Sunday, December 23, 2007

Explaining America

The typical American hayseedWhen I was in Denmark last spring, I noticed something unusual: Nobody was lecturing me.

One of the things an American gets used to in Europe is being lectured. I lived in England in my youth, during the Vietnam years, and I was lectured frequently by the English about the war. At various times I was also lectured by French, German, Dutch, and Belgian exchange students.

In the intervening years I have been lectured by Europeans visiting the USA; Germans seem especially fond of the pastime. For some reason it comes naturally to most Europeans: “Look, there’s an American! Let’s give him a lecture!” There’s something about an American that invites correction.

But the Danes were an exception. They seemed to have no problem taking an American as he is, without feeling the need to improve him.

What a refreshing change! Just one more thing to like about Denmark.

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I mention all this because one of the tasks this blog has taken on is to bridge the gap between Europe and the United States, in an attempt to find common ground against the Great Jihad. Many Americans have distorted views about Europe, and one of our missions is to shine some light on the situation in various European countries for an American audience.

Ignorance, however, runs in both directions. Many Europeans are ill-informed about the variety to be found in American culture, and also about what all Americans hold in common.

In a way, educating Europe about the USA is more difficult than vice versa, because most Europeans think they already understand America. They know our language, and they see so much of our country on television and in the movies — it gives them the illusion that they understand American culture, when what they really understand is American television culture. The real culture and the TV culture overlap somewhat, but they are by no means the same thing.

I tried to explain the nature of the problem in an email to a European reader:
- - - - - - - - -
Your view of America may be somewhat simplistic, just as most American views of Europe are.

American opinion on Europe can be divided up into four broad categories:

1. Profoundly ignorant and mostly indifferent. I’ll wager that this is the attitude of the vast majority of Americans. Europe is a quaint place that you sometimes visit on a vacation, kind of like Disney World, only colder. The opinion of people in this group could be summed up as: “Europe? Who gives a s**t?” This attitude can sometimes be vaguely antagonistic, especially towards Europeans who condescend to Americans, as many Europeans do.
2. Relatively educated, anti-European. People in this group say, “Europe is doomed. And they deserve it!” This is the Ralph Peters category. Other well-known Americans are supping from this little cesspool right now.
3. Educated and effete pro-European. This is the John Kerry model. Americans in this category love the EU. They identify with the European elites. They go skiing in Switzerland and sunbathing on the Riviera. They are Eurabia’s fellow travelers.
4. Not so effete pro-European. This is the category that many of the Americans showing up in recent GoV comments fall into. They have become well-informed enough to understand the general nature of what’s going on in Europe, and realize that they have a visceral sympathy for people whose traditional culture is being trashed. People who live in the Southwest or consider unlimited Mexican immigration to be a problem are likely to fall in this category. This is also the fastest-growing category.

There’s no hope for Categories #2 and #3.

My mission in this blog is to reach out and find people who can be pulled out of Category #1 and moved into Category #4.

I have been successful in this regard with quite a few of them; they write me emails and tell me that I have opened their eyes to what’s going on in Europe. They provide cause for optimism about America’s eventual response to the Islamization of Europe.

It would help, of course, if some Europeans were less condescending and snotty towards such Americans, but I doubt that’s likely to change; it has been that way for the forty-odd years I’ve been paying attention to such things.

The people in Category #1 (and #4) are the backbone of America, and they are ridiculed at least as much by Americans in Category #3 as they are by Europeans.

But they are my friends and neighbors, and I know who they are. Hundreds of thousands of people like them gave their lives in Europe in two world wars.

Someday, when I get more time, I will try to explain these Category #1 people. It’s a difficult job, because non-Americans (and even snobby elitist Americans) have a media stereotype of such folks that has to be unlearned before the truth can begin to sink in. I had to move to the Virginia countryside and get to know people on their own terms before I could fully understand this kind of American.

I’m convinced that America will be saved by them — they are in the majority, and yet they passively submit to all the crap that’s being shoveled on top of them by the media and their cultural superiors. When they stop being passive, as they inevitably will, everything will change.

They’re not politically correct, and kicking butt is just fine with them, even if the hindquarters being kicked belong to members of a Protected Ethnic Group.

Until I was in my late twenties I was a suburban American, which meant that I had the same ideas about the American heartland that a European might have. My concept of what went on in the Empty Quarter of the USA was based on television and the movies, but The Beverly Hillbillies and Deliverance do not provide a particularly good education about what America is like outside the great metropolitan areas.

So what do you expect to find out there in flyover country?

Hicks. Rubes. Hayseeds. Crackers. Bumpkins.

In a word, rednecks.

These are the average Americans, and you’ll have to take my word for it: you don’t learn the truth about them on television.

I had to move to the countryside to learn what it felt like to be stupid, and ignorant, and uninformed. The people here in rural Virginia were kind and patient with a city boy like me, bearing with my city-slicker ways until I learned the ropes.

I went go to church with them, and raised my child here, and became a Cub Scout leader, and voted in local elections. After twenty or twenty-five years away from the city, I started to get an idea about what the real America is all about. That’s what gives me my optimism about our future.

