Friday, January 06, 2012

Europeans Are Not a People

..is the title of a recent Andrew Sullivan post, and an occasional theme of his these days. They lack, it is said, a common language, common views of government or a common view of what Europe is or ought to be. All quite true, of course, and absurdly irrelevant. Exactly the same could have, or in some cases, still can be said of Canadians, Americans, Britons, Italians, Spaniards, and countless others.

Peoplehood is not something that comes out of the soil or is imposed by genetics. It's created by someone's vision the promotion of common purpose. Europe has gotten a great deal out of the fragile unity they have managed to create so far, including relatively unprecedented prosperity, freedom from internal wars, and safety from the ravening beasts on its borders.

They have gotten those advantages for going on sixty years now, just long enough that almost everyone who remembers what went before has perished. It will be sad, I think, if they tear themselves apart again and go back to interncine conflict - sad, but not particularly surprising.