Eurabia or Fantasyland?

Victor David Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has written an open letter to Europe asking us to “reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending the idea of the West from this latest illiberal scourge of Islamic fascism.” It is getting some play in the usual right-wing quarters, despite his extraordinary lack of knowledge about Europe – and that’s a kind interpretation; others might suggest (as does Gary Brecher, here, analysing his take on Iraq) that he is simply making things up.

Alexander Rubio has responded here (copied here) speaking to Hanson’s take on Iraq, and he has been mildly mocked elsewhere. But I think this misses the point. The simple fact is that Hanson knows very little about what is going on in the outside world. (I’m grateful to my co-blogger Alex Harrowell for some of the points below.)

He writes that “recently, Europeans have been taken hostage on the West Bank, Yemen, and Iraq. All have been released. There are two constants in the stories: Some sort of blackmail was no doubt involved (either cash payments or the release of terrorist killers in European jails?), and the captives often seem to praise the moderation of their captors.” The use of “no doubt” is telling, indicating that Hanson actually doesn’t know; I have obviously missed the media accounts of terrorists being released from European jails; the Italians freed in Yemen had nice things to say about the country as a whole but called their kidnappers “criminals”; the French engineer recently liberated in Baghdad has said nothing at all in public; and I obviously also missed the reports of recent kidnapping in the West Bank (though the hostages recently freed in Gaza did say that they had been “treated well” in captivity, which is not quite the same thing as praising their captors for moderation).

He writes that “a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq — although the terrorists nevertheless continued, despite their promises to the contrary, to plant bombs and plan assassinations of Spanish judicial officials.” I obviously missed these promises from the terrorists, unless perhaps Hanson is the last person around who still thinks that the Madrid bombings were carried out by ETA (presumably their little-known Islamic wing, to fit with the rest of his thesis).

He writes that “only two places in the world are now safe for a Jew to live in safety — and Europe, the graveyard of 20th-century Jewry, is tragically not among them.” Are you more likely to be blown up in Lyon or Tel Aviv?

He writes that “In the post-Cold War you dismantled your armed forces, and chose to enhance entitlements at the expense of military readiness. I fear you counted only on a tried and simple principle: That the United States would continue to subsidize European defense while ignoring your growing secular religion of anti-Americanism.” What did the US do after 1992 except enhancing tax cuts at the expense of military readiness – closing scores of bases worldwide, downsizing army divisions, reducing NORAD to the four F-15s it had on duty on the morning of September 11, 2001?

He writes that European “courts indict American soldiers, often a few miles from the very military garrisons that alone protect you.” Can this be a reference to Mario Lozano, of the New York National Guard, who appears to have fired the fatal shots that killed Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari in Iraq in March last year? He has not yet, in fact, been indicted, so perhaps Hanson is referring to some other case?

He writes that “a mass murderer like Slobodan Milosevic could operate with impunity in Europe until removed by the intervention of the United States”. Well, in fact Milosevic was removed by his own people, in a democratic (sort-of) election; and those of us who were involved at the time certainly recall moments when the West, including the United States, appeared to be colluding in keeping him in power.

Towards the end he descends into total nonsense. “A European Union that facilitates trade, finance, and commerce can enrich and ennoble your continent, but it need not suppress the unique language, character, and customs of European nationhood itself, much less abdicate a heritage that once not merely moralized about, but took action to end, evil.” Can anyone interpret this paragraph in terms that make sense? What is the unique language of European nationhood – Proto-Indo-European (apologies to the Finns, Hungarians, Estonians, Basques, etc)?

Hanson’s appeal for a strong Europe, in alliance with the United States, is not at all unreasonable (and therefore his insistence that “the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations” is rather puzzling). His analysis of what is actually going on in Europe, however, is utterly ludicrous. (Apparently we are a nest of “childlessness, pacifism, socialism, and hedonism” – what’s so bad about hedonism, anyway?) It all seems to prove that old saying, that the problem with left-wing nutters is that they read only left-wing nutty literature, and the problem with right-wing nutters is that they read nothing at all.

48 thoughts on “Eurabia or Fantasyland?

