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Broder's book is a scary read, because of what it reveals about the people around us, and, by association, about ourselves. With a few short, sure strokes, he paints the great mass of Europe's intelligentsia as they are. It isn't a pretty picture. We see, not independent thinkers, who weigh and contemplate the facts as they know them, but creatures who happen to have larger brains than most, but whose actions are still guided by the same predispositions that influence many of the other animals on the planet. Evolution has left us with the same baggage that other primates carry around with them. Psychologists have never really come to grips with this reality. That's why the results of their science have been so meager and contradictory.

When put in the context of our evolutionary past, the behavior of the European intellectuals, not to mention the Muslims, and, for that matter, the rest of us, starts to gain a certain logical coherence. Among other things, we perceive the world in terms of in-groups and out-groups. In general, we assign good traits to the in-group, within whose physical and intellectual boundaries we struggle to stay, and evil traits to the out-group. Broder reveals this truth about as starkly as it can be revealed, for anyone who is still capable of looking at the evidence. He does so by repeatedly drawing attention to the palpable logical contradictions in the ideas expressed by modern Europeans. He demonstrates that all of the intellectual "truisms" that form the ideological boundaries of their in-group simply cannot logically be true at the same time. They contradict each other. Hatred of America, one of those ideological boundaries and, coincidentally, the subject of this blog, is one of the more effective phenomena for displaying this artifact of human behavior. European intellectuals typically arm themselves with a huge dossier of American "evils," unbalanced by comparison with related "evils" of other lands and cultures, and with attention to the related facts only to the extent that they appear to confirm American "guilt." The trait of out-group association is revealed in one of its most ugly manifestations.

We must never be afraid to fight back against those who attack us, but, for all that, the picture Broder has presented us with gives ground for introspection rather than intellectual arrogance and contempt for the Europeans he describes. After all, we are human beings, too. Far from being pure intellects, above the fray, we are subject to the same predispositions and behavioral traits as all the rest. If anything, the book teaches us to preserve a certain humility when we are most cock-sure that we know the truth and the that rest of the world are morons. The truth is elusive, and most elusive of all when it comes to assessing the religious, ethical, and ideological "goods" with which we all identify ourselves. We must be aware of our own natures when pursuing it, and approach it with the humility appropriate to that awareness.

Pamela, be careful what you wish.

The RAF was Germanys attempt to bring back the death penalty. In its early days it was the most enthousiastic group of the left with regards to Yasser Arafat, but unlike the Palestinian suicide bombers under their generic fatwas it had rather strict rituals to name the targets of their killings and publish detailed sort of reasons for the judgement, just as any professional death row buereaucrat that had earlier sought the same alliance would do.

Were the RAF terrorists war criminals or civilian criminals? If Germany had proper freedom of information legislation we would be able to look at all the documents from the Deutscher Herbst these days.

Helian,
So long story short - 'Don't believe everything you think'
;)

FranzisM, The RAF were domestic terrorists. Believe me, it's not perfect here either. At least one of ours is currently teaching at a major university.

blech.

"So long story short - 'Don't believe everything you think'"

Exactly. It gets scarier as you get older. If you're not a fanatic from day one, your opinions shift a little here and there. If you think back, you can unearth occasional instances where your perceptions of certain facts were conditioned by your preconceived notions. Once we get a step or two away from repeatable experiments, we probably all have a tendency to wander into intellectual swamps. There's no escape in the realm of physics, either. We still don't really know what all this stuff the universe is filled with really is at a fundamental level.

Pamela,
I do firmly believe that we are all born into this world as equals, like a book yet to be written. As the pages begin to fill up what determines the content?
Everything is conditioning and influence. We are influenced by religion, ( not as much as in prior centuries. Religion/God is constantly downplayed as stupidity except the Muslim religion ) Oh well, that's another chapter.
We are influenced by our peers, parents and Schools.
But where does their information originate? Basically, the Government and it's minions, (willing or unwilling) the media.
Most ordinary citizens have very little insight into the real problems or structures of society. So, without proper knowledge of the intricacies of any situation, be it war or economics, they rely on second hand information (again media and Government) in order to form uneducated "Opinions".
It is more evident in Germany's anti-Americanism than in the US preaching anti-German sentiments. To the average American Germany is just another country and won't be used for propaganda purposes. (maybe the french) Of course the landscape could change in an instant and the backlash would be felt.
There is an old saying that "Familiarity breeds contempt". Germans are much more familiar with the Americans than the average American is with the Germans. Maybe we need to familiarize ourselves more with the Germans and the Euro-pee-ons ?
It is complex, yet so simple.

Helian, I've developed my own hypothesis about anti-Americanism, anti-semitism, etc. They serve the function of defining one's identity. Does Broder address that at all?

@americanbychoice
Most ordinary citizens have very little insight into the real problems or structures of society. So, without proper knowledge of the intricacies of any situation, be it war or economics, they rely on second hand information (again media and Government) in order to form uneducated "Opinions".

Economists talk about this, believe it or not. How markets move with imperfect/incomplete information. It's been a while since I read "The Road to Serfdom" cover to cover, but Hayek also gives it some space.
And as you can see from Helian's post above, so do physicists.

So the question becomes, how does one form 'good' opinions from imperfect information? What makes an opinion 'good'?

Sorry, I'm a (mostly) recovered philosophy major. heh.

And what's this about "maybe the French"? ALWAYS the French, sweetie. Every. chance. I. get.

Pamela,
LOL, I was referring to our media. We just don't get as emotional describing other countries,except the french and not to the extend they talk about us.
Some of the humans will always be "Rebels" trying to inform themselves by reading other opinions. Thank God (or Allah) for the internet.
I also still believe that Goebbels is alive and well.

Pamela, I don't know if there are "good or bad opinions". It depends on your own conditioning and therefore philosophy. I prefer to call them either stupid (because of lack of research) or interesting.
A coin always has two sides.

"Helian, I've developed my own hypothesis about anti-Americanism, anti-semitism, etc. They serve the function of defining one's identity. Does Broder address that at all?"

Not explicitly, but I think it's fair to say there's support for your hypothesis by implication.

The Churchill quote Broder cites at the beginning of his books sums up his attitude towards modern Europeans: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

To a bunch of Real Americans:
I succeeded with my provocation, and your answers confirm what I tried to tell you: "the United" States are not united. You give me a definition of what you (speaking as "we") define as a real patriot, which means you leave out a lot of people living on the same ground. I guess they must be Europeans without knowing.
Burn all flags, not only Stars'n'Stripes.
ac

To anticommunist: YOUR comment confirms what others already assumed: You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, moreover, you're arrogant enough (not uncommon among Euros) to believe you know it all already and are therefore incorrigible.

Helian,
Not explicitly, but I think it's fair to say there's support for your hypothesis by implication.

Not to mention our very own 'anticommunist' who tells us with unwavering certainty what REAL AMERICANS are.

You just can't make this stuff up.......

"Not to mention our very own 'anticommunist' who tells us with unwavering certainty what REAL AMERICANS are."

It's true a few of the more colorful inmates are on the loose in this thread, Pamela. You shouldn't take it personally, though.

Pamela,

These and the french are our allies.

@ Scout
Yes, I'm arrogant. That's because the whole idea of this blogspace is being arrogant, plus I got tired of the free market/God combination that excuses anything including war.
The guy who accused me of telling who's the REAL American didn't read what I wrote. My provocation was too big, I guess.
What I really wrote was that YOU (most people in this blogspace) tell us what a REAL American is. The others are "whimps" or worse.
My sincere opinion (arrogant or not) is that people in the United States do not hold an identical view on society. This is why I can love some of you (nationwise speaking) and dislike some. (For the record, among presidents I don't think I'd find anyone to love, until she is a Native American converted to Islam then going atheist.)

Whether I know what I'm speaking about or not, seems to depend on your political standpoint.

One of my opponents, Beimami, does not even know who fought the civil war. It was not between blacks and whites, but between different kinds of ruling white upperclass - with some support from lower strata, of course, like later wars.

If you want to know more about what's close to a civil war in present day USA, I recommend NewsMax.com for a start.

Most of you don't understand what's wrong with the "vague geographic concept" I referred to in my first posting. There was an Italian, Amerigo Vespucchi, who is credited with the idea that there was a new continent where Christopher Columbus thought he just found a new route to India. America, named after Vespucchi, is a double continent ("the Americas") and United States is a part of it/them (hence the complete name United States of America). So everytime you say God Bless America and refer only to the United States you're showing off your lack of knowledge and interest in what's outside the borders of US. Plus showing an (unintentional?) contempt for the inhabitants of more than 30 other countries on the continent(s). They know this, you don't.

The parallel to US war on Japan is no parallel. I don't mind the US defending itself. This is not what's going on in Iraq (which explains why such a lot of smoke is needed around the real reasons for starting it).

I might be back with some more information for you. Keep swinging.

ac

It left out the 'and you're all FAT, too!'

probably just forgot.........

Pamela,
Anticommunist probably couldn't tell us the difference between Communism and sSocialism either. Even though it is just a small difference, he would come back with something negative about the US. Of course, he would have to try to find something to his liking on a blog first.

Thanks a lot, Pamela and americanbychoice, for your efforts. You couldn't come up with an answer to what I wrote, so you had to invent something that I "forgot".

As a matter of fact, sometimes I wonder if the terrorists could just sit back and wait for the majority in the US to eat themselves to death. Slight exaggeration though. There are normal people too. And some who try to fit the commercial model ideal, starving themselves.

The difference between socialism and communism has been discussed since the beginning of the last century and the debate hasn't produced a good answer yet (an answer we'd agree on).

One very theoretical (Leninist) distinction is this: during the first stage after the revolution, socialism, everybody receives according to his/her work, later, under communism, everyone receives according to his/her needs. Not a very useful definition, since communism never existed (except in a few very small experimental - non-Leninist - enclaves that didn't survive) and the socialist (=first stage) states that did exist never succeeded (or wanted) to eliminate the nomenclatura who received without really working.

A more practical approach would be this: socialists nowadays tend to agree with the liberal standpoint that a multiparty system is the only decent way of ruling a society, while communists stick to their old standpoint of a one-party state and a monolithic party. You will find exceptions to this rule (if you search for them).

A definition that should be familiar to you is this: a socialist is a person who reads The New York Times and agrees. A communist is person who reads The New York Times and accuses it of being a voice for the capitalists.

Next question?

ac

anticommunist,
"from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", was Karl Marx's motto and it was uttered in the same sentence. Yo each ccording to his needs did not occur later under communism.
While there are subtle differences between Communism and Socialism, the biggest difference is that communism does not allow private property and certain assets. Everything is directed and controlled by a central Government.
Socialism does allow private property, however, State control is rampant evidenced by th enormeous Taxes, Abgaben and Gebuehren, like present day Germany and other European countries.
If you like paying those outrageous costs, have at it, I prefer the freedom to do what I please with as little Government intervention as possible.

Arrogance combined with ignorance is a very dangerous combination indeed. Nevertheless, people like ac serve a useful purpose: Showing us all the importance of not forgetting to take one's prescription medication.
Sadly, I have to deal with people like him every day. I forgot to ask him if he was a school teacher in Germany... and I'm not going to ask him now, lest I prompt another uninformed, condescending remark that is about as welcome as a turd in a punchbowl, but slightly less intelligent.

Hey, Limbaugh talks about Broder's book.


http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_012607/content/truth_detector.guest.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,462149,00.html

I´ve seen this subject pop up serveral times in offtopic, maybe some of the American readers can elaborate please: Is it true that in America psychiatric drugs and chemical addiction are at a much larger extent part of the culture than they are here? Anyone of you got any hard numbers on this?

@ Scout and americanbychoice,
You tell me you prefer spending (most of) your money yourself instead of paying those huge taxes.
You're living with a lie. As long as you (=the US citizen) don't need a good university for your children, a good hospital for your ailing mother, a good lawyer for your company everything is okay. Then you have to spend some cash, against your will. I pay my way (and I complain about the taxes, feeding a royal family, a useless army and a couple of other things that come with the package).
No, there's no king in Germany. Who said I was German?
ac

AC,

"You're living with a lie. As long as you (=the US citizen) don't need a good university for your children, a good hospital for your ailing mother, a good lawyer for your company everything is okay?.

Let's see, My children went to what I believe to be excellent Universities. Between Scholarships and Student loans, they received an excellent education.
I have used the services of superior healthcare, including having cancer, on many occasions. Guess what, I had to pay very little (about $200 out of pocket per year) and didn't have to wait my turn, received prompt treatment with the most up to date drugs and surgery.I was cancer free after 5 months.

I did't know your socialist Government now includes free legal services for your company. That's a new one for me.
Again, I like the difference in my net Income, even after I have to pay Insurance premiums to safeguard for my future. I am also retired and wouldn't want to change our system for anything a Socialist Government has.
P.S. All "ailing aging Mothers and Grandmothers are covered by Insurance" almost free of charge.

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