Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Europe's Sickness

The failure of Continental Europe to achieve its self proclaimed goal of world leadership of the knowledge economy by 2010 is guaranteed by its academic and economic shortcomings. (See “Red America, Blue Europe,” 10/14/05). But the well being of European society is threatened even more by a pernicious and dangerous malady, a sickness of the spirit.

The American Enterprise (October 2005) magazine notes “that the economic lags, and demographic sags, in Europe are accompanied by declines in optimism, in personal satisfaction, in belief that life is fair and within an individual’s control.” TAE calls it a “crisis of the spirit.”

The Harris Interactive 2002/03 poll of American and European attitudes reveals a vast (and growing) Atlantic chasm. In response to the question “How satisfied are you with your life?” 57% of Americans answered “very satisfied” as opposed to 14% of Frenchmen, 17% of Germans and 16% of Italians. How, you may ask, can this be true? We are constantly told that life is so much better in Europe, freer, more leisurely, more enlightened. What’s up?

Could it be that Europeans are not so very successful and believe it to be the fault of outside forces, perhaps the government, perhaps globalization? To the question whether “success is determined by forces outside our control” only 32% of Americans (all liberals I’m sure) agreed as opposed to a majority in France (54%) and supermajorities in Germany (68%) and Italy (66%).

Furthermore those European countries have a poverty of hope. When asked “Do you expect your personal situation to improve in five years” only 20% in Germany, 42% in France and 53% in Italy (those wide-eyed Italian optimists) expected improvement. In America, 63% were counting on improvement of an already very satisfying existence.

The sickness of the European spirit is manifest in much of social life. The birthrate has already fallen below the population replacement level (2.1 children per woman) in France (1.9), Germany and Italy (both 1.3). The lower homeownership rates and much smaller houses in Europe compared to America reflect an attitude unfriendly to family life. The homeownership rate in Germany is only 41% (compared to 69% in America) and Germans are reluctant even to buy cars.

Yet former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insists “our unique European model of social participation and our embrace of the welfare state have something to offer to the whole world.” In the words of TAE, Germans are “behaving like people on the sinking Titanic who insist that their drinks be shaken, not stirred.”

The next time someone tries to sell you on the European social model as a roadmap to the European’s blissful existence, there is a one word New Yorker response that fits the situation: Fuggedaboutit mate.


Anonymous Pamela said...

Great blog, Billy! But..gee,as a former NY Yankee...I have no idea what fuggedaboutit means. Is it Brooklyntite jargon?

2:04 PM  
Blogger Ralph said...

Watching Europe is like watching my father's decline into mindlessness from Alzheimers.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is President Bush a Girly Man?
"Girly Man" Buttons & Magnets

"Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me"
-- President Bush, May 27, 2004

January 2004. Mr. Bush wandered over during Mr. [Scot] Reid's [senior strategist to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin] chat with the Prime Minister. Mr. Reid introduced himself and shook hands with Mr. Bush.

The President chuckled. "Well, you got a pretty face," he told the surprised Mr. Reid. He wasn't done. "You got a pretty face," he said again. "You're a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott anyway."

-- President Bush in a coquettish bout of eye-batting homosexual diplomatic flirting January 16, 2004 The Globe and Mail

We at Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals have BASHed enough so-called "gays" with the blunt love of Jesus to know how to spot deviants across a crowded sale at Saks. Outside of Italian shoes, nothing sends up a rainbow-colored flare that you are dealing with a flaming homosexual more reliably than when a man breathlessly gushes the word "faaabulous!" When a Christian lady hears this word outside of her hair salon or florist, she instinctively reaches for the Bible tracts in her purse because she knows a nancy boy is within throwing range.

"It's been a fabulous year for Laura and me."
-- George W. Bush., three months after the World Trade Center towers went down.

Therefore, conservative Christians throughout the land have become increasingly uncomfortable as they dutifully mask each awkward pause with a flurry of polite applause and yells of "more wars!" during President Bush's somewhat laborious attempts at speaking. While Tony Blair may have mastered the Queen's English, our President's vocabulary calls to mind any number of queens' English. Even our least vigilant Republican social commandos have noticed that Mr. Bush has been peppering his otherwise delightful litany of patriotic jingoism and pleasantly embroidered CIA-intelligence recaps with the effeminate mating call "fabulous" -- three giddy syllables that are tantamount to coyly cooing, "Hello, sailor!"

"And we'll prevail, because we're a faaabulous nation, and we're a faaabulous nation because we're a nation full of faaabulous people."
-- George W. Bush., Atlanta, GA, January 31, 2002

Indeed, it appears that everyone our prancing President runs into is simply FAB-U-LOUS!
(Not one word in quotation marks has been changed from the official transcripts. To you hellbound doubting Thomases out there (you know who you are -- and so does Jesus), if you click on the quotation, it will bring up the page on official White House website that contains the speech in which the word "fabulous" was squealed with delight.)

Official Xanax spokesperson Laura Bush ("a fabulous First Lady");

His viper-tongued mother Barbara ("a fabulous mother");

Nimble prevaricator Condoleezza Rice (an "honest fabulous person")

Chuck Berry (who -- my stars! -- did prison time for surreptitiously filming women going to the toilet), Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder ("a fabulous array of artists") -- so nice that our swishy leader had gotten over the public snub of Stevie not waving back at him!;

His whole Cabinet ("I put together a fabulous Cabinet");

House Speaker Denny Hastert & Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ("It is a joy to work with these two fabulous Americans");

His whole administration ("I put together a fabulous team"):and

Perhaps most disconcertingly, the epitome of everything liberal (including jigger portions) Ted Kennedy ("Ted Kennedy is fabulous").

Everyone in our prissy President's acquaintance appears to be doing a "FAB-U-LOUS" job:
Again, his lovely wife Laura ("What a fabulous job she is doing");

His brother and collusive heir apparent Jeb ("He has done a fabulous job");

New York Governor Pataki ("who is doing a fabulous job");

Rudy Giuliani ("he's done a fabulous job");

Colin Powell ("he's doing a fabulous job");

Dick Cheney ("doing a fabulous job for America");

John Ascroft ("doing such a fabulous job");

Paul Wolfowitz ("doing a fabulous job");

Ari Fleischer ("done a fabulous job");

The DC Chief of Police ("you and your troops do a fabulous job"); and

Someone called Mel at Habitat for Humanity, the Jimmy Carter bastion of the lethal liberal lie that Christians should help the poor by giving them anything more than just Bible tracts ("doing a fabulous job").

And to our wildly flamboyant Commander in Chief, every organization or thing is simply "FAB-U-LOUS," girl!

The World Series ("And what a fabulous World Series it was");

Those quaint African-American people ("fabulous achievements");

Our Godly country ("America, a fabulous country");

The sound of the Washington National Cathedral Choir ("it is a fabulous way to begin a morning");

Forests, something only a liberal wouldn't strip mine ("they offer majestic beauty and fabulous recreational opportunities for all Americans to enjoy");

Afghan art, that is, that either we or the Taliban didn't destroy ("this fabulous exhibit");

Alaska ("such a fabulous state");

Being prayed for by strangers ("It's really one of the fabulous parts of the job")

The Philadelphia Boys Choir ("What fabulous music!");

The Democratic stronghold New York City ("the fabulous city called New York City");

Little League Baseball ("such a fabulous organization");

The US Military, showing a bit of a weakness for a gay niche fetish ("We've got fabulous men and women in uniform!"); and

Even the new 45 cent stamp ("fabulous!").

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Car Man said...

You should buy cars.

2:01 PM  
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7:57 PM  

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