  1. One can’t fairly expect nuance from the likes of Davis Hanson, but it might be worth noting that the recent kidnappings in Yemen (not merely of Italians, but also of a veteran German diplomat who, ironically, is a noted specialist in negotiating with hostage-takers) have been very different to the kidnappings in Iraq that ended in videotaped beheadings etc. In Yemen, it seems, taking hostages is the functional equivalent of visiting your MP’s surgery. The same seems to be true of the kidnapping of Susanna Osthoff in Iraq. Nobody should mistake my meaning here. Such behaviour is savagery, and I would have no principled objection to the Italian or German government going all Palmerston-in-the-Don-Pacifico-affair over it. But these were matters of local politics, however primitive that politics might be; not anti-western terror. The Yemenite tribesman who abducted the German diplomat (and hoped thereby to pressure Yemen’s government into taking their side in a dispute against anoither tribe) are something very different to ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’.

    As for all those American troops indicted by the ungrateful European natives, perhaps Davis Hanson is thinking of those US servicemen who from time to time rape young girls in the Philippines or on Okinawa. That’s not Europe, of course, but then surely such minor distinctions grow fuzzy from the distant vantage-point of God’s own country. Davis Hanson is correct on the important point at any rate. These wogs obviously don’t know their place; surely their American protectors are entitled to a little droit de seigneur by way of R&R.

  2. “reawake, rediscover your heritage”

    There is some much to criticise in this open letter, where to start?

    First of all, I do not buy the pompous flattering in the beginning of his post. Yes, Newton and Shakespeare et al originated on European soil. But so did the spectres of “Nazism, fascism” we supposedly liberated ourselves from. Those spectres too rose to the occasion by proclaiming high-winded ideals.

    His introduction is the first in a series of misunderstandings about Europe and cultural ignorance. Speaking for myself only now, I do not buy this kind of rhetoric. I am not flattered at all. I gag each time I hear Bush or Chirac (possibly even more unpopular in his own country than George) or whoever preach about lofty ideals (“freedom, freedom,” he cried incessantly) that they themselves must know are a lie. I am guessing I am not the only European thinking Hanson strikes the wrong tone and confuses his native audience with the European one. Even when you may find “Europeans” who love it. We are really quite diverse, you know.

    I’ll wait for other commenters to weigh in, since I have some work to do, before I continue.

    BTW, if you needed help with Iraq, Hanson, you should have asked us with proper facts in hand. There are many reasons why we are present in Afghanistan right by your side, but not so much in Iraq.

  3. I must object, however, that you are being highly unfair to Davis Hanson when you write that ‘right-wing nutters … read nothing at all’. VDH is a right-wing nutter to be sure, but a very well-read one; and everything he needs to know about the EU he learnt from Thucydides.

  4. Oh, Mr Hanson, do not forget that your precious Europe was also at the origin of that spectre of Communism we ‘liberated’ ourselves from.

  5. In other news, not only does it turn out Susanne Osthoff was a BND spy, but Bernard Planche was a semi-detached asset of French intelligence..(according to Le Monde)

  6. I agree that this VD Hanson doesn’t seem to know very much about Europe (or the rest of the world for that matter) and it’s a mystery to me how a person like that can be a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He’s got lots of things wrong, many of which have been pointed out. I’d like to add one more which I don’t think anyone else here has picked on yet.

    VD Hanson writes that “If America, the former British commonwealth, India, and China, embraced globalization, while the Arab Middle East rejected it, you sought a third way of insulating yourselves from it.”

    I’d say that the EU is probably a lot more free trade oriented than either one of the countries he lists. Looking at who gets slammed by the WTO the most the US certainly comes in first place. India and China are certainly not very liberal when it comes to trade and the former (?) British Commonwealth is a pretty mixed bag.

    Finally, I couldn’t help but twitching at this one (since I’m for kicking the US troops out of Europe): “Your courts indict American soldiers, often a few miles from the very military garrisons that alone protect you.”

    I don’t feel protected by US troops and I don’t think Germans, Brits or Italians lay around worrying about what will happen if the US miliatary bases pulled up their stakes and left.

  7. “I don’t feel protected by US troops and I don’t think Germans, Brits or Italians lay around worrying about what will happen if the US miliatary bases pulled up their stakes and left.”

    Actually, some of them do worry about that. Local economies could grind to a halt. Too tired to provide links, I am going to sleep and see if I still feel like writing more about this H.C. Hansen.

    One thing I was planning to write about: Apparently former vice-roy Paul Bremer, in an interview with the Dutch Volkskrant, threatened rather unceremoniously that America would “punish” The Netherlands if my home country refuses to send more troops to Afghanistan. Quite a different tone, and probably a more realistic one, than H.C. Hansen uses to try and convince us. Whoever “us” may be.

  8. Ah, Hanson’s article is just rife with false dichotomies just aching for deconstruction. Great Ideas of the West indeed – like chattel slavery and colonialism. What really strikes me is how it echos the phrasings of white supremicists: Reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending civilisation from the dark hordes of the Untermenschen. After all, didn’t white men invent everything of value in the world?

    The Hoover Institute has a long history as a nuthouse, so Hanson’s status as a senior fellow is not exactly surprising.

  9. Well, VDH certainly seems to have struck a nerve.

    I don’t blame Europeans for taking offense, but perhaps articles like this will help Europeans realize how crude and inaccurate, also, are the caricatures of America on offer in the European press.

    For good or for ill, the popular American perception of Europe is of a cynical, hypocritical, duplicitous, lazy, and exhausted civilization. Of course, this view was as popular in Thomas Jefferson’s time as today. Untrue, perhaps, but as resonant with Americans as the worst anti-American foolishness of Jose Bove or George Galloway is with Europeans.

  10. Cynical, hypocritical, duplicitous, lazy … yep that’s us; long holidays, a sense of history, skeptical about religion and a lack of real commitment to the continued invoicing of oil in dollars. Dontchajustlove that clear blue water between the old continent and the new.

  11. For good or for ill, the popular European perception of teh USA is of a aggressive, hypocritical, racist, militaristic, and backward civilization.

  12. >VDH is a right-wing nutter to be sure, but a very >well-read one; and everything he needs to know >about the EU he learnt from Thucydides.

    There are a couple more of those, unfortunately. Too bad it’s not always clear if they have an agenda or are simply, well, frustrated over something they can’t really articulate ;).

    Btw, here’s the southside version of the essay 😉
    http://vodkapundit.com/archives/008432.php
    (this, btw, was posted on pyjamamedia right below Edward’s H5N1 article).

  13. A rather caricaturesque bit of jingoist ranting, even by American right-wing standards. Am I the only one who finds all the earnest airplay it’s getting in European blogosphere a little silly?

  14. That’s what you choose to find silly? You have read the piece?
    I assume you’re an embarassed American, and wish this one-man fount of silliness would disappear.
    Don’t blame you. Rarely does one stumble on so rich a source of concentrated drivel.
    My favourite part (copied without editing, honestly):
    The Balkan massacres proved that a mass murderer like Slobodan Milosevic could operate with impunity in Europe until removed by the intervention of the United States. And yet from that gruesome lesson, in retrospect we over here have learned only two things: The Holocaust would have gone on unabated hours from Paris and Berlin without the leadership of United States, and in this era of the Chirac/Schroeder ingratitude the American public would never sanction such help to you again. If you believe that an American-led NATO should not serve larger Western interests outside of Europe, we concede that it cannot even do that inside it.
    Amusingly, in this particular version of reality, historical accuracy requires that the part of the virtuous and manly steely-eyed protector is played by Bill Clinton. It’s possible Hanson is not aware of this. Europeans have much to live down in Bosnia, so let’s not dwell on the complicating role of America’s policy muddle in the years prior to Dayton. Let’s also ignore the fact that the Serbs were eventually brought to the table via the secret arming and training of Croatia’s ethnic cleansers. Water under the bridge. And in any case, Hanson gets along without such distracting complications. The lessons are simple – indeed, Americans “have learned only two things”. Firstly, that France and Germany are so mired in the moral swamp that they blithely let a Holocaust unfold in front of them. Secondly, that America will – if only for the purpose of theatrics – let a further Holocaust unfold in the future, because France and Germany have been ungrateful.

