RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Thu 28 Nov 2002 - 13:42:25 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: Why Europe is so Contrary"

            Sorry, for contributing rather indescriminantly lately, I'm still wading through essays, and I'm afraid I've had to skip something like 500 odd mails to get up to speed. So apologies to everyone, especially those who wrote incisive demolitions of my last comments, and apologies if any of comments were judged unfair (marking leaves me very grumpy, mainly as few students seem to have the level of interest and opinion that this list has, at least for the stuff I've been teaching this semester).

            <The idea that the policy differences between the US and Europe can be
    > explained (or explained away) by appealing to a religious domination of
    > the US by the Christian fundies seems to be a runaway meme in
    > Europe, especially for those who have never lived in the US and thus
    > do not know how fallacious such an idea is.>
            I don't think the underlying memeset behind American policy is a religious one, and I don't think many people in Europe do either (how could those in places like Italy, Spain or Belgium seriously do so when religion is such a major part of their own political systems?), the underlying memeset is a political ideology, capitalism.

            <Perhaps losing 3000 people in 9/11 woke the US up to the realities of the situation more than
    > it did the still-slumbering euros.>
            There's nothing slumbering about those European nations who have since the end of WWII persistently suffered from terrorism (e.g. UK, Spain, Germany, Italy), at various times. Indeed it is the reality of the problems of trying to fight terrorism as if it were a conventional kind of war that Europeans are all too aware of that lies behind caution over the consequences of the inevitable war in Iraq that approaches.

            <Or, quite possibly, they are frightened and intimidated by their own indigenous Radical Muslim populations>

            When those populations are in the millions, suffer from racial and religious abuse from "native" populations perhaps leading some to embrace radical islam, then that fear may be well placed. When there are islamic race riots in american cities as there have been in the UK, then you can criticise.
            <into refusing to stand by a beleaguered friend who has saved them
    > more than once in the past, and at great cost.>
            Well, the isolationism of the USA in WWI and WWII is well known- if you'd joined in earlier who knows how many lives might have been saved in both. And in case you hadn't noticed, European governments through Nato and the UN are backing the USA, having had their arms twisted (no doubt through backstairs dealing over economic issues).

            <There is indeed the possibility that European countries are being terroristically blackmailed
    > into their positions by the subtextual threat of massive violence from
    > their much larger Radical Muslim populations.>
    Well, perhaps, but it could also be that european governments want to regard the views and attitudes of all of the people in their multi-ethnic communities. It would be foolish to do otherwise, although plenty of nations have done this in the past and continue to do so...

            <Thus it would be the euros' foreign policy, and not that of the US, which might be in greater
    > thrall to a militant religious minority, and be prejudiced as a result.>
            I think the claim was about a militant religious_majority_in the USA, but as I said I don't really agree with that.

            <But there are more geopolitical reasons, too. Read the following essay
    > to inform yourself regarding some of them.
            BTW, how's your PhD coming along Joe? You doing any reading relating to that?


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