Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Of Reasons And Rationales: Explaining The EU Elections

I ran across an interesting op-ed piece from the German publication, Der Spiegel. The second paragraph resonates loud and clear:

There is always a certain amount of risk associated with any election. It is a truth recognized by dictators around the world -- leading them to prefer predetermined results. In the last elections for the North Korean "parliament," for example, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland got 100 percent of the vote and all 687 seats. It was a result that was difficult to misinterpret -- and met the expectations of those involved.

One does not need to read any further to know that the EU elections have yielded a certain level of surprise, among the world's population. Europe has spent the last eight years criticizing the US, for its policies set forth by the Bush Administration. This means that anything economic was ridiculed as favoring the privileged rich; anything related to foreign policy was the subject of some extreme disdain, if not outright scorn. There was this overt display of worry about American imperialism and we heard about it almost daily.

So now comes Obama, who is everything the European intelligentsia could ask and hope for. Finally, here comes a man who understands both the politics and culture, of European-style socialism. Now we have someone that can talk the language of social democrats all over the continent, right?

But wait. Not wanting to be confused with someplace that appears to be in lockstep with America, maybe Europe has had a change of heart?

Certainly there is a shock factor in these results, for some. But I am not surprised at them and frankly, I am having some trouble believing those who live in Europe are as shocked as many would have us believe.

Maybe, just maybe, many Euros have come to a stark realization in the process that has been playing out before them. Maybe they are beginning to see that the practice of allowing immigrants to come into their country and brazenly dictate to the indigenous people the terms of their residency is not the kind of world, they want to create for themselves and their families. Maybe, many are just getting to the point where they are not comfortable with this ulterior objective of subtly transforming Western Civilization into a Middle Eastern caliphate, subjected to whoever the big Muslim Kahuna happens to be at the time..

Note the further prose from the piece:

The European shift to the right, which is being decried across the continent, isn't one. Rather, it is a signal for a return to reality. The established centrist parties -- in Germany, in the Netherlands, in Sweden, Austria and elsewhere -- are busy with crisis management, with the nationalization of ailing banks and bankrupt companies. They are neither able nor willing to attend to other problems.

They aren't thinking about the consequences of immigration, about the loss of cultural identity that many people with "non-immigrant backgrounds" sense -- people who do not want to be labeled as xenophobes, right-wing extremists or neo-Nazis as a result. This omission benefits so-called "populists" like Geert Wilders, who are not afraid to tackle politically incorrect issues and provide answers to questions that nobody else wants to pose.


Europeans are not stupid. They are human and subject to the same weaknesses and frailties the rest of us are. But they are not going to be fooled forever. They have eyes, they have ears, they have minds which can assimilate and analyze data objectively.

They
were the Enlightment and Renaissance. They were the leaders of the world in almost everything at one time during history, and for good reasons. I cannot imagine they will allow outsiders to take away their Plato, their Monet, or their Bach. It's just not going to happen. But you can be sure, there will be some who will downplay and demonize the results of this election.

Xenophobia, will be the cause listed on many a blog and mainstream European media agency. Fascism and Nazism will be words frequently tossed around over the next few weeks, as well. What they are not taking into account is fairly simple and not hard to understand, if one has the slightest understanding of the basic fundamentals in the discipline of political science. Like the article says, there is no major shift. It's merely an awakening back to common sense on the part of some, at least enough to swing an election away from apologists and pacifiers.

Another fallacy that will surface in this is the tendency to believe that this signals a return to some pretty bad times. It is a fair assessment that there is a growing sense of nationalism beginning to reappear, or in this case continentalism. The problem with this is how it's interpreted. To say that all nationalism is fascism is nonsense. Not all nationalism is fascism, neither is all fascism, Nazism.

Another fallacy I have heard in the aftermath of the election is that Europe is tired of its socialist policies and it wants to reverse itself. In my lifetime, Europeans have always embraced tax and spend politics. After WWII, it was necessary in order to rebuild the continent into the modern world. As long as the bulk of the populace sees some bang for their euro, they aren't likely to change their approach anytime soon. But they may spurn a continued trend in that direction, or might be willing to reject more of the same. I know the word on the streets in many European nations is that bailouts are not a good thing.

