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While Europe Slept - John L - 05-23-2006

This is an interesting interview of the author of "While Europe Slept", a practical Liberal, who moved to the Netherlands and was appalled by what he witnessed. Here is what I think is a very revealing part.

Quote:Bawer:European social democracy was rigid, doctrinaire, controlling. Social democrats ran politics, the media, and the academy, and they worked together to propagandize against their system’s #1 competition in the world – namely, American-style liberal democracy. The anti-Americanism I encountered every single day in the European media floored me. The American media had given me a very flattering picture of today’s Western Europe. But reading European papers and watching European TV news and talking to individual Europeans, I got a picture of America I hardly recognized. They depicted a capitalistic nightmare straight out of Upton Sinclair, a country where education and health care were only for the rich and where there was no such thing as unemployment insurance or retirement benefits.

The hostility to America was ubiquitous, and reflexive. Ditto the hostility to Israel, which Europeans have been taught by their elite to see almost exclusively as America’s 51st state, an oppressor of Palestinians and an illegal occupier of Arab and Muslim lands. I had been in many ways a critic of America, but in Europe I increasingly came to appreciate its virtues – and repeatedly found myself in social situations where I was obliged to defend it against people who regurgitated inane anti-American clichés that they’d been fed since infancy.

FP: Tell us about European attitudes toward immigration/immigrants in comparison to American attitudes.

Bawer: For decades, Western Europe has been admitting huge numbers of immigrants for decades, most of them Muslims. But the way they’ve handled them has been disastrous. The European elite hates America so much that instead of recognizing the U.S. as a model of how to integrate newcomers, they rejected the American approach entirely. They chose to view immigrants as members of groups rather than as individuals, as dependent children rather than adults who are potentially self-sufficient and responsible, and as exotic alien creatures who should remain exotic rather than as Europeans in the making. When I was first living in Norway, politicians and journalists were in the habit of congratulating Muslims for having turned Norway into a “colorful society” – a “fargerik felleskap.” Nobody seemed to realize how condescending this was, or how at odds it was with Martin Luther King’s dream of a colorblind society. I was also shocked to hear people refer to immigrants’ European-born children as “second-generation immigrants.” And their children were “third-generation immigrants.” This summed up an incredibly dramatic difference in the ways Americans and Europeans thought about immigrants. My father’s parents were Polish, but never in my life had it occurred to me to think of myself as a third-generation immigrant or of my father as a second-generation immigrant. The idea was ludicrous. We were Americans, period.

America encourages immigrants to go to work, learn the language, and become full members of society; Europe encourages immigrants to live apart and maintain their cultures and lifestyles and values without adjusting in the slightest to their new environment. This is called multiculturalism. And it’s been a disaster. In America, immigrants tend to make the switch to English relatively quickly; by contrast, an incredible number of European children (and even grandchildren) of immigrants are barely able to speak the language of the country in which they were born. Immigrants to the U.S. are also far more likely into enter the work force than immigrants in Europe, and are better paid.

In Europe, the elite prefers its minorities unintegrated, and the supposed reason is that it respects differences. But the real reason is a profound discomfort with the idea of “them” becoming “us.” Anyone can become an American; but an immigrant to Norway or the Netherlands will never really be thought of by anyone as Norwegian or Dutch.

In Norway there’s a comedienne named Shabana Rehman whose parents brought her to Norway from Pakistan when she was a baby. On her website, she writes: “I speak strikingly good Norwegian. But most native Norwegians I meet wish that it was a little broken.” I’ve seen this attitude. Americans are delighted to hear immigrants speaking English. By contrast, many Norwegians are uncomfortable when they hear a Pakistani speaking Norwegian. One thing I still find remarkable in Norway is the frequency with which people use the expression “Like barn leker best.” It’s a very common expression and it means something like “Children play best with other children who are like themselves.” I’ve heard it being said a thousand times by people who think of themselves as devout multiculturalists.

The most successful immigrant group in the history of the world is American Jews. Why? Because they integrated enthusiastically into the mainstream of American society. They rejected the ghetto and embraced American pluralism. In Europe, this same eagerness to belong, to contribute, and to thrive – and not remain segregated and ghettoized – led to the Jews’ near-extermination. It seems to me that part of the reason why anti-Semitism is so widespread in Europe while Islam is often treated with kid gloves is that the European elite has a reflexive contempt for a group that blends in and a reflexive respect for a group that holds itself proudly apart and resists assimilation. That’s a formula for disaster.

- Muneris - 05-23-2006

Quote:The European elite hates America so much that instead of recognizing the U.S. as a model of how to integrate newcomers, they rejected the American approach entirely.
This is stupid. It has nothing to do with dislike of America, we don't think about every decision based on what America does. Europe's just racist, and "respecting diversity" or multiculturalism is the way that Liberalism tries to cope with this, a rather stupid way created by Liberalism's refusal to consider our culture superior in any way.

- Palladin - 05-23-2006


Don't you think some of the problem though is based more on the loss of national self respect than it is racism? I agree,your imigration problems are not related to hostility to the way we do business,but it seems to me the tolerance of what really is an intolerant cancer is an expression in a way of self loathing.

