Who Will Not Read History, Is Condemned To What?

Gibraltar-Spain border, 9/8/13A large selling point for the European Unions’ formation was the history of endless hostilities in the region. Once WWII was out of the way, the place has been uncharacteristically placid, attesting to the success of the E.U. idea…unless of course, one worries about such trivialities as Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia , Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and such but those are funny folk very far away and hardly count. The ‘real Europe’ has remained at peace, even though Germany sits in its midst. That is to say, all the fighting has remained the province of diplomats., However, statisticians say that however far the outliers appear, a distribution will always revert to its mean eventually, right?

Britain, nowadays a peaceful democracy, had a little warle over its Falkland Islands with Argentina across the Atlantic, which doesn’t count either; Argentina isn’t European, but by Baptism of Desire. So the Rurofolk have remained at peace, at least by their standards.

However, now they’re all gone broke and trying to sponge off Germany which while better off, is also essentially broke. Their highly touted model of allegedly catitalist socialism, dubbed ‘welfare states’ has proven unaffordable. This has resulted in various stresses and strains as politicians yammer about how it’s not their fault, looking for targets upon which to settle blame. They’ve been, of course, in charge but the economic failure must be the result of some nefarious plot or ineptitude somewhere else.

Now, Spain is serving as a lighthouse for the financially incompetent, taking over from Greece; that has the Spanish politicians searching frantically for distractions as the citizens are unhappy with necessary progress defined as everybody getting by on less. Except of course, the politicians.

That distraction is turning out to be the big rock sitting on Spain’s doorstep, Gibraltar. As the Spaniards take to the streets, it is suddenly intolerable that the border boulder is a British colony and one with the nerve to build on the empty spur of land connecting it to Spain besides. Probably worse but ignored is Gibraltar’s unemployment rate, standing at about 3% while Spanish joblessness soars. Spain seems to need Gibraltar like Argentina needs the Falklands, or the Malvinas if you’re Argentine.

Both countries are collapsing financially for the umpteenth time, pretty much for the same reasons and in both cases, those reasons replay their yo yo like histories. Britain has sent a naval ship to ‘visit’ the Falklands and isn’t backing off Gibraltar, either. And Spain is talking to Argentina re a partnership against Britain.

By European historical standards, this sort of thing has led to wars and at a time when the durability of the E.U. is a concern over it finances, or lack of same. Plus ca change’… or as we English speakers put it, ‘the more we change, the more we remain the same.’

While this is proceeding, back at the ranchhaus, the Germans, with their own issue from their own welfare state to face, are increasingly unwilling to finance the feckless spenders such as Spain. That is fomenting –or being used to foment– anti-German resentment. ‘Germans owe it to us because of WWII’ seems to be the mindset. Very European!

This isn’t a prediction that a New Armada is about to sail from Spain, though Britain has sent a warship to ‘visit’ its colony, much to the annoyance of the Spaniards. But it does illustrate the realities within the European so-called Union under financial stress.

The E.U. and the U.S. (and others) are now living beyond their means, running up bills they will never pay, though their taxpayers will be ruined in the process. History says such times generate wars and such wars inevitably impoverish everyone. Aren’t we supposed to be an intelligent species?

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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5 Responses to Who Will Not Read History, Is Condemned To What?

  1. NEO says:

    Essentially, I think we are in about 1910, except that the US is far more integrated. The last 70 years were stabilized by the US and USSR working each side of the circle, much as the 19th century was stabilized by the British and who? Austria?, Russia?, both or neither? I don’t know, mostly Britain, I think.

    I do note that the British port call had been scheduled for at least 6 months, it’s a transit call, don’t read too much into it, unless the flotilla hangs about overlong.

    This is the only good thing about US troops in Germany yet but, can we really afford to tie them down for this mission, or is it maybe worthwhile. Again, I don’t know. Troubled times, Jack.

    I think Churchill nailed it talking about last time, “A time of great events, and small men.”

    • Jack Curtis says:

      1910 in many ways.. They tell us history repeats, but never identically. The two factors that suggest to me that we’re leaving something behind rather than building what we have, are the world-wide financial management failure and the West’s abandonment of Christianity, so far, in favor of government. Both indicate a repudiation of everything the Founders represented as I see it. And government is the most false of false gods.

      I see Europe falling apart as a consequence of the E.U.s implicit contradictions as its financial inability to support its promised welfare becomes irrefutable and we will of course, do the same. These events, an E.U member partnering against another member with a non-member violate the very concept of the E.U. That says, cracks are appearing under the growing stress… Just one guy’s opinion though, and from the wilds of New Mexico at that!

      • NEO says:

        The view from the prairies of Nebraska correlates strongly. I see the EU as mostly a last gasp effort to save the continent, I think the losses in World War I are still reverberating, far too many good men lost, I think we would have had the same experience after the Civil war were it not for immigration but, where would the immigration to Europe come from-they and we are the last remnants of the old western culture.

        In many ways, I think our common people still get it but, have lost control of both government and religion, it’s still possible, maybe, to recover.

        Continental Europe may well be lost, the UK has some chance because of the old Empire (both of them) but not good odds, I think.

        Much of the problem in all of it is small men buying power with the public purse, and that makes it a leadership challenge.

        All one can do is to encourage, and hope and pray, and watch. there’s still some light, but westward the land is not as bright as it once was, but it still glows on the horizon. We (or our children) will see.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Downright poetic and I’m afraid, accurate. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy wrote in “Out of Revoluiion” that old societies morph into unforeseen new ones via a special type of revolution in which everything is thrown into question, all the rules are tossed and the new paradigm forms out of a period of chaos. I don’t know what is coming after, but that period of chaos seems a certainty to me. Which would put us as observers of the end of the Western Christian era…

      • NEO says:

        I surely can’t discount that thinking.

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