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Roger Scruton has no doubt: the European Union will collapse as it happened with the Soviet Union. Hailed as “Britain’s foremost conservative philosopher” by the The Wall Street Journal, Professor at Oxford and St. Andrews, Scruton is author of twenty books, including, “The Meaning of Conservatism” and the latest “The Face of God.” He is one of the very few intellectuals who predicted the implosion of the European project.
“The European crisis has come about, in my view, for two reasons,” Scruton tells me. “First, there was the original project, to create a united states of Europe. This project was conceived without any Plan B. It seemed imperative to achieve it, and no provisions were made for failure, or for a change of direction. The machine lumbers forward without feedback, and can make no adjustments to a changing reality. Second, the project was entrusted to a bureaucracy, with extraordinary legislative and administrative powers. Those responsible for pushing things forward are neither elected by the people nor answerable to the people in any election. They proceed at uniform speed in a straight line until reaching the inevitable immovable obstacle. When that happens, it will all be over. But the damage will be enormous.”
Given those two features of the European project it is inevitable that it should reach a big crisis. “The failure also has two important causes. First, as everybody knows, there is a growing deficit of legitimacy in the European institutions. Once or twice the institutions have appealed through their political spokesmen to the people. But whenever given the chance to vote the people of Europe say ‘no’ to the project. The project continues as before, unaffected by this ‘no’. But the people draw their conclusions, and gradually withdraw their trust.”
The other cause has been the complete failure of the European political elite to consider the culture of Europe. “The culture of Europe is founded in the Judeo-Christian revelation, and our laws, institutions and educational traditions are unintelligible without reference to the lessons taught in the Bible. But the culture of Europe is also a secular culture, as I explain in my book ‘The West and the Rest’, based in territorial loyalty of a national kind. Both the religious and the national sources of our culture are repudiated by the European elites, who believe that culture is of no significance, and will change in obedience to the political and economic imperatives. Hence those who invented the Euro and imposed it unthinkingly on the people of Europe failed to see that the attitude of people to debt is profoundly affected by culture, and that the culture of Greece (for example) is totally different, in this respect, from the culture of Germany, and that of Italy of course different to both of them.”
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