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The European Syndrome.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
    Beat me to it. If anything, European politics (and those of Australia & NZ) are less polarized than the US, not least because we have political systems that allow multiple minor parties an opportunity to become part of the political landscape.
    Pure Poppycock. Larger quantities of political parties trends toward political instability. If you were to superimpose American "polarization" to say stardotEuropean systems then you would probably find a lot of people questioning the degree of separation between the poles of American politics. Where you and other "furriners" fail to take in account is that we in the U.S. are very vocal about our politics and, well, just about everything else. We have no problem airing our dirty laundry for others to see, and essentially that is the result of our democratic culture. The U.S. isn't so much more polarized now than any other time (and certainly far less than in the 1960's and early 70's), but the internet has caused the signal to noise ratio lower considerably.

    Tuebor

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Tuebor View Post
      Pure Poppycock. Larger quantities of political parties trends toward political instability. If you were to superimpose American "polarization" to say stardot European systems then you would probably find a lot of people questioning the degree of separation between the poles of American politics.

      Tuebor
      Could you elaborate a bit please - this sentence doesn't seem to make sense at all.
      Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Game.

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      • #18
        One of the points of welfare systems is that they free citizens to persue precisely the kinds of things that can lead to the kind of "deep satisfaction" the author wants. Less of a scramble to just get by.

        Possibly what the author really wants is for the ones successful to be more special than they can be in a welfare system? The only drawback to that is how it will also produce more outright losers. But who counts losers, so if that is no objection...?

        Possibly the author of the piece has simply got some of the causalities wrong.

        In Europe "community" isn't something you establish somewhere on a putative mythial "frontier". It's centuries of overlayering of generations of people in more or less cramped quarters. One of the European major concerns with effing community is that there's such a lot of it, unrelentingly present, and so finding ways of getting a break from it is a priority. You don't have to feel satisfied for maintaining it. It tends to do fine. Satisfaction might as well be to get away for a bit.

        It's a bit like that other transatlantic apparent misunderstanding, over organised religion. In the US joining a congregation tends to be an act demonstrating personal choice and empowerment. In Europe religion tends to be more a matter of conforming to centuries of tradition (originally underpinned by autocratic fiat) — fine for them that likes it — but really the serious European personal choice in matters of religion tends to be to have nothing to do with it at all.

        Finally, there's a bit about demographics, or rather declining birth rates. Well, Europe isn't entirely homogenous in that respect. The eastern countries, the ones formerly behind the Iron Curtain, overall have quite bleak demographic forecasts. Then again, they are relatively poorer, still in fairly early stages of transition (going on a little over a quarter century) to new political, social and economic models, with what lingering after effects there might still be from totalitarianism.

        Seemingly there's then a fairly bleak outlook for sothern Europe. It's unlikely to be some kind of "Catholic" thing though. The Irish are breeding well after all...:P And the Greek have the same problem. And Frankly the French, who are at least more Catholic than anything else (except "laïc") are not part of the problem. They have one of the best demographic situations in Europe.

        Which finally brings us to Germany, which again has surprisingly poor figures. It's not something "Germanic" or protestant though, since the largely a-religious Scandinavians are doing quite a lot better, trailing the French somewhat.

        However, what IS a common denominator is that those countries that HAVE low birth rates in western, northern and southern Europe have gone for some version of "traditional family values". The Germans have done so by choice, while building an otherwise very large and capable welfare system. In some parts of the south arguably the welfare system simply was never made capable enough for lack of funding, but the effect is the same. Otoh in particular the French and Scandinavians who HAVE decent birth rates have opted for large welfare systems that specifically goes against the grain of "traditional family values", and now find themselves not particularly taxed by low birth rates at least.

        Unlike what the author of that article possibly might think, that hasn't led to some kind of "demise of the family". What it has done is release the family from the job of being part of the national economy as a form of "production unit". That otoh means the economic incentives for people to stick together even when sick of each other has decreased. The family instead has become a voluntary project people keep up simply because they want to, not because they need to. (AKA "the Swedish theory of love").

        Again, the welfare systems allow people to get decent public education for free, ditch loveless marriages, even more so marriages of "convenience", not to struggle so much in the traditional gut-wrenching way.

        Somehow one comes away with the sneaky suspiscion that what's behind that piece isn't just an ideas about more profound "satisfaction", but rather an iteration of the very old Christian idea of how suffering ennobles people. Because that can be a real watershed in views — whether struggling to overcome adversity is inherently a good thing that ennobles, and if people go under in the process they just proved unworthy and don't matter, or the other alternative — popular with both Socialists and Liberals actually — that suffering never did anyone a lick of good, and tends to make people just nasty and brutal, which is what the welfare systems also combat.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
          Could you elaborate a bit please - this sentence doesn't seem to make sense at all.
          Apologies. It was poorly done. Imagine a picture of the American political spectrum spanning deep red to deep blue. Also imagine that at the opposite ends two black lines delineating where the exact polar opposites lay (i.e. far part). Now take that image in overlay it on a similar image of the European (or your favorite European country) political spectrum. I argue that the U.S. political spectrum would be a purplish color and the black "pole" lines would be very narrow. Something like this (if it works):

          ----|-----------------------------------------|--- U.S. Alone
          ------------------------|--|---------------------- U.S. relative to Europe

          Hope that clears things up a bit.

          Tuebor

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          • #20
            As near as I can tell, the author reworked Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs and put it into today's societal milieus...but it's not a good fit.

            However, the author is correct on several points regarding how badly things are going.

            Human beings survive in order to reproduce. When surviving has to take priority over that function, stresses are created which are inherently destructive, as we clearly see with American culture today.

            Successful productivity in the workplace and the social milleu requires that needs be met first; otherwise, the system breaks down, as it is doing right now.
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Tuebor View Post
              (...)

              Hope that clears things up a bit.

              Tuebor
              It does yes, and I think you're correct.

              Tnx.
              Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Game.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by boomer400 View Post
                Reads like a bit too much psychoanalysis was going on. Mostly social babblespeak.
                Couldn't agree more.
                Trying hard to be the Man, that my Dog believes I am!

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                • #23
                  " Europe’s catastrophically low birth rates and soaring immigration "

                  Stopped reading there. "Low birth rates" is an ever worse idea than "peak oil" or other similar nonsense, and pretty much an indication of the author not understanding, misunderstanding or lying in order to make a point.
                  Wisdom is personal

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