Little Bit Late
Dr. Samuel Gregg, of the Acton Institute, recently had published a very fine book titled “Becoming Europe.”
This is a scholarly work in which the author presents a review of the historical path which led relentlessly to the social and economic cultures of modern day Western Europe. He discusses how America diverged from the European course in important ways which until recently fostered the free enterprise Americans have enjoyed.
However, the future of this phenomenal record of achievement is at risk. Gregg believes that “Europe is the canary in the coal mine” for America.
That America was colonized by Europeans makes it impossible for American culture to be completely different from Europe’s. Gregg writes, “Culturally speaking, America is Europe’s child.” Nevertheless, America went its own way in claiming the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Tocqueville’s 1830s America was a nation humming with the pursuit of wealth and riches. Hard work and meeting consumer demand was the path to economic success.
On the other hand, Europe’s state welfare systems became increasingly entrenched, so that today political parties on the left and right behave essentially the same way in dealing with economic issues.
Gregg notes that America joined the welfare state community somewhat late. The New Deal of the 1930s and the Great Society from the Johnson administration were the giant leaps forward. With few interruptions America has maintained a course toward becoming a deficit-spending welfare state, in short, “becoming Europe.”
Gregg concludes that “it would be a grave error for America to go down the European economic path, and not simply because it would result in less economic prosperity. The moral and political cost, in terms of reduced freedom, is simply not worth it.”
A very worthwhile read, but it may be too late.
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