Europe’s Missing Constitution

Do we really need a European Constitution? On January 1, 2013, the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union—the TSCG or Fiscal Compact, for short—will take effect. It doesn’t sound too ominous, but in fact it will be the first time in the history of the European Union that part of a nation’s sovereign rights and power will be explicitly transferred to the EU. The…

Against Barroso’s Federalism

On September 12 of last year, José Manuel Barroso, the Chairman of the European Commission, delivered his State of the Union speech to the European Parliament. In it he described a vision for the EU that is difficult for European conservatives to accept. Barroso—like the Swedish Christian Democrats and the Swedish Moderate Party—belongs to the same conservative pan-European party (the European Peoples’ Party or EPP). But speaking as Vice-Chairman of…

Reflections on Italy’s Tea Party

The term “Tea Party,” which refers to the 1773 Boston revolt against taxation by the British, doesn’t have the same historical resonance in Italy as it does in the United States. Nevertheless, the American political tradition often provides a useful model for public debates in Italy—and Europe more generally. In this context, America’s contemporary Tea Party movement has provided a significant contribution. The American founding principles of “life, liberty and…

The Defeat of the French Right

On the eve of François Hollande’s 2012 election as President of France, thousands of jubilant people gathered at Place de la Bastille in Paris. This gave observers an overview of the Socialist Party’s clientele. Indeed, images of the event showed many people brandishing the flags of other countries, perhaps their “countries of origin,” as the phrase goes. It brings a few questions to mind: Might it have been a prodrome…

Eric Voegelin & the Divine in World History

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the greatest political theorists of the twentieth century. Along with Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) and Leo Strauss (1899-1973), he is usu-ally named as one of the three most outstanding representatives of neo-classical political philosophy. Born in Cologne, Voegelin moved to Vienna in 1910 where he received his intellectual formation, especially during the 1920s. At the time, Vienna was a kind of intellectual center of the…

Western Suttee: Against a ‘Right’ to be Killed

On March 30, 2011, a team of doctors euthanized a Belgian couple at their request. The 83-year-old man suffered from terminal prostate cancer. His 78-year-old wife, although suffering from severe rheumatism, was not terminally ill. But she did not want to live with-out her husband. This became the first official, public instance of co-euthanasia in Western Europe. The death announcement in the newspaper stated that they “choose to end it…

Otto the Great (1912-2011)

It is impossible to describe European history without mentioning the Habsburgs. From this family there came German, Spanish, Bohemian, and…

Our Western Heritage: An Interview with Robert P. George

Why is Western civilization worth studying? By any standard, the intellectual, moral, religious, political, economic, scientific, technological, artistic, architectural and literary achievements of the West are extraordinary. It would be foolish not to study them, examine their roots and explore the complex relationships among them. [S]tudents are … inheritors of these achievements. Their culture—and, thus, their lives—have been shaped by them. They deserve to understand them. And if they are…

Has Europe Lost its Soul to the Markets?

As the political leaders of Europe come together to save the euro and European Union itself, I believe the time has come for religious leaders to do likewise. The task ahead of us is not between Jews and Catholics, or even Jews and Christians, but between Jews and Christians on the one hand and the increasingly, even aggressively secularising forces at work in Europe today on the other, challenging and…

Europe’s Populist Problem

“Populism is on the rise in Europe!” That is what the mainstream media and the politicians from the established parties tell us, and they consider it to be a very worrying development. “Populist parties offer easy solutions to difficult problems,” they also say. In other words: populist politicians seek to fool the people. “Their solutions are not real solutions at all. On the contrary, they will only aggravate our social…

The Seductiveness of Ideology in Politics

At the end of my studies, back in the fifties of the last century, I thought of writing a thesis on “the anti-democratic intellectual.” The Cold War was then still very much in full swing. Many intellectuals had gone to the Soviet Union. Instead I went to East Africa to sell oil. But the subject stayed with me. After a life full of activity, I decided to write a book…

‘Yellow Ants’, Fundamentalists, and Cowboys: An Interview with Rèmi Brague

In this interview we speak with the French intellectual, Rémi Brague, about his life and work. The question of whether…