Does Europe Belong to Europeans?

by Vincent Cucchiara

Consider Colonialism, one of the great sins of the West (or so the left says), in which Europeans traveling from Europe to the Americas, Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia hoped to gain control over more resources, sometimes at the expense of the native population.

Surely, any self-respecting, socially conscious progressive today would tell you that Colonialism was a great tragedy. It was wrong to exploit the resources of the native populations of any given geographic area, because those resources belonged to the native people. The people who have lived in the lands of Africa, America, and Asia, are the ones who have a right to that land as their home. The invading Europeans had no right to what they had, regardless of whether or not the native populations were compliant or not.

To be clear, I have problems with the Progressive view of nearly everything, especially when they start to make moral judgments. As you may have guessed from the title, I am simply trying to draw a parallel to the current circumstances of Europe.

For the past 24 months or so, migrants from the Middle East and Africa have been pouring over the borders of Italy and France, some carried by well funded NGOs claiming to be working in the service of humanitarian relief, some floating on rafts or over laden fishing boats, almost all walking hundreds of miles in order to get to Europe.

The reason they wish to get to Europe is clear: welfare and material goods. They want resources. They want access to the massive social programs built by and for the people of Europe. They want access to the greatest infrastructure that has ever been developed by any civilization in history. Much as the colonists of old, these people are traveling to distant lands in hope of material gain at the expense of the native inhabitants.

Now I raise the question. Does Europe belong to the Europeans? If it was wrong for the Europeans to go to Africa in pursuit of diamonds and farmland, why isn’t it just as wrong for Africans to come to Europe in search of social services?

If the indigenous peoples of the colonized nations were the rightful owners of the resources consumed by the colonists, then Europeans are surely the rightful owners of the resources and infrastructure of their nations. I see it as impossible to hold simultaneously that the colonization of the non-European world by Europeans was wrong and that the colonization of Europe by non-Europeans is not wrong.