American Leftists Refuse to See the Handwriting on the Wall in Europe

Having had some time to kill in Charles de Gaulle airport recently, where the international editions of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal were full of dire articles to the effect that World War III -- the war of the social-welfare state against fiscal reality -- has already been fought, and lost, in Europe, I wonder when the lagging-indicator social democrats of America are going to “get it.”

Right now, in the lands they’ve always held up as a shining example to the benighted U.S. of A., the eurocrats are fighting a desperate rear-guard action against what increasingly seems like an inevitability: The euro’s collapse. And, with it, the delusions of generations of dreamers who thought “scientific socialism,” the progressive direction of society from on high, would lead to the development of a highly evolved homo europithecus and actually erase not only centuries-old national boundaries and currencies but sharply divergent cultures as well. There would be no Greeks, no Irish, no Portuguese or Germans or Italians; only the new race of Euroids who would patronize us with their appreciated, deracinated money and condescending smiles as we struggled in the mire of Anglo-style “laissez-faire.” Ah, the good life! For so long, to the American left’s despair, it seemed to be the one thing Europe couldn’t export to us.

But now the good life has turned … well, not quite so good. It’s not hard to imagine a few likely elements of the near future as the dream unravels: a return to dog-eat-dog national currencies, some stronger and some weaker but all being manipulated for maximum advantage in a sauve qui peut race to the bottom; the uber-state, Germany, once again taking control via economic hegemony, with resentments festering in lands where some can still recall actual German rule under the jackboot and swastika; national bankruptcies (Greece has already gone belly-up, although the “international community” has politely agreed not to notice for the moment) making further bond sales prohibitively expensive and thus shutting down the social-welfare gravy trains that have become woven into the fabric of European life and the Euroid psyche; Paris, that capital of faded “gloire,” having to ask Berlin, hat in hand, for help in staving off catastrophe (might that prompt Angela Merkel to do a little jig outside a railroad car?); etc.