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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Beldar on Bay vs. Steyn

InstaPundit draws our attention to an exceedingly good debate between Mark Steyn and Austin Bay — one far too detailed for me to summarize adequately here — over the prognosis for "Old Europe."

I see articulate and persuasive arguments from both sides here, with ample supporting factual data, historical context, and dynamic trends — all packaged in crisp, readable, sometimes wry prose. Each side should, and has, acknowledged genuine points scored by the other. So my hat's off to Bay, Stein, and their respective proponents here. I ultimately take the Bay side, however, for two reasons:

First, I believe that some ideas and some events are sufficiently compelling that they will probably eventually overcome Old Europe's prejudice, envy, lethargy, and denial.

The idea of freedom always staved off, and ultimately decisively slayed, the idea of communism — such that the latter's political and economic systems are now limited in their purest form to a couple of isolated backwaters, Cuba and North Korea. In 1987, one could construct crisp, readable, wry prose, with ample supporting factual data, historical context, and dynamic trends, to "prove" that communism would ultimately overtake all of Europe and eventually the world. Yet now the two-word synonym for communism, worldwide, is "ash heap."

As for events, I borrow from the language of chemistry: Never underestimate the transformative powers of a sufficient catalyst, for it can change not only the rate but the direction of a complex reaction. With no disrespect to those killed and maimed in the Madrid train station bombing, it clearly did not serve as "Europe's 9/11," or even Spain's. We're all shockingly jaded about death tolls running even into the several dozens and low hundreds, and even when the victims are school children. I'm in no way "wishing" for this, but I think it's possible that some larger, more ghastly and symbolic event, when it occurs, may have an impact on the Old Europeanist's collective thinking comparable to 9/11's on Americans'.

Second, I believe that Mr. Steyn's view overgeneralizes, and fails to recognize the way in which a change in thinking by even a modest percentage of "Old Europeanists" could produce a major swing in their countries' policies and actions.

Far from everyone in America "gets it." But prompted by the catalytic event of 9/11, just enough of us either came to understand, or else to rededicate ourselves to, the power of freedom as an ideal that should prescribe our country's national and international policies and actions. The consequences of that small (in population percentage terms) shift have been extraordinary — a muscular, ambitious, and resilient America willing to employ both bullets and ideas in a way that certainly would have been hard to imagine in, say, the Carter Malaise Days of 1979.

The basic premise of Mr. Steyn's pessimism is that Old Europeanists will continue to predominate and control countries like France, Germany, Belgium, etc. — that the tipping point is unattainable there, and that collapse is inevitable and transformation impossible. I don't think that does sufficient justice to the power of individuals — even French, German, or Belgian ones — to learn and change. And it doesn't take unanimous consent; not every molecule in the mix need undergo the chemical reaction. "Just enough" folks approve the aggressive freedom paradigm right now in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Poland, Italy, Holand, Slovakia, Japan, South Korea, etc. Spain tipped back the other way, but by a razor-thin margin. Sure, if we're using our map colors to describe the current states' current states of affairs, we'd color France and Germany an inert ice-blue. But there's no basis to conclude that they must always be so. If you'd asked me in 1979 who America's likely boots-on-the-ground allies would be in a twenty-first century Middle Eastern shooting-and-ideological war, I'd probably have picked Britain and Australia and Israel — but Poland? Latvia? Bulgaria?

One more metaphor to complete my tangle: I guess I'm seeing the glass as not only being half-full, but its contents as being swirling; it leaks here and there, but there's also an incoming stream that gives me hope to see it become fuller. So cheers, Mark Steyn — I hoist the glass to you, but I hope you're wrong and that Austin Bay is right.

Posted by Beldar at 03:38 PM in Global War on Terror | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Beldar on Bay vs. Steyn and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Edouard made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 5:25:49 PM | Permalink

One additional point, Beldar, that does support Steyn's side:

Those countries which have given home and even welcome to the most intolerant of Islamic immigrants are now the greatest obstacles to the survival of "The West" -- to put it into Steyn's undoubtedly alarming terms.

Take a look at the most "surprising" of the countries you list: Poland, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, even Italy -- these are all still relatively homogenous, untouched-by-radical-Islam countries compared to the melting pots of Britain, France, and Germany. Poland, for example, is much less welcoming of intolerant Islamic immigrants within its borders than its neighbor, Germany; correspondingly, extremist Muslims are much less likely to move to Poland than the more open-armed Germany.

