OK, fine. I'll admit it. Europe is not perfect. Yes, I am a self-professed Euro Elitist Bastard and a staunch supporter of all things Old World; but I concede that we have our own share of problems.
Tolerance is the cornerstone of European society. This is something that Americans are having trouble grasping, but the roots of the phenomenon are not complicated at all. For as long as Europe can remember, it has been having wars. The history of the continent is most usefully learned and remembered as a succession of wars, with a short comment on the causes, goals and outcomes of each. In the 20th century alone we've had two World Wars and a cold one.
The wars have not stopped, unfortunately - fairly recently we've had war in the Balkans, and those folks aren't nearly done killing each other yet. A lot of Europe - Small Country included - is involved in the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
And yet the great wars have instilled into the European mentality a fear of armed conflict. We are still cunning, ambitious and ruthless, but above everything else we want to avoid war. War is an absolute, unquantifiable evil. We have the military capability to go to war, and in an outright conflict the combined armies of the European Union stand a good chance of beating any other military force in the world. But to us, this really is the final argument, which must never be exercised, for all our sakes.
This is the root of European tolerance which is becoming a major problem - the Paris riots have shown this off quite well. We will accept immigrants, because we are the Old World; our responsibility over the good of the planet has not been eschewed from collective consciousness. And if you come here, we will leave you alone; we will give you jobs that pay well, and if you can't hold one, we'll give you welfare so that you have a good quality of life. And we won't hate you. In fact we will do everything in our power to get rid of as much hate as we can. And not just hate towards immigrants, but hate towards any group of people. You can hate a single person as much as you want, it's human and we can't really do anything about it. But we will not let you hate all people for a commonality they share, because that ultimately leads to war. And we cannot let war happen. We will not let war happen. We will sacrifice everything, even our nations, even our cultures, to avoid war.
The miraculous thing is that it seems to work. Despite individual outbreaks, the tolerant welfare society functions remarkably well. Our economy is growing, our living standards are high, and people seem to generally be happy with the state of affairs.
The fact that the New World stubbornly refuses to adopt solutions which are objectively superior - and suffers for it - only strengthens our conviction. We are right, and you are wrong.
Just don't go to war over it.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
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