Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You should never underestimate the Austrians...

You should never underestimate the Austrians. After all, they convinced the world that Mozart was an Austrian and Hitler was a German.
- European saying


I received this comment under the previous post. This is from an Austrian woman, a professional translator. This had to be answered, but it gives me no pleasure. I know this person, she's the Significant Other of one of my oldest and best friends.

See also, her previous comment posted here: http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/12/western-civilization-and-its.html

Oh Steven....

You are such an intelligent guy, and I've never met anyone in Europe who was as well educated and intelligent as you and as right-wing at the same time. That hardly exists, it actually hurts.

People as right-wing as you are normally uneducated in Western Europe (forget the East)..

I've had my share of east Europeans and their hangups due to my work, thank you very much. Since I like Monica, I won't comment on them.

And: Since I am dealing with them all the time at the highest political levels, I'd say that they have never arrived in the latter part of the 20th century, let alone the 21st. Even if their politicians pretend otherwise, the people to a large extent are as primitive in their thinking as people like your much-revered John Bolton is. So I wouldn't have minded at all - nor would most of the rest of the old EU, if one ever dared to coduct an honest poll about it - if they had joined the US instead of joining the EU. They wold have felt at home.

Yeah, Steven, you are the only one I've ever encountered who has got the knowledge and the brains but still would be considered extreme right-wing in Europe. The conclusions you are jumping to in your posts are unworthy of your brains, normally they are primitive, occasionally, they are outright fascist. Half of your country is fascistoid, so I am not surprised that you don't notice it yourself. But I do notice. And any European intellectual would notice it immediately. You are in league with people who've only got half your brain.

Still, what a waste of a good intellect!

Brigitte


It's always good to start an argument with the points both parties agrees on. So yes, I agree I'm smarter than you.

In your previous comment you said, "Do you need these lies to feel good about yourself or what?"

However, you never went into any specifics about exactly what I said that was a lie. As in the post above, you simply called me names.

Evidently part of the European heritage you consider dispensable is the legacy of Aristotle and Cicero, the disciplines of logic and rhetoric.

So since this seems to be the time for exposing lies and clearing up misunderstandings, lets start with lies, yours and ours.

First lie: conflating "Right-wing" with "Fascist."

"Fascism" is most often used these days as a term with no definition beyond, "political viewpoint I don't like" and usually conflated with Nazism, though they differed on issues such as anti-Semitism. But historically it does have a definition, and it is not Right-wing but Left.

Mussolini considered himself a life-long Socialist. He was only "Right" of the further-Left Marxists. By their lights Trotsky was a "Right-winger."

And try as you might, it's very hard to make a Right-wing trope from Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), which is why it is almost always referred to by its anagram 'Nazi.'

The lie of Right-wing Fascism has served the Left very well. It's possible that you have even convinced yourself of it, or are simply ignorant of history (the American vice, so you say.) That doesn't make it any less of a lie. The only difference is whether you are telling it or simply repeating it.

This is not a matter of opinion, but of historical facts.

First misunderstanding: The definitions of "Right" and "Left" have been distorted to the point of uselessness, but for the record, I'm what's called in Europe, a Liberal. In America I have to say, "Libertarian" or "Classical Liberal" since the term has been co-opted in the US by the Left to mean something like "moderate Socialist.

Second lie - ours:

At the end of the Second World War, and the beginning of the Cold War, it was expedient for our purposes to consider Austria a conquered nation, rather than the junior partner in the Third Reich. If you can consider it junior, given the nationality of Der Fuhrer.

The historical truth is that Austria never fired a single shot in resistance to the Anschluss and Austrians were shall we say, not all the Von Trapp family. They supplied the Third Reich with some of their best professional soldiers. As our non-professional citizen-soldiers learned, to the sorrow of their families.

Since Americans do in fact tend to have short historical memories, we might have considered this a matter of long ago and far away. But then you went and elected Kurt Waldheim, a known Nazi war criminal, as your president.

So which country is "fascistoid"?

During the Cold War, you and your West European buddies cowered behind a ring of American and British steel, while your Left intellectuals hedged your bets by throwing love notes across the Iron Curtain, telling the Soviets that if they managed to break through the line, you'd lie down for them.

Now that that threat is past, you feel free to insult us and say that the US was the greater threat, and that the Eastern Europeans were not captive nations - the third lie.

And your insults seem to have been directed entirely to the US. Not a peep about the Soviet Union, or these days the Islamic Fascists.

