Sunday, September 23, 2007

Europe in Dallas

Rod Dreher, of "crunchy con" fame, read my reflections about my recent visit to Europe and, in addition to kindly recommending them to his vast readership, passed them along to his editor at the Dallas Morning News. This morning, a revised version of my comments are news in Dallas. I'm grateful to Rod for finding them worthy of being more widely considered. You can read the essay here.

For the purpose of a newspaper publication, I trimmed the piece a bit and made a more pointed political point at its conclusion. Here's what I wrote:

In America, it is our liberals who praise the liberties of Europe while overlooking the conservative impulse of its self-restraint. Meanwhile, our conservatives condemn the statism of Europe without understanding that efforts to conserve – to be conservative – require the active support and laws of government in order to combat the tendencies of markets to produce waste and undermine thrift.

Americans of both the left and right have lost the ability to perceive a form of liberty that is achieved through restraint. Both see something in Europe to praise or to blame, but both fundamentally overlook a Europe that may present a challenge to their presuppositions. Both ignore – perhaps at their peril – another and truer alternative for America to consider.


Anonymous said...

Your brilliant column led to the awakening of many stifled memories; I left Germany 4 years ago and I thank you for reminding me about all that was good about it. Your observations painted a very accurate picture, however, you forgot to mention that eggs, baked goods, and meat are delivered at least once a week to the villages.

Nancy said...

In case you didn't know, you were quoted in Crooked Timber also.

Anonymous said...

I once again cannot merge the claim that Europe is in any way "conservative" when they have a TFR=1.4.

They are losing population at a more rapid rate than since the Black Death. They are not conservative - they have enjoined the most radical family experiment ever willingly done in recorded history.

I would argue TFR elucidates a lot more about how conservative a people are than external observations can.