Magazine article The American Conservative

The Envy of Europe

Magazine article The American Conservative

The Envy of Europe

Article excerpt

When the overfed, declawed, Las Vegas casino money recipient Newt Gingrich had some fun over Mitt Romney's ability to speak French, Europeans took notice. This is a farce, it's not politics, was the consensus of opinion. The French are an angry nation, envious, supercilious, and eager to show superiority over those who invented Coca-Cola and the Big Mac. They are also forgetful, especially when they want to forget a couple of Uncle Sam's forays into la France profonde, as Charles de Gaulle called the land of cheese and of perennial German domination.

Envy involves a longing for what you don't have, and the Europeans suffer from both envy and jealousy. The latter is provoked by losing something they once had to someone else. That something goes by the name of power. Instead of learning to emulate strategies and systems that have made the U.S. a superpower, many of the European elite--as well as the proverbial man in the street, especially in French streets--endlessly talk about American philistinism. This malicious envy of Uncle Sam is nothing new. It's been around for 50 years and after George W. and Obama it's getting worse. But what is strange is Europe's search for weakness where Obama is concerned. I put it down as a state of mental fatigue on the part of Europeans who can no longer turn to America for help due to the latter's financial straits.

In a recent column, London mayor Boris Johnson wrote that Britain will never get off the pot until the Brits learn to praise success. Unemployment is falling in the U.S., where wealth creators are applauded rather than denounced, he wrote. He had Facebook in mind. However disgusting and intellectually dishonest (my words, not Boris's) Mark Zuckerberg may be, his success is undeniable, as was his maniacal determination as an undergraduate to become rich. It would never happen at Oxbridge, claims Boris.

I'm afraid that I agree with him. I cannot see a European Zuckerberg emerging, what with debates in European parliaments about the scale of his prospective wealth and whether such wealth is tolerable in a fair society. Anti-capitalist protesters would shut the city down and tents would appear on his office lawns. The rage that success on his scale would provoke is not conducive to wealth creation. This is one of the reasons that in my struggling country most ship owners are found to be living outside it. A Greek citizen cannot do business unless he or she has a partner inside the government, no ifs or buts about it. …

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