It is wonderful when you look forward in eager anticipation to an event and then have your expectations fulfilled by it. It was like that for those, including this writer, who expected the results of the May 26 elections for seats in the European Parliament to confirm the continuing rise of nationalist populism and corresponding decrease in the power of secular liberal globalism. “A new Europe is born!” Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini could proclaim at a news conference the next day. This was after he kissed the crucifix on his rosary and then laid the beads out in a line on the table before him.
They were like a wall fortifying the truths he voices against the half-truths, deception and fake news most reporters nowadays do not scruple to write even when their deception is transparent. For example: It was perfectly obvious before the elections that the media were hyping the “threat” posed by the nationalist populists. Some predicted the far right would win more than a third of the seats in parliament. That was never in the cards, not at this stage of things, but the predictions would enable media commentators to claim later that the strength of nationalist populism had been exaggerated, ignoring that the exaggerating was done by them.
Salvini’s League party was one of the big winners on May 26. How big? I am not going to get deeply into exact numbers here. They are still somewhat in flux at the moment of this writing. For instance, some tallies show Spain’s nationalist populist Vox party with four seats in the new parliament while others show five. What matters is trajectory – up from zero seats in the last E.U. parliamentary elections five years ago to some number now. It is the same with far-right parties in nearly all twenty-eight E.U. countries; an upward trajectory for them and a downward one for center parties.
It is clear that four of the five largest parties with seats are nationalist populist ones: Salvini’s League, the Brexit Party of Nigel Farage of the U.K, Fidesz of Hungary’s Viktor Orban, and Poland’s governing Law and Justice party. Germany’s center-right Christian Democratic Union together with its sister party the Christian Social Union of Bavaria round out the top five, and elements of it, especially the Bavarians (who are Catholic) may work with nationalist populists on some issues, notably immigration. It should also be observed that the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany Party) apparently outpolled the CDU in at least two of the six states of eastern Germany, the party’s stronghold.
Another big winner was Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France. The party beat President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche. Macron, frustrated after six months of weekly yellow vest demonstrations he couldn’t stop no matter what he did, had turned the May 26 parliamentary election into a virtual referendum on his presidency. Of course when National Rally won, Macron’s spokespersons immediately screeched that it was by “only” one percentage point. You can bet that if the election result had been the other way around there wouldn’t be any talk of “only”.
The plain and simple fact: Le Pen won. Macron lost. And with his defeat more was lost than his inflated vision of himself in his role as French president. Also gone is his hope of succeeding Angela Merkel as the dominant figure of a globalist E.U. That would be gone even if he had won because at forty-three percent globalist center parties of the left and right are now a minority for the first time in the history of the European Parliament.
Outside that particular minority and to the left of them is another: the Green parties. Three points are to be made about them. The first is that they should be understood simply as socialists whose banners are no longer red. The second is that they are not alone in their environmental concerns. Nationalist populists also have them. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, for instance, has a specifically green plank in its party platform. Third, there is a vast difference between justified concerns over environmental problems and what to do about them and the apocalyptic claims of the Greens and the measures they would enforce, were they in power.
What is the difference? “Save the planet!” Greens cry. From what must it be saved? From human activity that they say threatens to destroy it. They would do the saving by two interlocked means: by regulating the activity and by limiting the size of the human population so that there will be less activity.
The nanny state is only one result of regulation. Abortion and contraception will also save trees by killing babies and by life prevention called family planning. In sum, Green ideology is anti-life. The Source of life is God. You see where the Green path leads.
Along with much else Green ideology is the outcome of more than seventy years of secular liberal globalism teaching men and women of the West to despise their civilizational roots by inculcating in them the notion that any religion, any society and any culture along with any individual is as good as any other. All are equal. All, that is, except secular liberal globalism in the political and social order. It demonstrates its right to rule and thus its superiority by its very assertion of equality. However, deep in our hearts and minds we know the assertion is not true, as shown by its own assumption of superiority. The rise of national populism reflects this awareness, at first dim but now growing stronger. The Brexit referendum in 2015 and election of Donald Trump in 2016 manifested it, and now the results of the European parliamentary elections have shown it still more.
Catholics can exult in them because the civilization is rooted in our religion, and it is going to flourish anew as the roots are nourished by national populism’s return to history, customs and tradition protected by strong borders.
Yes, the Church for the moment is opposed to the return, but don’t fret about it because she too is returning. One proof is that the Mass of all time is now available nearly everywhere for all who want it and as it was not merely a few years ago.
(I should bite my tongue. I said “the Church”. I should have said much of today’s episcopacy and clergy. “Much” is necessary to say because of course not all bishops and priests are handmaids of secular liberal globalism. Though they may keep their heads low these days, they don’t all agree with Pope Francis who said the other day, in one of his trademark airplane press conferences, “We see borders in Europe and they do no good.” Well, that was only the Pope’s opinion, not papal teaching. Matteo Salvini and other civilizationists are entitled to theirs.)