind and there is no evidence to suggest that these people will integrate and adopt the views of mainstream British society. These facts tend to be ignored by the elected class and there is a miasma around migrant crime rates and cultural incongruities. For example, there were 1400 children in Rotherham brutally raped between 1997 and 2014, by a gang of mostly Pakistani Muslims, that police were afraid to interfere with out of fear of being labeled institutionally racist. And there were similar cases throughout Britain. A report from Oslo found that every reported rape in that city was committed by non-Western people. Yet, such facts are frequently met with accusations of Islamophobia and racism. In fact, one British Muslim who denounced the rapes received death threats from other Muslims. While this behavior is rare in the migrant community, there should be no problem acknowledging that these crimes exist and where they come from and an honest discussion should be allowed to address whether or not a few extra beheadings and rapes are permissible for the sake of a wider variety of cuisines.

Perhaps the most dangerous excuse proponents of mass migration make is that it is unstoppable. Europe has made itself highly attractive to immigrants with its rights, welfare, amnesty, economics and peace. Yet, there are other nations that have similar qualities that do not have a problem with immigration. Japan is proof of this point. The question is whether or not Europe truly wants to curb mass migration. Europe could make itself less desirable by returning migrants who came illegally and halt welfare to new arrivals. Acting as if there is nothing that can be done is a dangerous game played by politicians considering that immigration reform is a serious concern for the public. This builds up resentment that, at the least, will come out at the ballot box and more seriously as a violent reaction towards migrants.

Chapter 4—Welcome to Europe

At the southern extremity of Italy there is the island of Lampedusa. This island typifies some of the problems we see with mass migration. Thousands of people make the last leg of their journey to this island from North Africa, knowing that once in Italy they are essentially in Europe to stay. Here, order breaks down as there are too many people to accurately assess their identities and their places of origin. Most pay smugglers a fee to be transported on rundown, dangerous boats and many are the victims of human trafficking. Many of the women are raped, some are murdered on a journey where people of rival tribes clash. Others are claimed by the sea which has sparked the Italian government to send their own boats to save these people from a watery grave. Bodies wash up on the shores as smugglers are encouraged to use less sea-worthy boats as a reaction to this Italian intervention, and many migrant’s families are extorted. Yet, as word of mouth spreads that one only needs to reach Europe in order to stay in Europe, these immigrants are inspired all the more to risk their lives making the dangerous and often fatal journey.

Chapter 5—We have seen everything

The many stories of migrants who experienced rape, torture and imprisonment; combined with pictures of bodies washed ashore, have turned mass migration from an issue of practicality into a matter of the heart. There is now a face to this struggle that tugs at the heart-strings of so many Europeans. And in following the heart, Angela Merkel further opened the floodgates of migration into Europe. She did this, in part, by disregarding Dublin procedures, which stated that the first country in which a migrant claims asylum must provide protection. Thus, allowing migrants to legally pass throughout Europe and settle where they may.

Many Europeans welcome migrants with open arms, hoping to provide relief to the many fleeing violence in their native lands. This is especially true on certain Greek islands where immigrant numbers rival that of the native population. During the winter months, these natives house migrants in their own basements, and camps have been established to provide them with food, shelter and even education. Some of these migrants even prefer suicide rather than being sent back to their homelands. This human tragedy, in turn, has led so many to the belief that there is nothing a civilized society can do but to accept all who claim asylum. Yet, does Europe really have the capacity to save everyone? Angela Merkel says “yes,” but backlash from the more practical in Europe suggests that the answer to that question may, if fact, be “no.”

Chapter 6—Multiculturalism

Much debate was sparked in Europe with the declaration, by leaders such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, that multi-culturalism was a failure. However, much confusion surrounded the very notion of multi-culturalism. No one quite knew what it was, yet, it seemed clear by the context that such leaders meant a state-sponsored policy of encouraging people to live separate lives, standing in contrast to the customs and laws of the country in which they lived. Not everyone welcomed the debate though; and there were many on the left that criticized the discussion itself, claiming that the problems associated with multi-culturalism did not exist, or that they existed but were not really problems. Some politicians even tried to revise history claiming that Islam was as influential in Germany as Christianity or Judaism. Others suggested that having one law for every citizen was dangerous. In this multi-cultural era of Europe, every culture except that of the host nations was celebrated—ironically, only the cultures of Europe, which allowed for the celebration of other cultures was not to be celebrated.

Yet, in the 2000s contrarians broke out all over Europe and among the most powerful of these voices came from Europe’s ethnic quarters. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, among others, united people from the left and right around the agreement that such things as honor killings and female genital mutilation are wrong and have no place in civilized society. The multi-cultural era then transitioned into the multi-faith era, with its emphasis on Islam. And indeed, the religious face of Europe has changed drastically. A 2016 poll, of those in high school in France, found that while 33.2% claimed to be Christian and 25.5% Muslim, less than half of non-Muslims claimed their faith to be “something important or very important” while 83% of Muslims claimed their faith to be “important or very important”.

Some argued that what was needed to make immigration work was not multi-culturalism, but a turn to “core culture” in which all citizens would unite around common themes such as separation of church and state, human rights and rule of law. Anything beyond this “core culture” would be an allowed deviation.

Yet, at some point there was resistance to the very presence of immigrants by the public, and the sentiment that they should learn the language and adopt certain aspects of European culture was tarnished by association. For others, in an attempt to make migrants feel welcome, there was a re-writing of history and a stronger emphasis on Islamic achievements and contributions to European society to the point of lunacy. Any critique of this rewriting of history was met with accusations of Islamophobia. Some politicians resorted to denigrating European culture or even denying its existence. What all of this boiled down to for both the native and the migrant was this: what needs to be given up in order to make society work?

Regardless of these reactions for and against mass migration, what cannot be denied is that these immigrants were not assimilating. Bars and churches close as migrants flood into certain locations and do not adapt, and mosques mushroom. This is what happens when a vibrant religious culture is placed into a declining relativistic culture. Yet some are still surprised to find that many who appear to be British on the outside still retain sentiments from other cultures. This is exemplified in the 2005 attacks on London Transport by British-born Muslims. Much was made of the fact that one of these terrorists worked at a fish and chips shop and played cricket. While those in the media and politics strained to wrap their heads around the attacks, the public understood that Europe had failed to truly integrate these people.

The result of these cultural issues, in part, stems from Europeans holding two conflicting ideas. The first is that anyone can be European. All they need is to be in Europe. The other is one that is cognizant that these new arrivals have brought with them customs and ideas not seen in Europe for many years. The first is optimistic that migrants will become more European, so to speak. The other part wonders if anyone has enough time for this assimilation to happen.

Chapter 7—They are here

Any time there was a discussion of immigration, it was always framed with the lens of race. What was ignored was the political and religious ideologies of the people flooding into Europe. As a result, no one could’ve foreseen that the early part of the 21st century would be rife with discussions of blasphemy laws.

There were, however, warning signs. In 1989 author Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding when Supreme Leader of the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran called for his death for publishing the Satanic Verses, a book critical of Islam. Within 24 hours thousands of British Muslims were calling for the imposition of Islamic blasphemy laws, which meant death for Rushdie. As a result, the first organized Muslim representative organizations were established. And these organizations were characterized by the loudest and most extreme among the Muslim community.

Chapter 8—Prophets without honour

In the Netherlands, by the late 80s and early 90s, certain politicians were realizing that Islam is more than a religion; it is also a way of life, and that this is in some ways incompatible with Dutch society. This view, mirrored by fifty percent of the Dutch public, was attacked as racist. Despite such baseless attacks, a left-wing university professor, Pim Fortuyn championed the notion that certain elements of Islamic ideology were incompatible with liberal society. While Pim won over much of the public, he was eventually murdered by a vegan activist for “targeting Muslims”. This created a void filled by Theo van Gogh who was then shot and stabbed by radical Muslim Mohammed Bouyeri. As a result of these murders, the Netherlands found itself quiet and anxious over the subject of religion, with few to support the idea that there are limits to tolerant society.

Yet, as Muslim populations increased, problems all over Europe broke out. Women were getting stoned to death and a report found that 74,000 women had their genitals mutilated. Muslims who spoke out against the negative aspects of their culture were threatened with violence. Additionally, these new Muslim immigrants began to clash with other minority groups. In France, the number of anti-Semitic attacks, largely by young Muslims, doubled between 2013 and 2014.

Former Muslims, current Muslims and non-Muslim Europeans spoke out against the incompatibility of Islamic culture with Western society, but few spoke with such passion as author and journalist Oriana Falluci. She attacked those who terrorized in the name of Islam as well as those in the West who would not stand up for their own culture and society. She addressed the blatant anti-European sentiments of certain Muslim leaders, such as the Islamic scholar who spoke to a synod at the Vatican in 1999 saying, “By means of your democracy we shall invade you, by means of our religion we shall dominate you.” She spread the message that Islamists sought to outbreed Europeans; an idea expressed by the former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne when he addressed the UN general assembly saying, “One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere of this planet to burst into the northern one. But not as friends. Because they will burst in to conquer, and they will conquer by populating it with their children. Victory will come to us from the wombs of our women.” Unfortunately for Europe no one took heed of these warnings.

Chapter 9—Early-warning sirens

For decades virtually no one considered the ideologies or beliefs of the people flooding into Europe. It should have been obvious with the “cartoon crisis” beginning in 2005 that many of these migrants held radically conflicting views with most of liberal Europe. In 2011 the offices at Charlie Hebdo were firebombed for reprinting a Danish cartoon depicting Mohammed. In 2015 most of the editorial team was murdered. Additionally, there were riots and embassy burnings across the Muslim world. Yet, what is most striking is the reaction of certain Europeans citizens, and particularly politicians to the violence. Some suggested that those murdered at Charlie Hebdo got what was coming to them, and law suits were threatened against those who would publish the cartoons. All who warned of these problems were ignored, defamed, dismissed, prosecuted or even killed. The politicians however went out of their way to show how much they admired Islam, often quoting their favorite verses of the Koran. Others claimed that the bombings were actually anti-Islamic. Those who recognized the problem attempted to ally themselves with moderate Muslims in an attempt to reform Islam. The inevitable failure of this endeavor could’ve been prevented had politicians known that Muslims have been trying to reform Islam for 1000 years with no success. To make matters worse, it was clear that many Muslims, as encouraged by their leaders back home, had no intention of ever assimilating or changing their ways.

Chapter 10—The tyranny of guilt

The guilt of Europeans has a profound impact on their behavior. Particularly in Germany where people showed up at train stations waving signs and celebrating the arrival of refugees to their country. Yet, the gulf states, which did not bear this burden of guilt, and sharing a more similar culture to Syrians, refused to take in any refugees. Perhaps this is because parallels were drawn between the Syrian refugees and the Jews during the Holocaust. However, there are differences. Firstly, the Jews were searching for any country to take them in; they didn’t walk through many countries, choosing specifically which they wanted to live. Secondly, not all of the migrants flooding into Europe were actually fleeing war. Many were simply economic migrants in search of jobs and welfare. Yet, with this association of migrants as Holocaust-era Jews, those who opposed the mass migration, were, predictably, labeled as Nazis.

This guilt over war, the Holocaust, colonialism and racism is not meant for Europe alone, but is expected to bear in all former colonial nations. An almost religious fervor has developed in these countries. Those who bear this guilt ignore the fact that most nations are guilty of conquest and the mistreatment of the losers. They magnify the crimes of the past, focus on what was wrong while failing to see any good. Some apologize, as those who committed no crime, to people who were not victimized. The myth of the noble savage has taken root, and thus, Europeans are seen as the destroyers of the Garden of Eden; they are now tainted with original sin, incapable of doing right.

What is especially unusual about this guilt is that others are rarely called upon to apologize for the sins of their ancestors. The Ottoman Empire killed millions of Armenians in the first genocide of the 20th century. With military might they conquered much of south-eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; imposing Islam and its own culture on those conquered. To this day they occupy the nation-state of Cyprus. Yet, rarely is Turkey made to feel guilt over these crimes. Why the double standard? Murray argues that this psychological affliction of Europeans, judging themselves by their worst deeds and judging others by their best moments, is something that they get high on. They love the guilt. They are masochists and they try to outdo each other in absurdity. Take for example Karsten Nodal Hauken, who was brutally raped by a Somali refugee. In a piece he did for the Norwegian media, he admitted to feeling guilty that his rapist was returned to Somalia.

Chapter 11—The pretence of repatriation

Countries from southern to northern Europe adopted the Schengen Agreement, which meant open borders throughout Europe. The purpose of this was for harmonization and integration and the thinking was that Europe had gone to war twice in the 20th century over borders, and therefore borders are bad. Murray compares blaming borders for war to blaming cars for auto accidents. It was German militarism that caused WWI and Nazi aggression that caused WWII, among other factors.

Open borders meant the dissolution of the nation-state and free movement throughout Europe. The fact that migrants were not turned away meant that there was essentially free movement into Europe. This was taken advantage of by terrorists. For instance, the Paris attackers who killed 129 people were trained in Syria and found to have slipped in and out of Europe by posing as migrants. Such problems led to pushback by the public for less porous borders. Some nations, such as Hungary and Bulgaria, constructed fences. Politicians started using tough rhetoric without actually addressing the issues of open borders and mass migration.

Chapter 12—Learning to live with it

Attacks by young Muslim men occurred nearly daily in the summer of 2016. A 17 year-old asylum seeker pulled out an ax and knife on a train and began hacking away at the other passengers while shouting “Alahu akbar” or “Allah is the greatest.” Those who suggested that the people in the Charlie Hebdo slaughter had it coming to them were at a loss for words over the priest murdered while performing mass. Some of these attacks were conducted by migrants and others by citizens. The cases of rape skyrocketed in Europe and in refugee camps. In Cologne on New Year’s Eve, crowds of up to 2,000 men sexually assaulted approximately 1,200 women in the main square. Rape was so prevalent in Bavaria that in 2015 officials warned parents to not let their children go out alone or wear revealing clothing in public.

The topic of rape and Islam remained taboo. To even notice that most of the rapes were committed by young Muslim men was to be racist. Police in Germany were routinely covering up the identities of migrants involved in sexual assault to prevent criticism of the government’s open-door policies. What was obvious to the public, but not to the officials, was that radicalization originated from a specific community. It should not have been surprising that the places with the highest number of Muslims per capita had the most attacks while countries without a significant Muslim population, like Slovakia, had no such problems.

There were also unusual cases where the victims of sexual assault attempted to conceal the identities of their attackers. A 24-year-old woman in Manheim who was raped by three migrants claimed her attackers were German nationals. Later she admitted they were of Middle-Eastern/North African descent, but then wrote a letter of apology to them. She felt that revealing their identities would promote racism.

These problems began to weigh heavily on the European population. Public polls showed a majority of Europeans did not think mass immigration was a benefit to their society. Despite losing the majority of the people, politicians refused to change their policies. They did not recognize that most of these immigrants were not asylum-seekers, but economic migrants. In 2016 in Germany, 220,000 people received deportation orders and only 11,300 were actually deported. Angela Merkel, the woman most responsible for this disaster, when asked what would be done to protect Europeans and European culture, gave a long and largely irrelevant response. She said that considering European history no one ought to complain about terrorist attacks and that to do so was arrogant. For this, the German media praised her.

Chapter 13—Tiredness

There is a tiredness in Europe—a vacancy of drive, inspiration and sense of meaning—the feeling that Europe will never escape its past of barbarism and war. That such war may break out at any point and destroy the continent. While Europe has long and erroneously predicted its own destruction, it doesn’t follow that such a sentiment will never be right. If individuals can feel this, why not societies?

The loss of faith dealt a heavy blow to Europe. The spirit of Christianity had an energizing effect on Europeans. It has driven them to war but also to the heights of human creativity. The loss of this religious faith has stripped society of its over-arching purpose, and what was once a community of believers is now a collection of isolated people. The destruction of Christianity happened in the 19th century and had two primary causes: (1) The critical treatment of Scripture as any other historical text; (2) Darwin’s revelation concerning the origins of humankind. Thus, the Bible was placed alongside the works of Homer—pointing to eternal truths, but not actually true. The gap left by Christianity’s absence has not been filled and that which stood as the foundation of Western values has been reduced to mythology. The attempt was made to fill this gap with art and philosophy, yet “culture on its own cannot make anyone either happy or good” (214). German philosophy was particularly problematic. Not only was there a weariness with philosophy in the 19th century, but German philosophy carried high demands. Such thought pursues ideas to their logical end point or absolute and this so often led to fatalism. Additionally such absolutes often crashed, destroying everything in their wake including people, countries, dominant ideas and theories. Such repeated crashes were enough to leave anyone weary.

Then there is the fact that Europeans have tried virtually everything from Communism to muscular liberalism (the defense of liberalism around the world). All have failed, and this has led some to the conclusion that all ideology and certainty are the problem. Some have likened the state of Europeans to the that of Icarus had he survived the fall. All of Europe’s dreams have been proven false, and now they are left alive without illusion or ambition. As a result, so many turn to hedonism and nobody trusts certainty.

Chapter 14—We’re stuck with this

In 2009 in the town of Luton, UK, there was a parade to honor soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. A group of Islamists marched in protest, verbally harassing the soldiers and handing out flyers. In the following weeks, locals organized a protest opposing the Islamists, but were prevented from making it to the same town hall and were prohibited by police from handing out their own flyers. This double standard disgusted many and led to the creation of the English Defence League (EDL). For years this group organized protests that often faced violent opposition, particularly by largely Muslim “anti-fascist” groups. The reaction of the British authorities to the EDL made it clear that the government was trying to shut down it down. For instance, the leader, going by the name “Tommy Robinson” was arrested for attempting to walk through a heavily Muslim area and for allowing an organized protest to run three minutes late. His bank accounts were frozen and his family’s homes were raided by police. Yet the chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre, Abdul Qadeer Baksh who claims Islam is at war with Jews, that in an ideal society homosexuals would be executed and has defended cutting off hands for theft and lashing of woman under Islamic punishment laws, never received such treatment. The real problem is that politicians have been attacking the secondary symptoms—the reaction of Europeans to the problems of mass migration—instead of the primary symptoms of importing mass numbers of radical Muslims. The reason for this is simple: it is easier to criticize and call white people racist, than it is brown people.

Chapter 15—Controlling the backlash

The mainstream media of Europe has been guilty of covering up issues brought on by mass migration and promoting falsehoods about racism. Far from Europe being a very racist place, the far-right has been collapsing as it has in Britain over the past decade. Even worse is the covering up of rape and the statistics associated with it. In 1975 there were 421 rapes in Sweden. In 2014 that number rose to 6,620. By 2015 Sweden had the highest per capita rape than any country other than Lesotho. Research published in Denmark by Frederic Morenius showed that Somali men were 26 times more likely to commit rape than Danish men, as adjusted for age. Dozens of young girls were raped by gangs of immigrants at a music festival in Stockholm in 2014. Police made no mention of the rapes in their report on the festival. It took web magazines and blogs to unearth the 2015 New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne—attacks that were covered up by police and the mainstream media. Up to 80 percent of police in Sweden considered quitting their jobs due to the increased risk of dealing with migrant-dominated sections of their country. Yet the Swedish government continued to portray these migrants as doctors and academics when the reality was that they were primarily low-skilled laborers. Perhaps this is intentional self-destruction. Former Prime Minister of Sweden, Frederik Reinfeldt claimed that “only barbarism is genuinely Swedish,” that borders are merely “fictional” constructs and that the land of Sweden belongs to the migrants rather than those whose families had been there for hundreds if not thousands of years. What is striking is the finding that just 41 percent of foreign-born Germans wanted mass immigration to continue and 28 percent preferred it to end entirely. Thus, while Angela Merkel continued to hold the door open to migrants, the migrants themselves were quietly opposed to her policies.

Chapter 16—The feeling that the story has run out

Europe has many critics. They say that Europe has been exceptionally cruel. The reality is that all civilizations have been cruel, and Europe has been no different from any others. Yet these critics get some things right—life in modern Europe is lacking in purpose, and that while liberal democracy has given all the right to pursue happiness, we have yet to answer our reason for existence. In this post-faith society we find that beneath it all is an existential nihilism that has us separated from our past. It could be that without Christianity, Western Civilization will fail or turn into something completely different. In fact, we find that there are those flooding into Europe with a strong sense of purpose and values that may fill this hole left by Christianity.

The West’s own values of liberty rest on Judeo-Christian ethics and faith, yet without it, what is there to ensure that our civilization continues to honor this freedom? Some have claimed that these freedoms are not unique to the West, but are universal. Yet, the attempt at integrating immigrants would not be so difficult if this was so. If our rights come from government alone, then there is nothing stopping those with different attitudes from obtaining power and altering our rights and freedoms.

In post-Christian society, the closest thing we have to a creed is the belief in human progress. That with the awakening of the Enlightenment comes the belief that nobody would chose to walk backward and that rights are now self-evident. Yet, the same people fighting for gay and women’s rights are also supporting the mass importation of peoples who oppose these rights. At some point there may be more walking backward than forward.

With the loss of Europe’s religion, the next question becomes, “Why can’t art take over where religion left off?” This question is answered by those who make art today. Contemporary artists no longer attempt to express truth and beauty. They have largely given up on technical brilliance, but produce works that anyone can make. There is no ambition. Contemporary artists at best point to the fact that there is death and pain, but rarely say anything about it. Modern art has“given up that desire to connect us to something like the spirit of religion or that thrill of recognition—what Aristotle termed anagnorisis—which grants you the sense of having just caught up with a truth that was always waiting for you”(272). Perhaps this only happens when encountering a profound and timeless truth—something that most reject or of which they are suspicious.

Chapter 17—The end

European ships picked up migrants, many of whom were dumped out of their own boat, by the thousands. At one point there was 10,000 migrants picked up in 48 hours. The media made it clear that these migrants were “saved” from the Mediterranean as well as the conditions in Syria. Yet, none of the details were reported. The vast majority of the migrants flooding through Italy were not Syrian, but sub-Saharan African men.

Douglas Murray had the opportunity to talk with a Member of Parliament (MP) from Germany. When asked about the issue of integration, the MP replied that increasing the 60 hours of courses on German values should be increased to 100 hours. He said that Germans were the problem. Those who don’t want their home to change are detached from reality. The MP made it clear that there should be no point at which migrants are denied entry into Germany. He criticized borders. He claimed that the slow-down of immigrants into Germany was natural when in reality this occurred due to recent policy of the EU, which was supported by Germany. The EU started paying the Turkish government to retain migrants in their country. Another reason for the slow-down is that borders were being erected again, and particularly with the Macedonian border, a bottleneck into Germany was created.

In an effort to protect the entry point into Britain, the government proposed to build a wall near the migrant camp in Calais, France. Not surprisingly, this proposal was met with opposition. French senator Nathalie Goulet remarked, “It reminds me of the wall they built around the Warsaw Ghetto in World War Two.” She suggested that walls don’t work and that they are a thing of the past. There are fewer than 6,500 people in the camp at Calais. Politicians and activists proposed a one time offer to allow all the migrants in the camp to enter Britain. This was the failure of Europe in a microcosm. Little thought was given to the fact that once the camp had been emptied that it would simply fill up again, and the problems associated with that camp would persist. Solutions like this were for decades, short-sighted.

Chapter 18—What might have been

This could’ve turned out differently for Europe had they asked the right questions and consulted the right thinkers. The three questions they should’ve asked themselves: (1) Should Europe be a home for anyone who moves there? (2) Should Europe be an asylum for anyone running from war? (3) Should Europe be obligated to provide a better standard of living to anyone in the world who wants it?The public would’ve answered “no” to the second and third questions and would’ve been torn on the first. Yet, the politicians did not consult the public. Neither did they consult Aristotle for answers. If they had, they would’ve realized that there is not a “good” answer and an “evil” answer to those questions. Rather the questions posed the problem of competing virtues—in this instance justice and mercy. On one side, the politicians had the obligation to be just to their people, to respect their desire to not have their society radically transformed or to have to deal with sexual, religious and racial issues again. On the other side there is mercy for the migrant who is seeking a better life or even fleeing imminent death. Mercy has clearly been winning this competition. However, the slight against justice was not simply against the people alive now. For as Edmund Burke recognized, society and culture are not simply for those living today, but rather a pact between the dead, the living and those yet to come. “In such a view of society, however greatly you might wish to benefit from an endless supply of cheap labour, a wider range of cuisine or the salving of a generation’s conscience, you still would not have the right to wholly transform your society. Because that which you inherited that is good should also be passed on. Even were you to decide that some of the views or lifestyles of your ancestors could be improved upon, it does not follow that you should hand over to the next generation a society that is chaotic, fractured and unrecognizable” (296).

Angela Merkel and all the other politicians who supported mass migration could’ve been both merciful to genuine asylum-seekers and just to the people of Europe. It should be recognized that Europe doesn’t have the capacity to save everyone and solve all the world’s problems. And there are many things that could’ve been done differently. Migrants should’ve been housed in countries close to their own. This is considerably cheaper than housing them in tents in Europe, places them in cultures more similar to their own and makes it easier for them to return after the disaster they are fleeing is over. Processing asylum claims outside of Europe would discourage smugglers from loading up dysfunctional boats of migrants. Any boat heading for Europe illegally would be turned back and those migrants would be processed outside Europe. Politicians could’ve made a real attempt at deporting those who have no legitimate claim for asylum. Others could be granted temporary asylum until whatever problems in their homeland settle down. Yet, all this would require politicians to admit they have handled this situation improperly.

In order for Europe to survive it needs a more balanced perspective of itself. While there have been many atrocities that feed into the existential fatigue of Europe, there is also much to be celebrated. A society defined by consumerism and hedonism can’t last long. “But a society which holds that our culture consists of the cathedral, the playhouse and the playing field, the shopping mall and Shakespeare, has a chance” (306). Although Europeans prefer to avoid the deeper issues, there are those who implore a return to the faith, not as a warning, but with a sense of doubt and brokenness. And Pope Benedict beseeched Europe to behave “as though God exists.” There must be some aspiration to introduce deeper meaning into the culture and there should be no cutting off from the past nor lines drawn between the faithful and the doubters.

Chapter 19—What will be

It is unlikely that Europe will make any drastic changes. Politicians will continue with the same policies already in place. The distinction between legal and illegal immigration will become fuzzier. Politicians will push off difficult matters of immigration to their successors. Western Europe will look like a large version of the U.N. There will continue to be cheaper services, interesting conversations and cuisines. Those Europeans who do not want their society to be radically altered will continue to be labeled racists and Nazis.

While it is impossible to know exactly what the future looks like, there is evidence as to the general direction. For instance, international politics will become domestic politics. An example of this is when thousands of Eritreans protested the U.N. after they charged the Eritrean government of crimes against humanity. (Curiously, Europeans were told that Eritreans were fleeing a government, under which, was unlivable). It is impossible to predict what foreign events will have domestic consequences. This result of having a multi-cultural society gives concern to the military who may be carrying out missions in foreign countries.

Europe’s revived obsession with race will continue. When a non-White does well, they will be championed as a model of integration; when they do poorly, there will be accusations of racism. Continuing to ignore the public’s wishes has the potential to see far-right parties elected and perhaps even violent protests.

The continent will change drastically in terms of demographics, religion and culture. Yet, there will be minimal assimilation and few answers to the issues posed by migrants. “For Europeans there seem finally to be no decent answers to the future. Which is how the fatal blow will finally land” (320).

