“Under God,” or, What Europe Can Teach Us Now

 

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.

Published in Culture, General, Politics, Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Amen!

    • #1
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    To remain one nation under God we must be as committed and fearless in bearing witness to our Lord as was the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen, whose feast we celebrate today. Good timing Peter, and thanks for the link.

    • #2
  3. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Thanks for the link! Here’s Mr. Lawler writing on Mr. Scruton’s latest defense of conservatism & his analysis of European & American travails.

    • #3
  4. Paddy Siochain Member
    Paddy Siochain
    @PaddySiochain

    Europe needs God but we are blind deaf dumb and ignorant of him. It is sad so very sad as an Irishman to see what has happened and worry over what may take place in the distant centuries.

    • #4
  5. Susan the Buju Contributor
    Susan the Buju
    @SusanQuinn

    Very well said!

    • #5
  6. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    “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 is becoming less true each day. The American Left has been very successful destroying religious belief and dividing Americans by class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and race. I fear we are right on Europe’s heels.

    • #6
  7. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    “Under God”, yes, emphatically, Yes.  But, “they must at all costs hold onto the belief in themselves as one nation”, when one half of Americans don’t have the foggiest notion of free enterprise and stumble around in a fog of class warfare nostrums?  Think he could have parsed this a bit more finely.

    IMO, Russia and China are threats to other folks – that we may be attached to or sympathetic to – but they pose little danger to the US directly otherwise.  But socialism is the constant menace that never recedes.  Would the gentleman be more sanguine about the Europeans’ future without the massive immigration?  Seems like they would still be a mess.

    Democracy enables the less successful in society to dodge fully their responsibility to improve their station in life predominantly by their own efforts.  Even suggesting this obligation becomes taboo in European countries I suspect, and this is what dooms Europe.  (Demographics and Muslim immigration just compound the problem.)

    • #7
  8. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Theodoric of Freiberg:“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 is becoming less true each day. The American Left has been very successful destroying religious belief and dividing Americans by class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and race. I fear we are right on Europe’s heels.

    Sorry, but here’s another exhortation to read Coulter.  All of the things you list are under attack, but underlying all of them is the mass importation of third-world miscreants with no desire to become part of our society.  They represent the primary tool now of the American Left, a.k.a. the Kleptocracy, described so well by D’Souza.

    • #8
  9. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Roger Scruton is generally brilliant and what he says is usually important. No need to be apologetic about it, Mr. Robinson. And now, a plug for my favorite Scruton talk:

    https://vimeo.com/112655231

    • #9
  10. hokiecon Inactive
    hokiecon
    @hokiecon

    Indeed, our nation has been welcoming to those whose allegiances were, by and large, almost guaranteed. They emigrated here because they wanted to be Americans. Multiculturalism has rendered American values as harmful and as a result, the Left no longer promotes American values. They have come to loathe them, and want them forgotten, erased, and ultimately replaced with something, anything, as long as they aren’t that of the Imperialist, irreparably damaged West.

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    It doesn’t feel as if we are doing anything differently–we’re just ten years slower. I do not feel insulated from Europe’s problems.

    • #11
  12. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @CanadaEh

    I think there may well be more to this then having simply lost god… In god’s absence, Europe accepted subjectivism as a foundation of their societies. Secular societies seem to inevitably accept subjectivism, the only question being when they will. My hope is that Christians might fight back in the intellectual and cultural squares, so that we need not have a secular society, and we need not pretend that subjectivism is a viable basis for society.

    • #12
  13. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    In God we trust.

    • #13
  14. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Mike LaRoche:In God we trust.

    All others pay cash.

    • #14
  15. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    hokiecon:Indeed, our nation has been welcoming to those whose allegiances were, by and large, almost guaranteed. They emigrated here because they wanted to be Americans. Multiculturalism has rendered American values as harmful and as a result, the Left no longer promotes American values. They have come to loathe them, and want them forgotten, erased, and ultimately replaced with something, anything, as long as they aren’t that of the Imperialist, irreparably damaged West.

    We romanticize immigration way too much in this country. One thing they don’t teach you in schools… and thanks be to the likes of Ann Coulter for publicizing this fact… is that prior to the great opening of third world gates in 1965, many immigrants in fact went back home. In the great surge of 1890-1924 from Europe, 50 percent decided they didn’t want to “be American”, and went back to Europe. They had no welfare to profit from, no government programs handing them cash, so if they came, they had to work. And when the gates were closed in 1924, and the flow from Italy and Poland stopped, those that were already here had to fish or cut bait: get out of your ghetto, learn English, and assimilate, or go back to the Old World, where you could still be Italian or Polish. Those that stayed became Americans in the full sense. Those that didn’t, left. That’s what we should return to. Time to close the gates for awhile again.