The extent to which Europe as a whole and most of the EU in particular will stop genuflecting toward and making excuses for the increasing influence of death-cultists, fomenters of Western destruction and non-assimilators in their own midst will make the whole difference.

I hope Austin Bay is right but truly fear that it may go the way Mark Steyn envisions.

(2) Dafydd made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 5:42:46 PM | Permalink

I think it obvious, but just in case it hasn't occurred to folks, I'd like to note for the record that Mark Steyn, the pessimist, is European, and that Austin Bay, the optimist, is American!

That could actually be the big difference between their two takes: America has always been optimistic and future oriented, in contrast to pessimistic and mired-in-the-past Europe. One could also say we're descended from the neophillic elements that immigrated from England and Germany -- and later from Italy, Poland, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Vietnam, and every other country in the world -- the ones who desperately wanted change... while Europe is still populated by the mostly neophobic ones who stayed behind because they feared change.

But a neophobe can beget a neophile, as many a neophobic parent can testify (much less often does it happen the other way 'round). The children of Europe, who will actually make the ultimate decision, are probably much more like their American friends than like their Old-European ancestors.

So I, too, side with Austin against Mark.


(3) Boger made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 6:01:09 PM | Permalink

Not much depth, or interest frankly, in the Europe debate. A little too hypothetical and esoteric on both sides of the ball, for me. But certainly know about idea and move toward a new entity called the EU. Obviously involves ceding some sovereignty, but not conversant on the specifics. As a practical matter though don't see how it can really ever be analogous to the US, the nation the sovereign states formed. Regardless, if a EU is formed, I think it should be understood it will only be represented on the UN security council by one vote. Neither England or France should object. The logic: if they have enough commonality of interests (economic, political, legal, military) to form THE EU, then the presumption is that they would never be voting crosswise at the Security Council anyway. England and France should have no problem giving up their votes as separate states. How come I am not betting on it.

Another angle. If the UN was being formed to day with a 5 nation security council would France be a member to the exclusion of India, Japan and Australia? No way, my opinion. It seems to me that much about the UN has become anachronistic. With the changes in the world to date and going into the future, the membership of the Security Council is never going to change? Seems pretty unrealistic to me, and bound to make it more irrelevant than it is now. So what about a Security Council made up of the US, Russia, China, the EU, Japan, India and Australia? Slice it and dice it anyway you want, fundamental change is going to have to come to the UN in this century or it will join the League of Nations in the history books.

(4) charles austin made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 6:36:21 PM | Permalink

Hmmm..., considering you last sentence is this another triumph of hope over experience?

It's most likely that neither man is completely right, though I think Mr. Steyn is perhaps closer to the truth than Mr. Bay. In 15 years it may be too late to turn back the clock without an unacceptable amount of misery.

(5) Patrick Brown made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 7:12:48 PM | Permalink

Dafydd, I think Mark Steyn is Canadian, not European. There is a difference, still. But I think you're right about the neophobe/neophile point. Europe has a long tradition of having long traditions. America has always wanted to find out what is over the next ridge.

Much as I respect Steyn's perspicacity, I think Austin Bay is right. Change will come to Europe - I hope that David Brooks' question ("Why not here?") will be asked in Europe, too, as they start to understand how much freedom they will lose under the new constitution. But one way or another, change will come.

(6) Carol Herman made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 7:14:52 PM | Permalink

For what it's worth, Arik Sharon enjoys Arab company. As do so many other Israelis. On the ground, living next to muslims, it doesn't breed the hatred you see fro the extremists. This, too, is in the mix. So, while Steyn can make us laugh; he limited himself to our wonderful president's trip. But there is hope. Today's American Indians, for instance, are vociferous in their support, and participation, in this great country's democracy. In the future, when people are counted, we'll be counted as whole participants in DEMOCRATIC ORDER. More so for the people who have been so long denied. Muslims in France? Blacks in America. Will it take Condi Rice being President to bring home this point? There's a vast talent pool out there. Socialism doesn't work. Not when singular contributions hold better promises under our system, than theirs. What's my point? Don't be so fast to write off this new immigrant population across Europe. The Bands of Brothers won't come from the whips of the IMAMS. Diversity doesn't hurt a nation. And, religious furvor, another thing proven by our Constitution's adoption of Spinoza's grand idea: Best to separate religion from state affairs. And, never underestimate the good factors of human beings who happen to practice other faiths. Golda Meir got her sentence right. You've got to love your children, without qualifiers. HOPE. It resides in all of our hearts. I love our American "experiment." I'd love to see it adopted elsewhere. Ya know? Bush can find good cowboys under lots of hats around the world.

