Monday, January 18, 2010

blackouts and byzantine delusions

ViewfromBrittany | Europe has another problem, which largely monoethnic America tends to overlook. It is not culturally homogeneous. America certainly has varied regional cultures and a number of dispersed minorities, but on the whole it has the same general culture from Boston to Los-Angeles. The territorial minorities are tiny and far between. The only sizable one is the Navajo nation, numbering 180.000 and while American routinely talk about secession and civil war, very few regional entities have enough legitimacy and political clout to actually secede. As for the secessionist organizations which surface sometimes in the news... let's say that my own organization is present in the regional government, and we are not particularly big by European standards.

Europe, on the other hand, is divided into some thirty nation states and a larger number of stateless nations, people and territorial communities, some of them quite large. As the amount of resource available to European societies decrease, this mix of deep-rooted internal divisions and of very advanced depletion may prove deadly. The existence of reasonably large sub-state territorial communities will provide future post-collapse polities with a stability those born from the beak-up of an homogeneous society will lack, but conflicts between a failing but still control-avid state and its territorial minorities can be incredibly destructive, especially if the border are not well defined or in areas of mixed identities or ethnicity.

In fact, if Europe has a counterpart in the late Roman Empire, it is poor, dependent and tribal Britain.

This fascination with an Europe which is quite likely to collapse quicker and deeper than America, tells in fact more about the delusions of some activists than about the supposed advantages of the European model. Those who feel that the current system doesn't give them what they deserve – and those are often the same as those who wishes it to collapse – often look away to some far away country – the farther the better, which, in their eyes, embodies all the virtues their homeland supposedly lacks.