Re: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu 28 Nov 2002 - 00:51:35 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Why Europe is so Contrary"

    >Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 21:43:55 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > > Kenneth might not realize that we're supposed to have a separation of
    > > and state over here. The religious right may not like that idea very
    > > but so be it. I have my own agnostic reservations about "one nation
    > > God" or "in God we trust", but don't lose any sleep over it. If Pat
    > > Robertson or any of his ilk ever becomes president, that's when I start
    > > worrying.
    >Scott, Jon,
    >My point along was, has been, is and will be that underneath the US, and
    >I suspect in an equal sense underneath Europe a religious bias is running
    >free. But IMO, the one underneath the US is stronger, more active so to
    >speak. Memetic like, the foreign policy of the US is IMO based within
    >that religious thought.
    > I just want to see which kind of memeset is running underneath the US
    >and how and in what way that opposites the set of Europe and thus how
    >and why Europe is so contrary.
    >It may be that there is a supposed separation of church and politics in the
    >US, and again I suspect in an equal sense in Europe ( although that prooves
    >in many cases not to be), but I think, call it a gut feeling, that religion
    >the American constitution is intertwined in such ways that the tokens of
    >belief always are counted in_ the one can 't get around without the other
    >so the speak, where IMO, in Europe such things are gone.
    >In cases of abortion of euthanisia still religion plays its markers but
    >came finally through.
    >There is a sense of ' belief' call it religion if you like in the US, call
    >selfesteem, that ain 't be found in Europe.
    >And IMO, and that is what I tried to explain to Joe, is the difference
    >in approach and why we, Europe is so contrary.
    >There is a difference of ' belief ', and still IMO that belief is biased
    >on a real religious ground.
    >IIRC, the US, as the plural, was it William James ?, correct me if I am
    >wrong, is biased on Lamarckism for its politics or something, have to
    >check it.....
    >And Lamarckism stands for " creation ", and if this might be true, IMO,
    >the foreign polticy of the US is prejudiced.....
    I'd say the greatest biasing factor for Europe is the number of different culutures and languages that influence policy making and world view. The various European cultures have been fighting and dominating each other for milliniums now. Most of the protestant church groups sprang up in opposition to Catholicism in Europe first and than spread to parts of the U.S. The U.S. assimilated these various groups relatively peacefully while Europe fought over them and hundreds of thousands of people died over them. Our religious debates were downright gentlemanly by comparison.

    The result in Europe has been large groups of people with strong opinions who are willing to die for what they believe in. Americans, on the other hand, are willing to die for what we believe in as a nation but seldom feel that way about individual faiths. We don't have members of one faith trying to domainate members of another faith for religious reasons. Members of one faith may look down on members of another faith but we don't have religious wars about it. At least, we didn't until the Muslims came.

    America, with its mere 200 years of assimilation fighting for such beliefs as the idea that sheep ruin the land for cattle and that the only good indian is a dead indian. We also believe that any man has the potential to become president of the U.S. and such men as Bill Clinton, Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy seemed to prove the point. They said Kennedy would never become president because he was a Catholic. But we didn't have to fight a civil war for him to prove it. In Europe, Protestants, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox groups are still fighting to the death in some places. Such divisions make for strong opinions about the memes that make one religion different from another and one group's concept of what is right and wrong compared to another.

    The advent of radio, television, and the movies have made the U.S. relatively homogenous by comparison. We all picked up pretty much the same values from media that differed little from one place to another. I recall an old "Beyond the Fringe" skit in which a Brit is comparing American political parties and says In America they have the Democrats who are similar to the British Liberal party and the Republicans who are like the British Liberal party. Despite the fact that we have so many different nationalities and faiths in the U.S. the basic ideas about government and foreign policy are pretty much the same across the land. Instead of fighting about which religion should be in control, we fight about economic policy. That seems much more important to the average American than religion.

    Bill Clinton beat George Bush Sr. with the simple slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." Gore may break it out again when the Iraq crisis is over and Bush Jr. no longer has a war to raise his popularity and rally the citizenry around him. Iraq didn't carry over for his father and I don't think it will carry over with him. The Democrats will be telling the country to compare the ten years of prosperity under Clinton/Gore and recession we are undergoing under Bush. Unless Bush can keep the war going like Nixon did, I think he's already burned his bridges to the electorate. When Gore (or whoever) starts asking the perennial question: "How well off do you feel now compared to how you felt under Clinton/Gore?" the Democrats will come roaring back and the rallying cry will be that the Republicans stole the election last time and look at the mess we're in now.



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