Yesterday, I wrote about European fairy tales versus American fairy tales. Of the former, I said:
That’s the theme in the majority of fairy tales that originated in the old world: be good, be passive, and some deus ex machina figure, usually magical, will come and rescue you. Passivity is the name of the game. In one fairy tale after another, the lead character, usually the youngest child of at least three siblings, prevails by virtue of being nice.
My own words popped into my head when I read David Pryce-Jones’ description of the way in which European leaders are coping with the EU’s economic collapse:
The level of unreality created by the masters of Europe is reaching new heights. It is like hallucinating to observe the politicians driving in expensive cars to meet one another, inspecting guards of honor, arranging for ministerial get-togethers, and all the while the construct that put them into office is collapsing all around them. These same politicians chatter extensively about saving the euro and the European Union, about bailouts and firewalls and fiscal pacts, as though words were deeds. No satirist could do justice to the sight of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly elected French President François Hollande shaking hands and vowing to work together to save the union and its currency. Insofar as this pair has any coherent ideas, they disagree. All they have in common is the precariousness of their position. Just trounced in local elections, Mrs. Merkel and her party are well on the way to joining the gathering crowd of electoral rejects. As for Hollande, he believes that growth comes from higher taxes and hundreds of thousands more state jobs, and all in arch-protectionist France. It can’t be long before such socialist illusion comes back to haunt that country.
Off they go, those little European fairy tale characters, being “nice” (leading parades, making speeches), all the while clearly hoping that some deus ex machina will come along and save them. America actually did save them twice (three times if you count the Cold War as WWIII), but America now has a president who is also in thrall to the European fairy tale world view. He’s waiting too.
Mitt Romney isn’t Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, or even Weems’ George Washington, but I think he has a much better grasp of the American fairy tale (stand tall and fight your own battles) than do the actual Europeans abroad or the faux European in the White House.