Granted, it's never this simple to analyze the cause of any effect. There is no one reason anything happens in politics. Another rationale was brought up in the article:

The "stupid" voters have recognized that they are supporting a parliament whose primary task is not to oversee the EU's executive arm but to take care of politicians who their parties want to reward for their loyal support. Those who, for whatever reasons, have failed at home, or who need to take a time-out from national politics, get sent to Brussels.

It goes on to cite some examples. But the idea that the EU is essentially meaningless is bound to come up in the course of the explanation. It is one excuse that will be stated and repeated, again and again. But in the bigger scheme of things, the amount of meaning one side chooses for an entity (such as the EU) will depend on whom you talk to at a given point in time.

If a side that has lost must come up with reasons for their loss, it is easier to downplay the entity as meaningless, than to address the reasons behind the failure. If the side that has won is asked the reasons for their victory, they have the luxury of saying it was their message, their ideas, and their worldview that drew the people to them. As a result, the entity becomes extremely important to them.

But in this case, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Just as Europe is split ideologically, so are the people's opinions of the importance of the EU. True nationalists are not too keen on the idea. Many of those people are in the minority right now. More and more Euros are becoming more continentalist and that means the EU will carry more responsibility in the future. It also means that for the purposes of the immigration issue, nationalists and continentalists will find themselves on the same side of the coin.

Another factor in this particular area is Euros may be coming to a realization, the USA is becoming weaker, something many of them wanted earlier in the decade. Obama is not particularly wowing the European leadership right now. Not only is he snubbing them, he is failing miserably to impress them. Many may be showing up for rallies and speeches, many may want to get a glimpse of him for hostorical reasons, and a select few may even think he is the best thing since 24 hour shopping. But under it all, there is some real apprehension.

They see massive deficit spending unlike any other era before. They see a foreign policy weakness, unlike any other seen in American history.

Many alive today, remember the Jimmy Carter days and know that the malaise created by him was felt hard in Europe. I know, I was there.

The dollar's value shrunk so much so fast during the reign of the Peanut Man, he was forced to buy back the dollars that Germany held, to keep the dollar afloat. He may have done the same with other currencies, I don't remember. But with the German Mark being the backbone of the European economy at the time, there was no other choice but to act, there.

If that wasn't enough, Carter's handling of the Iranian crisis was not impressive either. The botched rescue mission and the generalized state of inaction, didn't exactly reassure Europeans of American ability to assist them, should the Soviets decide to send up the balloon. These are things many of Europeans my age may very well remember clearly. These are things that many of MY countrymen have surely forgotten.

Obama should remind us all of those days. It's like deja vu, all over again.


27 comments:

Greg said...

While you are correct that the election of so-called "ultra nationalists" as MEP's isn't necessarily a signal of movement to the right, I think you are wrong to downplay the fascist/racist angle. The BNP is openly racist/anti-semitic/fascist. So is the Dutch Vlaams Belang, the French National Front and Austria’s Freedom Party. We shouldn't exaggerate their importance, either, but it is striking that Holocaust-denying, openly racist candidates can obtain seats in the European Parliament. It indicates a sizable minority of Europeans who are clearly xenophopic and racist. Many of these voters are probably still "socialists." You can be a raving lunatic racist and still be a socialist - look at Hitler.

But, I do agree that, just as Obama's election wasn't necessarily an endorsement of his race-centric, government-knows-best, America sucks attitude, the recent European election is less about adoption of far-right policies, and more of a rejection of leftist parties.

LASunsett said...

//...it is striking that Holocaust-denying, openly racist candidates can obtain seats in the European Parliament.//

To a great degree it is striking.

But yet, it comes as no surprise that many who are not happy about Muslims exerting their influence (through their unreasonable demands) are the ones who are also holocaust deniers.

What the centrist parties need to do is, recognize the need to address the issues that are forcing some people to vote for people they would not otherwise vote for. People who become fed up with the Muslim issue may find themselves with one choice when voting, and sadly this would be the parties you call into question.

I guess the key is, the center needs to shed the left and look at some of these hot-button issues and shift their positions more. at least in the area of immigration.

