Saturday, May 28, 2005

Liberalism's European Failure - Can it Happen Here?

Always interesting to read the foreign MSM; here the Times U.K. gives another reason for the recent losses by Germany's ruling party and the upcoming "non" vote in France on the EU Constitution,,1061-1627759,00.html:

WHY ARE THE PEOPLE of Europe so angry? The standard answer, as the Germans, French and Dutch all turn against their governments, is that the European project has gone too far and that political elites have overreached themselves, losing touch with the ordinary people....In my view, the answer is simple: it’s the economy, stupid. The British and American economies have on the whole been performing well since 1992. Europe, meanwhile, has become an economic disaster.

The people of France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands may be angry about globalisation or ultra-liberalism or immigration, but this reflects a deeper malaise. Their living standards are falling, their pensions are in danger, their children are jobless and their national pride is turning into embarrassment and even shame. In sum, they feel that their countries, which numbered among the world’s richest and most powerful nations as recently as the middle of the last decade, have gone to the dogs under the leadership of the present generation of politicians. And, at least in the economic sense, they are absolutely right.

Interesting. Now what will Europe do - roll up their sleeves, take on a new direction and get to work; or blame the Jews and the Americans for their own self-defeating policies? The answer will tell a generation all they need to know about the nature of the citizen of Europe...

Now, as for American liberals, or more precisely their political organ, the Democratic Party - how did it become a clearinghouse for self-appointed special interest groups to get their policies enacted into law? This interesting historical essay of sorts from Opinion Journal has an answer; tying it into the change in large scale philantropic donations:

A significant shift in liberal philanthropy took place after McGeorge Bundy, a former dean at Harvard and national security adviser in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, was appointed president of the Ford Foundation in 1966. Sharply preferring activism to research and expertise, Bundy pioneered a strategy of "advocacy philanthropy." Soon Ford and other liberal donors were investing in a maze of activist groups promoting feminism, affirmative action, environmentalism, disarmament and other cutting-edge causes. The Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Women's Law Fund and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund were among the products of this initiative.

These groups claimed to speak for and to be the legitimate representatives of their respective causes. In that capacity, they promoted ideas that led to legislation, and then sought to influence the regulatory bodies and federal courts that implemented and interpreted the laws. Thus, Ford and Bundy helped develop an institutional structure that, by means of litigation and the leverage it exercised over administrative agencies, could push its favored programs beyond any limits contemplated by the politicians who enacted them.

Over the long run, the Bundy approach was instrumental in inventing what is by now a familiar phenomenon on the American political scene: the well-placed advocacy group nursing a grievance against American society and seeking compensation on behalf of its members.

Reinforcing this trend was the fact that, simultaneously, the Democratic Party was beginning to alter itself along parallel lines....The groups that now found a home in the party began to look very much like the ones Bundy had tried to organize through the Ford Foundation. In many cases, they were the same groups.

Finally, liberalism itself came to be recast along interest-group lines. The welfare state was redefined from a package of programs through which Americans lent assistance to the poor, the sick and the disabled to a system through which certain defined groups could command government support as a matter of right and as compensation for past injustices. Society was cast as the guilty party, the recipients as its aggrieved victims. This sleight-of-hand in turn made it difficult for government to require the beneficiaries of its aid to adapt their behavior to the standards of middle-class life.

Hence the failure of liberalism, noted in the first story about Europe's pending upheavel. The Democrats cannot align their welfare state with mainstream, middle class values; therefore they must oppose/dismantle them, by raising taxes on the so-called "rich" (try living on less than $100K w/a family of four in New Jersey), forcing gay marriages upon hetrosexual societies, sneering at the religious beliefs of the middle class, barring them from recieving tax credits for sending their kids to private schools, and forcing them under penalty of civil law to accept "multiculturalism", even as it defines down the basic morality of American middle-class society.

Again see the first story about the despair of Europeans on their falling quality of life, and remember what type of doctrine brought it on. I'll quote my own post, here - :

The ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democratic voter, according to the Pew study, are quite simply, European.

Remember this, when the Democrats accuse you of being immoral for not supporting their initiatives to salve the pain of their interest group de jour...

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