Europe’s Modern Dark Ages

Jean-Claude Juncker the Drunk.

Babylon may have been the cradle of civilization but Europe is the cradle of the Modern World. Rule of law, as opposed to rule by autocracy, originated from Europe more specifically in the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. Today, Europe still stands as the main bastion of Western civilisation. Without Europe, the whole Western edifice of rule of law collapses as America’s only reference point would be missing. There is no coincidence to the fact that the greatest exporter of laws today is still Europe. When it comes to standards, in every field and sector, we have led the way and the Americans have followed be it in health, food, industry, trade, intellectual property, the environment, and even culture. Yet, in recent history, this clout has begun fading. The Dot-Com boom of the late nineties stretching to early 2000 marked the dominance of the US in what was to be the most important emerging economic sector of the future: Information Technology. Europe’s light was faded with the ever-greater power of US digital largesse. Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon came out of the dot-com boom as the companies which would have the greatest hand in shaping the future. Clearly, Europe was losing its international influence.

Counteracting this ever-expanding North-American largesse, it was China: not Russia or Europe. China obsessed with reviving its Middle Kingdom status in the world spent the last twenty years trying to aggressively grow into the super-power it dreams of becoming. Millions of Chinese came out of poverty and whole cities were built. The biggest IT companies following the American ones are Chinese with the likes of Tencent and Alibaba. China advanced its technology, army and industry while Vladimir Putin brought some economic stability to his corruption-riddled and decaying empire. At the same time the European Union expanded and other than legislative advances and standards, Europe excelled in nothing. Throughout most of its existence, the Euro faced crisis, instability and the risks from uneven fiscal situations between Southern and Northern European states. As we secured hygienic and health standards in our restaurants and bars, cleaned our streets and lit our opera houses, we seemed to lose our economic might. The fine aspects of European engineering didn’t seem as exclusive as they used to as Japan began rolling out robots and the US delivered electric vehicles.

At this point, Europe seems to be divided between the decaying and old political elite and the emerging modernists. Germany which practically controls the European Parliament and the European Commission has always been looked up to for European leadership, yet today, we are becoming ever more fearful of Germany’s power in Europe. As Germany leads Europe through our current energy crisis and a war by Russia at our borders in Ukraine, we fear that Germany’s stupidity, corruption and incompetence will lead us to the edge of a cliff. For walking towards the precipice, Germany is being helped by Italy, Europe’s problem child and France lead by a freak called Emmanuel Macron. We are three months into the Russian war and an unprecedented energy crisis and the whole world is scratching its head as it looks with awe at Germany’s stupidity. Germany is firing up coal plants while it continues to close its nuclear power plants as it speaks of restoring ties with Russia and waits idly by for the Winter energy crisis to come crashing down on its head. What will the Germans tell their people and Europe when the lights go out? We were afraid of going nuclear because of potential tsunamis in Bavaria? Meanwhile, Macron tells us that Putin, a war criminal who has ravaged Syria and is now ravaging Ukraine as he threatens to push his empire closer to our borders demands from us that we do not humiliate him. Draghi, Italy’s PM tags along with France and Germany like the desperate and dependent child with a sombre look saying “What can I do?”.  Meanwhile, Finland and Sweden send arms to Ukraine, apply to join NATO and say bluntly and publicly that if Russia attacks them, they will fight back and win. Both Sweden and Finland are currently led by women.