Or, the fascist elements will be elected by default.

Mustang said...

Honestly, I think this statement, “Finally, here comes a man who understands both the politics and culture, of European-style socialism,” is a leap in logic. Øbama may well understand socialism as the kindly old communist down the street taught it to him, and he may well understand Marx, Alinsky, and Chomsky … but I’m not sure that our president understands much at all about European politics. Unless, of course, you intended your statement as sarcasm and I missed it.

Z said...

LA, this is one of the best overviews I've seen , but maybe it's because it's the only one I've agreed with on almost every point.
I, like you, have lived in Europe...for about 6 years total...four, in one stretch. We've been there, we see it better, in my opinion.
What we know is what the people have said,what we have seen with our own eyes, not what our media says they're saying or doing.(people in this country STILL are being told Germany's healthcare is free, for example)

Greg's comments hold some water but they're dripping with something I greatly fear: Those groups don't INVITE the supremacist, anti-semitic creeps...one can hardly avoid their showing up at rallies and spoiling it for those who are nothing LIKE that. They do hold in common a desire to retake their countries, who can blame that? But, suddenly, if one's FOR keeping their country as it was, for not wanting to pay through the nose for illegals (and oh, brother, DO they), for wanting to retain some of the beauty of each country's specialness, one is a bigot and racist. That's got to stop, but the politically correct left fans those fires as bigoted and frightening, not even seeing their peril, and ours, for having done so.
Nobody in those groups is against LEGAL immigration of people desirous of fitting in to the host country's culture!

The minute a country says "You know, we're not so happy to be hosting all these illegals who won't work but are living off of us and refusing to learn our language, and forcing their culture on ours, etc.", HITLER's name is invoked. If that continues, Europe will get NOWHERE...and certainly this latest election deserves whatever support we can give them....Americans need to hear that the HUGE majority of the people who voted in the recent EU election are good, peace loving people who want their country back, who don't hate other nationalities just for the sake of hate.

If one considers BNP, the FNF, etc. as representative of anyone thinking they'd like their country back, we're in trouble.
The huge number of people who voted in the EU elections shows that many GOOD people are tiring of the islamic strangulation of everything they hold near and dear.
This is new in Europe..the people are pushing BACK....as more and more people find the nerve and strength to SPEAK OUT, the fringe groups will not be so noticeable...I really believe that.
Europe doesn't NEED a leftist media concentrating on the fringe among them and humiliating them back into their corners, they need confidence so more and more will come up with ideas of how to cope better with the problems.
Because, let's not forget; we are facing something like that here, too.
Sorry, I am very passionate on the subject and wrote too much..and i've got about 3 more hours of stuff I could have said (lucky you I stopped!) :-)

Mustang said...

My friend AOW is fond of saying that the camel’s nose is already inside the tent. I thought of this when I read, “I cannot imagine they will allow outsiders to take away their Plato, their Monet, or their Bach. It's just not going to happen.” As with our own country, assuming that the good folks now ensconced in Flint Michigan begin to exhibit radical behaviors, how does any society deal with a situation where millions of “foreigners” are actually bona fide citizens of ours, or any European nation, by right of birth? Do you simply round everyone up who looks different and escort them out of the country? Is it possible to “exile” those who the courts determine as “trouble makers?” My point is, the only possible solution to ‘this problem’ appears radical. Which country will take the first step of removing ‘natural citizens’ of foreign origin?

Mustang said...

We Americans may disagree with our European cousins on several aspects of the European Union. But we cannot say that European cooperation has not been beneficial to the European people, nor even that it has hindered, more than helped, to assure a vibrant European economy. On the other hand, we may really be talking about extremes. At what point does socialism “go too far?” Now of course, from my own point of view, a tax rate approaching 60% is way beyond “too far.” The argument, however, begs the age-old economic question, “What must I give up in order to have X, or Y, or Z?” It is difficult to fault the basic logic of a worker keeping 40% of his income in exchange for “free” services, and “no cost” access to university for his children. On the other hand, a person who is never sick, or has no children, or whose children have no interest at all in attending university may wonder, “How do my contributions to the system actually improve my life?” A less charitable view could be, “Why am I paying for some Muslim’s high salary?”

