IN EUROPE, REMORSE HAS TURNED INTO MASOCHISM
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
He exaggerates, but not by much.
He shows how Europeans see themselves as "the sick man of the planet" whose pestilence causes every problem in the non-Western world (what he calls the South). When the white man set foot in Asia, Africa or America, death, chaos, and destruction followed. Europeans feel themselves born with stigmata: "the white man has sown grief and ruin wherever he has gone." His pale skin signals his moral defectiveness.
These provocative statements undergird Bruckner's brilliant polemic arguing that European remorse for the sins of imperialism, Fascism, and racism have gripped the continent to the point of stifling its creativity, destroying its self-confidence, and depleting its optimism.
Bruckner himself concedes Europe's blemishes, but he also praises it for self-criticism: "There is no doubt that Europe has given birth to monsters, but, at the same time, it has given birth to theories that make it possible to understand and destroy these monsters." The continent, he maintains, cannot be just a curse, for its sublime achievements complement its worst atrocities. This he calls "proof of grandeur."
Paradoxically, it is Europe's very readiness to acknowledge its faults that prompts self-hatred, for societies that do not engage in such introspection do not lacerate themselves. Europe's strength is thus its weakness. Although the continent has "more or less vanquished its monsters" -- such as slavery, colonialism, and Fascism -- it chooses to dwell on the worst of its record. Thus, his book's title, The Tyranny of Guilt. The past, with its violence and aggression, is frozen in time, a burden Europeans expect never to throw off.
The South, in contrast, is deemed perpetually innocent. Even as colonialism fades into the past, Europeans righteously blame themselves for the plight of once colonized peoples. Eternal innocence means infantilizing non-Westerners; Europeans flatter themselves as the only adults – itself a form of racism. It also offers a way to preempt criticism.
About one million Spaniards protested the terrorist bombings one day after they took place, on March 12, 2004 -- by blaming the atrocity on their own Prime Minister, José María Aznar.
This explains why Europeans ask what they "can do for the South, rather than asking what the South can do for itself." It also explains why, after the Madrid bombings of 2004, a million Spaniards marched against, not the Islamist perpetrators, but their own Prime Minister. And worse: why they saw Spanish civilians "torn apart by steel and fire" as the guilty party.
As shown by the Madrid bombing and countless other acts of violence, Muslims tend to have the most hostile attitudes toward the West, and Palestinians rank as the most hostile of Muslims. That Palestinians face off against Jews, the extreme victims of Western murderousness, makes them a perversely ideal vehicle for rebutting Western guilt. Making matters worse, even as Europeans disarm themselves, Jews take up the sword and wield it unashamedly.
Europe exonerates itself of crimes against Jews by extolling Palestinians as victims, no matter how viciously they act, and by portraying Israelis as latter-day Nazis, no matter how necessary their self-defense. Thus has the Palestinian question "quietly relegitimated hatred of the Jews." Europeans focus on Israel with such an intensity that one could think the fate of the planet will be determined "in a tiny stretch of land between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza."
And America? Just as "Europe relieves itself of the crime of the Shoah by blaming Israel, [so] it relieves itself of the sin of colonialism by blaming the United States." Excommunicating its American child permits Europe to preen. For his part, Bruckner rejects this easy out and himself admires American confidence and pride of country. "Whereas America asserts itself, Europe questions itself." He also notes that, in time of need, the wretched of the earth invariably turn to the United States, not the European Union. To him, the United States is "the last great nation in the West."
He hopes that Europe and America will cooperate again, for, when they do, they "achieve marvelous results." But his own evidence points to the unlikelihood of that prospect.
© Daniel Pipes 2010
Originally Published in National Review Online, April 27, 2010
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List, April 27, 2010
Article URL: http://www.danielpipes.org/8293/europe-remorse-turned-masochism
Jews & Anti-Semitism
Europe, Europeans, & Anti-Semitism
Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor