Skip to comments.The future of conservatism in Europe
Posted on 12/12/2004 4:19:58 AM PST by Leifur
I posted these posts on discussions about the exodus of the dutch middleclass, because of the troubles that country is going through because of multiculturalism and beeing way to tolerant. Then I was urged by a freeper to post those as a vanity (although I did not know what that was, or that it was even allowed), so I do so now. With hope for getting good recommendations, support and critisism for how best to promote conservative values in Europe.
1.post: I first want to underline that I am an christian-pentacostal conservative from a European country. I am also very patriotical toward my own country, to a point of collectivism, although beeing also staunchly individualistic and libertarian in economic terms. Here is no conservative movement, although I have found few people with similar views in my party, the Independence party, pro market, pro individualistic, but also with old fashined conservative roots, although the majority is what you would call liberals. But there is no other party, except maybe the Liberal party, wich is a split from my party and although the name does not mean much for most of them, is not for me.
But I am thinking, how are we, the European conservatives, to respond to this, that is what is happening with the immigration and rise of islamic fundamentalisms at our backdoor, due to political correctness? Of course first we have to curb immigration, and there are rising anti-immigration movements in most European countries, except mine, as some of the mainstream parties here have taken this issue face on (that is my party mostly) and taken steps to curb immigration, also much more could be done. But there are strong factions within my party that are not happy with those actions.
But what then? We have to make sure that our society is not divided into separate communities, but I at least do not want to use fanatical secularism to do it, like they are f.e. doing in France, my country has christian roots that I want to preserve, actually is there now a high danger that secularism will become a government agenda, because the constitution is beeing changed, and the separation of church and state could be a result of that.
Recently the leader of the Christian democratic Union of Germany, the East born Angela Merker wanted Deutchland (Germany) to preserve its christian roots. But the idea of christianity and christian values is pretty vague in my country, and even more in most of Europe.
Gay rights is an openly championed agenda, but those of us that oppose it do have to be in hiding in all but name, abortions are not discussed and most want it to be a choise for women, although our laws are not as extreme-liberal as yours, only allowing them for three months (fourth month is optional if a doctor approves, wich they most often do not) and then not quite on demand, although that beeing how the system is implemented, and care of the neighbour is provided by the all encompassing state, leaving little room for christian charity, and it is better for your income to be separated than married, and it is nearly impossible for families to allow one of the parent to stay home, as daycare is higly subsidised (with resulting high taxes) and home schooling is effectively banned.
This is the situation in my country, and it is similar in most of the European countries. There are of course some good things, like christianity is taught in school (although beeing optional for parents to obt their childrens out of that), christian holidays are government protected, celebrated in schools and publicicly and so on, although these things are thaught to be old fashioned, outdated and are mostly fasing out and will disapear in near future, unless there is a revival of conservatism like there was in the US.
But now comes the strange situation we are in, that revival will have to rely on two, it seams opposing elements. One is that the infant conservative movement (wich I regard myself part of) will have to encompass both anti immigration, patriotism toward your own country (and thus sceptical attitude to say the least toward the EU) AND the people of the continent that are the most conservatives when it comes to things like gay marriage, abortion, the importance of the family and such thing, the muslim immigrants.
But how on earth to come to that I am not sure, but it is in my oppinion absolutely neccasery, as if those same folks can not let their views be reflected through the democratic institutions of the country on these basic social issues, due to political correctness, they will become disafected with the society and an easy pray for islamic fundamentalism of Osama bin Laden and Pim Fortuyn and Van Gogh´s killers. Do you, the conservative base of the US have any ideas for us, the small conservative movement of Europe? Can you help us in any way? Best wishes, and congratulation with your electoral victory recently,
Leifur, from Iceland.
2. post: To: bill1952; chiller; Eric in the Ozarks; Leo Carpathian; PGalt; CROSSHIGHWAYMAN; Lizavetta
I think you don´t fully understand how complicated and hard our situation is. We don´t have any religious base to rely on, except maybe the few people that are in free churches like mine, and the muslims, wich are of course against curbing the immigration.
To Lizavetta and bill952. I am, as an Icelander, pretty informed about the situation in Denmark, we having been under their rule for centuries until recently. And I was there just this summer. The danish situation can maybe give us the most hope, but also the bleakest situation aivalable. There is now a conservative-liberal coalition in government under the leadership of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the chairman of the liberal party "venstre" (wich essentially means left, but is right winged party, it is that old, Rasmussen was in his younger years a staunch libertarian, even against the welfare society) but the anti immigration, nearly fascistic national party of Pia Kjersgard, supports the government although not being part of it (not allowed to due to its nature). But it was due to its popularity mostly that the leading socialdemocratic party lost its long standing majority in Denmark, wich´s immigration policy is the basis of the current troubles.
