The savagery of Europe *UPDATED*

Americans, especially Leftist Americans, will invariably assure you that Europeans are more civilized than Americans are.  When pressed for details, they’ll cite art, music, architecture, skinny French women, and gun control.  By those standards, I have to agree that the Europeans are indeed more civilized.  I’ll go even further:  when it comes to art, music, and architecture, Europeans, from the Greeks forward, are the most civilized beings who have ever walked the earth.

However, if you have a slightly richer definition of what constitutes “civilization,” I’m sorry to say that the Europeans are just as savage as anyone else — and maybe more so because, when they burst their “civilized” banks, they tend to do so with a peculiar vengeance.  Just off the top of my head, the Europeans have blessed history books with a series of wars that left death and destruction in their wake on a scale unimaginable on our comparatively peaceful American continent:

  • The Hundred Years War
  • St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre
  • The Thirty Years War
  • The Napoleonic War
  • The Slave Trade
  • The Colonial Occupations of Africa and Latin America
  • World War I
  • World War II

Our own Civil War, while undeniably bloody, was amateur hour compared to the games the Europeans have played.

Even when the Europeans aren’t at war, it turns out that their blood lust still needs to be slaked.  Bruce Kesler directed me to a book called Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, that doesn’t just examine the murderous years of WWII, but also examines the carnage Hitler and Stalin wrought during the 1930s, in the lead-up to WWII.  Bruce explains why this book is a “must read” — and it has certainly moved up to the top of my reading list.

Another book that reminds us that little but a gloss of art separates Europeans from their savage Darwinian roots is Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II.  The carnage in the World War II’s aftermath is actually unsurprising:  millions of people uprooted, brutalized by six years of war, and scrabbling for incredibly scarce resources.  I doubt any culture would respond well to those circumstances — and the Europeans certainly didn’t.  The Russian soldiers, especially, didn’t.  Although the Russian attack on German civilians doesn’t have a memorable name, a la the dreadful “Rape of Nanking,” it was certainly comparable in terms of ferocity and misogyny.  You can learn more about Savage Continent here.

UPDATE:  Two things:  First, Danny Lemieux’s comment is correct, insofar as it reminds that I forget to include socialized medicine in my list of things that Leftists find civilized about Europe.  He’s also correct that it worked only because America essentially paid for it during the Cold War.  Second, Eugene Podrazik, who blogs at Elkhorn Creek Lodge, saw The Hunger Games and, as I read his post, found it remarkably reminiscent of what Europe will be in a decade or so and what we will be in a few decades, if we follow Europe.

A) Government promiseth, B) Government taketh away!

This article that just appeared in Bloomberg.com, regarding Stockton-writ-California-writ-USA-writ-large’s pending bankruptcy, is just so absolutely jaw-dropping crazy…uh, no, wait….it isn’t really so crazy after all. Never mind.

If Stockton Is Broke, Why Isn’t San Diego?: Steven Greenhut

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-02/if-stockton-is-broke-then-why-isn-t-san-diego-steven-greenhut.html

Here’s the money take-away: referencing the fact that, for the past 20 years, city employees could earn full lifetime health benefits (employee and spouse) after working only one month, Stockton City Manager Bob Deis noted…

“There was no money set aside to fund those commitments.”

And that’s the rub with our national, state and local governments, isn’t it? They can promise anything to get peoples’ votes, but there is no obligation to deliver. All they can do is make empty promises. And so, like moths to a flame, do we the people incinerate our futures and our freedoms on the soaring promises of hopey-change utopians. We once-proud, free, self reliant Americans have shown ourselves to be all too willing to give up our freedoms in exchange for promised government benefits…i.e., retirement pensions, health care, security, education…with not even a guarantee that the government will or can deliver.

You see, the government can never guarantee such promises, because (as our European cousins have so amply demonstrated) these are promises that government never could deliver. Government can’t deliver because a) government itself cannot create those benefits and b) because, inevitably, in the end, there is never enough money to pay for other people to provide those benefits.

The only thing the government can guarantee is that a) once surrendered, you won’t get your freedom, retirement, health care, security, or money back and b) the only way that it can even pretend to deliver on its promises is by taking away even more of your freedoms and money. Flame – moth – destruction.

 

What does Europe’s coming collapse mean when it comes to the Muslim immigrants?

For years at this blog (and others) when we’ve written about Europe’s problems, we’ve focused primarily, not on the economy, but on those Muslim immigrants.  One of the things that we talked about a lot was the fact that these same Muslim immigrants subsisted largely on public benefits.

This little tidbit emerged with force during the riots in France, when we first learned that the banlieues that housed the rioters were welfare cities.  The European paradigm was for Muslims to show up, from Pakistan, from Turkey, from North Africa, and to be showered with the European’s post-colonial guilt payments.

