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Comments

The American media and universities are controlled by the same orthodox 68ers. Only the presidency protects the majority from rule by a European-style elite. Then again, since the government takes most of the taxpayers' money and doles it back to them in the form of jobs and pensions, Europeans, already trained into subservience to elites, are reluctant to raise their voice. That is precisely why our American ancestors came here for the last few hundred years.

Taliban like death sentances in Iran for adultery, sex outside of marrage, prostitution. No doubt German and EU soft power has immense influence in Iran.

"...Even Iran's chief justice has seemed to recognise that, although stoning is prescribed by Sharia law as the punishment for women who have sexual relations with men to whom they are not married, pelting a woman to death with rocks counts as excessively cruel.

Two years ago, he ruled that, while stonings should still be the nominal punishment for adultery and pre-marital sex, that sentence should be routinely commuted to execution by hanging.

It appears from the fate in store for Zhila Izadyar, however, that his commitment to the de facto abolition of stoning was about as sincere as the Iranian government's commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There are no plans to change any of the provisions of the Penal Code that relate to children, and which state that girls as young as nine can be executed (boys have to reach the age of 14 before they can be killed)."

( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/19/wiran19.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/12/19/ixworld.html)

Maybe these poor people need to write childrens books.

I am not surprised. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear beyond their narrow personal preferences would be aware of this and many other things. Notice Christopher Hitchens. He is still a "Conservative" if you are European or a Liberal if you are an English speaker. No political orientation has a monopoly on Intellect. This really is a great read.

@Sock Puppet of Doom: Good point. It's a sad day when a Trostskyite is thought of as a conservative. Well, ok, former Trotskyite, who still thinks he was a great guy, and former socialist who really hasn't changed his mind on the subject.

@oh Eric!
>>former socialist who really hasn't changed his mind on the subject.

Former?! Former?!. Jeez, he addressed the audience at the Galloway debate as 'Comrades'. I find him totally unreconstructed. Also (and I've forgotten where I stumbled across it, otherwise I'd provide a link) - in his recent attack on Sharon he cited as a shource none other than Noam Chomsky.

Brilliant guy, I wish I could write as he does. But if he can't see thru Chomsky I'm afraid he has lost a potential friend in me.

And for all the photos carried in the media of Abu Gahrib, do you think they'll run any of this child in Iran being stoned to death after being gang raped? Of course not. They'll run around screaming like plucked chickens that the U.S. and Israel are looking for another war-for-oil.

Do you think they'll complain to Russia about selling anti-aircraft missiles to Iran? Of course not, no matter that it puts pressure on Israel to get an air strike or two in before they're actually delivered.

I picked up Victor Davis Hanson's "A War Like No Other" today. It's about the Peloponnesian Wars. The parallels between Athens/America Sparta/Europe are downright spooky. But, I'm only one third of the way thru the book.

@pamela: Well, ya, that was sort of my point. I believe he says he's a "former" this and that, but hasn't changed his mind. Whatever that means...well, I don't have the quotes in front of me, and it's not worth looking up. But hey, we all have blind spots and misconceptions, no matter how brilliant. And Hitchens certainly has some whoppers. But at least his ratio of guts to not caring what other people think, is high enough that he doesn't always go along with the group think. So if he supports the use of military force for the sake of spreading liberal values, then I'll take what I can get. And I mean 'liberal' in the classic sense, which is the same sense that I'm a U.S. conservative who wishes to preserve the values our country was founded on.

Oh Eric!
>>So if he supports the use of military force for the sake of spreading liberal values, then I'll take what I can get. And I mean 'liberal' in the classic sense,

I understand the desire, especially when his formidable talents are arrayed against the likes of Gorgeous George. But, I will not take what I can get. I begin to think that Hitch's values are not liberal - in the classic sense -. If his idea of polite address in a rhetorical venue is 'comrades' and his North Star on Israel is Noam Chomsky, I don't want him in my foxhole. I did thoroughly enjoy the Galloway fencing match, but taking Hitch in his totality, he is not liberal in the classic sense.

He makes a superb case for what he - and so many other well-meaning socialists/collectivists value - but values his understanding of the faults capitalism/indivdualism model over the millions of the slaughtered in the name of one collectivist meme or another. Yet he brings to the table his support for military intervention the mass graves in Iraq.
I've read his stuff on Orwell. It is illuminating and I have learned much from his perspective.

