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off centre
15th Aug 2010, 01:32
Why has Europe, as a rule, gone down the social democracy path?

Why has the US gone not gone down that path historically?

Is one way better than the other? Have you moved from one to the other specifically for the difference?

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 02:08
off centre,

Here is the take of a fellow continental. Worth a read.

We too often forget that modern Europe was born not during a time of enthusiastic historical rebeginning, as was the United States, but from a weariness of slaughter. It took the total disaster of the twentieth century, embodied in Verdun and Auschwitz, for the Old World to happen upon virtue, like an aging trollop who moves directly from debauchery to fervent religious belief. Without the two global conflicts and their parade of horrors, we would never have known this aspiration for peace—which is often hard to distinguish from an aspiration for rest. We became wise, perhaps, but with the force-fed wisdom of a people brutalized by carnage and resigned to modest projects. The only ambition we have left is to escape the furies of our age and to confine ourselves to the administration of economic and social matters.

Europe no longer believes in evil but only in misunderstandings to be resolved by discussion and dialogue. She no longer has enemies but only partners. If she is nice to extremists, she thinks, they will be nice to her, and she will be able to disarm their aggressiveness and soften them up. Europe no longer likes History, for History is a nightmare, a minefield from which she escaped at great cost, first in 1945 and then again in 1989. And since History goes on without us, and everywhere emergent nations are recovering their dignity, their power, and their aggressiveness, Europe leaves it to the Americans to be in charge, while reserving the right to criticize them violently when they go astray. It is notable that Europe is the only region in the world where military budgets go down every year; we have no armies that would be able to defend our frontiers if we were so unlucky as to be attacked; after the Haitian crisis, Brussels could not dispatch even a few thousand men to help disaster victims. We are well equipped to calibrate the size of bananas or the composition of cheeses, but not to create a military force worthy of the name.
Europe's Guilty Conscience by Pascal Bruckner, City Journal Summer 2010 (http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_european-conscience.html)

RJM
15th Aug 2010, 04:07
That's interesting. Without wishing to appear anti-Semitic, I'd substitute for Auschwitz, 'the Eastern front'. While the Germans' treatment of the Jews was a tragedy and and an outrage, the battle between Russia and Germany and the subsequent years of Cold War between the West and the USSR better characterise the conflict and its aftermath.

Logically then, 1985 - the year of Gorbachev's call for perestroika and glasnost is probably a more pivotal year than 1989, which I assume was chosen for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

If a society's intellectual preoccupations are any guide to how its members see themselves, then Europe would be noted for producing books and films about how power is used to oppress people; about people resisting the overbearing nature of power, wealth etc.

In the New World, by contrast, there are many films and books about the search for power and wealth.

If the above is generally true, there's a consequence for society's class systems. Both the Old and New Worlds have a class system, but the New World allows access to and movement between classes based on power and wealth which can be acquired, while the European system is more rigid and tends to relate to birthright.

In Australia, our books and movies are about neither the pursuit or abuse of power. They're generally just stories, like Picnic at Hanging Rock or Crocodile Dundee.

rh200
15th Aug 2010, 04:44
It is notable that Europe is the only region in the world where military budgets go down every year; we have no armies that would be able to defend our frontiers if we were so unlucky as to be attacked

They leach of the Yanks, who spend an fortune on defence, and even with all that extra doe, their societys economies are nearly basket cases, with a few exceptions of course.

Cacophonix
15th Aug 2010, 11:52
An interesting thread with an interesting read in the link provided by Matari.

One wonders what that old European traveller De Tocqueville would have made of the USA in 2010?

It would also be interesting to note how things have moved on since some of these articles in 1997.

Tocqueville's America: 1997 (http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7EHYPER/DETOC/assoc/assoc.html)

Putnam, "The Strange Disappearance of Civic America." (http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7EHYPER/DETOC/assoc/strange.html)

In comparing modern Europe with the modern USA I suspect we are comparing apples with oranges. Despite the intentions of some, Europe is not a federal state bound by the common ties of shared myths, language and culture. The economic link that binds Europe together is tenuous. Here in Europe we are strangely bound by our differences as much by our shared history (often in war).

They leach of the Yanks, who spend an fortune on defence, and even with all that extra doe, their societys economies are nearly basket cases, with a few exceptions of course. Rh200 I think you might find that it serves US aims just as well as the 'Europeans' to have American bases here.

I suspect if a resurgent and truly militaristic European power was to emerge it would cause a great deal of concern in the US and other parts of the globe.

