American Foreign Policy: Saving Europe once again?
It’s a good thing the prevailing winds are from west to east; otherwise, we would be smelling, not just its faulty plumbing, but the decay of the Old Europe.
Having spent the better part of a decade living and vacationing in Europe from Norway to Greece, this observer laments the decay of the cradle of Western Civilization. We Americans owe much to the lands that gave us: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bach, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Descartes, Erasmus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton… the list goes on and on.
Indeed, we Americans stand on the shoulders of those who created Western Civilization and gave us our Judeo-Christian culture – a culture now under physical attack by a radical version of Islam and under verbal attack by an Old Europe that is abandoning its Judeo-Christian heritage in favor of rampant secularism and the adoption of supranational forms of government that suppress individual freedom and punish the entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism.
So, why now? Just as we are on the brink of a 21st Century full of the promise of longer and more abundant life, why are the Old Europeans failing to see that their offspring, the North Americans, are leading the world in so many fields? Why do they refuse to face the future while, at the same time, rejecting the old institutions that once made them great?
Part of it may be guilt. After all, it was the Old Europe that so badly managed its internal affairs in the 20th Century that we Americans not once, but twice, had to go rescue them from the horrors of World Wars I and II. And, even more recently, when the Old Europe stood by letting myriad ethnic/religious groups of the former Yugoslavia practice serial genocide on each other, it was the United States that put its troops on the ground and planes in the air to stop the killing.
But part of the reason for the decay may be a simple love of leisure. That may explain why the Old Europeans only want to work a 35-hour week, why they want six weeks of vacation each year, why they are willing to be so heavily taxed to pay for womb-to-tomb, albeit shoddy, social services.
Let’s face it. The Old Europe is a very comfortable place. One can get addicted to sitting in sidewalk cafes, sipping the local adult beverages while watching the passing parade. France, in particular, is one giant vineyard and dairy/cheese factory surrounding Paris. Why work when there are so many tempting things to eat and drink?
Likewise, Muslims fleeing the oppression and poverty of North Africa and the Middle East are finding the Old Europe very attractive. Muslim families produce about seven children while European birth rates are at an all-time low and on-demand abortions are at an all-time high. The ratio of Muslims to Old Europeans is rapidly tilting in favor of a Muslim majority in the not far distant future.
Instead of trying to find Muslims to convert to Judeo-Christian traditions, the Old Europeans are wallowing in the permissiveness so abhorred by Muslims – a permissiveness that allows Europe’s plazas and squares to be almost knee-deep in drugged-out youth, that devalues traditional marriage, that scoffs at religious observances, that is permitting the rise of renewed anti-Semitism. Especially, in France and Germany.
Granted, our great traditions are under attack from the secular Left whose model is the Europe of the past rather than the America of the future. But our so-called “fundamentalist” churches are booming while our left-leaning “drain-stream” religions are hemorrhaging membership. On balance, we are increasingly conservative.
Ironically, by planting the seeds of liberty across the Middle East, we may have saved Old Europe once again by making the Muslim homelands less oppressive and more attractive to their native populations. But don’t your breath waiting for a “thank you” from the Old Europe.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.<.i>
©2005. William Hamilton.