While America is a project, Europe is a sorrow. Before long, it will amount to little except the residue of abandoned dreams. We dreamed of a great diversity where we might live well, seek personal fulfillment, and, if possible, get rich—and all this in proximity to great works of culture. This was a worthwhile project, to be sure, and such a calm condition would be perfect in a time of great serenity, in a world that had finally achieved Kant’s “perpetual peace.” But there is a striking contrast between the stories that we Europeans tell ourselves about rights, tolerance, and multilateralism and the tragedies that we witness in the surrounding world—in autocratic Russia, aggressive Iran, arrogant China, a divided Middle East. We see them, too, in the heart of our great cities, in the double offensive of Islamist terrorism and fundamentalist groups aiming to colonize minds and hearts and Islamize Europe.
Pascal Bruckner Europe’s guilty conscience