Tuesday, February 24, 2009
One of the themes in the comments on this post is Europe versus America. This is becoming commonplace. Critics of Obama's economic plan say he is attempting to Europeanise America and Blair was often attacked for trying to Americanise Europe. In large parts of America, Europe represents quasi-communism and, in large parts of Europe, America represents mad dog capitalism. The vast sums of government money that are now being paid out to keep our economies afloat have, I suppose, sharpened the imagined contrast. It's imagined for two reasons. First, Europe is even more diverse than America so to speak of a European Way in politics and economics is even more meaningless than to speak of an American Way. Of course, there are phases in political leadership but it's foolish to take these as displaying some intrinsic aspect of national character. Second, historically, what would now be seen as the European Way has been the American Way and vice versa. Nevertheless, in the heat of this moment, the idea that Europe and America are in fundamental conflict has taken hold. I don't think we should go down this road.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:09 am