The West today finds itself in a situation which is a product of its own socio-economic beliefs, resulting in a declining population and finding itself increasingly forced to open its doors to migrants they do not want but without whom they cannot hope to maintain their way of life.
It is hard to name the cluster of nations which are, at their comparatively advanced stage of development, affected by ominous menaces, some of which are rooted into history, while others stem from recent events that have dramatically altered the state of the world. Many of those countries are grouped as “The West”, although some like Japan, Australia, South Africa and even Russia are not geographically western in the Euro-American perspective. Most are OECD members, but their common characteristic is that they are broadly run on social-liberal democratic lines, have embraced the heritage of the European Enlightenment, howbeit sometimes with reservations and are seen as economic and political role-models in poorer regions. Yet the peculiar combination of ills and threats that affect them at various degrees should teach an object lesson to all those who aspire to imitate and join them in the privileged club of high-GDP societies.
The crisis affecting them is now glaringly visible on both sides of the North Atlantic. Gradual dismantling of the welfare system, rising economic inequality, breakdown of families resulting in the atomisation of individuals (Britain now has a Ministry of Loneliness) and in steadily declining birth rates and ageing demographics, massive immigration and the rampant and insidious irruption of new high technologies that reduce humans to a subservient position are some of the symptoms. They provide the background for the spread of increasingly radical ideologies clad in the labels of political correctness, equality, humanitarianism, globalism, anti-fascism and fight against all discriminations, all sponsored by the business-friendly New Left usually allied with the pro-Capitalist Centre-Right.
This Left-Centre Right alliance rules the European Union from Brussels and Strasbourg and imposes economic austerity as well as omnibus acceptance of immigration, on the grounds that there is not enough money for social services but always enough to welcome newcomers whose higher fertility rates can make up for the numerical thinning of autochthonous populations. In the view of influential technocrats and policy-makers Europe’s fate is to become once again a melting pot of Asia and Africa with a multi-cultural identity, governed by financiers and bureaucrats.
Those who object that fast paced immigration by large numbers of poor people with very different civilisations and belief systems can create massive disorder and violence in traditionally homogenous, relatively permissive societies suffering high unemployment, are routinely told that there is no alternative to “sharing” the shrinking jobs and educational opportunities with others and that even if an indeterminate percentage of the arrivals poses a risk to public safety and private property this is a price that must be paid.
Against that official position, which applies also to the liberal Establishment in the United States, a popular revolt is taking place in the two continents. The elected governments of Poland, Denmark, Greece, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Austria, Italy and members of the coalition now ruling Germany have increasingly aligned their positions around two main principles: No to more immigration and Yes to major reforms in the financial and economic management system of the EU (although there is no consensus on these reforms!).
In the United States, Donald Trump is the voice-bearer of all those who also want to put a stop to illegal immigration and drastically modify the economic system by rejecting free-trade liberalism and protecting domestic production and labour. Those are the essential bones of contention, all other issues, however vexing and controversial are irritants and Trump’s often obnoxious style and personality tend to hide the substance of what is at stake. He may not be clear-headed or sincere about what he wants, but he knows what brought him the support he needs to stay in place.
The present crisis illustrates the shortcoming and inconsistencies of the guiding philosophy of liberal globalisation. Whereas societies are still basically organised as nation-states, a concept which Europe has exported worldwide since the 17th century, the prevalent humanitarian ideology requires that borders be open to all those who allege that they cannot live in their countries of origin. Supra-national humanitarianism, inspired by Christianity and by socialism, is upheld and enforced mainly by unelected self-appointed NGOs which claim to represent higher moral imperatives (although they often depend on corporate or state funding and serve certain economic or political interests).
The immigration pump functions through the push from human traffickers in developing countries, combined with the pull of legal and social institutions in the West which does not allow the expulsion of any person claiming refugee status and obliges the government to take care of that person for as long as is needed. Pro-migration NGOS act as the conveyor belt by rescuing derelict boats at sea and delivering their passengers to European ports where the laws forbid returning the refugees, political or economic, to their countries of origin even if such states can be identified, are not regarded as “oppressive” and agree to take them back, which is not often the case. As various observers have noted this process provides considerable profits to a range of intermediaries, both traffickers and “humanitarian” workers and amounts to a new form of the slave trade beneath the façade of social justice and solidarity.
Eventually, the opposing rationales of national border sanctity on one side and of global free circulation of peoples on the other can longer be reconciled. Italy, which has had to accept hundreds of thousands of refugees when it was already hosting millions of earlier arrivals, including many “illegal aliens”, wants to put a stop to this endless invasion (in Africa half the population is said to be interested to move to Europe) and its new government has bitterly hit back at France whose self-righteous and garrulous President Emmanuel Macron calls anti-immigration politicians a “leprosy”, without, however, agreeing to share the burden. Angela Merkel’s government may fall in the turmoil since the German Chancellor is a major factor behind the refugee crisis because of her open door policy.
A typical example of textbook liberal socialist politics was provided by the new Spanish Premier Pedro Sanchez, groomed in the academic sanctuaries of Euro-American globalism. Sanchez, whose party has dramatically shrunk in size in recent years, heads a minority government supported by the bigger far-left Podemos Party, whose agenda is a mixture of populist, anarchist and pro-EU globalist ingredients. For one, Podemos wants to return the famed Cordoba Cathedral, a modified former grand mosque, to the Islamic community. Sanchez seems to share Podemos’ atheism which, however, is well disposed towards Islam, even if it is Wahhabi. Among his first initiatives, the new Premier accepted a shipload of 600 African migrants turned back by Italy and forced some Spanish students to immediately vacate their rental residences in Valencia in order to put up the newcomers. Amidst so many pressing real problems, Sanchez has made it one of his priorities to evict the late General Franco from his grave in the Valle de los Caidos, the memorial built after the Spanish Civil War where he rests since 1975, next to thousands of victims from both sides of that bloody conflict.
The new Premier shows the dogmatic face of globalist socialism by rewriting or erasing national history in the light of ideology and labelling Franco a genocidal tyrant, even though there was no genocide in Spain, unless civil wars are all regarded as genocides. However, Sanchez and his supporters are silent about the massacres of priests, monks, nuns, monarchists and other Spaniards by Stalinist and Anarchist brigades which committed numerous atrocities in the same period. A consensus on letting the sleeping dogs of the past lie was respected by successive democratic governments in Madrid hitherto. However, many modern socialists define themselves by their obedience to supra-national banking and bureaucratic structures and their sectarian commitment to LGBTX rights, ideological hostility to their nations’ traditional culture, soft-corner for separatists and support for illegal immigration. Secular multi-culturalism has replaced spirituality in their worldview. For them as for many left-wing Christians the only divinity is in people, especially in the masses from the Third World. They do not realise (or perhaps they do and accept) that civilisations perish and are replaced by others when they no longer protect themselves.
The ruling western ideology has created societies kept together almost solely by economic interests whose populations can no longer renew themselves demographically nor carry out basic tasks needed for social sustenance. When many humble but essential jobs have to filled by immigrants and when the future survival of the country is said to depend upon large scale influxes of foreign populations with different cultures and religions, a stage of history is nearing its end and the resulting malaise and revolt brings to power leaders like Trump in the US, Orban in Hungary, Kurz in Austria, Salvini in Italy and many others soon to come. Politicians who remain deaf and blind to this trend will soon find themselves sidelined by history.
India must learn a lesson from this predicament in order not to reproduce the conditions that prevail in wealthier more “modern” but already declining states.