It all sounds very Roman

Historians have always been amazed at the incredible transformation that Europe went through with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon spent his life studying this subject and published volumes of books about it. Gibbon lists a lot of different reasons and historical causes for the extended fall and decline of the Roman Empire. Corruption, taxation, lack of rule of law, opportunism, internal strife and conflict, lack of food security, the loss of civic spirit and the end of patriotic sentiment, greed, the Barbarian invasions and the Goths who wanted to be part of Rome to rule the world and enjoy Mediterranean villas. However, Rome didn’t want new members. Alaric the Goth sacked Rome because the Romans didn’t want to make him a general. The Goths, the Visigoths and the Vandals didn’t want to destroy Rome – they wanted to be part of it. The Barbarians on the other hand were more incentivised by pillage and looting as the steppes in Central Asia got frozen during Winter and the Chinese blocked their Eastern paths with a lengthy wall. There was also Christianity which was providing an alternative world and moral view to Roman religion and politics. The Roman poor and the lower classes felt the brunt of the incompetence and the corruption of their higher classes and were helpless with the invasions while richer Romans sought jobs with the State and went on holiday trips to Egypt to view the pyramids. Saint Augustine, Constantine’s own theologian attributes the fall of the Roman Empire to the gross indulgence of the Romans. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, greed and corruption brought the fall of the Roman Empire and Constantine restored the Roman Empire in the East thanks to the guiding light and the brutal force of God himself. Later on, historians even discovered that the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was besotted by the collapse of the Roman currency due to debasement which also contributed to rising inflation. Diocletian, Constantine’s predecessor had finally restored Roman coinage to pure silver.

During Rome’s centuries-extended decline and fall, it had various emperors which have been remembered for their stupidity and gross incompetence and some of these outshone themselves with their freakish behaviour. Caligula spent most of his time having sex, raped his sisters and wanted to make his horse consul. Commodus fought as a gladiator in the public arena and deluded himself into believing he had god-like Herculean powers. Elagabalus who dressed as a woman had a pet rock which he carried with him throughout the city and liked to be whipped in public by his boyfriend.

Europe has its own assorted freaks who lead it during these trying times. What best representative from the leading class of Europe to represent the shambolic state of our affairs than European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker who used to be perpetually drunk making a fool of himself during public events? Juncker was succeeded by another freak. A rich housewife with barely any job experience who was kicked upstairs from her role as German Minister of Defense to avoid a local corruption and nepotism scandal which involved her family and friends that benefitted from her Ministerial role. Her previous boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she has no regrets in bringing forward Germany’s energy crisis by consolidating dependency on Russian gas. Sometimes it’s hard to try and understand where the sympathies of German politicians lie. After all, Merkel who knows Russian is a product of the Soviet-owned GDR. Her textbook-bureaucratic speak where everything seems to be normal despite doing the wrong thing is the stuff of Soviet-style Chernobyl politics. Everything is fine and under control but we are in fact in deep shit because of our total incompetence, fraud and stupidity.

What probably marked a high point of our leaders’ public embarrassment was when European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen met with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with European Council President Charles Michel and Ursula was forced to sit on the sofa as Charles sat next to Erdogan. Both Charles and Ursual accepted this public humiliation in silence and allowed Erdogan to humiliate them openly. Ursula’s reaction? She made a speech about women and feminism at the European Parliament. Once again, virtue has come to the saving grace of our dear leaders. Being European, we feel that the behaviour of autocrats next to our borders will be eventually set right by the guiding light of our virtuous reason.

Today, the Germans may be doing a similar mistake as the Romans did. They fail to fear the Barbarians and keep excluding the Goths from joining our system. We see nothing wrong in cosying up with autocracies like Russia and Turkey while we give a hard time to our Ukrainian allies. The Germans dream of restoring ties with Putin while they keep cautious about Ukraine: insidiously logical given that with Ukraine in the EU, Germany would lose its absolute hegemony over the European Union and instead of having Europe led by a band of three freaks who spew incoherent nonsense, we may actually have European leaders who have a better grasp of the world.

What if the lights go out while the Barbarians are at the gates? 

Giving in to Putin would be our seal of approval to war crimes, genocide and destructive imperialism which has extended its tentacles to Syria, Georgia and now Ukraine. Putin will expand his empire as long as he can. Why is it so difficult for the band of three freaks, Scholz, Macron and Draghi to understand the megalomania and the sociopathy behind the Russian imperialist?

