The announcement of President George W. Bush’s victory last November 3 was immediately followed by an outpouring of vitriol by a legion of European editorialists and op-ed columnists. The Michael Moore wannabes ranted and raved while the “analysts” whined and wailed. The tone of the former was set by a Fleet Street tabloid, the Daily Mirror. “You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities,” opined its editorialist, for the “sophisticated side of the electorate” who voted to kick Bush out:
As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity. Were I a Kerry voter, though, I’d feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin’, military lovin’, sister marryin’, abortion-hatin’, gay-loathin’, foreigner-despisin’, non-passport ownin’ red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest d–k in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land “free and strong” . . . Yanks had the chance to show the world a better way this week, instead they made a thuggish cowboy ride off into the sunset bathed in glory.
The broadsheets were saying exactly the same thing, only in somewhat less offensive language. A Californian expat told Der Spiegel that she is staying in Germany because, “in my adopted new land, gay marriage is legal, the Green Party is a major power player and debates swirl about less, not more, religion in schools.” Henry Porter wrote in the Guardian that “Americans are seen as unsophisticated, willfully ignorant, obsessed with such issues as abortion, guns and gay marriage” but then graciously conceded the possibility that they are “far more complicated” than “we” understand them to be:
Perhaps this is a rather condescending view of the US electorate . . . This is why we should not lump all Americans together in the category of Neanderthal Republican thuggery, which will certainly be a temptation . . . [W]e should remember that there are millions of decent, thoughtful people in the US. It often takes a while for the penny to drop with these guys, but sooner or later it always does.
The following day, the Guardian had a page of solid black containing just two small words: “Oh, God.” Its leftist rival, the Independent, had the headline “Four More Years” interspersed with the pictures of kneeling prisoners at Guantanamo, tortured inmates at Abu Ghraib, soldiers fighting in Iraq, oil-drilling equipment, antiabortion demonstrators, and a smirking George W. Bush.
The scribes usually not identified with the left jumped on the bandwagon, with a sigh of patronizing exasperation. “Mr. Bush’s election will give the rest of the world a collective heart attack,” wrote Simon Jenkins in the Times of London:
It expected a Kerry win. At the very least it expected Americans to somehow rein in a man it sees as naïve and dangerously belligerent . . . Americans declined to rein him in. They legitimised him. The rest of the world has been roundly snubbed.
The “snub” was felt painfully in Paris, with the Liberation warning that “this new America of the 21st century is a reactionary America. Spurred by fear, this new America can become extremist and aggressive.” The following day, it asserted that “no other nation shares America’s political and religious idiosyncrasy.” This view was shared by the leading Catholic daily, La Croix:
Bush is here to stay. But this reality will not keep the world from contesting his vision of the world, of history and of the religious role he has adopted. We will say and repeat during the next four years that Christianity does not have its prophet in the White House.
Eva Busse, writing in the Financial Times Deutschland, found that “paralyzing fear” is gripping the world’s most powerful country:
Bush’s reelection can only be explained by the definite, but often irrational security need the majority of Americans are longing for. Looking at it from the European point of view, this emotional decision appears to be incomprehensible.
Le Monde saw America as “bizarre”—New York and California excepted—while, in Munich, Sueddeutsche Zeitung described the situation as “strange,” and explicitly placed Europe on the same side as the Arab world against the United States:
[T]he international world . . . is infected with the Bush bacillus, which divides and demands. That is why there is the real danger that polarization will continue in the rest of the world and is even intensified. For many nations, mainly in Europe and the Arab world, reconciliation with the United States seems to be unthinkable.
On it went, one humorless pair of John Lennon specs after another, one angry-looking dykey scribette after another. It was pathetic: to think that these people dictate the tone of public debate in Europe—presumably the best educated, the most sophisticated part of the world. What else can we expect, however, from the milieu in which a Bernard Henri-Levy passes for a serious thinker, a Guenther Grass for a great writer, and a Tony Blair for a statesman?
The intensive hatred of the “Bush bacillus” has nothing to do with the President’s willingness to launch military interventions per se: His most passionate Euro-haters were, for the most part, vocal supporters of Bill Clinton’s pro-Muslim Balkan interventions a decade ago. It has nothing to do with Bush’s “unilateralism”: They did not hold against Kerry his vote to authorize Clinton’s equally non-U.N.-approved war against the Serbs in March 1999. It has nothing to do with the WMD lies, since the Mirror, the Guardian, the Independent, et al. are enthusiastic liars for their kind of truth, fervent purveyors of the “Bosnian rape camps,” the “Kosovo genocide,” and similar whoppers in the 1990’s.
