Pat Buchanan

Virtually every nation in Europe now has one party dedicated to halting immigration or leaving the EU. Though all have been demonized with the same political slurs -- extremist, ultranationalist, xenophobic, neo-fascist -- the differences among them are as great as the distance between the Swiss People's Party and Golden Dawn in Greece.

But about almost all of these parties, certain statements are valid. They have all been gaining strength at the expense of older center-right parties. They are all detested by the Davos elite. They all draw their growing strength from the working and middle class.

Collectively, they lack the power to break up the EU. But their strength is such that the EU may not be able to hold a referendum on any change in its constitution without risk of having it voted down by a half-dozen member countries.

Can the European Union, so divided, continue to stand?

What propels these parties?

First, there is the desire in each country involved to retain its own ethnic, cultural and national identity and to halt immigration that would alter its character, especially from the Islamic world and the Third World.

Second, there is the desire for sovereignty and liberty we Americans, above all, should understand. French, Dutch, British, Italians and Germans do not want to be ruled by the European Commission in Brussels any more than Thomas Jefferson's generation wanted to be ruled by the king across the sea whom Jefferson described in his declaration in Philadelphia.

Third, unlike transnationalists and multiculturalists, the patriot parties hold their countries to be the largest entities to which they can give love and loyalty. And they do not worship at the altar of economic efficiency or measure happiness by the gross domestic product.

Davos Man may have difficulty understanding them. Not so 20th-century man.

In 1919, the Irish, among the poorest people in the British Isles, rose in rebellion because they preferred their own country, their own culture and their own kith and kin to being part of the greatest empire since Rome.

What has all this to do with us?

The ethnonationalism roiling Europe is not unique to Europe. It is roiling the world. And it is not absent from the hearts of Americans.

If the May elections for the European Parliament turn into a sweeping rejection of the EU, what is happening there will find an echo here.

How would Americans vote on a timeout on all immigration? How would Americans vote, if given a chance, to repudiate our entire political elite?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Pat Buchanan's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
©Creators Syndicate