(7) Rick made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 7:19:43 PM | Permalink

As far as chemistry is concerned, my advice is : don't give up your day job. The direction of a reaction is determined by thermodynamics, and a catalyst cannot change it.
As far as who is right about Europe, I can't say; certainly, there will be much pain whatever the outcome. I wouldn't mind seeing France fall apart, whatever happens to Europe as a whole.
By the way, I believe Mark Steyn is Canadian, not European (Admittedly not much difference).

(8) Berend de Boer made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 7:30:36 PM | Permalink

Quote: "I think Austin Bay is right. Change will come to Europe."

So far I haven't seen anyone arguing the foundation of Mark Steyn's column: the demographics. That's the key.

And that is not solved by some twiddling, economic or productivity improvements.

This is NOT an economic decline.

(9) Al made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 8:00:37 PM | Permalink

1) A _direct_ chemical reaction is sped up by a catalyst but does not change direction. (A -> B) But a reaction _system_ that contains a reaction counter to the major observed path can be reversed by adding only a catalyst... and energy. (A -> B, B -> C, C + energy + catalyst -> A) The analogy still isn't bad though - it'll certainly take _energy_ to affect the EU.

2) The sheer body count of 911 in all of its horror doesn't fully engulf the size of the impact IMNSHO. For two clear reasons - the WTC was a poignant symbol, and the size of the _potential_ loss of life with only the slightest of tweaks in the timing. If something had wiped out the Statue of Liberty _and_ 50,000 civilians, the impact might be similar . Ignoring the economic impact. Madrid's 311 wasn't a demolition of the Louvre, or the Hermitage, or some other site of cultural/historic/symbolic importance.

(10) Sulla made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 8:03:09 PM | Permalink

I think the element of Steyn's piece that is most profound and likely to occur (in the view of this American currently residing in Europe) is the "backlash" to Islamic immigration and fundamentalism. This continent has an ugly history, and in real terms you don't have to go that far back to see it in full flower. Somewhere in this discussion on various sites today, it was pointed out that Madrid, in retrospect, has not been Europe's "9/11." I think that's an unarguable point at this stage. Horrific as it was, neither was the Van Gogh murder. However, when (not if, in my view) that event does come to pass, I think you're likely to see political and social ramifications in Europe the likes of which might be almost unimaginable to most Americans. The severity would depend in large part upon where it happened, but I have no doubt in my mind that ultra-nationalism is only a step away in many of the Old European nations, and current immigration patterns are a big part of that shortening fuse, IMO. Obviously, the implications of that for the EU's future would be significant.

The "solution" that's always posited for the Islamic Problem in Europe is finding a way to "diffuse" the portion of the population given to extremism. The question is, how? This is one of the most significant differences between most of Europe and the United States, to me; how do immigrant populations function within the host society? One of the serious issues the Dutch are attempting to grapple with in belated fashion is the failure of what they call their multiculturalist approach to Muslim immigrants. In other words, you have immigrant populations in these countries that do not assimilate. They don't think of themselves as Dutch, or German, or French. Is it their fault? Not entirely, not by a long shot. It's the difference between a nation built largely upon race or "nationality" and shared cultural identity and one based upon an idea or concept. Anyone can subscribe to a concept, but can anyone truly be Dutch? How does one effectively deal with the kind of alienation and rage that brings to bear, especially when the subject populations grow larger by the month? In response, how does the dominant population (the "natives") respond to that rage if expressed via terrorist acts? I promise you, it will not be pretty.

For all of America's problems, they pale in my view with what the Europeans have on the horizon. Simple demographics and a basic understanding of how these societies function tell you that.

