United Europe: The Spiritual Prerequisite
The ground for a European initiative must be carefully prepared; but the problems of concrete political tactics fall outside the scope of this essay. Here we can only point to what we believe must be the form and the spiritual and doctrinal basis of united Europe.
‘Federalist’ and ‘associative’ solutions, economic and military co-operation— these are all the manifestation of presuppositions about the organic character of Europe (or the lack of it). The condition of a truly European entity must be the binding force of an idea and tradition with which Europe is irrevocably linked. Some argue that the nation state, being not divinely ordained but the creation of determined groups successfully rising to a historical challenge, is a model for the merging European nation. According to this view the spiritual precondition for a united Europe exists in the myth of a common destiny defended by the ‘national revolutionary’ groups of Europe. This view is inadequate. The birth of the European nations was largely the work of dynasties representing a tradition of loyalty to a particular crown. In any case, the factors which created the European nations have been the very ones which have maintained European disunity from the Hundred Years War to the present day.
Among those who possess a spiritual and traditional understanding of Europe we can distinguish between those who believe in an Imperium of the kind referred to above, and those who talk of Europe as a nation. The concept of nationhood is in my opinion inappropriate. The notion of European unity is spiritual and supranational. Homeland nation, ethnic group subsist at an essentially naturalistic ‘physical’ level. Europe (Europa una) should be something more than this. The old nationalisms and resentments are only grafted onto Europe when a particular national domination is imposed by one nation upon the rest of Europe. The European Imperium will belong to a higher order than the parts which compose it, and to be European should be conceived as being something qualitatively different from being Italian, Prussian, Basque, Finnish, Scottish or Hungarian, something which appeals to a different aspect of our character. A European nation implies the levelling and cancelling of all ‘rival’ nations in or beyond Europe.
So far as ‘European culture’ is concerned it is these days the stamping-ground of the pragmatic European, the liberal, humanist intellectual. His ‘European culture’ is an appendage of ‘democracy’ and the ‘Free World’. In this sense ‘culture’ is the stock-in-trade of the so-called ‘aristocrat of thought’, in reality the clothing of the parvenu, his badge of success. A genuine aristocracy of the intellect would not in any case be adequate for the task in hand; the re-animation of the European will and the sustaining of a revolutionary elite who could make this a political possibility. What is more, every time that we try to give the notion of ‘European culture’ concrete significance, we seem to run up against innumerable ‘interpretations’ which leave us with nothing conclusive at all. Everyone has their own idea about what European culture is and many Europeans feel reticent or even guilty about championing it and so the parvenus can speculate to their hearts’ content in the reviews and colour supplements about all the latest developments in this or that field of art in such a way that ‘culture’ becomes entirely divorced from the ‘serious world’, from what matters. Ironically, much of what the defenders of culture admire plays a major role in helping to bring about a spiritual crisis and lack of confidence in European culture.
The ‘Westernisation’ of the world has meant that this decomposition extends across the world—thus Europe, from illuminism to communism has become the breeding ground of the very forces which work to destroy everything which is specifically European.
We must create a ‘unity of fighters’. That is a pre-requisite. To set a vision of the world and of Europe aside as ‘irrelevant’ would be to sink into the morass of political partisan politics, a cynical affair without identity, without spiritual meaning. A united Europe, without a communal spiritual identity and sense of direction would become just one more power block. In what way would such a United States of Europe be spiritually distinct from the United States of America or China or be anything nobler than the organisation of African Unity? Europe must not be a stage towards the Westernisation of the world but a move against it, in fact a revolt against the modern world in favour of what is nobler, higher, more truly human.