Who is to provide, that's the question
Posted by aogSaturday, 16 October 2004 at 00:45 TrackBack Ping URL

As I was reading about the Ownership Society vs. the Welfare State and about the possibility of the EU dropping economic ties to Israel, I realized that there is a relationship between these and the widening political gulf across the Atlantic.

One of the points raised in the latter article was the coming Islamization of Europe. I’m not sure this is really significant, as Islamic culture has not, so far, been exactly a wellspring of economic success. If Europe ends up colonized by present day Islam, it won’t matter if it drops economic ties the same you wouldn’t notice if the local kids lemonade stand closed up.

Beyond that is that I find strong parallels in the trend in the USA toward the Ownership Society while Europe clings to welfare-statism and the preferences for different sides in the Israel / Arabia conflict.

When the typical American sees the scenes of poverty and despair in Palestinian territories, his first thought is likely to be “why don’t they fix that”, just as he would think “get a job!” of someone on welfare. An American would ask “why don’t the Palestinians dump their corrupt leaders, stop attacking Israel and build their economy?”. Americans expect people to fix their own problems and ask for help only after a good faith effort involving hard work has failed. The maximalist demands of the Palestinians seem just like the whining of the professional welfare class who demand full membership in society without any effort or sacrifice on their part (like these people). Americans naturally favor the Israelis because they built a modern, liberal, rich society out of a desert.

Europeans, on the other hand, judging from their attachment to a welfare state, see it entirely differently. If someone is suffering, the causation isn’t relevant. What’s important is that some government fix the problem. The idea of how asking about costs is a mean, cruel thing to do. While I believe that judenhass plays some role, I wonder how much is simply the blithe disregard of costs the plagues so many other European policies. One need only look at what the Swedes are doing to themselves to help the “downtrodden” to see that it’s not all judenhass.