European Decline

In the U.K., the Nanny-State Apocalypse Is Now

Featured image How helpless can people become, in the grip of a relentless, cradle to grave nanny state? Here in the U.S., we still have time to turn back; most Americans are still horrified by the Life of Julia as a dependent of the state. But in the United Kingdom, the Rubicon seems to have been crossed. That is my conclusion, anyway, after seeing this piece in the Telegraph: the British government »

Is Europe Doomed?

Featured image In France and Greece, voters have rejected “austerity”–the idea that European governments should live within their means. In Italy, too, anti-austerity candidates are currently leading in the polls. French Socialist François Hollande vows to continue running huge deficits so that he can hire more public sector workers; in a burst of stupidity, he announced that “My real enemy is the world of Finance.” I suppose there could be a surer »

Sarkozy defeated; Socialist elected

Featured image As expected, Socialist Francois Hollande has defeated incumbent president Nicloas Sarkozy. With half the vote counted, Holland leads 51-49. French polling agencies project that Hollande will end up capturing between 52 and 53 percent of the final vote. With so many factors working against him — above all, the economy — Sarkozy ended up running fairly well. But France nonetheless will be saddled with a Socialist president and, by most »

The left is on the rise in France and England

Featured image France is poised to elect Socialist Francois Hollande as its president this weekend. The latest blow to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy occurred when centrist Francois Bayrou, the fourth place finisher in the first round, announced that he would vote for Hollande. Bayrou said he would do so despite his opposition to Hollande’s pledge to back out of an EU agreement binding France to reduce its deficit. The centrist leader cited Sarkozy’s »

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: »