Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why do some of us want to be like Western Europe?

I have thought quite a bit about the descent of the Democratic Party into its emulation of western Europe. Mostly, I ask myself the question why they would want to emulate western Europe, a place with below-replacement birth rates, declining cultural confidence, uncontrolled immigration that portends a loss of identity of the nation-states of the past several centuries, welfare state policies that are untenable in the not-so-long run, and a post-religious nihilism that doesn't seem to care about any of that.

I view this in the context of this country and its European immigration experience: we welcomed the "worst" of Europe (including my grandparents), and despite the sneering of the left-behind "elites", these people built a nation that surpassed not only the individual countries of Europe, but the entire continent. The sneering continues to this day, even through the latter half of the 20th century, when western Europe's survival was entirely predicated on our ability - and willingness - to provide it protection. I think it was PJ O'Rourke who likened the European attitude to teenagers, who sneer at the parents, safe in the knowledge that when push comes to shove, mom and dad will overlook the put-downs and protect the kids whenever, wherever, and however necessary.

The problem is akin to parents who want to be their kids' buddies without also being their kids' parents. There is a vein of thought in leftist politics that welcomes this absence of distinction. They want to give up the role of parent and have the kids "like" them. But the kids are engaged in dangerous behavior, and need parents. Instead, our self-appointed "betters" deride those who see a leadership role for America, and favor a capitulation to the cultural zeitgeist. To what end? Or is this the way that republican democratic governance and capitalism end up? With the spoiled boomers voting themselves enough welfare benefits to make the system unsustainable, and then surrendering the future to those who are willing to grasp it? In this case, as a purely demographic matter, it appears to be Muslims who are preparing to take over Europe.

Where does Sarah Palin fit into all this? I see her as the avatar of the immigration generation: hard-working, successful on her own terms, not as book-smart as the cultural elites (regardless of political stripe) would like, but authentic, good to her core, possessing the stuff of which this country was made great. Like the Euro elites, we have the sniffing of the Charles Krauthammers, the Kathleen Parkers, the Christopher Buckleys, the David Frums. We have the unhinged hatred of the leftist elites, whose grasp of history seems to extend no further back than their own childhood (and admits of no other evidence than what they have personally experienced). So, in a sad sense, I see the attacks on Sarah Palin as a metaphor for attacks on America itself - in service of ushering in the demographically failing, nihilistic, western European model, even as we watch it in decline.

Once again, this is through-the-looking-glass stuff. Maybe if I had Joe Biden's IQ this would all make sense to me.

1 comment:

Daria said...

Very insightful, Paul. I could not have said it better myself! Thanks for distilling the problem into terms anyone reading can understand (if they choose to keep an open mind). Funny, I just had almost this exact conversation with another conservative friend of mine about an hour ago.