Denmark is a christian country, the queen (wich was a princess over Iceland when she was born), as head of state is also the protecter of the national church, and the danes are fairly conservative when it comes to the queen and the church, but that is maybe partly due to the problems and they are not religous, although traditionalism is on the rise.
But the anti immigration movement could tilt in either way, towards defending the christian values of the society, and thus become essentially conservative´s, or they could, wich is even more likely and far more dangerous, tilt towards blaming the whole thing on religion by and large and come increasingly secular, to the point of a la french and turkish militant secularism. This is the problem I beliewe we face in the near future, if, that is only if, we overcome the socialdemocratical political correctness of today, that is if it does not encompass the anti immigration sentiment before the right does so.
The danger is that they will depict us as the same thing, the religious conservative christians and the muslims, and that the muslims moral values wich´s are partly compatible to christian moral values are, as they claim, inconsistent with the, essentially values, of the western world. That is in fact the stronger force now, as both Bush´s unpopularity and anathema to all religion is in majority. For example was the late Pim Fortuyn, wich started the pupular anti immigration party in the Nederlands openly gay and anti religious, he depicted the muslim immigrants as backward and incompatible with Dutch openness, freedom and liberalism.
On the right are also, specially in my country, strong libertarian movements wich are against all curbing of immigration, so here the libertarian-conservative coalition that is the resultant of recent victory for Bush is nonexistent.
About taking over the media, that is not possible. In most european countries you have state owned media, wich´s left leaning journalists can have practically free hand of promoting their leftists propaganda, and it is fairly impossible to compete with those. We are now in the strange situation of having most of the free media as a part of one company, with strong ties to the opposition socialdemocratic party. We are though using the internet, but our numbers are scarce.
So you see, there are big problems facing Europe, but I will not move west, and leave my country to become ruined, specially if I have to give up my language and speak English in conservative US, wich I thought was a melting pott with many languages and cultures living side by side. But that model is not for Europe, certeinly not for Iceland, as we are an nation state, not an immigration society, althoug economically, and when it comes to christian, western values, it is certeinly a model we should embrace.
Leifur Es. One thing Lizavetta, do you speak the language of your mother? Or should I ask in Danish: Taler du dansk?
3. post: To: Unam Sanctam
I agree with you that the libertarian argument works often very good, and in my environment I use that very often. But I am also a little against those very ideas, that is, I am not opposed to allowing muslims to practise their beliews, but I want to defend the christian roots of my society, you can call me hipocrat, but I beliewe that it is the moral right of my society to protect its christian and religious values through the government, the schools and official holidays.
I saw some where here on Freerepublic that some big supermarket chain in the US is having open on christmas day. I understand the people´s consern about that, and I beliewe the first line of defence is the governments right to do as we do today, as our constitution states that Iceland is a christian society essentially (still thankfully), to ban all (or most) shops and companies to operate on both Christmas Eve (partly, after six o´clock), Christmas day, The Good friday and Easter. This is our heritage and we should not have to yeald that because there are some people that are not religious or have different religion.
Of course we make it clear that our immigration conserts are not racists, although they are depicted as thus from our political opponents, wich some idiots that are racists and have talked also against immigration, have helped them to do. But although I beliewe that having the national church as a government entity has both weakened the church and christianity in Iceland, I beliewe we should continue not having separation between church and state, althoug I would like to see the church to become more independent, and less politically correct, and in my case I have allready voted with my feet (actually my forefathers did) and am not part of the national church.
But I am still christian and I celebrate all the same holidays and I want the society to be christian, both in name like today and practise like the US. Best wishes, and marry Christmas to you all.
Perhaps the most revolutionary conservtive movement in the USA is home schooling. This is a multi-generational project with a huge potential payoff. If CHristians keep having lots of kids, and giving them superior educations, then the future will be ours. The liberals are either aborting their kids, or rendering them incompetent.
You have listed a number of problems which I really don't have an answer for. Historical trends are really difficult to change. Quite often changes that occur are the result of unexpected external events.
The Ukraine (I don't know if the candidate is good or bad) is a perfect example. The entrenched power tried to defeat the people with rigged elections and even tried to murder the candidate running against them. The People did not stand for it and took to the streets. Now the Supreme court over there that probably would have let the sham stand, understood that the people would not stand for it. It's hard work and takes years to correct. The most committed win.Right now the only really committed in Eu is the Islamofascist. Good luck.
