When the Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The dark ages descended upon Europe. Christian civilisation in the West collapsed. The second christening began about one hundred years later from an area that had itself been christened by Roman missionaries but had geographically never been part of the Empire because it was situated across the sea, even more to the west than the Western outskirts of the Empire had been. From here the Saints Columba and Aidan and other holy men travelled east to bring the ancient heritage back to the lands where they had originally come from.
History never repeats itself, and yet similarities are often so striking that in a way there is nothing new under the sun. In the 17th and 18th centuries North America was colonised by freedom loving people who brought the political institutions and traditions from Europe to a new continent across the sea. Many of them had left Europe because they wanted the freedom to live according to their own conscience instead of the conscience of the centralist absolutist rulers of the new age that was sweeping across Europe from the 16th century onwards. Their traditions were rooted in the decentralised traditions of the late Middle Ages and the Aristotelian philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Europe’s Middle Ages had been characterised by an absence of central power, while man was bound to multiple legal systems: the legal order of his city, that of the land, that of his guild, that of the church. There was not one monopolistic ruler, as in China or in the Muslim world, but many, which guaranteed greater freedom for the individual. The philosophy of Aquinas, moreover, was centered on the individual. God had called man to be free from sin, but in order to be free from sin he had to be virtuous, and in order for virtue to have any value it had to be voluntary, implying that the virtuous man had to be free in every aspect of his life including, as Aquinas’ followers later pointed out, his economic activities.
Hence the paradox came about that the civil society developing in the new continent was in a sense older than the new Modern Age of the absolutist monarchs governing Europe. When the Americans rebelled in 1776 they rebelled against absolutism in order to keep their old freedoms. Theirs was a conservative revolution. Europe had its own series of revolutions from 1789 onwards, but these were revolutions of a different sort. They toppled the ruling absolutists to replace them by absolutists of an even extremer form: totalitarians. These were not satisfied with controlling their subjects’ political and economic lives but also wished to control their minds and souls, i.e. to become their god.
The different historical evolution of Americans and Europeans has greatly influenced them. American society is a society whose culture and view of mankind resembles that of the old mediaeval Europe from which it organically evolved. It puts man before the state because it accepts that man should come to God as a free being. Europe, having lived through the perversions of the Modern Age, has absorbed much of the absolutist and totalitarian spirit. Though the state was rendered democratic in the second half of the 20th century – an event, moreover, that would not have been possible without American assistance – it has in fact developed into a totalitarian democracy. Europeans still tend to put the state before man, still see the government as a god (a benefactor who feeds and supports his people), while the real God – He who wants people to come to Him freely because otherwise their “choice” for Him is no choice at all – has almost totally disappeared from present-day European society.
Americans have never lost the vital understanding that freedom has to be indivisible in order that man may lead a virtuous life. Democracy and freedom of expression represent only the political and moral-cultural fields of life. There is a third important field of social life: economics. In this field the Americans have adopted a system that allows citizens the greatest possible economic freedom and severely restricts the power of the government. It is called capitalism, which to most Americans is something positive, while to most Europeans it appears deeply repulsive.
The strength of America's political system lies in the fact that ordinary Americans have never underestimated the supra-economic function of their economic liberty. One way or another, consciously or unconsciously, ordinary Americans have always felt economic liberty to be an indispensable guarantee of their democracy and freedom. Most ordinary West Europeans do not. In “welfare state” Europe, capitalism is a dirty word, as despicable as communism. Its euphemistic equivalent is “free-market liberalism.” But many West Europeans aren't even in favour of that. Economic freedom in Western Europe is severely restricted by a multitude of regulations and laws. Although these are designed to protect the citizen against risks, they discourage him from taking risks altogether and thwart his prosperity.
Hence Western Europe's economy stagnates while America’s keeps growing. This causes jealousy, which reinforces the political frustration Western Europe already has towards its Atlantic partner. Many Europeans compensate for their frustration by feeling culturally and morally superior to the Americans, whom they regard as backward. Though the Americans live in the so-called new continent, they represent the old, pre-modern Europe: They believe in God, they refuse to realise that the state can be a benevolent institution and subsequently distrust it. Large parts of the West European population consider Americans to be naive, simple, unsophisticated, even dumb – a nation without any real culture or significant history. Such views are held not only by ordinary West Europeans (who get their political education in state run schools and from state run and/or state controlled media), but also by many intellectuals who ought to know better.
Europe, however, is being overrun by barbarians. Its populations are dwindling, its welfare systems are collapsing and its old religion, Christianity, which the Europeans had cast aside, is being replaced by another one: Islam. If Europe is to be saved it must return to its old heritage which has survived in the land across the Ocean. We need to bring America’s values to Europe. These values are our own lost heritage. To survive as Europeans we have to become Americans. It is time to save ourselves by establishing a Society for American Values in Europe.