Monday, September 11, 2006

Why America Will Endure And Europe Maybe Won't

America's greatness is rooted in its people, not its leaders or institutions, and that makes it extraordinarily resistant to outside threats. I'm less sanguine about the survival of European societies, including my beloved UK.

Five years ago today, America's people - cops, office workers, firefighters, ATC operators, etc - reacted to the 9/11 attacks. The way they reacted was uniquely American - here are the differences from Europeans I found most striking.

Americans don’t defer

This is a fundamental difference. European governments derive from absolute monarchies, so are largely unchecked - Tony Blair changed the Brit constitution without any debate.

That runs through European life – if there’s a problem, the government is expected to fix it. If the government or media says something, it has to be true.

In contrast Americans distrust their institutions – over 30% think the US government carried out the 9/11 attacks! That’s nuts, but shows a semi-healthy refusal to accept what they’re told.

The MSM in the US and UK MSM are equally lefty - here's the BBC:

...of 19 documentaries on Israel or the Palestinians aired by the BBC from 2000 to 2004 (as compared to only five about the earlier, nearer and far deadlier conflict in the Balkans), almost all were savagely critical of Israel.

This BBC bias works (my ellipsis):
…62 per cent (of Brits) agree that “in order to reduce the risk of future terrorist attacks on Britain the Government should change its foreign policy, in particular by distancing itself from America, being more critical of Israel and declaring a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq.
However many Americans ignore their lefty MSM and tune in to the conservative talk shows and Fox News, to the bemusement of Annan’s Brit 2IC who thinks Americans must believe what their lefty MSM tells them.

Americans are patriotic

9/11 image shows the rescuers immediately after the attack and flags appeared next day on almost every building across the nation - an extraordinary expression of national solidarity. By contrast, there was no Union Jacks when I walked through the devastated City of London after the huge IRA bombing in 1993.

Americans run their own lives

I think it very unlikely that a planeload of Europeans would have reacted the way the United 93 passengers did. Europeans would either have denied the threat or passively waited for someone else to do something.

Americans have high expectations

I once asked a senior executive of a huge Brit Supermarket chain who was visiting the US why Brits didn’t demand bag packers at checkout. He replied, “Low Expectations”.

Life in Europe is full of a thousand inconveniences that people endure, muttering the local equivalent of the Brit “Mustn’t Grumble”.
Thus (my ellipsis):

…just 29 per cent (of Brits) believe that the airport authorities have “overreacted to the threat of terrorism and introduced excessive security measures that cause unnecessary delays without improving safety”... But more than two thirds (69 per cent) disagree.
This after families had been penned, left standing in the rain for hours, and forced to check valuables that were then stolen!

Americans fight back

Americans don't passively accept adversity - the USMC in Iraq has developed the successful tactic of attacking into an ambush!

By contrast, Europeans value the ability to endure adversity.

Americans are optimistic

A poll last year reported a large majority of American retirees expect their fortunes to improve. This streak of optimism runs through American society, and fuels its remarkable economic growth.

All this means that the US will survive and prosper even if Congress and Presidency are controlled by dishonest and/or corrupt pols for the next 8 years.

The European nations are in a much weaker position. Their top-down polities and misinformed and passive populations make them vulnerable to Islamic disruption. They need strong leaders to survive, but there aren't any good ones in prospect.