I’m a computer programmer, so when a computer plays a prominent role in the plot of a movie, I watch it with a critical eye. A movie computer invariably causes me to guffaw, point at the screen, and exclaim, “Look at that! That’s absurd! How stupid can you get?”

I presume that every profession reacts the same way to its media mirror. Lawyers and policeman must laugh at Law and Order. Doctors must laugh at E.R.

And ordinary Americans must find Hollywood rednecks and television country folk to be ludicrous. The media’s treatment of Christianity, for example, is ridiculous. With rare exceptions, the depiction of Christians on television and in the movies is stereotypical, derogatory, and insulting, and has nothing to do with real Christianity as experienced by the average American churchgoer.

Fortunately for everybody, none of this matters to most Americans. We’re used to being lectured and insulted by our betters; we simply take it in stride.

And when the situation turns nasty, as it invariably does — when the smoke rises over Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers fall — from among all these rubes and rednecks the rough men arise, ready to do violence on our behalf.

59 comments:

VinceP1974 said...

I do C# / SQL programming.

bernie said...

Off topic, Merry Christmas Baron and Dymphna.

TH72 said...

Nice post. I am a redneck who was educated in Europe. You hit the nail on the head. I saw plenty of Americans in Europe that embarrassed me, and America while they were there. I was also lectured by many Europeans about why America was not as good as Europe(yes the Germans like to lecture). We need to reach out to #1. With a lot of #4's and Europeans, we might can get things done.

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah GoV!

Zonka said...

One of the reasons you may find Danes less likely to try to educate Americans is that we probably are one of the most pro-american countries in Europe, and also that we usually don't judge people on where they come from but on what's coming out of their mouths. Contrary to what some of the Danes in group #3 tries to convince the rest of us of... See we have the same groups here just 's/European/American/g' although Euro-group #1 is rather small...

And Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

SamenoKami said...

I'm one of your redneck readers, with the blood of patriots and rebels flowing in my veins. GoV is a great site. I enjoy the civility of the wisdom passed along. I bought one of your GoV coffee cups. Keep up the good work.
Merry Christmas to you both.

Who Struck John said...

I dunno, Baron. As recently as 2003, you could have lumped me in #2 (the French government's stab in the back during the runup to the Iraq war really rankled badly). It was seeing how the average European commenter here acted that convinced me that there was still hope for Europe at the 11th hour. I think you're selling short some of the #2's; some of them are motivated by despair or cynicism rather than conviction.

no2liberals said...

A solid, life long #4 here, deep in the Heart of Texas. Just like our friend redneck texan.
My ancestors thought this country worth fighting for in the American Revolution, and my family answered the call every time it was needed. Freedom and Liberty were always explained to us growing up, as well as how to take care of ourselves. We learned early how to shoot, hunt, fish, clean and cook our kill, how to sharpen a knife, and how to start a fire. I guard my freedoms jealously, and am constantly disappointed by those that don't do the same.
I stand with Europeans that are willing to stand for themselves. I couldn't tell you how many idiot socialist Euro commenters I have encountered on the innernut, but am old enough and wise enough to know they don't speak for all European people.
I've had some try to lecture me, and one German in particular comes to mind. This was several years ago, here in Dallas, and we began talking about Kyoto, and he got angry and said America was being selfish by not signing the Treaty. I asked him why he thought that, when China and India were exempted from the accord. He froze, then said he didn't know why, but that America was just being selfish.
*sigh*
There are idiots no matter where you go, or in which country you live in or visit.
I was very fortunate to have lived in a small town of about 25,000 when growing up, and spent all of my holidays and summers on my grandparents farm in NW Louisiana.
It was later, after serving in the USAF and traveled the world a little, that I attended a large university in a fairly large city, and began living in urban areas for work, but I still yearn to be in the country. I would rather be walking in the woods with a good knife, a good gun, and a good dog any day, than hanging out in a city with all of the preening fools trying to impress each other.
I've known many wonderful people from Europe, over the years, some as expats, but most here on business. I've never had any difficulty in getting along with any of them, because just like me, they wanted to get along, and exchange ideas and develop understanding. With the exception of a few French women I met over the years, I've had generally positive personal interactions with the Europeans I've met. Now, I haven't been to Europe in a long time, with no plans to visit any time soon, but if I do, I certainly want to visit Denmark.
For any Europeans trying to understand a #4 Texan, it is important to learn of our culture, and what those of us that grew up in small towns learned young. To be a man, you had to ride a horse well, shoot straight, and be truthful in all things.

Steen said...

Thanks, Baron. Wonderful piece. I like the ill. - Klod Hans - wha´s he called in english ?

Merry Christmas to both of you from us all here in Denmark. What a year!
Steen

http://snaphanen.dk

Dark Horse said...

Baron, thank you.
There is (I think) a fifth category. Kind of category 2/4: relatively well-educated non-effete pro-European. It's possibly doomed, but salute Horatius as you pass.
On Rednecks, "Salt of the earth" was coined to describe the breed. I'm descended from lots of them, and very few on the west coast understand them. You can starve to death in a city, but it's much harder to do in a rural area. You might have to sweat for your supper, but you won't starve.

Alexis said...