That is to say, you insult only those whose principles require them to tolerate free speech - not those who would kill you for it.

There are two possible interpretations of this: cowardice, or admiration and fellow feeling for mass-murdering Communists and jihadist Islamic Fascists. Which is it? Or is it both?

What you haven't realized yet, and we are only beginning to, is we don't need that expedient lie anymore either. We're free now to call you what you are.

Then there is a matter of opinion - your disdain for the Eastern Europeans.

(But oh by the way, another lie: "I've had my share of east Europeans and their hangups due to my work, thank you very much. Since I like Monica, I won't comment on them." Followed immediately by a lengthy comment. In charity we'll call that a mis-statement.)

As you know, I lived there for 13 years, married there, and learned to speak one language and get along in a few others. I like the Eastern Europeans, with a full appreciation of their flaws, just as I love my own country with a full and open-eyed appreciation of ours.

Obviously you don't, and seem to have had some bad experiences there while "dealing with them all the time at the highest political levels."

Well let's see, you are:

1) Officially, a representative of an EU, which is largely dominated by a Franco-German alliance. The latter of which started World War II, and the former which had a collaborationist government which voluntarily passed racial purity laws actually stricter than the Nazis demanded of them.

2) Personally a proud citizen of a country that had (in the case of Poland) its foot on their neck for 135 years, then participated in an invasion and occupation that killed 20 percent of their population, then ignored, or actively justified the suffering of your fellow-Europeans under Communism for two generations.

3) Intellectually dismissive, indeed admiring, of the tyrannical nature of the former Soviet occupation that reduced once wealthy and cultured countries to something like third-world slums.

And oh yes, one more thing.

At the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz (the Nazi concentration camp located in an ethnic German village in Poland*), every major west European newspaper had articles referring to the "Polish death camp". Of all the examples collected by Polish actress and intellectual Kristyna Janda on her web site, not a damn one of them said the word "German" and precisely one said the word "Nazi."

Do you think it's possible they might resent your attitude just a bit?

You call the Eastern Europeans "primitive."

By "primitive" do you mean "ill-mannered"? (We will ignore for the present the issue of manners in say, loudly and persistently calling your hosts names while a guest in their country. Or contacting one's lover's friends to personally insult them behind his back.)

"Primitive" as say, when former Prime Minister of Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski bluntly violated the Euro-political taboo “Thou Shalt Not Mention World War II,” when he objected to a German-proposed proportional representation plan?

The Prime Minister pointed out that Poland’s population was considerably smaller than it might have been, had Germany not killed quite so many Poles in World War II.

You said:

"So I wouldn't have minded at all - nor would most of the rest of the old EU, if one ever dared to coduct an honest poll about it - if they had joined the US instead of joining the EU. They wold have felt at home."

And I personally would be proud to have them. And this was in fact suggested to me by a Polish scientist. (Nor an "intellectual", he actually had a doctorate in a real science, paleobiology.)

I think though, that it would be better to have them as allies.

We need allies with courage, not surly client states who we've had to occupy to keep them from killing each other, and whose defense we've had to subsidize at considerable cost for the past two generations.

And yes, I mean the courage to disagree with us. Something you seem to resent fiercely. (There's a name for that attitude. What was it? Starts with "F" I think.)

The Eastern Europeans were not liberated by the US, they freed themselves from the Soviet occupation. With some covert help from us, but they put their own lives and courage on the line to do it.

That's why they have my profound admiration and respect.

That's why I'm proud to have them among my friends.

That's why I'm proud to have one to wife, and what inspires me to strive for courage and integrity, to live up to what she expects of me.

That your West European soi disant "intellectuals" hate America is well known to us. And that's good. To hate, you have to respect - otherwise you simply despise.

I would be ashamed to be liked by the "intellectuals" you cite. The kind of "intellectuals" who have sucked at the teat of an education and media whose range of opinion is as narrow as the borders of their postage-stamp countries - but who couldn't change the oil of their cars or drive a nail to save their lives.

Are you beginning to get it now? We don't hate you at all. When we think of you at all, not often, we simply despise you.

But fortunately for you the options are simple: If you don't like America, don't come here. If you don't like Eastern Europe, don't go there.

We'll manage without you somehow.

And in the end it does not matter. You're not breeding.

Militarily and economically impotent, you have become barren as well. In a generation your young population will be half what it is now. If trends continue, you'll persist, if at all, as minorities in your own countries within a century.

