It’s Germany’s EU now
The new President of the EU Council has been in charge all along
If you’ve ever doubted that Euro-politics is confusingly inaccessible, then remember that the Council of the European Union is not quite the same thing as the European Council — or indeed the Council of Europe (which is something else altogether).
So, having cleared that up, let’s get to the point, which is that today Germany takes on the presidency of the first thing I mentioned, i.e. the Council of the European Union. This is not in itself significant — the Presidency rotates every six months between the EU’s member states.
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And yet there’s something symbolic about this being Germany’s turn — because the the EU’s biggest and richest member has never been so dominant. Ursula von der Leyen, until recently a minister in Angela Merkel’s government, has the EU’s top job: President of the European Commission. In formal terms, she’s the first German in the post since the 1960s. In practice, she takes over from another German powerbroker — Martin Selmayr, who ran the show during the official reign of Jean-Claude Juncker.
Von der Leyen got the job because she was the (eventual) standard-bearer of the European Parliament’s biggest grouping, the European People’s Party (of which, the German CDU is by far the biggest component). Ironically, the European people were given no direct say in her elevation; but she had her old boss’s backing, which is what counts.
Merkel is a giant in an EU of political pygmies. She was German Chancellor when Tony Blair was British PM and Jacques Chirac the President of France. She’s still going strong, towering above her counterparts just as the German economy towers over its counterparts.
The reality of the EU can no longer be denied. It is not a union of 27 nations. It is Germany plus 26 satellite states. Even the Euro-idealists at The Economist can’t deny the evidence of their eyes. This is how their columnist, the appropriately named ‘Charlemagne’, puts it:
Headlined, ‘Germany is doomed to lead Europe’, the article suggests that the Germans never wanted to be in such a commanding position. Yet their economic dominance was no accident — it results from the distortions of the single currency, which they took advantage of with great efficiency.
Shattered by the Eurozone crisis and then by the pandemic, the less fortunate nations of Europe now look to Germany for salvation. One way or another, Germans will pay a hefty price.
Eurosceptic Brits could have told them that this was going to happen. But, then, as a nation of shopkeepers, we understand the principle of ‘you break it, you own it.’
“…one can imagine Ben Shapiro or Dave Rubin reading Dickens’s classic revolutionary drama, A Tale of Two Cities, and coming away looking for Jacobins under the bed”
Can one? Or alternatively one could realise that both Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin are quite well-read and probably do know that A Tale of Two Cities is a work of fiction set France over 200 years ago and that there are no Sans-Culottes hiding under their beds.
A fine piece Mr Franklin that reminds us that the German beast, the nightmare of Europe has awakened and maybe about to go on the traditional rampage (again).
Look at the facts, clinically obese Merkel, although born in Hamburg, she grew
up and was educated in the appalling hell hole of the Communist East. Suckled from the teats of Marxism at a tender age, are we really expectedly to believe she has experienced a sort of Damascene conversion to Western Democratic values? Or is she an unrepentant, authoritarian, dogmatic, control freak, poisoned by her upbringing ?
To take but one example. How on earth did the German Emissions Scandal/Dieselgate, one of the most sensational frauds in History, take place on her Watch? Was she completely unaware, as renowned German makers gathered in a sort of retro Wannasee Conference, to deceive the Globe? Perhaps one should give her the benefit of the doubt, but regardless, it has
blown the concept of the Good German, so assiduously nurtured since 1955, clean out of the water.
Europe is facing a terrible dilemma, as it witnesses the nascent birth of the Fourth Reich.
Meritocracy, as the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu once put it, is an imaginary world in which “every prize can be attained, instantaneously, by everyone, so that at each moment anyone can become anything”.
I would define meritocracy as virtually the exact opposite of this. this sounds like the far left philosophy of absolute equality. Or as nothing, really, but French linguistic masturbation. / hyperbole.
Indeed. Meritocracy explicitly says that prizes can only be gained by those who have the talent and diligence to _merit_ them. The clue’s in the name.
I haven’t read Brooks’ book, but this quote strikes my funny bone:
sometimes people’s houses aren’t in order precisely because of the condition of the world.
Blaming the condition of the world for the state of your metaphorical/literal house is what Peterson’s 6th rule was countering. The “blaming the world” part came first. The “rule” came next. Brooks then argues against Peterson’s rule by then blaming the world all over again. Feedback loop.
I think you missed the point, Brooks.
The 6th rule, like several others, is a challenge for self ownership. Sure, the state of your house (again, metaphorical or literal) can be blamed on the external force of an unequal, unjust, and unfair world. But the rule is telling you that a the degree of that blame is up to you, as in individual.
There’s a reason he gets as granular with this rule as telling us to clean our rooms. Because unless you’re an unreasonable ideologue, nobody can blame a disheveled bed on an economic system. And if you begin at the most immediate level of the surroundings of your own room, and can set it in order, perhaps you can start expanding from there, and setting more things in order, instead of resentfully thinking that everything is wrong because of external forces, and thus sitting on your ass waiting for external forces to come and “make your bed” for you.
