In short, the incontinent spending of many European governments, which awarded whole populations unearned benefits at the expense of generations to come, has—along with a megalomaniacal currency union—produced a crisis not merely economic but social, political, and even civilizational.
A Belgian journalist who interviewed me recently about the European debt crisis asked me whether I believed in the European Project. I replied that I would answer her question—if she would tell me what the European Project actually was. By revealing my doubts, I proved to her that I suffered from the strange kind of mental debility known as Euroskepticism, a condition supposedly compounded of low intelligence and aggressive xenophobia. The low intelligence manifests itself in the patient’s view of European institutions as a gravy train for a transnational nomenklatura, rather than as the beginning of a new, generous, and free-spirited type of postnational identity. The xenophobia manifests itself as a secret desire for conflict and war, the European Union and its predecessors supposedly having been responsible for the avoidance of war on the Continent over the last 65 years.
The journalist then asked whether I thought that nationalism was dangerous. The question implied that the choice before Europe was between the European Union and fascism: that all that stood between us and the ascension to power of new Mussolinis, Francos, and Hitlers were the free lunches of senior Eurocrats. I replied that dangerous forms of nationalism existed, of course, but that in the present circumstances, supranationalism represented by far the greater danger. Not only was such supranationalism undemocratic, for it reflected no widespread demand or sentiment among the population; it also risked provoking the very kind of nationalism against which it was to stand as the bulwark. Further, the breakup of supranational polities in Europe tends to be messy, as history demonstrates.