Thursday, June 21, 2007

I just can't get over my death-watch of Europe. I'm standing by my initial predictions that go back about 4 years now: Europe as something other than a place on maps will cease to exist in another generation. How a society that once energized the globe with science, commerce, arts, and ideals, managed to get itself so lost, staggers anyone willing to take two steps back to study it.

Here's a fine book review on The Last Days of Europe.

Key bit:
"The Dutch are probably the best-educated people in the world. Many Dutch have a vocabulary in English that exceeds that of native speakers in Britain and America. And for many years, the Dutch prided themselves that theirs was a country in which nothing ever happened. The business of Holland was business—plus social security with a bit of anti-Calvinist decadence thrown in. The country was so tranquil, contented, and firmly established that, failing a rise in the level of the North Sea, it seemed the idyll would continue forever."

Then there's this:
"There are three threats to Europe’s future. The first comes from demographic decline...The second threat comes from the presence of a sizable and growing immigrant population, a large part of which is not necessarily interested in integration...The third threat comes from the existence of the welfare state and the welfare-state mentality. A system of entitlements has been created that, however economically counterproductive, is politically difficult to dismantle: once privileges are granted, they assume the metaphysical status of immemorial and fundamental rights..."

Yep, that's the Europe-off-the-Rails trifecta (tm) alright...


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