Article copyI recently had lunch with a good American friend living in France. On the subject of the forecoming U.S. elections, he told me he was quite worried by the (apparent, alleged or real) rise of the Democrat potential nominee, Obama.
Quite worried because — and I quote from memory:
"There's never been someone like that yet in America, either as a president or a candidate. That guy is a Socialist, and I mean that in the European meaning of the word. That's what's truly worrying."I hope my American readers — or what's left of them, after my far too frequent hiatuses lately — will weigh in on that (consider this an open thread), but I'll just add a couple of things before you get started:
- My friend has been a long time U.S. expat in France. He knows a full blown EuroSocialist when he sees one.
- I know how low the American Left can go1, but trust me: they still have to reach the depths at which the European style Socialists teem and crawl. It's always difficult to convey to an American audience the truly ghastly nature of these tax and control freaks because America never had to endure them at home (thank God for that) even though she consistently fought them abroad, and, well, Americans do tend to take Freedom for granted sometimes (bless you for that, though).
Unless you've lived under the rule of these totalitarians (at least in spirit, when not in name) their deep and distinctive blend of oppression, built upon centuries of "refinement" (blossoming with the French Revolution, that set both the modern standard and the roots of State terror and coercion of the citizenry) is truly hard to fathom (and yes, you can praise the Lord, for this particular ignorance is nothing short of bliss).
If you really must get an idea, try to picture it on a scale ranging from the soft-spoken Nanny state snakes — the Zapatero, Brown or Sarkozy2 — all the way to the fully formed hard-ass dictators and mass-murderers à la Pétain, Milosevic or Hitler3.
While you're contemplating that dire panorama, keep in mind that in all cases we're talking about regimes where the people fears the government — and never the other way round — and where the representatives and members of the apparatus, all the way to the top, can get away with just about any misdemeanors4.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what's for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the decision."Well, there you have, in a nutshell, the difference between both sides of the Atlantic.
Europe has Democracy, all right.
Tons of it.