You've got some very nice countries in the west of Europe, in a Disneyland sort of way. Life is beautiful, leisured and cultured in a way that we've never achieved here.

But then, you could have said that in 1900 as well.



* Historical factoid: The town called Oswieciem in the southwest of Poland had an ethnically German population, which is why it has a German name, Auschwitz. Jan Karski, hero of the Polish resistance and author of 'Story of a Secret State' remembered that when Poland was invaded by The Third Reich and the Soviet Union, he was ordered to report to his reserve unit in Oswiciem/Auschwitz. As their unit withdrew from the town towards the east, the inhabitants were taking pot shots at them from their windows.

22 Comments:

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    leftists fascist? NO FREAKING WAY!!!...Ahem.
    They have no substance to back up their fanatical belief in collectivist economics, centralized power and denial of individual liberties, so they must resort time and again to ad hominems and stereotypes.
    One can only conjecture they imagine their blind faith in false accusation gives it the lacking and much-needed evidence, or they would have long ago abandoned the tactic:
    "It's got to be true, after all, I believe it!"

     
  • At 3:32 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    Dang. When the comment in question went without a response in the previous entry, I figured that there was consensus that it did not merit a response.

    I think your rebuttal was spot on, but by responding you buttressed the foolish comment from the level of no credibility up to the unjustifiably high level of a smidgen of credibility.

     
  • At 4:00 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    You have a point, which I did consider. There were two considerations that I mentioned, that caused me to reply.

    One was that I think it's time to let the America-bashing West Europeans know that we just flat despise them, when we think of them at all. And to let Americans know that it's OK to say so - at last.

    The other was to get this in writing to forward to Eastern Europe.

     
  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Brigitte said…

    On the other hand, nobody was ever as scared of the Russians as were Americans, although they were 30 miles away. We just thought that a people who had lost 20 million people during a war weren't really keen on another war anywhere. And I think that we were right.

    During the Cold War, a lot of what was presented as Soviet aggression was actually retaliation - we don't want to forget the American Jupiter (or whatever) rockets trained on the USSR right at their border BEFORE the Cuba crisis, now do we??

    Last, but not least: The East Europeans:
    On a very personal level, I am fine with them. On a working level, they have zero manners, are rude and unpleasant, as everyone working in the EU is noticing. On the political level, particularly some of the Poles publicly said things I would have thought impossible in Europe in the 21st century. The League of Families, for example. The jingoism, racism, antisemitism, misogyny was just mind-boggling.

    The Germans, since they still feel guilty (and quite rightly so) insisted that Poland join when it did. Otherwise they wouldn't actually have fulfilled the criteria for joining the EU, without the Germans manhandling the rest, Poland wouldn't have made it. Few countries thought that they were ready. Mentally definitely not. From what I've seen, at least the political class wasn't.

    And getting excited about the death penalty, excessive nationalism, fights about abortion - yes, as far as I am concerned, they would have cut a great figure as part of the US.

    But I cherish my Europe, and that is Western Europe, which actually after a couple of world wars has again stuck to the lessons of the Age of Enlightenment (as you know, that influenced your founding fathers).

    I think that major parts of America have forgotten that link. And most of East Europe has either never grasped it or has forgotten that link as well.

    I am realizing that your post is too long to answer everything.

    But re barren Europe: When I went to school, there were 3 billion people in the world. Now we are more than twice that number, while many of the tasks people performed have been taken over by computers, robots or have been outsourced to the Far East.

    So I don't see the rush to get children. Europe and the world would do great with fewer people. All you need is to change the tax base from taxing people's earning to taxing the gross added value.

    I think we should shrink, we are overpopulated as hell in Europe.

    Steve, the despising is mutual. As far as the American Right is concerned. We're quite chummy with your left.

     
  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger Brigitte said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 5:34 PM, Blogger Brigitte said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    Does this woman have a clue? I must say, Steve, I respect your patience in answering her silly drivel. She has such a snobby attitude towards all non Western Euros that it's almost funny. The world is overpopulated, so therefore the fact that Europe is dying out becomes A Good Thing.

    What will happen to their wonderful way of life, and their inherent superiority when, as you point out, they become a minority in their own lands? Especially since the nations that are growing so quickly don't share the wonderful Enlightenment values?

    Sadly, Brigitte has become blinded to everything that is wrong with Europe today. She likely was offended by Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" comment, and doesn't realize that her comments here prove his point.

