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  • Just How Crazy Dangerous are Europeans?

    Posted by Shannon Love on October 28th, 2011 (All posts by )

    German chancellor Merkel recently made a statement that mirrors sentiments voiced by virtually all European leaders and EU proponents:

    “Nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe. They are not for granted. That’s why I say: If the euro fails, Europe fails,” Merkel said, followed by a long applause from all political groups.
     
    “We have a historical obligation: To protect by all means Europe’s unification process begun by our forefathers after centuries of hatred and blood spill. None of us can foresee what the consequences would be if we were to fail.” [emp added]

    So, as an American, I have to ask: How crazy dangerous are contemporary Europeans anyway?

    I mean, from reading the statements of these EU leaders and EU proponents, people outside the EU could easily get the idea that the majority of the EU population are nothing but a bunch of war crazed psychos quiveringly eager to drop the hammer on their neighbors at the slightest provocation. And here I thought you Europeans were all better now and so morally advanced compared to the rest of the planet. Have you been keeping secrets?

    If Europeans are so irrationally war prone, is the EU really a good idea?

    I mean, I can attest from personal experience that if you have a problem with a pickup full of drunken rednecks looking for trouble on a Saturday night, the solution isn’t to round up all the other drunken rednecks in the county and organize them. If Europeans are so bloodthirsty, organizing them all together in the EU would simply amplify their dangerousness to the rest of the world by making them a deranged superpower. The Germans and Italians were bad enough on their own, back in the day, but now we have to deal with all of Europe going nuts at once?

    Maybe the Russians are right to be paranoid and we should probably keep our bases over there. I mean, if European leaders are so afraid of their own populace I guess the rest of the world should be as well.

    I suppose cynical Europhobes will say that this depiction of a bloodthirsty European populace is just a cynical attempt by European elites to terrify their own population into supporting more risky Euro spending. Nah, it couldn’t be that because Europeans are so sophisticated and all. They’d never fall for a scam like that.

    Nope, it must be that Europeans are just a bunch of barely restrained thugs. The next time you see a European coming towards you down the street, play it safe and cross the street out of their way. You don’t want them going all gangster on you.

     

    24 Responses to “Just How Crazy Dangerous are Europeans?”

    1. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      … just a cynical attempt by European elites to terrify their own population into supporting more risky Euro spending.

      Or allow the “New Aristocracy” (Brussels, the media, NGOs) to maintain their lord-like positions on top of the social pyramid. They’re “democratic” in name, but neo-feudal at heart.

      After all, what good are serfs if you can’t order them around and plunder them?

    2. Dawnsblood Says:

      In a nutshell the argument seems to be: If you don’t allow a bunch of super bureaucrats to control the lives of all Europeans, then we will all kill each other.

      Do they really think that is what caused all the European wars of the last 500 years? The lack of a high level babysitter to tax the crap out of certain groups to pay off others?

      Personally I don’t see how there are any winners in this iteration of the EU. The responsible are bled dry as while the irresponsible live under austerity. The perfect liberal state, everybody suffers as they all go bankrupt.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Many people assume that a larger government entity will be better-run, more responsible, and more protective of individual rights than a smaller government entity. In the US, this stems largely from the Civil War era, the ongoing suppression of black civil rights by state governments until there was federal intervention, and the fact that there has generally been less corruption in the federal government than in state and local governments.

      It could have easily gone the other way, though–what if Massachusetts had seceded from the US in order to avoid participating in enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law?

      And for a German like Ms Merkel, in particular, it should be especially obvious that larger government entities are not automatically a good thing. What if German unification had never taken place and it had continued to be an aggregate of principalities and city-states as it was in the era of Goethe? There might well have been internecine wars, and trade would have probably not been optimized—-OTOH, there would have been no Hitler and no WWII and no Holocaust.

    4. Brandoch Daha Says:

      The EU is not analagous to adding more drunken rednecks to the pickup truck. Rather, it is analagous to adding three Latin Kings, three Crips, three Hizbulloids, and three Marilyn Manson fans from the suburbs.

      There’s zero no danger that they’ll all unite and beat up on somebody else. Instead, they’ll be kept busy squabbling over internal politics within the group. What the EU does is provide a non-violent framework for that.

      This is what multi-culturalism is about: In a multicultural system, everybody’s first loyalty is to his minority group. You encourage and reward that by establishing a system of political patronage and entitlements which are assigned on the basis of group membership. Empires have been operating that way for thousands of years. Assimilation isn’t an option in Europe: Emigrants in a new country will assimilate, but Italians who stayed home in Italy aren’t going to assimilate into somebody else’s culture very easily. Institutionalized cultural balkanization is the next best option in that case. Let people stay in their own little groups where they trust and understand each other, and let the empire mediate relations among the various minority groups as represented by their “community leaders”.

      It’s a much worse system than the melting-pot setup the US used to have, but we’re converting to it anyway, because it’s a lot nicer for the folks at the very top who assign the handouts. It keeps everybody too small to challenge them, you see.

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      This reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles.

    6. James Bennett Says:

      The Eurocrats like to say that it’s the EU that has kept the peace. But in reality it has been NATO. The NATO guarantee against aggression still stands and it’s absurd to think that any European state is going to actually try to use force in the face of that.

      I wou8ld say to just about any European leader, “Yeah, you and what army?”

    7. Bill Brandt Says:

      I think the craziest are the Germans – who gave the world both communism and the Nazis. If they had had, say, a Duke of Wellington at the Helm and a populace that wasn’t so rabid on “superiority” – instead of a Hitler – they would have ruled Eurasia.

      Fortunately for the world, I guess, they didn’t ;-)

      I am wondering if even today Germany doesn’t have all these disparate groups just under the radar .

      Our foreign policy these days is increasingly focusing towards Asia.

      Read something years ago that always stuck with me – that the reason so many of the those countries are socialist was because of the US armed forces over there – giving them a security umbrella and allowing them to spend their money elsewhere.

      Don’t know how true that is – when I was stationed in Germany in the early 70s there were about equal numbers of German armed forces to American – all facing a huge Warsaw Pact.

      But it is something to consider.

    8. Brian Dunbar Says:

      If Europeans are so irrationally war prone, is the EU really a good idea?

      I don’t _think_ that modern Europeans are more prone to war than their ancestors were.

      From an outsider’s perspective, when Europe is fragmented into a whole bunch of states, it’s a good thing. We get the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, colonies that turn into Brazil and America.

      When Europe is a single polity we get Napoleon, Hitler.

    9. Shannon Love Says:

      Michael Kennedy,

      This reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles.

      It does but it’s more like the Sheriff is holding himself back from a fight.

    10. Michael Kennedy Says:

      From an outsider’s perspective, when Europe is fragmented into a whole bunch of states, it’s a good thing.

      Excellent point. Back in the days when children learned some history, I was taught that the Greeks invented democracy because they were divided into small city states. Sounds like a similar principle. Large countries with no geographic barriers, like China and Persia, turned into tyrannies.

    11. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Nope, it must be that Europeans are just a bunch of barely restrained thugs. The next time you see a European coming towards you down the street, play it safe and cross the street out of their way.

      If you see me comin’, better step aside
      A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died

    12. Brian Dunbar Says:


      If you see me comin’, better step aside
      A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died

      Ahem.

      I was born in the ruins of the Roman Empire,
      Huns and Franks pick’n through th’ mire.
      The Dark Ages felt as black as coal,
      And Charlemagne said ‘Well bless my soul.’

    13. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Did you rewrite the Woodpecker song for this?

    14. Sejo Says:

      Everytime I read about EU from an American or British point of view, it seems to me we live on two different planets.

      I have no simpathy for Mrs. Merkel and for much of her Continental colleagues of all sides and countries but calling them bureaucrats? They are elected representatives of their own peoples and, for once, I agree with the German chancellor. Whoever wants a united and peaceful Europe, able to play its part in international affairs and diplomacy and lessen the burden on the US shoulders, should have to support the building of a more democratic and federal EUnion.
      Just like you Americans – who have been wise enough to flee famine, misery and wars of our Old Continent – did on 1776. What Europe needs to be functional, with a single currency and a single economy, is a single government. A single, federal, elected government. Exactly what the proponents of the “Europe of the Fatherlands” like Merkel and Sarkozy have done everything to oppose. Even herr Kohl has denounced the willing to destroy “his Europe” of frau Merkel.

      If my British sisters and brothers won’t feel the need to cease part of their national sovreignty to a Continental government, I will sadly miss them for I think that no country in Europe could teach us all about the balance between personal freedom and State organization, thanks to its centuries long culture of civil liberties. Nonetheless I understand what having a Crown and an H.M.’s government means, historically and practically.