(11) Carol Herman made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 9:07:09 PM | Permalink

Rascism is an ugly poison. It just doesn't affect others, it affects ourselves. And, maybe, I'm being foolish. But how can all muslims be painted with the same brush? How can we talk about all the factions in Iraq. Or Lebanon, for that matter. And, not see that among arabs there are diverse groups. Even in the language! Not every arab speaker sounds the same! That's the nature of diversity. More like branches on a tree, than a single log.

At some point, given that America is a very diverse society; with people around the world dreaming of how to obtain a ticket to get here, where is it said that the "mainline European stock is any better than Asian, or oriental stock? Or African stock? Or native American stock? Why do people believe that "all muslims are more alike than different, and prone to terrorist acts?" Isn't it possible that it's the elites in Europe who hold the fuse? Just as the elites in Egypt deny their population any form of democracy? Sure. Birthing democracy is going to be painful. (Just as America's birth in 1776 went through years of experimentation that seemed like it would fail. Only to succeed from the lessons failures taught.) Maybe, it helps if we can get off the idea that the muslim hordes are looking for ways to kill "infidels." Maybe, like everybody else in the world, the very responses we had to 9/11. And, the ELECTION of this President in 2004 (not his "selection") have spoken volumes to peoples everywhere. And, just as the English language connects us to those all over the world map ... We're in the driver's seat! We've got the Web. People are tuning in to read what is said, here. And, just like the MSM can't grasp that they don't identify with Red Staters; with a majority of PEOPLE in this country ... But we're being heard ANYWAY ... maybe, we should take information from that ... And, it may lead us out of thie "death pitch" that democracy can't blossom in the hearts of muslims. Heck, I'm more worried about Anti-Semitism in Europe; where real hate gloams onto hurting Jews ... something that should have caused enough punishment to Europeans, already ... Than I'm worried about "unassimilated" foreigners in Europe. Europe has a hate-filled system that is at the core of its EU policies. And, the ICC pissing courts, where urinal stickers have the American flag, and a likeness of President Bush pasted into the path to be spritzed by urine. How do you reach Hitler-lovers? Don't blame the muslims. Hope before experience? Here, the message should be that EXPERIENCE dictates that European elites have been wrong before. And, they are wrong now. And, they'll continue to be wrong. That is, if they think Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and the democrats are anything else but clowns.

(12) dick made the following comment | Feb 27, 2005 9:26:05 PM | Permalink

The point that Beldar makes about the Europeans stopping before they implode in the way they have in the past seems to assume that the one condition that permitted them to stop in the past is present - that the US is there to stop the Communists or Nazis from finishing the job. If the US is still willing to pick up the pieces of the mess that the Euros make so that the Euros can pat themselves on the back about how great they are, then I think Austin Bay may be right. If, however, the US decides that the Euros just aren't worth the trouble a third or fourth time when we have allies in other parts of the world who do stand up for themselves, then I think Mark Steyn will prove to be the right one.

(13) ed made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 12:35:05 AM | Permalink


I've got some more things to think over before I commit them to a comment.

But I'd like to add that if you're going to take the viewpoint that "Maybe, it helps if we can get off the idea that the muslim hordes are looking for ways to kill "infidels." " as a possibility, then you also MUST accept the possibility that you are wrong.

In which case there is also a chance that the viewpoint, of all/most muslims wanting to kill "infidels", could also be true.

(14) Syl made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 1:22:30 AM | Permalink

I watched Bat Ye'or (sp?) on BookTV this weekend. She is not optimistic about Europe.

Note Sulla's comment above re the fact that the immigrant muslim population does not assimilate. This is not simply because they won't, it is because EU policy requires that they are not forced/encouraged to assimilate. And according to Bat this is due to treaties and agreements (don't know the specific term) signed with Arab countries. The immigrants must maintain their own cultural, societal, religious identity...including Sharia.

Because most European people are not stupid, and see the above problem and their inability to affect change at the top, the specific danger she sees is the emergence of Islamophobia among Europeans which would be counterproductive because it cannot distinguish between the radical muslim and the more liberal ones. And it is the liberal muslims who are the only means of reform within Islam.

It's the EU's own policies which have made this mess, and I don't see a solution either.

(15) Carridine made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 1:27:47 AM | Permalink

Both Bay and Steyn are ignorant of or at least refuse credible comment on the massively catalytic potential of the Baha'i message to transform hundreds of millions of Muslims into responsible, tolerant HUMANS in a mere matter of weeks IF those Muslims can get access to its healing, transformative power!

