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Map of separatist movements in Europe

A preoccupation with ethnicity, minorities, and differences erodes national identities based on what a people have in common. (Photo: public domain)

A striking feature of socialist Europe is the proliferation of separatist movements. Growing numbers in Northern Ireland want to split from the UK and found a new nation called Ulster. Nationalists in Scotland want independence. Belgium’s Flemings (the Dutch) want independence and some Walloons (the French) have responded with a proposed state of their own (you cannot fire me, I quit!). Denmark’s Faroe Islands and Greenland both have independence movements. In France, there are separatist rumblings in Brittany, Corsica, and the Basque country. Catalonia has recently expressed its displeasure with being part of Spain. Germany’s Bavaria gets restless now and then. In fact, there are many such movements within most European countries, although not all of them must be taken seriously.

There is a significant trend in all of this: under the aegis of the left, Europe is returning (or trying to return) to its medieval past when the continent was a confused collection of tiny independent kingdoms. This fragmentation is an important characteristic of leftist thinking, one that also plays out at a lower level within all societies where the left holds sway.

Occupy Wall Street is a fine example of blaming someone else for your problems. (photo credit: public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Occupy Wall Street is one example of how the left divides society into minority groups, and then labels them good or bad for political purposes. (photo credit: public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Socialists play a conscious game of manipulation designed to undermine the strong. Since they do not need any “help,” leftists display a marked distaste for strong people, often characterizing them as bullies, fascists, or Nazis. They are not overly fond of strong nation states either (hence the universal unpopularity of America among the left), preferring the local committee style of governance, the good old soviet. The socialist ploy is simple yet remarkably effective and works as a variant of the old “divide and conquer” philosophy. In this case, however, the objective is not to reunite the divided parts in an Empire or powerful nation state, but to keep them as distinctly separate units in a loosely organized, remarkably weak, “inclusivity.” The chaotic ineffective European Union is an excellent example.

The basic strategy is to relegate as many people as possible to the status of minority, preferably oppressed and / or victimized. Identifiable groups are singled out and reasons found for why they should see themselves as disadvantaged or even victims. Each of these reasons becomes a “social problem” that needs a campaign to raise awareness, an advocacy group, new government spending, and further national or regional legislation. All solutions are collectivist in nature. The “social problems” may be quite legitimate, but the divisive nature of the minority labelling process and the culture of victimhood that goes with it generate remarkably destructive attitudes.

So we learn that gays and lesbians are victims because straights are homophobic. The mentally handicapped suffer a lack of training and acceptance. The physically handicapped are impaired because society does not go far enough to provide access and special transportation. Immigrants do not have sufficient opportunities. Racial minorities are victims of racism. Ethnic minorities are victims of discrimination. Women are oppressed by men, underpaid for their work, and face a glass ceiling when it comes to promotion. The poor do not have enough cheap housing. Labour is exploited by the nasty (strong) capitalists and left vulnerable by inadequate labour legislation. Those with long-term disabilities do not have adequate access to physiotherapy and rehabilitation programs. The elderly have inadequate pensions and home care. Students face tuition fees that are too high and all education should be free anyway. Children are chronic victims of physical and sexual abuse and do not get enough protection. The mentally ill lack sufficient institutional facilities. And so on, and so on.

Once people have bought into this insidious sorting process, everyone sees himself or herself as a member of some beaten down, exploited, or neglected sub-class within the greater society, from which they then tend to withdraw their sense of solidarity. Those few who remain outside all of these categorizations are demonized as those who organize the exploiting, beating down, or neglecting, and in that way become just another beleaguered minority!

When this process is well advanced, what was once a strong cohesive society has degenerated into a seething pack of organized warring factions, all of whom are out to get the maximum possible benefits for themselves. Worse, all of these conscious “minorities” feel little loyalty to society as a whole. They see society as the vaguely defined group that allows them to be oppressed, victimized, or neglected, or as the group that actually does some of those dreadful things. Either way, society owes them plenty.

Those who are strong become enfeebled by this process, learning to see themselves as victims of one kind or another when they should view themselves as capable and competent individuals who are quite able to look after themselves, and who should look after themselves. People facing genuine problems acquire an aggressive sense of entitlement that ignores financial realities and grows ugly when thwarted.

The left have done their work extremely well throughout the West. Europe’s multifarious separatist movements and national bankruptcies are just some of the more obvious results. Yet within divided Western societies, the growing dissension at the grassroots level may actually pose the greater danger.