It’s funny how times change. At the dawn of the 20th century, Europe was the hub of a number of different global empires, such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Britain, all of which were vying for the control of the world’s lands. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, Neo-Europeans, such as Louis Hoffman who penned an article on this very site around a week ago, are all virtue signalling against “empire”, whilst simultaneously trying to justify the another large, pan-European imperialist state: The European Union.

In his article, Hoffman uses every trick in the book in order to try and make the European Union seem like a legitimate state. He appeals to pragmatic (but flawed) reasoning, he fears mongers, and he even appeals to some sort of cultural-ethnic patriotism, despite also deriding the ethnocentrism of more traditional nationalists as illogical. Ultimately though, he fails to justify the EU’s existence as an entity, and even if he did manage to succeed in proving the union was legitimate, he completely fails to morally or pragmatically justify why Ireland in particular should ever be a part of the union.

The modern EU is an empire in that it governs multiple nationalities and ethnic groups through one, centralized authority. This European empire however, came about a little differently compared to its predecessors. Whilst empires such as the Roman and British ones were established through conquest, this new form of empire came about more through clever and devious politicking rather than any kind of bloody conquest.

But how is it justified? What gives it the authority to exercise force over its multicultural citizens? For a start, it is certainly not democracy. No proper democratic process would ever force its constituents to vote again and again in order to choose the “right” answer in any ballot, and even if they did, they definitely could not ever justify misconstruing a policy in order to get a desired outcome. The EU however, has done both of these things either directly or indirectly in order to get their way. They did the former by getting the population of Ireland to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, in the infamous Lisbon II referendum, and they did the latter during the campaign for Britain and Ireland to join the EEC, saying that the organization was simply a free trade entity, and would never impact either country’s sovereignty.

This kind of mentality held by the upper echelons of the European bureaucrats epitomised by an infamous quote from Jean-Claude Juncker: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’ ”. We have also established that the EU does not have a military, so even if it were in theory possible to derive legitimacy from the barrel of a gun, the EU most certainly have not done it.

It seems I’m not the only one who is struggling to explain why the EU is legitimate. Even our resident Neo-European Hoffman stresses the supposed pragmatic benefits of the union, never daring to open the can of worms which is whether the organization is even legitimate in the first place. Despite this, he claims that the UK is abandoning her “European brothers and sisters” by trying to leave the project, despite never stating how the British have any familial relation to the mainland Europe in the first place. In this issue, Hoffman makes the same mistake which most europhiles do. They fail to distinguish Europe from the EU. Leaving the EU does not mean abandoning our “European brothers and sisters” because we are not leaving Europe.

The EU is less than a couple of decades old in its current form, while Europe’s cultural history is more than 2,000 years old when it first blossomed in Greece and Rome. Furthermore, if he wants to argue that common culture is the reason that Britain (and Ireland for that matter) should stay, then that causes a whole range of problems. For example, if this cultural link is the case, then surely a better economic and militaristic union would be between all the current and former English speaking commonwealth countries, since they have a much closer cultural connection thanks to their religion, history, language and traditions. If Hoffman wants to then bring up an ethnic link with our European neighbours, I will proceed to refer him to his own article, where he calls ethnocentric nationalists “pseudo-intellectuals” and the position overall as “simplistic”. If he wants to be consistent in his argument, then he must renounce both these positions before attempting to stress importance on this ethnic link.

In his paper “Rethinking Empire from a Chinese Concept ‘All-under-Heaven’ (Tian-xia),” Professor Tingyang Zhao outlines how the empires of China gained legitimacy, and how a legitimate world empire might look. His thesis is that the only way an empire can ever succeed is to implement the philosophy of “All-Under-Heaven”, which involves the empire operating in harmony with itself. He makes the argument that trying to force globalism will never work, since only an empire which sees the global “oneness” that already exists in the world can succeed in being legitimate. Written in 2006, Zhao compliments the EU for its integration, but says that it could never expand into the role of a one world government since it is too isolationist in its view of the outside world. 12 years on and a rift similar to the one described in his paper has appeared between the core of Brussels and Germany and the rest Europe. The former wants more and more integration, while the latter wants less and less. By Zhao’s logic, this disharmony with itself is a symptom of the illegitimacy of the European project.

The reason why this rift has come about is through the forced globalism put onto the world by the Neo-European, and will only end with the destruction of the European Union. This destruction is not due to the flaws within the Pan-European Empire, but is to do with the very nature of the Empire itself. It was inevitable that this would happen with the EU, mainly due to the structure under which the Empire was built. In regards to policy making within the European Council, the now president of the European Commision, Jean-Claude Juncker said the following in 1999: “We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”

This kind of lack of trust between the Eurocrats at the top and the rest of the Empire is exactly what Zhao is talking about when he talks about how modern globalism is just a combination of universality and fundamentalism. This lack of consideration for what other thinks of the Eurocrats European values is why the European Union is, and always will be, illegitimate, and also why the empire will eventually fail.