As for basket cases, well, we all make our own baskets and we have to lie down in them. This old dog likes his British basket just fine even if it does appear frayed at the ends at times.

Storminnorm
15th Aug 2010, 12:06
Despite all the drawbacks of being "Europeanised" I certainly
know where I would rather live, and it's NOT in the USA.

Checkboard
15th Aug 2010, 12:14
The World War II references are a red herring - Europe used to be further to the right than anyone. People's revolutions in the various countries chopped the heads off of the heads of state in the swing to the left in order to stop having a down-trodden peasant class. English Civil War 1640, French Revolution 1789, Russian Revolution 1917, German Revolution 1918 etc etc

The USA is still so new, and so rich in resources, that hasn't had to happen .... yet. :)

tony draper
15th Aug 2010, 12:37
Reading the US hampster wheel the way things are going across there at the mo we may again have the Blue and Gray ere long,hmmm, think this time around one shall back the Grays,
:rolleyes:

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 15:03
Smart move, Cap'n. Drapes. Once we recommission the old Texas Navy, we'll be in need of a proper Admiral. You in? Official Website of the Texas Navies (http://www.texasnavy.com/)

http://www.texasnavy.com/recruiting_ad.jpg

birrddog
15th Aug 2010, 15:13
At the risk of getting flamed, I think systemically the European people have always been subjugated, first by Kings, Queens, Emperors, Dictators, et al. then later by their own fellow citizen governments.

Those who did not want to be subjugated, left for new territories to control themselves, starting first with Nordic's heading to Iceland in the 900's, and followed later by those settling in America.

Those happy to be subjugated stayed at home, and continue to be so, it's the only way they know*.


*Caveat for the Swiss, where the citizens have a more direct decision making impact through referendums

RJM
15th Aug 2010, 15:26
As for basket cases

Not all. The world's top exporting nation is Germany, followed by China (or vice versa depending whose figures you read - they're close.

off centre
15th Aug 2010, 15:28
birddog, given your theory, do you think that the current social democratic governments that constitute most of Western Europe have taken the place of the former monarchs/despots/kaiser/fuhrer, etc?

Is it America's destiny to repeat that scenario? Given the seeming consolidation of power in Washington and the attention given to any particular president, is that the way for the US? Is that a universal human trait then?

This starts to become related to the "borderless world" thread and some theories postulated there in that case.

Why does Europe want the US to emulate it and/or why does the US want democracy spread? And what version?

storminnorman, if I may, the question wasn't where you wouldn't want to live, but rather why those that left one set of choice for another, did so?

A corollary might be why do you want to stay where you are then?

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 15:39
Why does Europe want the US to emulate it

Ah, but Europe does not want the US to emulate it. Europe wants the US doing exactly as it does, but Europe wants to retain the morally-superior position of criticizing and sniping from the sidelines. It's lazy and beneath Europe, but they've long since lost any capacity to lead themselves, much less anyone else.

birrddog
15th Aug 2010, 15:45
birddog, given your theory, do you think that the current social democratic governments that constitute most of Western Europe have taken the place of the former monarchs/despots/kaiser/fuhrer, etc?

yes - they feel more comfortable being ruled by a committee than one person. I fear there is a belief that only single rulers can be oppressive to society, sadly wrong, but anyhoo...


Is it America's destiny to repeat that scenario? Given the seeming consolidation of power in Washington and the attention given to any particular president, is that the way for the US? Is that a universal human trait then?
Hopefully not, though possible if the tea party movement (as example) is not taken seriously.


Why does Europe want the US to emulate it and/or why does the US want democracy spread? And what version?
Misery loves company - if everyone else is doing it then it can't be wrong!

Storminnorm
15th Aug 2010, 16:35
Off-centre.
I love my country. Simply that.
I suppose those that live on the other side of the pond
love thier country as well.
But having lived and worked on both sides of that bit of
water that divides us, I much prefer the side that I now
live on.
Sure, the Americans love to feel that they have lots of
Liberty where they are, but I've never felt oppressed or
dominated by our system. I am free to travel wherever I
want, and I know that whatever happens to me personally
there will, in Europe, be some sort of system in place to
help me overcome my problems.
In short I prefer to live in a state that I have contributed to,
and that will provide for me should I need help in either a
Medical or Social context.
I don't decry the system that you have in the States, but I
prefer our system.That's about it really.
I was born during the war years, and have always known
that our "Freedom" is somewhat limited in comparison to
yours in some ways, but it's what I know and appreciate.