Z said...

Mustang, I read that line as LA's sarcasm, but I could be wrong..?

And, regarding taxes? they are almost 60%..maybe more!
But, I'll tell you what...those French and Germans and Italians eat out more, vacation more, and live so beautifully, I've never quite understood HOW! Maybe it's that they know their retirement's pretty well covered through company pensions, the State, etc., and of course, their healthcare is covered even while the taxes are so high because of it, but.....it's a wonder to me, always has been. It can't be that they don't save because we have business colleagues who live very beautifully and they can't do that on a pension.

Mustang said...

As you know, I’ve never been to Europe; what I know comes from reading histories, and each of these always carries with it the author’s own biases. I have spoken to Europeans, of course, and it is always interesting to learn their point of view. But these are always individual opinions, and hardly explain “group behaviors.” That said, I wonder about the effects of “strong American leadership,” as demonstrated during the Reagan and the Bush presidencies. Could aggressive US policies undermine European attitudes about their place in global politics? For example, you may recall that hardly anyone in Europe wanted to become involved in the Balkans. For a long time Europeans may have thought that if the United States intended to “take the reigns,” then there was no reason for European involvement. Eventually, NATO did assume an important Balkan role (not that it will produce any long-term benefits to the region). The point is, however, if the Americans won’t do “it,” then the Europeans “must.” This might be a good thing, if we seek to redefine “spheres of influence” consistent with the old (pre-American) political models.

Z said...

Mustang, a big part of "hate America" (which our media likes to play on) from Europe is humiliation; THEY know what America's done for them, only too well. And, they feel a little ashamed, believe me.
With the 'COWBOY" Bush, they, again, got a dose of "We're doing what YOu should have done long ago" When "Oil for Food" came out (whatever HAPPENED with that, by the way? and when IS Chirac going to be taken to court?), that sealed the deal. The French said their version of HOLY SHI.. and hated US. The Germans hunkered down (not QUITE as disdainful as the French...who I love, by the way, my 4 years in Paris were THE best in my whole and entire LIFE, there, I've said that on an American blog...YIKES, HOLD YOUR FIRE! I love AMERICA FIRST!)
This is part of why Europe "hates us":
Remember what they say when you loan someone money, they'll turn on you if they can't pay you back? Ya.

It's MY experience that Europeans love to attack America, it makes them feel good; and they do NOTHING but whine about our culture and then try to emulate us at every single turn!! Jeans, chewing gum, McDonald's, Burger King, rock music, ENGLISH speaking...ya, they just hate our guts. (not) Say anything to a Frenchman with which they agree and you get "OKAY" back...not "bien sur!"

Begrudging RESPECT is what they have..oops HAD. Until THE ONE went to CAMPAIGN in a country whose inhabitants can't VOTE for him. Imagine? The press in Germany was saying "WHAT? Great..next time, we'll send OUR candidate to the Statue of Liberty!" Ever hear that? NO, I didn't think so. WE DID.

By the way, I had the pleasure of sitting next to General Willman, German's head of the army at the time, at a dinner party celebrating a new book on the German Resistance (which was larger than the French, by the way)...it was SO moving to hear how German soldiers felt going outside their borders FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE WWII to fight a war...Kosovo. Mr. Z sat next to the head of ALL Germany's armed forces today. but I digress (what ELSE is new!?)

next comment this big will come with an illustration, LA, and we'll just call it Z's Newest Post on LA's BLOG! (Sorry!)

LASunsett said...

//Unless, of course, you intended your statement as sarcasm and I missed it.//

Now, how long have you known me? You missed it by a mile.

LASunsett said...

Z, you make some good points. Having lived there and seen the continent first hand, you and I are in a position to understand the minds of Europeans a little deeper than those who have not.

But alas, I have not lived there for many years now and I think much has changed since then. Maybe Rocket and/or Amerloque will find time to weigh in, if or when they get a moment. Europe is not a monolithic entity and their individual perspectives may shed more light on the subject.

LASunsett said...

//Is it possible to “exile” those who the courts determine as “trouble makers?”//

It's a difficult task, but this seems to be the most logical step. Once an illegal here is arrested on an infraction, they should be tried and if convicted they should serve there sentence. Afterward, they should be deported. If they are arrested for a petty crime, deport them.

