“Left to themselves, the Europeans run the risk of becoming absorbed by their internal social concerns. Europe’s economic recovery has obscured the longer-run costs of its seeming success. These costs are damaging economically as well as politically. The crisis of political legitimacy and economic vitality that Western Europe increasingly confronts – but it unable to overcome – is deeply rooted in the pervasive expansion of the state-sponsored social structure that favors paternalism, protectionism, and parochialism. The result is a cultural condition that combines escapist hedonism with spiritual emptiness – a condition that can be exploited by nationalist extremists or dogmatic ideologues.
This condition, if it becomes rampant, could prove deadly to democracy and the idea of Europe. The two, in fact, are linked, for the new problems of Europe – be they immigration or economic-technological competitiveness with America or Asia, not to speak of the need for a politically stable reform of existing socioeconomic structures – can only be dealt with effectively in an increasingly continental context.”
Taken from The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski and first published in 1997. It just seems so appropriate to me currently.financialguy