    An eyewatering non sequitur about NATO follows.
    It serves only to expose Hanson’s pitiful ignorance of widely reported events. In October 2001 America’s European allies unanimously joined in invoking Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. An offer to participate in the invasion of Afghanistan was rejected by Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, on the grounds that the involvement of NATO allies was unnecessary and would create coordination difficulties. NATO now serves in Afghanistan, where it took command of international forces in August 2003, and in Iraq, where it trains Iraqi forces ahead of the coming American pullout.

  15. I tend to answer such USian jingodiocies with this nice riff by Ken MacLeod:

    »Hey, this is Europe. We took it from nobody; we won it from the bare soil that the ice left. The bones of our ancestors, and the stones of their works, are everywhere. Our liberties were won in wars and revolutions so terrible that we do not fear our governors: they fear us.
    Our children giggle and eat ice-cream in the palaces of past rulers. We snap our fingers at kings. We laugh at popes. When we have built up tyrants, we have brought them down.
    And we have nuclear – fucking – weapons.«

  16. We took it from nobody; we won it from the bare soil that the ice left.

    Probably only true for Basques.

  17. »We took it from nobody; we won it from the bare soil that the ice left.

    Probably only true for Basques.«

    True. But who cares. It has as much truth as the equivalent USian screeds. It’s not meant as a factual rebuttal.

  18. I assume you’re an embarassed American, and wish this one-man fount of silliness would disappear.

    I can’t say I care. Echo chambers like NRO, both right-wing or left-wing, serve a clientele with specific interests. People who like that sort of inchoate self-congratulatory ranting go read it there. Seeing it billed as a dialog of civilizations and mulled over in places I do visit is odd.

    In any case, there are more articulate writers propounding on the Kaganesque Americans-are-from-Mars themes, and even on the warmed-over Leo Strauss (although that’s more of a specialty dish, I guess). That’s not to say I agree with them, but one can argue about these things with less of a strawman.

  19. Oskar asks why Hanson is a Hoover fellow.
    I’d have thought it’s because he sucks.
    Michael, you say that Hanson is not a serious figure. Clearly, he proves as much with every op-ed he writes. Nonetheless Dick Cheney lets it be known that he is in favour at the White House, to which he has been invited to brief staff. It seems he has some influence. Yet even if he has none, he is an absurd fool. I point at him and laugh with a clear conscience.

  20. Hilariously, Hanson, a premier windbag, manages to summon forth his kindred AFOE blowhards, Tilton and Martens, in the *same post*. The Planets must be in alignment.

    But what’s fascinating is the self loathing that the (supposedly laughable) pokes and prods produce:
    But so did the spectres of “Nazism, fascism” we supposedly liberated ourselves from.
    .
    .
    Oh, Mr Hanson, do not forget that your precious Europe was also at the origin of that spectre of Communism we ‘liberated’ ourselves from.
    .
    .
    What really strikes me is how it echos the phrasings of white supremicists: Reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending civilisation from the dark hordes of the Untermenschen. After all, didn’t white men invent everything of value in the world?
    .
    .
    long holidays, a sense of history, skeptical about religion and a lack of real commitment
    .
    .
    we do not fear our governors: they fear us.
    Our children giggle and eat ice-cream in the palaces of past rulers. We snap our fingers at kings. We laugh at popes. When we have built up tyrants, we have brought them down.

    Yeah, that ‘our govenors fear us’ is rich.
    —-
    Nobody should mistake my meaning here. Such behaviour is savagery, and I would have no principled objection to the Italian or German government going all Palmerston-in-the-Don-Pacifico-affair over it. But these…[snip bullshit hypocrisy]
    This is coming from the same person who was aghast over the ‘renditions’ perpetrated by Amerikkka against a certain German citizen. Funny, America got no buts. Reminds me of a post by Wretchard:My fearless prediction is that not a single “peace organization” will denounce this kidnapping. If this hostage is ever safely released, which I hope is the case, this person will utter not a word of condemnation of his/her abduction, an act which in most Western societies is capital crime, and which, under the name of “extraordinary rendition” is considered an international outrage. That, and not the abduction itself, which is dime-a-dozen in Gaza these days, is the real news.

  21. Well, it looks like the choir’s being preached to. Not much I can say here that won’t get flamed. But, what the hell.

    When the great cathedrals of Europe, those absolute masterpieces of architecture are turned into mosques like the Hagia Sophia, and you’re all living under Shari’a, it will be a sad day for the whole world.

    Go on, all of you, so smug, so civilized. Go please and wake up. It’s not all roses out there and they’re coming for you first.

  22. “But what’s fascinating is the self loathing”

    I love Europe, I loathe people’s self-serving illusions about it.

    “It’s not all roses out there and they’re coming for you first.”

    Very true. Only problem is the definition of “they” here. I see your kind coming after us first before the muslims do.

    But in case it is the muslims, I have plenty of carpets at home. The only thing I still need to cover my butt is a compass… I shall buy one tomorrow, okay?

  23. You might wanna check for duck tape, too. Do you think we can protect our great cathedrals with tin foil from the cosmic muslim rays?

    You know, the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca are very clear about this.

  24. I see your kind coming after us first before the muslims do.

    Dream the American dream, Guy. Your grandchildren will be playing real football.

  25. “Dream the American dream, Guy. Your grandchildren will be playing real football.”

    Gotcha. I was not talking about Americans in general, though 😉

    “Your kind? Which is that? Elaborate, please.”

    I was not talking to you, Rupert, but to grantman. Anyway, since you said “please” I meant the Muslim Threat kind of people. You never know when they decide to get all preemptive on your butt.

  26. I was not talking to you, Rupert, but to grantman. Anyway, since you said “please” I meant the Muslim Threat kind of people. You never know when they decide to get all preemptive on your butt.

    Either your joking or an your an idiot. Or maybe both.

  27. The poor man’s Enoch Powell writes:

    This is coming from the same person who was aghast over the ‘renditions’ perpetrated by Amerikkka against a certain German citizen. Funny, America got no buts.

    Well, Rupert, if you cannot perceive the difference between (i) taking action against people who not only actually did kidnap somebody but openly crowed they had done so, that being the point of the exercise, and (ii) the illegal rendition for purposes of torture of a man who even the rendering country (having been exposed to the public and thus left no choice) admits was innocent of any wrongdoing, then I can only hope your parents store sharp objects and household cleaning chemicals higher than you can reach.

    Oh, and by the way, Rupert? ‘Amerikkka’ is really rather puerile.

    [Edited to repair defective syntax. Apologies to Rupert who, though a troll who wants spanking, is entertaining enough to deserve his spankings properly proof-read. — Mrs T.]

  28. Y’know, Guy, I have to say I agree with Michael S. You seem like a sensible fellow, so if you have any grandchildren, I am confident they will play real football, not rugby (to say nothing of rugby league, Oz rules, bogball or the Eton wall game; and to say doubly nothing of American ‘gridiron’).

  29. Mrs Tilton, I, for one, would welcome our new American overlords (to paraphrase a famous person). Why do you think I already speak English? Just change an ‘honour’ into ‘honor’, drop the ‘i’ in aluminium and, presto, I am integrated. After fourteen years of translating American movies and television products I would certainly qualify for citizenship status in the new empire, no?

  30. I believe 25 years’ service to the empire are needed for citizenship, but here I defer to noted classicist V. Davis Hanson. Surely 14 years suffice, though, for dhimmi status?

  31. This is just an ancillary point:

    Do Europeans really view America as a racist place compared to Europe? I find that frankly incredible. The casual expression of racism seems far more tolerated in Europe (note behavior at football games toward black players which has no parallel in the US). Another good example is these polls regularly taken where significant fractions of European populations classify themselves as racist. Or the fact that Le Pen actually got to a runoff. Or the French mandate that one supply a photograph with applications, ensuring that Arabs and blacks don’t get hired.

    I’ve met people who have been denied entrance to Swedish clubs because they were black and only because they were black, and these people were born and bred in Sweden!

    Maybe this is off-topic, but everything I have heard leads me to believe that racism is a far more serious problem in Europe than in the US.

  32. I think the site has 2 people posting under the name grantman! My kids already play soccer/ football! haha! I do find it interesting that Europeans and blue state Americans have such high level of scepticism of their own culture and traditions. I dont think that scepticism is found nearly as much in other cultures. Nothing is sacred (for better and worse). An example might be some sort of avant-garde art that degrades some sort of “western symbol” would barely elict a yawn in New York or London. Conversely if some others culture is percieved to have been “degraded” it creates quite an uproar. It does seem like part of the western world does not take itself to seriously anymore. PS I am a blue state resident.

  33. Can’t really say about Europeans in general, Hektor, but in England inter-racial cohabitation rates are quite high and do not occasion much comment, unlike in the US. We also don’t have actual ghettoes according to the standard geographers’ definition. So yes, we Brits really do think Americans are more racist than we are. Casual expression of racist sentiment is one thing, socio-economic reality is another. Europeans are generally less reticent about calling a spade a spade.

    What percentage of black American males have a white partner, do you think?

  34. John,

    I don’t have full statistics on this in the US, but apparently, the 1990 census reported that 17.6% of black marriages occur with whites. Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be married to a white woman than a black woman to a white man. In the UK 2% of marriages are inter-ethnic, but I’m not sure of the breakdown.

    I don’t have a good sense of the UK on this, but it certainly does seem like you do have ghettos in the UK. All those northern mill towns aren’t that mixed as far as I can tell, not even talking about London. And the UK has severe sectarian tensions and ghettoizing based on religion for sure.

  35. Nothing but Euroweenie bullcrap. What Hansen’s letter is doing is not so easily dismissed. You are in denial of the fact that never in the history of the world short of war or plague. Has the magnitude of demographic change that is about to take place in western Europe ever occurred. You Eroweenies are in essence committing suicide. Europe has failed miserably to assimilate it’s Muslim populations.the average age of a French women is above the age of child bearing and the French still have ongoing riots. They just aren’t reporting them in the media.You have an unassimilated Muslim population that is going to be the majority of the population in my lifetime. Good Luck. So go right ahead and prattle on. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

    PS maybe you should consider trading land for peace.

  36. Thank you for your concern, Cameron. We shall lose time putting your advice into practice.

    As for ‘trading land for peace’, would that be anything like the ‘trading essential liberties for a little temporary security’ that you and your wingnut mates in the USA are so keen on these days? Hmm… somebody once said something rather wise about that trade-off. An American, of all things. You were a different people, in those days.

    But I don’t see why we should think of trading land for peace. We’re not the ones currently at war.

    OK, be gone with you now. Toddle off home to little green footballs, and don’t come back.

  37. Once again, from Cameron, we see the truth that underlies this American concern: Europe’s low birth rate as a form of racial suicide. Old logics from the segregation era in the US raise their ugly heads again. Nevermind that Europe’s Muslim populations, in the second generation, largely speak only the languages of European states. Nevermind that they are as likely to defend the anti-immigrant and culturally integrationist measures of the countries they live in as not.

    And of course, it’s always about sex. Honestly, can’t these wingnuts just get laid and stop freaking out about other people’s sex lives? To quote Cameron: “the average age of a French women is above the age of child bearing and the French still have ongoing riots.” It’s kind of funny to put those two things together: Damn those French women for not being more sexually available! It’s their fault France has problems! I tell ya, De Gaulle should never have let women get the vote!

    On to more serious issues:

    Hektor, 7.9% of the UK population is nominally non-white, so if 2.5% of UK marriages are interracial, and assuming marriage rates are equal in both white and non-white communities, then 31.6% of married non-whites in the UK are married to whites – roughly double the percentage for African Americans. My assumptions may be wrong, but they are likely to be wrong in favour a higher percentage rather than lower, assuming this 2.5% figure is accurate.

    I suspect Europeans do see America as more racist than Europe, and I agree that they are wrong to do so. I’ve seen enough racism in Belgium and France of a type that would never be tolerated in the US to show that. However, I’m not sure that a quantitative comparison is possible. Furthermore, America and Europe simply are not uniform. The kind of racism that New Orleans made all too visible in the US would not only be nearly impossible in Europe, it would have been nearly impossible in California. On the other hand, the kind of racial profiling I saw every day in Paris over the Christmas break could never have gone as unremarked in America as it did in France. Every part of the transportation system was heavy with armed police, stopping suspicious characters for offenses as a small as giving lip to SNCF staff. I saw lots of people getting pulled aside by cops, but never once did I see the cops stop someone who wasn’t black or brown in appearance. In California, that kind of obviously racist behaviour leads to class action suits.

  38. Further, I remember reading somewhere that 44 per cent of (some sample of) Brits have an inter-racial relationship at some point in their lives. I don’t remember the source, so this may just be a piece of misleading stats fluff.

    Regarding northern mill towns, I used to live there and they are very mixed indeed. Bradford has, as well as Kashmiris, Irishmen, Germans, Poles, Ukrainians and Italians in significant numbers..

  39. Finally, it’s worth remembering that racism is much more politically successful in contemporary America than in Europe. In Europe, rightwing parties normally play the coquette with racists as a measure of desperation, and it usually fails to produce results (are you thinking what we’re thinking?). In America, the party that has made appeal to racists a cornerstone of its electoral strategy controls all three branches of the federal government, as well as most statehouses in the incest-and-hookworm belt.

  40. Data from the 2001 census due to be released later this year is expected to confirm that Britain has one of the highest rates in the world of inter-ethnic relationships and, consequently, mixed race people.

    By 1997 already half of black men and a third of black women in relationships had a white partner according to a major study of ethnic minorities published by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI).
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2002/race/changing_face_of_britain.stm

    Furthermore, just ask a British black guy about his impressions of the US. In my experience, the reaction is on the lines of ‘I thought people were racist in the UK, but it’s nothing compared to what goes down in the US’.

    Some UK northern towns do exhibit a degree of ethnic segregation, but the communities concerned are neither large enough, nor completely segregated enough, to qualify as ghettoes as social geographers define a ghetto

  41. Those muslims.
    A demographic menace; the cause of riots and domestic unrest; their alien morality and degraded customs threatening the moral wellbeing of our society; a fifth column for the scheming rulers of a threatening foreign faith.
    There’s a historical tradition here, with a nicely appropriate label.

  42. The Finance departments in European gsbs will have to change radically once charging of interest is prohibited. Ahh …it now makes sense to see all of the government bonds being issued with 40+ year maturities… interest payments will be banned by the time these come to maturity…Brilliant!

  43. I don’t think the political ramifications of winking at racism is as simple on either side of the Atlantic. The Danish government certainly seems to be winking at racists, and Edmund Stoiber does more than wink. The rise of anti-immigration laws and attitudes across the continent certainly seem to have propelled parties across the continent.

    In the US, the Republican party is effectively anti-black, but it’s facing cognitive dissonance on its approaches toward Latinos and Arabs.

    I think Scott Martens is correct – the level of racism is quite different in different parts of Europe and in different parts of the US.

    John,

    I have asked black and Arab guys about their impressions of European countries, and (with the exception of the UK, which my acquantainces are not familiar with), they pretty much told me that countries like France, Sweden, Italy, and to a lesser extent Germany are all more racist than the US. Obviously we are talking small statistics here and Europe is even more diverse in many ways than America, so broad generalizations can’t easily be drawn.

    I’m just surprised to see racism as a stock criticism of America in relation to Europe.

  44. I’d come down on Hektor’s side on this.
    I remember visiting the Musee Royal de L’Afrique Centrale in Brussels and coming away feeling nauseated that such a thing could be allowed to persist (Michaela Wrong writes about it in her ‘Footsteps of Mr Kurtz’). But Scott’s point – the rashness of generalising about America or Europe – is clearly right. “I am large, I contain multitudes”, etc.

    I think, among a host of other problems, that’s the central problem with the Hanson article that tops this thread.

  45. Scott and Hektor are on to an important point. In both Europe and America there are gradients of racism, and they are at different concentrations in different places.

    But there are also qualitative differences in the ragbag of unpleasantnesses we give the common name of ‘racism’. I recall a white southern American (a viscerally antiracist American, I should add) telling me that northern and southern American racisms were very different things. Southern white racists (he said) told blacks: be as close as you like, as long as you don’t get too big; northern white racists told them, be as big as you like, as long as you don’t get too close.

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