In the second half of the 20th century, John Bompass Calhoun conducted a series of experiments which later became to be known as the Calhoun’s Rodent Utopia. In this experiment, American Calhoum created a rodent utopia where his rodents had a clean living environment and a constant supply of good food. It was basically a utopia. In one of his experiments, the rodent society swelled up to 2200 members way short of his target of 3000. After reaching those population levels, the rodent society entered into an irreversible breakdown. The alpha males became more violent and used violence indiscriminately, the beta males were excluded and stopped mating, and the females became more solitary. In turn, the younger generations failed to learn proper relationship and mating behaviour from their dysfunctional parents and in many of their cases weren’t even able to mate at all living basically sexless lives. Eventually, the rodent society became extinct.

Ever since the end of the Second World War, Europe, but especially Western Europe had it really good. It dissolved its traditional empires whiles its economies grew. Social mobility was high and the middle class was swelling. It was the age of the car, the TV set, the holiday trips, the discos, the glorious Football World Cups. Western Europe gave up control of the world and remained on top of it. European brands and corporations grew as well and we basically dominated the car industry, domestic appliances, aeroplanes, ships, you name it. The European Social Charter of the 1960s read like a Communist Manifesto in a rich and prosperous continent. Europeans couldn’t be bothered by the American Dream because they had their own. The scenes of boatloads of poor Southern Italians travelling to New York were no more. Europeans were finally getting rich. After 2008 things started to change. There seemed to be serious cracks in the system. Greece went bankrupt but couldn’t do an Argentina and had to remain indebted to Germany and the EU. National governments and the Euro were propped up with expansionist monetary policy called quantitative easing. Immigration crises challenged borders and our ideas of what meant to be European. The ghost of economic stagnation and roaring inflation came hunting back. Suddenly, younger generations faced economic and social problems which their parents didn’t have.

So, we were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Well, at least most of us. Yet, today we are going through a rude awaking as we fondle our imaginary spoon. Most of us didn’t see war, hunger and deprivation. Most of us didn’t need to pick up a gun to save ourselves. Scholz and Merkel were born in the roaring 50s. Macron was born into a rich family and became a banker. Draghi’s father was a banker. Our leaders in background and history are very similar to us, younger generations. We have both lived and grew up thinking that the lights could never go out. We have never been exposed to the traumas of war and total deprivation our older generation went through. We have lived lives thinking that war and total deprivation are phenomena of the past found only in history books. Therefore, it is no surprise, that some of us are still very bookish about what is going on in the world. Some of us like Merkel, Scholz and Macron still think that war, famine and imperialism could never come back. Our greatest errors in these delusional conditions are our virtues and the belief that the silver spoon will always be there for us given enough virtue. From a materialist Augustinian viewpoint, we are similar to the men in the fall of Rome. Young European men masturbate to pornography and fail to build healthy relationships with women as the birth rate keeps tanking. European males have become like the rodents in Calhoun’s experiment. The beta males have been isolated from society and are unable to reproduce while the alpha males are indulging in stupid behaviour instead of doing productive activities which benefit society. The beta male masturbates to porn while the alpha male flexes his muscles in the gym and posts photos on the internet with other alpha males. It’s like a gross spectacle of stupidity while the Barbarians are ravaging our borders with war, rape and pillage.

The description of the Early Middle Ages as the Dark Age of Europe originated from Petrarch in his Defence against the Calumnies of an Anonymous Gaul and describes classical poets as mired in darkness. Petrarch’s darkness is the lack of knowledge and reason which provides light, hope and life. Today we experience a darkness of this kind too and it is affecting us tangibly. Europeans are crying about food and energy prices but no one wants to do anything about it. The three-band of freaks expect that someday soon Russia and Ukraine will put down their arms and Russian gas will flow once again at cheaper prices. On food, European countries are replacing Russian grain with Argentinian, Brazilian and Indian products while its agriculture industry is experiencing one of the worst periods in existence as farmers are abandoning and selling their land at record cheap prices. French hedge funds are buying agricultural land in Spain and France, but they are not doing anything about it. They are just holding it.

Europeans are faced with the biggest ever crisis in their lifetime and they are practically doing nothing about it. Overall we have lived such good lives that we can’t comprehend reality until it turns against us. We are stuck with the delusion that things will go back to normal. That everything is going to be fine. This is just a tiny gap in our history which will be filled with the ECB’s balance sheet.

