C Shannon

Populism’s Boogeymen


Populist Nationalism is the boogeyman of Europe’s brand on cosmopolitanism. With good reason: it should be no revelation that ideologically, the technocratic blend of globalism practiced by the “international elite” stands directly opposed to, as Koert Debeuf wrote in the EU Observer, tribalism. What cannot be forgotten in the daily condemnation in the media of figure like, and including, Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen is that they are not only our boogeymen, but we are theirs.

There is no denying that our very existence is fuel for their fires. I’m taking liberties in my assumptions about the readership here at Blogactiv; however, if you would be so kind as to indulge me as I lay out said assumptions. Judging on basis of the sort of people who work in and around Brussels, I would guess that the average reader has at least on graduate level degree and can conduct conversation with few difficulties in at least two languages and probably can survive in a few more. Even the listless and unemployed amongst us are supremely well-educated members of what one might call the “intellectual elite”.

We are the polar opposite of these populists. Any pretensions of peace with those who stand completely and utterly against us as human beings is preposterous. To negotiate with these political parties, which politeness forces us to call populists, rather than that which we gave their historic counterparts, would be to fall into the traps which many countries did during the great depression.

If there is a battle between us, it will not be with guns and clubs and knives. It will be with words and both the prize and the battlefield will be the political middle: the great sea of undecideds.

The battle for the soul of Europe begins and ends with those who share our values of a free and open society, with strong constitutional guarantees for the dignity of all mankind and their ability to win the hearts and minds of a frightened and wary Europe (and America). In the past, I have hammered again and again on the importance of the EU to do its best to breakthrough the layers of apathy inducing bureaucracy and speak directly to citizens of Europe. Now, that the populists are making their moves, it is now more than ever important for internationalists to find a way of identifying with an audience– an audience who is frightened and scared of a looming (if not entirely realistic) threat of invasion.

However, it’s not enough for us to sit by and say “the government will handle that.” These governments are directly supporting our interests when they support European Transnationalism. We, are not supporters of the European project. We are the European project. (Even those of us who no longer live in Europe,) we are the physical embodiment of their efforts to build a society that extends beyond country borders. Schengen, the Common Market, and all of these policies are a colossal effort to create us: a group of people that look past the centuries of tribalism and find brotherhood in common ideals, rather than a common national myth.

If Europe, or the spirit of globalism, goes away then we are men and women without homelands. Those who will have taken our home from us will not welcome us with open arms. They have sworn us as their enemies. We need to organise and fight them as enemies– as they are: enemies of democracy. The last time we saw their lot, they were warning us about the dangers of Bolshevism. Now, they warn us of the dangers of Islamism.

Fear is a powerful motivator. This is why we, civil society, cannot sit idly by as they use this narrative to scare the political centre into backing their hate-mongering. We must give the public a show of capacity to show that those in power still have the means and the willpower to protect the free world from those who would do us harm: be they from within or without. So that liberty shall not perish from the earth.

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