But I thought I could trust his sense of smell for the odiferous. And his trust in Noam Chomasky tells me I was wrong.


Ok, here it is.

The Bulldozer's long, brutal career ended better than anyone expected.

(It is also worth looking up Noam Chomsky's mordantly brilliant critique of that report, in his book Fateful Triangle, which disputed the commission's finding of "indirect responsibility" and showed that Sharon had been the effective and conscious author of the massacre.)

I have never made up my own mind about Sharon's responsibility for the massacres, but I'm sure as hell not using Chomsky as a resource.

Pamela: I said I was a conservative, liberal in the classic sense. Not that Hitchens is. But words like that have slippery definitions, so ya, it's probably more illuminating to label him with more specific terms. But I don't see anything wrong with a little realpolitik, and taking your temporary allies where you can get them. For example, in that interesting article you linked to, Hitchens applies the concept of "evidence against interest" to Sharon. I wonder if it occurred to him to apply it to himself?

As for the alleged belief that Americans do not recieve unemployment insurance, I hereby state for the record that I am receiving such right now. I do not know how it is administered in any other country, but here it is run on the heartless "safety net not a hammock" principle. What I recieve is proportional to past earnings, and will end proportionally to how long I last worked. I am required to actively seek employment, and am not permitted to limit myself to the narrow field (with only half a dozen prospects) in which I have been working. Seems reasonable to me.

Pamela,

I remember the article. I am not sure if this was the one you were refering to or not.

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_article=1058&x_context=5

I think the difference between European welfare and American welfare can be summed up thus:

In America, if you cannot work you are taken care of by the state.* If you do not want to work you are SOL.
In Europe, if you cannot work you are taken care of by the state. If you do not want to work you are also taken care of by the state. (Rumor has it that the German government has discovered that it can no longer afford to offer this benefit.)

Believe it or not Europeans, if an American worker is incapacitated he or she will receive benefits, including Social Security and worker's comp. They will also be eligible for local benefits that vary, depending upon the state or city in which they live. Benefits may include free or subsidized housing and food stamps.

Of course, European policies make it harder for people to GET work. Rather than correct these policies in order to allow people to find work more easily, it is more convenient for European government leaders to denigrate other countries that are more successful at allowing people to find work. The English word used to describe this course of action is "scapegoating".

*I realize that most Europeans here know this, but sometimes a visitor will arrive who is completely ignorant of the facts.

Has anybody read SPON’s English Website. Get a load of their newest article: God verses the State. What American Neocons need to know about Europe.

Already, the title telegraphs that this is going to be a “Klink”-like “Lehre" to us Amies.

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent trip to Washington has a lot of people talking about ‘common values’ among conservatives. But a US conservative is a different species from a European conservative. And the neo-cons just don't get it!” (My exclamation Point)

Goodness Gracious, I already fee like the writer has 30 more IQ points than I.

“Of course, Continental Europe is different from the US. What Americans see as naturally paired -- individualism with tradition, Christian fundamentalism with open markets -- have been separated in Europe since the Thirty Years War. In America, the individual came before the state, in theory and in chronology. In Europe after the Thirty Years War, for want of a strong middle class, rebuilding society was a matter for princes and the royal elite.”

Yes, because in Marxist terms, the royal elite controlled the means of production through serfdom in a pre-industrialized era!

“In American tradition, the only power looking out for everyone is an individual God. In Europe, the state is the basis and goal of every social structure. Europe wasn't built by land-hungry colonists plunging into an unknown world,”

No, America missed the boat. Africa, India and South-East Asia were colonized by land hungry Europeans under the color of European royalty.

“but by French kings and their Habsburg cousins, trying to forge a stable society from the ashes of the (bitterly religious) Thirty Years War.”

The Jacobeans in Ireland and Scotland were annihilated. Poland was partitioned between the Russian and Prussian crowns. Huguenots, Puritans, and other Protestant minorities settled in the New World as the land grabbing colonist which the author described above.

Without their social state, Germans would have fallen back on "Germanness," which had already proved to be a slippery slope”

Yes, every 30 years, and will appear again as soon as Germany’s love affair with “Europeaness” bites them in the ass.

“That's the difference between the US and Germany: Americans are used to minimal government, but for Germans, after two world wars and the collapse of almost every religious certainty, the welfare state has become a spiritual necessity, which can be reformed but not revolutionized without damage to the collective soul.”