    • #15
  16. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    I take issue with the idea that Americans share a common identity. I no more count many Californians, New Yorkers, and others of hard lefty states as my countrymen any more than I would count an Egyptian as my countryman. We may share a broad common language, but little else. Their goals, desires, and beliefs are oft antithetical to anything I hold dear and would fight for.

    I did not always think this way, but I am left wondering when and how terrible the abolition of this once great nation will be.

    • #16
  17. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    jmelvin:I take issue with the idea that Americans share a common identity. I no more count many Californians, New Yorkers, and others of hard lefty states as my countrymen than I would count an Egyptian as my countryman. We may share a broad common language, but little else. Their goals, desires, and beliefs are oft antithetical to anything I hold dear and would fight for.

    I did not always think this way, but I am left wondering when and how terrible the abolition of this once great nation will be.

    This is a terrible prophecy, but not as laughably unlikely as in the past. When once fellow feeling is lost, what else is there? If some liberal metropolis is bombed again, but Texans don’t anymore go to their recruiter, what will come then?

    • #17
  18. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.” – Bishop J. Fulton Sheen

    • #18
  19. Lizzie in IL Inactive
    Lizzie in IL
    @LizzieinIL

    “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.” – Bishop J. Fulton Sheen

    ****

    Moral relativism run amok. I don’t think there’s any going back. VDH had a great article yesterday about how liberals have even turned on themselves now.

    • #19
  20. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Lizzie in IL:“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.” – Bishop J. Fulton Sheen

    ****

    Moral relativism run amok. I don’t think there’s any going back. VDH had a great article yesterday about how liberals have even turned on themselves now.

    Planned Parenthood sent out this cartoon yesterday, attacking their “male allies” for not being enlightened enough. They are eating each other at this point. In the revolution, no one can be pure enough.

    pp allies

    • #20
  21. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Feminism is as insane an ideology as Islam.

    • #21
  22. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Paddy Siochain:Europe needs God but we are blind deaf dumb and ignorant of him. It is sad so very sad as an Irishman to see what has happened and worry over what may take place in the distant centuries.

    I hope you will keep us posted Paddy, in the New Year, of changes and developments in Ireland – you are a canary in the coal mine, since traditionally, Ireland has been a staunch conservative country with God at the helm.

    • #22
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Thanks Peter, I’m forwarding this link and it is timely – I received some interesting books over the holidays that are 40 years old, from a retiring minister – my sister picked them up – she works with his wife. They echo this same theme verbatim.  Our resolve as to to what we believe and stand for in this country as well as Europe will continue to be tested for sure. Ricochet will be more important in the on-line community information sphere than ever.

    • #23
  24. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Mike LaRoche:Feminism is as insane an ideology as Islam.

    It’s worse, I think because Islam has real gender roles, and thus can perpetuate itself. Feminism’s hatred of the masculine inevitably means less breeding, and thus, is a kind of self-defeating ideology over time.

    • #24
  25. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Douglas:

    Lizzie in IL:“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.” – Bishop J. Fulton Sheen

    ****

    Moral relativism run amok. I don’t think there’s any going back. VDH had a great article yesterday about how liberals have even turned on themselves now.

    Planned Parenthood sent out this cartoon yesterday, attacking their “male allies” for not being enlightened enough. They are eating each other at this point. In the revolution, no one can be pure enough.

    pp allies

    They’re not eating each other. This is what Cultural Marxist self-criticism and re-education looks like – until all state power is firmly in their control, that is.

    • #25
  26. hokiecon Inactive
    hokiecon
    @hokiecon

    Freesmith: This is what Cultural Marxist self-criticism and re-education looks like – until all state power is firmly in their control, that is.

    Sometimes I want to give them a chance, I really do. But they keep inching closer and closer to full-on authoritarianism, and it sincerely frightens me. These people are nuts.

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    That is an excellent speech.  Let me highlight this passage:

    Had Christianity retained its status as the foundation of domestic custom and public law, it would have been easier for a Muslim to accept the European order. Our way of life would have seemed like a form of obedience and a human adaptation to the will of God. But the foundationless idea of human rights leaves the Muslim no alternative but to dismiss the secular law entirely as an impertinent attempt by human beings to usurp a privilege which is God’s alone: the privilege of guiding us to our salvation. We see in the young people eagerly travelling to Syria to join ISIS, in the growth of religious schools and unofficial shari’a courts, and in the wearing of the hijab and (where permitted) the niqab and the burqa a defiant Islamic culture that refuses to belong to the European order and which defines itself increasingly against that order.

    The more we take in Muslims, the more Islamic they get rooted in their identity.  I don’t mind a 1 percent Islamic population, but based on Europe the dynamics seem to change when you reach a four or five percent range.  And as Scruton points out, if Christianity is vigorous in the host country, then Islam will not exert its negative tendencies.  But Christianity is on the decline.  Muslim immigration is bad policy.

    • #27
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