If Camille Paglia and the International Herald Tribune are both concerned, it must be bad:
CP: Searching […] for online news about Italy in recent years, I’ve been dismayed by its near-total domination by soccer, with archaeological discoveries and the restoration of Old Master paintings coming in second. The pope flits hither and thither, but that’s it. Is there nothing new in post-Fellini Italian culture? It’s as if Europe, struggling to incorporate massive Muslim immigration, has retreated into a bubble where the beautiful artifices of the past float like a mirage. Secularism evidently cannot stimulate creativity as profoundly as religion does — whether in the artist’s soaring affirmation or angry resistance.
IHT: Italians, despite their claim to have mastered the art of living, report themselves the least happy people in Western Europe. “It’s a country that has lost a little of its will for the future,” said Walter Veltroni, Rome’s mayor […] no one seems clear how change can come – or if it is possible anymore at all. Italy has long charted its own way of belonging to Europe, struggling like few other countries with fractured politics, uneven growth, organized crime and a tenuous sense of nationhood.
I am developing the conviction that America and Europe are doomed if either one loses the other, and that Europe is in urgent need of large numbers of American immigrants. These reverse pilgrims must have a great attachment to the aristocratic past and an even more fervent dedication to political liberty. I think Europe may die without a freshet of American blood.
This will be hard work, poorly understood. But it must be done, and both Americans and Europeans should recognize why it must be done, and love it when it is.
PS I have more chez moi on Paglia and religion.