Dalrymple asks us to consider the possible sources of meaning in people’s lives:
- the struggle for existence. This no longer applies. It is impossible to starve in the West.
- religion. In England, and certainly in France, it is nearly dead. England is a very irreligious country, and France is an anti-religious country. (The English are too lazy to be anti-religious; they’re just not religious.)
- politics. Whatever you say about Marxism, it provided people with a transcendent purpose. They thought they were taking part in something bigger than themselves. They were. Unfortunately, it was something very bad.
- Participating in or contributing to culture. There has been an almost deliberate cutting-off of people from any sense of continuation of a culture. It’s not as bad in France as in Britain.
- patriotism. In Europe this is shunned. It is equated with the worst of excesses.
What is left? Advocates of the unitary European State try, says Dalrymple,
to make the European Project (as they call it — they never tell you what it actually is) a source of meaning, but it is no source of meaning.