I know,pop psychology here. However,we've had our fair share of racism ourselves,but to this day we do not tolerate what we view as a hostile or "foreign" culture to reproduce here. We still see ourselves as good and worthy of protecting our way.

I think lots of Europeans are now loathing themselves,their past,others are as good,maybe better. Am I wrong?

- John L - 05-23-2006

I will state it again. It is what Shelby Steele calls White Guilt. It also applies to Europe as well.

The man is a true seer.

Quote:Anti-Americanism, whether in Europe or on the American left, works by the mechanism of white guilt. It stigmatizes America with all the imperialistic and racist ugliness of the white Western past so that America becomes a kind of straw man, a construct of Western sin. (The Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons were the focus of such stigmatization campaigns.) Once the stigma is in place, one need only be anti-American in order to be "good," in order to have an automatic moral legitimacy and power in relation to America. (People as seemingly disparate as President Jacques Chirac and the Rev. Al Sharpton are devoted pursuers of the moral high ground to be had in anti-Americanism.) This formula is the most dependable source of power for today's international left. Virtue and power by mere anti-Americanism. And it is all the more appealing since, unlike real virtues, it requires no sacrifice or effort--only outrage at every slight echo of the imperialist past.

Today words like "power" and "victory" are so stigmatized with Western sin that, in many quarters, it is politically incorrect even to utter them. For the West, "might" can never be right. And victory, when won by the West against a Third World enemy, is always oppression. But, in reality, military victory is also the victory of one idea and the defeat of another. Only American victory in Iraq defeats the idea of Islamic extremism. But in today's atmosphere of Western contrition, it is impolitic to say so.

- Muneris - 05-23-2006

Palladin, I am saying that the loss of respect is a reaction to racism.
The issue about second-generation immigrants for example. Many British people do not really consider the children of immigrants to be British in the way that, say, I am. Hence the phrase. And Britain is one of the least racist countries in Europe. Liberalism has tried to get around this rather than confronting it straight on, because they are so opposed to this idea. They are so strongly opposed to racism that they cannot conceive that we are better in any possible way than any other culture, and so lose respect for our own, and so they encourage immigrants not to intergrate, but to keep their own culture.

- Palladin - 05-23-2006


I see your view,I appreciate your patience with me.


The guilt thing is more along the lines I view this phenomenon. Guilt because we have more,guilt because we ruled them in the past,guilt because ..................... subjective guilt.

The fact of the matter is,from my personal view,God Himself controls human history,nothing is an accident of history and it is not an error they ruled in history and we returned the favor in history,different spiritual dynamics caused that as Israel's up and down days also were.

NOTE for the record,these Muslims never felt "GUILT" about when they ruled and the reason is they never have the slightest doubt that what they do is what God intends. It does not matter whether they cut off a man's head or blow up a bunch of little girls,whereas WE tend to wonder even when we've done intrinsically good things.

They believe in their devil more than we(generally) believe in The God of Abraham,Issac and Jacob who created the universe and crushed the devil's head at Calvary.

It's a fact I regret. It is true though. Add in that most of "us" aren't even believers in Christ and that adds into the guilt and confusion.

"Why am I here"? "Why do I have it so good and they live like animals"?

"Gosh,I don't know,I'll try to find myself and the reason I exist".

- Palladin - 05-23-2006

Here's a really thoughtful view of this dilemma from Wretchard,of all people,a Phillipino thinker. The hatred for the USA and Bush is at least strongly caused by the fact that Bush made it clear WE felt WE were worth fighting for and WE were NOT supposed to think like this according to the subjective white guilt left. Which is 90% of Europe and about 30% of the USA.

We ignorant neanderthal Christians should have been "educated" out of existence here as they succeeded in doing in Europe,but 9-11 has seen it is not true in America,so this is driving these atheistic moonbats crazy,note what Madeleine Albright stated yesterday.


- John L - 05-23-2006

Sorry Patrick, but I went to the link to read the article, and can't find it. Did you link to the correct page?

- WmLambert - 05-24-2006

The problem is that the U.S. is the least racially biased nation on Earth, yet the ease with which anyone can move upwards in society also allows unsuccessful losers to claim "victimhood" instead of "stupidhood."

It makes good press and is a favorite of the international echo media.

- Palladin - 05-24-2006

Restarting the Clock of History

A reader sends a link to the Wall Street Journal article Days of Rage which describes the rough ride of Joe Lieberman and John McCain.

Two events last Friday speak volumes about the direction of modern liberal politics, and it's not an encouraging trend, especially if you're a Democrat who wants to take back the White House. The first is that antiwar candidate Ned Lamont captured a third of the delegates at Connecticut's Democratic Party convention, thus winning the right to challenge Senator Joe Lieberman in an August primary. The second is the nasty treatment of Senator John McCain by faculty and students during his commencement address at the New School in New York. ...

