People want to return to tradition and transcendence

Prof. Engels, published in 2019 the volume “Renovatio Europae”, in which you and other authors explored “Pan-European patriotism”. You are now providing “Europa Aeterna”, in which you not only provide an “Introduction to the Constitution of the Union of European Nations”, but also ask the co-authors to interpret it. Are there no more pressing problems at the present time than such fanciful ideas? War, energy shortage, inflation…

On the contrary: these problems are precisely the result of the many conceptual weaknesses of postmodern societies, most notably the European Union. The present has shattered all traditional societies of solidarity and now faces the realization that, in light of the present times of crisis, there is no willingness to make any sacrifices for higher values, social minorities, or European neighbours. If we are to come to terms with the current situation in any way, it is essential that we reinforce that common identity that binds all Westerners together and creates a pan-European cultural nationalism, rather than further its “deconstruction” – what I call “Histracy”.

But aren’t you playing into Putin’s hands with your idea of ​​confederation by weakening the real European institutions?

No, because my project of confederation aims to strengthen Europe further – but only when it really makes sense, above all in foreign and defense policy, but also in research, infrastructure and security of strategic resources. I warned some time ago of the threat posed to Europe by not only China but Russia as well—precisely because European institutions advocate effective cooperation among Western nations and a consciousness, common interests, and shared identity that must be weakened rather than strengthened. After promising beginnings, the EU has become a paper tiger that attempts to regulate the smallest normative details and intervene on a large scale in the domestic and cultural policies of member states, but fails to create solidarity and protect Europe’s uniqueness – from Russian invasion and Chinese competition. Cultural Americanization or African exodus.

“Without a historical reference to transcendence, the commitment to human rights must drift into relativism and even cynicism about perpetual ‘negotiation’ – and thus to ‘tyranny of the majority’ or those they control through media monopolies.”

The impetus for the book, which you are also writing, came from conservative Polish scholars. As an old Belgian historian living in Poland, aren’t you afraid of being exploited by a political ideology? Is this a book written from the perspective of the Law and Justice Party?

The idea of ​​imperialism, that is, a Western nationalist and culturally conservative approach, was already featured in my earliest critical publication of the time from 2013, many years before I started working in Poland. As such, my collaboration with local conservatives stems from an independently created ideological consensus, not wholly but partly, not any form of political influence – and I am pleased to see many other parties and intellectuals across Europe increasingly moving together. From sovereignty to colonialism, which I hope will one day also provide some kind of middle ground for cooperation with Christian democratic parties, if they finally regret turning to the left and regain their own identity.

I feel proud to be able to participate in this process through my essay work, and as a historian, I consider it my duty not only to work on an abstract understanding of the past as “l’art pour l’art”, but also to help defend the love of our great cultural heritage And make it a political push again.

How realistic and desirable is it in your opinion to realize your idea of ​​federalism?

If it wasn’t desirable, I wouldn’t formulate it. Regarding realism, this is not my only priority, but it is about defending the Western Christian concept of the good, right, and beautiful, which must be defended even if lost. But I think that the increasingly left-liberal hacking that “wake up” the European project, together with the internal erosion of democratic institutions, is gradually becoming absurd, and that many people increasingly wish to return to a positive relationship with transcendence and tradition.

I hope to give this legitimate research an idealistic, but at the same time realistic and ideologically capable goal of winning the majority, not only to counteract anti-Western “awakened” relativism, but also to fight the trend. Towards narrow-minded nationalism and selfish liberalism. The coming months and years will present our society with the most difficult tests – it is essential to establish a positive model right now.

Do you really want to live in Europe which is certainly Catholic as some authors long for? Or is your concern, as suggested in Léon Crier’s article on beauty, also not primarily an aesthetic issue?

Like “Renovatio Europae,” “Europa Aeterna” is an anthology whose authors all share important core beliefs, but follow different approaches and preferences – precisely this attempt to reconcile broad political diversity with Western cultural patriotism is the preoccupation of these volumes. Of course, a renewed constructive relationship between our nations, European institutions, spirituality and Christian culture is central to our program: without a historical reference to transcendence, commitment to human rights should drift into relativism and even mockery of perpetual “negotiation” – and thus to it frequently invoked “tyranny of the majority” or Those who control it through media monopolies.

Of course, aesthetics is also an essential part of imperialism: our entire culture is shaped by the search for beauty, which is also what is real and good, and it is no coincidence that the growing disinterest in the latter two terms goes hand in hand with the frightening ugliness of modernity. Leon Krier, leader of the Victorian monarchy and architect of Prince Charles, is one of the distinguished, and unfortunately still very rare, exponents of attempting to combine a timeless classical Western aesthetic with the demands of modernity.

Leave a Comment