Hail Schroeder and Fisher, for art Thou in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.

“Angela Merkel understood these connections only after her muddled election last fall; the champions of a "community of values" still haven't understood them.”

Yes, Angela had an epiphany that Gerd and Joscka were Gods on earth.

“ But in the end, an alliance based on common interests won't collapse just because the values are different. History, too, has seen alliances bound goals rather than values.
In other words, the sooner we disconnect German foreign policy from the straightjacket of "common values," the more stable relations with the United States will become. Conservatives understand this line of thinking. Neo-liberals and neo-conservatives, on the other hand, remain blinded by "common values."

What are the alternative to “common values?” Who will buy our Mercedes and BMWs values?

I think that are talented editors at Medienkritik can come up with a good rebuttal to slam SPON.

@Carl Spackler - "Maybe these poor people need to write childrens books."

Good idea, how would you frame the dungeons of Iran for kids?

Maybe like this: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Desperado Mouse finds himself displaced from his orange grove homeland into a dark dry well at the other end of the world. When his new workplace surprisingly turns out to be a mailbox, Desperado Mouse, once educated as a ruthless dreamcatcher by his native pariah clan of oxygen thieves, unexpectedly sees himself flooded with all kinds of used dreams people voluntarily leave to him. While struggling to develop a routine for his new task, Desperado Mouse has to learn the bitter lesson that most of the stuff really is just bureaucratic routine hardly as colorful as the high-profile booty he was accustomed to in his vicious clan days. The story closes with an encouragement to the kids to find Desperado Mouse's hidden well and leave him an uplifting message between the boring paperwork...

/soft power mode off

The book Bruce Bawer is reviewing, Paul Bermans "The Passion of Joschka Fischer", is indeed an embarrassing piece of fantasy. When it comes to the crucial point whether Fischer has abandoned his violent anarchism and cut his umbicilial cord to antiimperialism or not, Berman goes with Fischers own assertion that the Entebbe Raid had been his turning point, and the anachronism that Fischer still praised Khomeinis "reclaiming of religion" two years after his alleged catharsis goes entirely unnoticed. Nobody can change himself retroactively, but once a statement is made it requires to be lived up to...

Ever since the Islamic revolution, these converted 1968ers, finding themselves in the position of being the only German Eurocentrists without direct Nazi roots, have pursued a policy that related to Islam as an anti-imperialist counterweight, while at the same time keeping quiet to both Europe and America that their approach had to do anything with that religion. The 1968ers told a gullible public that the Balkan war was a war of succession of the kind usual among European monarchs between the victory over the Ottomans at Vienna and the French revolution, while the always controversial Bill Clinton let them play with NATO as if it was completely theirs.

I wouldn't trust Milosevic any further than Putin, but the image the 1968ers painted of him - a bulldozer reincarnation of Hitler bearing direct responsibility for the massacre his allies commited in Srebrenica, and whose battle against terrorists in Racak was turned into a media hoax of a massacre - now, in the review, looks like having been tailored as a role model for the later campaign against Ariel Sharon - the claims of direct responsibility for Sabra and Shatila, the Jenin hoax, the calls for trial at the ICC, all this leaves the impression that the 1968ers have turned the Balkan into a sandbox of what they would later try to make of Israel, if only these Americans would have let them again...

That Christopher Hitchens now, even after having divorced from his old political bedfellows over Iraq, comes up again with Sabra and Shatila seems to confirm this point, even though it might be interesting to see how Hitchens position on the Osirak Raid has developed if Saddam was already evil back in 1981, but the Sharon of the same time is assumed to be worse. Obviously, the coma of Ariel Sharon now lets all these who want to see him dead already hastily spill their obituaries.

But in an odd way the antiimperialists got it exactly right, the choice over Iraq was a choice over the Holy Land, and the idiocy of an Joschka Fischer who gots kicked out from the funeral of Yasser Arafat like any infidel devildog, but still fails to understand Ariel Sharons contribution to world peace a year later, is an anticipation of what would expect this vanity pimp and his useful idiots if the 1968er Gesamtkunstwerk was understood as a definition of Germany's new role to the world rather than to itself. The idol promoted by Der Spiegel, that welfare could not only feed the body but also nurse the soul, is a legacy of aristocratic rule that the 1968er would-be-aristocrats only carried on for the last decades.

Yet seemingly Putins implicit claim to be the curator of the Byzantine empire is not too imperialistic to the 1968ers, maybe they expected he would buy into their Ascanian Knight hoax? Since the 1968ers are the loudest voices to encourage Turkey to change from the OIC into the EU, it should be their task to explain to the Kremlin that NATO has evolved since the Battle of Bielefeld and is now unlikely to bomb the Chinese embassy in Moscow due to an old map, so his legitimate interests against Islamic terrorism in Chechnya don't cover a retreat into solipsism of the kind of Slobodan Milosevic.

@Walter

“Clarence Allen caused 3 murders while serving a life sentence, thus belieing those idiots who think a life sentence protects society.”

Those “idiots,” at least the European idiots, believe that they have taken the traditional role of God in society. Der Spiegel had in its English language section an article entitled, “God verses the State. What American Neocons need to know about Europe.”

This article tries to set forth the premises that we Americans plundered our bounty through colonialism, and that we therefore believe that our rights were granted to us by God. Where in contrast to us, the enlightened Europeans have fought many costly and bloody wars over religion and have forever learned their lessons.

Therefore, where we Americans have a fundamental belief in God, the average European has replaced God with a spiritual relation with the State. The State provides you a job when you need one, an apartment when you are homeless...you get the drift.

This enlightened government was provided by the French Bourbons and the Austrian Hapsburgs during the 16th through 19th centuries. In the twentieth century, enlighten governments ran by the likes of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder have replaced the forward thinking monarchs of the earlier centuries.

In Euro think, it is not for us to judge these people that commit capital crimes. Afterall, the causation is society's fault....the emphasis should be on rehabilitation. Therefore you get “enlightened” results. Andre Miewes, the cannibal that killed an on-line lover and ate his penis: 8 years in prison. The Islamo fascist that killed a U.S. Navy diver during a hijacking in Lebanon: 16 years in prison, (despite Germany having no personal or subject matter jurisdiction in the case).

Even some of our blue states have adopted this type of mentality when it comes to sentencing. Vermont, home of human rights activist Ben and Jerry, Democratic Chairman Howard Dean and Socialist Congressman Bernard Sanders: 60 days in prison for a man who rapped a ten year old girl over the course of 4 years, and whose parents were mentally challenged....8 more months than Martha Stuart got for giving “misinformation” to federal investigators.


>>"This enlightened government was provided by the French Bourbons and the Austrian Hapsburgs during the 16th through 19th centuries. In the twentieth century, enlighten governments ran by the likes of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder have replaced the forward thinking monarchs of the earlier centuries...etc., etc."

You have to hate this sort of "lessons of history" mumbo-jumbo by people who think reading a book or two entitles them to strike pretentious intellectual poses and interpret history for the rest of us. As a scientist who believes that the capacity of human beings to approach the truth varies inversely with the square of the distance from repeatable experiments, not to mention the innate complexity of the subject matter, the idea that the editors of SPIEGEL can tell me anything useful about the present based on the outcome of the 30 Years War is ludicrous.

Helian,

Maybe they chose the wrong war?

Beats me, Joe. Seems like the big fad these days is tracing everything but the kitchen sink back to the Peace of Westphalia. Did someone publish a tome on the 30 Years War in Europe lately or something? Makes me long for the days when everyone pontificated on the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Thirty Years War certainly is considered the second most forming event for the current Europe, just after the Second World War. But the inner struggle of Europe goes back further into the Peasants War, symbolized in the Bundeswehr's Zapfenstreich ritual which dates back to that time. Never mind that Gerhard Schröder had the army band play Frank Sinatra for it when he stepped down.

Guess any war that produced a Grimmelshausen can't be all bad.

Helian, you might want to watch the Grimmelshausian moment of Joschka Fischer ;-)

They don't seem to be cutting him much slack over there considering that he's a 68er. He must have committed one heresy too many.

Now we know why Germany has an army.

Excellent.

But I don't think the Peace of Westphalia was just a fad. Look how the Pope emphasized on the WWII history of the Bishopric of Münster where that treaty had been negotiated.

I agree with many of the things Bruce Bawer writes about the Euroleft Elite. I'm fortunate to live in the UK, which is less of a 'monoculture' of views than anywhere this side of the Atlantic, but I still see it.

Nevertheless I am in a mood to count my blessings today. The blessings of the UK are mixed, but I have just spent 11 days as a guest of the NHS (the National Health System).

