Thursday, October 21, 2004

Over here in England, many people are watching the US election with baited breath (although, to be frank, most probably don't know its happening). It is true that the outcome does effect us as well and so Americans have a considerable responsibility to the rest of the world to make the right decision. However, I'm certainly not about to tell them what the right decision is as this seems to cause more harm than good.

An example of offering a word of friendly advice going horribly wrong is the Guardian's efforts to influence the vote in Clark County, Ohio. Never have I seen such patronising liberal stupidity in my life. Can the Guardian's editors, desperate for a Kerry victory, really have thought that getting Richard Dawkins, a man genetically incapable of empathic with ordinary people, to tell Americans how to vote would have anything but a detrimental effect. The Guardian, however, is unapologetic.

At root, the biggest fault line between Europe and the US is over religion. Read some European newspapers and you would think that most Americans are religious fundies who would rather live under a theocracy than democracy. The Guardian itself publishes endless op-ed pieces about how conservative Christians are about to take over. To be fair, they pick a lot of this up from left wing American writers who are just as convinced that Texas is the new Iran. You could say that people who can't tell the difference between the Southern Baptists and Islamic terrorists are not even worth the time of day, but actually Islamicists often get a better press from many liberals in Europe than do Christians. It is hard to escape the impression that a sizable majority here are quietly cheering on the insurgents in Iraq against the Americans. For people like me who genuinely like Americans, are not afraid of their religious outlook and do not consider matters like abortion to be beyond discussion, European bigotry can get depressing. But there is no sign of it changing and I suspect matters will get worse if the bigots claim the scalp of Rocco Buttiglione whose only crime is to tolerate homosexuals rather than actively approve of them.

On another note, thanks to Elliot for his suggested links. I will come on to consciousness, and especially why I think Nancey Murphy is on a hiding to nothing, later on.


jack perry said...

It is hard to escape the impression that a sizable majority here are quietly cheering on the insurgents in Iraq against the Americans.Speaking as an American who has that very impression (from discussions with Europeans on some other websites), Thank You. It's nice to see that I wasn't crazy, that my own impressions were correct. I exchanged a series of emails with a friend of mine over this which I titled The World is Mad (obviously, I meant insane, not angry).

I wouldn't find it so horrifying if these people were simply cheering on insurgents against the Americans. No. These people are cheering on the kidnapping and intimidation of Iraq's doctors and businessmen; they are cheering on the two car bombs that exploded at the opening of Baghdad's new sewer (killing nearly 40 children); they are cheering on the murder of human rights workers, and they label of their translators as Quislings. I'm not writing this as mere analogy; I've actually read some of these things.

I didn't favor going to war with Iraq, but it's shocking that so many on the left have turned hatred of George W. Bush into hatred of a better Iraq.

jack perry said...

Erp. I forgot to mention that I've also noticed that European non-Christians seem to have a particular bigotry against Christians (and ignorance about it) that makes our American athiests seem like sweet little puppies. It's probably only a consequence of the circles I was running in at the time (I stopped frequenting those websites) but for a while I was witnessing such virulence from Britons in particular that I wondered if it was Gibbons' fault, because one of these gentlemen quoted Gibbons as if he were Gospel.

Anonymous said...

"On a hiding to nothing?"

Um... what does that mean?

Re: Dawkins and the Guardian - You can't be serious? I can't think of anyone more likely to antagonize the average Ohioan. His only public relations talents are contempt and arrogance.

There was an inflammatory piece in Books & Culture a few weeks ago on European hatred of America, which concluded that the real reason for antagonism was that America really embodied and practiced the Enlightenment ideals of freedom and rationality. I thought it was kind of silly at the time, but... maybe there's something to it. America's rowdy, messy, populist approach to freedom, which includes the freedom to be a Southern Baptist, the freedom to reject bishops, higher critics, and rationalists, really does seem to offend elite Europeans.

Re: Jack's comment about the incredible hatred European atheists are capable of. That's something I've questioned Bede about before. He tells me that it's because everyone's so apathetic to religion - the only way to get a hearing is to be more vicious than the last ranter.

Do you think we may someday see a European/Islamist alliance against the Americas? I recall reading a chilling sf story on the subject - France allies with the Islamic world, and Quebec seperates and allies with France. The Americans nuke the British fleet to prevent it from falling into French hands. And then things go from bad to worse.


jack perry said...

Do you think we may someday see a European/Islamist alliance against the Americas?At first I was going to say, No, the Europeans aren't that stupid. Then I realized that it could depend on whether the non-Muslim Europeans get their act together and raise their birthrate. In such a case, who knows? Western Europe may yet fall under the dark shadow of Shari'a.

The first sign would be whether, within the next decade or two, Europe places more sanctions on the US & Israel, or on Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Jordan. Also of interest will be whether Europe & the US finally get some spine and expel Turkey from Cyprus.

Still: here in the States, Catholics were for a long time painted with broad and evil strokes (I grew up reading some of the nonsense about the Jesuits assassinating Abraham Lincoln). Just as America has changed Jews and Catholics, Western Europe will (probably) change Muslims.

Of course, none of this would matter if we would bother to convert them — alas, we have to convert ourselves first, and there's precious little of that going on!

Layman said...


I read American responses to the Guardian's efforts on the Guardian's website. Some were quite humorous. Some vulgar. Some supportive. On a whole though I think it was clear that if the purpose of the Guardian's efforts was to actually try and influence Americans it has backfired. But if the Guardian's purpose was really to conjure up some more examples of how low brow Americans are, then they succeeded.

jack perry said...

Based (again) on my experience, it's safe to say that "low brow" gets really low outside of the States, too.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of low-brow...

It's seems the Guardian can't resist getting into a bit more trouble; publishing an op-ed piece that ended by hoping for an assassination of President Bush.

"John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?"

The column was available online, but the Guardian has pulled it.