Cousins of my maternal Grandfather left the UK a couple of times.
Firstly to go to Australia, which didn't work out very well.
Then returned to England and decided to go to America instead.
They settled in Bloomsburg, Pensylvannia, and made a great success
of life over there.(Or was it Harrisburg?).
Their descendants are still there as far as I know, Family name of Hyde.
I've also lived and worked in and around Europe and always feel more
"At home" in any European country than I ever have in the USA. Despite
the language differences. But there again I can always get by no matter
where I am in Europe. It's nice to try to learn someone else's lingo.
Oh, and I did marry a Dutch lady, which affects attitudes as well.
So all my kids are Half-Cloggies. And the better for it I think.

obgraham
15th Aug 2010, 16:49
...hmmm, think this time around one shall back the Grays,
:rolleyes:So, Mr D, what you're saying is "nothing's changed in the last 150 years?

Juud
15th Aug 2010, 17:15
Matari, birddog, a broader historical perspective might interest you.

"When an employee becomes ill or injured, the employer is obliged to pay full wages for up to 5 days"
A short version or article 70 in the Gulatings Law, written down at the end of 1000 AD and with roots going much further back.
Gulating was an annual parliamentary assembly which took place in Gulen, in what is now Norway, from approx. 900-1300 AD. It was one of the oldest and largest parliamentary assemblies in medieval Norway. Farmers came here to meet the king and pass legislation, discuss political matters and judge cases.
The farmers at the Gulatinget passed all laws in direct negotiation with the king and the church. The legislation was memorised and communicated by word of mouth until writing was established. Men with knowledge of the law (known on Iceland as lovseiemenn or men with legal minds) had to memorise all the laws passed. In time, the legislation was written down and accumulated into a body of laws - known as the Gulatingslova. Gulatingslova is the oldest known body of laws in the Nordic countries.

The Gulating laws contained various rules for labour contracts, for example regulating the relationship between farmers and farms hands. The laws also regulated other industries. Ship building, mining, seafaring; all that was important to the Vikings.
As Viking society developed, so did the laws. Employers became obliged to pay 14 days salary around 1200 AD, Viking ship´s captains were obliged to provide a cook who was schooled and able to prepare proper grub on board for the men.

Nobody can call the Vikings hand-wringing huggy fluffs, nor did they suffer from a weariness of slaughter. ;) Gulating Laws predate the 20th century (see post 2) by a 1000 years.
And yet they had laws that by some here might be considered flaming pinko liberal.

The easiest answer, or the answer that best fits your personal prejudice / desire to offend, is not necessarily the correct one.

tony draper
15th Aug 2010, 17:37
I would say the main difference betwixt the USA and the UK is,in the USA it is the North East that shites on the rest of the country in the UK it is the South East that does so.
:rolleyes:

Storminnorm
15th Aug 2010, 17:39
Bombs away Boys!!!

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 17:50
I think Europe will be under sharia law soon enough-anyway

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 18:05
The easiest answer, or the answer that best fits your personal prejudice / desire to offend, is not necessarily the correct one.

I kind of like Voltaire, he spent a lifetime in the business of offending, and we are all better off for it.

Juud
15th Aug 2010, 18:21
Matari, rather than a glib one-liner insinuating intellectual kinship with a literary and intellectual genius, how about applying some of your considerable brain power to reacting to the facts I laid out in my post?

It´s called dialogue. :ok:

SoulManBand
15th Aug 2010, 18:30
And yet they had laws that by some here might be considered flaming pinko liberal.

The Gloating Laws do seem to be fairly pinko liberal based on the above description.

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 18:41
those law don't sound more different than US employment/transportation etc laws...it's funny in parts of Europe they ban [virtually] general aviation, guns, most of the fireworks industry but they 'tolerate' honor killings....:rolleyes:

con-pilot
15th Aug 2010, 18:46
it's funny in parts of Europe they ban [virtually] general aviation

Do they actually ban general aviation, or just tax general aviation so high that only people that can afford it are the ultra rich?

At the risk of slight thread drift, on my last trip to China I parked next to the only, repeat, only privately owned jet in China at Hangzhou. It was one of those small Citation CJs and I'll bet at least a dozen people pointed it out to me. They acted rather proud of it, they did.

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 19:06
Juud,

I would never deem to associate myself with a brilliant intellect like Voltaire. Why, that would like someone associating him (or her) self as an all-powerful, fire-breathing dragon or something. And that is just plain silly.

On those Googling laws you mentioned...it seems those are a fine example of enlightened self interest. The Vikings wanted their men and boys fit, fed, strong and properly incetivized to go about their mission of raping, pillaging and conquering.

Gotta admit, they did a pretty fine job of it.

birrddog
15th Aug 2010, 19:10
Matari, birddog, a broader historical perspective might interest you.

Always!


Gulating was an annual parliamentary assembly which took place in Gulen, in what is now Norway, from approx. 900-1300 AD. It was one of the oldest and largest parliamentary assemblies in medieval Norway. Farmers came here to meet the king and pass legislation, discuss political matters and judge cases.
The farmers at the Gulatinget passed all laws in direct negotiation with the king and the church.
This the same friendly Norwegian King who told the Icelanders in the 900's that if they did not convert to Christianity he would commit wholesale killing?

This was a bit troubling for the Icelanders, because they did not like being told what to do. In the end they voted to convert, "officially", to avoid the slaughter and death if they did not obey the Norwegian King, but then ignored it and carried on as usual, so they were largely christian in name and not practice.


Nobody can call the Vikings hand-wringing huggy fluffs, nor did they suffer from a weariness of slaughter. ;)

.....

The easiest answer, or the answer that best fits your personal prejudice / desire to offend, is not necessarily the correct one.

The issue here Juud, you are mistaking what my (and others) point is.

Simply put, WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE FORCE THEIR WILL ON US - for good or bad reasons.

This is a freedom of choice and unnecessary taxation.

We have never said we are no pro-charity, not pro-love or be kind to they neighbour, ad nauseum.

We just want to do it because it is the right thing todo, and not because some huggy fluffs or tyrants have decided for us that we need to or how to spend our money.

I think, if you tried, you would see that we see eye to eye with "you" (i.e. not just you) on many issues - we just don't want people spending their time creating silly expensive laws.

If you want to do something, go ahead, knock yourself out as long as it does not harm me or my family, just don't force me to do it too.

RJM
15th Aug 2010, 19:17
Juud, could that Gulating law system have arisen because the environment up there is so rugged that a mutual help system was necessary?

As to the rest of it, history is always in flux and our view of it is often distorted. Recent events can seem more important than they are, etc. Didn't someone ask Kissinger what he thought of the Industrial Revolution, to which he replied 'Ask me when it's finished', or similar?

A bit of thread drift but inteeresting:

There's an Australian aboriginal 'hierarchy of truths'. Here are the first five (of about 13).

Consider that we are both looking at an object.

The 'truths' (the Aboriginal word doesn't translate well - the meaning is more like 'states of being') are:

1. What I see (ie my point of view).
2. What you see.
3. What actually is.
4. The history of the object.
5. The implications for the future of the object.

All of these 'truths', which exist simultaneously, must be considered in any action concerning the object, person or activity.

RJM
15th Aug 2010, 19:23
raping, pillaging and conquering.

Matari - 'and eating liver and lights' - don't forget that!

birrddog
15th Aug 2010, 19:24
RJM, those "truths" are quite insightful, and highlight my personal distaste for legislation, as it rarely caters for all those truths, unless it is written as simply as the 10 commandments or the declaration of independence.

My pet peeve is smoking laws. I am a cigar smoker, and although I also enjoy the fact that most establishments are smoke free, I object to the fact, that the law in most countries prohibits consenting adults from participating in a activity in a suitable environment where it will not affect others. (e.g. dedicated room, proper ventilation, even a signed waiver if need be)... It is just not permitted, across the board, yet the same folks who are writing laws to inhibit my smoking yet have no problem charging 75% tax and then spending this blood money.

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 19:31
there's a little truth in most things and three sides to every story:)

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 19:54
in the end the true problem is we ALL spend too much time judging one another, rather than being normal and just trying to get laid or at least blown [or what ever women seek] or what ever 'loonin if you must...some truths i've noticed

most republicans/conservatives are NOT racist/homophobic/sexists/bible thumpers but many racist/homophobic/sexists/bible thumper are conservative

many liberals are not 'racists' but contribute to heavily to true racism, and further cause many already TRULY disadvantaged 'minorities' to feel they are victims and owed something, to feel that they don't belong to society, because society is bad....blah blah blah.... and sometimes implement inadvertantly racists policies that further subjugate their 'victims'


this statement does not change my view on radical [official Wahhabi] Islam---as being an extreme threat, how do dark ages arise traditionally after having been preceded by at times a near millennial period of enlightenment---:=

RJM
15th Aug 2010, 20:04
The Aust aboriginal culture is Stone Age with no writing. It's easy to dismiss it until someone sits down and tells you some of the 'stories' which convey the otherwise hidden and subtle intellectual content of their culture. It's very interesting stuff, not to mention wise.

