Europe - one sick welfare puppy

The flooding of New Orleans is an apt metaphor for an even more insidious morass, one that has kept the poor and black people of the city mired for two generations. Long before the breach of the levees three weeks ago, New Orleans was stuck in welfare pathology.

Even after it has been drained, cleaned up, and put back on its feet, chances are that those of its poor people who return will still be mired in welfare dependency. They have been seduced into that quicksand all of their lives, with predictable consequences.  Most of the poor people we saw on television have never known anything but welfare dependency, drugs, and violence. I would not be surprised if the political hacks send out an emergency call for them to come back, come back, get your welfare check! You can't survive in crazy states like Texas. Because without their voters' deep belief in their own  helplessness, the race—and—poverty— mongers are out of a job. The most egregious failures of New Orleans were those of people who have been taught to be mentally stuck in a flood that never ends.

New Orleans is a microcosm, not of the United States, but of Europe.

European voters also believe they can't live without the constant care of the state. France voted against the EU Constitution, not because it would deprive it of the rights of free citizens, but because French voters were afraid it might bring in Polish plumbers who would work at lower wages. And just to drive the sense of personal impotence home, Germany makes it nearly impossible to start a business. The bureaucracy demands some $50,000 to start a corporation, with months of forms to fill out, endless approvals to get, hoops to jump through. In comparison, in Britain it takes six pounds and a one day wait to get incorporated. As a result, ambitious young Germans go to the UK to start their businesses. But that is obviously unfair to Germany, and the European Union is bound and determined to force Britain to adopt the German model. If anybody is going to be stuck in the mud, everybody has to be! Call it the New Orleans model of economic development.

The vicious hatred of America among European elites is therefore completely logical, just as the hatred of George W. Bush among Democrats is. The elites hate America because they are deathly afraid that their voters might elect somebody like Bush: not a welfare politician, but a business person who thinks differently. They hate Bush because their careers are at stake.

The US could yet slide more deeply into welfare statism than it has. But  we still have a viable two—party system. New Orleans and Louisiana have been under one—party Democrat control for sixty years. The wealthier nations of Europe are so deeply enmeshed in one—party socialism that they may never be able to pull out.

European socialism was on display in New York during the United Nations summit. Europe's politicians celebrated Kofi Annan, knowing full well how corrupt and incompetent he is, because he is one of them: a member of the international socialist elite. They praise Mr. Annan particularly effusively, because if the Secretary General were forced to resign,  the complicity of France's Chirac and others in the Oil for Food corruption might become impossible to evade. The most corrupt politicos desperately need each other.  And all the genocidal madmen from places like Sudan and Iran will love Mr. Annan because he allows them to thrive in a corrupt and dangerous synergy with the socialist regimes of Europe. 

The knife—edge German elections yesterday have yet to tell whether any European welfare state can pull itself out of the muck.  Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schroeder must now each seek to build a coalition with small parties and form a government. Schroeder is the first German chancellor since Hitler to rediscover the miracle of national scapegoating, and will undoubtedly play the "hate America" card to attract support, because his economic policies have failed so miserably. It will not be pretty.

European countries are sick puppies, and they know it. When the French are not enraged at America, they are at each others' throats. And so Europe's politicians have rediscovered the BismarckFormula: blame a foreign scapegoat.  America is today's most obvious scapegoat (with the Jews of Israel a close second).

The most important question today is not, will the United Nations reform? To do that, half the Secretariat would have to be fired. There is no chance of that. No, the biggest question today is: will Angela Merkel be able to form a goivernment in Germany? And once leading a fragile coalition government, will she be able to reform the welfare mess? If Germany can find a way out, the rest of Europe may be able to follow.

Secretly, all of Europe knows the answer ——— that work and productivity, personal responsibility, and individual freedom are the way out. That is why the "Anglo—Saxon model" ——— also known as free markets ——— is so often denounced throughout the continent. That is why America is so hated. If Angela Merkel can somehow pull together a majority coalition and tell Europeans what they already suspect, Germany may become a much more responsible country in many ways. A healthier economy may also reduce the need to hate foreigners.

But if Gerhardt Schroeder assembles a majority coalition, expect more of the same pathology. In that case, New Orleans may not be a symbol of the past, but of the future.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor.

The flooding of New Orleans is an apt metaphor for an even more insidious morass, one that has kept the poor and black people of the city mired for two generations. Long before the breach of the levees three weeks ago, New Orleans was stuck in welfare pathology.

Even after it has been drained, cleaned up, and put back on its feet, chances are that those of its poor people who return will still be mired in welfare dependency. They have been seduced into that quicksand all of their lives, with predictable consequences.  Most of the poor people we saw on television have never known anything but welfare dependency, drugs, and violence. I would not be surprised if the political hacks send out an emergency call for them to come back, come back, get your welfare check! You can't survive in crazy states like Texas. Because without their voters' deep belief in their own  helplessness, the race—and—poverty— mongers are out of a job. The most egregious failures of New Orleans were those of people who have been taught to be mentally stuck in a flood that never ends.

New Orleans is a microcosm, not of the United States, but of Europe.

European voters also believe they can't live without the constant care of the state. France voted against the EU Constitution, not because it would deprive it of the rights of free citizens, but because French voters were afraid it might bring in Polish plumbers who would work at lower wages. And just to drive the sense of personal impotence home, Germany makes it nearly impossible to start a business. The bureaucracy demands some $50,000 to start a corporation, with months of forms to fill out, endless approvals to get, hoops to jump through. In comparison, in Britain it takes six pounds and a one day wait to get incorporated. As a result, ambitious young Germans go to the UK to start their businesses. But that is obviously unfair to Germany, and the European Union is bound and determined to force Britain to adopt the German model. If anybody is going to be stuck in the mud, everybody has to be! Call it the New Orleans model of economic development.

The vicious hatred of America among European elites is therefore completely logical, just as the hatred of George W. Bush among Democrats is. The elites hate America because they are deathly afraid that their voters might elect somebody like Bush: not a welfare politician, but a business person who thinks differently. They hate Bush because their careers are at stake.

The US could yet slide more deeply into welfare statism than it has. But  we still have a viable two—party system. New Orleans and Louisiana have been under one—party Democrat control for sixty years. The wealthier nations of Europe are so deeply enmeshed in one—party socialism that they may never be able to pull out.

European socialism was on display in New York during the United Nations summit. Europe's politicians celebrated Kofi Annan, knowing full well how corrupt and incompetent he is, because he is one of them: a member of the international socialist elite. They praise Mr. Annan particularly effusively, because if the Secretary General were forced to resign,  the complicity of France's Chirac and others in the Oil for Food corruption might become impossible to evade. The most corrupt politicos desperately need each other.  And all the genocidal madmen from places like Sudan and Iran will love Mr. Annan because he allows them to thrive in a corrupt and dangerous synergy with the socialist regimes of Europe. 

The knife—edge German elections yesterday have yet to tell whether any European welfare state can pull itself out of the muck.  Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schroeder must now each seek to build a coalition with small parties and form a government. Schroeder is the first German chancellor since Hitler to rediscover the miracle of national scapegoating, and will undoubtedly play the "hate America" card to attract support, because his economic policies have failed so miserably. It will not be pretty.

European countries are sick puppies, and they know it. When the French are not enraged at America, they are at each others' throats. And so Europe's politicians have rediscovered the BismarckFormula: blame a foreign scapegoat.  America is today's most obvious scapegoat (with the Jews of Israel a close second).

The most important question today is not, will the United Nations reform? To do that, half the Secretariat would have to be fired. There is no chance of that. No, the biggest question today is: will Angela Merkel be able to form a goivernment in Germany? And once leading a fragile coalition government, will she be able to reform the welfare mess? If Germany can find a way out, the rest of Europe may be able to follow.

Secretly, all of Europe knows the answer ——— that work and productivity, personal responsibility, and individual freedom are the way out. That is why the "Anglo—Saxon model" ——— also known as free markets ——— is so often denounced throughout the continent. That is why America is so hated. If Angela Merkel can somehow pull together a majority coalition and tell Europeans what they already suspect, Germany may become a much more responsible country in many ways. A healthier economy may also reduce the need to hate foreigners.

But if Gerhardt Schroeder assembles a majority coalition, expect more of the same pathology. In that case, New Orleans may not be a symbol of the past, but of the future.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor.