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Thingvellir_Northen_Lights

Not all of Europe is being destroyed. There are still some pockets of continuity, survival and success. One of these fortunate exceptions is the state of Iceland.

Situated 470 miles north of the United Kingdom, this volcanic island is naturally suited to isolation and uniqueness. Its population of 325,000 all descend from the same root, speak the same language, share the same religion (or lack of religion) and are never separated by more than three degrees of relation from one another. A happy consequence of this is that the government and the people are on intimate terms. Democratic accountability is instantaneous and efficient. Economic differences are smooth and flat. Violent crime is an eccentric aberration, along with insanity, extremism and summertime.

Ostensibly a Nordic country, Iceland is far too remote to have avoided a character of cultural independence. That disconnect is mutual. Icelandic affairs are rarely the meat of a European conversation. Few people can name a son or daughter of the island once Bjork has been disqualified.

While in the short term, a slight embarrassment, the prize of this isolation is potentially dazzling. One can easily imagine a dystopian future in which continental Europe (despite its frescos, sonnets and symphonies) has been reduced to a tent-landscape of warring urban tribes, some indigenous and old, some foreign and charged with youth. Where Sweden, that ancient byword for cleanliness and order, is choked in filth, and Norway, divided into ghettos, each one hostile to the other.

In that world, Iceland will be a shining city on a hill, its situation the subject of much envy. As France, crippled by a terminal revolution of the worst kind, dives from its high tradition of wine and philosophy into the lower domain of Hanafis and Hanbalis, no Parisian will be so blindly proud as to refuse Reykjavik its due.

Starting from an artificial point, the glories of Europe may be regrown in smaller form on the only land hospitable to them. Little Londons, Bristols and Berlins will emerge from expat enclaves in Hafnarfjörður, Mosfellsbær and Arborg. The full expanse of our misbegotten politics will stand revealed in the contrast between New London’s peace, and old London’s squalor; New Bristol’s potential, and old Bristol’s doom. Between what we had, and what we have become.

Iceland is a potent and hurtful reminder of what is being compromised and degraded by our misdirection. It is the last holdout of an old Europe; one that had no need to fear Jihad, mass-paedophilia or beheadings, frozen in gilded eternity.

D, LDN.

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