Expect teacher unions to pressure the Dems to try ban home schooling in the years to come.
Their is a major flaw in your assumptions. Teaching of Christianity in government schools, Government mandated Christian Holidays, transform faith in the eternal to mere cultural trappings. Your Churches must first be free from the state, utterly independent and passionate for the divine. This means being willing to forget about your beautiful cathedrals, priories, and monastaries. They have to a substantial degree become mere museums and are largely controlled by a secular fifth column. You must let go of them and trust that God will restore more than you will lose. Europe must once again become Christian. It's only by bold Christian faith that Europe will transform for the good.
The Old Europe likes Socialism, Atheism, immorality, no values...
I grew up in the sixties, and always felt like some sort of odd-ball. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would ever see the day when Republicans would hold both the senate and the house and have a Republican president. We conservatives still have a lot of work to do but we are winning, and you will too. Just don't expect things to change over night. Your current situation did not happen overnight and neither will the solution. Be patient and of good cheer. Conservative values will win because they are based in truth and goodness. Good luck to you and God bless.
Christian Nowatzky and Kostantin von Abendroth, two divinity students in their mid twenties affiliated with the free church in Germany (1% of the population) have a vision to bring Reformed (Calvinist) Christianity back to Berlin. (And from there--establish churches throughout the rest of the main cities of Europe where the christianity in general and the reformed church in particular have become virtually extinct. Their vision is to change the ruling elites.
Can they succeed?
The short answer is yes, definitely. Their timing is picture perfect. These are the guys to spread the word. They have good backing from Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in NYC and Mclean Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Mclean. I've already sent them a check. (And figure to do so regularly.) fyi Redeemer Presbyterian Church was the first reformed church set up in the downtown area of an old US city in more than a century when it started up in 1986. Tim Kellor the pastor there-- really knows his stuff. I started my walk with the Lord at Redeemer back in the l989-90 before coming to Washington DC. I now attend Mclean Presbyterian Church.
But even when there is no explict language barrier, there is one anyway. For the simple reason that the people who choose to go into the publicity business - newspapers, radio, television, the movies (and also IMHO education, especially higher education) - sometimes want to be misunderstood. And obviously such people, if they have a coherent interest in being understood in a certain way when the public understands differently, have the opportunity as well as the motive to produce confusion by insinuating novel meanings into traditional words.
Consider the term "society." That is a good conservative word, until the leftists get their hands on it. Suddenly the all-encompassing word "society" is reduced, in leftist usage, down to the thing which they are selling. Namely, government. I asked my leftist uncle bluntly what he thought the difference between "society" and "government" was, and he admitted that he saw no difference! He didn't think that was a confession, but I did and I do. The collectivist project is to expand government to utterly control society as a whole - which in practical terms also means to reduce society down to what the government can control. Collectivism is really governmentism, and "governmentism" is all too clearly a synonym for tyranny.
The collectivists used the nice conservative word "society" to form a deceptive word for their tyrannical project by calling their project "socialism." And outside the U.S. - the exemplar of the (literally) liberal country, "socialism" was sufficiently deceptive a label for tyranny to be made popular or even dominant. But in the U.S. that label was still not enough to sell tyranny effectively. But collectivists are nothing if not persistent, and they latched onto the project of using the word which best described their opponents - "liberal" - when speaking of their own, anti-liberty, project. This transformation was already complete, this usage was already standard, in the mouth of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Thus, the American reading The Road to Serfdom - F.A. Hayek's famous WWII book on the essential similarity of "left wing" communism and "right wing" fascism - must constantly remind himself that when Hayek uses the term "liberal" he does not mean socialist but the very opposite of that. And thus I understand what you mean when you use the term "liberal." I have to think consciously about it, but I understand. Just as if the term were not part of my native language.
Similarly, the term "conservative" can have entirely different meanings here and in Europe. American conservatives want to conserve - as the preamble to our Constitution puts it - "the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Ironically "liberty" means freedom, and freedom implies the possibility of doing things differently than they have been done in the past. So we Americans have a strange sort of "conservatism." Our sort of "conservatism" exalts people who innovate, like the heads of our famous current corporations now, like Ford and Edison and the Wright brothers - and even the noted member of the group which produced the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin (theorist on the nature of electricity and inventor of, among other things, the cast iron wood-burning stove, the bifocal eyeglass lens, and the lightning rod). And, comes to that, Thomas Jefferson, who reinvented the plow from the amazingly inefficient traditional wedge made of wood to the standard curved scooping shape and iron construction which is still taken for granted today.