Mr. McCain was invited to the New School by its president, former Democratic Senator and Congressional Medal of Honor winner Robert Kerrey. When Mr. Kerrey spoke, he was also heckled, with someone shouting, "You're a war criminal!" It'd be comforting to dismiss all this as mere Manhattan derangement, but these passions have become common in liberal media and Web precincts and are spilling into national politics. ...

Take Connecticut, where the left is targeting Mr. Lieberman for political extinction because of his pro-war views. Their vehicle is Mr. Lamont, a rich Greenwich businessman who decided to run after the Senator wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal supporting U.S. policy in Iraq. Mr. Lamont ... needed 15% of the delegates to get a place on the primary ballot, but in the event rolled up 33%. That's a remarkable showing against a three-term incumbent who as recently as 2000 was on the party's national ticket and ran for President in 2004. "They are saying this war was a mistake and bring the troops home," Mr. Lamont declared. Mr. Lieberman will still be favored to win the primary, but angry-left activists around the country will now descend on the state and the fight may well turn vicious.

The treatment given Lieberman and McCain raises the question of whether it is possible to build a consensus policy on the war against terror. Is there any political figure willing to fight terrorism in a minimally effective way who will not be targeted and vilified by a substantial percentage of one of America's major political parties -- and perhaps by its press and "intelligentsia"? That is probably what Hillary Clinton is trying to figure out.

One unintended effect of the September 11 attacks is that it put a defining question to different modes of American political consciousness. Until then it was possible to treat many ideologies respectable since the 1960s as harmless forms of iconoclasm, posing "provocative" but fundamentally hypothetical views. But when attacks on the US homeland made it categorically necessary to answer the question 'are you willing to fight our assailants', many sincere ideologues paused, shook their heads and said 'No. In fact I am morally obligated to help our assailants'. When Noam Chomsky went out of his way to support Hezbollah it wasn't inexplicable, it was logical. His long articulated hypotheticals have simply become actuals.

The murky concept of sedition, with which freedom of speech must uneasily coexist, is founded on the notion of a threat. Radical Marxist thought derives protection from its status as a defeated mode of political action. The Cold War was fought against armed Marxism on every continent and clime for half a century. But when the Cold War was over, or in places where Radical Marxists did not actually take up arms they were allowed to keep their narratives and tolerated, as the Muslim Ottoman Empire once countenanced Jews and Christians for as long as they posed no threat. No physical threat. But although Marxism was defeated by the largely economic process of Globalization it flourished -- even dominated -- in the cultural institutions of the West at a time when Islamism was triumphing over secularism in the Middle East. From the Marxist perspective at least, the Cold War ended not in defeat, but in a negotiated armistice; with surrender on the economic front offset by a capitulation to it by the West on cultural matters. People might have to work in private companies, it's true, but all the accompanying baggage of traditional culture like religion, sexual mores, notions of objectivity, etc were forfeit; and that was more than compensation. That was the tacit 'deal' and the EU, UN and cultural institutions were going to carry it out. By slow degrees the Western world was going to be politically corrected, multiculturalized and transnationalized. "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do". And as the 1990s drew to a close it didn't seem all that far away.

September 10, 2001 was the last day on which which hypothetically incompatible modes of thought could coexist in a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" environment. When the planes smashing into the Twin Towers forced everyone to nail their colors to the mast Marxists no less than the conservatives indignantly found themselves facing an unanticipated rebellion. Liberal rage over Bush -- and maybe Lieberman and McCain -- for behaving "illegitimately" and "turning back the clock" is incomprehensible until one realizes that from a certain perspective it represents a double-cross. The West was supposed to die; slowly and comfortably but ineluctably. And we were supposed to buy off the Islamists until we could finish the job ourselves. Bush declaring his intention to fight for the survival of the West was just as logical as Chomsky's pilgrimage to Hezbollah and just as infuriating to his enemies.

Until September 11 it was possible for the more "enlightened" segments of society to regard patriotism, religion and similar sentiments with the kind of amused tolerance that one might reserve for simpletons. Nothing that a little institutionalization and spare change couldn't straighten out. The problem for the Democratic Party is that the Great Polite Silence is over. People like Chomsky and President Bush have stopped being hypothetical and become all too real. Bring it on.

Just Citizens says it received this email from Army spokesman John Boyce regarding the case of the "Ranger" featured on Socialist Alternatives

“Initial research by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg shows no Soldier with the name of Jesse Macbeth having ever been assigned to the Special Forces or the Army Rangers -- which are, in fact, two separate disciplines. This appears to be some sort of hoax. No Soldier by that name at Fort Lewis to our knowledge, in the past, either. Of course, the line about "go into the Army or go to jail" is vintage TV script not heard since the 1960s. There are also numerous wear and appearance issues with the Soldier's uniform -- a mix of foreign uniforms with the sleeves rolled up like a Marine and a badly floppy tan beret worn like a pastry chef. Of course, the allegations of war crimes are vague, as are the awards the Soldier allegedly received.”

Like a pastry chef. What has Boyce got against pastry chefs?

posted by wretchard at 152 PM