Anti-Europeanism does have a long pedigree in America, including Alexander Hamilton’s isolationist industrialism and Thomas Jefferson’s hostility against European corporatism and hereditary elitism. Given how Hollywood is basically a European transplant, it is easy to see how anti-American stereotypes from Hollywood would be shrugged off by interior America while utterly believed by foreigners.

In the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, France’s Defense Minister said, “War is always the worst solution.” Really? So, was the liberation of France in 1944 a mistake? So, was America’s intervention in World War I a mistake? So, was France’s alliance with the United States during the American Revolution a mistake? The French government was essentially telling Americans that it would have been better if the United States had been defeated by the British Empire. Moreover, there is more than a little bit of suspicion against any Europeans who values Americans as cannon fodder in European wars yet cares nothing for helping America in its time of trouble. And that goes double for France.

Within the American interior, I think there is more than a little bit of resentment of the sacrifices America made during World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Sacrifices repaid with lectures on why we are supposedly inferior to Europeans.

It is annoying to read the writings of Charles de Gaulle, talking about how France won the Great War. As if the Russians, Italians, British, Belgians, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, Senegalese, Greeks, Romanians, Serbs, and Americans had nothing to do with it. (And I’m sure I left a lot of people out…)

Constructive criticism is a good idea, but European diplomacy must consist of something more than (1) bullying America, (2) doing everything possible to stop America from defending itself while providing no alternative ideas on how to fight the enemy, and (3) using diplomacy to ram Europe’s leftist political agendas down America’s collective throat. I detest such bullying especially if I happen to agree with European diplomats on a subject.

Does that mean I want Europe to fall to the enemy? Of course not. So long as there is hope against the Islamists and their quislings, let’s keep hope alive. As long as there are Europeans who are actually allies and criticize America honestly and constructively, we should stand by our allies. There is no point to needlessly antagonizing European political parties when they can be our friends. America needs friends and we must not insist that all of our friends be perfect. (This is why I support Israel despite its lack of perfection…) Just as gratuitous anti-Americanism leads Islamists to think they can win this war, gratuitous anti-Europeanism by certain American factions is also self-defeating and stupid.

Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/12/re-explaining-america.html

Holger said...

Merry Christmas everyone! Some good news... I live in Sweden and was listening to a radio talkshow this morning about religion. Of course there was an idiot woman who called in and spoke about how Islam and Christianity practically are the same thing and both of course based in love. - Nothing, out of the ordinary, right. HOWEVER, then another caller called in and truly lectured the talk show host about Islam and refuted all the previous arguments. It was fantastic moment and to hear him speak uninterrupted for probably ten minutes about why Muhammed and Islam is nothing like Christianity and how the root for islamic violence is based in the Quaran.
I was so happy to have heard this, because: 1) He wasn't cut off or censored. 2) It wasn't a professor but a private person who had such enourmous knowledge about the negatives of Islam and stood up and called in. Perhaps a GoV-reader?

You're doing a wonderful job!!! Thanks so much for not giving up on Europe.

Steen said...

Var det Ring P 1 ?

http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/p1/program/index.asp?programid=1120

Holger said...

I believe so. I don't have any working loudspeakers on my computer at the moment so I can't listen to the link. But yes, my dad and I stood with the biggest grins on our faces as the man spoke! - Best present this Christmas!

Grimmy said...

First, the important part:

Merry Christmas! to everyone.

Now, on topic.

I belong to category #2, more than less, as listed above.

I resent Europe as a place that Americans have had to go and suffer and die because the local yokels couldn't get their crap together.

I resent Europe as a source of never ending diplomatic and political backstabbing, undercutting, passive aggressive and generally supportive of whatever enemy comes at the US.

I resent Europe for being in a constant wobble and slide back into whatever socialist utopianistic idiocy has currently attempted to reinvent a neo-feudalism with a newly defined elite and a passive, submissive peasantry.

I resent Europe for being the source of steadily flowing mix of blood and philosophical feces for the last century.

I resent Europe, mostly, because the folk of that place always end up making their crap our problem.

Honestly, I'll tell you true. There is a part of me that looks forward to watching the cities of Europe burn.

But, there is also a part of me that is willing to stand, shield to shield, with spear leveled, along side whatever man and/or woman in that area that is willing to stand against our common enemy.

We deal with the alien invader first. Then we get back to glaring at each other with the evil eye.

Ad Triarios Redisse!

Semper Fi.

Holger said...

Hey Grimmy,
I'm Swedish and even I'm a number 2 to great extent. I resent the European political system and the indoctrinated masses. However, there's also many great things on this continent which must be defended, the Vatican along with many other historical places, the traditional cultures etc. which makes Europe into a highly vibrant place (in peace time). All this will be gone if we allow the Marxists in Brussels to import the "Islamic virus". We in Europe don't have any way of defending ourselves, we're being censored and mercilessly indoctrinated etc. which explains why we "can't get our shit together". The majority of people don't know there is a problem, or they actually believe the politicians will protect their interests. That's what 70 years of leftism does to a society.

SorenK said...

- “Look, there’s an American! Let’s give him a lecture!” -

hehe. Yes, sorry about that. I was a lecturer / correcter in my early twenties but then went to live in the US for 2 years (heartland USA - OHIO - classic Americana) and met so many good people with such a good, positive view on life that I was forced to re-examine my own prejudices.

That's not to say I didn't meet plenty of ignorants during that time (favourite example: 'You came from New Zealand? What part of Europe is that?') but I never got a lecturing.

The only annoying thing that did crop regularly was the belief that as a non-American I didn't know how to use a microwave oven (which were a new thing then). After about the 5th time I was given detailed intructions on how to use one I gave up trying to explain that we had them as well and would just nod in wonder and awe. It seemed easier.

Anyway, blah blah blah, I just wanted to contribute to this thread because I recognised my own 'journey' in my relations with the 'colonies' (hehe) within the article and the comments.

Fleiz Navidad a todos.

carpenter said...

God Jul!

Holger: The Swedish left, if you mean the Social Democrats, used to be, along with the rest of the establishment, a guardian of Swedish values and traditions back in the 50's and even the 60's. But suddenly, the leftist idiocy of 1968 emerged, and its remnants are today active in the social-democrats, even at top positions.
The term assimilation was a part of the immigrant adaption process until the early 70's, when it was changed to "integration", thanks to them. And as for today, there's a total consensus among the establishment (the "conservatives" included), that integration - not assimilation - is to be maintained, despite the enclaves in Malmö, Södertälje, Göteborg, Stockholm, Landskrona and elsewhere.
I wouldn't say 70 years of leftism. I'd rather say 40 years; roughly dated back to 1968.
And by the way; was someone of the halal-hippies of SR lectured on Islam by a listener? You HAVE TO provide a link to that!!

the doctor said...

For my sins I was a Brit of the really arrogant class who thought that an Englishman was God's own creation . Then I realised that we are no different to the rest of the Anglosphere , the are thick Americans and also thick Brits , there really are lots of thick Brits or we would not have a Labour government .
But are they thick , Brits or Yanks ,
or are they more concerned with living their daily lives ; putting food on the family table and paying the rent .
When visiting Chicago I found the people just the same as myself , honest , decent , good souls trying to get along , and I was treated well by all , no matter what ethnic group they were . Suffice it to say that I cannot wait to return .
May I wish you all a Happy Holiday and a super New Year .

ProFlandria said...

Baron,

That is a great analysis. Until about 15 years ago, when I was still European, I fell somewhere between #2 and #3 - relatively educated, pro-European. Continued exposure to my American environment, made me more neutral in my attitude towards Europe. Today, I consider myself mildly pro-Europe - in spite of Europe's tendency to engineer her own destruction I want her to survive, and I believe she can. I believe that what we do here can help in no small measure.

That tendency of (some) Europeans to lecture Americans is a truly annoying reality. Those same Europeans also tend to be the ones who constantly complain of American "arrogance" which, when you put them on the spot, just means that they feel Americans make them feel their own perceived inferiority by simply existing on the same planet.

Try this one on for "arrogance":

About 12 years ago I attended a King's Day reception at the Belgian Ambassador's residence. It is an annual event which showcases belgian beer and food, and there is always the possibility of meeting a visiting celebrity (Prince Laurent, The Mimister of Defense...). The invitee list includes Belgian expats and military personnel, as well as Americans with whom Embassy personnel has regular dealings (either culturally, economically etc.).

Imagine my astonishment, then, to overhear a junior Embassy staffer lecture a small group of Americans on how superior the French language is compared to the uncouth American version of English - which itself is bastard child of French and various Germanic tribal dialects. Remember, this Belgian (no points for guessing which side of the language barrier he hailed from) is telling his invited guests, in their own country, that he considers them inferior. I'm not stretching the point here; the disdain fairly dripped from every polished syllable.

His guests were visibly uncomfortable, and as I was standing close by one of them kept glancing my way (I was in uniform). I felt I had had quite enough of this elitist drivel so I wandered over and pointed out to my fellow Belgian that French was a language with rules so rigid and convoluted that it required administration by a special Academie Francaise to keep all the peasants in line; the beauty of English, by contrast, is that it continually evolves to reflect a changing world. It is also much richer in vocabulary because it draws from multiple linguistic strains. "Besides", I added, "doesn't French sound just a little too 'pretty' when spoken by men?" Surprisingly, that was the last time my wife and I were invited. Hmmmm.....

Holger,
"[...] there's also many great things on this continent which must be defended, the Vatican along with many other historical places, the traditional cultures etc. [...] All this will be gone if we allow the Marxists in Brussels to import the "Islamic virus".

I completely agree. I realize (some) Americans roll their eyes when Europeans, again and again, trot out past glories, but to have seen them is to understand their greatness. It does worry me though that many Europeans can expound at length on the architectural, artistic, or military significance of some artifact while at the same time being embarassed by the cultural underpinnings that made all those achievements possible.

If the current tide of "white guilt" syndrome in Europe is not reversed soon, I fear that in the long run the locals will bemoan the decline of their historic buildings and the disappearance of their art; they will shrug - and move on. I just sense this pervasive lack of will to be proud and stand up for those truly great ideas that have built the nations and peoples of Europe.

