Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Lesson of Europe's Fading Fantasy

Europeans are finding the debts from their decades of social welfare states are coming due, according to this NYT article.
Across Western Europe, the "lifestyle superpower," the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.

This is a timely lesson as the struggle of ideas is reaching a critical point in this country.
This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country's future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise -- limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.

Note: I don't agree with the assertion that the other cultural struggles, particularly over abortion, are passe. The prolife movement is growing stronger than ever. But life and liberty are intertwined and, getting past the first couple of sentences, the author is spot on in pointing out the clash of world views of free enterprise v. statism as a fundamental cultural issue.

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