Friday, October 15, 2004
EUROPE’S GLASS HOUSE
America is hated because, it’s "unilateral, ‘too’ rich, arrogant, selfish, and militaristic. It won’t sign (all) UN treaties, it had slavery, has racism and poverty, and is a ‘bully’ toward innocent dictators."
Americans in general are “too conservative, too religious, too fat, too violent, too uneducated, too unsophisticated," and may just be the worst embodiment of evil to have ever graced the pages of history. Such hatred for a group of people isn't racism, sexism, or "homophobia," so it can skate by the political correctness template that is applied to virtually every other group within humanity.
Bitter invective toward Americans is expressed regularly in books, movies, Op Eds, and from the world’s squadrons of "educators." Many of them are from Europe or are American academics / intellectuals who adore the Euro-Bureau model of living. To read their rants one would think Europe was a virtual paradise, and America a living hell on the verge of collapse. It would not be unfair to say that much of this nonsense is a mere case of the "[European] pot calling the [American] kettle black."
It would of course never happen, but what if everyday, the world's media, entertainment, and education networks were filled with critical assaults on European civilization and its status in the world today?
I actually like Europe. I particularly admire European civilization’s cultural legacy to the world. In the grand scheme of things I think Europe’s negative attributes are far outweighed by its positive contributions to world culture.
In my writings thus far, I have never felt the need to insult or criticize Europe or Europeans in general but have often found myself having to defend the US(scroll to “Why They Hate Us”) from some Europeans and like-minded socialists in America and elsewhere. One of the reasons I have never felt the need to post rabid critique’s of Europeans is that I know there are many who do not hate Americans, and many who do not judge the US from the socialist template so commonly used by journalists and intellectuals. To be sure, there are many common citizens – particularly young people – who parrot the views heard daily in Euro-media, but what can I say? There are easily led flocks in America as well. The Left has successfully convinced many that adoration of a powerful socialist bureaucracy is somehow the hallmark of a rebel. It has become "cool" to hate free society and particularly one of its historical bastions (The US).
To point out the absurdity of regular taunts made against my country, I’m going to "turn the tables," so to speak. I say "my country" because I was born in America (I’m presently working in Japan). I don't fancy myself a “flag-waving” chauvinist. I'm well aware of dark moments in American history and there are many actions taken by America’s government and its politicians that I despise. Such flaws are certainly fair game for reasonable criticism but, "fair" is a boundary that has been breached long ago in the anti-American polemics of the world.
I was born in America. I have family in America. I have friends America. All in all, I think America is okay. In the grand scheme of history, I’d dare say that it has a competitive edge in goodness over many other nations, even some of those who fancy themselves superior, enlightened and righteous examples.
Back to a hypothetical "turning of the tables." Lets for a moment look at Europe with the same lens that’s typically used to deride America. Lets criticize and caricature its flaws (out of context) and omit any positive appraisal, as is typically done by the intellectual elites of Europe when directing scorn toward The United States.
ARROGANCE, HEGEMONY, AND BLOODSHED: THE BURO-STATES OF EUROPE AND THEIR LEGACY TO THEMSELVES AND TO THE WORLD
It wouldn't be fair to judge Europe by the events of two millennia ago but it’s probably no coincidence that its true birth as a distinct civilization emerged from the violent imperialism of the Roman Empire. It has only been in historically recent periods that Europeans have slowly (and reluctantly) freed the colonies they had,over time, forcibly taken across the globe. Even the "American" theft of native lands was initially a theft by Europeans, (since "Americans" per se didn’t actually exist at the time).
