Alex Massie

The New Threat to America: Europe

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Mark Steyn weighs in on the alleged (that is, non-existent) plot to "europeanise" America:

"Europeanism is like Communism: the less time you've spent living it in practice the better disposed you are to it in theory."

Never mind that, according to the most recent World Values Survey, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Malta, Luxembourg, Sweden each reported higher levels of happiness and "life satisfaction" than the United States. That isn't to say that the US is unhappy, merely that there is more than one route to happiness. And that's the point: europe (however broadly defined) and the United States are each remarkable success stories permitting a greater percentage of the population than at any point in history has the opportunity to make their own choices about how to lead their lives.

That doesn't seem to matter much, however. Apparently europe is the new danger to the United States. If one takes Steyn at his word (perhaps a dangerous or counter-productive exercise) then, you know, the differences between "europeanism" (whatever that is) and communism are of degree, not kind. Europe, then, has succeeded the Soviet Union as the greatest threat to the American Way of Life. (What about the muslims? Ah yes, of course europe is going to be an Islamic continent by 2050! A twofer if ever there was one.)

The curious thing about this strain of American conservatism (to use the latter term very loosely) is that it seems to welcome American isolation. They don't actually want friends and allies. These people enjoy their rage. It's much more satisfying to complain about perfidious France and Germany for their failure to support the Iraq war than it would have been comforting to have had their support.

In other words, this is Sinn Fein America. Ourselves Alone. Besieged and enjoying it. The more paranoid you are that everyone is out to get you the more comfort you can draw from being one of the select few who gets it. Loopiness ensues, of course, but You Know You Are Right and that the United States is threatened by it's so-called friends just as surely as it is by its avowed enemies. Trust no-one. The Threat is Everywhere. Welcome it.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSociety