If any doubts still persist about the inspiration behind the EU, Junk (as Jean-Claude Juncker is known to his friends) has helpfully set out to dispel them.
Junk has announced that he’ll add the weight of his illustrious personality to the celebration of Marx’s bicentenary in Karl’s home town of Trier. There will be a statue unveiled, to the accompaniment of Junk’s address.
Now, and I don’t know how to put this tactfully, Junk isn’t always in command of his faculties. After all, in the true spirit of pan-European solidarity, he keeps several Scottish distilleries afloat almost singlehandedly.
Hence my first thought on hearing the news was that Junk must have been in his cups when he agreed to participate in the ceremony. That being the case, he might have thought the festivities were to be held in honour of the Marx brothers, or perhaps the British chain of department stores.
However, a stone-sober spokesman for the European Commission contemptuously tossed away the straw I was desperately clutching at. The very same Karl Marx, he clarified. The founder of communism. And quite right too:
“Whatever people’s views on Karl Marx are, nobody can deny that he is a figure that shaped history.”
I’m the last man to deny it; shape history Marx most definitely did. But he isn’t the only one.
Old Karl’s fellow history-shapers include, inter alia, Alaric, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao – the first three Marx’s typological precursors, the last four his grateful disciples.
(The direct link between Hitler and Marx isn’t widely publicised, but it was self-acknowledged. In his memoir Hitler Speaks Hermann Rauschning quotes the führer as saying that “the whole of National Socialism” was based on Marx. “I have learned a great deal from Marx,” conceded Hitler, “as I do not hesitate to admit.”)
My point is, and I’m amazed it needs to be made, that not everyone who has shaped history deserves honouring. Evil shapers certainly don’t merit accolades and, if they do get them, those honouring them are themselves evil.
Unlike Putin’s Russia, where Stalin statues are going up like mushrooms after a rain, Germany has so far observed some basic propriety. Thus I don’t think Hitler’s birthday (20 April) is widely celebrated, and I’m fairly certain no statues to Hitler are being put up in either Germany or Austria.
If they were, would Junk attend the unveiling? I suspect not, even though the original idea for a post-war united Europe was born out of a brainstorm between Nazi and Vichy bureaucrats.
However, even if Junk’s honouring Hitler would be logical, it would run against the consensus in the group that nurtured (shaped?) Junk and the organisation he leads: socialist quasi-intelligentsia. That consensus exculpates Marx, even though his ideas directly inspired the massacre of at least 150 million people around the world.
The standard excuse is that communism as practised by the Soviets perverted communism as postulated by Marx. If the apologists aren’t only rabid but also idiotic, they’ll offer an analogy with Jesus Christ, who, they say, can’t be held responsible for atrocities committed in his name.
The only thing that analogy proves is that they’re indeed not only rabid but also idiotic. Jesus would definitely and rightly be held responsible had he taught to hate one’s neighbour and exterminate one’s enemies, wipe out whole races one doesn’t like, keep millions in concentration camps, enslave individuals to the state and expropriate them en masse.
If the Gospels preached hate rather than love, Jesus should be not worshipped but cursed. But they didn’t, quite the opposite. However, Marx and his acolytes called for all those outrages in so many words.
They did bring to fruition most of the Marxist dictates, such as those on concentration camps (Engels called them “special guarded places”), slavery (Marx: “Slavery is… an economic category of paramount importance”), mass murder (Marx: “the victorious party must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries”), anti-Semitism (Marx: “…the Polish Jews… this dirtiest of all races… Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew”), genocide (Engels: “All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary holocaust”).
In fact, if anything, practising communists softened Marx’s legacy. For example, Marx preached total confiscation of private property, a goal of which even Stalin’s Soviet Union fell short. As it did in making all children wards of the state, as Marx preached.
The 2.5 tonne statue has been made possible by communist China’s generous gift, which stands to reason: it is after all a communist state that owes to Marx its claim to legitimacy. What’s harder to explain is the German government’s – and the EU’s – eagerness to accept the poisoned gift.
But we ought to thank Junk for removing that difficulty. His presence at that foul obscenity should leave one in no doubt about the inspiration behind the EU: fulfilling, if only through the back door, Marx’s dream of a socialist pan-European state.
So here’s to you, Junk, for being honest about it. After all, honesty doesn’t come naturally to EU functionaries.