Nostalgia, scepticism and the future

August 28, 2004 · 0 comments

13 going into 30”.

“Remember how good it used to be”….
The film adds great nostalgia to that quote, with loads of references to the eighties. The current 80s revival depicts in an iconic way the biggest threat Europe and the US are facing: we remember how good it used to be.

The US is trying to point out that war isn’t about getting something; it’s about protecting what you’ve got and as Europeans, we ought to realize we’d better start gearing up.
Apparently some people would like us to believe our cozy warm European welfare states are to be defended rather than questioned. Some people would like us to believe the roots of Arab anti Americanism will eventually grow epidemically on European soil.

Think again. The demographic collapse in Europe is the main undermining force of what could have -or could still be?- been the strongest continent. The pro and cons of stimulating an active immigration policy were widespread in the European business press the last weeks. Many people believe this would only fuel an unseen sectarian, ethnic and class violence. And the anti-Jewish crimes in Antwerp, the synagogue thrashings are indicators those people might be right.

But I believe the far-right populism misses an ideal. The collapse of our native European population is an easy argument to start a nationalistic discourse. But eventually, how many Belgians truly believe nationalism can be the answer? How many Belgians truly believe in “eendracht maakt macht” black/yellow/red?

Quoting Glenn Reynolds in one of his snares on Europe:
“Fortunately for you, the US is not as well acquainted with what we, in Brazil, call the civil servant mentality as we are. Even so, I don’t think there’s any need of describing it, is there? Enough to say that for me, in terms of work ethic and dynamism in general, Western Europeans are beginning, in a best case scenario, to look like Latin Americans and, in a worst case one, like the inhabitants of the Soviet empire.”

Good, this might just be the sparkle of hope compared to the US Imperialistic vision.