When have millions of Europeans ever been wrong?
2/18/2003 12:00:00 AM - Dennis Prager
With millions of Europeans demonstrating against America, many
Americans, raised to regard Europe as an ally, must be wondering what is
happening. Some Americans even may be wondering if Europe may be right:
after all, when have millions of Europeans ever been wrong?
It is therefore essential that Americans understand the nature
of the rift between America and Western Europe (not Eastern Europe, which
thanks to its suffering under Communist evil, understands evil and values
America) -- a rift that will only widen unless one adopts the values of the
other. For at this moment, there are two civilizational wars taking place:
Islamist hostility to Western liberty and European hostility to American
Why this European hostility?
First, Europe believes in socialism, while America believes in
capitalism. This difference can hardly be overstated. Most Western Europeans
believe in socialism as fervently as religious Christians, Jews and Muslims
believe in their respective religions. To many Americans, socialism is only
an economic system, but for Western Europeans it has largely replaced
Christianity as their faith.
The United States not only rejects socialism; it is the chief
obstacle to its spread -- because of its military and cultural might, and
especially because of its economic success. Indeed, America is the chief
impediment to the spread of both Islam and socialism. This explains the
unity of leftist and Muslim activists. Though theoretically they have
nothing in common, as Osama bin Laden just announced, "in the current
circumstances, the interests of Muslims coincide with the interests of the
socialists" -- opposing America.
Second, as a result of the massive bloodshed of the
nationalism-based World Wars, Western Europeans concluded that the abolition
of national identities is a moral necessity. Europe's elite decided to
believe in Europe and the United Nations rather than in their individual
nations. An English protester, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, explained
his protest in terms of support of the United Nations, not Britain: British
Prime Minister Tony Blair "has totally misjudged . how destabilizing this
(support for America) has been to the United Nations. And we believe in the
Just as Europeans were losing faith in their national
identities, the United States came to believe even more strongly in its
distinct national identity. While Europeans and the American Left have more
faith in the moral judgment of the United Nations, where Libya chairs the
Human Rights Commission and Syria and China vote in the Security Council,
most Americans have more faith in America.
Third, pacifist ideas dominate European society. Another major
ideological consequence of the World Wars was the belief that wars are
wrong, that any evil -- from Communism to Saddam Hussein or North Korea
owning weapons of mass destruction -- is better than fighting. America, on
the other hand, believes that it is sometimes better to fight evil. The last
time many Europeans demonstrated against America was when President Ronald
Reagan put Pershing missiles in Europe. Europeans thought that confronting
the Soviets was provocative and wrong.
Fourth, Europe passionately affirms secularism, while America
remains the most religious among the industrialized democracies. In this
sphere, too, either America or Europe is right. And the predominance of
America, a religious country -- one, no less, that affirms the religion the
European elites have rejected -- infuriates the Europeans.
Positing no transcendent or religious basis for an objective and
universal standard of good and evil, Europe disdains moral absolutes and
moral judgments. Whether it was President Reagan calling the Soviet Union an
"evil empire" or President Bush labeling North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis
of evil," Europeans (and the American Left, whose values are identical)
found such moral labeling contemptible.
Indeed our president personifies all that Europe dislikes in
America. He comes from the business world, wears an Americans flag on his
lapel, is ready to go to war against an evil regime, and believes deeply in
God, in Christianity and America's Judeo-Christian identity. He even wears
Thomas Jefferson suggested that the Great Seal of the United
States depict the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. He and the other Founders
knew that America's future was and must be based on leaving Europe. It is
truer now than ever.