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Earlier this month, the great British philosopher Roger Scruton delivered a lecture at the Heritage Foundation on the future of Europe — and the lessons we can learn from that struggling continent. The entire lecture is brilliant and important (and I don’t even care how pretentious it may sound to say so, because the entire lecture really is brilliant and important).
On this day after Christmas, an excerpt:
There are lessons in this for America. The threats confronting Europe confront America too: mass immigration of people whose loyalty cannot be guaranteed or who may, like the Boston bombers, see the host society as the devil’s work; the purging of Christian assumptions from the law and the public square and the replacement of them by the contradictory panacea of human rights; the unwillingness to confront threats while they can still be confronted—notably the threats posed by Russia and China.
But there is one thing that Americans have which we Europeans lack: namely, a sense of shared identity, of being included together in an enterprise the rewards of which and the costs of which are distributed among us all. This sense of identity depends upon borders. It depends upon a law defined by territory and human procedures rather than by God. And it depends on the idea of the nation.
Looking at Europe and at what follows when the political class loses all sight of that idea, Americans should recognize how lucky they are and how they must at all costs hold onto the belief in themselves as one nation. And if they add to that phrase the two words “under God,” they will be on the way to protecting the principal thing that we Europeans have lost.
Faith, the principal thing.