The Virtue of Nationalism By Yoram Hazony Full Summary

Nationalism is a dirty word. The mere utterance conjures up images of authoritarianism, racism and Nazi death camps. However, this vision of nationalism couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoram Hazony contends that nationalism for too long has been misdefined and unfairly slandered. In addition to denoting nationalism as a love and loyalty to one’s nation, Hazony uses the word to denote a theory of the best political order—one that seeks to establish a world of free and independent nations and that stands in direct contrast to imperialism. Hazony’s purpose in writing the book is to make a case for nationalism as the best political order.

The book is split into three parts: Nationalism and Western Freedom; The Case for the National State; Anti-Nationalism and Hate. The first part gives background and contextual information for understanding the contention between nationalism and imperialism in the West. The second part offers the argument in favor of nationalism and the third part deals largely with the hatred toward Nationalism, particularly by liberal imperialists.

Part One—Nationalism and Western Freedom

For as long as the West has been around it has struggled with two opposing views of world order. On the one hand we see an order of free and independent nations and on the other an order of peoples ruled by a single united regime. This is the difference between nationalism and imperialism and both of these orders are rooted in the ancient world.

Over the centuries we have seen imperialistic empires succeed each other, each seeking a universal political order, peace and prosperity. Now the initial draw to the imperial state is a powerful one. For most of human history we have lived in anarchist communities of tribes and clans each constantly warring with their neighbors. With the establishment of empires, however, war is driven to the periphery of the territory and liberates the average human from the constant struggle of war. This space of peace allowed mass scale agriculture and as a result, security from starvation. It wasn’t until Moses received a “constitution” from God that the concept of an independent, non-imperialist nation-state began a sustained existence. Now while the empire offers peace and food, the ancient Israelites saw this political order as one of bondage. The bloodshed and cruelty that imperial conquest and governing brought, was in their eyes, despicable. These empires brought with them slavery, murder and the transfer of women and property in the name of peace and prosperity. The nation-state on the other hand was one of collective self-determination and freedom which also drove war to the borders and opened the door to large-scale agriculture, but spared the world of conquest.

But what exactly is a nation? Hazony defines a nation as, “a number of tribes with a common language or religion, and a past history of acting as a body for the common defense and other large-scale enterprises” (18). The concept of nation is not synonymous with race, but of a shared culture–language and history, religion etc. In the original conception of nation in the Bible, outsiders were welcome to join so long as they integrated.

Now, the Catholic church became the state religion of Rome and united with the emperors of the German Holy Roman Empire. Like so many other empires before them, they too believed that it was their responsibility to bring peace and prosperity to the world united under one empire. It wasn’t until the Thirty Years’ War that the thousand year reign of empire began to shift toward an order of nation-states. This war, which is commonly believed to be a fight between Protestants and Catholics, was actually a conflict between the developing national states of Sweden, France and the Netherlands (Lutheran, Catholic and Calvinist respectively) with the German and Spanish military devoted to an imperial Christian order.

The loss of the imperialists to these national states ushered in a new order in western Europe called the Protestant construction. This new political life was built on two biblical principles: (1) The moral minimum for right rule; (2) The right of national self-determination. The former means that the ruler to rightly rule had to be committed to the people to provide them with protection, justice in the courts, etc. Essentially he must obey the ten commandments. The latter meant the right to govern oneself under one’s own national constitutions without conflict from foreign nations. This Protestant construction thrived on these dialectical tensions. On the one side the concept of natural standards which supersedes the pronouncements of any government suggests that nations cannot do whatever they want. This makes government conditional. There are simply limits to right authority. On the other hand, national freedom protects the institutions, traditions, laws and ideals of the nation against the claims of those on the side of universal church or empire. This tension incubated a laboratory where nations could experiment and test the various institutions and freedoms that have risen from the West. Massive innovation in government, economics and science followed.

Unfortunately, while an order of independent nations was maintained in Europe, that didn’t stop these nations from invading foreign lands in Asia, Africa and the Americas. However, the structure afforded to the nations of western Europe, the principle of national freedom, was the foundation on which such injustices were eventually resolved.

This Protestant construction lasted until the world wars when nationalism came to be associated with the Nazis. It was challenged by a new order called the liberal construction. This order places individual freedom at the basis for all legitimate political order. Locke was instrumental in influencing this perspective of order. For Locke all transactions, obligations and memberships of collectives are based solely on consent. Hazony however, has a different view suggesting that such a position ignores the basis of all human collectives—mutual loyalty, which acts as the glue to society. These bonds unite families and nations and bequeath a specific culture. Being born into such collectives carries burdens of responsibility that are not established by consent. We don’t choose the culture we inevitably receive and our responsibilities to this inheritance and our families exist whether or not we choose them. Simply put, Hazony saw Locke as postulating a view of humankind that is inconsistent with observation and human nature and thus insufficient for understanding political reality.

It wasn’t long ago that the Protestant construction of self-determination and independence of the nation was seen as a progressive politics. Yet, the catastrophes of the two world wars saw the attempt at branding the evils of those wars on nationalism. By the 1960s they succeeded. Now most elites equate nationalism with Nazism and racism. However, Hitler was not a nationalist. He criticized the Protestant order in favor of a German imperialism and clearly sought an end to other countries’ right of national independence and self-determination. It was not the supposed nationalism of the Nazis that the world saw as a threat it was their universalism and imperialism, and it was Hitler’s attempted destruction of other national states that became part of the justification for war.

For Hazony the liberal order is nothing more than a veiled attempt at re-establishing a new imperial state. These empires while creating a level of peace, do so in exchange for national independence and freedom. Under such a state in which the empire has a monopoly over what is right, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints declines. Any attempt to voice an opinion in favor of a national order is seen as an attempt at returning to an older age of barbarism.

Today, Europe is strongly in favor of universal law and liberal empire, particularly with the creation of the EU, and this order is largely maintained because of America’s defense of the continent, thus sparing them from the heavy cost of military defense. But not everyone agrees with this liberal agenda. Most notably there are three groups that resist: (1) Neo-Catholics; (2) Neo-Nationalists (statists); (3) Conservatives (traditionalists). The first group subscribes to a revised Catholic political theory. They seek to provide human rights and liberties to the world. While they gravitate toward international rule, they uphold the principle of moral minimum. The second group sees the goal of humankind as service and loyalty to the state. They reject traditional views of the nation, constitution and religion. The third group supports the Protestant construction of international order—a world of independent nations subscribed to the principles of the moral minimum for right rule and the right to national self-determination.

To Hazony the choice of which is the best political order is clear—a world of independent nations each with their own culture, history and language experimenting and respectful of the differences and beauty in other nations. In part one we have a historical and contextual basis for understanding the contention between nationalism and imperialism. In part two Hazony provides his case for nationalism.

Part 2—The Case for the National State

Before taking a rigorous look at the argument for nationalism, Hazony seeks to clarify the two parts of political philosophy—philosophy of government and philosophy of political order. The former is concerned about the best structure of government in an established nation with independence and unity. The concern of the latter is how political order arises, its different forms and which form is best. It is important to learn the underlying causes of political order since these give a state its cohesiveness and independence and all states are on the verge of losing these qualities. Essentially, we must understand these causes to avoid creating bad policy or building up a form of government that works to dissolve cohesiveness.