Instead, a lukewarm clergy stands between God and the People, hungry for truth and surrounded by elitists yearning to lead but confronted by people refusing to be led into iniquity.

(16) Garth made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 4:27:27 AM | Permalink

"Far from everyone in America "gets it." But prompted by the catalytic event of 9/11, just enough of us either came to understand, or else to rededicate ourselves to, the power of freedom as an ideal that should prescribe our country's national and international policies and actions."

Just a small nitpick, but did "just enough of us" rededicate ourselves to the power of freedom? Some of us seem to understand that moving the Middle East towards democracy will move them to freedom and a society with which the world can more easily cohabitate. However, it seems like we as Americans, seem to have rededicated ourselves to giving up freedoms - invasive travelling security requirements, increased interagency exchange of each citizen's data, etc. Where is the rededication to freedom here at home? I don't remember gaining any freedoms in the last three years. If Europe is moving towards a catalytic moment, can we say we aren't heading down the same path with our prescription drug benefit, "we need them for our service industries" immigration policy, and our ever increasing dependence on government programs. It may be a little tangential, but it seems our international policies (particularly towards the rogue states) move OTHER countries to freedom, while our national policies are certainly not far behind those of Europe. I think Steyn has it right though he could just as easily be pointing towards a demise of America's current culture of independence and a re-emergence as a nanny state along European lines in the next 20 years. As the federal government moves to make its laws supersede each state's, we are well on our way to becoming the next failed EU. Whichever path Europe goes, we will follow a similar path soon after.

(17) Mark made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 5:23:32 AM | Permalink

No Garth, we won't. What Steyn notes in his comment at Bay's is profound. Holland is now a net exporter of Dutch folk. White flight is real, and it isn't from urban to rural or non-existant suburbia. It's "I'm getting the hell out of dodge". There is either not enough national pride (read patriotism) to engender a desire to fight for necessary change, or the reality is so obvious and so depressing that flight is the proper response. If you see this scenario playing out here you must be channeling Alec Baldwin.

(18) Dafydd made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 6:39:34 AM | Permalink

First, to answer a nitpick:

Dafydd, I think Mark Steyn is Canadian, not European.

Patrick, Canadians don't have English accents. Steyn may be a Canadian citizen now; I have no idea. But I'd be astonished if he grew anywhere but Great Britain... which for purposes of this discussion is still considered part of Europe. Unless he's faking the accent for some obscure reason.

Now, I actually had not read Austin Bay's entire post (or the belowmentioned article) before posting my little bit above. But I read something today that sounded awfully familiar. Bay was quoting the German newspaper Der Spiegel from 23 February, English-language online edition:

This, in fact, is likely the largest point of disagreement between Europe and the United States -- and one that a President John Kerry likely would not have made smaller: Europeans today -- just like the Europeans of 1987 -- cannot imagine that the world might change. Maybe we don't want the world to change, because change can, of course, be dangerous. But in a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. In Mainz today, the stagnant Europeans came face to face with the dynamic Americans. We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow.


And here is what I wrote yesterday:

That could actually be the big difference between their two takes: America has always been optimistic and future oriented, in contrast to pessimistic and mired-in-the-past Europe. One could also say we're descended from the neophillic elements that immigrated from England and Germany -- and later from Italy, Poland, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Vietnam, and every other country in the world -- the ones who desperately wanted change... while Europe is still populated by the mostly neophobic ones who stayed behind because they feared change.

You see? Genius will out.

Dafydd the Humble

(19) Philomathean made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 11:07:42 AM | Permalink

Suppose that the Europeans do wake up to the danger that they are in. Then what? I have not heard any meaningful suggestions about how these countries will persuade their exploding Muslim populations to assimilate. To the contrary, most European Muslims seem intent on assimilating their host countries into the Muslim world.

As Steyn has noted in his writings, whoever is left standing in 2050 wins. Barring a dramatic change, that means that the Muslims will inherit Europe.

Like Steyn, I don't believe that Europe is going to go gently. Over the next 50 years the EU will fail and more Europeans will turn to fascism. It's happened before and will happen again.