Despite the varying annoyances of being an NHS patient (waiting 2 hours for an ambulance and several hours for a room, sleeping in a 6-man ward with sometimes noisy patients, lousy food, slow nurse service at times, waiting for the damn doctors to show up), I am grateful, because the NHS afforded me the greatest service of all - peace of mind. Every bit of it - bed, tests, doctor care, drugs, nursing, and after care was 100% free. No worrying about what the bill is going to be or how I'm going to pay it. I could focus just on getting well.

Bawer makes some great points, but I think he misses one with "The ultimate point of Berman's 100-page opening chapter is that ethnic cleansing in Kosovo compelled these three (famous Euro-68ers) to move "from radical leftism to liberal antitotalitarianism"—that is, to reject their longtime view of the U.S. as the world's supreme menace and support NATO action against Milosevic. Many '68ers, Berman suggests, made the same move.".... "For even if a significant number of '68ers did switch sides over Kosovo, the wars in Afghanistan and (especially) Iraq switched most of them back."

What he misses is that Kosovo was not a heartfelt re-assessment of their '68 ideology. It was much simpler than that.

Kosovo was simply a direct and de-stabilizing threat to EUROPE, and the EU project. Thus, every single moral argument they have used to hurl at the US before and since then (Kosovo was NOT supported by the UN, due to defacto Russian veto, a la Francais) was expediantly thrown over the side in order to secure European stability so that the EU could continue apace. (Oh, and mumble mumble... thanks U.S. for the heavy lifting... AGAIN... mumble mumble)

If I may here are two quotes from UK Labour Minister Clare Short, who resigned the Blair cabinet in outrage over Iraq. Yes, Clare, I can imagine how morally appalled you were....

---

"If there is not UN authority for military action or if there is not UN authority for the reconstruction of the country, I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the UN and I will resign from government."

Clare Short, quoted in The Daily Telegraph, March 10, 2003

--

"The truth is this is a war. Wars are vile... It's against an evil, monstrous regime that has caused a terrible war and displacement, raping and killing people. Now it is doing it again. This evil will be reversed. We will succeed, the sooner the better... But we will do what is necessary. It will be done and we will look after people and get them home...Please everyone think what is at stake here... This is a challenge for our generation. We must do what is right otherwise evil will triumph, Europe will have fascism back in it and all the instabilities that will lead to increasing conflict... Please be steady everyone. We've got to do what is right and we will do it".

- Clare Short, May 23, 1999, on the need for war against the Serbs, a war that WOULD HAVE been vetoed by the UN (Russia), except NATO chose to ignore the UN specifically because of that fact.

---

Thus we see clearly, not an example of moral outrage, but of moral posturing. Put simply, when the knife is at EUROPE's throat, everyone to the trenches, and thanks U.S. But when the U.S. asks Clare in return NOT to pick up a rifle, but merely to acknowledge the favor done, and to at least just shut the hell up if she cannot pitch in and help, this is MUCH too much to ask for, and she, and many others, re-boot and go back to their Windows '68 default settings of "American Imperialism" and that sort of Marxian claptrap.

THIS is what leaves Americans outraged, and I think the damage to the transatlantic relationship might be salvagable, but the scars will not be forgotten, certainly not on this side of the pond.

Don,

Your care was not free. It just meant you did not have to write a bank draft for it when you were released.

Look at your tax rate and the amount of taxes you pay.

The truth is your care cost less than what you have paid and will continue to pay for it.

Joe,

Granted that the NHS is not free. I have been aware of that for many years, even before I settled in the UK.

Compared to the US system the NHS is lacking in many ways. It is not as swift, efficient, or as cutting-edge as care commonly available in the US today. I can easily visualize a US system which would be far superior to the NHS in every respect.

Unfortunately the US doesn't have a proper fee for service system. It has a rather corrupt cost displacement system in which the un-insured are billed far more than the real costs of their treatment in order to pay for the bills of the poor - and also to pay for sweetheart deals with HMO's.

A proper fee-for service bill for what I recieved might fall between $5000 and $12000 (drugs, tests, bed, food, nursing, and physician time). Based upon what happened with my mother I would expect the actual bill in a US hospital to range between $40,000 and $60,000. My existing condition might well be excluded in any future medical insurance I took out in the US.

The NHS comes closer to true value for money than the US system does, in my opinion.

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