Hazony’s initial focus is on the philosophy of political order and how the causes of such order effect the different forms of government available.

When it comes to politics, the most basic problem is how an individual lives in a community of other individuals each with their own goals and motivations. How does one influence others to support these goals that we deem necessary? This gives rise to politics which Hazony defines as, “the discipline or craft of influencing others so that they act to accomplish the goals one sees as necessary or desirable” (61).

The collective arises as a solution to this problem and there are many human collectives including the family, clan, tribe, church, business etc. The goal of collectives is to influence people to consistently act as a single unit. Hazony describes three ways in which people will join such collectives: (1) the threat of force; (2) payment; (3) seeing a particular collective as a reflection of the self. It is clear that payment forms the weakest bond to any collective as one is constantly assessing how he might find better pay and thus loyalty is restricted to receiving the right benefits. It is in human nature to protect oneself and this protection extends beyond the self to land, family, nation, etc. Now, loyalty exists when one has taken another under the responsibility of the extended self. Thus, when two individuals take each other under the responsibility of the extended self the bond forged is called “mutual loyalty.” We see this strong bond displayed in wartime heroics, when two or more people unite to face a common problem and other sacrifices that are detrimental to the individual’s life and property. Thus, bonds formed by seeing a collective as an extension of oneself is the strongest of all bonds and is thus, the glue that holds strong collectives together and keeps them acting as one unit. It is because of these bonds of mutual loyalty that we share in the triumphs and sufferings of others.

Now that we know a little about what holds human collectives together, let us address the question of how states come into being. According to Locke and Hobbes, people exist in perfect freedom and equality with each one consenting to form a government for the enhancement of safety and the security of property. To Hazony this is a fantasy comparable to the story of the stork delivering babies. As was earlier mentioned, the original political order consisted of tribes and families without permanent centralized government—anarchy. This order is relatively weak due to the constant threat of war and starvation, and the state is created to compensate. There are two ways that the state crystallizes: (1) people, out of loyalty to family and tribe, voluntarily give up their freedom; (2) conquest establishes the nation as a part of an imperial state suppressed by a ruler. We see the first way in the tribes of Israel uniting to form the nation of Israel and in the city-state of Athens. The second can be found in any empire from Egypt to Persia.

On one end of the spectrum we have anarchy, with people organized into families, clans and tribes, but without any established government; and on the other end of the spectrum we find the limitless empire. Hazony reveals some of the fundamental differences between the two.

With empire we find that loyalty is to the abstract—empire, all mankind and an unknown ruler out in the ether. Such a political order demands that its subjects abandon their loyalty to their leaders and clans. With empire, war is driven to the outskirts of the empire providing a great space for mass agriculture and universal law applicable to all people. The moral legitimacy of the empire is based on the idea that all humankind should be united under peace. The price of this peace is that the way of life of the conquered people is destroyed and such people are now subject to taxation and impressment for the maintenance of the military and other political projects. As is realistic, the ties one forms to all humankind are less strong than the ties of mutual loyalty one finds within the tribe and the concrete. What holds the empire together is not the loyalty of subject peoples, but the bonds of mutual loyalty of those within the ruling state.

Contrast that with anarchy where the members of a tribe personally know their leader who is concerned with the struggles of his people. In response to the kindness of the leader his people repay him with loyalty—thus, bonds of mutual loyalty are formed. The basis for moral legitimacy is the loyalty to the concrete. Anarchy rejects the obligation to the universal order. Yet, under anarchy the people live in a constant threat of war and starvation. Injustices may exist as the tribal leader may have something against the individual being judged.

In the end, both empire and anarchy dissolve into slavery. The empire binds all people in its borders to the customs and ideals of the ruling nation and anarchy binds the people to the endless conflict of local military leaders. It is the national state that lies in the balance between anarchy and empire. The national state is still an abstraction, but one in which there are commonalities of culture—the majority of the people living in the national state share similar language, laws, religion, traditions, and history. The national state takes what is best from both anarchy and empire. From empire loyalty to the abstraction of the state for the creation of peace on a larger scale and impartial legal system. From anarchy a ruler drawn from the tribes of the nation—one who is devoted to the people of the nation and to their specific culture.

In chapter 14 Hazony outlines the five virtues of the state. The first of these virtues is the peace that is created by establishing an area in which war has no place. The tribes that make up the space of the nation have the larger purpose of sustaining the internal cohesion for the sake of the nation and peace. In this space agriculture, family, trade, and innovation flourish.

The second virtue of the national state is its dislike of conquest. A nation is limited by its borders. It is not imperialist. This virtue is not simply a nicety of the nation-state but a pragmatic aim—the nationalist sees that imperialism is not good for itself. The bonds that are formed from conquest are weak and thus threaten the internal cohesion of the nation. Additionally, since the nation is to be devoted to the needs of the people, most would prefer that the government take care of their needs as opposed to constantly spending time and resources in maintaining parts of a distant empire. Now nations still go to war, but most of these fights are over minor boundary disputes, pecking order and other small-scale issues.

The third virtue is collective freedom. Although there is the pure freedom of tribes living under anarchy, such tribes are constantly plagued by war and starvation, thus, inhibiting advancements and shortening the range of freedom available. Hazony then argues that it is the national state that has the most collective freedom. The nation unites various tribes for the sake of peace creating a space for innovation, but without the disorder involved in empire. The unity that one feels when one tribe unites with another to combat a foreign threat, becomes permanent with the establishment of the state. Upon realizing the increase in peace and defense and the expanded freedom to pursue prosperity and greater protection of cultural inheritance, the individual directs his gaze toward the welfare of the nation as a whole. He sees this nation as an extension of self and is thus committed to the preservation of its internal integrity.

The increase in self-determination seen in the transition from anarchy to nation is unlikely to be repeated in the transition from nation to empire. This is because the nation has already succeeded in driving war to the outskirts, thus creating the space of peace and innovation. This nation is held together by the strong bonds of mutual loyalty among the local tribes thereby increasing the capacity for united action. Whereas with empire, the bonds holding the structure together are not as strong and each nation is constantly at risk of losing favor with the leading imperial nation.

The fourth virtue is that of a competitive political order. Here Hazony presents two theories of knowledge—rationalist and empirical. The rationalist approach tends to be the imperialist approach. They believe that human reasoning has led us to the great universal truths and that all that is needed is to impose these truths on humankind. But, human reason can lead us nearly anywhere and what is right is not immediately evident to all. Thus, the nationalist tends to take an empirical view. The empiricist is skeptical of human reasoning, acknowledging the great evils that have been done by the overconfidence of the rationalists. Instead, they believe the best path to knowledge is via experimentation. Some of the experiments will fail and the ones that succeed will provide a model for other nations to emulate. We see this competition between the rationalist and the empiricist in economics as well. The empiricist trusts capitalism to provide the answer to what works and what does not. The rationalist instead trusts his reasoning and thus gravitates to central planning.

