To those of sufficient insight and objectivity, the ongoing fight for the European soul (and its lands, women, and institutions) must be riveting. Of course both qualifiers are met in only rare instances, as practically every party who perceives the existential conflict also has a rooting interest in its outcome.
The war is being waged mostly in that semi-conscious plenum space between instinctual self-preservation and a perpetually shifting ratatouille of moral imperatives. More objectively it represents that unpleasant friction between the fight or flight subconscious, which still recalls the pain of disregarding obvious threats, and elevated conscious minds, which are intelligent enough to be convinced of anything.
The former is always counseling caution, though only in a murmur until peril becomes dire. And what a fulcrum upon which to perish: an internal voice that speaks too softly until it is too late.
Though you can understand how instinct is overcome by the occasion. Most of us are (relatively) safe, comfortable, well-fed, and offered an abundance of ball-bouncing africans for our weekend amusement. It is only when they are bouncing our own skulls that we briefly reconsider the social primacy of anti-racism. And the dead don’t testify to the dilemma. For the rest, our secular religion compels we keep attention focused on liturgy rather than its carnage through the sanctuary.
In Europe, we are now hearing that voice starting to shout above the priests. Though, customarily, not loud enough. In what had potential for significantly positive follow-through, a bare majority of Austrians have determined that the cultured mind can accommodate a wide range of foreign shanty towns.
By only a few thousand votes, the far right candidate for that country’s presidency was defeated by a member of the Green Party, who has pledged to maintain ample foliage in Vienna’s sprawling future favelas. The new president-elect, Alexander Van der Bellen, made dissolution of the Austrian nation a key plank of his campaign.
I’ve experienced how Austria rose from the ruins of World War Two, caused by the madness of nationalism.
There’s an interesting element of madness that Mr. Van Der Bellen seems to discount. That being it resides on a continuum. How he would comparatively grade the madness of Monrovia’s West Point slum or Karachi’s Orangi Town to Orban’s Hungary is unknown. Though I imagine his posterity will one day offer bitter input.
Though their father is their misery and I have my own posterity to consider. The welfare of whom will largely hinge on peers contemplating the pleasure of air prior to heads being plunged underwater. Austrians couldn’t quite hear the inner voice on that topic. Which makes me think Salzburg has a very different sound of music in its future.