Europe has become lazy, stupid and delusional.

Let animal spirits free

We need to discuss how will we make Europe great again, but not in the historical and imperialist sense. We need to discuss and find solutions for the survival and development of our rule of law and our democracies, and to do so we need strong economies. We need to solve our food crisis, and our energy crisis and bring economic growth to Europe. We need to arm ourselves in defence of Russian aggression and become strategically independent.

Europe needs to reform itself but not in the usual and traditional way. Europe doesn’t need the bickering of incompetent European Members of Parliament over standards and bureaucratic procedures. Europe needs war-time leaders because it is at war. The faster we realise that we are at economic war with Russia the sooner we are able to solve our problems. The sooner we realise that Russia is waging a genocidal and imperialistic war against Ukraine, the sooner we will become motivated to view Putin’s Russia as an enemy which needs to be neutralised. In doing so, though we need to recalibrate our economies to our modern-day realities. The ECB won’t save us. For too long Southern European economies have been in the shit. Today, Germany faces risks too and France is experiencing social turmoil. Europeans are getting poorer and are fighting with each other while Russia is pushing its borders outward by massacring our allies. The similarities to the early years of the fall of Rome are very striking. When inflation was soaring and internal and social strife was increasing, Romans fought between them for jobs with the State. When times were tough everyone sought protection from the government.

Our silver spoon comes partly from a very cohesive social and economic system which was successful in an industrial setting. European governments are relatively very big, employing a significant part of the workforce while heavily taxing the private industry. A system with high taxes worked really well when good jobs were prolific as big industrial employers fed whole cities. The factory economy. Working at a factory and joining a union set you up for life and you didn’t mind that 50% of your earnings were going to the government in various taxes. Eventually, the big industry waned and factories closed down. Europe no longer remained an industrial economy but the fiscal and tax systems remained the same. As European states sought to cover their huge fiscal discrepancies by increasing taxes, unemployment and stagnation have only increased. Youth in Spain and Italy have abandoned towns and villages to work in cities with corporations and the government. Driving outside of Paris and Madrid you will begin entering ghost towns. The desolate landscape of Europe is full of property and resources which is not being used. Whole towns, quarries, mines, factories, plants and farmland were abandoned to the vicissitudes of nature. Visibly there is stagnation all over the continent but we don’t want to admit it. Young people find consolation that they can work with an American multinational in their respective capital city. The new European dream is working for Amazon or Facebook in Paris and Berlin.

Our economic, fiscal and monetary fabric needs to change. We need to fire up the plants again and switch on the tractors. We need to begin building again and take over the ghost towns, but this is not going to happen if the only major opportunities for young people are restricted to public work and foreign multinationals. We need to wane our dependency on government spending and increase production. This can be done very easily.  Reduce the government bureaucracies and spending, and reduce the average tax intake of a European person from 50% of income to 15%. Let animal spirits free. High taxes and high public deficits have only pushed us further into the downward spiral of economic stagnation. Debts need to be restructured. We need a new European deal but it’s not the pathetic European Green Deal being promoted by the EU. We need something bigger and more effective. We need to unshackle the heavy burden of State debt on citizens by reducing taxes and incentivising work and productivity and this is not going to happen if Europeans are heavily taxed just so that Ursula can disburse subsidies to national governments to build windmills. Let’s be reasonable. We need to be radical. This is no time for pretty and virtuous words. We need to go full-blown American capitalist and exceed Americans in their own Americanism. We need the European Dream. Let animal spirits free.

