While Europe sovereign debt crisis has been the center of world news, a separate quandary has also been taking place in Europe. The nation of Belgium has been without a government since June 1, 2010 – nearly 500 days – surpassing Iraq and Cambodia to break the world record. Greece may have a lesson to teach America about spending and debt, but Belgium’s lesson on multiculturalism may be more important.
The crisis is between the Wallonia region in the south and the Flemish region in the north the former is French speaking and the latter is Dutch. The conflict centers on the long standing cultural differences: linguistic, socio-economic, and ethnic. This comes despite the liberal establishment’s best efforts over the last half century to convince us that culture doesn’t matter.
During the last election, the New Flemish Alliance, a pro-secession party, won the largest share of the nation’s Chamber of Representatives, 27 out of 150 seats. The other secession parties, the Flemish Interest Party won 12 seats and the List Dedecker which has 1 seat. Essentially 27% of the elected officials in Belgium’s lower house support partition. With the remaining political parties unable to form a clear majority due to ideological and cultural differences, the Belgium government went on hiatus. Negotiations for a coalition government have been underway ever since. Last week, Elio Di Rupo, leader of the Socialist Party, stated that the eight party talks were close to reaching an agreement and a coalition government. If a new government is not formed, elections will most likely be held within the next year. Many Belgians, including the Belgian King Albert II, fear new elections would only widen the Flemish separatists majorities.
Regardless if a coalition government can be formed, Belgium has been on the road to dissolution since 2007. That marked the first time that a secession party won a large share of the Flemish electorate. The Walloon electorate’s majority was the Reformist Movement. Debate raged between the two along the lines of cultural issues; ultimately Belgium went six months without an interim government. Despite Belgium’s economic stability in comparison to most other European countries, there is a long standing desire for a nationhood amongst the Flemish people.
In the case of Flanders independence, The Walloon Rally, a pro-secession Wallonia party, has already met with French officials from France’s two ruling parties, coming to the agreement that Wallonia would become the 28th region of France. According to a poll by the French newspaper Le Figaro, roughly half of Walloons and two-thirds of French citizens support such a plan. This would mark the first time two-thirds of the French have agreed on anything since the guillotine. 41% of all citizens in the Flemish part of Belgium supported pro-secession parties despite newspapers claiming the actual support for secession is much lower.
Many cultural relativists that live in capitals and universities across the world have promoted the theory that economics is more important than culture. To quote Dan McCarthy of the American Conservative Magazine, “A country is not a family, but neither is it a market.” Economic benefits can only go so far as to keep unity amongst a people, the European Union is a perfect example of such. Even before the economic chaos that unfolded after the sovereign debt crisis of Greece and Ireland, the European Union was unraveling. Right wing nationalist political parties were seeing their share victories in elections and a wide increase in public support all over Europe; from the National Front in France, Freedom Party in the Netherlands, Danish People’s Party in Denmark, True Finns in Finland, Sweden Democrats in Sweden to the Swiss People’s Party in Switzerland; the latter is the majority party in the nation.
If economic advantages are not enough to keep the richest continent in the world together, what are the chances it will keep the richest nation in the world together?
Currently, the United States takes in an estimated two million legal and illegal immigrants annually, many from the third world. Unlike former waves of immigrants, this generations of immigrants are not thrown into a melting pot, it’s tossed salad. Immigrant groups do not give up their former customs, culture, and language in order to become American. Multiculturalism means valuing everyone’s culture, except of course it’s foundation lays with Western Civilization or the American Founding.
Political correctness has deemed that we cannot discuss limiting legal immigration, it’s just not polite. However, the question must be posed when the southwest of the United States is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically closer to Mexico than the America of the Beach Boys and John Wayne, what is to stop a secession movement in America?
It seems unrealistic and cultural relativists will have deemed this idea for only racist or xenophobes. This writer however points to other first world nations that see partition on their horizon the Quebec secession movement in Canada, Scottish from the UK, Chechnya’s partition from Russia, Tibet from China, Kashmir secession from India, the Kurds from Iraq, Palestinians from Israel, Basques from Spain and the Corsicans from France. Culture no matter how much academia and modern media deems it as unsubstantial, creates bonds of community, fraternity and makes countrymen out of strangers.
Regardless of the attempts to forge a union for Belgium, it seems that the partition is only growing and we may soon see a Flemish Republic in our lifetimes. If the United States does not proceed in decreasing immigration levels and attacking the disease that is multiculturalism, we may very well see partition come to our shores as well.