THE COLUMN: Virtue Über Alles
For first time since the end of the Second World War, continental Europe is facing shortages: of food and, crucially, of energy. During the war, as the tide inexorably turned against National Socialist Germany after the disastrous battle of Stalingrad in 1943, the Third Reich was ground to powder by the Stalinist U.S.S.R. and the Western allies, principally the United States, with some help from a reeling Great Britain. The brutal winter of 1944-45 saw the Germans reduced to salvaging firewood from the wreckage of their principal cities and eating the animals in the zoos in order to survive.
Germany and Britain now face another tough winter, but this time the crisis is of their own making. Deluded by their Leftist parties, including the so-called "Greens" (like watermelons, green on the outside, communist red on the inside), and frivolously stampeded by a cataclysmic earthquake/tsunami in a country 5,600 miles away, the panicked Europeans suddenly abandoned their nuclear facilities while simultaneous pivoting away from reliable sources of energy in order to pursue quixotic fantasies of "renewable" energy that will never come true. What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.
Europe is in the middle of an energy crisis. Uncertainty over the flow of natural gas owing to Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused a spike in prices. The price of natural gas has soared to as much as $500 per barrel of oil equivalent, 10 times the normal average, fueling fears of winter shortages and cold homes.
Key commodities have already been affected. Fertilizer production, which requires large inputs of natural gas, is being shut down due to high prices. Manufacturers are hoarding glass in anticipation of future shortages. Climate change has made the situation worse, as a historic drought is drying up Europe’s rivers and cutting into hydroelectric capacity. The rising cost of energy has driven a spike in inflation in the United Kingdom, while Germany has suffered the worst inflation since the 1970s energy crisis.
What happened? The quote above from Foreign Policy partially explains how they got here (and, if things continue, the U.S. will not be far behind), but the real reason is: prosperity, combined with virtue-signaling neo-Luddism. The dreadful toll of death and destruction of the war, combined with the success of European reconstruction under the Marshall Plan, which saved the devastated economies of western Europe, left Europe with two debilitating by-products: the rise of pacifism as an anti-nationalist force and the abjuration of war as a means of foreign policy; and a false sense of economic security, under which they were free to chase their own chimeras of "soft power" and "progressive" living without any heed to reality.
The Europeans should have learned from their own history, but of course they never do. The Oxford Union's "King and Country" debate of 1933, a fateful year in European history, turned out to be one of the high points of British pacifism. Having been bled dry by the Somme and other horrific battles in World War I, and also having lost the cream of their manhood in the process, the Union passed the motion that "this House would not in any circumstances fight for King and Country." Winston Churchill who never saw a war he didn't want to fight, knew that war with Hitler was unavoidable, and was aghast at the surviving, whinging chaff of England's crop, the sons of the cowards, conscientious objectors, and those otherwise unfit to serve. Six years later, however, they were doing exactly that.
After the war, with Germany in ruins and Britain fully emasculated, the kinder, gentler, socialist side of the European character immediately came to the fore. Churchill was chucked out of office just a few months after VE Day. Pulverized and bifurcated, Germany abandoned militarism and undertook its Wirtschaftswunder, or "Economic Miracle." (Now foolishly replaced by the Energiewende, or Energy Turning Point.) France, under de Gaulle, went its own idiosyncratic, Gallic way. Nobody wanted to fight any more: it was cheaper and easier to let Uncle Sam, in the form of NATO, to guarantee the defense of Europe against the emerging Soviet bear.
As Europe rebuilt it found itself with serendipitous upgrades in its 19th-century infrastructure, including modern electrical grids, fossil-fuel home heating, widespread adoption of automobiles (called PKWs in German, for Personenkraftwagen). Within a span of less than three decades, Western Europe was probably the nicest place to live on the planet, with modern conveniences nestling side-by-side with ancient monuments, high culture available to all thanks to government subsidiaries, and food prepared by the great chefs of the old Continent. In such a lotus land, there were no consequences to living as if there were no consequences.
Meanwhile, the U.S. had become bogged down in Lyndon Johnson's War in Vietnam, race relations steadily worsened, crucial provisions of the American constitution were abrogated by an act of Congress, blacks rioted anyway, cities burned, whites fled, unprivileged boys died in rice paddies, prominent political figures were assassinated, the borders were thrown open, and the feminist movement—in its deleterious sociological and economic effects, the American equivalent of the Euro-pacifist movement—took firm hold both of the workplace and the ballot box. Thus were the consequences of living as if there were no consequences from fundamentally transforming the country from the victor in World War II into a pitiful, helpless giant.
As America foundered, Europe prospered. But now that the Rev. Wright's chickens have come home to roost, the great Republic is now just a shadow of its formerly muscular and confident self, brought low by the cultural sappers of the Frankfurt School and the winds of social change from the backsides of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Some may, and do, see this as a good thing (and indeed the Obama/Biden administrations have been predicated on it). Others, now being demonized by an increasingly demonic Robinette, do not. Those people, in case you haven't noticed, are now enemies of the state.
And as in Europe, those opposed, Iago-like, to safe, secure, ever-cleaner, cheap, and reliable energy are striving for the upper hand in the U.S.A. They know it's the death blow against the hated enemy: the land of their birth, the land that gave them shelter from Hitler, the land that opposed both national and international socialism. So watch your food prices soar, watch them outlaw your private gasoline-fueled cars and mandate electric vehicles with a limited cruising range that can be circumscribed by the flip of a switch at Government Central, and which can't be powered at all when the grid fails. Watch them herd you into high-rise ant-farm collectives, into which you can be confined at Washington's whim, and where ants are very much on the menu. Watch them laugh as you forage for roots and berries and bust up your pianos to burn in your fireplaces, should you be allowed to have a fireplace. Welcome to the Great Reset, comrade!
And watch yourself voting for them, again and again and again until they don't need you to vote anymore. Sure, it makes you feel good. But it makes them feel even better, and that's all you really need to know. Credo in un dio crudel. You've been warned.