(20) Carol Herman made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 12:25:23 PM | Permalink

Fleas on the dog of Europe. Europe goes? Or the fleas go? I'm guessing that as time passes the fleas don't gain the upper hand.

As to being "wrong" about universal hatreds, I'm sticking to my guns. All those muslims, now in Europe, are there to do the dirty work. The tasks, at home, and in industry, nobody wants. Here, in America, I'm supposed to hate all Mexicans who cross the board to claim the same awful jobs. I don't hate them. And, I don't hate, on any universal level, people who practice a different faith from the one I was born into.

So, if a car is built, and no break is provided, all that happens is that you get to accident scenes. Or you get to individuals who learn how to insert stopping mechanisms on their cars. (Yeah. Europeans fly through their highways at a faster clip than we do in the USA.) But if you notice, roadways need upkeep. And, posted speed signs change (reluctantly, when you're in cities that raise revenues by handing out speeding tickets to drivers.) But the more you think things stay the same; the more I think stuff changes. Albeit, slowly.

Hatred against people is about the stupidist posture I can think anyone wants to take. You know the famous saying? "My doctor's Jewish." Well, I've been to doctors who are muslims. And, in America, guess what? Even women doctors!

Our President (or is it Karl Rove, who never went to college?) ... who guessed it right! People want FREEDOM, DIGNITY, LAW AND ORDER THAT PROTECTS CITIZENS. And, if it takes blowing away all the Native American Indians; bless America. We went through that, once. Slavery, too, was a gift from Europe. And, the Arabs who still traffic in human sales.

Maybe, the bigger question is IF we can change institutional structures, like the UN, hotbeds of anti-Semitism. And, anti-Americanism. (Where oil money, taken from muslims, has been handed out like Palestinian candy, to a few elites. Who keep guard at the doors of power.) Those debasing threads need to weaken. And, Europe will have to come to terms with the people they invited in to clean their toilets. And, do their heavy construction lifting. Adam Smith's "hidden hand" can lift a lot more boats than hatreds ever did!

Do you know what stands in the way? The powerful elite media streaming "gods" who haven't let any light come through. But we have the Internet, now. Even Mark Steyn, who writes for a living, and gets paid by newspapers, gets his words AMPLIFIED HERE.

The muslim hordes a threat? Or the fact that we haven't yet found the keys to feed the men like Steyn, who make us laugh. And, learn. Here. Without compensation. In my book, that's more of a problem.

I laugh at those who try to paint Mexicans and Muslims as people beneath dignity. Wrong brush, folks.

(21) holdfast made the following comment | Feb 28, 2005 9:56:11 PM | Permalink

Beldar thinks that the power of the individual will save Europe from its own suicidal tendencies. I'm afraid that the very institutions of the EU have been deliberately designed to blunt, yea even emasculate, the power of the individual. As the EU becomes more pervasive and the power of the nation-states of Europe wanes, it will be increasingly hard for the individual to make him or herself heard. All the important decisions will be made by EUrocrats in Brussels, and the national Parliaments will become nothing but talking shops, and increasingly unsatisfactory talking shops, as the Euro version of political correctness puts more and more topics "beyond civilized debate."

Dissatisfied proles, sorry citizens, will increasingly turn to the fringe parties - the BNP and Le Pen on the right and the various crypto-commies on the left. Others will vote with their feet - to the benefit of the Anglosphere, it appears. The debate will inevitably move into the streets, and then a lot of folks will die.

The only question is, will the EU break up quickly and thus allow the various states to save themselves with a minimum of collateral damage, or will the EU be held together by force, until it is pulled apart in bloody tatters?

I’m afraid that Europe’s record of saving itself from mass-madness is not as strong as we might wish – but will the US and the Commonwealth be there to pick up the pieces this time?