Here's the most important part, if they are caught in the US again, lock them up for as long as possible. It is logistically impossible to go door to door here or in Europe, to look for illegal immigrants. The best we can hope for is to stop the flow in and deport the criminals.

This will not solve everything, but it's a start.

Rocket said...

One thing that you didn't mention is that the European right is politically equivalent to the American left. Yes, Europe is correct to tighten it's immigration policies but many feel mainstream parties aren't doing enough, thus a rise in extreme right parties. The silent majority is begining to become less silent. It's obvious how people feel in Europe about immigration if you live here. Europe can't accept everyone but as far as economic policies are concerned the continent is and will remain basically a potpourri of risk adverse where's my next subsidy driven populations supported by apologetic, apoplectic governments.

If you look back in recent European history you can easily notice that hard economic times in Europe has brought in Fascist dictators. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece. (did I miss someone?)Followed by socialists once these fascists have died. Go figure!

Z said...

Rocket's VERY correct about Europe's Right being more like our centrist/Left Dems, though Germany's CDU is pretty conservative. In general, he's right.

LA S...you talk about Europe not being a monolith of one-way thinking, and you're right; but we have to generalize in these comments, don't you think?
Sort of a broad brush of impressions? I think so.
My observations are, generally, what I wrote about...and come from having gone to language school in France and Germany for a total of approx 4 years total; I've met people from at least 50 countries and rarely shirked talking politics/culture with any of them!!

LASunsett said...

//I've met people from at least 50 countries and rarely shirked talking politics/culture with any of them!!//

Same here. But when I was there, Carter had pretty much pissed everyone off. It was easy to engage into a political conversation with a European, then. A lot of common ground because we all hated his job performance, for different reasons.

LASunsett said...

//If you look back in recent European history you can easily notice that hard economic times in Europe has brought in Fascist dictators.//

Many times they were hard economic times brought on by failed socialist policies. Like I have said before, fascism is a natural response to socialism. This election is only a part of what is ahead, if people don't get real, quick.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LAS ! (1/4)


This is a truly brilliant blog entry: bravissimo !


Given the necessarily limited space, it would be frighteningly difficult to address adequately each problem and/or comment in the main article as well as in each constructive followup post. (grin)


Perhaps one might usefully begin by reading and contemplating the following text:


/// Our immigration dilemma is a simple but apparently unsolvable calculus: the French (1) want the work they won't do to be done cheaply by foreigners, who, they wrongly assume, will inevitably transform themselves into Frenchmen (2). In turn, the downtrodden Algerians (3) who come here and their elite advocates in France (4) romanticize Algeria (5) a nation that brought them the misery they fled, while too often deprecating the place that alone gave them sanctuary.


Everyone sees this - at least in the abstract - and can probably agree on the appropriate remedy: far less illegal immigration and a more measured policy of legal immigration, along with a stronger mandate for assimilation. But caught in a paralysis of timidity and dishonesty, we still cannot enact the necessary plans for a workable solution. To do so, after all, entails confronting a truth that is painful and might displease thousands who have grown comfortable with the present chaos.


Who wants to be called an isolationist or nativist by the corporate right, and a racist or a biggest by the multicultural Left ? ///



Now, Amerloque has modified that text five times: each time there is a number. Originally (grin) (1) was Americans, as was (2). (grin) (3) started out as Mexicans, while (4) was America and (5) was Mexico.


Of course the original text is by Victor Davis Hanson from his significant opus: Mexifornia - A State of Becoming. For Europeans ... as an intellectual exercise, one might try replacements such as (1) the British; (2) Brits; (3) Pakistanis; (4) Great Britain; (5) Pakistan. One might also attempt (1) Europeans and (2) Europeans, for example, all the while sticking with (4) as Europe across the board. (3) and (5) are unrestricted: Nigerians/Nigeria, Togo/Togolese, Ecuador/Ecuadorians; Cormoro Islands/Cormoris; Bangladesh/Bangladeshis, Morocco/ Moroccans ... and the list goes on and on


From LAS:
.../... Maybe they are beginning to see that the practice of allowing immigrants to come into their country and brazenly dictate to the indigenous people the terms of their residency is not the kind of world, they want to create for themselves and their families. .../...


From Der Speigel:
.../... They aren't thinking about the consequences of immigration, about the loss of cultural identity that many people with "non-immigrant backgrounds" sense -- people who do not want to be labeled as xenophobes, right-wing extremists or neo-Nazis as a result. This omission benefits so-called "populists" like Geert Wilders, who are not afraid to tackle politically incorrect issues and provide answers to questions that nobody else wants to pose. .../...


Well, to put it bluntly, in Amerloque's view, over the past twenty years or so 'immigration' has morphed into 'colonization' (no, it's not too strong a word !), and the indigenous Europeans have begun to realize it. Some might even translate this realization to the ballot box, or to the media.


Certainly no one ever asked the European peoples outright whether they or not they wanted immigration on a massive scale, and even more assuredly no one ever told them what might happen should the immigrant populations refuse - or not be allowed - to assimilate.


Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LAS ! (2/4)

Greg:


/// While you are correct that the election of so-called "ultra nationalists" as MEP's isn't necessarily a signal of movement to the right, I think you are wrong to downplay the fascist/racist angle. The BNP is openly racist/anti-semitic/fascist. So is the Dutch Vlaams Belang, the French National Front and Austria’s Freedom Party. We shouldn't exaggerate their importance, either, but it is striking that Holocaust-denying, openly racist candidates can obtain seats in the European Parliament. It indicates a sizable minority of Europeans who are clearly xenophopic and racist. ///


Amerloque begs to differ (grin) ... the French Front National is 'nationalist' and not 'fascist/ racist'. Of the four parties mentioned, the only one which will not accept black or dark skinned people, to Amerloque's knowledge, is the British BNP. The French Front National - which Amerloque is familiar with - has blacks and Arabs as members, as well as Jews. The first French Muslim député in the National Assembly was a fellow named Ahmed Djebbour, who ran for the Front National and was elected in ... 1957. His mom was the first Muslim member of the Ile de France / Paris Regional Council, elected in 1986 on the ... National Front ticket. The Vlaams Belang party (Belgium/Netherlands) is pro-Flemish and anti-Walloon (i.e. anti-French).


One has only to read the manifestos of each of the parties, visit their sites, and attend their meetings to understand that how much media portrayals of them are lies. Sure, there might be individual racists and/or Fascists within each party (just as there are in both the Republican and Democratic parties) yet no one is screaming to high heaven that Republicans and Democrats are Fascists. Oh, wait, maybe some people are screaming that ... (grin)


///... the recent European election is less about adoption of far-right policies, and more of a rejection of leftist parties .../... ///



Yes, this is undoubtedly true. Nevertheless, of the twelve larger political parties / groups competing for votes last Sunday in France, only one was preaching for French withdrawal from the European Union, for the nationalist point of view: of course that was the Front National, which hasn't varied its position on this by one iota since the word go.

Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LAS ! (3/4)

Amerloque, by the way, is pretty much fed up with the "xenophobe" argument.


One issue that constantly bothers him (not to say make him grind his teeth in rage) is the inevitable recourse to that very "xenophobia" argument when someone, somewhere, in France or the USA, makes an observation about "foreign" involvement, one way or another, in one country or another's apparently internal affairs. Usually the word "xenophobia", in the mouths and/or pens of those using it, is associated with words/concepts such as "racism", "fear", "rejection".


This knee-jerk association is far too frequently used, in Amerloque's view, as an excuse to avoid debating or even discussing major and/or crucial issues, which, in some cases, need absolutely to be addressed. Rational objections and legitimate points of view are dismissed because they are allegedly "xenophobic".


So, just what does "xenophobia" mean ? Dictionary.com, for "xenophobe", gives "a person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples" (note that "unduly" means "excessively; immoderately"). For "xenophobia", thefreedictionary.com yields "an irrational fear of foreigners or strangers".


The Wikipedia entry on "xenophobia" basically says that the notion of "intense anxiety" is associated with a "phobia". Insofar as "xenophobia" itself is concerned …: "…/… for xenophobia there are two main objects of the phobia …/… The first is a population group present within a society, which is not considered part of that society. ../… The second form of xenophobia is primarily cultural, and the object of the phobia is cultural elements which are considered alien."