So why is anybody trying to defend this crumbling empire? The same reason why anyone would defend any crumbling empire: power. Hoffman in his article repeatedly mentions how Ireland would be irrelevant outside the European project, and that only inside the project could we help shape the world, and for this the sacrifice of the individual sovereignty of nations is “needed”. At this point I must ask: Why does Hoffman want to shape the world in the first place? I know personally as an Irishman, I want only to shape the future of my own Civilization, and feel that trying to impose the will of myself and my culture on others would be barbaric. Yet, for some reason, within the mind of a Neo-European, the idea of a Europe content with its lot is a horrific concept, and that Europe’s value is nothing more than its influence outside of its own borders.

This isn’t some conspiracy theory. Former Minister for Finance Michael Noonan openly talked about these Imperialistic European goals when he delivered a speech in Trinity College at the start of this year, and the Union has been active on this belief, not only by using European Funds in places like Syria but also by advertising the fact in member states, such as the recent ad campaign taken by the EU showing how the union is operating outside its borders for the apparent good of children not under their jurisdiction. The campaign showed ads on the sides of buses, bus stops and even played adverts in certain cinemas. But what right does the EU have to do any of this? We have already established that the EU has no metaphysical legitimacy as an empire, so how can it ever justify its actions within its borders, let alone outside them? And even if it could act legitimately outside its borders, what is the purpose of spending the taxpayers money on propaganda surrounding the issue?

Moving back to concepts brought up in Zhao’s paper, the EU is going about building an empire the wrong way. Zhao states that “an empire of All-under-Heaven could only be an exemplar passively in situ, rather than positively become missionary”. This means that if Hoffman and his Neo-European friends really do want to build a legitimate empire, firstly, they have to go about advertising it honestly, and secondly, they have to not go and virtue signal all over the place about how great the empire is, and instead allow other nations and cultures to view them operating happily and fruitfully, and then decide to join them of their own volition. This means putting an end to all the publicly funded advertising campaigns, as well as all the vain attempts at sabotaging the UK’s exit of the union.

Lastly, I want to directly address Hoffman’s claim that Ireland could never negotiate an exit deal with the EU. Bringing up the fact that the EU has nuclear weapons and a big army and we haven’t, as well as the strange idea that President Trump would prioritise the EU over the rest of the world, Hoffman says we’d never really be able to successfully leave. This is pure and utter delusion on Hoffman’s part. The idea that military might would play a part in whether Ireland could leave the EU is beyond insane. Firstly, Europe doesn’t have one army, so it could never give the order to invade the island, let alone nuke it. Secondly, the support for an aggressive war against a small nation would be all but non-existent within the EU, and finally, the EU would antagonise the rest of the entire world by such warmongering, especially if it started throwing around nuclear weapons like they were paper aeroplanes.

All of this is leaving to one side the fact that Ireland has the reputation of being home to some of the most bloodthirsty nationalists outside of the middle-east. Whilst I don’t particularly like quoting pieces of media, I believe that it will help to further prove my point in this instance. Sky’s new series Britannia has a brilliant moment that instantly springs to mind when considering a European invasion of the British Isles. Revolving around Rome’s invasion of the then mysterious Celtic Britain, the Roman General Aulus Claudius, played by David Morrissey, just after the Romans first set up camp on the island turns to his second in command and utters the simple line: “We’ve just invaded hell”. A similar invasion by the EU would be just like invading hell itself for the European forces, and would result in a bloodier war than even Vietnam, and would result in a similar ending for the invading European Union.

Having addressed many flaws in Mr. Hoffman’s arguments in certain areas, especially in regards to the legitimacy of the Union, there is still one important issue which europhiles love to reference as the EU’s raison d’être. Louis claimed, with a poorly justified argument, that Europe would return to war if it were to abandon the EU project. He did not bother looking at other continents which do not have a union and yet have experienced relative peace for more than half a century. Europhiles tend to ignore the fact that it is only since 2004, almost 60 years after the end of World War II, that the majority of European states were even members of the EU. Even Switzerland and Norway still behave rather peacefully while being independent non-EU states. The truth is that peace in Europe has mainly been achieved thanks to NATO, along with the US presence in our continent.

The European project is headed up by Eurocrats who have no regard for the average citizen, and ultimately, it is only supported by naive Neo-Europeans who have no clue as to where exactly they are heading. Some of them have good intentions and mean well, no doubt about that, but that is not enough. As Edmund Burke said, “it is not enough, in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country.”

The European project is an attempt at a 21st century empire, without any knowledge of the philosophy needed to build a legitimate empire. They are trying to create a utopia, and that’s what they will get, a place that doesn’t exist. It’s for all of these reasons that the European Union is doomed to fail.

Peter Caddle

Posted by Peter Caddle

Peter is the Burkean's resident expert on all things popular and cultural.