Monday, June 14, 2004

Many great empires in the history of the world have fallen because of internal problems. The Roman empire was dismantled by the decadence within its own population. The leaders of Mongolian-conquered territories would go native and weaken their ties with Mongolia, which eventually resulted in the collapse of the empire. They were too strong to be defeated by their external enemies. Insteadtheydefeated themselves.

Decadence in Europe is reaching new heights. The Europeans currently are writing their first constitution, and during the deliberations they came up with a text that does not include God in the heritage of Europe. This move came after strong pressure from, among others, the French delegation. Many countries, mostly the new members of the European Union, opposed it. Unfortunately, it seems like France will have its way. France is experiencing serious problems with its Muslim population, which does not integrate into the society and is causing internal tensions in the country. For this reason, the French are afraid that even mentioningEurope’s Christian heritage in the Europeanconstitution might stir unrest. Some light on this cowardly move may be shed by a short description of the European mindset.

The Europeans have experienced two world wars. Many Europeans still have vivid memories of the atrocities, which took place literally in their backyards. World War II was started by Germany. Hitler came to power on the wave of ideologies that preached the superiority of the Germans over other nations. Communism, which also left its mark on Europeans, followed shortly after the war. These events deeply scared the people on the continent. This is why Europeans are weary of any ideology.

Ironically, this gap left by the ideologies long gone was filled by another ideology, which the western Europeans prefer to call “tolerance.” This ideology teaches people that anything that may offend others should not be mentioned — even if it is your deepest belief. Consequently, being tolerant means accepting any misdeeds and not mentioning God in any circumstances, as this may offend those who do not believe in him. It is OK to be morally relaxed, but it is not OK to talk about God.

It is precisely this kind of attitude among the Europeans that resulted in the expelling of God from the constitution. People prefer to play it safe and not mention in official documents anything that even resembles ideology. This kind of approach is not wise, as examples of fallen empires show us. If Europe chooses to deny its own moral heritage, the consequences can be profound.

It is also this unfortunate attitude, combined with the demise of the importance of moral values, that brought to power practical politicians whom some prefer to call political scientists. These people make all their decisions based on polls — they are like a flag in the wind. They say whatever the people want to hear but often do not believe in their own words. These politicians have brought their countries a steady rise in taxes and questionable international policies. The European economy is in a slump, and the welfare state is largely to blame. The welfare state, which now is the biggest problem of Europe, was created by politicians to attract votes of tolerant voters who feared to offend those who did not necessarily feel like working hard.

It is time Europe got over its dislike for ideologies and fear of strong beliefs. Only a morally strong Europe can once again revive its economy and take more responsibility on the international stage, instead of constantly blaming the United States for anything that goes wrong in the world. The Europeans need to reinstate their moral beliefs and not fear the terror of tolerance.

This is a call for Europeans to not forget God — for their own sake and the sake of the future generations.

Lukaz Rozynski, a native of Poland, is a graduate of the Warsaw School of Economics. He was an intern at the Heritage Foundation this spring.

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