In reality, the hatred of George W. Bush is based primarily on the European bien-pensant class’s visceral Christophobia and its hostility even to the most benign understanding of national or ethnic coherence. They do not know, or do not care, that there is less than meets the eye in Mr. Bush’s conservative credentials and that their caricature of “America” is not only ugly and offensive but simply untrue. They need distortions as a tool of domestic policy and as a means of personal gratification. In these “sensitive,” “diverse” times, when nothing unkind can be said of Islam or Rastafarianism, they revel in their ability to insult with impunity a white, Christian minority group that resists postmodernity. Today, they do it with the “gun-totin’, military lovin’, sister marryin’, abortion-hatin’, gay-loathin’, foreigner-despisin’, non-passport ownin’ red-necks,” just as they have done it with the genocidal Serb ethnic cleansers in the 90’s and the apartheid-enforcing Afrikaner thugs before that.
It is ironic but unsurprising that, in their hatefest, the European elite class displays almost complete similarity to the one group of Bush’s advisors they profess to loath: the neoconservatives. Both Euro-Bushophobes and neocons are former Marxists who have morphed into new, ostensibly diverse, but closely related life forms. Both pursue an ideology of socialism at home and internationalist imperialism abroad and share a distaste for Western tradition by promoting alien Weltanschauungen into a parity of esteem. Both are hell-bent on destroying the real communities in their own countries, on eradicating the remnants of those nations’ tradition and culture in the name of similar universalist notions.
Most European Bushophobes are dirigiste statists. The Leviathan in Brussels embodies their managerial preferences. In this, they ostensibly differ from the neoconservatives (who glorify the free market), but the latter’s rhetoric is deceptive. In reality, the neocons favor not free enterprise but a kind of state capitalism—within the context of the global apparatus of the World Bank and the IMF—to which the bureaucrats who run the European Union can easily relate. Both are statists par excellence, and, in their shared core belief that society can be managed by the state in both its political and economic life, both are equally at odds with the traditional conservative outlook.
The Bushophobes are explicitly post- and anti-nationalist, but the neocons are not “patriotic” either, certainly not in any conventional sense of the term. They do not identify themselves with the real and historic America but see the United States merely as the host organism for the exercise of their will to power. Whereas the American political tradition has been fixated on the dangers of centralized state power, on the desirability of limited government and nonintervention in foreign affairs, the neoconservatives exalt and worship state power and want the United States to become a hyperstate—just as their European counterparts want the European Union to become a hyperstate—in order to be an effective tool of social and cultural engineering.
The neoconservatives view America as a hybrid nation based on Platonic notions of “American principles.” A decade ago, William Kristol and Robert Kagan thus gloated about what they called “benevolent global hegemony.” Their vision of pax Americana was encapsulated in their exultation that
we have never lived in a world more conducive to [our] fundamental interests in a liberal international order, the spread of freedom and democratic governance, [and] an international economic system of free-market capitalism and free trade.
This has its exact counterpart in the claim of the E.U. constitution that Europe’s inhabitants, “arriving in successive waves since the first ages of mankind, have gradually developed the values underlying humanism: equality of persons, freedom, respect for reason,”
drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, the values of which, still present in its heritage, have embedded within the life of society its perception of the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights, and of respect for law, believing that reunited Europe intends to continue along this path of civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning, and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world.
These two types of megalomania have common roots and common fruits, and both are driven by the common psychotic quest for power and dominance. They operate by the Straussian dictum that perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is necessary because they need to be led, and they need to be told what is good for them. Open borders and Third World immigration are the litmus test: To neocons and Bushophobes alike, they destroy the remnants of the old order and promote the counterempire that will be made possible by demographic change within the West. In both cases, we encounter merely a modified paradigm of dialectical materialism geared to pursuing the same eschatological dream: the End of History, devoid of God.
Some differences do exist. The Bushophobes advocate “multilateralism,” in the form of an emerging “international community” controlled by the United Nations or through a gradual transfer of sovereign prerogatives to regional groupings exemplified by the European Union, while the neoconservatives’ model bears more resemblance to the New European Order of six decades ago.
A more significant difference is that the neoconservative mind-set is apocalyptic, after the manner of national socialism, whereas that of postmodern Europe is utopian, in the spirit of the Trotskyite left. The neocons’ replacement of the Soviet threat with the more amorphous “terrorism” reflects the doomsday revolutionary mentality that can never rest. The Europeans’ response, that the threat is exaggerated or even nonexistent, reflects a kinder, gentler form of self-hatred. Both seek death, however, and both hate life, and Truth, and Goodness.