Michael van der Galien

Patriotism on the Rise

Posted on May 17 2010 1:00 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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One of the best conservative commentators in Europe, Theodore Dalrymple, wrote a great article for Pajamas Media about the crisis in Europe and especially Germany’s reaction to it. As usual with Dalrymple, the article provocatively entitled “Reawakening German Nationalism: What Could Go Wrong,” is sarcastically written, funny, direct and, most importantly, largely correct.

Dalrymple’s main point is that nationalism has suddenly become political correct and accepted in Germany. This while Germans didn’t want to have anything to do with it after World War II.

The reason?

If for some inexplicable reason you wanted to reawaken German nationalism, how would you go about it? I suggest a three-part strategy.

First, you would replace the rock-solid German currency by one with very shaky economic foundations, against the wishes of almost the whole German population (which, of course, you would not deign to consult).

Second, you would make sure that same population paid for the gross and dishonest profligacy of the Greek government: a profligacy that was rendered possible by the adoption of the very currency that the German population did not want in the first place.

Third, you would do everything possible to ensure that the crisis will spread, last for a long time, cost a fortune in failed attempts to solve it, and fall mainly to the Germans to pay for.

It goes without saying the second and third parts of the strategy should be against the wishes of the German population whose opinion, however, should be bulldozed aside as being of no account.

I sincerely believe that Europeans took their distrust of patriotism too far after WWII. National Socialism is obviously an evil ideology, that goes without saying. But patriotism and Nazism aren’t the same thing. Patriotism is healthy for a country. In fact, it cannot thrive without it. If a people is not proud of itself and its shared culture and history, there is nothing holding it together. Without patriotism, “people” is an empty phrase.

Of course, you can also take patriotism (and nationalism) too far. I am confident, however, that Europe has learned from the disasters of World War II and World War I (which was a massive slaughter largely based on an exaggerated sense of nationalism) and that it won’t repeat them. In such a situation there is nothing wrong with learning from our American friends, who are proud of themselves, their culture and their history, without feeling hatred towards all non-Americans. They prove that patriotism and tolerance can be combined.

By the way, calling Dalrymple’s article great doesn’t mean that I agree with every single thing he says in it. For instance, I do not for one second believe there’s a serious danger of this happening:

With a little luck and attention to detail, the situation might evolve into war, first civil and then international.

I know Dalrymple enjoys shocking his audience – which is why he included this sentence, I believe – but I am 100% convinced that he too knows that the chances of war breaking out in Europe are literally non-existent. It won’t happen, end of debate.

Other than that, great piece by Dalrymple. Be sure to read it if you have time to spare today. It’s a great explanation of why Western-Europeans have completely had it with the European Union and are looking forward to the day when the Euro is abolished and replaced with national currencies. Our politicians asked us nothing, yet forced a whole new bureaucracy upon us with which we feel no bond whatsoever.

Also be sure to read my earlier posts on the crisis in Europe here and here.

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