Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Are The Lights Going Out In Europe?

Dymphna, at the stellar blog, Gates of Vienna says that Germany is a country run on a predominantly negative political philosophy. Germany, like France, defines itself in opposition to the United States, and Capitalism. In other words, Germany does not, anymore, define itself by what it is, but instead by what it is not. From Gates of Vienna:

Looking back at the 1960s and 1970s, when I grew up in Germany, one of the most striking things was that everyone talked about work and money. The country was infuriatingly materialistic. The old West Germany felt more like an economy than a country. It used to have a proper currency, the Deutschmark, but it lacked a proper political capital. At a time when the British believed in incomes policies, capital controls and state ownership, Germany was as laissez-faire an economy as you could find anywhere in Europe.
The Germans were the Americans of Europe, as a friend remarked at the time. Everyone was brimming with confidence and the superiority that comes with the belief that you are running the world’s most superior economy. Then along came re-unification and all its resultant problems.

When I returned to Germany in the 1990s, what surprised me most was not the poor performance of the economy — this I expected. I was most shocked by the extraordinary loss of self-confidence among the political and business elites, combined with a poisonous cocktail of the three big As: anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-capitalism.

Germany has been anti-American for some time. And it’s anti-capitalism is self-evident in its economic decisions.

The absence of a proper market economy means that most people and politicians have no gut-level understanding of how a market economy works. Most Germans do not negotiate their wages. They are paid according to fixed-rate tariffs set in negotiations between trade unions and employers’ associations.
Among wealthy nations, Germany has one of the lowest ownership rates of private homes, shares, mutual funds and credit cards.

What makes Germany even more distinct is the universal belief that the primary responsibility of companies is not to make profits but to fulfil a moral duty to their employees and their communities. But it is the growing anti-Semitism, in Germany of all places, that chills:

A cartoon in the latest issue of the house journal of I.G. Metall, the German engineering union, depicts what appear to be American-Jewish investors as insects with long noses sucking the lifeblood out of the German economy. It is quite shocking to see how the present generation of centre-left leaders uses symbols of racism with such carelessness, considering that their predecessors — political leaders like Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt and Helmut Kohl — have spent decades dispelling the ghosts of the past ...

Well, it appears to be an image only, not a reality. Nor is Germany is alone in its thinking. Spain’s now-suspect 3/11 fix, Britain’s increasingly uncivil public spaces, the anti-Semitism and cesspit of the no-go areas of suburban Paris, Italy’s loud anti-Americanism, the darkening skies in Sweden and Norway: they are all of a piece.
So it may be that the lights are going out all over Europe. Again. This time, there may not be the American will to save them from themselves.

I've been thinking a lot about how I post articles like this on a regualr basis. I must seem like Chicken Little squaking about the perilous position in which the sky is perched.

Yes, I know that, in Europe, everything seems fine. I know that, for the most part, Europe is fine. I know the Euro is performing better than the Dollar. I know that Europe's economic slump, and increasing unemployment, is subject to the vagaries and fluctuations of the marketplace, and that things could just as well turn around for them.

However, I also know about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in their media. I know that Europe is defining itself by being in opposition to the U.S. I know that this means that they have many strange bedfellows among the Islamists and Chinese and North Koreans. I know about the demographic timebomb of their Muslim population, which is weaned on a militant Islamism, funded by Saudi Arabian Wahabbi ideology.

And most of all I know that, given Europe's history, there could be a dangerous collision between economic recession and anti-Semitism. And, as the last few generations of the European population have been weaned on Pacifism and polical correctness, I don't necessarily think that such a collision of forces will result in Europe fighting off those who truly threaten them within their borders, but instead I worry that Europe will turn against America, and against it's own history.

These are my fears. I don't think they are completely unfounded. Europe has been extremely self-destructive for almost 100 years now.

There is nothing I would like more than for Europe to look with pride on the great Western Civilization it has bequethed to this world. There is nothing I would like more than for Europe to join us in defending the Civilization they birthed.

Will it happen? Or will they turn out the lights, shut the doors, and hang an out of business sign in the window.