The Dangers of a United Europe editoriol Spirit ol Feor

It is as well to recognise that the project of a united Europe is one that is being promoted by a variety of forces for a variety of motives. Its main impetus comes from a range of industrial and commercial interests which are finding that the existing territorial divisions of Europe constitute barriers to their expansion and their development in accordance with the possibilities which new forms of technology have made possible. The development of computer systems, for example involves considerable capital investment, but these systems make feasible a scale of planning and operation which ranges far beyond that which is possible within existing national frontiers.

These considerations are buttressed by a fear of communism from the East which is now at least a decade out of date. If there is any reality behind the fear of further communist expansion it certainly does not lie in Eastern Europe, for there, as some elements of the Chinese communist hierarchy rightly diagnose, the thing is played out and what fire is left in the communist belly is in fact glowering in countries further West in Europe, in Spain, Portugal, Greece and possibly Italy, where social discontent still feeds on miserable consumption standards, and which could seek a Marxist expression in alliance with countries similarly affiicted in Latin America, North Africa, and though less Jikely, the Arab world.

This same spirit of fear undoubtedly informs a great deal of the poJitical support given to the scheme, especially by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Catholic parties of Europe. It is also being strongly supported by elements of the old socialist parties and by a variety of individuals who regard themselves as ' progressive ' and who share a touching and quite unfounded conviction that any increase in the size and scale of political organisation is somehow synonymous with progress.

Full Fruits

The relationship between these forces illustrates one of the more disquieting symptoms of the intellectual malaise of our time. During the past 100 years the minority forces of large scale profit and power questing have shown an increasing efficiency in foisting upon the community at large their own values and assumptions and then persuading the generality of people that they (i.e. the people) have arrived at them independently.

At first this tendency was strongly resisted, especially by the different schools of socialist thought and by some religious leaders. Unfortunately the scale on which these socialist and labour parties came to be organised made it inevitable that the leadership groups should become more concerned with questions of power rather than of principle, and once it became clear that the capitalist animal was too doughty a beast to be vanquished-in the twentieth century at least, they did not hesitate in the interests of their quest for power to come to a speedy accommodation with it. It then became evident that the fatal flaw in the business of securing to the worker the full fruits of his labour lay not in deciding whether the major means of production, distribution and exchange were nationalised or not, but in determining what the real nature of those full fruits was to be; this in turn was bound to be determined by whoever was establishing the norms and morality of production and, increasingly, consumption. It is this which helps to explain why all the clamour for a united Europe comes not from the base but from the apex of our societies.

Was the nature of these ' full fruits ' to be a frenetically inspired and commercially pressurised programme of production and consumption at an ever accelerating rate which took no account of the distinctive needs of man in all aspects of his being, directed only towards titillating and emphasising the grosser needs and the creature appetites of his nature whilst ignoring or debasing his need to quest for truth, love and beauty ?

Or was production, and for that matter consumption, to be directed towards the satisfaction of his essentially modest material needs in ways that left him free to seek the fulfillment of his other needs by each taking his own path towards goals whose variety and richness dazzles the imagination to contemplate? The founding fathers of socialism, men such as William Morris, Tolstoi and others urged the latter course, but even as they wrote the compass was already decisively set on the other.

Today only a few anarchists and pacifists are left urging the latter course. Almost the entire body of socialists accepts the pattern of life that now prevails, anti-socialist though it may be to its core, and has unthinkingly, come to accept its assumptions, when it is aware of them, as its own.

Too large

The fact remains it is wrong. These assumptions come not from any wise consideration of human needs, they come from the needs of the minority who are riding high at the expense of the majority in a quest for profit and power. The Hampstead New Statesman Liberals who fall in so readily with the proposals for a united Europe are not really thinking through the problem it is supposed to answer; they are simply participating in an intellectual fashion whose couturiers are as anonymous as they are powerful, and who are as powerful as they are dangerous. They are following the new fashion of adhering to the consensus of opinion, regardless whence the consensus originated or what interests it has reaHy been fashioned to serve and in doing so they express not the demeanour of an intellectual so much as the instinct of a mole.

What in fact is the problem that European Unity is designed to solve ? The answers are various. 'We must prevent Europe tearing itself apart a third time' says the British Prime Minister. Would Europe have been able to embark on the folly of two world wars if the people of Europe had really controlled their governments ? The chief lesson