Here's another example of practical wisdom worked out over time.

Around here, there are historically several tribes who often fought. There are still a few full-blooded elders around one of whom described regular, unarmed 'parliaments' the tribes used to have, for the purpose of confirming boundaries etc without the debilitating effects of fighting.

These events also included use by younger males and females of a 'dancing ground' - an area where the participants, from different tribes, were left alone overnight for the express purpose of inter-breeding. They realised that in-breeding weakened the tribe, and that 'cross-fertilisation' was better, even if it helped the enemy as well.

Pugilistic Animus
15th Aug 2010, 21:07
RJM your post so nicely illustrates my point-about judgement:)

Juud
15th Aug 2010, 22:15
Juud,
I would never deem to associate myself with a brilliant intellect like Voltaire. Why, that would like someone associating him (or her) self as an all-powerful, fire-breathing dragon or something. And that is just plain silly.
Indeed it would be Matari.
The dragon under my username?
You are the one imbibing it with a pretense of all-powerfulness.
You then use your arbitrary and erroneous assumption to call me silly in a roundabout way. :confused:

In the mean time, in the UK the term "wagon dragon" is a jokey way of referring to elderly flight attendants.
Since elderly flight attendant is exactly what I am, the dragon under my username, rather than the attempt at self aggrandising you are insinuating, is a bit of a self depreciating joke.
Had you ever checked my profile info, you might have gotten it.

In answer to the question that is this thread, you initially offer a theory of "weariness of slaughter & the total disaster of the twentieth century" as a reason for Europe´s liberal/social democrat bend.
When I offer you some facts stating that social laws were in use in Norway at 1000AD already, preceding by a wide margin Europe´s weariness of slaughter and the 20 th century, what do you do?

Do you express interest in a possibly new fact?
Do you concede that perhaps your originally quoted theory wasn´t the total answer?
No you don´t.
First there´s the glib one liner, then there´s the attempt to offend.
Neither constitutes dialogue, clearly demonstrating that dialogue is not your aim here.

Birddog, WHOAAAA!
All I did was offer up a perspective demonstrating that legal protection of workers´ rights in Europe goes back to at least 1000 AD.
You don´t react to that at all, but instead attempt to belittle those laws by bringing up King Olav the Holy and his murdering way of christening his subjects.

You then proceed to argue a bunch of points I never made.
Strawman fallacy it´s called, and once again it has nothing to with a dialogue.

So this is the end of me engaging the two of you on this thread.
Not interested in playing silly games.

********************


RJM, quite possible that the climate has something to do with it.
Harsh climate at the "top and bottom" of the world is seen as an explanation for the industriousness and forward thinking-ness of the people living there.
As opposed to the more laid back and live by the day mentality often displayed by peoples living "in the middle band" who thanks to a more merciful and year round temperate climate will survive anyway.
Who knows, climate might have something to do with this matter too.

Very interesting, your posts about the Aboriginal way of looking at things :ok: ; it´s a culture I know very little about.

tony draper
15th Aug 2010, 22:34
Historically one of the biggest changes in English society was not brought about by revolution but by disease,the Black Death was the best possible thing that could have happened to us.
:)

bugg smasher
15th Aug 2010, 22:36
You'll find considerably more homeless people per capita in Los Angeles than say, Bismarck, North Dakota. The reasoning being, of course, if you won't do the work to secure a place called home, and the cash for winter heating bills, well, coyote food it is then.

Will do some research on predator populations in the Dakotas, out of work actors in LA, and get back to you with some solid numbers...

Matari
15th Aug 2010, 23:37
Easy Juud, you fired the first shot. I merely responded to a taunt.

I'm very interested in dialogue. I am, however, aware that heretical comments are not welcome here.

And I although do know that I would not qualify to fill Voltaire's inkwell, he was known as quite the heretic in his day. Were he alive and honing his skills on this bulletin board today, he would probably have been banned by his third post.

About the Gulating laws, as I said they are really not that novel and more of a Nordic tribe's way of protecting itself and advancing its own narrow interests. There are many other examples (RJM's aboriginal laws, the Iroquois Grand Laws, and others) of similar coda.

What is interesting, and I believe the OP's original point, is that the children of the Vikings who settled in harsh prairies of Wisconsin and Minnesota today have a different view of the role of government than those born in propserous, homogenous Stavanger. The interesting question is, why?

birrddog
16th Aug 2010, 00:01
Birddog, WHOAAAA!
All I did was offer up a perspective demonstrating that legal protection of workers´ rights in Europe goes back to at least 1000 AD.
You don´t react to that at all, but instead attempt to belittle those laws by bringing up King Olav the Holy and his murdering way of christening his subjects.