That being said, there is a small, but significant movement that has managed to tap into what survives of that sense of "belonging" in a society. That sense has become a hidden undercurrent, but its not gone yet. As long as that is true, and the pro-Western Civilization movement can translate electoral support into political success, there is hope.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all!

Baron Bodissey said...

Steen --

That particular illustration is supposedly Simple Simon, as in the old nursery rhyme:

Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair...

etc.

rohan said...

My ancestry, in order of percentages: Irish, German, French, Scottish. Obviously, I am of European stock. Still, I was a definite Category #2 before I started reading GoV. I am drfiting well into #4. The Europeans who comment on GoV give me hope. Besides, I realized my roots are from Europe. To lose that part of my heritage would be awful. Thinking about it, I guess what I really don't like about Europe is their governments, liberals, socialists, pacifists; which is the same thing I don't like about my own USA! So, GoV I like your goal of uniting the "rednecks of the USA and Europe".
You all write so much better than I do, but I hope I get my idea across.

no2liberals said...

Baron
I failed to wish you and Dymphna holiday greetings, as so many more gracious commenters have, in my post.
Allow me to compensate for my bad manners.
Merry Christmas!!

Robert said...

After visiting Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic this year, I realize that a lot of places in Europe are not at all anti-American and are much more sensible than Holland and France about immigration. Much as Europeans tend to lump all of America together, many Americans don't seem to recognize that some Europeans are just as proud of their culture as Americans - mostly - are. I also found it interesting that the places most likely to take a realistic attitude towards Islam were on the front lines of the Islamic offensive in the 1600s, if not actually occupied, as Bulgaria and Hungary were. The chances of the most popular birth name for boys being Mohammed in Sofia or Plovdiv are essentially zero for the next few hundred years.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

I assume that we can still despise the French without falling into #2.

Those backstabbing worms need to be slapped down hard until the beg, with bloody noses, for our help. Their behavior for the last 70 has been nothing but shameful cowardice, avarice and disloyalty to friends.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Baron and Dymphna from the Great White North.

GoV consistently provides a thoughtful insight into the oncoming world crisis, for which I am very grateful.

Keep up the good work.

Ed Mahmoud said...

The United States also has regional differences, that except for similar (not identical) language (variations of Americanized English), are as different as, say, the UK and France.

The effete Europhiles tend to concentrate in places like Massachusetts and Coastal California, and view the rubes in fly-over America with the same disdain some Europeans view Americans.

Of course, as mentioned, the impression of the 'fly over' Americans that Europeans get from Hollywood is a distorted one, with implications of subtle racism, or ignorance. The Sasha Baron Cohen movie 'Borat' reflected a European with a view of 'Red State' Americans as ignorant rubes, for example.


But there are differences between the US and Europe, best I can tell. Away from the coasts, most Americans are religious, patriotic and generally believe in hard work and capitalism. Much of Europe, at least enough to allow the EU to fester and grow, are post-Christian/secular, seem to favor a nanny state that encompasses socialism, and rewards multiculturalism over hard work and discipline.


Of course, there is almost enough population in our coastal states, to effectively control American electoral politics, and a victory by Hillary 'Stalin' Clinton might set the US on an EU path to a nanny state that believes an intellectual elite should make the decisions for the ignorant rubes in the country.

So, while I look down on Euro socialism and its appeasement instinct, I can't be too disdainful, as the US, with a few bad decisions, could wind up on the same path.

Ed Mahmoud said...

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...
I assume that we can still despise the French without falling into #2.

Those backstabbing worms need to be slapped down hard until the beg, with bloody noses, for our help. Their behavior for the last 70 has been nothing but shameful cowardice, avarice and disloyalty to friends.



I'm hoping Sarkozy is a step in the right direction.

gun-totin-wacko said...

I think the Euros look down on we Americans for 2 reasons: The first is that, in the immortal words of John Winger:

"We're not Watusi, we're not Spartans, we're Americans. With a capital "A", huh? And you know what that means? Do you? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts. But we're American mutts. And we've been kicking A** for 200 years".

That my friends, is My America.

The other thought is that the Euros resent us because of all we've done for them. My father (a native of Italy) always told me "feed an animal and he'll love you forever. Feed a man and he'll despise you. Because you have extra food and he's starving."

That, my friends is My Europe.

Best wishes to all,and dadgum it "MERRY CHRISTMAS". There. I said it. Sue me.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

Baron, I would put myself in category #4 with one GLARING difference. You imply that the influx of Mexicans into the U.S. is destroying American "culture" just as the influx of Muslims is destroying European "culture."

The difference is that American culture and society is set up to take in immigrants and assimilate them into Americans. It's one of the reasons for the strength of our nation, as the children and later descendants of immigrants rise in our society, make new products, provide new ideas, etc., as opposed to the backwaters of the U.S., such as Appalachia and the "Old" South, where lack of immigrants has correlated with economic stagnation and a cultural desert.

I recently read an article in the Economist which claims that one of the booming growth businesses in the U.S. is English language schools. Some might say this is a sign of too much immigration. I say it is a sign that immigrants don't want to keep separate - they want to assimilate and become Americans. And that includes Mexican-Americans. They come here to succeed, and you can't succeed in the U.S. without speaking fluent English and becoming an American.

spackle said...