The fifth and final virtue of nationalism proposed by Hazony is that of individual liberties. Individual freedoms in the real world have never existed by themselves, but are instead a product of institutions developed over the centuries by trial and error. These rights and freedoms that exist in the U.S. and England for instance, exist due to the balance of power between rulers, tribes and factions, and independent judges. This self-limitation of power can only exist where there are bonds of mutual loyalty.

So far the comparison has been between imperialism and nationalism but what about federalism? Hazony contends that there is an inescapable dichotomy in which one is forced to choose between imperialism and nationalism. Yet, this doesn’t stop some from seeking an intermediate position. This middle ground is global federalism. Although, this distribution of power looks a lot like either imperialism or nationalism in practice. When it comes to adjudicating disputes a nation can either: (1) choose to submit the dispute to the higher power and choose to comply or not—this is essentially nationalism; or (2) be forced to submit and comply with the higher powers’ judgments—this is essentially imperialism. There really is no middle ground. Additionally, in a federal order tends to centralize power. Consider the federalist structure of the U.S. Originally the states were given much independence and self-determination. However, progressive movements have seized many of the rights and freedoms initially given to the states, forcing them to conform to a standard in line with the central government’s will. No constitution can stand indefinitely as long as those in charge are allowed to interpret it.

The neutral state is also a myth. This supposed neutral state would only have concern for providing common defense, keeping the peace and ensuring the rights and freedoms of the individual. There would be no interest, on the part of the state, in collective self-determination and the transmission of the nation’s cultural values. Yet, the state cannot exist without either political repression or the national tribal cohesion formed out of bonds of mutual loyalty. In the first scenario, the culture of the dominant imperial state is imposed on its subject nations. In the other, these bonds of mutual loyalty are formed from common culture. Either way these states are involved in the transmission of culture whether by force or as the framework on which a particular nation is built.

Some would argue that loyalty must be directed towards the state documents or constitutions. Yet in history we see this only with religious texts. Muslims, Hindus and Christians have all demonstrated this loyalty to their religious writings. This implies there must be a sanctification of these state documents. Such sanctification for most people is tied to the cultural inheritance of a particular nation or tribe—a collective held together by bonds of mutual loyalty. The reverence for the political documents of one’s nation is transmitted by and held together by culture.

In the case of the U.S., which is often seen as a neutral state, the majority or core of the nation speak English, carry on constitutional and Protestant traditions, republicanism and English common law. It is on this culture with ties of mutual loyalty that the nation is held together. And we see in former colonial states where there is not one dominant culture, where borders are arbitrary and not drawn along cultural lines, that chaos ensues and management of these countries is nearly impossible. From observation we find that, instead of having a destabilizing effect, a dominant culture that is secure, and therefore unafraid of rebellion, grants all of its rights and freedoms to minorities. And it is these minorities that recognize that they can’t stand against the majority, and thus, assimilate. This is clearly preferable to a divided nation that is inevitably ripped apart by civil war.

Hazony turns his attention to the formation of national states, claiming that not all who wish for their own nation ought to be given one.

There are logistical and economic problems to delivering goods to everyone in society. Thus, not all goods are rights, which by definition require others to take action in securing. So while nationhood is good, we find that the formation of nations is not the right of any who would claim nationhood. Securing the resources to establish and maintain a nation is needed for the formation of nations—not something that every group of tribes or clans can do.

There is no limit to how fine a nation can be broken up into its component parts and in doing this we break society down to anarchy. For instance, there are 1700 different languages spoken in India alone; securing the resources needed to establish each a nation is impractical. Clearly, there should be some middle ground between creating a single family into a nation and uniting all of humankind into one nation. A nation by definition is made up of various tribes all sacrificing some measure of autonomy for the sake of a larger more peaceful space.

In supporting the formation of nations, we ought to balance the principle of national self-determination with other factors including: “the needs of the people in question; the degree of its internal cohesion and the military and economic resources it can bring to bear; its capacity, if constituted as an independent national or tribal state, to benefit the interests and well-being of other nations; and the threat that this people, once independent, may pose to others” (173). According to Hazony, we must seek an order of independent nations, but not artificially force the creation of these nations within a generation or two.

The final chapter of the second part addresses the rules for the formation and maintenance of the national states. A few of these rules include: (1) a nation should be formed if the people are cohesive and strong enough to secure their own independence. This is self-explanatory. If a nation is not stable or does not have the resources to defend itself, it should not be instituted as a nation. (2) No nation shall interfere with the internal affairs of other nations. All free nations should have the independence to pursue their own goals, so long as they do not interfere with the freedom of other nations. (3) A nation must permit the government the only right of coercive force. This is important for the prevention of anarchy. (4) Balance of power for the protection against a nation or group of united nations from becoming so powerful that it imposes its will and laws on other free nations. (5) Reservation in the creation of new states as opposed to the endless and mindless subdividing of states already in existence. (6) Minorities shall be protected. This is both self-evident as a moral principle and a pragmatic realization. By neglecting minority populations, one opens the door to angst among that population; this has the potential to degrade the internal cohesion of the nation as a whole and could possibly lead to anarchy. (7) A nation should not give its powers away to universal institutions. This removes independent judgment from that nation and results in the institution of an imperial state.

Part 3—Anti-Nationalism and Hate

It is often said of Nationalism that it inspires hate. While it is true that some nationalists will have hatred for rival clans, tribes or nations; it is also true that the imperialist often hates those tribes and nations that dissent and reject their universal authority. We find that the imperialist is as prone to hatred as the nationalist; just consider the Christian, Muslim, Communist and Nazi history of hatred and empire. Thus, it is not fair to reject nationalism on the grounds that it inspires hate if an imperialist is just as prone to it.

Hazony then moves to the specific example of Israel and its vilification. We have all been taught to see the world through a conceptual structure called a paradigm. This paradigm decides how we interpret facts and which facts we even consider. When Israel was formed in 1948 an order of independent national states was still an acceptable perspective. Particularly since the 1960s however, this paradigm has shifted among the educated in the West. They see Nazism as an example of nationalism taken to its ugly conclusion. They therefore reject the order of national states on the grounds that it is barbaric and primitive like the Nazis. Instead these “elites” endorse the multi-national liberal empire—a progression of reason.

There are two different paradigms through which to see Israel. The first emphasizes the sin of powerlessness. It’s claim is that the holocaust was a result and failure of the Jews to protect themselves. Israel represents the protection of the Jews and is therefore the opposite of Auschwitz and the holocaust. The second paradigm sees Auschwitz and the holocaust as a horror committed by the right to execute force in the name of national self-determination and interests. For this paradigm Israel is Auschwitz. If Israel is to be likened to Nazi Germany then there is no change or adjustment that can be made to silence Israel’s critics.

This raises an interesting question. Why are other nations, which commit far greater atrocities than Israel not treated as harshly? The answer lies in Kant’s concept of “moral maturity.” For Kant human beings are in a process of development. We start off as tribes living in anarchy and give up some of our freedoms to unite as nations—the civilized world. The final step is a similar relinquishing of freedom to a universal federal state—empire. Within this framework much of the world is still uncivilized and barbaric. European civilization is advanced beyond the rest of the world. They see Israel as part of this European civilization, and therefore must be held to a higher standard.