So I have a question for you:  What’s going to happen with all those Muslim immigrants now that Europe is broke?  Riots?  Civil War?  Quiet retreats back to their home countries?

Idle EU thoughts that lead inevitably (in my mind) to government sanctioned tribalism

A few years ago, those in the know were telling us in no uncertain terms that the EU model was the future — and that America had better get used to playing second fiddle to the economic giant that a united Europe presented.  I found it hard to imagine that Europe would ever be able to overcome rivalries and tribal allegiances that span centuries, even millennia.  I also did not believe that the socialist model, which might work in a small, homogenous culture, would be able to sustain a vast economic federalism.  Watching what is happening in Europe now tells me that my common sense was infinitely more valuable than anything scholars and economists had to offer.

The whole EU collapse has gotten me thinking about tribalism.  One of America’s greatest strengths, right up there with the Constitution and the continent’s natural bounty — is that tribalism didn’t take hold here as it did in Europe.  From the beginning, we were too fluid a society.  As soon as we got a good hate going against one immigrant group (the Irish, for example), two things happened:  First, America’s lack of a class system, economic flexibility, and geographic mobility, resulted in significant numbers of the hated group leveraging themselves up into the middle and working class.  Second, a new hated class invariably came on board (e.g., Jews or Italians or Puerto Ricans or Asians), restarting the same cycle.

This malleable system, with hatreds that couldn’t last long enough to become entrenched, was aided by our participation in two popular 20th century World Wars.  (I use the word “popular” to distinguish them from the Korean War, which was greeted with exhaustion, and the Vietnam War and Iraq, which the Left used to create social divisions.)  As Israel proves daily, boot camp is the best melting pot of them all.  During the World Wars, the Brooklyn Jew and the Minnesota Swedish farm boy might not have liked each other, but they came into contact in structured environment, and fought for the same cause.

One of the most poisonous things the Left has done to America in the past 40 years is to create institutional tribalism.  Instead of a distant government that kept grinding on, whether old immigrants hated the Irish or the Jews or the Italians or the whatever, the Left got the government involved in designating victims.  Suddenly, the government is focusing like a laser on blacks and gays and differently-abled and whoever else is the Leftists’ victim célèbre.  We now have a government that doesn’t discriminate against blacks, it discriminate for them (and for all the other designated victim classes, women included), with equally heinous results.  Government should be above the tribal fray, not creating it.

Before anyone calls me on it, I know perfectly well that our Constitution, as originally written, did get involved in tribalism by treating Southern blacks as a separate class.  I don’t think I need to remind anyone, though, what a horrible outcome that official discrimination had.  Both the early Constitution and the Jim Crow era (when the South decided to perpetuate the Founders’ original mistake) are perfect illustrations of the disasters resulting from allowing governments to pick one tribe and discriminate against another.

As an aside, the only reason women haven’t been destroyed by this government discrimination is because of kids.  Children have needs that, so far, our government isn’t meeting, so Mom still has to act like a responsible grown-up.

Tribalism is dangerous.  Legislated tribalism is disastrous.

European surrender

I noted when I was in London that the City was filled with obvious Muslims (by which I mean burqa-ed and hijab-ed women, and their male escorts).  London, though, still felt like a modern western city.  Not so other cities in Europe.  Andrew McCarthy explains why, and warns us that the Obama administration is trying to take us down the same ideological road that led to sharia-only enclaves dotting Europe.

Some interesting images from our Europe trip

We have hundreds of pictures of beautiful views, art work, and historic sites.  They are fairly generic, though, so I won’t bother sharing them here.  If you go to Flickr and type in Tower of London, for example, you’ll see exactly the same photos.

There were some things, though, that did catch my eye, because they weren’t what I expected.

First, in London and in Rome, there are people who remember Gilad Shalit.  Maybe one of the things that happens is that, if you’re closer to the front lines of antisemitism, these things are more important than in America, where we can pretend that such things don’t exist:

A taxi in London

 

A plaza in Rome

Gilad Shalit is not the only one who isn’t forgotten.  I saw this bit of graffiti in Rome, at the Circus Maximus:

Bin Laden graffiti in Rome

The kids were amused by this bus advertisement, which someone told us is the real deal — there is indeed a Gay Village residential community somewhere near Rome and, yes, it caters to the GLBT population.

Gay Village ad in Rome

And finally, what passes for an art show in a small coastal town Italy, the name of which utterly escapes me right now:

Art in Italy

Two random thoughts about Greece and Italy

Having done a flying visit through the Mediterranean, I’m scarcely in any position to make far reaching comments about the towns or countries I visited.  Nevertheless, I do feel competent to offer two very specific comments, one about Greece and one about Italy.

