Contemporary Central Europe: Towards Decadence and Decline
The ruling establishments in Central Europe today — by which I here mean Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic states and the Balkan countries — are for the most part not an impressive lot. There is little original or interesting about them. Their only ambition is to “rejoin the West,” few ponder whether this is wise at the very moment when this civilization is committing suicide.
This ambition is understandable. The Ossis want Western standards in all things: Western wealth, Western security (notably vis-à-vis Russia), and Western good government. They rightly feel that their historical trajectories and national life have been distorted, that their destiny in the European mainstream was stolen from them, because of violent occupation by the Ottoman and Russian/Soviet empires.
The inequality between the West and Central Europe is enormous. On the one hand we have the Central and Eastern European Kleinstaaterei (“small-state mess”): twenty or so recently-established regimes, the biggest having 38 million souls and many being mere statelets. These countries are still recovering from the economic deformation and intellectual stunting imposed by communism.
In the West, there is the still-awesome power of the Euro-Atlantic constellation: NATO, the NSA, the EU, the enormous influence of Anglo-Zionist academia, media and pop culture . . . with all their seductive promises of wealth, law, and liberty. It would take a very self-confident regime indeed to be immune to this power of attraction. This makes the relative independence of mind of the nationalist Hungarian Viktor Orbán or the eurosceptic Czech Miloš Zeman all the more impressive.
This inequality also explains the fervent Europeanism (pro-EU-ism or even EU federalism) of a fraction of Central European educated elites, especially the young, Anglophone émigrés. When their country joined the EU, they earned the right to immigrate to Western Europe, a move which allows them to metaphorically leap into the future, enjoying standards of living and government far, far superior to that of their home countries — standards which their countries will not achieve for many, many years, and perhaps never in some cases. They resent the allegedly retrograde, “uneducated,” superstitious, and chauvinistic views of most of their countrymen. EU government is preferred to their corrupt national governments. They also see in the EU a protection against Russia, a powerful and legitimate concern. Central European “EU federalism” then draws from many sources, partly from the “liberal cosmopolitan” values spread by the West, but just as much, paradoxically, from narrow ethno-national and class interests.
I have been amazed to see that the political consciousness of many educated Central European émigrés is determined by, and is firmly within the narrow bounds of, The Daily Show and The Economist. What a tragedy! Is there nothing unique in their national culture that they could share with the rest of the world? Or is one’s destiny to be but a pale imitation of a decadent, self-destructive, anti-national, Anglo-American with no feelings for the traditional peoples and cultures of Europe? (Isn’t the original always going to be more interesting?)
The liberal Central European comes from a region which has been wrecked by repeated ethnic and religious wars, and there are long-standing territorial disputes. This intra-European bickering, still common in Eastern European nationalisms, can indeed be disheartening for White Advocates, as Tomislav Sunić has repeatedly reminded us (e.g., here). Territorial disputes, whether between Russians and Ukrainians or Hungarians and Romanians, are wholly unproductive and pale in comparison to the threats hanging over all Europeans. The European Union, for all its faults, can be saluted for having to a certain extent overcome the relevance of these conflicts through human and economic borderlessness among Europeans.
Central European Russophobia is furthermore eminently understandable, even if I do not condone it personally. The Russian Empire’s oppressive presence in Central Europe long predates the existence of the Soviet Union (although that entity was certainly far more oppressive still). The Baltic states could well be re-annexed and indeed they have little history of national independence. Poland, that great martyr-nation, has been sovereign for less than 50 of the past 220 years.
Hence, one cannot blame Central Europeans for being too careful. In terms of Realpolitik, it is understandable that so many Central European governments collaborated in in the illegal invasion of Iraq or the CIA’s “extraordinary renditions” (in effect, a government program establishing a small, international “gulag archipelago” enabling the torture of Muslims in the context of the so-called “War on Terror”). They did this to curry American favor, to bolster ties with the only ally that can really stand up to Russia (the Germans and French being both largely unwilling and unable).
This collaboration does however make any Central European moralistic accusations against Russia rather hypocritical. The allies of Saudi Arabia, the collaborators in torture, and the destroyers of the enemies of Israel (entire nations: Iraq, Libya, Syria . . .) do not have much moral ground to stand on. But that is, unfortunately, the nature of tribal disputes: The in-group’s crimes are forgotten or excused, the enemy out-group’s crimes are magnified out of all recognition. Tribal manichaeanism takes hold, all nuance is lost, and the enemy is collectively demonized. This is very frustrating for outsiders trying to have an objective view or to foster reconciliation. These disputes are extraordinarily difficult to overcome when the tribes are intertwined with each other, even under extremely stable and favorable circumstances, as in Northern Ireland for example.
In any case, the Central European regimes will seek to cling to the West for both economic and security reasons. This means that, even as they grow economically and become more secure, they will become infected with the suicidal culture of the West.
The cultural struggle continues. In the United States, there was first the cultural defeat of Red America, of the fathers, the small towns, the churches, the state governments, and the military, at the hands of Blue America, the hostile bi-coastal elites of Hollywood, academia, the media, and the Federal Government (particularly the judiciary). White America has been culturally delegitimized — with any White ethnocentrism condemned as evil and effectively blamed for all the problems of non-Whites. This transformation paved the way for the demographic replacement and reduction to minority status of the traditional White population. This is expected by 2043, a mere 80 years after the 1960s cultural revolution, a blink of an eye in historical terms.