 Undo the darkness with the light

The same reasoning of the above should apply to our energy and food crisis. Europe is resourceful and has within it the largest number of intelligent and skilled people in the world. We can basically do anything we want, only that we are lazy and constrained. We don’t need to go to Erdogan begging him to stop immigrants coming to Europe through his borders. We don’t need to appease Putin to keep our lights switched on. We can also feed ourselves if we wanted to. We can do these things ourselves. What’s stopping us? A band of three freaks and a European Commissioner who is worthy of shame as an imbecile Roman Emperor during the end times. We need war-time leaders who actually know how to do stuff. By doing stuff, I don’t mean writing policies and acting virtuously in public. By doing stuff I mean, actually and literally do fucking stuff like drilling for oil, fracking for gas, building generators, growing wheat and corn and much more. I nominate the Polish Plumber for the post of European Commission President. This is no time to squabble over bureaucratic procedures like Germany is doing. This is a time to change and build. In Europe, we have a lot of agricultural lands which are unused. Lots of oil wells and gas supplies are untapped. We can build nuclear plants but we are not building them. We can build lots of shit but instead of building, we are squabbling over bullshit procedures while war is at our borders and our lights may go out. We are led by imbeciles.

Our current solutions are based on the same textbook solutions used over and over again. On food, we subsidise European farmers with public money while most of the margins in the supply chain are eaten by middlemen and rent-seekers who deliver and transport products to each other. The mega European supermarket is the actual leader of the European food policy. Something and somewhere has to give. We need more futures commodities exchanges which are more accessible to small producers and decrease subsidies which are distorting the food market. Switch on the tractors and give farmers better markets. On energy, it is different. We are stuck with orthodox ways of procuring and generating energy which are riddled with environmental policies which don’t make sense. How does it make any sense at all that Germany is firing coal plants while closing down nuclear plants yet at the same time speak of a Winter energy problem where the lights can go out? Adding insult to injury, today, European suppliers of energy are selling Euros to buy Rubles to buy Russian gas and the Euro against the Ruble keeps crashing. If we were in a board room of a private company, this would have been called out as insanity and the purveyor of this mess would have been fired and shamed. Our virtue makes this normal. So far we are trying to move our gas dependency to Qatar and buying grain from Argentina. We can also use oil in a cleaner way if we wanted to, only that such a discussion is taboo. So is fracking. Instead, we hope, that windmill by windmill, we will get there.

This economic transformation should come with the objective of one grand aim: preserving Europe’s might means preserving rule of law in the world. And the sooner we will stop raging imperialists at our borders, the sooner we can tackle climate change directly. Making Europe Great Again is the antithesis of Trump’s Make America Great Again. Trump didn’t care what the state of the world was and his only intention was to make America better from his viewpoint. It’s different from Europe. If European democracy prospers, so will democracy prosper worldwide.

Unleash the juggernauts 

Europe is in a state of economic stagnation as it fails to expand further and by expanding I don’t mean politically through the EU. The EU has after all geographic limits. Our virtuous nature has put us in the back seat of the multi-national corporate race. This is no time to halt the expansion of European multinationals on the grounds of trust laws. Margrethe Vestager the European Commissioner for Competition has made a name for herself for slapping big fines on American big-tech for breaching EU regulations. Her actions served as some consolation for the European patriots who felt humiliated by Amazon and Apple who used Europe to avoid taxes while they ate the margins of our small businesses. However, Vestager also prohibited the formation of a global railway giant by refusing to allow the merger of Siemens with French railway manufacturer Alstom.  Such a decision in today’s global context is bizarre at best, and most probably ill-informed. A gross error of judgement.

Europe can sit back and enjoy its virtuousness as the American and Chinese global corporations run the world. Eventually, we will be eating from the hands of foreign global multinationals. Wait, we are already there. We are even in a worse position. We are currently eating from Putin’s hands and we fear him as he massacres our allies and we take care of millions of refugees in our countries brought as a direct result of his imperialism. Europe has become the serf of foreign powers and corporations while Ursula is selling us a bullshit windmill deal as she gets humiliated by autocrats abroad. We can be indignant or we can accept all of this stupidity and resign ourselves to a dark age.