So, if one looks at the qualifiers included in the dictionary definitions …


a person unduly fearful or contemptuous

and/or

an irrational fear


… and if one adds the intense anxiety factor from Wiki … and if one attempts to refine the definition of the word (which theoretically should then denote the very concept itself), one sees that "xenophobia", apparently, is some kind of "undue, irrational fear or intense anxiety" (the keywords here being "undue" and "irrational", of course).


So when does a normal and rational concern or doubt or qualm or unease or misgiving, based on cogent, reasoned argument(s), turn into "xenophobia", something "undue" and "irrational" ? Who decides ? Why ? … especially when such a decision tends to diminish any chance of profitable discussion and exchange of views …



Just because there is a legitimate concern or worry about something "non-native" (e.g., control of ports, immigration and/or large population movements, control of major companies, international balance of payments, loss of national sovereignty to supranational organizations, use of language) doesn't necessarily mean that there is a "fear" … and still less does it imply there is something "undue" or "irrational".


There is simply a desire to see if the course being pursued is right and proper for a country and its people, to help and improve, rather than to hinder and diminish. There is no "xenophobia" – or "fear" - involved in that, nor is there any need to invoke it.


Amerloque is deeply suspicious and mistrustful of those who play the "xenophobia" card, since most of the time it has been his experience that such namecalling and recourse to the "xenophobia" epithet have simply been used as an intellectual convenience to refuse discussion … and to ease one's own conscience.


Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi ! LAS ! (4/4)


Z:

/// .../... But, suddenly, if one's FOR keeping their country as it was, for not wanting to pay through the nose for illegals (and oh, brother, DO they), for wanting to retain some of the beauty of each country's specialness, one is a bigot and racist. That's got to stop, but the politically correct left fans those fires as bigoted and frightening, not even seeing their peril, and ours, for having done so. ///


Spot on. A female member of the British national front expressed it on Sky News Monday morning in a similar fashion. She started with a litany: "Why can't we celebrate St. George's Day ? Why can't we celebrate Christmas, instead of some multicultural happy season ? .../..." Does that last one sound familiar ? (sigh)


/// ... The minute a country says "You know, we're not so happy to be hosting all these illegals who won't work but are living off of us and refusing to learn our language, and forcing their culture on ours, etc.", HITLER's name is invoked ///


Yes, this laconism is, alas, frighteningly prevalent. (sigh)


/// But, I'll tell you what...those French and Germans and Italians eat out more, vacation more, and live so beautifully, I've never quite understood HOW! ///




On a philosophic plane, it might be said that "Americans live to work", while "Europeans work to live". (grin)


/// .../... by the way, my 4 years in Paris were THE best in my whole and entire LIFE .../... .



Paris - as well as France- has changed substantially over the past ten years. The quality of life has dropped markedly, in Amerloque's view. Outside of rush hour, at two major train stations (Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est), the French language is rarely heard, nor does one see too many indigenous white French people (for there are indigenous black French people, and they certainly don't see seem to have any 'trouble' with the French culture, nor do the indigenous white people have any 'trouble' with them either !) Crime, at least in Amerloque's experience, is up significantly, too, and the feeling of the French man/woman in the street is that the government is fudging the numbers on crime and unemployment even more than when the Socialists were in power.


Rocket :

/// One thing that you didn't mention is that the European right is politically equivalent to the American left. ///


Yes. Amerloque tried to address this on his blog a while back, at http://tinyurl.com/myuyzq


Amerloque might go even further today: he feels that - generally - there is no 'real' European Right, at least not a Right that resembles the Right in the USA. Sarkozy the Rightist here in France has simply proved himself to be as 'Rightist' as Ted Kennedy ... while the French Socialists are totally disorganized and irrelevant, hence leaving the road open to Cohn-Bendit and the PC ecowhackos.


