Meanwhile, Timothy Garton Ash witnesses a bright new dawn across the EU, the world's most successful promoter of democracy, or so he claims:
The demographics are unmistakable: Europe is dying. The wasting disease that has beset this once greatest of civilizations is not physical, however. It is a disease in the realm of the human spirit. David Hart, another theological analyst of contemporary history, calls it the disease of “metaphysical boredom”--boredom with the mystery, passion, and adventure of life itself. Europe, in Hart’s image, is boring itself to death.
Who's right? My guess is that Weigel is overly-simplistic. (Look at Victor Davis Hanson's "Mexifornia" , and you'll find all is not rosy in the American body politic.) But while I want to be convinced by Garton Ash - who has a great track record on eastern Europe, after all - it's still a leap of faith for me.
Yesterday, I was answering questions from Polish Eurosceptics which could have come straight from the UK Independence party. These opponents of the EU are as much Europeans as we pro-EU Europeans are. In fact, in their very nationalism they are more characteristically old-European than they know. The difference is this: we new, sceptically pro-EU Europeans have a great story to tell - a story that is about the past but also about the future. Our challenge to these old, doggedly anti-EU Europeans is: we hear your story about the past, but where's your story about the future?