Much the same thing is happening across Europe, and in particular Central Europe. The traditional ethnocentrism of this region is likely to diminish both as standards of living rise and with the encroaching influence of Anglo-Zionist culture and the EU’s liberal norms. There is of course resistance: In Poland the Catholic Church, conservative radio, and the iconoclastic (paleoconservative?) politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke have considerable influence. But this resistance will, eventually, give way unless decisive political changes occur both East and West. The traditional culture of Central Europe will decline; it will be considered “unfashionable,” backward, an obstacle to individual pleasure. And when the culture of critique hegemonic in the West spreads to our Eastern brethren, they too will fall.
Perhaps the least impressive thing about Central European elites is, with few exceptions, their disregard for catastrophic demographic realities. The fertility rate in Central Europe is universally low, going from 1.29 in Poland per woman to 1.58 in Lithuania. The latest European Commission projections estimate that between 2010 and 2060, the population of Bulgaria will shrink by 26.9%, Latvia by 25.8%, Romania and Lithuania by 19.6%, Poland by 14.6% Estonia by 12.6%, Hungary by 11.7%, Slovakia by 6.1% and the Czech Republic by 0.7%. The working-age population will shrink faster still and the elderly one will expand enormously. These figures are obviously liable to change, but they suggest the general situation: Central Europeans can be said to be disappearing, with no destiny other than being a minor economic and demographic appendage to the Euro-Atlantic constellation. As far as I can see, only Orbán’s Hungary has made a major political effort at addressing this issue, albeit with limited results so far.
Central European elites are, understandably, obsessed with wealth and security. But what good will that do if one’s country is reduced to a collection of shopping malls and retirement homes? A good society is not measured by GDP or big-screen television sets. Rather, a good society — one that can survive and prosper — is measured by physical and mental well-being, by a healthy, vibrant demography, and a healthy, adaptive culture: Mens sana in corpore sano.
Furthermore, there are no perfect guarantees of security in this world and especially not through alliances with fickle foreign powers. Rather, genuine national security comes only from a people’s own spiritual and physical strength. With these, a people can survive military occupation and even minorityhood almost indefinitely.
The case of Poland, by far the biggest and most powerful of the Central European post-communist nations, is emblematic. Polish leaders — who imagined themselves to have a “special relationship” with the United States under President George W. Bush — have been bitterly disappointed by lack of support from Washington. As then Foreign Minister Sikorski said in 2014 (he did not know his private conversation was being recorded):
You know that the Polish-U.S. alliance isn’t worth anything. It is downright harmful, because it creates a false sense of security. Complete bullshit. We’ll get in conflict with the Germans, Russians and we’ll think that everything is super, because we gave the Americans a blow job. Losers. [We are] complete losers.
Sikorski went on to describe Poles as having “a Negro-like attitude” of deference [murzyńskość] towards America. U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show similar disenchantment in the Polish government more generally. There is no question Poles have also been disappointed by the EU’s lackluster response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and interventions in eastern Ukraine.
Central Europeans have not been satisfied by their Western allies in their pursuit of security. Perhaps their best hope is that Russia be corrupted, as they are being corrupted, by Western liberalism — what Gregory Hood has called “geopolitical dysgenics”: Russian patriotism and power would then be dissolved by anti-nationalism, individualism, and egalitarianism, each Russian selfishly pursuing his plutocratic or consumer interest rather than that of his motherland. Russia would then, like Western Europe, be reduced to a vast glorified retirement home and open-air museum, impotent to oppose the American Empire, destined to be gradually submerged by the desperate masses of the Third World and their sullen, aggressive progeny. President Vladimir Putin, however, may have other plans.
End of Part 2.
Interestingly, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are already richer than some Southern European countries. This suggests indigenous aptitude for modernity in these countries, despite the effects of communism, and the converse in southern countries.
I personally came to the conclusion that Russia was not such an evil power, as far as these things go, when the most high-profile “dissident” group the Western oligarchic media could dig up to demonize Russia was the female pseudo-punk-rock band Pussy Riot (whose leading members had previously been part of the provocateur “art group” Voina or War). These people were engaging in acts meant to provoke the authorities beyond what could be tolerated in any country, their previous antics having included inserting raw chicken in their vaginas, trying to release thousands of cockroaches in a court room, and having group sex in a museum. Western media almost never mention this; instead, they present Pussy Riot as a girl-next-door teenage band, the better to portray Putin’s regime as an shockingly repressive autocracy. In Soviet times, the West had been able to find authentic dissidents such as Andrei Amalrik and Alexander Solzhenitsyn to undermine Moscow. Now the West has Pussy Riot, while Russia has Edward Snowden, the courageous revealer of Washington’s unprecedented mass surveillance program (far beyond what the communist German Stasi or Soviet KGB could dream of). The West of course has enormous resources — economic, cultural and otherwise — to reward subversives undermining their enemies. This was evident when Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot’s leader, was granted a cameo appearance on the popular TV show House of Cards. Nadezhda has “made it.” And to think that just seven years ago she was pregnant having sex “doggy-style” in Moscow’s Timiryazev State Museum of Biology. You’ve come a long way, pussy!