Thursday, March 25, 2010

Houses of the Holy

Ari, Covenant Zone's Israel member, sent in this video a few days ago:

All he wrote was "Who we are dealing with in EU". That kind of sounded to me like a challenge to watch the (unnarrated) video and "get" the vibe of this woman. After watching her - diplomatic smile, festooned in green, except when she dressed up like the Grim Reaper to visit a mosque (which gets me wondering if Western depictions of the angel of death are not in some degree a product of "orientalism"...) - I wrote back:
I thought this woman I had never seen before has a rather self-righteous bearing, the kind of "evil" that can't be good for understanding the bases of conflicts, and something that is easily manipulated by Palestinian victim theatre. Today I see Barry Rubin has this to say about her.
Check it out. Rubin provides a good analysis of the Western pathology that rebels against existentially discomfiting realities while dreaming of the Gnostic key - the necessary "solution" - that will open all doors to Peace, Love, and Holy Sibship. His opening statement strikes a mood:
The fact that she holds such a position—in effect, she's the European Union's first foreign minister—shows Europe is in serious trouble. For Ashton’s main previous claim to fame was as a leader in the Soviet-oriented movement for nuclear disarmament of the West.
If Ms. Ashton's only claim to fame is her involvement in that quintessential movement of the 1970s British left, the campaign to outlaw another difficult reality - the bomb - while sympathizing with a tyrannical empire - my mind wanders and wonders, could Robert Plant be singing to the the EUtopian empire's latest smile?


hacofe said...

Good writing,John.I'm wondering: how do such people make their way up and hold influential positions in Western society? Certain groups of powerful figures probably stand behind these leftists.Who's interests they serve?

truepeers said...


In the short-run, I think human societies can operate irrationally, and the only interests they serve can be destructively short-term desires of people in a position to hold power by playing one group off against another, as Europe today plays Muslim immigrants off against the native European working classes, as part of a strategy to advance a post-national agenda for rule, an agenda in which the European Union becomes more and more an empire run by an elite bureaucratic class. To build this empire you first have to compromise existing national loyalties/divisions. And in this regard, Israel is something of a sore thumb, a "bad" example - the epitome of the self-interested, self-ruling nation that is resisting the desire to lose itself in some Muslim or multicultural empire. As such, Israel is a threat or insult to the current European agenda, it seems to me. (Have you ever heard the European leaders say, for example, how the EU is an absolute must for the future because small nations can't survive in a global economy with giants like CHina? But what about the economic success of a small country like Israel that is not in any federation like the EU? Or what about Taiwan? Imagine if the Europeans had to compete with 50 Taiwans instead of one China? - Such ideas never get voiced by European leaders who have committed to the vision of a "United Europe", i.e. a multicultural empire that can compete with the US and CHina. But even now, we may be seeing signs that Europe is falling apart, with the currency and debt crisis.

In the long run societies have to renew the shared imperatives which make them work, the shared covenant, that maintains a healthy relationshp between governed and government - or, they commit suicide. And historically, there are examples of both renewal and suicide. Empires generally die more quickly than nations. And Ms. Ashton may well be serving a dieing cause. I tend to think so.

truepeers said...

So I don't begin with the idea that the current rulers in Europe serve anyone's interests but their own short-term desires for power and status. Those desires are ultimately rooted in a religious understanding - and their religion, which I call Gnosticism - was what I was trying to make fun of in this piece. My guess is that this Ashton woman doesn't entirely understand what she is doing - how many of us do? She is ultimately serving a religious idea, that if only the Israelis and Arabs can be made to agree to what all the smart people know (the kind of educated, bureaucratic, elites with which she hangs out back in Europe) to be the solution to this dispute, symbol of the world's problems, then there will be peace.

But the "smart people" cannot really substitute for the processes by which Jews and Arabs come to accept any new understanding of what must be done, for reasons of their own experience, interests and religious imperatives. In short, I think the European "smart people" want to short-circuit the historical process and impose some Jew-Muslim "understanding" that is not yet really possible. They want to do this because they believe in their own political and technocratic expertise to find "solutions". And what they are ultimately serving is that belief and all the professions that share an interest in that belief. They don't want Israelis and Arabs to keep struggling to the point where that struggle reveals what people can and cannot accept, when that struggle reveals what people truly believe and hold sacred, allowing events to come to their own conclusion. The "smart people" are scared of that kind of process. But since it is necessary, in the long run, to allow events to unfold in order to build any kind of sustainable order founded in the experience and memory of those events, the "smart people" will not inherit the earth. So I don't think they are serving anything but their short-term technocratic interests. In the long-term I think they are irrational.

Keep in mind that in Europe, more than half the jobs are government jobs. There is a huge interest in believing in state-imposed solutions to any problem, rather than in believing in the freedoms (and limits on taxation) that are necessary to create wealth and sustainable political/economic relationships. Europe today is a dream world.