06/13/2005: Europe: the Dittohead Paradise?
Sherman Wright has apparently recently returned from a European trip, and he offers (over the course of several days) a few musings on why the right-leaning libertarian types should be praising Europe as an example of what we ought to be doing:
Europe as a Dittohead Paradise
During these experiences I began thinking of what America’s right wing Dittoheads would make of these experiences. Not that experiencing cultures that developed in parallel with American culture would be high on their priority list. For one thing, Europe consists entirely of Foreign Countries. For another, it has a reputation among US right wingers of being a hotbed of socialism and government activism. This is why Bush’s first visit to Europe was remarkably late in life (considering how cosmopolitan his Dad is). My diverse experiences last week, sharpened by my sensitivity to the right wing inconsistency, convinced me that Dittoheads are missing out by not looking to Europe as an embodiment of economic and libertarian values they espouse. Let’s spend a couple of days considering this question.Europe: The Dittohead Economic Paradise
A key Dittohead virtue is everyone paying their own way. They hate “socialism,” which they define as the government providing a service that could be provided by the private sector. I put socialism in quotes because they interpret any spending to “promote the general welfare” (using the phrase from the Constitution) as taking from one citizen to give to another. If the government doesn’t provide any services whatsoever to individuals, then this “taking” problem is solved. What does this look like? It looks like every individual individually paying for anything and everything. And, to a large degree, this is what Europe looks like. Despite its reputation for socialism, there is a far larger degree of pay-as-you-go than most Americans would believe.Europe: The Dittohead Property Rights Paradise
Another very obvious aspect of life in Europe that Dittoheads would doubtless find endearing is the respect afforded to private property. The beach at Rimini is an excellent example. Imagine a very wide and very long stretch of gorgeous beach, comparing favorably to, say, California. Recall that in California there is no private ownership of a beach. Citizens of California are free to walk for miles along their beaches, even in front of celebrity homes. You can walk on the beach in Rimini too, but you have to pay.Europe: The Dittohead Paragon of Freedom
In fact, it’s difficult to drive and stay alive on the autostrada! You discover why you have two eyes – one is for watching the road ahead and the other is for watching the rear view mirrors for Mercedes, BMWs, and Porsches barreling down the road in your lane at twice your speed. I saw no indication that anything resembling a speed limit exists on those highways. I never saw any speed limit signs or, for that matter, Polizei. I recall from my years in Bavaria that if you get hit from behind in the left lane, it’s your fault! The bottom line in Europe is that every driver feels he (and it’s usually a he behind the wheel) has a right to go as fast as his wheels will turn, and the police are happy to go along with this. Instead of stopping speeders, their role is to clean up the messes on the roads that occur all too often. I saw plenty over the years, and am lucky I wasn’t involved with any of them! This is right in line with Dittohead values. So what if driving like a maniac causes fatalities among people not actually putting the pedal to the metal? Who said life was fair?
Len on 06.13.05 @ 06:21 AM CST