Caplan bets Europe will survive

Bryan Caplan has bet $300 that Europe, and every state of Europe, will survive to 2020. I don’t make these kind of bets, because outcomes tend to be ill defined. What constitutes surviving? But I expect that around 2040, people will look back to around 2020, and say that some substantial portion of Europe, fell back then.

The nation state derives its cohesion from the nation, and the nation is not a patch of land but a people, united by something – perhaps an ideology of governance, economics, and law, but more commonly race and culture, or religion, or some such.

Nation means, still today means, a mutually supporting group of people, not a territory – a people united by culture, or by language dialect, or by race, or by ideology, or religion, or some such. Jews are a nation, Israel a nation state, Kurds are a nation, but Kurdistan is not (yet) a nation state. Iraq is a state, but evidently not yet a nation.

If a state is united by race or religion, the nation state has a disturbing tendency to commit mass murder. Even before the rise of the nation state, even back in the days when nations seldom corresponded to states, the nation was an important and vital part of Europe’s history, leading to lots of disturbingly efficient slaughter – and not just the easy slaughter of disarmed obedient sheeple that we saw so much of during the twentieth century, but the highly successful mass slaughter of armed and united peoples.

Thus a nation state inherently derives its cohesion, its strength, its military prowess from what is now called ethnocentrism, or racism, or bigotry, or ignorant superstition or capitalism/imperialism/exploitation etc.

The transnational progressives are attempting to use the power of the state to suppress that which gives the state cohesion, sawing off the branch on which they stand.

And because they have in substantial part succeeded, Europe suffers from extraordinary military weakness. Europe could not defeat the Serbs, could not defeat the Taliban. The British could not hold the most crucial oil port in the world against Sadr’s forces.

Hence the inclination on the right to predict the collapse of the EU or some of its component states. The prediction seems absurd. The states of Europe have police, tanks, bombers and an immense budget, whereas the various threats to their existence are tiny and have nothing much – but the threats have internal cohesion, and the states of Europe do not.

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