The greater problem. By Gerald Stubbs.
I was born shortly after the Second World War into a time of austerity, of rationing and of shortages. My parents generation, just like their fathers' before them thought that the war they had just gone through would be the war to end all wars and neither were right in that belief, notwithstanding the horrors that the Nazis had instigated and persued and which in part the Allies had responded to like for like. Many soldiers on both sides of the conflict bore the scars of what they themselves had done and seen and from what they had suffered. War is the great dehumanizer else one could not play one's part in it. In war it is essential that the opposing side is stripped of any attribute of humanity for one to be able to kill what would otherwise be an inoffensive human being, possessed of the same sentiments as one's self.
Though no further global wars have taken place since the last world war, there has been an uninterrupted succession of wars since then which have all depended upon people dehumanising each other as a pre-condition to being able to conduct those wars; the further peoples are separated by political propaganda and enforced frontiers that prevent them from meeting the easier it is to effect the required dehumanisation of the other. Differences of race, religion, politics and advantage are used to forment dislike of the other; the politics of separation and nationalism is used to further make others no longer to seem human but base – lower than animals.
This then is how two world wars were fought and every war since with willing participants. One must hate the sub-humans one fights and on no account be allowed to see them as people who do the same things, have the same aspirations, the same sentiments, who love their children just like us, who sing and dance and smile and who wish for nothing but to have enough money to live comfortably and raise their families in peace; just like us.
The only conflict that has taken place in Europe since the end of the world war happened between countries that were not part of the European Union and the combined western armies managed to orchestrate peace in that region, a peace that has lasted. That there have been no other conflicts in Europe since the end of the world war has been due in the greater part to the expansion of the EU and the greater homologation of the ideals and standards of the participating countries; of our increasing trade and interdependence upon that trade and of the freedom of movement of people between the different member states. Freedom from war is one of the main precepts of the EU and thus far it is one that has kept the European countries united.
Now, today, we are faced with separating ourselves from the EU; damaging ourselves by damaging our trade and our freedom of movement, the very things that keep our ties with Europe close. We plan to close our borders when we are a country that is built from a layer-cake of successive migrations from the rest of the world and this in the name, somewhat disguised, of national identity. We have seen this before, it was one of the pillars of Nazism. It would be bad enough if this were the main problem but it is not. It is symptomatic of the greater problem which is deeper and worse, being the resurgence of the extreme right wing in politics. The referendum could not have gone against Europe had there not been a racist, anti-immigration agenda: that is what won the referendum, racism, us and them, only this time it is not just the traditional targets but anyone who speaks with an accent that is plainly European and not British.
This politic is shared in populist parties in most of the countries of the EU many of which are in the ascendency. The British vote has only given them more impulsion than before, people seeing for the first time that it is actually possible to cede from the EU and subsequently has given them more voice and support. Europe is starting to resemble the politics of the interwar years for the first time in my life. This is a disruptive, insular politic that seeks to find differences between countries rather than rapprochement.
But worse still, there is now a president of the United States who shares that politic, who demonises particular races of people, who demonises people of a certain religion, who has embarked upon a policy of deportations and who seems to think that there is a certain type of American who is bona-fide and others not. A man who speaks of the superior genetics of people like himself, who is putting all his energy into trying to discredit the press on a daily basis with the aim of getting people to disbelieve the press and rather believe his fabrications. We wonder now how Hitler managed to persuade people of the transparent lies he propounded; we are seeing it played out now in front of our eyes where half the population believes the president no matter how transparent, varied and often the lie.
In Britain there is a government that does not have a mandate, having never been elected, and which is becoming the most right wing government in our history whose foundation is one of anti immigration and deportations which have already started to take place, the same as in the US.
Brexit is not the primary problem but finding some way to overthrow it must be a priority for anyone who is not standing on the extreme fringes of the right wing because preventing Britain from leaving the EU is the only way open to you and I to put a check on the greater problem, the resurgence of facism in the western world which must be prevented at all cost. For us, staying in Europe is a first step in our defence against a politic that is inhuman, distasteful and not worthy of anyone who pretends to call himself a human being. We have seen it in action once and we should not have to see it again.
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