The Decline of Europe and Catching Up on US News

July 29, 2010

Florida Pundit is catching up on the news after two and a half weeks in Central Europe with very limited internet access. Quite a bit has happened here that doesn’t get covered by European newspapers.

The Obama administration was afraid of letting the Arizona immigration law go into effect and got a liberal judge to suspend most of it. Bacteria breaking down oil seem to be attacking the Gulf oil spill a lot faster than anyone but Rush Limbaugh predicted. An agriculture department employee has been fired over racist remarks and then was offered her job back (I still have to catch up on the details of this one).

GM will be selling a “green” car whose main virtue seems to be that it has a gas-based backup engine that ensures that you won’t be stranded when the battery is exhausted after just forty miles. It takes ten hours to recharge the battery for another forty mile trip. I wonder how much coal is burned in power plants to provide the electricity to charge the battery and how that compares to the one to two gallons of fuel that would be burned by a regular gasoline engine for a forty mile drive. We’ll need to follow up on this one.

A lot more has happened, but I also have collected interesting stories from my trip that I will cover over the next couple of weeks. Here are some highlights:

1. If you think we have a lot of “green” initiatives here, Western Europe is much more extreme and believe in global warming is unquestionable dogma in the media. What is interesting though is that despite a heat wave that brought 95 degree heat for more than half my trip in places with no air conditioning, no one I talked to ever linked the heat wave to global warming.

2. There is a demographic revolution occurring in big cities causing an rise in an increasingly radicalized Muslim population. Locals seem to believe that all the women in burkas (head to toe black dress covering the entire face but the eyes) are all rich Saudi Arabian tourists. This is certainly a factor, but I find it hard to believe that it is the whole story. I will provide pictures, plus the surprisingly frank comments of a monk given during a guided tour through a monastery.

3. While Western Europe is declining in political and economic power, life during this decline can still be pleasant especially if you have no children or grandchildren to worry about.

4. A visit to Prague, which Florida Pundit first visited shortly after the fall of communism twenty years ago, illustrates how the future of Europe lies in what former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, called “new Europe”, i.e. in the former communist states stretching from Lithuania to Slovenia.

5. The European Union has brought changes that make travel a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about changing currencies when traveling between countries using the Euro and crossing the border between many countries is like crossing the state line between Florida and Georgia. The only thing that remains are the abandoned border posts. Positive developments, but a lot of these changes are imposed by a European elite and, with crises like the Greek economic collapse, one has to wonder about the long-term stability of these arrangements.

Europe is a continent with a rich history, but it is in decline and faces enormous demographic changes. It is great for many Europeans to take a month vacation in summer and a couple of weeks in winter, but they are spending at the expense of future generations. When conservative governments take over from socialists all they can really do is slow the decline. The potential exceptions are some of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe where flat taxes and less regulations have created an economic boom.

President Obama is the most European president the United States has ever had. This statement probably puzzles the American left. It is not Obama’s race that is relevant, but rather his ideas. Obama is steering the US toward policies that Europe has been implementing since World War 2 and we need to reverse this direction in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

It is good to be home. More on all of this in future posts.

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