Eutopia. Eusocial. Europe.

by Smitty

Ross, I love you nearly as much as I love your ivory tower. Let’s have some fun with The Case For Small Government:

At bottom, I think the argument suffers from a problem that’s common to both sides in the debates over the desirability of European-style social democracy – namely, the hope that what’s ultimately a philosophical and moral controversy can have a tidy empirical resolution.

Is the Decline and Fall of Europe insufficient for you? Are shenanigans like the Treaty of Lisbon not a good enough indicator? Do you read The Brussels Journal? My wife is German. Maybe I am too lost in anecdotal evidence that the likelihood of success of “European-style social democracy” in the US has been captured here: It Won’t Work. Uless you’re eusocial.

In both cases, there’s an unwarranted hope that the right facts and figures can settle a debate that ultimately depends on the philosophical assumptions that you bring to it.

Hogwash. Facts matter. As does history. If the foundation of your eutopian la-la land rests upon demonstrably bogus assertions about your demographics, WTF good is it? Unless you’re taking a foppish deconstructionist route, that is. Then you can just “feel” something.

I would just deny that they can come close to settling, in any meaningful sense, the debate over how big the American welfare state should be overall, and whether we should copy Western Europe or disdain it.

And why should you? Recall, These United States are still 50 in number. If you have any sort of bully pulpit from your lofty heights, you should argue the Constitution, and the right of states to be as “Massachusetts” as they wanna be, without taking the whole country down roads that historically lead to swamps.

That’s because both the American and the European models of government are successful in purely practical terms, to the extent that purely practical terms exist – which is to say, both models have provided, over an extended period of time, levels of prosperity and stability unparalleled in human history.

PAX ROMANA, anyone? Or are you taking the condescending view that history began in 1636, with the founding of Hah-vuhd?

(Yes, the stresses that Islamic immigration and demographic decline are imposing on Europe are real and serious – but I think it’s too soon to say, with Murray and many on the Right, that “the European model can’t continue to work much longer,” full stop. The end of history may be more resilient than we think!)

Don’t look at reality too long, buddy: someone might steal your lenses. No, you’re right: Geert’s just paranoid and stuff.

And as long as this remains the case, where you come out on the debates over whether we should prefer the continent’s sturdier safety nets to America’s lower unemployment and higher growth rates (or the continent’s more equible provision of health care to America’s lead in health-care innovation, or what-have-you) will ultimately boil down to values as much as it will to what the numbers say.

Back to my European in-laws: that “sturdier safety net” has little empirical meaning. Then again, I’m only talking to a small sample, so you could be right. Not that I seriously think so, just that sounding too certain is rather tacky. Oh, and the wife works in pharma, and is unenthusiastic about the “lead in health-care innovation” you’re touting here. I wouldn’t play a straight libertarian hand, but I would say “less is more” when it comes to regulation. Each new law is another bandage on the patient. Governments rarely, if ever, cut away any of the old stuff. Result: mummy. But we’ll just have to crash the system and then see what you dreamers can do to continue blaming Bush rather than analyze anything.

How much do you prize equality and ease of life? The more you do, the more you’ll favor a European approach to the relationship between state and society. How much do you prize voluntarism, entrepreneurship, and the value of lives oriented around service to one’s family, and to God?

Oh, step up to the plate and just admit it: in Socialism, the state is God. At some point, however, even the biggest Einstein must tire of the failures of idolizing the state.

Eutopia. Eusocial. Europe. You go, dude. There.

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