Jonah Goldberg writes an excellent column today on the detrimental consequences of a Europeanized America. As he points out, we have a relationship with Europe that allows it the freedom to do what it does, and if we ceased to do to what we do best, Europe would cease to enjoy the benefits it currently does. As Jonah puts it:
Look at it this way. My seven-year-old daughter has a great lifestyle. She has all of her clothes and food bought for her. She goes on great vacations. She has plenty of leisure time. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t look at her and feel envious of how good she’s got it compared to me. But here’s the problem: If I decide to live like her, who’s going to take my place?
Europe is a free-rider. It can only afford to be Europe because we can afford to be America.
The reality is, since about the time of the end of WWII, the US has been the primary engine of prosperity and freedom around the world. We rebuilt Europe via the Marshall Plan. We rebuilt Japan as well, and not long after saved South Korea from tyranny.
During the Cold War, we kept Europe from being subsumed by the Soviet Union through great expenditures of our wealth, the product of which was the fall of the Soviet Union, the opening up of Eastern Europe, and the creation of the most powerful military that ever existed. Even now, it is primarily our ships, planes and men who contain radical Islamic fundamentalism and make the world a safe place to do commerce and enjoy liberty for those who desire it. This has cost us, and often it has cost us the easy sorts of leisure Europe enjoys – but the fact is we left Europe to begin with because our ancestors didn’t want to be taken care of. We don’t want to be chattel to a beneficent dictatorship; we seek independence and liberty, understanding the risks that come with freedom. If Europe wants to fade away, it’s aging and unproductive population whiling away its remaining years on some Southern European beach while the government buries itself in debt providing for their geriatric needs, that is their prerogative, but we should not covet this; we can’t afford to, and the world needs us to avoid such a trap.
Progressives see Europe as an ideal – those who love liberty and the prosperity of honest labor know better.