European Decline

Pascal’s Wager for Today

Featured image Stop the presses: a French intellectual has a good op-ed article in today’s Wall Street Journal—Pascal Bruckner’s “The Ideology of Catastrophe.”  It’s a nice tour of the apocalypticism that is popular with the media and the Left (but I repeat. . .), with a French twist: My point is not to minimize our dangers. Rather, it is to understand why apocalyptic fear has gripped so many of our leaders, scientists »

Power Line Ahead of Time

Featured image A week ago we warned about how the economic troubles in Spain were threatening to reignite the Eurozone crisis, and Thursday of this week Time got round to noticing in “Spain’s Death Spiral and the Hypocrisy of the Euro”: Anyone out there who thinks the euro zone debt crisis is over – and you know who you are – should take a good look at what’s going on in Spain. »

Whatever Happened to Growth Liberalism?

Featured image Quick, what quack said this: “There is a point at which in peace times high rates of income and profits taxes destroy energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.” The answer is (drum roll please): Woodrow Wilson!  He’s not a guy who said very many sensible things in his time.  To the contrary, as a certain »

Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image The pain in Spain is felt mostly by the plain Joses, according to Alan Abelson in his “Up and Down Wall Street” column in this week’s edition of Barron’s.  This is not an April Fool’s Day joke, folks, even though you might think so from the related news item that Spanish hookers have gone on strike against bankers.  (But that still leaves politicians. . .)  While everyone is still digesting »

Battle of the Books

Featured image A follower on Twitter posed the following question to me and Jonah Goldberg in a Twitter post over the weekend: “Is there any rough contemporary corollary to the Lionel Trilling—Russell Kirk, lib.-con. intellectual battle?”  What Chad M (Chad 1320 if you’re Twitterversical) is referring to is the fact that Russell Kirk’s magisterial book, The Conservative Mind, was written largely in response to Trilling’s assertion in The Liberal Imagination that “In »

Go Away, Or I Will Taunt You A Second Time!

Featured image Today’s comedy segment comes courtesy of the madcaps at the European Union. Picking on the Europeans has become cliché, especially when they hand you such lame material, like the EU-produced video below that is supposed to convey . . . what, exactly?  Moviegoers may think it a slightly wacky homage to Tarantino’s Kill Bill, showing that Europeans are so much more civilized because they’d sit down and charm their opponents »

The Decline of the West?

Featured image Don’t look now (which actually always means, do look), but late today Moody’s cut the debt ratings of nine European countries.  Look for a bad open on the markets in the morning.  Beware of Greeks bearing gifts austerity packages. And yes, that’s Oswald Spengler in the thumbnail of this post.  In case you were wondering.  Was he just a century too soon–about Europe anyway? »

Athens In Flames

Featured image Athens is burning tonight, as leftists and others protest against the Greek Parliament’s vote in favor of the measures that are required by the EU in exchange for a 130 billion Euro bailout–enough to keep Greece afloat for now, at least. The rioters have nothing intelligent or constructive to say. They believe, evidently, that Greeks are entitled to consume far more than they produce, forever. Nice work if you can »

Is Britain a Christian Nation?

Featured image That’s what Prime Minister David Cameron says. He is concerned about his country’s social decline, and invokes Britain’s Christian heritage as an antidote: Britain is a Christian nation and should not be afraid of standing up for Christian values to help counter the country’s “moral collapse”, Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday. In a rare foray into religion by a British premier, Cameron said “live and let live” had too »

Eurocrash Update #3: Radek’s Warning

Featured image You didn’t need this morning’s Wall Street Journal headline (“Markets Doubt Europe Deal”) to know that the weekend Eurodeal is not impressing the markets.  Beyond the market reaction, this morning’s papers here in the U.S. are mostly fixed on the drama in London, where Prime Minister Cameron gave a spirited defense of his veto of changes to the EU Treaty, while the misgivings of his coalition partner Nick Clegg portend »

Eurocrash Update #2

Featured image Thus far in this incipient series I’ve written about some of the political and constitutional aspects of the Eurocrisis, but at the end of day this is mostly a matter of dollars Euros and cents sense.  The weak agreement reached last Friday is surprisingly similar to the weak climate agreement reached almost at the same hour down in Durban—large on sentiment, but lacking meaningful specifics or an enforcement mechanism.  The »

Eurocrash Update #1

Featured image So in Friday’s commentary on the Euro Zone crisis I observed that if the 27 members of the EU couldn’t abide by the precise terms of the EU Treaty, they would find a way to go around it, and mentioned James Madison’s discussion of the “delicate” problem of changing compacts with less than the unanimous consent required by the terms of the compact (in 1787, the Articles of Confederation; in »

More Green Energy Fail

Featured image Another photo for a Saturday morning, from Scotland: »

James Madison and the European Crisis

Featured image The slow-motion Euro Zone disaster proceeds apace.  The lead headline in this morning’s Wall Street Journal is “Tensions Rise at EU Summit.”  Seems the Eurocrat crowd can’t agree on what to do.  Surprise, surprise. There’s an interesting issue here that is in some ways an echo right out of 1787.  The treaty that established the current form of the EU requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 members to amend »

Fuzzy Thinking in the U.K.

Featured image This is the kind of news story that makes me think Europe in general, and Great Britain in particular, have no future. Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat who serves as deputy prime minister in David Cameron’s coalition government, promises to “get tough” on private sector executives who earn too much money: The government will publish new proposals to “get tough” on excessive pay in January, the deputy prime minister said. »

Maybe the Mayans Were Right About 2012?

Featured image With only five weeks to go before 2012 arrives, there are several plausible candidates for the “end of the world” that every New Ager has been eagerly anticipating since Mayan calendar fetishism replaced the made-up Kwanza holiday as the favorite diversion of the trendier-than-thou set.  Right now the leading threat is the Eurozone crisis.  It is looking more and more as if financial Armageddon is inevitable at some point, with »

Putin’s Army

Featured image Politics can be pretty prudish here in the U.S.–depending, it seems, on the political party involved. Not so in Russia, where Vladimir Putin’s campaign for president features Putin’s Army, a group of models who vow to “tear their clothes off” for their candidate. Well, it isn’t actually clear how big the “army” is, but it includes this young lady: »