      And, yes, definitely, we Europeans are what we are and what made millions flee from our shores to the West. The same who carried on the Inquisition, the persecution of Catholics under Cromwell, the organizators of pogroms and Crusades and WWI and WWII and WWhatever else right up to the Balkan wars. That is our history. The EU is the chance to make it once and for all past, as long as it evolves from a powerless parliament subjected to national lobbies to a united, federal, democratic, elected government.
      Don’t you too think that in a Europe without Euro and EU, with Germany playing with the national debt of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slav countries and even France, unemployment rising to the sky, superinflation round the corner, the world would have gone to war again?

    15. Phil Ossiferz Stone Says:

      >Don’t you too think that in a Europe without Euro and EU, with Germany playing with the national debt of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slav countries and even France, unemployment rising to the sky, superinflation round the corner, the world would have gone to war again?

      See, Sejo, this is what weirds out Americans about You White People Over There. You all talk about war and nationalism and militarism as though they were synonymous with poverty; as though an economic crash producing rabid war-instinct were some sort of inflexible law of nature. They aren’t. If it were, India would be the most strife-stricken place on earth. It isn’t. If it were, we would have produced our own Hitler instead of FDR during the DEpression. We didn’t. Most peoples, most societies, simply hunker down and Deal With It.

      If you can’t or don’t, or won’t… well, frankly, that’s not a tremendous complement.

    16. Sejo Says:

      As much as I know, India has a long history of civil war played by communist or Maoist organizations, Phil. A sadly ongoing history based on the use and abuse of poverty and famine resentment.
      I’m afraid I still think that an economic breakdown could lead to war as it’s always been the answer of the European ruling classes – no intended Marxism here, eh – to inflation and poverty. It’s not my option, of course. I have no thirst for blood, not even Alemannic-Teuton. I was born in front of Greece and my ancestors came from Jewish Spain as much as from Swabia and France. On the contrary, I believe in the peace brought by commerce and co-prosperity.

      I always thought that Europe, after WWII, could have learned more from USA. Your history of states separation and a federal government over a continent wide country, united by rule of law if not common currency and language, was a blueprint for action.
      Perhaps, the Ventotene Manifesto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventotene_Manifesto) proponents saw that in 1941. What I am sure of, is that USA still has a lot to teach the Europeans, now in XXI century. And that there are a lot of America’s and American ideals friends here.

      Obviously, EU has been also a bureaucratic monster. I’m sorry if the first example that comes to mind is related to food, but I’m Italian and kitchen is the place where everyday peace is made: the EU has forbid the making of certain cheeses, who were let fermenting in marble boxes put underground, for it is not hygienic. As fermentation at all could be considered hygienic and not a rotting process. Hilarious. Even milk producers are allowed to make only certain quantities, and overproduced milk goes down the drain. A kick in the face of starving African kids and a free market.
      However, Italy or France or Spain could not be International players in economy. Even Germany – perhaps too large, too big for EU – woud be a dwarf compared to US and BRIC countries. The answer is the common market, which has been a fundamental step forward to a common free market. That is not enough, whatever Merkel and Sarkozy think, and this sovereign debt crisis is the litmus paper for it.

      We need a “White House” to control all the balances of the single states of the EUnion and to check and armonize the spending and services to population. Clearly, the European Commission, a board elected by the governments’ representatives, has no power to do it and would have not the necessary authoritativeness (is this word correct?) for it is not elected by «we, the people».
      To have a federal government, the answer is not bashing the EU. It’s making it more democratic. It’s making it grow into the USE. You have taught us what a hard working people can do in front of the mightiest army in the world during your Independence war. You also taught us, with the Constitution and the Declaration of independence, how a large government/state can be respectful of individual liberties and let prosper those citizens.
      It’s about time that Europe as a whole makes that same step forward. I think the world would be a better place if those ideals, so well represented in a French-made statue not accidentally situated in front of NYC, were triumphant on this side of the ocean. Wouldn’t it?
      Perhaps it’s a battle impossible to win. Perhaps the French grandeur and Italian provincialism, as other national egoisms, cannot be defeated. But it’s a nice battle to fight and one that I am glad to be making along people who speak different languages but I feel nonetheless as sisters and brothers: for there could be liberty and peace and prosperity at the end of the “United States of Europe” road. The other one surely leads to bankruptcy and becoming colonies of Arab and Chinese sovereign funds.

    17. Mike H Says:

      Europe has degenerated to the point where they wont even screw to save themselves … maybe it would be more accurate to say “have children” … what makes you think they will fight to save themselves?

    18. renminbi Says:

      Europe is a geographical term and that is all. The EU is a perfect racket for superannuated politicians -they get their tax free sinecures and then retirement for not making waves. Kind of like our middle east State Department types knowing they will get consultancy gigs from the Saudis,after they retire, if they play ball.