You then proceed to argue a bunch of points I never made.
Strawman fallacy it´s called, and once again it has nothing to with a dialogue.

So this is the end of me engaging the two of you on this thread.

I believe I made the first point about the Nordic, and those who did not want to be subjugated; you took it as an opportunity to bestow the virtues of enforcing social wills on others, I merely responded.


Not interested in playing silly games.

Then don't act that way, I had no negative vibes to your post, I was interested in having a dialogue with you. You loose a point, and then throw a tantrum; you tell me who's playing "silly games".

A dialogue is two ways, and not just two paragraphs.

Tyres O'Flaherty
16th Aug 2010, 00:29
you are right as usual FSL. Population went from 4mill down to about 1mill ( ?).
Communities wiped out etc.

But we came out of that as the Premiere (yuck French spelling) nation.

Well done us Brits I say.

The cousins still wish they were us

off centre
16th Aug 2010, 01:50
What is interesting, and I believe the OP's original point, is that the children of the Vikings who settled in harsh prairies of Wisconsin and Minnesota today have a different view of the role of government than those born in propserous, homogenous Stavanger. The interesting question is, why?

This is indeed another way of putting my question. Substitute any other European nationality for Norwegian if it helps move the conversation (a dialogue would hardly be the word I would choose for this or any other thread - more a raucous bar/pub type of social intercourse with joiners entering/exiting at will) along.

Why have Europeans generally either moved to or remained socially and politically liberal and America not? Is it inherent to location?

The cousins still wish they were us

Interesting premise. The Tea Parties, then and now, would seem to differ. Also, I am unaware of fast food shops offering a variety of boiled dishes overrunning America.

SoulManBand
16th Aug 2010, 02:07
I would choose for this or any other thread - more a raucous bar/pub type of social intercourse with joiners entering/exiting at will) along.


And let's not forget being thrown out.

larssnowpharter
16th Aug 2010, 02:25
My own view is that the creation of the United States is an interesting social experiment in governance. It is yet to be seen if it will succeed or not.

For the last 50 years or so it seems to have lost direction.

Perhaps a return to its roots (I suggest reading Thomas Paine; an Englishman) might be the way to go in order to etablish a more just society.

It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few . . . They . . . consequently are instruments of injustice.

The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

Paine, incidentally was also very negative with respect to an established Military.

Re the Gulating Laws: many societies developed laws to govern behaviour. See Paine's view above. The fact is that all of Europe (with the exception of England) gained its legal systems from Roman Law.

Back to the original question:

Why is Europe liberal/social democrat; the US conservative-ish?

I am not sure that this is true. It seems to me that European nations are still capable of producing right wing parties with what appear to me to be rather dangerous 'right wing' agendas. If there is a tendancy to the left it may be out of fear and knowledge of what right wing extremists have done to the continent in the past.

Never in the history of human governance has a governing body reduced its control over its citizens voluntarily Lassonwpharter 1988

off centre
16th Aug 2010, 02:33
lars, indeed Paine was nearly an anarchist in his distaste for anything to do with state power. Of course, he became an American - as did all those other Englishman - Washington, Jefferson, Adams x 2, Mason, Madison, et al - shortly thereafter. Shunted aside as a bit of a zealot kook by the rest of the Founding Fathers but the man could write.

Why do you think it's an interesting experiment in governance? What part is experimental or different than previous models? What constitutes a failed or successful experiment? Does that criteria apply to any European model or nation? France is on the third, fourth, something, republic by now?

Regarding Europe and it's countering of right wing, is that how you see European history? Is one leaning better than the other?

Matari
16th Aug 2010, 02:38
Never in the history of human governance has a governing body reduced its control over its citizens voluntarily

Actually that's not necessarily true Lars.

The US founding fathers did not have to create the limited government that they did. Had they followed the typical European tradition, they would have created yet another monarchy with subjects instead of citizens, or a Robespierrian dictatorship meant only to terrorize, plunder and accumulate personal wealth at the expense of the common good.

Instead, as you have noted by your references to the brilliant Thomas Paine, they deliberately chose a limited form of government, one we would do well to remember today.

What most of the Brits and Europeans take for yahoo, redneck American ignorance on these threads, is simply that age-old tension between an American view of limited government, born from our founding fathers, and the "trust an ever-expanding government with your money and life and you'll be just fine" mentality of the European.