Throughout our visit to Greece, there was a nationwide taxi strike taking place.  The air in Athens was unusually clear, thanks to the decreased traffic.  Transportation was slightly more difficult than it would have been with taxis, but certainly not impossible.  Everyone on the cruise ship seemed to manage fine using Hop On Hop Off buses (in Athens), private buses, private tours, cruise tours, and public transportation.  In other words, the missing taxis were inconvenient, but not an insurmountable problem.

As best I was able to understand, the taxi drivers were protesting the fact that the Greek government, in an effort to expand employment opportunities, was making taxi licenses more readily available.  In order to show their disdain for this maneuver, the taxi drivers stopped working during peak tourist season.  Let me rephrase that:  During a total economic collapse in their country, the taxi drivers walked away from the money.

In Italy, too, people blithely walked away from money.  Let me explain:  August is the top tourist month in Rome.  If I had a store in Rome, I’d keep it open, just as I’d keep my store open here in America on December 26.  Only a fool closes shop when customers are banging at the door.  And believe me, tourists are customers.  They are desperate to spend money.  A lot of people on the cruise ship get off only to buy things.  They have no interests in the sights, traveling only to bring home foreign goodies.

Rome apparently has a lot of fools.  An enormous number of businesses were closed for all or part of August.  Nor am I talking about businesses that cater solely to the Rome community, such as law firms or insurance companies.  I’m talking about stores and restaurants, the kind of businesses that could benefit from an excitable, well-funded tourist trade.

I know that, despite acting foolish, neither the Italians nor the Greeks are actually fools.  Instead, they are citizens of welfare states.  They know that, no matter how much or how little they work, they’ll still have medical care, housing, food, education, free museum admissions, retirement care, etc.  The money earned for work is gilding-the-lily money.  It’s nice, but one can survive without it.  In theory, this freedom from want (want of health care, want of shelter, want of food, etc.) is a wonderful thing.  In fact, though, it is a disincentive to productivity which, inevitably, creates less productivity.  The downward spiral keeps on going.  Less productivity means less government revenue.  Less government revenue means the government has less ability to provide the health care, housing, food, education, free museum admissions and so on.  Suddenly, you end up like Greece or England:  no money, no benefits, and a citizenry that’s forgotten how to work.

Yes, I recognize that these are overarching generalizations, and that causation and correlation are not the same thing.  Nevertheless, it does seem to me that there’s a pattern here of walking away from economic opportunities because there’s no risk.  Oh, wait!  That’s wrong.  The risk is that the economic opportunities won’t come back.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East

Israel as the next Saudia Arabia?

 

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, Israel’s unusually large and high-quality shale oil reserves may yield as much oil as all of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242420737584278.html

 

These discoveries are in addition to of Israel’s recently diclosed gas reserves, also anticipated to be vaste.

 

There are few countries in the world as reality-based as Israel, because Israel has no other choice. It must be reality based in order to survive. This convinces me that Israel will waste  no time in developing these deposits, not only for self-sufficiency but also to gain leverage with the international community. Imagine the political consequences,, if you would, if Europe no longer had to depend upon the Middle East for its oil.

 

Oh, I wish I could say the same about our own country, rich beyond imagination in oil, gas and coal reserves. In our own country, a far-too-comfortable bourgeoisie entertains unicorn visions of Shangri La-like utopias, unspoiled by any energy development other than windmills and solar panels manufactured in China. The price of these idle visions is steep, as measured by lost jobs, investment capital, trade balances and tax revenues, not to mention military missions to fund our energy needs and keep world energy supplies safe. The self-satisfied American bourgeois elites sleep well, oblivious to the environmental, economic and social disasters inflicted upon our own country and others to satisfy our presumptions of environmental virtue. Not even a record recession (depression?) and all its accompanying miseries is enough to shake our self-satisfied masses from their ut-opium dreams.

 

The bottom-line is that most of the bad international news that we read about today, from Iraq to Libya, Iran, North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and world jihadism in general, has to do with the quest for affordable energy. Take away oil as an issue by crashing its price on world markets through oversupply, and most of these issues cited above simply fade away, along with the revenues transfered to countries that use them to fund activities inimical to our prosperity and civilization. Crash the price of fuel, jihadism dies. Crash the price of fuel, the world’s poor and unemployed benefit. Israel gets it, we don’t.

 

North America enjoys the world’s largest deposits of oil, gas and coal. Europe has recently discovered immense gas deposits that should more-than meet its internal needs. It’s time for our civilization to wake up: we should be developing our own energy resources as a crack pace, if for nothing else than to avoid a world disaster. War and poverty also have environmental consequences.

 

EUro Dis-union

One of my all-time favorite economic historians is Harvard’s Niall Ferguson, who does a very good job dissecting the transatlantic political and economic cultures with characteristic British clarity in erudition.