European hegemony over the world's cultures has been brutal and regularly marked by condescending racism and ethnocentric arrogance. It is no surprise that such efficient brutality emerged from the European subcontinent, as Europe was also the source of a variety of oppressive philosophies used to justify subjugation of both domestic and foreign citizens alike. A host of "isms" demanding communal conformity have spread throughout the world from Europe’s pervasive will to dominance. In the mock hopes of "creating a better world" the statist obsessions of European philosophers have caused carnage and enslavement on a worldwide scale. In numerous former colonies of the European master, theses same oppressive theories continue to bring bloodshed and economic stasis under local tyrants educated in the European intellectual "tradition." Even in their lighter manifestations, these same European philosophies (which all broadly fall under the heading "socialism") have brought inefficiency, violence, and decay to Europe itself. The world wars of the last century were products of conflicts in the European worldview as it spread across the globe. What was Nazism after all but Europe’s twin philosophical demons, Nationalism and Socialism -- National Socialism?
The Socialist–Lite welfare states of Europe today have created a generation of dependant, unproductive, alienated, and unemployed citizens on perpetual strike and bleeding more from their economies while producing less. It's no wonder that initiative and innovation are strengths long past for them. European cities today are mired in conflict, racism, and a resurgent anti-Semitism. Political extremism is the order of the day. Poverty amongst a new class of immigrants has bred rampant urban crime among many of Europe's former showpiece cities. Conveniently, Europeans have been able to afford massive social expenditures while their resented ally – The US – paid much of their military expenses for decades (while they claimed a stance of "pacifism"). The "warmonger" United States ironically saved them from possible enslavement to a Russian enemy driven by a European philosophy – Marxist Socialism – that they still pay homage to as a final solution to all the flaws they perceive in human character.
Today, Europe seeks to rebound with renewed allegiance to the dismal ideals that had wrought its contemporary social malaise. In its pathetic attempt to assert its relevance, Europe has come to embody no more than hollow attributes of indecisiveness and a lack of backbone in confronting terrorists and tyrants. Europe now reaps the existential fruits of a society forever skeptical, pessimistic, and bureaucratic.
Europeans writers regularly insult the results of statistics showing the religiosity of Americans but have for themselves replaced such faith with what? – A belief in the cold drab schemes of resentful "thinkers," social agencies, and an omnipotent state.
At this point in their dark and violent history, Europeans now strive for unification, but what exactly are they unifying? -- It appears to be no more than the inbred standardization of the failed bureau-statist model leading a population mired in cultural lassitude.
Modern Europe's attempts to live off of a nostalgia for grander times long past fails to hide the mere arrogance and jealousy that one often finds in a person suffering from marked feeling of inferiority. This is the Europe of today – a violent and oppressive past, a resentful present, and aimless future – a withered plant watering itself with stones.
The preceding negative critique of European civilization has been a deliberate caricature in the same style as that which is regularly passed off as objective analysis and even scholarship when America is analyzed daily. Directing this style of critique back at Europe itself may open some eyes (and may not). My critique has utilized the same hyperbole and contextual omissions one finds in attacks on the US, but it is essentially an accurate description of Europe’s shortcomings. As well as turning the tables on Europe in general, by default, I have sought to do the same regarding the entire socialist worldview that motivates much of the hatred Europeans express toward America.
Europeans reading such critical analyses – especially if they were to read them daily from a variety of sources – would justifiably find them "unfair." That’s the point. What would be unfair to Europe is equally unfair to the US and its people. To paraphrase a simple instructional question mothers have often asked their children, "How would you like it if someone said that about you?"
There are periods and places of both bad and good governance and positive and negative contribution to the world’s culture. For non-stop disdain and ridicule to be directed upon one of the freest and most prosperous and diverse civilizations in history is absurd. The fact that much of America has not yet fully buckled down to the dictates of Socialist incompetence hardly merits the pervasive negative portrayals commonly presented today.
Ironically, the greatest criticism directed at America is its perceived "arrogance" yet, what could be more arrogant than jealous invective from a Europe that has failed to keep its own house in order for at least a century if not its entire life span?
European civilization is a great civilization but, like America, it has a share of skeletons in its closet. Europeans and Europhiles who merely admire the contemporary trapping of the socialist mega-state need to recognize that their grand house is one of glass. They not only "shouldn't throw stones" they should adopt a more sober and fair appraisal of themselves and fellow democracies.
I can understand, though. It takes practice, lots of practice, to descend to their level. Why waste the time?