On Becoming Europe
Unhappy Socialist Campers
I’ve been reading a lot of commentary in Italian and Greek newspapers these last three weeks and talking to Italians, Greeks, and Turks during two long European lecture tours. Socialism surely does not make one happier, or content knowing that the resulting society is somehow more humane or caring. Instead each faction is constantly on the verge of striking against the public good. There are always the bad “them”, easy-target public enemies among the rich and aristocratic who need to give away more to the “deserving.” The bank workers are in perpetual war against the garbage cleaners who hate the social service workers who whine about the fire and police—each convinced the public must grant more largess on themselves than on like others.
Just as the government is necessary to nanny one and all—and thereby earns both the demands and resentment of the recipient for its caring—so too the United States serves the same role to Europe at large: hated and needed at the same time.
Parents Are Hated by Their Dependents
In Greece, they are being hit by a pandemic of Turkish over-flights in the Aegean, and rather cynical efforts of Turkish money-making smugglers to buy wrecked freighters and beach them with hundreds of aliens from the Middle East on the shores of Aegean—Greece being the gateway to the EU money trough for supposed “political refugees”. Illegal aliens are everywhere in Athens. The country is sort of the front lines of European utopian pretension: what sounds good in Brussels is reified in the here and now in Greece with its porous maritime borders on the Middle East.
I would assume that if there weren’t a US-led NATO, some sort of shooting war would quickly break out over immigrants, Aegean air space, or Cyprus. To suggest that privately to Greeks is to earn a grudging nod; to do so publicly is to get a fiery denunciation and yet another tutorial about the 1967 coup, and the Henry Kissinger intrigue in Cyprus, as prequel to Iraq and Bush.
Thoughts on DMV Health Care in extremis
Because I have traveled a great deal in my life, often recklessly so, alone, and to weird places in search of answers to topographical questions of the ancient Mediterranean world, and first-hand observations about battles and campaigns in out of the way places for several books— I have ended up over the last 36 years in a number of socialist hospitals: E-coli poisoning in Athens from tainted strawberries; a cut tendon on my index finger from a barbed wire fence in Sparta (with reaction to live tetanus vaccination); a severed ureter due to an impacted staghorn calculus kidney stone from dehydration of excavating at Corinth; a light case of malaria at Karnak, Egypt; an out of control, strep throat that turned into something more in Izmir, Turkey; a ruptured appendix, surgery, and peritonitis in Tripolis, Libya, and so on.
In each case, the care was terrible. A sole lonely doctor or maverick nurse in two cases saved my life, but on the average the facilities were filthy, and the employees akin to those in the government-run post office or bank. And a strange thing occurred as well: often the staff became mad at the patient: “Why did you come here with an appendix problem?”; You should have not let your strep get out of control!”; “If you don’t drink water, what do you expect!”; “See what happens when you don’t take all your quinine pills!”.
Socialism will always blame the patient (just watch when it comes here), I suppose for drawing on collective resources, and to focus on public enemies whose weight, smoking, or lifestyle (I do not smoke or drink, but exercise and am of reasonable weight) have betrayed the public ideal. (Fat people, and smokers (except our President) will soon become as hated in the socialist mind as jet skis, those in their 80s who want a bypass, Yukons, Tahoes and investment bankers.)
Europe is Europe, Because America is Not?
No, Europe should not only not be our model, but Euros know it should not be our model. A few brilliant Europeans whisper, “Of course, it is lost here, since no addict insidiously hooked on government entitlement ever gives such largess up. But you over there still have a chance.” For a few Europeans, America’s military (drawing on fewer people and less territory and GDP than the expanded EU) is the only hope for Western defense. It’s where most life-saving drugs will emerge, new technologies are birthed, and huge sophisticated markets grow for European goods. So they have a stake in not allowing us to become like them.
The Not-so-Kind Face of Socialism
One final thought: I’ve never met a beatific equality-of-result person. They are usually grim and angry warriors determined to right cosmic wrongs, eager to demonize those who ‘have too much’, convinced that the divine ends justify the demonic means.
In that regard, despite the hope and change rhetoric, when Obama went down that ‘spread the wealth’ path, I feared that we would get the Rev. Wright race talk. It is no surprise that Obama invokes the constant bogeymen who do all sorts of terrible things, among them most prominently the Orwellian Goldstein figure of George W. Bush. There are no legitimate critics, only those Obama & Co. claim are shills for the insurance industries, who unfairly attack the Canadian health system, the greedy who go to Vegas and the Super Bowl, the Neanderthal who cling to their guns, the dissidents known as Nazis, stooges, mobs, and the well-dressed who dare to become rude to the Congresspeople.
The road to socialism is not natural. It must be paved with the hard work of class envy, demonization of the successful, and obfuscation that each new massive spending program that will raise both taxes and deficits (that’s the point, after all, to create so much red ink that we must raise taxes and redefine what constitutes income) must be passed immediately, without delay, now-or-never to stave off Biblical hunger, plague, and flood.