Posted by: dolan | November 3, 2008

Eurothrash

As I was listening to NPR today (Neil Conan, election coverage) there was a discussion with a convservative commentator.  Overall she was pretty balanced, but one thing she really feared was that an Obama victory would send us in the direction of Europe.  I’ve seen similar comments from many out there — that somehow a more socialist bent to our country would undermine what it means to be American.

First of all, all things aside, would it really be that bad to be more like Western Europe?  Has anyone really gone (or lived for a while) in a European country and thought, man, this is awful!  Would it kill us to have lower crime rates, better education, universal healthcare, less stigma of intellectualism, and more morally sound, more egalitarian long-term thinking?  Because those sure sound like horrible, anti-American goals to me…

Having lived in several European countries, and being a second-generation Dutchman, my experience has been that the quality of life is, on average, probably a bit better in most of Europe than it is here for your average person.  I mean, aren’t the Danes supposed to be the happiest people on earth?  Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from the old country.

Most of the arguments I against “eurofication” are pretty throwaway, at least as I’ve heard them.  There is a “red fear” stemming back to the “socialism” (in name only) that was the former eastern bloc.  The reality is that modern Europe is hardly that.  I also hear the Horatio Alger arguments, which I find quickly undermined by the fact that studies show far more social mobility in Canada (a far more socialist country) than here.  Does anyone have a good, solid reason why we should fear following in the footsteps (not necessarily lockstep, but in the same general direction as) Western Europe?  If so, I’d love to hear them.

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Responses

  1. Good rant. I’m glad to see that the nut hasn’t fallen far from the tree or the olive from the branch or some such thing. I’m over in Europe for the time being just loathing bing under the oppression of socialism. But the chocolates are delicious.

    John


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