Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Strange Days: America Wants to Be Europe

Here's one way to look at the contemporary American conflagration between so-called "red" and "blue" Americans. Red Americans like America for all it is, believing it to be a close realization of ideal political and socio-economic structure. We've got a representative democracy, freedom of religion, and a public educational system that purports to avoid indoctrination. Though each of these attributes of American government are subject at any time to serious attack, they are time-tested, and were made accessible to us by a war some two hundred years ago that cut us off from the hand that bled us: Europe, or more specifically, England. For that great event, we give thanks, or at least the people who schedule national holidays (most of the rest of us have historical amnesia or just don't care).

How interesting, then, that some of what "blue" Americans desire is in fact pictured in some ways in certain European states. Some among us wish for the open-armed acceptance of all religions, including Islam of the Middle-Eastern variety, which can bring with it terrible devastation, as London recently found out. Other items on the Euro wishlist include a public education curriculum that edits out the Christian worldview. Well, for precedent, we need only turn to France, which in the past year has prohibited students from wearing clothing related to their respective religions. And then, kicking around in American higher education are those who wish for a more autocratic state, one dispensing public goods with abandon to all its constituents, that system of socialism which has so galvanized certain European countries in the past (or...maybe not). Ahh, the ways of Europe. Thankfully, not all wish for a return to its scattered philosophies. The whole "Give me liberty or give me death" thing has worked quite well here, thank you, and many of the American ilk are more than happy to keep things that way.


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