Europe Is Partying Like It’s 1939

The world is preparing for war, but not in Europe, where Daft Punk’s beat goes on.

Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.

But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.

Spending Their Money on Frivolity

Like a cheesy disaster movie foreshadowing the apocalypse during Act I, the TVs in the bars where the locals drink wine and gobble pricey tapas cover the looming Greek default 24/7. The coming collapse is background noise to a cacophony of people chattering into iPhones. The revolution is being televised, and no one’s watching.

Countless stores will dress women in the latest, most expensive fashions, but few supply the woman who wishes to dress her children. The merchants know their markets, and you need babies to support baby clothes stores. When you walk the streets, you notice the couples with kids—they stand out, and it’s always just one kid. Even the cabbies sigh that the birth rate is below replacement level. Children are the ultimate luxury item. Most Italians don’t move out of their families’ apartments until they’re in their 30s. There’s no room for kids—not in the tiny apartments and not in young people’s social lives. Moreover, children represent an investment in the future, but it’s a buyer’s market.

Europe, Once Again Threatened with Violence

Yet the threat of violence is hangs over the continent. When an ISIS sympathizer decapitated his coworker and stuck his head on a factory gate in Grenoble, France, I was about 100 miles away. I would have been in Tunis the day before nearly five dozen European tourists were machine-gunned on the beach, except that stop had been cancelled after the last time ISIS machine-gunned several dozen tourists there.

These atrocities seemed to create barely a stir, certainly nothing like the kind of groundswell for vengeance upon the savages that Churchill would have demanded. Winston, veteran of battles on the Indian frontier, Omdurman, the Boers War, and the trenches, would have made the savages pay for their perfidy in blood. Current British Prime Minister David Cameron can’t even work up a lather sufficient to convincingly commit to few tentative airstrikes somewhere down the road. Of course, no one else did, either. Maybe the electronic dance music was too loud and no one in Europe was able to hear the bells tolling for them over the dope beats.

Then there are the looming threats of less-intimate violence. The Russian bear stalks back and forth in the East, temporarily restrained by arbitrary lines on maps. When people realize that this time no one in Europe will die for a line on a map, Russia will cross them. And, of course, thanks to the surrender of President Obama and the rest of the West, Iran will soon have the bomb. It’s little mitigation that the initial generation of Iran’s ballistic missiles will only be able to hit Europe and we will have to wait until they deploy their second generation before they can unleash the Twelfth Iman’s vengeance on Los Angeles.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

In the mid-1930s, Churchill was out of power and out of favor, exiled from the cabinet after years in key positions. His voice was unwelcome, but insistent. The Nazi threat was growing. It would could not be reasoned with, it could not be appeased; it must be confronted with arms backed by blood. And Churchill stood up for the Jews.

No one wanted to hear any of that. The Oxford Union had resolved that under no circumstances would its members fight for king and country. After the bloody reaping of European manhood in Flanders Fields, one could at least understand the sentiment, misguided as it was. But one would think that today pacifism would be utterly repudiated by what followed, and one would be wrong.

When Chamberlain’s craven appeasement failed and France and the Low Countries fell under the Nazi jackboot heel, when Britain itself was threatened with invasion, they came crawling to Churchill. He had been right all along through his Wilderness Years. But who has been right all through these New Wilderness Years?

Unwilling to Stand, Let Alone See

Human nature hasn’t changed one iota. Thugs like Vladimir Putin and Islamofascists like ISIS understand the bloody mathematics of power in the way the espresso-sippers refuse to. Ukraine will fall. The Baltics will fall. Turkey will fall. The Balkans will fall. Europe will fall.

This is the fiesta before the storm, and Europe is busy partying like it’s 1939. These are the New Wilderness Years, except this time the bad guys are going to win.

Full article: Europe Is Partying Like It’s 1939 (The Federalist)

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