He’s not perfect, however: witness his bad judgment in affixing his name to a worn-out political rag like Newsweek. But, I digress…

In this nonetheless excellent article, he concisely chronicles the descent and impending collapse of the EUro-zone banking system and its political repercussions.  Some might take solace in the fact that EUro-banking and welfare systems will collapse ahead of our own, but I don’t. Our economic well-being is very much entwined with Europe’s. One notable benefit that Ferguson does confer upon us is to clearly differentiate between Europe’s impending banking system collapse and our own fiscal and economic crises: these are two very independent phenomena, albeit derived from the same disease (i.e., living way beyond our means). What cannot be denied, however, is that Western civilization is about to confront a very massive economic upheaval that will have dramatic social and political consequences.

Read it for yourselves and let’s discuss.

 

Our EUropean President

Is our President a EUrolander wannabee? Yes.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my fellow Americans spout utter nonsense about EUroland.

Hey, they may have visited there and after visiting all the tourist spots and wining and dining in the best tourist restaurants afforded by American salaries and sabbaticals, they come home to proclaim that: “wow”, the food sure was great; the beer and wine were so much better; the museums were so cerebral; the architecture was really, really cool, and the public transportation so much more convenient than back home. And, get this, they have “free” healthcare and “free” retirement and “free” college education…why, EUrolanders must be living in paradise, so why can’t we be like them?

But, hey, what do I know? I just spent all my formative years, communicate with my family there and travel back regularly. No matter: it is so written in the Lefty Booboisie’s Temple of Orthodoxy that we must be more like EUrope, so any information to the contrary cannot be so and must be discounted. All reeeeasonable people know that EUrope is soooo much ahead of us in social justice. Que?

Of course, these fatuous fops of the Leftwing (I say “leftwing” because conservatives tend to be far more America-centric) booboisie never really lived the EUro experience. I maintain, based on experience, that you need to live in a country at least two years as an ordinary citizen to begin to look under the surface and understand it. A tourist’s, academic’s or exchange student’s view of Europe just will not suffice. Try explaining this to the American booboisie, convinced that the grass really is greener in the rest of the world, and you might as well talk to a brick.

Well, along comes Dan Hannan, EUro MP and American observor extraordaire to perfectly encapsulate my own understanding of EUroland (no, “Hannan” does not mean “Lemieux” in ye olde Anglo-Saxon) in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

According to Hannan, a big part of what drives Obama and his supporters is a warped mystical vision of Europe to which they aspire for us to be.

Key outtakes from Hannan’s piece:

  • Europe’s post-war growth was not due to a European miracle but to American largesse.
  • Europe is no longer a Democracy, but a top-down oligarchy that sees the will of the people as an obstacle to be ignored or overcome.
  • If we (the U.S.) need to stop going around the world apologizing for ourselves, we will create irreconcilable rifts not only with other countries but within our country.
  • EUropeanization means economic degradation and high structural unemployment and that, between 1980 and 1992, the EUro economy failed to create a net private-sector job. Whoops! We may already be there.

Hannan says it like it is. Ironically, he was an Obama supporter at first.

Of course, like here, the “free” bennies of EUroland are already unraveling and the mystical fog of Bismark’s socialist democrat visions is beginning to lift, revealing its ugly contradictions and endgames. Financial realities do have a brutal honesty about them.

Hopefully, we will get the message while we still have time to undo the damage of the Obamites and their EUrophilic visions. But, I think that it will be very, very close and at great cost to social and economic wellbeing.

Read the whole thing.

Europe died in Auschwitz

I got the following email.  I don’t know the essay’s true provenance, but the sentiments expressed are interesting, especially if it did indeed originate in EuropeL

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ

The following is a copy of an article written by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez and published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15, 2008. It doesn’t take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe – and possibly to the rest of the world.

REMEMBER AS YOU READ — IT WAS IN A SPANISH PAPER
Date: Tue. 15 January 2008 14:30

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez

I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth�Europe died in Auschwitz . . . We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.

Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe . Approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world’s population.

The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don’t hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people.

The Jews don’t traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

Perhaps the world’s Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

Muslims must ask ‘what can they do for humankind’ before they demand that humankind respects them.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel ‘s part, the following two sentences really say it all:

‘If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel .” Benjamin Netanyahu

General Eisenhower Warned Us�It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect: ‘Get it all on record now �get the films�get the witnesses�because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.’
Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests who were ‘murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated’ while the German people looked the other way.

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people. Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’ because it offends some Muslim in the United States ?

Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this along.
PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING! WE NEED TO GET THIS EMAIL OUT TO THE WORLD!

Could the European Union get more insane?

As I read it, the latest insanity from Europe/England is as follows:  woman gets government benefits; woman neglects to use those government benefits to pay rent on government housing; government housing tries to evict woman; the EU declares that eviction violates woman’s rights.  Woman walks away both eating and having cake.  Deadbeats throughout the European Union busily take notes.