home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

Who Was Betty Friedan? The Cultural Colonialism of the Left

print view

Torino: Europe's Last Hurrah?

by Christopher Chantrill
February 12, 2006 at 1:54 pm

|

ON FRIDAY NIGHT in Torino Luciano Pavarotti, close to the last gasp of his career, sang the last gasp of grand opera, Puccini’s glorious “Nessun Dorma.” You have to wonder: Will this Winter Olympics prove to be the last gasp of Europe, the big blowout before the Islamic hordes engulf it?

It seems impossible to believe that the cheerful young Euro-Olympians who passed before the cameras are really intent upon demographic suicide the pundits predict. They all seemed so alive, so optimistic, so vigorous, so free. And yet if they go on like their parents and don’t make more babies...

But let us not forget Stein’s Law: “If it can’t go on forever, it will stop.”

It is right to be concerned about the challenge of the Islamists and their fascist threat.

But we should be careful about using the Nazi comparison. When Hitler came to power the Germans had just finished reinventing philosophy and physics. They had discovered the Otto and Diesel cycles, and they led the world in the military arts. With these advantages the expansionist Nazis could adopt a seize-and-hold strategy and dominate the whole of Europe—for a while.

Compare the Nazis with the Islamists. The London Spectator has a cover this week showing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a superpower scorpion scuttling across the Persian Gulf with a rocket in his tail. It’s a great artist’s concept, but think about the reality. Is this scorpion thinking about an amphibious assault across the Persian Gulf, in the face of the US base on Qatar and the Seventh Fleet cruising just below the horizon? Or is it planning a right hook through southern Iraq and expecting the British squaddies there to salute as they drive by?

No such luck. The Iranian president’s strategy is only a raiding strategy, fomenting civil war or national demoralization by killing civilians with roadside bombs and suicide bombers. The best the Islamists can do is to seed Europe with seething young men organized into criminal gangs and hope that they will rise up in a generation or two and take over. They are reduced to this strategy because they do not have the power to do anything else.

Essayist Theodore Dalrymple has been thinking about the Islamists, and has realized that they have a culture just like the alienated underclass youths in Britain in his Life at the Bottom. In National Review, he wrote that the Muslim extremists in Europe and the Middle East in the front lines of the Cartoon Wars:

are like the inhabitants of our ghettoes who demand something that they call “respect,” and which they extort by fear for lack of any other means by which to earn it.

We Americans know about this too. It is the problem we have had with every new wave of immigrants since the Irish started tumbling out of the coffin ships onto the docks of Boston and Manhattan around 1850. Each wave frightened the daylights out of the propertied classes with its criminal, threatening behavior. But each immigrant tsunami, up to now, has ended up thoroughly Americanized and suburbanized, reduced to Starbucks foam by chickens in every pot, cars in every garage, jobs jobs jobs, and, of course, freedom and self-government.

The Iranians are hoping that their Islamic gangs in Europe will not succumb to the Great Satan. They are betting that the rational Euro-experts and their beloved Social Model will continue to bungle things forever, in violation of Stein’s Law.

Unfortunately for the Axis of Evil the west has a secret weapon. It was incautiously revealed a few weeks ago in a World Bank report “Where is the Wealth of Nations?” The bank came up with a wealth estimate for each nation using the magic of compound interest, computing the present value of each nation’s annual consumption expenditures. But when you subtract capital in natural resources and in businesses and factories from the national wealth you are left with a residual: Intangible Capital. The residual turns out to be the precipitate of efficient justice, secure property rights, freedom, and self-government.

How big do you think the value of this residual would be? Let us line up the numbers from the report’s Appendix 2 for a few representative countries.

 

Total Wealth
per person

Intangible Capital
per person

Iran

$24,023

$6,581

United States

$512,612

$418,009

Italy

$372,666

$316,045

So that’s why those angry US immigrants aren’t angry any more, and why those Euro-Olympians in Torino are so happy. They are all heirs to a vast hoard of intangible loot: efficient justice, secure property rights, education, and tons of “global best practice” employers.

Anyone can think up scenarios in which the Europeans just go on as they are, throw away their birthright, and submit themselves to a bunch of excitable oil-meter readers from the Middle East. But really, could anyone be that stupid?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.

 

 TAGS


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008


Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Pentecostalism

Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization


presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact