Such is the latest gem coming to you courtesy of Manny Macron, who wishes to see Britain classed in the same bracket as Russia, China and Iran.
This is a useful reminder that, though ideology is a cognate of idea, in reality the former precludes the latter. In fact, an ideology can make anyone look dumb.
That’s why debating against ideologies is pointless: none of them can withstand 10 seconds of rational argument. The whole point of an ideology is to override reason and common sense, replacing them with a kneejerk response to stimuli.
Nor do strident ideologues have to be stupid to spout inanities. It’s just that their intelligence doesn’t come into it. They don’t hold their utterances to any IQ tests; ideological purity is all that matters. In that sense, the ideology of European federalism is no different from Marxism and Nazism.
No matter how intelligent a Marxist could be otherwise, the moment he flies close to his ideology, his intellectual wings melt and he crashes to the ground. Leszek Kołakowski, for example, was no idiot – and yet he came across as one whenever he tried to squeeze his philosophy into the Marxist straightjacket.
Similarly, Carl Schmitt had a first-rate mind, but he put it on hold every time he tried to justify Nazism. ‘Abandon brains all ye who enter here’ is a sign implicitly displayed at the entrance to all ideologies.
While the ideology of European federalism is less toxic, at least so far, it’s an ideology nonetheless. That’s why, having tried to argue the toss with dozens of otherwise intelligent men (I usually don’t argue with women because such arguments are silly and rude by definition), I have yet to hear a single idea that makes even remote sense. All I hear is ideological platitudes.
It’s only against this backdrop that Manny Macron’s diatribes against Britain can be understood. In fact, as far as he is concerned, Britain may be even worse than Russia, China and Iran. Yes, they present a clear danger to the West, but at least, they never left the EU because they never belonged to it.
Britain did, which makes her worse than dangerous. She is an apostate and heretic, and ideologies always treat such schismatics more harshly than outright foes. Lenin, for example, reserved his most hysterical harangues for the non-Bolshevik socialists, such as Kautsky, not for implacable enemies of Bolshevism, such as Churchill.
So Manny whistles, so Ursula von der Leyen jumps. For her a plunge into stupidity is even shorter than for Manny, which is why she plans to exclude British scientists from collaboration with the EU in state-of-the-art technology, such as supercomputers.
If Manny, or even Ursula, engaged their brains even for a second, they’d know how idiotic this plan is. Science and technology thrive on international collaboration, and they risk withering without it. This applies to the excluded and the excluders alike: both sides will suffer.
Naturally, whenever a project has military applications, it must remain classified to potential enemies, those who can use it for aggressive purposes. Yet neither Manny nor Ursula can possibly think that Britain threatens the security of the EU.
Actually, they don’t think that. But they do believe that Britain threatens the ideology of the EU, and there they have a point.
That’s why, in order to spite Britain, the likes of Manny are happy to cut off not only their nose, but even more reproductively vital portions of their anatomy. They are prepared to make their countries less competitive as long as Britain loses out too, pour encourager les autres, as Voltaire put it.
EU fanatics could do worse than study history. Then they’d know that ideological contrivances eventually collapse, and the more strident they are, they closer their demise. Yet, as another Frenchman, Paul Valery, wrote, “History teaches precisely nothing”. That’s certainly true with ideologues.