      This is nothing but soft tyranny,which commands the loyalty of an out touch political class through bribery and through control of the media. This dies when the public is sufficiently impoverished by their EU masters incompetence.

      Best websites:
      Yourfreedomandours.blogspot.com
      and
      Eureferendum.blogspot.com

    19. Shannon Love Says:

      Sejo,

      I don’t think Europeans understand just how much it freaks Americans out to hear major elected European leaders say that failure to adopt this or that policy poises enough risk of leading to warfare that the leader feels compelled to mention it. We just don’t think that way. We do to war against dictators and similar overtly violent threats. The idea that monetary policy will cause a people to go to war is simply alien to us. We are forced to wonder is something is deeply, deeply wrong with Europeans.

      I think that European leaders have spent the entire post-WWII era telling the European populace that all other Europeans are highly dangerous and can only be contained by a transnational aristocracy who are “above it all.” It’s bizarre. I guess they get every individual to think of themselves as the rational, peace-lovers while at the same time thinking that their literal neighbors are highly dangerous. Americans can’t understand this type of doublethink.

      The EU is philosophically based on a fundamental mistrust of the people. The function of the EU isn’t to secure inalienable rights of individuals but to protect groups of people from their own irrationality. It comes off saying, “Well, we inmates are running the asylum but if we just make our government big enough, then we all act sanely.”

      It doesn’t work that way.

      The only real explanation is that the EU is really just Europe chunking the whole egalitarian democracy thing and returning to the pre-industrial model of translation aristocratic government. Europeans just seem culturally more comfortable with elite authoritarian rule. You can see why Americans would be nervous abut such a political philosophy. Elitism never ends well.

    20. ErisGuy Says:

      The first step in making the EU real will be to replace the multiple EUropean members of the United Nations with a single member, whether they like it or not. The second step is treat the EU as a single nation in FIFA, so that it may contribute only one team to the soccer world cup, have one corrupt board member on its ExCo, etc.

    21. ErisGuy Says:

      “Elitism never ends well.”

      Maybe not, but it has produced great civilizations: China and Byzantium, to name two.

    22. James Bennett Says:

      Sejo, If a substantial majority of any two or more European states genuinely desire to build this United States of Europe, as expressed by a clear referendum majority or at least the wide electoral victory of parties with an explicit agenda to do this, then, good luck to them. This agenda has never had that kind of support outside of, perhaps, Luxembourg. Rather, there has been a process of parties elected with the very specific promise of not constructing a federal state sneaking around behind the back of the populace and moving toward federation by stealth. The State Department and CIA have been enthusiastic (and financially generous) supporters of this tactic. However, various European citizenries seem to have become tired of this process.

      Meanwhile, I would make some observations:

      1. The US succeeded in large part because they had a common language, legal system, and consensus on social values, by global standards. When we tried to expand beyond this area of consensus, as with the several attempts to include Quebec, we were rejected and did not press the issue. (As Bourassa later said, the Quebecois preferred the British crown, as being “slightly less obnoxious than the Americans, and much further away”.) We managed in the Southwest only because we were able to swamp the small Spanish-speaking population with numbers.

      2. You really should never have tried to include the British. De Gaulle, the best combination of brains and character in French history, understood this. You must cut them loose as soon as possible. You can learn from them (and us) without being in political union with them. Just send the occasional smart observer like Montesquieu or Tocqueville over to look around. For that matter, just go back and read them over again, they’re still relevant.