The opposition to the socialist project must be political, and in politics you must control your own vocabulary or the socialists will define you as being evil. They still do that in America, even though we did win the last election by about 3%. Without the constant barrage of deceit coming from journalism and other sources of socialist propaganda, the recent election should have beeen won by a ten-point margin or more.
As a conservative I must be willing to conserve what is good in my society, and christianity is good and deserves to be conserved in a christina society. Revival must allways have something firm to stand on, and when a nation can stand on 1000 years of christianity it can be beliewed that the next 1000 years will also be on christian grounds. This is our culture, and it is my duty as a conservative to preserve my nations culture, but I also want it to be revived as a living, breathing christianity, like my own church (not the national church) has preserved, but the solution is not to rip apart the link to the past and become a secular society.
But I agree that the churches have to be free from the state, it does not have to be the same thing to have the priests on government payrole (wich I am opposed) and to have the state to rely on its christian grounds. The reason that the government pays the national church´s priests is a contract made between the church and the state in the year 1907 about that the government got all the land in the church´s ownership (aroun one third of the country) instead of paying the church´s priests. I consider this one of the worst thing in our political and religous history, but before that, the church and christianity were supported to be defended and preserved by the state, as is claimed in our constitution, and that is possible in many other ways than direct government payrole.
Now, when liberals are rallying for separation of church and state, I at least, am opposed to give any religon the same standing in Icelandic society, but I am not opposed to what most people really want, to make the church economically independent, but most people think of these two things as the same, wich they are not. To rift this contract is though difficult, as the government has to find a way to pay the church for the land it has allready sold, or return the land, or something like that.
I noticed one thing you said in your homepage, that conservatism is optimistic. I recently read a paper about the difference between european and Us conservatism, and our tend to be much more pessimistic than yours. I am at least pessimistic, the liberals are taking everything over.
I agree with all of your post - but then, I am a conservative American. The poster is a conservative, but not an American. Part of what he want to conserve is a traditional explicit Christian Establishment. And part of the reason for that desire is, apparently, fear of a future Islamic Establishment. I agree with you that a Christian-in-name-only Establishment is a slender reed upon which to hope to rest.
He does however self-identify as, "I am an christian-pentacostal conservative," so he may possibly be able to hear what you are saying; his particular Christian denomination is hardly likely to be the Establishment in his home country. With man it is impossible, but God may perhaps send a revival to Europe.
Christians in Europe obviously have the same problem we see here in the ACLU persecuting Christians and the Christian underpinning of the Boy Scouts. And in the tarring of Christians with the brush of the totalitarianism which Islamists promote.
I think that the antiauthoritarian distinctive of the Bible-believing Church is that the New Testament was written when Christianity was under persecution and was nowhere the Establishment, and had no military pretensions whatsoever. The Koran was apparently written by someone who was bent on military conquest. The modern-day Know-nothings of journalism systematically conflate the two radically different perspectives under the rhubric of "fundamentalism."
"Do you, the conservative base of the US have any ideas for us"
Come live and work in Texas.
It seems like the countries that have a state religion are the countries that tend to be atheistic. Those, like the US, that separate church and state, are more religious.
How is Denmark able to enact immigration reform from *within* the EU?
My advice for European conservatives would be (ironically) to do as the homosexuals and Islamic fundementalists have done: establish an agenda and make a committment to putting it in place.
I have seen some Freepers say, "The Europeans have allowed this situation to happen, now let them stew in it. Don't expect America to save your asses one more time." We should be saying, "How can we help?"
Good luck, Leifur
It seems to be the case, but that is mainly because the government run churches stop to be living, and become political correct, dead institutions easily manipulated by anti-christian, liberal forces. But it is possible to have religious countries in both name and effect, and in fact it will be kicking christianity while it is lying down to separate the church and state now, and result in total unchristianity of the whole society in both name and practise.
But I still beliewe though that the church should be come economically and administratively (wich it is becoming more and more) from the state, but as it is the job of the government to protect Icelandic culture, it is the job to protect christianity as well, because it is an integral part of our culture. If we separate, what then? We will have to change everything in our society, even the flag.
Yeah, maybe we should do that. We have few of us started to write a homepage promoting conservative values, but we have not dared to set that up as an agenda, although we call it an conservative webpage (wich does not have to mean the same thing in people´s mind). This is a difficult situation, as US conservatism and specially neo-conservatism (wich is not the same thing, although most European think it is) is so loathed here now.
About Denmark, they have done much in recent years, although they are in a little difficulty, because a human rights commitee or something like that, essentially a EU institution promoting liberalism, has criticized the laws, wich we have copied mostly here in Iceland although not beeing part of the EU.
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