Hazony concludes the book by noting that liberal imperialists tend to be blind to their own hatred while criticizing the hatred of nationalism. They, like all other empires, believe that they are the ones to implement what is good and true to the rest of the world. That if only they had the chance to rule the world they would reign in an era of peace and prosperity. They should be willing to acknowledge however, their own hatred for the different and diverse and accept a world of experiments through which we come to a greater understanding of the best government.

For centuries the West has struggled with its political order. On one end of the spectrum there is anarchy and on the other end, imperial empire. Between these two extremes is an order of independent national states which Hazony argues is the best political structure.

The problem of being an individual in a community is that everyone has different aims. This gives rise to politics and collectives are formed in response to this problem. There are multiple ways that collectives are held together, but the strongest is through bonds of mutual loyalty. These bonds of mutual loyalty are formed when individuals take each other under their protection thereby extending the self. Through these bonds, individuals experience the joy, hope and suffering of others.

Proponents of liberalism see humankind in various stages of development. The first of these stages is anarchy followed by an order of national states and finally resulting in liberal imperial empire. It is for this reason that countries with Western roots are criticized more harshly then “uncivilized” tribal orders. Yet, Hazony sees individual nations bearing their own responsibilities and freedom as more mature than giving up that responsibility to an empire. An order of national states, free to experiment and pass on their unique culture is a virtue.

The Virtue of Nationalism by Yoram Hazony Part One

Nationalism is a dirty word. The mere utterance conjures up images of authoritarianism, racism and Nazi death camps. However, this vision of Nationalism couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoram Hazony contends that Nationalism for too long has been misdefined and unfairly slandered. In addition to denoting Nationalism as a love and loyalty to one’s nation, Hazony uses the word to denote a theory of the best political order–one that seeks to establish a world of free and independent nations and that stands in direct contrast to imperialism. In fact, there is an inescapable dichotomy in which one is forced to chose between two competing views: (1) the idealist vision of international government that imposes its will, even by force, on subject nations as it deems necessary or (2) the belief that nations ought to be free to determine their own course without the imposition of international government. Most concisely one must choose between imperialism or nationalism.

With that being said, Hazony writes that his intention is to make a case for nationalism as the best political order–an order of independent national states. He splits the book up into three parts: Nationalism and Western Freedom, The Case for the National State and Anti-Nationalism and Hate.

The first part provides a basic historical framework for understanding the contention between nationalism and imperialism as it developed in the West. It was the Protestant Reformation, inspired by the Old Testament, that renounced the authority of the Holy Roman Empire. Thus, the next four centuries saw a political emphasis on national independence and self-determination as foundational principles for an order of independent nations permitting a diversity of governmental forms, religion and culture in a world of experimentation. It is this experimentation among the nations that elucidates what works and what does not. It was this Protestant order of the nations that collapsed from WWII and with the rise of the Nazis.

The second part concerns the argument for an order of independent national states as the best order. To Hazony there are three ways of organizing the political world that are known to us via experience–the order of tribes and clans found in pre-state societies (anarchy), an international order of the imperial state (empire), and an order of independent national states (Nationalism).

Part three provides a comparison between the hate of rival national or tribal groups and the hatred of universal ideologies toward dissenting nations, tribes and individuals. The book concludes with some interesting remarks on the relationship of nationalism to personal character.

Now, let us take a more detailed look at part one. Before I continue any further I feel as though I need to provide a definition of nation and a brief explanation of how nations come into being. Hazony defines a nation as, “a number of tribes with a common language or religion, and a past history of acting as a body for the common defense and other large-scale enterprises.” The origins of these nations have roots in cultural similarities and political alliances one tribe makes with another for the sake of protection from foreign invaders. These historical alliances build bonds between the members of different tribes and when such tribes unite under a single rule of law nations may form. These nations have special advantages particularly in driving war to the outskirts of the nation. These areas free from war create a space for agriculture, industry and trade to flourish. Thus, the desire for peace and prosperity drives tribes to collect into nations and possibly empires.

The politics of Western Civilization have largely been characterized by two antithetical visions of world order—nationalism and imperialism. These both have history in the ancient world as many empires sought to bring peace and order to the world via conquest. Ancient Israel upon receiving a “constitution” from Moses sought differently to establish a nation-state uniting the tribes of Israel and passively influencing the world as an example.

This order of the national state did not have much influence at first. Eventually Christianity became the state religion of Rome and adopted the Roman dream of universal empire for the sake of peace (pax Romana) to all nations ordered under one empire. It is this order that persisted in Europe for over 1000 years until the Protestant Reformation and the invention of the printing press. At this point the Bible was available to all the peoples of Europe. Armed with the Old Testament and the ideal of establishing an order of the nation-state, the countries of western Europe declared their independence. This Protestant construction of order rebuilt western Europe on two founding principles: (1) The moral minimum for right rule; (2) The right of national self-determination. The former means that the ruler to rightly rule had to be committed to the people to provide them with protection, justice in the courts, etc. Essentially he must obey the ten commandments. The latter meant the right to govern oneself under their own national constitutions without conflict from foreign nations. This Protestant construction thrived on these dialectical tensions. On the one side the concept of natural standards which supersede the pronouncements of any government suggests that nations cannot do whatever they want. This makes government conditional. There are simply limits to right authority. One the other hand national freedom protects the institutions, traditions, laws and ideals of the nation against the claims of those on the side of universal church or empire.

Now, I have just explained what a nation is, in part, what causes them to form, but what exactly holds them together? To understand this we must understand the concept of “mutual loyalty.” Loyalty exists when one has taken another under the responsibility and protection of oneself. Thus, when two individuals have taken each other under the responsibility of this extended self, the bond forged is called “mutual loyalty.” These individuals then consider themselves as a single unit.‭ This sense of responsibility we feel for others in our extended self (whether family, tribe or nation) are the derivatives of many if not most of our political aims. These responsibilities exist whether or not we choose them, as we are thrust into a family, tribe and cultural inheritance. According to Hazony, the Lockean notion that all responsibility is a result of choice is therefore untrue and neglects “essential aspects of human nature and motivation without which no political philosophy can make sense.”

In addition to responsibility by choice, Locke’s order is one built on the foundations of the preservation of life and the expansion of property. Yet, Hazony argues that under such an order the institutions of the national state, community, family and religion appear to have no reason to exist. It is these institutions he argues, that have their foundation in and: “impart bonds of loyalty and purpose to human collectives, creating borders and boundaries between one group and another, establishing ties to future and past generations and offering a glimpse beyond the present to something higher.”

Since WWII this liberalism has become the new imperialism, most notable with the establishment of the EU and the sentiments of pax Americana. Modern ruling elites envision a world in which the liberal principles are transmitted to all the people of the world. Such a view supports the establishment of an overarching international order of arbitrary dictates. Naturally, this bears much resemblance to the empires of the past. Today, the lines have been drawn and neither side is going away. We must choose to rule ourselves or to give up that power to an international order. How we advance given these tensions is for us to decide.