      3. In all good will, I would advise you to have a Plan B. And maybe a Plan C.

    23. Sejo Says:

      Shannon, I haven’t heard a single political leader telling me how much dangerous and warmongering are other Europeans. We just know it. It’s what we have for breakfast from primary to high school in history classes. I suppose it’s the same – or would be, I am not fond of educational standards around the globe – in every corner of Asia and Africa. Men had wars for most of their time. I also guess it would be the same in the Americas schools if those were run by North and South American natives. Plus a few of human sacrifices. Little or no technology, scarce resources, cold weather and free growing food mostly growing around the Mediterranean basin made the rest.
      I was two days ago having a lunch in a small village of about five thousand souls on the initial slopes of the Appennines between Latium and Abruzzo. Nice village, I have to say, and great lunch. In the small square of the town hall, in front of a small, I believe ancient, fountain, there were two marble plaques remembering the local deads of the WWI – who contributed to «the establishment of our sacred boundaries up to the snow on the Carsic rocks, victims of the Teutonic fury» – and one for the victims of the WWII abroad and the Nazis – called Alemannic, a term I heard last as a freshman in high school – on the home front. We really do not need to be alerted by elected officials. It’s part of our, if it does exist, Unbewusstsein. The unconscious mind. Our DNA, some would say.
      I understand your point and I’m not trying to convince yourselves of our rationality. I see scarce rationality in Europe, and diminishing. I do agree: «It doesn’t work that way». Still, here, it has in the past. A relatively close past. One of the few things I take my hat off to Maynard Keynes is the intuition that the peace conditions posed to Germany after WWI were too harsh and would have let them only war as a chance to survive. He was right. I see the same conditions coming and – being no keynesian – I truly, deeply hope to be wrong.
      To cut the story short, yes, in our Unbewusstsein there’s a deep bond with the feudal-aristocratic regime. Especially in Latin countries, where there’s no been Protestant Reform and the subsequent rise of the (liberal) bourgeoisie. My bet is that we can drop that stage – if a little late… – and build a liberal regime. Obviously liberal is intended in its original meaning. What I understand – and find amusing – you call conservative. I don’t think we have so much to conserve of our past, if not ancient ruins and Roman values: hard work, loyalty, stubborness and such.

      Eris Guy – all hail the Goddess – Byzantium is the perfect example of our history. They were Romans, renovated by a new religion, defeated not by mighty Central Asian nomads but by their so called brothers. Who were actually Franks, with little to zero understanding of what were «Pax romana» and rule of law. Still, if we have to exist, the rift between Berlin, Paris and Athens has to be bridged. One in a million chance, but I see no other choice. Selling Aegean islands, or Sicily or Triveneto, to northern European capitals is… well, it’s impossible. You would not sell Hawaii and California to China to repay your public debt. I suppose you Americans would actually die for them in that weird contraddiction between being bipedes, mobile beings, and being tied to the land.

      James, I beg your pardon for my superficial knowledge of USA history. It’s something that only people majoring in North American Studies have, while I am a news/graphic designer. What we have for breakfast in those very classes mentioned above is that you had some kind of revolution, closely linked with the French one. Curiosly, I seem to remember your Independence war depicted as a consequence of the French ideals and not the opposite. But my class was using a Marxist textbook, eh.
      However. Coming to observation 1): sure, you had a common language, legal system and consensus on social values. We have no common language but share more or less the same legal system and I’d say 50% consensus on social values. That would be half of your chances and I’d settle for it. Unfortunately, as you correctly write, most of the major parties and leaders have worked not for federation. They worked for the Coal and Steel agreement, the European common market and the Euro currency as means to strenghten their *national* exports. There have been exceptions, and notable ones, in Germany, BeNeLux and Italy. A gone, or almost gone, generation of politicians.
      Observation 2): I see your point. Still, there’s no major party in the British islands that wants to get out of the EU. Not even the Tories. If the Euro currency goes boom, their redesign as new financial/fiscal paradise will be lost. Even their Royal Navy – of all the things! – is shared with France. But I still see your point: my British friends are more comfortable being a loose 51st state of the Union for the very same reasons of the Quebeckers preferring the Crown. Not to mention the language-cultural issue of Anglosphere.
      De Tocqueville is on my shelf, first row, so it’s easier to remove the dust, anyway. What could scare, or freak out, you is that – as him, in a way or another – I consider the American experiment as a peculiar European experiment. The best one, as for now. I submit my request for pardon about that, as I understand that you Americans consider yourselves not an offshoot of the liberal ideas of Britain and France but an autonomous experiment. Consider my point of view as an expression of my total ignorance and not at all arrogance.
      As for observation 3): thank you. As all sane Europeans, my parents had a plan B and so do I. Thanks to previous generations, I’m affluent enough, not rich as none outside of the clique gets rich in Europe, but still richer that most of my fellow countrymen – should the worst come in terms of wars or deep depression – to move abroad. USA, I don’t think to have as much is needed to be an economic/entrepreneurial immigrant, but it could work in much of the rest of the Anglosphere, and New Zealand has to be a great place, not to mention South America. While of mixed blood through the centuries, I’m an Italian after all. My grand-grandmother was born in NYC. Brooklyn, actually. She used to sing me American songs of fin-de-siècle, or early 1900s, when I was a very young boy. We’re genetically used to move around the globe. I suppose that’s why we love the earth we have under the feet.

    24. Sejo Says:

      Ooops. I forgot to thank you all for your thoughts. And sorry for the leght of the post.