Europe needs to allow its juggernauts to extend their power abroad. At the same time, Europe needs to reduce trade barriers between Latin America and Africa where our own European juggernauts are situated. It needs to do it yesterday, not tomorrow. Or, we can let China and Russia go to these places and strike deals instead. Macron did once say that France could sell its gold to pay colonial reparations to Africa. It’s a novel idea which could be done with a policy backdrop of extending our economic and trade relationship with Africa and Latin America. Let the juggernauts trade and strike deals. We are in a very good position to do this and we need to do this. The most powerful person in Latin America is not a Latin American, an American, nor a Chinese magnate but a Spanish lady in Madrid who owns most of the banks in the region, Ana Botin. If the Chinese are to serve as a leading marker on who the Asians look up to in terms of brands, Louis Vuitton is king. The biggest retail conglomerate in Africa, Steinhoff International is South African, German and Dutch. The biggest foreign oil companies in Africa are neither American, Russian nor Chinese: they are Shell and Total which are both European.

After World War One the world lost its grain basket as Russia stopped exporting grain. Gradually we found new sources for grain such as Egypt, Canada and the US. The world didn’t end, but rather we found new solutions:  solutions which our political elite of today seem to be unable to find. Today we are coming to grips with the reality of having fewer options as we failed to expand our European conglomerates.

Weakness is a provocation. Strength means security. 

A typical aggressor would only attack if he thinks that his opponent is weaker than him. This is logical by natural law. Of course, there are exceptions, like my dog, but more on that in another piece. The band of three freaks are deluding themselves that peaceful ways added with virtue will bring order to a world threatened by imperialist actors who commit war crimes and massacre whole nations for the sake of their own power. Europe is weak and weakness begets weakness. We are in the cycle of delusional doom and we are beginning to panic as we realise that the lights may very well go out. We have become fools.

Now, picture this scenario. Imagine a US Presidential candidate who wants to make America Great Again as Russia knocks on our doors. Imagine a world where America relieves its duty as the global police and we have to contend by ourselves with the aggression and the conspiracy of bad actors like Putin and Erdogan. Imagine we are out all alone in the wilderness and the lights go out while Ursula and Scholz are still squabbling over “Germany’s interests” and bureaucratic procedures. Europe can’t make it by itself. And we can’t trust our leaders.

Europe needs to arm itself and NATO needs to secure primarily European interests. Turkey’s interests should not be part of NATO’s policies. Turkey does not want to be European and Turkey itself has nothing in common with our interests. Erdogan plays a double-game while containing Russian interests against his, and compromising with Russian interests when it favours him. Erdogan does not have a virtuous political mindset which aligns him with Europe for the sake of rule of law. Erdogan will do whatever his powerful interests dictate to him. We don’t need him. Turkey’s economy is doing much worse than Europe’s and Erodgan has bigger problems than we have. If Turkey wants to be our ally so be it, but we have to be powerful enough to be able to dispense with this sordid alliance.

More importantly, we have to make sure we depend on ourselves instead of American military might. In order to do so, we have to allow the Goths in to defend ourselves from the Barbarians. Ukrainians are offering us the gift of the century: security. Ukrainians are sacrificing their lives for their sovereignty and if they are successful they would have cut short Russia’s imperialist dreams which go directly against our interests. I’m dumbstruck by Zelensky’s magnanimity and nobleness in the face of European indifference to the loss of life which serves to ultimately protect Europeans themselves. History is a very sharp knife. If you read too much about it, you will see that borders were never drawn on virtuous principles but more out of the barrel of the gun. By fighting Russia, Ukraine is also indirectly and directly defending our European borders. Putin could have gone even further had Poland and the Baltic States never joined NATO and Eastern Europeans know this. That’s why they joined NATO in the first place.

Maybe the shift to European greatness won’t be propelled by the traditional Western German and French alliance. Maybe, Eastern Europeans will pick up the frailing European prowess of the traditional Western Europeans to re-charge it again. Maybe, Europe does have a chance. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe internal strife will increase, debt keeps increasing and inflation is unabated. Our energy and food problems will remain unsolved and Europe, except for its major cities will remain a one big ghost town while the elites flee to their remote villas and the Barbarians knock at the gates.

It all sounds very Roman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Labour’s false narrative of Russian appeasement – Mark Camilleri

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