Thursday, April 06, 2006

Europe

Early in 2003, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, coined the terms ‘old’ & ‘new’ Europe to describe the distinction between nations like France, Germany, and Belgium and those that a greater convergence of interests with the United States such as Poland, the Czech republic and Estonia. The expression was an insult; it reflected not only the differences between the US and Europe over Iraq but the perception that Western Europe was lapsing into period of economic and technological decline, exacerbated by an unprecedented cultural challenge by reactionary Islamists and a growing sense of cultural despair and complacency. With such fundamental differences the United States could never expected it interests to so closely align with Western Europe. Now after a decade of strained relations, evident early on by Kosovo, European and American leaders are increasingly willing to recognize the diverging interests. When French President Jacques Chirac talks of the dangers of ‘Anglo-Saxon capitalism’ he is speaking of the philosophical differences that have separated the US from Europe since its birth.
The differences that have provoked the indignation and resentment between the two are not over a few small disputes but rather represent fundamental challenges to the
transatlantic partnership. The problem is deep and both contribute to it; Europe through its weakness and America through its appeasement. The solution lies in a defence of liberty in both Europe and America. A consistent, passionate and long-term effort for the free-market, materialism, individual rights, and limited government is needed in both countries. For Europe to achieve this, a renaissance in philosophy will be required. Nothing less than a total break with post-modernism and a rebirth of reason will do. Until this happens, Europe is unlikely to realize its malaise and instead will remain in a state of self-righteous denial.
Europe is weak due to a variety of reasons from economic failure to demographic decline and cultural decay. For the next few days I’ll post on why I believe Europe is failing and what a rational solution to Europe’s problems would look like.

Economic Failure:

The cultural gulf between the US and Europe is made clearer with every incident. In late March, youth protests and riots broke out over a proposed law that as Andrew Sullivan noted, “would almost certainly help more of them get a job.” No respectable American politician would ever be against the law nor is even the socialist Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. As esteemed American economist Thomas Sowell said, it is elementary economics that raising costs results in fewer transactions. Unemployment is the result of forcing the cost of labor above their freely determined level. Such profound ignorance of basic economics demonstrates many Europeans simply don’t have a clue. This represents a huge decline from the nineteenth century when French economists from J.B. Say and Charles Comte were leading the way. Remember, Laissez-Fair is a French phrase coined by a manufacturer who answered ‘Let us alone’ when a chief advisor of Louis XIV asked what he could do for the manufacturers industry. The understanding of seventieth century Frenchmen was greater than the thugs masquerading as intellectuals today.
For years now intellectuals have been touting the European Union as a superpower that is fast eclipsing the USA. This has been expressed in such books as, The United States Of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy and The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream. Yet these are fast becoming fantasys as the reality sets in. Despite cultural and political fragmentation, these authors loudly proclaim pointless facts like that Europe has a largest economy in the world (true, although it has 150million more people). Never mind that Europe has no hope of meeting its own target of being the "most dynamic and competitive economy" by 2010. Never mind that its per cap GDP is 25% lower than the US and has been widening for decades (a process that is only continuing). If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German. If France was a US state, it would be the fifth poorest, making it only slighter richer than Alabama. There is only one solution to such a mess: more liberty. Cutting taxes, privatizing, and deregulating industries is the only answer. Europe led the 19th century on the back of globalization and if they want prosperity back they will need to come to the realization that socialisms compassion has got them nowhere. Only significant cuts into the welfare state (ending high unemployment benefits and early retirement etc) will do and any backlash must
be comfronted. Until this is done Europe will continue too perform poorly with an average growth rate of 1.7% compared to the US at 3.5%.
Lackluster economic performance has also contributed to a decline in resources for European militaries to such an extent that the United States is increasingly unwilling to conduct military operations with Europe. In terms of global security, policy makers in the US see such little value in Europe’s contribution to global stability that they are now writing essays titled ‘Learning to Live Without Europe’. Europe is simply not pulling its weight and given it’s increasing domestic problems it is highly unlikely it will ever increase its security burden.


Related Links:
Barbarians of suburbs target French Jews at TimesOnline
The striking idiocy of youth at TimesOnline
Wake up, Europe, you've got a war on your hands at Jewish World Review

6 Comments:

At 4:44 PM, Blogger susanna said...

i am intrigued by your site. i agree and disagree with your arguments in almost equal measure, depending on the topic. i am in agreement with you on religion. i am not so sure about your take on post-modernism and multiculturalism. i am intrigued by ayn rand in a similar way - which is no small compliment to you.

 
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