We are very different people, born of two completely different points of reference. Why some Europeans find that threatening I'll never know.

off centre
16th Aug 2010, 02:44
But those Americans then were of very recent European stock. Why did they change their outlook?

Why is there such a marked difference now? Is it the majority for both populations? Does each really like what they have or is it just circumstance of being born where and when each citizen is? What about those that voluntarily leave what they know for the other system?

larssnowpharter
16th Aug 2010, 02:54
It is difficult to answer all your questions in this forum.

The USA was founded during the Age of Enlightenment. It seems to me that many courageous and far thinking men were trying to establish a fairer form of government than existed elsewhere. Writers and thinkers such as Locke and Paine were formative in this process which eventually led to the Declaration of Independence.

This was new and, in my view, an experiment. I would add that I view most forms of government to be - to a degree - experimental. The difference in the USA was that it started with - largely - a clean sheet.

As to success, as stated, I believe it has lost direction in that it appears the government is increasingly taking liberties from the citizen. But that could get us into a debate as to the definition of 'freedom'.

I will add that I am an anarchist in much the same mold as Tom Paine:

A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder.) But is bound by a social code

birrddog
16th Aug 2010, 02:56
We are very different people, born of two completely different points of reference. Why some Europeans find that threatening I'll never know.
I disagree.

I would argue we are the same people - certainly of the same stock, in many cases (then and now) the same upbringings, exposures and opportunities.

Some have just looked into the chrystal ball and said "I want to decide for myself" others have said "I want the government to decide for me".

There are both kinds, on both sides of the pond, though on the Western side of the pond, the former tend to be in the majority, and on the Eastern side of the pond, the latter seem to be in the majority.

The one constant, is the Western side, was formed by hard working folks from Europe, who made a conscious decision, to be able to decide for themselves, and had a clearly demonstrable action to enact upon their viewpoint, and create their own opportunities. (Bit harder to create a new country these days, and changing political party affiliation is sadly not as clear a message as our forefathers got to send).

Even setting aside the US/Europe bashing, look inside the USA. The harder to settle parts of the country (inhospitable at the time) tend to hold a majority of independent minded folks - those closest to the ports tend to be more of the latter opinion.

off centre
16th Aug 2010, 02:56
lars, thank you. Very reasoned reply.

larssnowpharter
16th Aug 2010, 03:00
Actually that's not necessarily true Lars.

The US founding fathers did not have to create the limited government that they did. Had they followed the typical European tradition, they would have created yet another monarchy

Fair enough. but can you give an example over the last 200 odd years where the government has reduced its control/power over the people.

I fully accept that the founding Fathers did an excellent job when they studied what was happening in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment and rejected much of it for the perhaps untested philosophies of Locke and Paine amongst others.

A good start.

Seems to have gone off course a bit, though! Hence my exhortation to return to the roots of the Revolution.

Matari
16th Aug 2010, 03:07
birrddog:

Probably we agree on this point.

By "totally different people" I simply meant in our relationship with and subservience to a government.

There are folks in Manhattan, LA, and Austin, Texas who sound and act every bit the European socialist. Hell, Obama takes his inspiration from Marx and Rousseau.

So we are the same, but very different indeed. Long may that difference last. Like I've always said, the world is much too small for two Europes.

airship
16th Aug 2010, 14:09
Did this thread really only begin with off centre's post yesterday 15th August? Only, I could have sworn that I contributed something to an identical thread last Saturday...?!

I'm obviously going crazy. Unless that is, the mods have been playing about. I don't doubt that the forum's software allows them to do this. But why do so...?! :confused: Removing one or more posts from a thread is understandable perhaps. But assembling a completely new thread from an already existing one, redating posts etc. is a hitherto completely new and novel experience.

Please convince me that I should be laying off the Scotch...?!

Lonewolf_50
16th Aug 2010, 14:19
Please convince me that I should be laying off the Scotch...?! Yesterday 21:07
Switch to rye whiskey? :ok:

Ancient Observer
16th Aug 2010, 14:35
I'm setting myself up for some serious slagging off, here............

The only way to analyse the question is to carefully examine the Sources and Uses of Power in both sets of societies.

Any other analysis will lead to superficial discussions and outcomes.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, who has held the power, and what has their thinking been?

Very crudely, European power elites have been trained by a bunch of Trots and Pinkoes at the elite Universities, and have engrained that thinking in to "approved" behaviour - as long as it did not impact too adversely on the stinking rich. (Rothschilds, Agnellis etc).
Thus, Europe has this woolly, liberal approach to things.