"It does worry me though that many Europeans can expound at length on the architectural, artistic, or military significance of some artifact while at the same time being embarassed by the cultural underpinnings that made all those achievements possible."

Bingo!! Same here in the USA.

gun-totin-wacko said...

Gordon,

Nice to know somebody thinks the Mexican immigrants here are trying to assimilate. From what I've seen, even the ones that have been here a while don't bother.

Or maybe while they try to fit in, the leftards are trying to make us all assimilate with the Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

Hah, that's funny.

I'm a German living in New England. Germans lecture me about the US. US liberals lecture me about how great Europe is. I should get a new nick "Worst of Two Worlds".

Merry Christmas to all of you. I am proud to be among you! Every day! Baron and Dymphna, thak you for everything!

Paul said...

ProFlandria:

Very, very interesting comments indeed.

I can't resist responding to your account:

"Imagine my astonishment, then, to overhear a junior Embassy staffer lecture a small group of Americans on how superior the French language is compared to the uncouth American........"

Oh, yada, yada, yada.... You could have easily helped this swill-drenched French &^$%%### by offering him your flashlight, since he obviously had his head soooo far up his a***** that he could never have found his way out into the light of day.

What a great story.

I had foriegners for roommates in college. One was from Zaire. When he and his African/Caribbean buddies got together over at my place they would vigorously debate every subject under heaven at high volume and with great emotional intensity. But there was always a certain respect and allowance for others to express their views at high volume and emotional intensity as well. And we could all be friends. Often the dialogue was in the French language (which left me out)! That is something the arrogant French are incapable of pulling off. Not all French of course, but a lot of the arrogant loud mouth French yahoos... And to think official French efforts to exclude every language on signs but their precious French is doomed to failure... since they'll all be soon speaking Arabic.....

M. Simon said...

I'm a FORTHer myself.

whiskey_199 said...

Merry Christmas Baron.

While I don't follow Peters much, it's my understanding that he likes Europe and Europeans, but is pessimistic on the ability to prevent violence there due to the usual pattern of European statism and social isolation (something Machiavelli warned about).

I'd say LGF most accurately represents the anti-European attitude.

I like most of the nations of Europe. The French have many things to be proud of, and I hesitate to judge them too harshly considering the horrible amount of casualties they encountered in WWI that would have broken most other peoples, and their experience with modernity first.

The French for example, had lower birth rates and marriage rates after Napoleon than any other country as they fairly rapidly modernized. England was poorer longer, and so had larger birth rates, while Germany continued to have astonishing birth rates well into the 20th Century.

The French went from absolute (and rather inept) monarchy to some semblance of Republicanism fairly well, with some truly great achievements in art and architecture and music and literature. For Jules Verne alone the world is indebted. Remarkably, many Frenchmen became middle class people (ending violent communitarian revolts and dooming Marxism there). The French are among the most conservative people in Europe and are largely unashamed of being French or loving their country and it's traditions.

I like the French. So too the Italians, Spaniards, Danes, Bulgarians, and so on.

The Average Joe said...

It is interesting to look back and see what future was predicted in the past. Here's Rudyard Kipling's offering ("From Sea to Sea" 1889): "He (the American) will carry the English lungs above the Teuton feet that can walk forever; and he will wave long , thin, bony Yankee hands...from one end of the earth to the other. He'll be the finest writer, poet and dramatist, 'specially dramatist, that the world as it recollects itself has ever seen. By virtue of his Jew blood--just a little, little drop--he'll be a musician and a painter too...He will also be a complex and highly composite administrator. There is nothing known to man that he will not be, and his country will sway the world with one foot as a man tilts a see-saw plank!...You wait and see. Sixty million people, chiefly of English instincts, who are trained from birth to believe that nothing is impossible, don't slink through the centuries like Russian peasantry. They are bound to leave their mark somewhere and don't you forget it!"

I must confess my eyes grew a trifle misty as I typed this.

God bless America, God save Europe and a very Merry Christmas to all.

PapaBear said...

I think one reason why the European elites hate America so much, is because the most junior American Senator has more power to influence the world scene than the prime ministers of the average European countries, and that Steven King or Tom Clancy have more readers around the world than any French writer. The European elites don't like thinking they are irrelevant

Similarly, Europeans can't resist lecturing Americans, because deep down they realize that changing the opinion of an American voter has more influence on the world scene than writing a letter to their own member of Parliament

Europeans who want to understand more about America should listen to A Country Boy Can Survive, by Hank Williams

I R A Darth Aggie said...

For any Europeans trying to understand a #4 Texan

Whoa, easy there, no2liberals. Let's just start with explaining the typical American before explaining Texans.

kbarrett said...

Here is a good start towards 'splainin Texans ....

Aeneas said...

