People need stories in order to grasp the inexplicable, to cope with their fate

This gets to the heart of the matter. “People need stories in order to grasp the inexplicable, to cope with their fate,” Mak wrote. “The individual nation, with its common language and shared imagery, can always forge those personal experiences into one great, cohesive story. But Europe cannot do that. Unlike the United States, it still has no common story.”

[…] The European Union has constructed common institutions, laws, and even a currency. It has created all the symbols of a nation-state, including a burgundy passport that places “European Union” above one’s own nationality, and a flag, even if it is only voluntarily waved at the Ryder Cup golf championships. It even has an anthem: Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” though it doesn’t have lyrics and most Europeans don’t know it is their anthem. What it lacks is a people who share a common culture, language, or narrative — or at the very least are able to identify with the political construct that has been created in their name.

–(Gareth Harding)

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