The trots and Pinkoes exist in USA Universities, but don't have the centuries of influence that they do in Europe. There, Hobbes has a bit more say. (As does Hayek). The Austrian and Chicago Schools of Economics have much more clout in the USA Uni.s than they do in the European ones, where marx and hegel are still more influential.

con-pilot
16th Aug 2010, 20:56
The trots and Pinkoes exist in USA Universities, but don't have the centuries of influence that they do in Europe. There, Hobbes has a bit more say. (As does Hayek). The Austrian and Chicago Schools of Economics have much more clout in the USA Uni.s than they do in the European ones, where marx and hegel are still more influential.

There is a lot of truth in that statment that appears to be so simple, and yet not simple at all.

But, there is still hope for the American Universities, look who will be teaching a Yale.

Stanley McChrystal to Yale - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20100816/pl_politico/41101)

:p

Sammie_nl
17th Aug 2010, 08:10
I think the anwser to the question lies in the way the Nation States developed. In Europe lots of the countries we now know as Germany, France and Spain had to be build up from formerly independent regions, kingdoms with different cultures and languages. On top of this a new concept as Nation State was imposed. The leaders of those nation states needed money to fight wars and keep a number of civil servants. The people with the money were not the people with power, so there was a trade between the powerfull and the rich. Merchants/workers would give money to kings and governments and in return they got a say in governance. Hence social rights, labour laws, etc. etc. where developed first in Europe. Same idea could be seen in the Great War in Europe, it's all nice and dandy sending 20% of the population to the front, but we need more power and rights in return.

google charles tilly "coercion and capital"

Because the USA started out as a colony with fairly homogenous population and an idea of how a state should function (well the ones that came over anyway) they didn't need the nation building process that was ongoing in Europe.

airship
17th Aug 2010, 15:45
Very crudely, European power elites have been trained by a bunch of Trots and Pinkoes at the elite Universities, and have engrained that thinking in to "approved" behaviour - as long as it did not impact too adversely on the stinking rich. (Rothschilds, Agnellis etc).
Thus, Europe has this woolly, liberal approach to things.

How very true...?! :rolleyes:

And explains why ever since Nicholas Sarkozy was elected as French president...

1) My "TV via ADSL" supplier TPS has since been merged with Canal Satellite. Whereas France once had at least 2 competing satellite TV operators, they've been merged at the behest of Nicholas Sarkozy.

2) With TPS, by means of my R/C unit, I could reliably program the VCR and/or enquire what was coming on "next". But perhaps because Canal Satellite also has extensive interests in publishing paper-based TV schedules, on-line information via decoder is no longer available (in addition to receiving completely inaccurate time-signals - try to program any recorder with those)...?!

3) Whilst at least 50% of the French population cannot afford to go away for a summer holiday this year, Mr. Sarkozy is apparently enjoying a few weeks away at a property owned by his spouse. But at least he's not spending his vacation aboard a superyacht owned by one of his many (mostly-rich and anonymous benefactors) as he did so just after being elected as President a couple of years ago...?!

4) But how to explain the mainly lame xenophobic declarations by Nicholas Sarkozy most recently? He basically wants to remove all acquired rights of French citizenship if or when the culprit commits certain offences...? Nicholas Sarkozy has obviously learned a great deal from Silvio Berlusconi's own experiences. When you promote and/or establish a new law, ensure that it primarily protects your own personal situation and/or interests...?! :rolleyes: Both Nicholas Sarkozy's parents were born outside of France (elsewhere in Europe) apparently. He currently favours deportation and renounciation of previously acquired citizenship rights in view of certain crimes. Well, politicians will do whatever they believe is required of them in view of re-election won't they? But if Nicholas Sarkozy has any stature, or deserves special priviledges, he will have to simply understand that he should not have to rely on Silvio Berlusconi-like subterfuges, and should come clean. Which should mean that even a French President (Nicholas Sarkozy) could be stripped of his French citizenship and deported, if (or rather when) he is eventually convicted of crimes relating perhaps to the finances of his party, endeavouring to promote his 20 year old son into a position of great influence for perhaps nefarious reasons (and well-beyond his qualifications etc.) Unless I'm mistaken, President Nicholas Sarkozy is at best a 2nd generation French immigrant. And if France is currently applying Nicholas Sarkozy's wishes, then I prevail on all those who can still remember De Gaulle, and what he stood for. In which case, Nicholas Sarkozy should soon be seeking a discrete retraite...?! :uhoh: