News & Politics

Should We 'Live More Like Europeans'? Of Course Not.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The left always seems to have been obsessed with Europe. The constant song coming from that side of the aisle and their willing accomplices in the media is that we should be more like our continental neighbors.

Draconian climate mandates. Secularism galore. Massive international cooperation that dilutes national interest and identity. Democratic socialism. That’s what the left wants us to emulate.

Now that we’re dealing with inflation, rising prices, and supply shortages, the left is playing the same “be like Europe” tune in a different key.

That’s right. The answer to our economic woes is to be more like our European cousins.

In a Bloomberg op-ed, Allison Schrager outlines our current crises and suggests that a more continental lifestyle would do us all some good.

She writes:

…if we are truly serious about protecting the planet, being a good global citizen will take more than driving an electric car or installing solar panels. It means consuming less so that we throw less away. Maybe that means getting by with only one refrigerator or avoiding fast, disposable fashion.

Americans tend to overspend or buy cheap substitutes rather than save up for longer-lasting, better-quality goods. That’s a function of the accessibility of cheap goods, of having more space to store our purchases, and also of a culture where buying stuff feeds the empty part of our souls. European souls are not necessarily more fulfilled, they just find other, more eco-friendly ways to shut out the darkness — like going on a long bike ride.

Schrager laments the sizes of our houses, the easy availability of shopping that the internet affords us, and other aspects of life that American economic freedom has paved the way for. And while she has a good point — we don’t need to be wasteful — our lives won’t necessarily be better by emulating the bland socialistic lifestyles of our cousins across the pond.

Socialism has crept into every area of European life. Even the UK’s conservatives opt for far more government solutions than we would ever dream of — after all, the UK has had socialized medicine since the 1940s.

Recommended: Don’t Let Democrats Turn the U.S. Into Europe

Europe has grown increasingly secular and godless. We’re already too far down that road for anyone to suggest that a European lifestyle will “fill your soul” as the photo’s caption suggests any more than finding your fulfillment in seeking God.

Schrager tries to polish the turd of her argument by trying to appeal to American exceptionalism at the end of her op-ed. The innovation that is truly American has given the world access to so many new products and technologies. She’s right in pointing this out, but her assertion that we live like Europeans will squash the pioneering spirit she praises.

No, the solution to our lives isn’t more spending and more materialism. But it’s also not in the blandly different materialism and milquetoast government acquiescence that characterizes Europe. We’re never going to find a better America by being anything other than American.

In the end, Americans should live like Americans, even in troubled times. The only thing we should do differently is to seek the deeper forms of fulfillment — in things other than possessions — that our unique freedom allows us to find.

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