The decline of the Roman Empire has been discussed for centuries, and it could be that the discussion about the decline of Europe will last as long. Decline often does not proceed as quickly as feared; there are usually retarding circumstances. But it is also true that, for better or worse, the pulse of history is beating quicker in our time than before.
There is also a danger that we will throw up our hands in despair and accept with resignation Europe’s future role as a museum of world history and civilization, preaching the importance of morality in world affairs to a nonexistent audience. Surely decline offers challenges that ought to be taken up, even if there is no certainty of success. No one can say with any confidence what problems the powers that now appear to be in the ascendancy will face in the years to come. And even if Europe’s decline is now irreversible, there is no reason that it should become a collapse.
There is, however, a precondition — something that has been postponed. The debate should be about which of Europe’s traditions and values can still be saved. The age of delusions is over.
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