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Friday, March 24, 2006

EUA vs. Europa

GOD VERSUS THE STATE

"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.

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, 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 still-virulent mercantilism of leaders like French President Jacques Chirac and French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has its roots in this past.

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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."
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