Culture is overrated.
How is it possible that we bind Europe together, is still not clear. But the EU must and can do without imitations of the national state symbols.
‘Culture’ refers to a source, an origin, an identity that makes us ‘beside ourselves’ because we can not plan, design, change, influence or take responsibility for it. ‘Culture’ appears not only formless, shapeless but also – almost like a piece of real estate that gives us a shelter, a house and a home, but also binds us to a certain place, to the status quo.
The word ‘culture’ is as overstated and abused in Europe, the concepts of ‘nation’ and ‘homeland’ is elsewhere. The people who get confused about the political process are looking for an escape route in the culture. Those who do not want Turkey two be part of the EU are resorting to the culture. Those who want to mark a distance between Europe and America or opposed to celebrate friendship across the Atlantic, talking about culture. The term is so loose in the edge that it can not justify anything.
There are other concepts of the same lack of precision. But the problem with ‘culture’ is that it implies an assumed political certainty that restrict political freedom. This assurance is a figment, the decision of culture content is political and must be political – which today is democratically. The term ‘culture’ is attractive because it apparently refers to something basic and unchanging. It slows down any discussion. What is being described as ‘cultural’, seems to grow organically and is deeply rooted in us, even if we do not have conscious access to it.
Europe’s creative freedom.
The EU was the exact opposite. It rooted house was challenged by the fluid movement of the economy. The economy detaches us from our place of origin, redefining the limits, it is indifferent and forgetful. The economy was the first step of a Europe that could not be reconciled cultural: In 1950, just after Auschwitz, there could be no forgiveness or friendship. In this sense, it is considered wise to take that step away from the feudal loyalty and towards a flurry of activity to delete history.
It puts Jean Monnet’s famous words that European integration should be started with a cultural union in perspective. But towards the end of the last century, if not before, the market had exhausted its integration potential. It satisfies no longer the increased legitimization needs.
In order to secure an identity as ‘household’ resort to ‘culture’ as a last resort, this may not be used. Culture can not clarify when Europe was temporally or where Europe ends geographically. The idea of a special Christian and Western identity is diffuse and is based on a notion of uniformity that neither know in Christianity or in the West.
To tie Europe together, is still not clear. The debates on banning burqas or minarets are not essentially different from similar debates in New York, and these ideas leads precisely to the conflicts and divisions, when used in practice. Culture in itself offers no clue as to what belongs to Europe, and what does not belong. It does not mean that these characters are not found. But you will not find them in the culture, the culture contains no arguments, but only the assertion of identity. Arguments in a relationship in political life, where we also find debates, interests, projects, strategies, goals, democratic decision-making and opportunities. It is here and not on a cultural level, that Europe’s creative freedom is preserved.
Expert dominion and community.
Policy does not create coherence in the sense that we get goose bumps when we hear the European Union’s anthem and see the European flag to the top. These kinds of symbolic politics – like the idea of creating a kind of constitutional patriotism through charters of fundamental rights and citizenship – failed.
These actions belong to the wrong category, for European integration and should be able to cope without the nation state heraldic HUD. Perhaps it is rather the exercise of political power in the technocracy’s and the objectivity of the mode with the expert as a central figure that creates community. The by-mythologises nation, defuses policy and disarms culture. Thus it loses its political tend to inflated muscles and violence. Democracy has indeed always had a tense relationship with experts, and therefore satisfies a political management that appear rational and without alternatives.
The tension between the secret of what creates a deep political community, and the rational management of Europe is apparently something we have to live with and learn to balance. But it is a political act and not a cultural matter. It is political, that Europe must find an image of itself to take advantage of the turmoil in the culture.