Baron. As an Englishman I would never lecture you. You hung out in my part of England and I am glad you did - Yorkshire is the flower of England so you got the best of us. You have done a great deal for us in Europe this year Baron and I thank you for it. One day we will be able to return the compelment. 2008 will be the year of the counter jihad, I am convinced of it. We will come together on both sides of the Altantic and achieve greatness. We have proved in 2007 that we can come together, in 2008 we will be victorious - it will be the year that we turn the tide on Islamism and restore the honour and prestige of Western civilization. The US and Europe, together, will achieve great things in 2008.

Baron and Dymphna, have a very merry Christmas - next year we will achieve great things together and build on the accomplishments of 2007. The rest of the readers of the Gates of Vienna will help make this happen and they will all be agents of history and the champions of our civilisation.

Aeneas

no2liberals said...

darth aggie
I don't know about typical Americans, only the kind that know how to Cowboy Up.

kbarrett
LOL!
That's a good'un. Of course, you will need to explain cosmolene to a typical European.
I had a Chinese SKS all gooped up, like those. It sure shoots straight now.

Anonymous said...

I always lecture myself, I am British and just gained US citizenship last year at a very moving ceremony. Even the Homeland security guy was in tears as he watched the ceremony. You should see me telling myself how bad it is to be an American, especially when i'm cleaning my Ruger P345, .45 cal.
I'm proud to be a US citizen yet deeply upset that the UK is falling to the far left. The USA is a great nation once you realise that the constitution is behind you, and the constitution, being the supreme law of the land, needs defending, by any means necessary.

Dennis Mahon said...

Merry Christmas, to one and all.

no2liberals said...

leon the pig farmer
Your comment on the U.S. constitution is an important distinction, and reminds me of a chat I had with a fella from the UK.
Despite the fact we disagreed on just about everything, starting with capital punishment and ending with personal defense, he wasn't unpleasant, and we had some excellent discussions. He made note of my fierce protection of, and adherence to, our constitution, and my repeated disdain for tyrants. He then said that when he served in the British Army, they swore an oath to the King, and that he still felt strongly about the oath he took. I explained to him that I served in the USAF, and that here, when one serves in the military, they swear an oath to the constitution. It is a completely different perspective.
Hope you like your Ruger. You might check out some of the aftermarket grips that Hogue or Pachmayr make. I always find the Ruger grips very uncomfortable. You certainly have chosen the preeminent round for combat and personal defense, though. The .45ACP round is unmatched for home defense. Not only is it a man stopper, it is a subsonic round and won't destroy your hearing if you have to fire it in a confined area, like a house or car.
You might look for some of this ammo, the next time there is a gun show in your area.

Steen said...

Holger: Jo, det er Ring P 1 d. 24 dec från minut 32:00 - hehe............


http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/p1/program/sandningsarkiv.asp?programID=1120

Holger said...

OK cool! How long did he speak for? You know, I was standing there by the radio and every second felt like a minute because I was anticipating him to be cut off. Now in retrospect I realize that maybe it wasn't ten minutes he spoke for. Hehe. Anyway, it was a great moment! Thanks for sharing the link!

laller said...

Holger

He only spoke for about 4 minutes I think. But since it's Sweden, I can understand your amazement.

laller said...

Merry Chrismas everyone.

I think most of you are going overboard with this "Why they hate us" and "Why we hate you" discussion.
It's not about envy, guilt or anything like that. It's very simple, it's about ideas/ideals. And as we all know, it's easier to "define" what ideas/ideals are NOT than what they ARE. The US is "everything" European ideas/ideals are not, and Europe(atleast Western Europe) is "everything" American ideas/ideals are not. That's all there is to the conflict, really: We look at eachother, and we don't like what we see, as we believe we are looking at the worst part of ourselves(I am ofcourse generalizing slightly, as many Europeans would prefer American ideas/ideals and many Americans would prefer European ideas/ideals).

I'm a leftist myself, so naturally I detest all this talk about the "nanny" state and blaiming the "leftards" for all the ills of Europe. It's easy to blame those, who you disagree with, but let's not forget it was the right and not the left that initiated muslim immigration to Europe(In Denmark it is once again the right, who wants to open the gates, while the left opposes it). Personally, I blame "humanists" for "all the ills of Europe". "Humanists", by the way, can be found in almost equal measure on both sides of the political spectrum.
On a different note, I love seeing a European country(my very own Denmark) being named the happiest country on earth time and time again, and I love the fact that the best country to live "the American dream" is not the US but a European country(again, it's my very own Denmark).

I'll end by wishing you all a merry christmas once more.

Zonka said...

Laller,
You must definitely be living in your very own Denmark! It's not a Denmark I recognize, we don't have any right-wing parties, we have a communist party and various shades of Social-Democrats... All subscribing to the welfare state. I wish there were a real right-wing alternative in Denmark, but there really isn't..

laller said...

Zonka,

What is it you don't recognize? Is it just that there are no right-wing parties? Come on, you really think Venstre and Conservative aren't right-wing parties? You really think they aren't interested in lowering taxes, increasing privatization, creating a more "efficient" market etc.? Why you think we're continually bombarded with "we need to lower taxes", "we need to save on welfare if we want to have a welfare state in the future" etc.? They know they'd be kicked out of office in 2 seconds if they went too far, so instead they're trying to change our mindset in order for us to accept those "needed" changes. And it appears to be working. You really aren't paying attention if you can't see what's happening. But perhaps you prefer idealistic right-wing parties? The kind that sticks to its libertarian values and ideas and has no chance of gaining power? If you are a "true/real" right-winger, you should get down on your knees and thank the current "social-democrats"(as you call them) for knowing how to effect change.

