Future, Present, & Past:

~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My bet, and Nietzsche's: What "Europe wants," Europe gets... Eventually

Don't usually post about politics here, and I think only once before about the E.U., but the recent vote in the UK and this as-always intelligent set of reflections (and follow-up) from The Poseidonian reminded me that I've been having a quote from Beyond Good and Evil knocking around in my head for the past week.

Poseidonian reminds us that there is a down-side to lots of little countries, and that one of those is war:
What, after all, characterized Europe for 1500 years before the EU? If you’re a Nietzschean a return to endless war would have its upside I suppose.
Yes, but if you are a Nietzschean, you believe (insofar as Nietzscheans "believe" things) that the EU is the future, whatever the growing pains of the present:
Thanks to the morbid estrangement which the lunacy of nationality has produced and continues to produce between the peoples of Europe, thanks likewise to the shortsighted and hasty-handed politicians who are with its aid on top today and have not the slightest notion to what extent the politics of disintegration they pursue must necessarily be only an interlude — thanks to all this, and to much else that is altogether unmentionable today, the most unambiguous signs are now being overlooked, or arbitrarily and lyingly misinterpreted, which declare that Europe wants to become one. In all the more profound and comprehensive men of this century the general tendency of the mysterious workings of their souls has really been to prepare the way to this new synthesis and to anticipate experimentally the European of the future: only in their foregrounds, or in hours of weakness, in old age perhaps, were they among the "men of the fatherland" — they were only taking a rest from themselves when they became "patriots." (BGE 256)
The Poseidonian goes on to (albeit unintentionally) describe, well, me:
If you are a real Marxist, then you will presumably agree with me that the EU is ultimately both an effect of and an instrument of capitalism and American power, and as a result anything that weakens it would be a good thing. I respect you, noble adversary! Not only are you honest, but you see certain things more clearly than your kumbaya-singing brothers and sisters who think that the EU is an effect of, and an instrument of niceness. Conversely, if you are a Christian pacifist, and you think that pragmatic compromise with power to enhance freedom is the the Devil’s way, and that the only right thing to do in the face of power is to surrender completely… and hope that at the end of history God will set it all to rights, I also respect you.
Yes, that's me both times, at least on good days, so I might (on the good days) claim a double portion of respect. But alas, I don't really hold to the pragmatic upshot. I am a localist, and I have no problem with the notion of "Italy for the Italians" or whatever (though I hope, too, for a hospitable localism); but I think Nietzsche was right about the direction of world history in this case. Yes, I do think the EU is a creature of Capital -- transparently so, in fact -- but my (Christian) resistance is far more passive; and in any case, I think the general case "for" Britain's exit from the E.U. just smells like Nietzsche describes it: arbitrary and lyingly misinterpreting. There are doubtless many for whom this was not the case, who had principled motives for voting to leave. Some are likely those that the Poseidonian attributes to the "real" Marxist or the pacifist Christian.

For the record, I suspect that there are many, many more growing pains to be gone through before we get a real US of E. But unless those pains just kill us (which I guess they could), that's what we will get in the long run.