Amerloque won't presume to speak for other countries in Europe but it's clear from history that the French never reform: they always sweep away a regime or a mode of governance and replace it with something else. French experience over the past few centuries suggests that in French eyes regimes and constitutions are relatively transient affairs: Absolute Monarchy, Revolution, First Republic, Consulat, First Empire, Restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy, Orleanist Monarchy, Second Republic, Second Napoleonic Empire, Third Republic, (Occupied Vichy Government), Fourth Republic and, today, the Fifth Republic.There is no reason to suppose that today's France will be any different. It's not for nothing that the gendarmes (military) have lost their operational independence and now fall under the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior ... another of Sarko reforms.



It's been a long day, and there is so much to be said ... (grin)... and now it's time to prepare a nice French dinner ... (wider grin) ...

Best,
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

Amerloque,

As always you have expounded on a complicate subject in a way that makes us all a little smarter. Thank you very much for the time and effort you put into your outstanding comments.

As for your French dinner, I am envious. I gained some weight when I quit smoking 4 months ago, and now I must work to take it off.

Rabbit food is good and there are some great variations to keep it interesting. But I think I may get tired of it in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again, sir.

Z said...

Amerloque, that was my experience (crime, shady looking people and hearing mostly foreign languages) in SOME arrondissements, but not the sixteenth. We were SO lucky to live in such an amazingly wonderful area that I was pretty protected from that, I must admit.
Once, we took the Metro outside, just a bit, and I was clinging to Mr. Z because it was like it wasn't France anymore!..BUT, we had FABULOUS couscous, and this was before 9/11, so I wasn't as fearful as I'd be today.
I was in Paris May 1999 to Dec 2002, ..it was blissful...fantastic restaurants, wonderful ...well..EVERYTHING, I must continue to admit.(mr. Z lived there another 7 years in another life...heheh!)

And, the funniest things happened to me. One lunch at Trocadero with 3 American girlfriends, I apologized to the fellow sitting (2") away from me at a table for 1, smoking and eating (at the same time) and sipping a liquore while he was at it (MY KIND OF GUY!).."i'm sorry we're a bit passionate and loud.." He said he was enjoying the conversation!
We spoke for a while and finally I asked "If you're in politics, may I ask your name?"

Charles DeGaulle. True. Only me! The grandson.
Another time, I spoke with Oscar de la Renta for a while.
Well...so many good times I can't remember them all.
Just walking to the store and stopping for a coffee at the local cafe, having a cigarette and doing the Herald Trib's crossword puzzle...was more than bliss. (I quit smoking, tho never a big smoker) the day our airplane hit the ground on Dec 12, 2002.
I'd miss the cafes smokey atmosphere today...I really would.

I want to know what that 'nice French dinner' was...with Z, it's ALWAYS about food. My slogan for my Armenian people is "it's not ARE YOU HUNGRY? it's HOW HUNGRY ARE YOU?!" heh

I've enjoyed this....Mustang, I'm sorry to not lend any erudite political input. I'm too in love with France's lifestyle and my incredible memories to care anymore about politics when I get going. xxx

Anonymous said...

Rabbit food is good.

This is communist revisionism at its worst. Rabbit food is good for rabbits, not people.

Sheesh.

Eric Cartman
SPE

Anonymous said...

//This is communist revisionism at its worst. Rabbit food is good for rabbits, not people.//

You know, that's a very racist and xenophobic comment. Some very similar concepts were addressed in Mein Kampf.

Our organization thoroughly condemns this statement.

Lefty Leonard
President
Loyal Order of the Apologencia
Lodge #666, San Francisco

LASunsett said...

//Just walking to the store and stopping for a coffee at the local cafe, having a cigarette and doing the Herald Trib's crossword puzzle.//

I was glad to get my hands on one, just to read. Crossword puzzle was great, but we had no internet, no cable TV back then. News from home was always a hot item. Saturday was a day we left the kaserne for a day on the economy, eating, and we would usually have no trouble picking one up a news stand.

The base had them sometimes, but often they'd sell out. The Stars and Stripes were plentiful but light on the hard news. To have an IHT was a treat.

LASunsett said...

Wow Cartman.

I see you can piss off people faster than a speeding locomotive, eh?

Way to go, you future homer you.

Party on, Garth.

Z said...

the IHT was a huge treat.
and it had Calvin & Hobbes. :-)