Jewish World Review June 3, 2010 21 Sivan 5770
History Returns to Europe
By Victor Davis Hanson
VIENNA -- Walk the beautiful streets in
Bikers, electric commuter trains and tiny fuel-efficient cars zoom by in a green contrast to our gas-guzzling Tahoes and Yukons.
So naturally, there is a general sense of satisfied accomplishment among European social democrats. They believe that finally a quiet sameness across their continent has replaced two millennia of constant European warring and revolution. Now, everybody seems to get an apartment, small car, state job, good pension and peace -- and in exchange, all voice comfortable center-left consensus politics.
But beneath the genteel
So suddenly the Greek financial meltdown, and the staggering debts that must be repaid, have alternately enraged and terrified northern European creditors. Even the most vocal Europhiles are quietly rethinking the entire premise of a
After all, it is one thing to redistribute income by taking from richer Germans and Austrians to give to poorer Germans and Austrians. But it is something else for all Germans and Austrians to extend their socialist charity to siesta-taking Greeks, Italians and Spaniards. For all the lofty rhetoric of the collective
But bickering over a trillion dollars in bad southern European debt is not the EU's only problem. Why, for example, do
Perhaps if everybody ends up about the same, regardless of effort or achievement, then life must be enjoyed mostly in the here and now. Why sacrifice for children, or put something aside for heirs, or worry over a judgment in the afterlife? The more the
It is also strange that the more Europeans flock to their ancient majestic cathedrals, splendid museums and grandiose villas and castles to satisfy an innate human desire to enjoy artistic, architectural and religious achievement, the more it is likely that they would never again build a now politically incorrect cathedral at Rouen, a Schönbrunn Palace or a castle on the Rhine.
Much is made of European multiculturalism, a willingness to allow Muslims from the
But such "tolerance" reflects in part a fear of radical Islam and terrorism. For all the European talk of progressive attitudes about free speech, feminism and gay rights, such principles fade quickly when radical Muslims demand Sharia law, demonize homosexuals or threaten European cartoonists and novelists. It is almost as if the more
In short, as a reaction to the self-destruction of
But human-driven history is now roaring back with a fury in
Only one question remains: At a time when
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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