Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sophisticated European Update

I routinely read European newspapers and magazines.

Their coverage of American politics and the United States in general is not merely poor, it's laughable. [Check out The BBC, The Guardian and der Spiegel for frequent examples.]

The electronic media aren't any better. Jane Galt is watching Sky News in Britain:

Watching Sky News is weird, because half the news is about America, and half of that is wrong. I mean, not factually wrong, but with a take on things that seems very strange to an American. For example, there was a very long piece on the "rising backlash" against George Bush on global warming. I care about global warming about as much as any quasi-libertarian, ever, I try to live a green(ish) lifestyle, and I follow the issue pretty closely. I had not noticed any rising backlash against anything except the rising gas prices preventing some Americans from taking long trips in their SUVs. Source of this "backlash"? Cities (and California) passing their own global warming ordinances.

This makes perfect sense from a British perspective, where about the only thing local councils are allowed to control is grotty public housing. But overlaying that worldview onto America has very strange results. Local governments can pass ordinances against global warming whenever they want; they can outlaw coveting your neighbour's wife, too, for all the good it will do. But in doing so, they don't strike a blow against the federal government; they are just making themselves part of the grand (classical) liberal experiment that is supposed to flower under federalism.

[HT: Instapundit ]

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