Monday, November 19, 2007

Gratitude

Mark Steyn on giving thanks and America. An excerpt:


We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together.

Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent's governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of the nation-states in the West have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they're so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas – communism, fascism, European Union.

If you're going to be novelty-crazed, better the zebra-mussel cappuccino than the Third Reich.

2 Comments:

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Pete Warden said...

Speaking as another assimilating European, the article is spot on, thanks Michael. I don't always agree with the majority opinions here, but it's a genuine democracy with deep roots. The grassroots are pulling the strings, rather than a class of opinion-formers.

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Pete,

Thanks for the observation. Very good point!

 

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