(Rome) Europe is in deep crisis. People feel it and look to the future with confusion. In many ways there have been attempts to suppress this feeling or to drown it. This includes the frenetic exuberance in the celebration of the moment. The subsidized conversion of the old Roman motto bread and circuses can not hide the crisis. Will Europe awake? Will the European culture survive or irretrievably perish together with its people? wise and truly free minds, who are not in the pay for any purposeful optimism face this question. This includes the Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei. On 13 March 2008 he spoke at the European University of Rome at the conference "Identity Crisis: Will European Culture Survive? 'A speech, which we publish in English translation due to its unbroken topicality. The intertitles are from the editorial staff. [and translated by EF]
Identity Crisis: Will European Culture Survive?
by Roberto de Mattei
I would like to begin with a clue we can safely assume. A part of Islam today considers the West as an enemy and seeks to clash with it. Here is not the place to determine whether this part of the Islamic world is a majority or minority of opinion or whether this attitude is derived directly from the Qur'an or whether it represents a betrayal of its principles, nor whether there a greater threat emanates from fundamentalist Islam or from so-called moderate Islam. What is certain is that Islam or a part of it, presents a problem to Europe. It is not the first time that this has been the case in European history. It is the first time that Europe and the challenge of Islam does not witness its religious and cultural identity. This is the core of the problem.
Stockholm Syndrome: The Psychological and Moral Drama of Europe
Europe is experiencing a psychological and moral drama that has been defined as "Stockholm Syndrome", the phenomenon of psychological submission to the aggressor, which creates a dependency which is a relationship of the victim to the perpetrator that is difficult to understand. Today, one would have to speak better of Copenhagen Syndrome, London's syndrome, Madrid syndrome or Rome's syndrome, to name the psychological attitude towards opponents, by whom one is intimidated, sometimes downright terrorized, but simultaneously attracted to as well, sometimes downright is fascinated. In contrast, the emergence and spread of myths, such as those of Louis Massignon (1883-1962), Edward Said (1935-2003) and Franco Cardini (1940) who want to erase the millennium of conflict between Europe and Islam from memory in the name of alleged experiences that are stylized to ideal models. These include the Oriens Felix , the Arab-Andalusian society before the Reconquista, or Sicilian society at the time of Frederick II., to not even to speak of philosophical musings as the progressive utopia of universal peace or the esoteric myth of a transcendental unity of religions. Some of these myths were of Bat Ye'or in Eurabia. Represented in The Euro-Arab Axis (2005) and Alexandre del Valle in Le totalitarisme islamiste à l'assaut of démocraties (2002).
In this perspective, not only does the idea of the enemy of the West dissolve, but it also dissolves the ideas of the West, the West and Europe itself, which are seen only as a literary invention, like the theorist of "gender" considers the natural distinction between man and woman as a mere cultural construct.
Yesterday Communism, Today Islam - Fifth Column and Useful Idiots
The attitude of Europeans towards Islam recalls the position, which occupied the West in the 20th century against the communism. The Soviet Union threatened the world, but the anti-communism was considered a greater sin than communism. The historian can not be silent about the responsibility of fifth columns in the service of the enemy and the "useful idiots" among civil, political, and religious leaders who criticize, instead of criticizing communism, supported the defamation campaigns against anti-communists and all of this while using talismanic, magic words which did not differ from the present, such as peace, dialogue, peaceful coexistence. In short, the illusion of being able to come to terms with the enemy already by simply displacing it from their own consciousness. A phenomenon Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote about in Baldeação Ideológica Inadvertida e Diálogo (1965, English edition Unnoticed Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue , 1967) has written.
Ideological Root: Moral Relativism and Political Pragmatism
What is the ideological root of this attitude that repeats itself today against Islam? The idea that there is neither a logical dualism between truth and error, nor a moral dualism between good and evil, but that everything is relative in relation to the current needs and interests of the individual. Moral relativism and political pragmatism are two sides of this approach to reality that does not draw on realism, but utopianism, since it postulates a fictitious and unreal world, which is the feeble will to power of the postmodern individual is unable to conquer.
If Europe wants to survive, it must change these psychological and cultural attitudes. But how can you contribute to this change? Start by reviving the idea that there is good and evil in an objective and absolute sense, and that the truth and the principles on which our culture is based, are not archived as ideas of the past or ideological prejudices.
The Basis of Human Rights is Not Subjectivity, but an Objective Law of Nature
The basis of the rights and duties of man is not subjectivity. In our consciousness there is an objective law of nature that is reflected in the divine law. This law has found its historic, but definitive expression in the Tablets of the Law written by Moses through divine inspiration. The Ten Commandments are the law of nature that every one of us, whether secularist or Christian, feels like a compass that helps us to distinguish between good and evil.
The Decalogue is addressed to all people at all times and all conditions with the same normative value. This value stems not only from the tables of the law, but also by human reason, because God before he let them be carved as positive law in stone, it was already set in the heart of man (Saint Thomas Aquinas: Contra Gentes , II , c 117,. teologica Summa , q 100, a.3). St. Augustine says. "It was written on the tablets (of the law), what people do not read in their hearts; not that they had not written it there, but they did not want to read "(" Non enim non scriptum habebant, sed casual nolebant " Enarratio in Psalmos , LVII, 1: PL 36, 673). Even today, people do not read what is written with indelible letters in their hearts to instead chase the utopia of a boundless world without conflict, without any outside enemies, reality and history.
Collaboration with Islam by Pessimistic World View
Nevertheless, there is a fundamental difference between the attitude that the West had in the 20th century against communism and the one it has today towards Islam. The collaboration of the last century was based on an optimistic view of history, rooted in the myth of an irreversible progress of humanity. The collaboration of the 21st century is, however, clear from a pessimistic view of the world which is nourished by a deep sense of fear and uncertainty. The man of the 20th century fooled himself about the future. The modern man is afraid of the future. He's afraid of himself and fought his own fears by trying to remove his enemies from his horizon of his thought, as if by not naming them was equivalent to their disappearance from reality. It's like refusing to talk about a clash of civilizations to suffice to avert this danger. The ideological source of this psychological process is then as now, Relativism and the dialectical evolutionism that distort each and every truth value.
Certain Values Mean Hope for the Future
If there is a security in values, there is also hope for the future. Values certainty and hope for the future go hand in hand. Hope is a natural virtue that consists in the expectation of a future good. For a Christian, it is also a supernatural virtue, but this virtue is the awareness and respect for the natural and divine law required in the Mosaic law, which belongs not only to the Jews and the Christians, but is written in every human heart. It's no accident that Benedict XVI. dedicated his encyclical Spe Salvi to hope.
The Christian hope in Jesus Christ, the God who raised and redeemed, is the hope and even more the confidence in the awakening revival in Europe. Europe is experiencing a deep sleep, lethargy, perhaps provoked by an anesthetic, but sleep is not death. Sleep has an end, it precedes to the awakening.Therefore, I will reply to the question as to whether the European culture will survive with a confident yes.
Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Corrispondenza Romana
image: Corrispondenza Romana