    Ah well. Given my moniker here, she'll cast aside my viewpoint, since I'm just a conservative, gun-totin-American-wacko.

    But guess what, Brigitte? I don't value your opinions enough to care what you think of me and m Country. You and your people are so irrelevant to the world today that it doesn't matter.

    But don't expect much sympathy from me when your EU masters turn the entire European continent over to the Islamofascists. You reap what you sow.

     
  • At 10:46 AM, Blogger Tom the Impaler said…

    Some scattered thoughts ( I'm a bit tired)

    Brigitte, I wonder if the east Europeans are rude to you because you foolishly worship the god "Communism" who failed them so horribly for half a century or more?

    Nah, those soviets weren't aggressive, they only swallowed up half of Europe at the end of WW2

    And Soviet socialism, and all the other types don't fail, they just haven't had a proper test yet
    Or perhaps they "Just didn't have the right people in charge"?

    Is it common for western Europeans to be snobby about their failures? as though losing repeatedly was something to hold up as a beacon of accomplishment?

     
  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger Edward said…

    Hi Steve, Ed Hatton here.

    I have a particular interest in the Quakers (did a little research on origins and the first century after Fox and Naylor) and I thought I therefore couldn't let this pass:

    "But I cherish my Europe, and that is Western Europe, which actually after a couple of world wars has again stuck to the lessons of the Age of Enlightenment (as you know, that influenced your founding fathers).

    I think that major parts of America have forgotten that link. And most of East Europe has either never grasped it or has forgotten that link as well."

    This is one of the most irritating misconceptions of Enlightenment-based intellectualism. Many of the interesting, civilised and original elements of Enlightenment thought actually originate with the Quakers - first to challenge slavery, first to seriously champion social and political equality, amongst the first to promote gender equality. And that was in England, not France. In the 1650s onwards. As I'm sure you know, many of these elements came to America and indeed entered the constitution through the constitution of Pennsylvania, largely written by one of the greatest of the second generation Quakers, after whose father the state is named, William Penn. All of this is 50-100 years or more before the great Enlightenment thinkers. I haven't even mentioned John Locke.

    In my view, the 'Enlightenment' is highly overrated.

     
  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger Tim Starr said…

    My alternate take, which in no way disagrees with yours, Steve:

    In the 20th century, Europeans got captured by Nationalism, to the point where they became unable to distinguish it from Patriotism. (Hitler knew the difference.) So, to eradicate Nationalism in Western Europe, which gave us the two world wars, Patriotism became a collateral casualty. In America and Britain, Patriotism got enlisted in the effort to win the world wars & the Cold War; in Eastern Europe, patriotism got enlisted in the effort to win the Cold War. So, the legacy of patriotism in Western Europe is one of tyranny, defeat, and failure, while the legacy of patriotism in the West and Eastern Europe is one of liberation, victory, and success. (Except Russia, of course, which is part of the reason why Russia's backsliding into neo-Stalinism again.)

    Because West Europeans are congenitally incapable of distinguishing between nationalism & patriotism, & because they've been trained for generations to think of nationalism as backwards, reactionary, evil, etc., when they witness patriotism their knees start jerking.

    As for the substantive replies of your foil:

    No one else was as afraid of the Russians as the Americans? The Poles certainly were - at least those, like Col. Kuklinski, who were privy to Russia's plans to invade Western Europe, which would've forced America to nuke Poland as the Warsaw Pact forces crossed from Russia into Germany. This plan was a real live option until the end of the Cold War.

    As for Russia not being ready for another major war: Communism managed to spread rather far & wide anyway, with Russian help, including such countries as China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Grenada, Afghanistan, etc. Russia tried to spread Communism in many other countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Congo, etc.), and many other countries became Soviet client states (Ethiopia, Egypt, etc.).

    While it always possible to come up with explanations of particular incidents to make Russia's actions seem retaliatory rather than aggressive, the overall pattern of Russian global expansion defies that description. Eventually, the attempt to explain Russian behavior as retaliatory ends up obliterating any distinction between retaliation and aggression.

    As for Western Europe today, the primary Enlightenment ideal was tolerance for differences of opinion and the notion that they would be settled via rational discussion rather than violence. Western Europe fails to live up to that ideal nearly so well as America, as proven by the very fact that your foil admits never having met any intelligent West Europeans whose opinions differ from her own as do yours. (The other major Enlightenment ideal was laissez-faire economics; Western Europe today is vastly more socialist than America.)

