The Whimper Of Our Dis-Continent
Like a good dog that fetches the newspaper on Sunday, my DVD player automatically serves its master the sexiest scene in moviedom: the carwash scene from “Cool Hand Luke”.
While that is a scene worth viewing on a daily basis, the most memorable scene is the fight between Newman and George Kennedy. In that scene, the much larger Kennedy beats Newman up. Every time Newman hits the ground, he gets back up. Kennedy begins to not only tire of the shellacking he gives Newman but begins to plead with Newman to stay down so he can end the beating. And Newman continues to rise for another felling blow.
The scene portrays the underdog, not in the Rocky sense of the underdog defeating the favorite, but as victor by perseverance. Kennedy actually quits the fight first when he sees his opponent will never quit.
In many ways this represents the U.S., not only in our relation to terrorists (a fight we will never quit), but in our relation to the rest of the world.
Those weary of the anti-American barrage from our Left, “Old” Europe and the U.N. prefer to accede to the demands of the ankle-biters. Victor Davis Hanson finds the world’s disdain a badge of honor. He canvasses our detractors and we learn that their esteem is not likely to ever be obtained no matter what we do. And maybe we should not want it either. As represented by the U.N. he writes:
At the U.N. it is said that a ruling hierarchy mistrusts the United States and that a culture of anti-Americanism has become endemic within the organization. No wonder — the Americans alone push for more facts about the Oil-for-Food scandal, question Kofi Annan's breaches of ethics, and want investigations about U.N. crimes in Africa. If we are mistrusted for caring about those thousands who are inhumanely treated by a supposedly humane organization, then why in the world should we wish to be liked by such a group?
Meanwhile, Hanson cannot stop himself from zinging European bureacrats:
Europeans sold Saddam terrible arms for oil well after the first Gulf War. Democratic Israel or Taiwan means nothing to them; indeed, democracy is increasingly becoming the barometer by which to judge European hostility. Cuba, China, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah — not all that bad; the United States, Taiwan, and Israel, not all that good. Personally, I'd rather live in a country that goes into an anguished national debate over pulling the plug on a lone woman than one that blissfully vacations on the beach oblivious to 15,000 elderly cooked to well done back in Paris.
While the Cool Hand Luke scene is uplifting, the actual self-inflicted demise of Europe is sickening.
James Lewis in The American Thinker discusses how the proposed EU Constitution, a massive tome that enumerates not the limited grants of power to government as in our Constitution , but what rights are allowed the citizens- the contra of the U.S. form of government. Some Europeans are waking from their catatonia and may vote it down. However, recognizing this, the Dutch are canceling its referendum, Blair has called for an immediate election and Germany is passing it without public voting. Lewis says that even without the EU Constitution, the government control is inculcated into the fabric of their economies.
In Europe the lethargic populace has ceded its decision-making to the ruling elite. The ruling elite gauges its minion’s desires to remain in power through a meager but steady flow of unearned benefits. The few producers game the system as best they can while pursuing an exit strategy. And the Muslim threat is ignored despite rampant violence.
Lewis explains that there are few voices in opposition to this encroachment of governments upon individual liberties. And the few voices are muted. Lewis says:
"...the EU simply does not have anything like the New Media that have sprung up in the United States in the last two decades. Government propaganda organs like the BBC are run by the elites, riding roughshod over popular opinion. The BBC “news” is just the ruling class talking to itself."
Unfortunately for the EU, England and Germany have largely allowed France to wield the greatest power within their group.
Charles Wyplosz, Professor of International Economics and Director of the International Centre for Money and Banking Studies at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, writes how even the French who recognise where they are heading cannot find the energy to challenge elites or change their course. He writes in RealClearPolitics that in France:
"...most voters, depressed by poor economic prospects and unnerved by high unemployment, are simply unwilling to take the risk. They do not understand the roots of their economic troubles and are nostalgic for better times. They mistakenly see the European Constitution as one more challenge, at a time when they want to be nursed and protected. Scared people rarely make wise choices. "
We hope the people of Europe borrow one nugget from our lowbrow U.S. culture. Maybe for a night they can skip the nuanced films they so adore and watch how will to win can survive all odds. Otherwise, we will continue to witness Europe's sad demise that we will be unable to undo. This is truly going out with a whimper.