Clinton’s boy James Carville got it wrong: it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the will to live.
For, while separate countries can be killed by outsiders, whole civilisations only ever die by suicide. There are all sorts of bullets they can fire into their own brain, all sorts of stakes they can drive through their own heart.
But it’s not the method but the underlying cause that matters: sooner or later, civilisations lose the will to live. Once that goes, they can self-administer euthanasia in any number of ways, such as destroying their own economy or putting it at the mercy of their enemies.
Yet it’s metaphysical collapse that’s the disease, with economic suicide only its symptom. And in today’s Europe, emphatically including Britain, this symptom is most virulent.
Our civilisation has systematically destroyed its soul, hoping that the body would be so much the stronger for it. Alas, things don’t work out that way.
There’s only so much moral corruption that a civilisation can handle, and we haven’t just crossed that line – we’ve bloody well erased it.
We’ve put our fate in the hands of politicians, knowing in advance that some of them would turn out to be corrupt. What we didn’t bargain for was that the whole system, and everyone in it, would be corrupt in the worst possible way, miles beyond the odd backhander greasing the odd palm.
The current Pandora investigation has shown that 34 Conservative (!) MPs are in Putin’s pocket. Perhaps. But if the remaining 626 MPs of all parties aren’t taking Putin’s ruble, it’s only because they didn’t get the offer.
There are no moral hurdles they’d have to clear, no scruples they’d have to overcome. It’s just that they’d have to be less open in their moral decrepitude than they become once out of office. Just look at the careers of Messrs Blair, Cameron, Osborne et al., and you’ll get the general idea.
While still in office, they put the whole country on suicide watch, with the watchers all blind. If you think this judgement is too extreme, I’ll be happy to entertain other explanations for the present situation.
Which, in broad strokes, is as follows. European (hereinafter also to include British) politicians have accepted on faith the pernicious, ignorant fallacy of man-made global warming.
How could they not, considering how hysterically they were scolded by an evil, retarded child from Sweden? Thus persuaded, they began to dismantle the existing energy industries: oil, gas, coal and nuclear (this last one is still hanging on in Britain). And of course they forswore any further exploration, leaving a vast reservoir of shale gas going untapped underfoot.
They then committed their countries to replacing all engines powered by fossil fuels with electric ones. Hence the demand for electricity, which is already growing exponentially, will shoot through the stratosphere.
This is supposed to be met by wind farms (provided the wind blows) and solar panels (provided the sun shines). If these parenthetic conditions aren’t met, our energy is supposed to come from… well, Russia of course, or perhaps the Muslim countries.
Neither of those is a friend of the West. In fact, both are our self-declared doctrinal enemies. Hence it should have been predictable long in advance that their energy largesse will come with a ganglion of political strings attached.
With Europe heading for a shivering spell this winter, Putin reached for the gas control valve, with his hand stopping an inch away. Do you want the gas to flow?
Well then, in that case: [approve Nord Stream 2, remove all sanctions, recognise Russia’s interests in the post-Soviet space, elect transparent Russian spies to Parliament, stop blocking Russian propaganda, turn a blind eye on Russian money laundering – you name it].
Do you, Mr West, accept these conditions? A roaring chorus came in reply: YOU BET WE DO! ANYTHING YOU WANT!!!
To be fair, some of those hypothetical demands aren’t exactly hypothetical. Most have already been met throughout Europe, and I assure you that the 34 MPs popping out of the Pandora box barely scratch the surface of wholesale corruption.
Against that background, it’s pointless trying to compare the relative military strength of NATO and Putin’s Russia. The Western gun may be bigger, but that doesn’t matter if it never fires – or, worse still, is used for suicide.
A Europe at the end of a string pulled by Putin’s kleptofascist gang will no longer be Europe in any other than the purely geographical sense. Western governments proudly (if not always truthfully) proclaim that they won’t negotiate with terrorists. Clearly, they feel that an abject surrender to energy blackmail is a different matter altogether.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is of course a simplification of a devilishly complex problem. Yes, our politicians can be bought retail or wholesale. But they don’t exist in a vacuum.
We are all passengers on a giant merry-go-round that’s gathering so much speed that jumping off is impossible. Or, if you prefer a different metaphor, cogs in a civilisational machine that has run out of gas metaphysically, not just physically.
That’s why we shouldn’t wonder if our politicians are stupid. Some are, most aren’t, but it’s irrelevant either way. It’s not that they don’t understand what’s good for the country – it’s that they inhale the zeitgeist and stop caring about anything other than their own careers.
Jean-Claude Juncker, whom I unkindly nicknamed ‘Junk’, put it in a nutshell. “We all know what to do,” he said. “We just don’t know how to get re-elected once we’ve done it.” A tectonic shift had to happen to make that aphorism true to life.
A civilisation in the grip of a death wish is impervious to reason in thought or deed. If someone tried to stay its suicidal hand, he would be brushed aside – we must kill ourselves, and we won’t be stopped.
P.S. Speaking of civilisational suicide, to put younger bums on pews the Bournemouth church of St Michael will henceforth be called St Mike’s. I wonder what St Matt, St Pete, St Jim, St Jack and St Andy would have to say about that.
P.P.S. On the same subject: Dmitry Muratov, editor of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, has just won a share of the Nobel prize. The paper is owned by the career KGB officer, Alexander Lebedev, who’s also the proxy owner of our own Evening Standard and Independent. The official owner is his son Evgeny, elevated to the House of Lords by his friend Boris Johnson.