Saturday, November 20, 2004


Something to think about:

Who has changed? Us or the Europeans? Why this growing gulf?

Andrew E. Bush reminds us of this:

First, while the values divide between Europe and America may be growing, it is not because America is growing more religious. Rather, it is because Europe has all but abandoned the religious heritage that has served as the moral foundation of Western Civilization for two millenia. Europeans are free, of course, to take their moral guidance from Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Derrida rather than Moses and St. Paul, but they are not entitled to embrace nihilism and hedonism as their new religion and then accuse Americans of changing.

Second, while the United States has long valued international organizations and still gives them every bit of respect that they earn, most Americans are reluctant to surrender their national sovereignty to those organizations, especially when their freedom and safety is at stake. This, however, is not a new position; it is a position as old as the nation-state. It is Europeans who have embarked on the unprecedented experiment of voluntarily subsuming their national identities to the whims of international bureaucracies.

This point leads inexorably into the third. Americans continue to cling to old verities of natural law and natural rights, not least of which is the supreme demand for government based on the consent of the governed. It is precisely the connection between consent on one hand and accountability and legitimacy on the other that causes Americans to prefer fealty to their Constitution over international organizations. We can hold George Bush (or Tom Daschle) accountable, but how can we hold accountable Kofi Annan or Hans Blix? There is a growing recognition by observers that the European Union has been built at a great cost to democracy; Europeans themselves refer to a "democratic deficit." Many Europeans may be willing to throw overboard one of the most central principles of a free society, but they can hardly complain when Americans prove not so willing.

Altogether, Europeans have effectively removed themselves from Christendom while surrendering their sovereignty and much of the basis of their liberty. It is Europeans who have stopped having children and who have instead opened the floodgates to a potentially decisive fifth column of anti-Western immigrants; Europeans who have adopted the historically novel view that diplomacy with tyrants can succeed in the absence of a credible threat of force. And now it is Europeans who argue that Americans are the ones who have changed. This might be a good time for self-reflection among Europe’s elites, if they can spare a moment from their mourning.

We look at Europe and see a sick society that is not reproducing itself, seems to worship death in the form of easy euthanisia and denying medical care to very ill children and was so wrapped up in oil for food money that it's hard to know what is true. We see a Europe that will weep over a failed statesman who never could outgrow his terrorist roots but who will snub the man working hard to make a new democratic state. Who has changed? Who has embraced the darkness?

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