Last update:Tuesday, February 26, 2013 09:58:40 AM
In Dr.Samuel Gregg's book Becoming Europe he writes the following excerpt and the highlighted sections are commentary on it and stops short at bookmark because the thrust of the excerpt becomes so obfuscated that it needs a complete rethinking:
It’s a fair bet that every American who’s traveled outside the United States has heard people complaining about their societies becoming “Americanized.” By this, they usually mean the proliferation of things such as American television and fast-food chains (though that rarely stops them from watching Hollywood films or eating McDonald's).
DISINGENUOUS, BECAUSE THE MEANING IS EVASIVE. A CHAIN OF FAST-FOOD IS THE COMPLAINT AND NOT ONE MCDONALD
HERE AND THERE AND A
BARRAGE OF HOLLYWOOD FILMS HARDLY COMPARES TO WATCHING 1 OR 2 FILMS! A LITTLE JUDGMENT
AND DISCRETION IS WHAT IS NEEDED RATHER THAN A BROAD BRUSHED APPROACH!
More recently, however, millions of Americans have begun wondering if our own country is becoming “Europeanized.” TWISTED LOGIC. IS EUROPE COMPLAINING ON AMERICA OR IS AMERICA COMPLAINING ON EUROPE? EITHER AMERICA IS SCREWED UP FOR FOR BEING EUROPEANIZED OR IS EUROPE COMPLAINING ON BEING AMERICANIZED? IF EUROPE HATES AMERICA AND AMERICA HATES EUROPE THEY'RE BOTH WRONG PHILOSOPHICALLY AND THE SOLUTION BECOMES DEAD-ENDED. AT LEAST ONE SHOULD BE RIGHT SO WE HAVE A BASELINE. IF THE ISSUES WOULD BE DEFINED RATHER THAN CRITICIZING THE PEOPLE / COUNTRIES BOTH REGIONS CAN BE ADJUSTED. NOT ALL OF AMERICA NOR ALL OF EUROPE IS CORRUPTED BUT RATHER ONLY CERTAIN ISSUES.
In one sense, to say that America is becoming like Europe seems odd. After all, when it comes to its dominant political ideas, religious culture, institutions and history, America is obviously Europe’s child. NEITHER IS THE CHILD OF THE OTHER, EACH HAVE THEIR OWN LONG ESTABLISHED CULTURES AND PROBLEMS. AGAIN, THE ISSUE RATHER THAN THE PERSONALITIES ARE ESSENTIAL TO ADDRESS. EACH COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT AND NOT TO BE COMPARED.
That, however, is not what Europeanization means today. Instead it’s about the spread throughout America of economic expectations and arrangements directly at odds with our republic’s founding. HISTORICALLY ALL FOUNDATIONS OF A COUNTRIES ORIGINS / BEGINNINGS HAVE EVOLVED OF MORPHED INTO SOME OTHER ENTITY. THIS IS A NATURAL PROGRESSION OF MANY FACTORS. SO GOING BACK IN TIME TO FOUNDING PRINCIPLES IS FUTILE INDEED. WHAT IS NEEDED IS UPDATING AND NOT BACKTRACKING. These lead to the prioritizing of economic security over economic liberty SECURITY AND LIBERTY ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE SO WHY MAKE THEM DEPENDENT ON EACH OTHER TO ITS CHAGRIN?; to the state annually consuming close to 50% of GDP WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? DEFINE THE PROBLEM. COME TO A LOGICAL RESULT. THIS IS NOT RELATED TO SECURITY OR LIBERTY. IT'S A NON SEQUITOR ; to the ultimate economic resource (i.e., people) aging and declining in numbers THE STATEMENT IS NOT CONNECTING NOR RELATING THE ISSUES, OVER SPENDING OR THE LOSS OF RESOURCES ARE MERELY A TYPICAL PROBLEM WHICH ALL GOVERNMENTS FACE. ALL THE POINT IS MAKING IS BALANCING THE BUDGET VERSUS DYNAMIC SPENDING TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY, AN AGE OLD ISSUE AND NOT UNIQUE; to extensive regulation becoming the norm; and perhaps above all, to a situation in which economic incentives lie not in work, economic creativity and risk-taking, but rather in access to political power ALL NATURAL OCCURRENCES THROUGH HISTORY. IT'S AN ENDEMIC PROBLEM AND NOT UNIQUE. THE PARAGRAPH MIXES AND SPINS A NUMBER OF ISSUES AND CAUSES A QUAGMIRE. THE AUTHOR NEEDS TO ANALYZE THOUGHTFULLY RATHER THAN RAMBLE ON IMPORTANT ISSUES SUCH AS HE BRINGS TO THE TABLE.
EUROPE AND AMERICA ARE 2 DIFFERENT CASES AND NOT TO BE COMPARED. ETCETERA ETCETERA.
Unfortunately there’s a great deal of evidence suggesting America is slouching down the path to Western Europe. In practical terms, that means social-democratic economic policies: the same policies that have turned many Western European nations into a byword for persistently high unemployment, rigid labor markets, low-to-zero economic growth, out-of-control debt and welfare states, absurdly high tax levels, growing numbers of well-paid government workers, a near-obsession with economic equality at any cost and, above all, a stubborn refusal to accept that things simply can’t go on like this.
It’s very hard to deny similar trends are becoming part of America’s economic landscape. States like California are already there — just ask the thousands of Californians and businesses who have fled the land of Nancy Pelosi.
Europeanization is also reflected in the refusal of so many Americans to take our nation’s debt crisis seriously. Likewise, virtually every index of economic freedom and competitiveness shows that, like most Western European nations, America’s position vis-à-vis other countries is in decline.
Between January 2008 and January 2011, for example, there was a marked growth in the amount of regulation in America — the pace being almost 40% more than the annual rate of increase between 1992 and 2008. Similarly, between 2008 and 2011 the number of people working in federal government regulatory agencies rose by 16% — a total of more than 276,000 people — at a time when private-sector employment was falling.
It’s no wonder the Nobel economist Robert E. Lucas asked in his 2011 Milliman Lecture at the University of Washington whether America was now “imitating European policies on labor markets, welfare and taxes.”
Such trends are deeply troubling. But here’s the good news. First, there remain many ways in which America has not succumbed to eurosclerosis. Risk-taking and entrepreneurship-levels remain, for example, much higher than in Europe. America’s labor markets also remain more flexible than those of Europe (despite American unions’ best efforts to the contrary).
Second, the problems of nations like Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain and France are functioning as a type of early-warning system. They’re enough of a “canary in the coal mine” to help us make the right decisions and get back to the principles that made the United States an economic superpower.
And this is the choice which increasingly faces America. We can either continue our long march towards a form of social democracy presided over by an all-pervasive European-like political class and associated insider-groups; or, we can embrace a dynamic market economy that takes liberty seriously and understands that government intervention in the economy must and can be limited.
Of course making such a decision isn’t simple. It involves trade-offs, the prioritization of different values, and fundamental disagreements about the role of government. And these discussions go beyond economics. They are arguments about what type of economic culture we want America to embrace and reflect to the millions throughout the world for whom the United States remains a lodestar for freedom.
But make no mistake, time is running out for America. We don’t have to become Europe. Yet the deeper the debt, the bigger the entitlements, the greater the regulations, and the more Americans look to government for their economic salvation, the harder it becomes for America to turn back from the road to permanent economic decline.
A great European and honorary American citizen Winston Churchill once said: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.” I hope and pray he’s still right.