Ed Driscoll

THE DECLINE OF THE WEST

THE DECLINE OF THE WEST EUROPE: I wonder what Oswald Spengler would think of James Bennett’s essay, titled “Why do they hate us?“:

The widespread anti-Americanism in the world, of which Continental Europe is the ultimate source, has almost nothing to do with the character of President George W. Bush or the current administration, or other such cosmetic issues.

The modern world was first carried forward by two great civilizations. The Anglosphere was one. The dynamic industrializing culture of 19th century Continental Europe, to which the spark of the Judaeo-Christian encounter was so important, was the other. That culture committed suicide in the ’30s. Perhaps its successor is not the revival of that culture, but rather its zombie.

In considering the Holocaust, most attention has been given to its direct victims, as is appropriate. However, we must also consider that it was a form of self-administered lobotomy for Continental European culture.

It would not be surprising if the twin anti-modernist themes of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, now rapidly coalescing into a single nasty mess visible in many of the pro-Saddam demonstrations of the past year, become once again the predominant political-cultural theme in Western Continental Europe, overwhelming the decent and positive forces there that had previously prevailed.

Be sure to read the whole thing. I was struck, particularly, by these paragraphs:

How can we calculate how much more dynamism was added by the everyday interaction of people who had previously been kept in parallel and uncommunicative spheres? The Germanosphere, including not just the Second Reich, but Austria-Hungary, German Switzerland, and the German-speaking communities of Eastern Europe and the Americas, really might better be dubbed the Judaeo-Germanosphere during that period.

Continental European Jews, because they owed their very presence in the larger civilization to the values of liberalism and modernism, were one of the first and most obvious targets of the Industrial Counter-Revolution.

The collapse of globalization and consequent rise of totalitarianism set the stage for the end of the great Judaeo-German hybrid civilization of Europe and its French counterpart. Those European Jews who were left alive at the end of the war overwhelmingly desired to leave, and they left to two destinations: Israel, and the Anglosphere.

With this emigration, on top of the previous great Jewish emigration to London and New York in the late 19th century, much of the energy, creativity and contributions of European Jews were given to the Anglosphere rather than the Continent. The cost to the Continent, and the benefits to the Anglosphere has never, to my knowledge, been calculated. The cost might never be calculable, but it is real.

This very much ties in with a Steven Den Beste essay from December, where he looked at the lack of technological innovation coming out of much of Europe, echoing (actually foreshadowing) Bennett’s comments:

If you ask someone with any kind of technical background to list high-tech Japanese companies, they’ll have no trouble at all reeling off several names immediately (often brandnames chosen for the American market, like Pioneer), and several more after a few seconds of thought: Sony, Toshiba, Matsushita; the only reason there aren’t more names on the list is because of the Japanese zaibatsu system. Ask pretty much anyone to list American high tech companies and they may come up with 50 names before they have to slow down.

But ask people to list high-tech companies from continental Europe, and I think most people would have to think hard to list even one. I, myself, having been in the industry for 25 years can only list a few: Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, Alcatel, Philips and then I run out, and honestly can’t think of any more right now. And among them, Philips as the only one actually doing cutting-edge research. (They developed the laserdisc, which led to the CD and DVD, among other interesting things.)

And Virginia Postrel posted in January about laws originally passed by National Socialist Germany in the 1930s that continue to impede the success of its own businesses, and prevents greater sales by American firms there.

No need to fret however. The EU will cut through so much of Europe’s red tape

UPDATE: Quick thought: In a way, the impending grounding of the supersonic Concorde neatly foreshadows the slowing pace of European business development, and the growing strangehold the transnational progressivist EU is placing on European business development.