Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

February 16, 2006 [LINK]

More Euro-pessimists speak out

I was wondering what Charles Kupchan would say about Fareed Zakaria's Euro-pessimism, and thanks to Instapundit, I found out. Theodore Dalrymple recently posted an essay, "Is Old Europe Doomed?" at Cato Unbound. He begins by granting that history does not proceed in linear, deterministic fashion, but warns, "Nevertheless, it is undeniable that a pall of doom does currently overhang Europe." Clincher:

The principal motor of Europe's current decline is, in my view, its obsession with social security, which has created rigid social and economic systems that are extremely resistant to change. And this obsession with social security is in turn connected with a fear of the future: for the future has now brought Europe catastrophe and relative decline for more than a century.

The result of this obsession: dwindling work opportunities for native Europeans, and the encouragement of a vast "informal sector" of immigrants willing to take up the slack. As the youth of Europe long for cushy, public sector jobs, while rejecting the ethos of capitalism, productivity will continue to lag. Dalrymple's interpretation of social norms under these conditions is particularly troubling:

The goal of everyone is to parasitize everyone else, or to struggle for as large a slice of the economic cake as possible. No one worries about the size of the cake itself.

In response, Georgetown professor Charles Kupchan wrote that Dalrymple's piece "is essentially a Europhobic rant." (It did not strike me that way at all.) To Kupchan, things in Europe are not as bad as they seem, and some statistical trends indicate continued vitality in the European economy, especially if you leave out Germany. (How ironic; Germany used to be the motor of the European economy!) Oddly, Kupchan treats Europe's low birth rate as an exogenous trend, when it is really one of the clearest symptoms of socio-economic stagnation. I think he is whistling in the dark.

Cheney's misfire

Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of his friend Harry Whittington has provided great fodder for comedians and Bush-bashers, and an inordinate amount of attention from the news media. The only real "lessons" to be drawn from it, however, are rather banal: "Safety First." "Accidents happen." One could certainly fault the Veep for poor public relations in this incident, but that has never been one of his priorities. The sorrow he expressed in the interview with FOX's Brit Hume yesterday was obviously sincere. Hunting without the proper permit is a more serious matter, however, and Cheney should pay the maximum fine to set an example.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 16 Feb 2006, 11: 28 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)