How setting your house in order is a remotely controversial idea, is quite telling of the lavish, abundant, entitled age we live in, and is exactly why it needed to be written.
The best piece on this issue to appear to date, and one that takes the argument against the anti-appropriators further than before. We are all beneficiaries of cultural appropriation, which is essential for health, wealth and happiness, and which has been going on since the first Sumerian traded with an outsider. The anti-appropriators are as guilty of appropriation as those they attack: they just don’t know it. Now back to the cosy warmth of my Andean wool poncho, complete with images of llamas and suns. Viva appropriacion! (Yes, language acquisition is appropriation too).
I know enough about members of the IDW to know they hardly ever mention Charles Murray or have expressed no interest in getting ‘chummy’ with Viktor Orban. The only emptiness I see is in the head of James Bloodworth.
Well, that’s a lengthy tirade against something so ridiculous we should not even be acknowledging its existence. Are PoC to be forbidden to wear western clothes, use our language, use our historic buildings, etc? Of course not. We should be laughing at these ridicuous people, not getting into a debate with them.
An excellent rebuttal that takes the anti-appropriation arguments further and deeper than any made previously. Cultural cross-pollination has been absolutely essential to human health, wealth and happiness since the days of Sumer and Akkad, and it always will be.
The only example of cultural borrowing that I have ever found truly annoying was a photograph of an early British Ambassador (perhaps the first) to the Imperial Court of Japan. Our representative was dressed for the camera in the kind of elaborate dress worn by a daimyo when paying a formal visit to the Emperor or Shogun: kimono, haori, hakama, headdress, swords and all. Thankfully it seems to have been a unique attempt at fitting in.
As the author notes, isolated cultures are poor cultures, and are uniquely vulnerable to sudden overthrow by outside forces: Tokugawa Japan and postwar Tibet are among the most obvious examples.
Time to get back to the cosy warmth of my Andean poncho, courtesy of a commercial Weaver in Ecuador. Viva la appropriacion!
What is interesting is the nexus between France and Germany. The Germans have always wanted to run Europe and dominating the EU is clearly better than sending jack booted troops in to capital cities. France does not want to run Europe but just wants it run in a manner that does not inconvenience France. The Germans seem happy to let France do whatever it likes regardless of any EU rules which might be inconvenient. With the 2 biggest players in such a cosy relationship, the rest don’t get a look in.
The smaller nations used to look to UK to be the thorn in the side of the Franco – German nexus and lament us leaving them totally at its mercy now. The Germans were upset with us leaving as we were a net contributor to the budget and without us that just puts more onus on them to bail out the poorer states – something Germany is increasingly less willing to do.
With COVID adding to the winds of economic disaster that were already swirling around the eurozone, it is only a matter of time before the whole rotten house of cards collapses in on itself. The more blue water between UK and the EU when that happens the better. Boris had better stick to his promise of no extension to the transition period
Dear miss Perry, You do know that Donald Trump signed the anti-corruption and human trafficking Bill on the 21’st of December, 2017 to counter this type of criminal activity? You do know that he gave the orders for AG Barr, Durham, and Huber to investigate all of the above? I have passed on your allegation, which asserts that Donald Trump was “involved” with Jeffrey Epstein.
I know enough about members of the IDW to know they hardly ever mention Charles Murray or have expressed no interest in getting ‘chummy’ with Viktor Orban. The only emptiness I see is in the head of the author of this article.
Keeping people in their relativistic cultural boxes pretty much nails it on the head for me.
Strangely, the liberal protection of multiculturalism has a traditional conservative orthodoxy to it whereby the ‘protectors of multiculturalism’ resist cultural postmodernism because this will mean their protective role becomes redundant.
“It’s Germany’s EU now” – it always was
Well they tried twice in the twentieth century to achieve dominance in Europe by military means, the third time they tried economic means and they succeeded, although for how long remains to be seen. Merkel’s insane migrant policy has introduced a long term Trojan horse which may destroy Germany culturally and socially whilst her ridiculous energy policy has left the country dependent on Russia as correctly pointed out by Donald Trump. Germany has a largely useless military and whilst it’s export led economy is strong (only partly due to an undervalued currency) it is also vulnerable to the global downturn.
Can my husband still play the blues when he’s a white middle class boy from the Home Counties? He is really great and has many fans, but perhaps I should just take away his 20+ guitars and give him a lecture?
I bought a qipao for my wife when I last visited China in the 90’s for the simple reason that it is exquisitely elegant. Should the shop have refused to sell it to me on the grounds of cultural appropriation?
Taking it further should we also stop wearing moccasin sewn shoes (aka loafers) so as not to offend Native Americans?
I seem to remember an old proverb that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.
And yes, I know that Oscar Wilde added (typically) “that mediocrity can pay to greatness “.
Why is this article illustrated with a picture of Trump when he never visited Epstein’s island (unlike Clinton)? And why not mention that Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago after a complaint he was harassing a customer’s teenage daughter? The TDS on this site is really becoming tedious.
Truly the worst article I have read on UnHerd yet. There have been many I disagree with that made me think, or presented new facts or ideas that I had to contend with and modified my position in some way. This article just came across as petty, nasty, poorly researched, and is a testament to how superficial the author’s knowledge of the subject is. He consistently misrepresents and misunderstands the assertions of the IDW members he is slagging.
Agreed – much of it read as gibberish, having to reread sections just to make sure of the nonsense.
I don’t care what they say, I am not going to give up curry, pad thai, tacos, pasta, tomatoes, potaotes …
This was one of the fairly rare articles on Unherd (very common sadly at the Spectator) where after reading the first couple of paragraphs, you scroll down to the comments.
The promotion of cultural appropriation has little to do with protecting culture and heritage.
Rather, it is just another tool in the toolbox of the alt-left, whose goal it is to limit freedom of speech and expression to only those who proclaim and promote “alt-left think.”
Whether it is shutting down public speaking events of those who promote opposing views, social media demonizing of anyone who dares to thin their eyebrows or publically proclaim an opinion at odds with the alt-left platform,the goal is the same; to silence all voices and actions so that the only views heard are those that promote the alt-left agenda.
Cultural appropriation is just another smokescreen for the bullying, harassment and mental abuse by those who proport to promote tolerance and diversity- but want neither.
Haven’t noticed the others queuing up to leave.
The seeds of discontent are plain to see – obvious through the growing popularity of populist parties across Europe, particularly right wing ones.
And we’re not talking the fairly fuzzy pseudo-right wing like UKIP. FN in France, AFD in Germany, Dutch ‘Freedom Party’ are very right wing and have gained more traction than they would have otherwise, largely on an anti-immigration euro-sceptic ticket. 5 stars in Italy; not traditional right wing, but firmly Euro-sceptic.
The reality is that we likely wont see any significant nations leave the EU – they virtually cannot due to being conjoined to the main body by the Euro. The EU will fragment as a whole, or perhaps more likely split into a north/south bloc.
Either that or the EU will radically reform. Unlikely.
I suppose the real question is: Why did it take them so long to win WW2?
Had to wait until 1990. On German reunification, Germany decided that it could ignore the EU and decide that an apparently separate country – the GDR – could simply be absorbed into West Germany without any need for the EU to agree. But France extracted a price, or thought it had – monetary union. OK said Germany, but only of course if the currency is safe and strong – in other words it be like the DMark and just what Germany’s economy needs and wants. End of war.
As the late Nicholas Ridley pointed out in the 90s, and got sacked for his impertinence
A mostly great article Ralph. Cries of cultural appropriation are divisive, reactionary and hypocritical (Marxist) and we should not be apologising to those people for anything. Having said that, taking the opposite view should not be an excuse for disrespecting and attempting to divide nations (another Marxist strategy). Something binds us to one another: our core values, history and way of life, and in my opinion people coming to live in this country, while adding to its creativity, colour and prosperity should make a personal and solemn promise to meld with and fight to protect those things, not to change them. Without them we are nothing.
I’m sure Ralph Vaughan Williams would’ve received such accusations after his Fantasia On Greensleeves. Come to think of it, had Henry viii been alive , his head would’ve been off before he could say Thomas Tallis!
“Commodification & commerce”, Capitalism, is the problem, root & branch. With the prototypical “holocaust industry”, identitarianism has been a growth industry since the ’60’s, when minority & female rent-seeking, “affirmative action, was the game. And from being so profitable, each of these industries/identities fiercely protects its patent commodity against the assimilation that would obviate its leverage. Currently “George Floyd” is a BLM monopoly that has succeeded fabulously in obliging large donations from every person or corporation that requires “a seal of approval” to trades in the mass market
‘…trying to cook a “dish of fried snowballs”. Leninism leads to famine, terror and forced labour camps ” even if Jordan Peterson and the IDW say so.’ I love the idea of fried snowballs: so easy to say, so difficult to achieve.
Cultural appropriation is another load of left wing anarchistic bullshit. We should be treating this with the appropriate disrespect.
“Analysis of victim surveys in both the US and the UK reveal less than 1% of rapes result in a conviction…”
Hmm….hmm..or is that after investigation by the Police (who do take rape seiously) and after a review by the CPS cases get to court where a jury go….”This is a bollox…the guy is innocent…”
…because fundamentally that is what rape is about “X says A’ and ‘Y says B’…one of them must be lying….
Merkel is brilliant. She is a scientist who has taken the best line on covid 19 in the western world whilethe UK, France, Spain and Italy have floundered. The idiot in the White House ignores science as do many of his followers and just look at results. The UK and USA now in decline esp with UK planning to leave the EU.
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