Am I Too Gloomy Over Old Europe’s Future?

Monday, March 27, 2006
Clive Davis is more than mildly upset with two books that I’ve been reading recently. These highly recommended works are Claire Berlinski’s Menace in Europe : Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too and Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept : How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within:

“Bruce Bawer and Claire Berlinski both have thoughtful points to make about the way the old continent is heading, but much of their analysis is couched in bleakly apocalyptic rhetoric more suited to one of John Gibson's Frog-bashing pep talks on Fox News.”

“What worries me about books like this is that they risk reducing Europe to a caricature in much the same way as Stupid White Men turns America into one big Wal-Mart with drive-by shootings.”

The article.

I have never visited Europe even once in my life. At best, I can read some French and German. Do I possess a caricatured view of the Old Europeans? Am I even possibly some sort of bigot? Isn’t Clive Davis far more knowledgeable than myself? Who in hell do I think I am? Alas, I am convinced that I am right and Davis is living in a dream world. The man is too close to the situation and it has warped his judgment. What do I have going for me? Just the hard facts. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the Old Europeans are not having enough children and socialist economic policies are destroying their economies. Clive Davis only offers an anecdotal counter argument. The hard data contradict him.


PDS said...

Short answer: no.*

*Steyn are at least as gloomy, and with good reason.

David Thomson said...

There is little doubt but that affluent visitors to Old Europe can con themselves. These folks sleep in the more expensive hotels and eat in the very best restaurants. They often talk to indigenous citizens who speak fluent English. However, the hard facts cannot be ignored. The old Europeans are royally screwed. They are not bringing enough children into the world and their national economies are continuing to deteriorate. For God’s sake, some 68% of the French population is against even minor changes in the employment laws!

babushka said...

Europe blinds sophisticated American tourists because her strengths of deep-rooted culture and civic beauty intersect with our own weakness, and provide initially a sense of relief and wholeness. The temporary experience there is literally the best of both worlds.

But eventually one must decide how and where to live. Demography and economics (and a lively culture of innovation) provide a better sustenance portfolio than the exquisite grain of the masonry of the Opera house -- especially when jihad embers are glowing down the street.

chuck said...

Just the hard facts.

The problem, of course, is that hard facts are hard to come by. That is why commanders are encouraged to listen to the sargents and visit the front lines. In your case, that would mean spending time in Europe and talking to the natives. Absent that, you are taking facts on faith. You may be right, you may be wrong, but to declare that you are in possession of hard facts is a bit much. Even statistics are not quite hard facts, because their significance it open to discussion.

Nothing wrong with having an opinion, but bear in mind that pretty much no one manages to predict the future.

truepeers said...

See an interview here of Berlinki, with critical comments below. For further comments on this, see here

We need both our pessimists and optimists. Can Europe turn things around? I still think they have a chance, but they have to act vigorously now.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Can Europe turn things around? I still think they have a chance, but they have to act vigorously now.

What is their incentive? What major change has come along to change 60+ years of ingrained socialism/pacifism/anti-Americanism?

terrye said...

I have no idea if they can turn things around in Europe, but I think it is possible.

Some time back I was talking to an old WW2 veteran who had recently gone back to Europe, to visit some of the places he fought at. He was the Battle of Bulge, among other operations. He was amazed and impressed at the Europe he saw on his return. He began to cry when he talked about his time in the war and the destruction he saw, he said to me that if the Europeans could come back from that, they can survive anything. I hope he was right.

truepeers said...

MHA, take a look at the latest from our blue scarf correspondent in France. He writes of some recent violence and looting in Paris: You may or may not be aware that the Islamo-African youths are piggy backing on the French students who are also rioting for the right to continue ignoring the economics of the labour market. These same socialist students are getting the crap kicked out of them by the Arabs and blacks. Even French students wearing keffiyehs are getting mugged by dozens of immigrant youths.

The word schadenfreude is not used in France, but this might be a time for the Academie to debate this word's inclusion into the gallic lexicon.

Galliawatch has also been reporting that the banlieue youth are turning on their white leftist sympathizers. This may encourage some kind of national awakening and a re-drawing of political lines, or maybe not. Who knows? PC remains strong; Sebastien reports that the only paper to report on the above-mentioned violent looting withdrew the article from its website. There may be more Sebastiens to come, or maybe not. Who can know how many French will find the desire to survive as French?

Pastorius said...

We've reported on that "piggybacking" effect at Infidel Bloggers Alliance as well.

Well put. I've been to Europe and I found that they are a people in a serious depression. They don't smile, and they speak in the whispered voices of a funeral parlor.

When friend tell me they love Europe, I tell them they love the way they feel when they are on vacation in Europe with lots of money to spend.

If one really looks at the people it is another story altogether.

Eric Blair said...

Europe pretty much as a whole, is still feeling the effects of WWI.

I'm not sure that they're ever going to get over it.

Just watch the sackcloth and ashes routine when the centenary of 1914 comes around.