    In fact, Western Europe violently suppresses all the ideas that differ from its Social-Democratic consensus--except when they are expressed by Muslim immigrants, of course. Thus, when white Europeans express racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and any of the other isms defined as evil by the Social-Democratic consensus (and rightly so when within reason), they ban political parties (like the Nazi Party in Germany & Austria), imprison dissenters (like David Irving in Austria), & suppress political opposition to their consensus. However, when it comes to Muslim immigrants with the same views, West Europeans bend over backwards to tolerate and appease them because of their dependency upon Muslims to breed the worker-bees needed to support the Ponzi-scheme pension plans and ridiculously long paid vacations of the West European hive.

    Rather than making up for this demographic deficit by having more children of their own, or making up for this economic deficit by reforming their pension plans, they turn their barrenness into a virtue and demonize "overpopulation." This is, of course, a social "disease" which afflicts the poorer & browner people of the world far more than the richer & whiter people. So, the Final Solution to the European Problem is for there to be far less poor brown people in the world, while the Europeans make some token efforts to pay lip service to this same ideal to make them feel less guilty about advocating a new form of genocide.

     
  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    I'm gonna go WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out on a limb here, and guess that (br)igitte is blond.
    Right or wrong, Steve?

     
  • At 5:17 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Actually not, but point taken.

     
  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Reply from Brigitte via email:

    Great! Let's get rolling! Thanks for your lengthy reply. I don't know
    why my answer couldn't be posted, but I tried several times, so I am
    sending you this as an e-mail and would ask you to post it instead. Or
    not, if you don't want to. I guess it got too long, but you got into so
    many topics that the answer had to be a bit lengthy, although I am sure
    I didn't answer all of your points.

    BTW: I never said that I thought that you were smarter than I, I don't
    know where you got that from. Oh no!

    I guess that you repeat well-known facts about European history for the
    benefit of others, since you can safely assume that I know all that. And
    a lot more.

    Just to dispel a popular notion in America: "Sound of Music" was one big
    lie, historically speaking. By then, Austria had already been a fascist
    country since 1934 (aka Austro-Fascism) after a very short civil war, so
    the Trapps weren't moving from democracy to Nazi but from one kind of
    fascism to the next. The Austrian variety had as one of its symbol the
    "Edelweiss"(!!), and that song didn't go down well in Austria for that
    very reason. So when the movie opened in the 1960s in Austria, it was a
    flop. There were still far too many people around who took great offense
    to this distortion. So much for the minor issues.

    Now to the weightier matters:

    Fascism: Since fascism is normally associated with promoting the rise of
    nationalism, aggressive suppression of opposition, likes national
    rebirth fantasies, often based on religion or some tribal connections
    AND likes the centralist state, insane adoration of the military: I
    said that half of the American population are fascistoid. I.e. not
    outright fascist (they don't like a central government, which IS an
    element of a fascist state) but your electoral system, which makes
    plurality impossible, plus that eternal adoration of the Flag and the
    military and the adoration of America like it was a religion - need I
    mention that the last time I heard about any politician having to sport
    any national symbol on his lapel pin was in the 30s and 40s in Germany??
    - playing the anthem at every drop of a hat, allegiance to the flag,
    ROTCs in uniform at schools (last seen in Germany in the 30s and 40s)
    all the time etc., have all the hallmarks associated with that thinking.
    No, contrary to what many Americans I know think, it's not the Fourth
    Reich, but the elements that would be considered precursors are in
    place. The militarisation of your country is very reminiscent of Prussia
    1871-1918. Prussia was, ironically, dissolved after WW2, even as a
    province of Germany, on Allied Decree, because the allies, including the
    Americans, thought that Prussia 1871-1918 had paved the way for
    nazism..........and apart from that, I am surprised that the ability to
    buy power with money in America isn't stopped. If people have to be
    millionaires in order to become Senators or presidents, we're talking of
    an oligarchy and not a democracy any more.

    The difference between left-wing and right-wing extremes is the
    internationalism and lack of racism of the left. You don't divide the
    working class into sub categories because that weakens them and does
    helps the capitalists, to put it in a nutshell. Google the history, if
    you need to. You don't need to tell me the origins of the NSDAP, you can
    just trust me to know these things at least as well as you do, but I
    guess you needed to do it for your other readers. Neo-Nazis are popular
    in East Germany because(!) they play both parts of it, the nationalist
    and the socialist heritage of their movement. Right-wing is always
    easier to swallow for the uneducated than left-wing because it also
    panders to lower instincts like racism.

    Still: The difference has been, is and will forever be the pacifism and
    internationalism of the Left. Stalinism is IMO as little left-wing as is
    today's China and has as much to do with the Left as does the Mountain
    Sermon with the Spanish Inquisition. The East Bloc was Stalinist, I
    called these outfits dictatorships with a few nods to some of Marx' ideas.

    Going through your post: Austria didn't supply the Third Reich with some
    of their best professional soldiers but with some of their most heinous
    thugs. The proportion of Austrians among the Lager-SS was
    disproportionally high. Wherever people were killed in concentration
    camps, wherever the worst crimes were committed, you found a lot of
    Austrians - mostly hicks from small villages, our rednecks - in charge.
    Rednecks of every country have always been the great enablers of
    dictatorships. My great issue with my country, BTW. The only ones close
    to the Austrian share were the Lithuanians (and I seem to remember that
    the Ukrainians were pretty high as well). No, Austrian's share of
    generals wasn't that high, their share of murderers was.

    Re Waldheim: It was the Austrian Left who told the world about his past.
    American (and Russian and Chinese et al) intelligence had of course
    known about his past all along, it turned out, already he became
    Secretary General of the UN, but didn't do anything to prevent him from
    becoming SG. Probably he became pretty malleable as a result.

    The Austrian Left was just happy that this moron had been gone from
    Austrian politics during his NY years (until he became SG of the UN, he
    was a study in cowardice as Austrian minister of foreign affairs, who in
    1968 ordered the Austrian ambassador in Prague to close the embassy when
    the Russians invaded the CSSR; that ambassador just disobeyed and issued
    Austrian visas 24/7 for Czechs trying to get away, he later became BTW
    president of Austria, prior to Waldheim), and when Waldheim reappeared
    to become president, many gasped.

    That the majority voted for him was also due to exaggerations from
    abroad - there were some internal power struggles going on inside
    various big Jewish organization in America, and stuff they claimed about
    Waldheim which were exaggerations and refuted by historians were then
    snapped up by Austrian tabloids, and particularly the right-wing ones
    managed to create the kind of frenzy you know from the Will Horton case
    or the Rev. Wright case in America. And then these morons actually
    elected him.

    But I find it strange that you think you can shock or shake me by
    telling me well-known facts about Austria. So what? Considering that a
    mass murderer like Andrew Jackson is still depicted on dollar bills and
    many towns still bear his name, I wouldn't open that flank as an
    American. On that count, countries that have committed large-scale
    ethnic cleansing, celebrated it in movies (Westerns) and never said
    sorry are morally very vulnerable. The difference is that we don't have
    any Hitlervilles to this day. You still have Jacksonville.

    Next topic: Austria is neutral. Nobody was hiding behind American or
    British rings of steel since everybody in Austria knows that according
    to an old agreement, half of Austria was USSR sphere of influence, the
    other half NATO. One tried to an aequidistance to both super powers.
    During the CSSR invasion, the Russians amassed dozens of divisions along
    the Austrian border and the Austrian government was about to move to the
    west.

    On the other hand, nobody was ever as scared of the Russians in Austria
    as were Americans, although they were on all sides. We just thought that
    a people who had lost 20 million people during a war weren't really keen
    on another war anywhere. And I think that we were right.

    During the Cold War, a lot of what was presented as Soviet aggression
    was actually retaliation - we don't want to forget these American
    Jupiter (or whatever) rockets trained on the USSR right at their border
    in Turkey BEFORE the Cuban missile crisis, now do we??

    Last, but not least: The East Europeans:
    On a very personal level, I get along with them. On a working level, too
    many of them have zero manners, are rude and unpleasant, as everyone
    working in the EU is noticing. On the political level, particularly some
    of the Poles publicly said things I would have thought impossible in
    Europe in the 21st century. The League of Families, the Kaczinski
    brothers, for example. The jingoism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia,
    sexism was just mind-boggling. And mixing religion and politics. That
    chapter is over in Europe, we've had too much religion for centuries.

    The Germans, since they still feel guilty (and quite rightly so) were
    the ones who insisted that Poland joined when it did. Other EU-countries
    weren't that hot about the idea. They didn't actually fulfill the
    Copenhagen criteria, and without the Germans manhandling the rest of the
    EU, Poland wouldn't have made it in. Few countries thought that they
    were ready. Mentally definitely not. And the Germans have learned to
    regret their insistence on Poland joining when it wan't ready.

    And getting excited about religion, the death penalty, excessive
    nationalism, fights about abortion - yes, as far as I am concerned, they
    would have cut a great figure as part of the US and would probably felt
    more at home.

    Oh, and I fear that you conveniently forgot to mention that the Polish
    aristocracy was on the payroll of the powers that partitioned Poland.
    They aided and abetted the partition. Just as long as they could fill
    their pockets.

    I cherish my Europe, and that is the Europe which actually after a
    couple of world wars has again stuck to the lessons of the Enlightenment
    (which as you know influenced your founding fathers).

    I think that major parts of America have forgotten that link. And most
    of east Europe has either never grasped it or has forgotten that link as
    well.

    Oh, re "barren" Europe (a choice of word only the extreme right would
    use in Europe, BTW): When I went to school, there were 3 billion people
    in the world. Now we are more than twice that number, while many of the
    tasks humans used to perform have been taken over by computers, robots
    or have been outsourced to the Far East.

    So I don't see the rush to get children. I see an overpopulated
    continent when I look at Europe. Europe and the world would do great
    with fewer people. All you need is to change the tax base from taxing
    people's earning to taxing the gross added value.

    So I am very happy that people get few children here.

    And re despising: I don't think that we even bother to despise the
    American Right. That's too much energy if you're used to political
    discussions with the best brains. Since we are watching the smashing
    political successes of the American Right in Iraq, Afghanistan, the
    American budget, the financial markets - all more or less predicted
    exactly the way things turned out to be by most Europeans and the
    American left, we just lean back and watch you guys struggle like mad.
    We told you so. Due to a better grasp on issues than the American Right,
    we had been 100% right about how things would turn out. And that's
    always a good feeling. Then you know that your coordinates don't need
    any readjustment.

    Brigitte

    The reason your reply didn't post is that the comment screener is enabled to prevent advertising spam. Everybody but intelligentsia knows that.


    Go away.

    Steve

     
  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Comments submitted by email:

    "Excellent blog Steve; well done my friend!

    "It is just soo hard for the Europeans to get their heads around the concept of a free and sovereign people. Even the so called enlightened ones can't seem to grasp the basic tenants of a free people and free thinking. Sad."

    D: American, martial arts teacher, worked on Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

    "Good for you!"

    B: India, philosophy professor.

    "Good for you Steve. This is the usual canard about "intelligent people"
    leaning left and the "unintelligent
    and uneducated" leaning right. And thanks to these "intelligent people" we
    ended up with communism
    and National Socialism and, today, with a socialistic Europe that could not
    protect itself from its
    enemies and has its people snowed under rules, regulations, laws and TAXES
    that make them
    indentured servants."

    G: Romania, professor.

     
  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    If I didn't know better, I'd think you made Brigitte up. She's every cliche about the arrogant, self-centered Euro rolled into one. She knows more about American History than we do, and yet resents the facts that you bring up about European history because she knows them.

    I'm with you. She should just go away, and enable the non-democratic, collectivist, and elitist EU masters like the good little serf that she aspires to be.

     
  • At 5:29 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Notes:

    Deleted comments from Brigitte were not censored. The cultured intellectual couldn't figure out that the comment moderation is switched on to prevent ad spamming and evidently thought that pushing the button again and again would fix it.

    Edward Hatton is the grandson of Judith, refered to in the previous post. Among other accomplishments he reads and speaks several languages, including ancient Latin and Greek. I'd like to hear more from him.

    Wacko, I might as well have made her up. With exceptions which I'll cover in the future, that's all you seem to get from European "intellectuals" anymore. Same 19th century stuff endlessly recycled under different names: Fascism, Communism, Socialism (National and International) and whatever-ism.

    There was a time when I hoped for better, and I'll deal with that later.

     
  • At 8:59 AM, Blogger Colby said…

    Steve,

    Hi, this is Colby from the martial arts class in OKC. I just wanted to respond to your blog post and comment on it. Great job! I think that it is fairly de rigueur for most bureaucrats to be effete snobs, not just socialist western Europeans. Somehow, the idea of being in a “better class” while earning money as a public servant has always seemed to be a philosophical conundrum for me personally. Maybe I don’t possess the education required to resolve the apparent contradiction. Our State Department is chock full of people just like her. So, you can imagine what a long 2 and a half years it was for me while serving as an Embassy Guard in Delhi and Budapest.

    I also like Eastern Europeans. The trick is never to ask them how they are though, because they will tell you in detail. This can complicate your schedule, when all you were really expecting is a “fine”. I have personally had better experiences with Russian mafia guys than the average English, French or German citizen. Maybe a generation ago it wouldn’t have been like that, but the Eastern Europeans have known some amount of hardship in their lifetime. Maybe this can explain how the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians went from fierce Vikings to Ikea? I don’t know, but I do know that people that live in highly socialized countries (real socialized countries, not socialist countries in name only) get spoiled, then dependent, then reduced to relying on the government for survival. If that is the good life, I’ll take hardship any day.

    Respectfully,

    Colby

     
  • At 7:14 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    Well, that shows how easy I am to fool. I thought Mozart was Austrian.

     
  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    Great post Steve. I'd ask you to stop by and say some of those things to some of the people I work with, but I know from experience they just tune out anything I say or have them read that goes against their view.

    And when reading Brigitte's comments I had to turn to the Chinese girl I work with and ask her if in her few years here she's found us to be a militaristic society. Brigitte would be shocked to hear that she said she's thinks that we're the opposite.

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Looking back on our history prior to WWII, we were not militaristic, but criminally negligent in preparing for the threat that emerged.

    After the Cold War our military build up seemed like overkill when I actually got to see Soviet bloc military bases - though nuclear weapons are never a trivial threat no matter how demoralized the conventional forces are.

    Now I wonder if we're back to square one. Jihadists armed with what they can buy but cannot make, are vigorous barbarians dangerous to a demoralized Europe but not a serious threat to a vigorous and self-confident society.

    But longer-run there's China, an able and energetic people with an ancient and sophisticated civilization, and a long institutional memory of rule over huge territories.

    When they were Communists they were merely murderous and incompetent. Now that they've decided to go the Authoritarian Capitalist route (the Singapore Model) they could be on the road to becoming an economic power on the order of the US.

    That combined with the worst possible demographic profile - a huge surplus of young men due to the one-child policy, is enough to disturb your sleep.

     
  • At 10:08 AM, Blogger Plateau said…

    Steve,

    I'd like to say that many Iranians consider the EU and the Austrian Gas Deal with the Mullah Regime, for example, abominable.

    Of course Iranians have known for some time that the Western Europeans, including Austria, are beggars who are not at liberty to choose.

    EU was formed to equal, compete and override the U.S. economically, and EU seems to be riding high currently, from a certain perspective. How long do you think it will last?

    Culturally & historically, EU has much to catch up - surprisingly!

    Other notes:

    Once upon a time, Western Europeans held the Islamists at the "Gates of Vienna".

    Unfortunately, this time around, they will be wearing the hejab much faster than one could say one had a meal as an EU official "at the highest level". I'd say enjoy it and all the trimmings.

    BTW, I've found the Northern Europeans the most racist nations I've ever come across.

    It is a different racism to the Japs, for example. More individual nation focused.

    Why is it that even many Northern and socalled Western Europeans can't stand each other? Never mind "Eastern Europeans"...

    Finally and for now, I do not think Brigitte would be exchanging the posts on this blog, unless she had dire need(s) to do so beyond those she has expressed so far.

    Best,
    Plateau

    http://plateauofiran.wordpress.com/

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Hi Plateau.

    I think the EU is not built to last, and I'll deal with that at greater length in a future post: 'Austrians you should read.'

    Briefly, an Austrian political scientist named Leopold Kohr wrote a book called 'The Breakup of Nations' in 1957, wherein he examined the necessary features of a successful federation of nations.

    He said there are two well-constructed examples in the world: the US and Switzerland, and predicted that a federation of the existing European nations - and Canada, would be unstable in the long run.

    As for that need, for several years now I have been noting the most amazing examples of breathtakingly absurd positions taken by various West Europeans of my acquaintance. (Did you know for example, that the US saved Europe in WWII for money?)

    You're the pro in the psych department, but I'd say the function of these positions seems to be to, 1) convince themselves that they are not in a civilizational crisis, and 2) to rationalize their own cowardice.

    More later, and BTW have you ever looked up the website of my bud Ali Alyami of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia?

    You too might have interesting things to talk about, and wouldn't I like to hang around and listen!

     

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