Fundamentalism of liberalism
Congratulations are due to Tonio Borg regardless of the outcome of the plenary vote. He has made Malta proud.
His three-hour grilling was indeed a pleasure to watch. He mastered a complex portfolio of briefs in a matter of weeks.
In the face of adversity, he displayed the calmness and clear mindedness of a seasoned politician. He steered clear of controversy, notwithstanding the controversial nature of a number of hot issues on his plate.
He stuck to his principles while fully respecting differing views and evidently surprised even the most vociferous of his detractors.
He deftly avoided the traps that were set for him and convincingly illustrated his mastery of the Charter, European law and European affairs.
One would have thought that such a performance should have won the designate-commissioner the day with relative ease. Regretfully, things do not work out that way in the world of liberal politics.
After having to deal with the false allegations that sought to tarnish his unblemished reputation, Borg had to deal with a number of detractors who would have us believe that a prospective commissioner who does not endorse their liberal views is not fit for the job.
A number of members of the European Parliament went further. They were not even prepared to give Malta’s nominee a sporting chance to face the grilling; by their standards of European values, Borg should have been prejudged as unfit for the job, without even being given a fair hearing.
Some would have us believe that, in order to be truly European, one must necessarily endorse liberalism. This approach is, in fact, anti-European. It runs in the face of Europe’s ethos of unity in diversity.
A politician who is true to his Christian Democratic ideals is as much a European as a Green, a Liberal or a Socialist. A Liberal who maintains otherwise is doing a gross disservice to liberalism and to European ideals.
Diversity of traditions, cultures, experiences and philosophies are central to the European experience. It is therefore shocking to read a “Liberal” declare: “I have a problem with his (Borg’s) philosophy of life,” and, on that basis, to argue that Borg is unqualified to be commissioner.
Tolerance for some Liberals means that only their philosophy of life should be tolerated. That, in any standard dictionary, is bigotry, not liberalism.
Another fallacy that manifested itself in this liberal charade was the suggestion, explicit or implicit, that there is such thing as a right to abortion. There is a right to life not to abortion. Abortion, whether it is safe or unsafe, is the negation of life and the antithesis of right.
One positive aspect that emerged in this process is the ability of both political parties, Nationalist and Labour, to rise to the occasion and set aside their partisan differences when the national interest is at stake.
Borg’s nomination enjoyed the support of both the Government and the Opposition and Borg is on record thanking all six MEPs, both Labour and Nationalist, for providing active support to his candidature.
It is indeed unfortunate that, on this matter, Alternattiva Demokratika aligned themselves with their Green colleagues in the European Parliament and gave their thumbs down to Borg even before the hearing.
That, by any standards, is prejudice, pure and simple, no matter how avant-garde or open-minded AD would like to portray themselves.
The sooner Malta puts this saga behind it, the better. There is, however, a lesson to be learnt.
We are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of intolerance and imposition.
Liberals, who parade themselves as the paragons of tolerance, freedom of thought and conscience, are increasingly conducting themselves in a manner that seeks to impose their philosophy of life on others while manifesting increasing intolerance to Christian values and ideals.
We should be vigilant in the face of this new kind of fundamentalism, the fundamentalism of liberalism.
This article was written before the plenary vote, for publication after the vote.