I had the privilege and the pleasure of being a panelist during a public debate in Budapest on the thorny subject of “Christian Democracy and the Future of Europe.” I was one of five “experts” on the panel. The others came from Poland, Hungary, Germany, and England. My fellow Englishman on the panel was Theodore Dalrymple, the curmudgeonly conservative commentator. He and I exchanged some good-natured banter on the role of Christianity in the restoration of the West, his atheism butting heads, albeit affably, with my robustly militant Catholicism. It was, however, my butting of heads with the German panelist, Roland Freudenstein, which created the most controversy during the debate. He and I saw eye to eye on nothing and differed on just about everything. It would be well, therefore, were I to say a little more about Mr. Freudenstein before expanding upon the nature of our differences.
Roland Freudenstein is a former member of the foreign and security planning staff of the European Commission in Brussels, and a former Director of the Warsaw office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. As such, he is firmly and ideologically committed to a stronger European Union and to further European political integration. He is also, intriguingly, the co-author of a book entitled The Renaissance of the West, which is something on which one might have thought we would agree. Like Mr. Freudenstein, I also desire the Renaissance of the West. The problem is, however, that Mr. Freudenstein’s understanding of what constitutes “the West” is very different from mine. The difference is discernible in the subtitle and description of his book. It is subtitled “How Europe and America Can Shape Up in Confronting Putin’s Russia.” As for the description of the book’s thesis, as expressed on the website of the organization with which Mr. Freudenstein is currently associated, it reveals what Mr. Freudenstein means by “the West”
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