(22) Garth made the following comment | Mar 1, 2005 5:47:28 AM | Permalink

I agree with your point that we aren't going to experience flight at present, but my point is that we're sacrificing freedoms not gaining any. As more Americans look towards the nanny state to protect us from ourselves, I think we put ourselves in a similar albeit not identical situation to Europe. In our case, it would then be throwing the doors wide for millions of untrained Central and South Americans rather than Turks and North Africans. You can be as patriotic as you want, but when a country becomes home to more an more unassimilated foreigners who do not accept your country's values (for lack of a better term), you will see what Europe is facing. What other solutions will our politicians take when faced with an aging population approaching Europe's? Raise taxes? Increase immigration? Both are European solutions that don't work long term. Cut benefits? Do you think Americans will allow this? Wait til the Million Oldster March in D.C. except they could probably pull ten times that amount with the AARP's organization. Anyway, I digress as I stated in my original post. Where is the increased focus on freedom? It isn't there. Perhaps we need a "Protest Warrior"-like movement to help stop this. I love America, and I'd never run from it (a la Alec Baldwin), but wishful thinking about politicians and the general populace won't get us anywhere; they have come to the realization that they can take your and my freedom in order to benefit themselves.

(23) Carol_Herman made the following comment | Mar 1, 2005 11:48:05 AM | Permalink

A long time ago, I learned not to trust projections. In other words, everyone's crystal ball is faulty. And, while I've complained, above, that we read Mark Steyn's and Austin Bay's stuff totally free of charge; is this any different than the FREE LIBRARIES that BEN FRANKLIN BROUGHT INTO BEING? By donating his books. And, this source, this fountainhead, gave poor people a chance to read books in their spare time. If life provided them with "spare time." Perhaps, it even helped women get a leg up on literacy, too? Since you gain language skills and structure more through reading than anything else.

Also, it was Martin Luther who ended the monopoly the catholic church held over peasants. Ah, and after he posted his thesis to the church door, he married. And, had kids. (He married a former nun.)

Those are the "tipping points," and the life changes we don't see when we think of muslims as enthralled as our media stipulates they are, with messages of hate. we're told their heads are still stuck in the same "infidel wars" that we know Hollywood used when it talked about American Indians. (Today, American Indians love the same country we all do. Not everybody dies. Unless it's a dumb movie. And, Hollywood hasn't been able to engage most of us with good movies in a long, long time.)

How come, when we talk about the future, we keep thinking that the old media got it right? They're telling us that the muslims, of all people, will rise up in Europe and swallow their culture. Brussels has a culture worth preserving? What happens when muslims are given access to math training, and good schools? Won't you get engineers? Lawyers (to spit on), and doctors? Plus, educators that will do a better job than the current crop of union ticket holders who can't teach, but are blessed with good paying education jobs?

Something tells me that anti-Semitism is a root cause that has brought Europe to its knees. It played with their gene pool! And, no Mozart, No Beethoven, no great scholarship seems to be emerging.

Okay, they give the world hackers. And, stickers for the bottoms of urinals meant to insult us all. Who cares?

Look what we got! A new industry, created by youth. Lots. Not just Bill Gates starting as a Harvard dropout. But by lots of other kids, in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, and gender! (My son went to Harvey Mudd. I can vouch for seeing blacks, male and female, on campus. Doing the hard sciences! You think Condi Rice is the only bright black woman in the world?

Maybe, the elites don't get it? You bet, I, too, can project that they'll get "all shook up."

I'm also leaving room for George W. Bush's vision, connected to what our Founding Father's set out to do; and that was to give everybody the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Can mobs do stupid things? Yup. Jobless palestinians can race into the streets for the opportunities presented to get "caught on camera." Then, these jerks go home. And, ya know what? I pity their wives and chldren.

We know from Ronald Reagan's life story what it was like to have an Irish drunk for a dad. It didn't stop him. We know from Winston Churchill's life story what it was like to have a dad who kept putting him down, and who exercised no love for his son at all. Didn't matter. The GOOD PEOPLE STILL GROW STRONG in spite of life's unfortunate calamities.

Meanwhile, all the Saudi's can do in their mischief is to buy others to die for them in heinous ways. There's not sending their own kids into explode. Why did the Iraqis come out and vote? MOST PEOPLE WANT FREEDOM! What's ahead in Iran? Or North Korea? Or Russia? Or even China? Mob violence has no ability to sustain itself. Suicidal pacts? Jews celebrate Masada. OY.

I'm a Jew, but let me ask a question? What was Christ's message? Does God's love include universal love? Does that fit this bill? If the Mark Steyn's and Austin Bay's debate is about mob violence, show me how it rules over distance and time? Didn't we climb out of the Dark Ages? Did the Catholic Church's violence and political clamps work? Or are they inside our history books (free at libraries), to show tha man walks towards the light?

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