P.S.
Why don't you get involved with Liberalisterne(liberalisterne.dk)? I bet they're more to your liking. Just don't be surprised when they don't get many votes(if they'll even be elligible to run) in the next election, or the one after that, or the one after that...

ChrisLA said...

Merry Christmas to all!

The Baron kicked off a worthy discussion of the fertile ground in America's heartland for the defense of our values and way of life from the Great Jihad. The key is knowledge, but you can't assimilate knowledge without some basic interest in the subject. Sadly, it will probably take some more terrorist calamaties for those red necks to turn in the right direction.

As one who grew up on the west coast and who has traveled extensively, the mindset of the heartland was driven home to me quite dramatically a few years ago when my wife and I took a liesurely tour across the U.S. in an RV. To keep up with the news during our two month adventure, we would buy Time and Newsweek. Granted, these are not particularly outstanding publications, but at least they cover the basics. While we had no problem finding Time and Newsweek just about anywhere on the two coasts, they were virtually unknown in grocery or big box stores or hopelessly out of date in bookstores in middle America. I can remember asking for Newsweek at a Walmart, and the clerk didn't even know what kind of product it was -- a floor cleaner or toilet tissue, perhaps. There is much work to be done in educating the heartland.

The other troubling insight is gained by comparing the content any of the major network news broadcasts with BBC Worldnews on PBS. While the networks mainly cover health scares and sensational feature stories, the BBC actually gives viewers a round-up of major NEWS events around the world. It would be fascinating to see a profile of BBC viewership or Time/Newsweek subscribership across our nation.

Hopefully, GoV and other informative websites will reach enough people in our heartland that people will sit up and take notice. That will be a start.

Keep up the good work.

Zonka said...

Laller,
No Venstre and Conservative are not right-wing parties anymore, they have crossed over the line a long time ago and currently they are more left-wing that the actual social-democrats. In American terms they we're left-wing conservatives to begin with and drifted over to become centrist democrats and didn't stop there.

And yes I have no illusion about them actually lowering the taxes or privatizing (there were an even higher degree of privatization under the Social-democrat government than under the current government!) All the rest is an illusion, they are 110% committed to keeping the welfare system. And if you think otherwise you're seriously deluded by the opposition's propaganda.

But you're right I want an idealistic right-wing party, but not a libertarian party, although such a party (like Liberalisterne) would be welcome over the ones available at the moment. But what I would really like to see is a real right-wing party, that's not just right-wing in the economical terms, but also right-wing on values... To begin to give you an idea take the best of “Classical Liberalism” and mix it with a strong national conservatism. Like mixing the conservatism of Dansk Folkeparti with the economical liberalism of Liberalisterne.

But I give you that you're right in recognizing the falsehood of Venstre and Conservatives, except that we see it from different sides, I see it as betrayal of their constituents that actually wanted a more right-wing policy, and got a social-democrat policy. And notice that even the most enthusiastic politician that talks about tax-breaks are talking about 40-50% tax on income and compensating the tax-loss with other kind of taxation (such as green-tax, road-pricing, commissions, fees, etc.) -- Not a genuine tax-break, since they are committed to keeping the welfare system, and as such cannot lower the taxation, only call it other names, as they need the revenue.

Furthermore, I don't support any party as such, I review their politics all the time and support the ones that reflects my own views opinions the best, regardless of their popularity. And I have no intention of bowing down to the current government -- I disdain them for being traitors, they have sold out not only ideologically (getting many votes because their core constituents have no other parties to vote for) but they have also sold out the country (with the signing of the Lisbon Treaty).

eatyourbeans said...

Maybe it's just one little swallow, maybe again it's summer approaching, but here in the MidWest there was a flood of Christmas on the radio; in previous years you had to go to the shopping malls if you wanted to hear Carols in public. And people are saying "Merry Christmas" again. So maybe the giant is finally waking.

So, Merry Christmas to all you at GoV. Keep the faith and...Santiago y cierra Espana!

Mr. Discretion said...

Hmm,

So is the goal of GOV "Strengthening the Trans-Atlantic Redneck Alliance"?

Sounds kind of good.

Passionate Conservative said...

Euros lecturing me about America. That's a good way to get traumatic dental extraction.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

You don't know traumatic dental extraction until you've got a badly managed socialised healthcare system...

Zenster said...

traumatic dental extraction

That sounds like an alternative treatment to parking lot therapy.

bottehond said...

My congratulations, Baron. You have pinpointed a very important phase in the international counter- islamization that needs to be worked out. It is, in my opinion, exactly the differences between europeans and americans that are causing turmoil at the moment. I admire your effort to build bridges. I would have never thought differences between us could be as significant as they appear to be. Some might dig a trench and stay in there, you have actually understood these issues and are starting to work on them. I thank you for it and feel every concerned islam- watchers on either side of the ocean should be grateful and pleased with your efforts.