In a world filled with political bunglers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deserves special mention for outstanding achievement in recklessness. Her refugee policy puts all of Europe at risk, though continental elites may be too zealous in their devotion to humanitarian ideals to recognize it.
As French political philosopher Pierre Manent explains in an important interview translated in First Things, European elite culture is committed to a view of the world that abstracts from particular attachments — national attachments, ethnic attachments, religious attachments — and treats individuals as perfectly equal and interchangeable exemplars of capital-H Humanity. A Catholic Frenchman is just a human being. A secular German is just a human being. A devout Muslim refugee from the Syrian civil war is just a human being. Place of origin is politically irrelevant. So is religious affiliation. And age. And gender. The only form of belonging that matters is to the placeless human species.
Judged by that standard, Merkel is a secular saint who has done her solemn Kantian duty, treating every refugee as an end and never simply as a means, conforming her actions to the austere demands of an absolute, unconditional moral imperative, refusing to take concrete worldly consequences into account in determining What Must Be Done.