So I spent the last two weeks in Europe, and I'm pretty sure it's doomed. On the upside, no one was talking about Trump. Literally no one. It was a nice two-week break from enduring the collusion-addled yammerings of America’s neo-Menschian loonies.
I lived there twice, both times devoted to cleaning up messes Europeans had made for themselves, and besides needing to go back to research my third novel, a sequel to Indian Country and People's Republic, I wanted to see Europe one last time before it becomes whatever the hell it's going to become.
I’m guessing that will be something bad.
You get the idea from the media that the continent is overrun with refugees and that the people are shivering in terror. That's just not so. Except in the cities, refugees and immigrants seem relatively uncommon. There are lots in the big cities, which many of the natives have ditched as the foreigners moved in (shades of America’s inner cities). This is where you see litter, and nowhere else. On Munich’s streets, it’s less Bavarian goodwill and more seedy foreigners staring at you and smoking vile cigarettes. However, the chicken at the Hofbraühaus is still great and the liters of beer are outstanding.
But out in the countryside, it’s gorgeous. When I was stationed in Stuttgart from 1988-1991, with a side trip to Desert Storm, Europe was covered in a fine layer of black grime. It was nasty and grim. But the coal plants are gone, and it’s now mostly sparkling clean.
Visiting the Bavarian countryside, we did see one refugee. He strolled out of a store at about 10:30 a.m. with a morning beer. I’m all for getting one’s party on, but seriously … well, maybe it was 5 o’clock back in his homeland. Interestingly, many of the low-skill workers were locals. You would think the refugees would be doing the jobs Europeans won’t do, but Europeans seemed happy to do them.
We started out in Salzburg, Austria, because I wanted to see Germany Junior. Like most everywhere we went, people were nice – contrary to the liberal media portrait of a continent hating on the red, white and blue. In fact, they seemed significantly nicer than they had been when I lived there. Maybe familiarity bred contempt. Back at the end of the Cold War, there were about 500,000 American military and dependents in Europe - basically, a huge city all full of Americans spread out in dozens of tiny bases called “kasernes.” Today? Almost nothing. I saw zero US military vehicles, and I drove all through the old VII and V Corps areas. There were a few signs for some remaining installations near Stuttgart and Ramstein (the air base, not the band), but America’s physical presence is largely gone. I went to my old kaserne at Nellingen, and it’s been wiped off the map, replaced by some sort of planned-eco community. I saw nothing there, or anywhere, paying tribute to the millions of Americans who defended Germany against the Russians long before the liberals decided last November 9th that opposing Russia was cool.
America won the Cold War against the Soviets and their liberal friends, but it also seems to have won the culture war with our European allies. Europe is significantly more Americanish than it was three decades ago. Literally everyone spoke some English. We used to be able to play “Spot the American” because Americans dressed distinctively. Now it's not so easy. Now everybody looks equally terrible. Very few people wear ties with suits, and there are lots of jeans and weird sport coat combos. You see the EU equivalent of Affliction t-shirts and heavy metal tees for stupid bands with names like “Döminatür” and “Vyrmyn.”
Euro musical tastes are as weird as ever. They don’t savvy the concept of genres, so you’ll hear Guns n’ Roses followed by Britney Spears then the Righteous Brothers and Shania Twain. Their dance music is unlistenable, and otherwise sensible Europeans often like rap. One young man who looked like he had never seen the sun had a huge Biggie Smalls tatt on his bicep, a tribute to his lost homies capped in the vicious eastside-westside Salzburg gang wars.
No, we did not take the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg. Stop asking.
I did drink beer, and what I drank was good even though Europe has been infected with the same annoying microbrew trends that result in foamy abominations like cucumber-infused IPAs and stuff involving pumpkin. When in doubt, go with the beer the locals have been pounding for centuries. Besides the Hofbraühaus brew in Munich, also of note were Jupiler in Brussels, Bofferding in Luxembourg, and Brand in Amsterdam. We got way into tart rieslings from Germany and Austria (which also shocked us with a stunning pinot noir). And Amsterdam still knows its gin.
I don’t want to give the impression that we drank our way across Central Europe, but we did have children with us so those of you with kids recognize that the occasional drink was necessary. We did not smoke any pot in Amsterdam, though the young men firing up their bowl of reeking skunk weed under our hotel window definitely tried to smoke us out. As for regular cigarettes, they have largely disappeared, probably thanks to high taxes and the graphic tumor pics decorating each pack. Think of America’s smoking level of about ten years ago - a huge change from when going out in Europe meant coming home reeking like an ashtray.
I had intended to try the local food cuisine too wherever we went, but I quickly realized there is no local cuisine left. Pizza places outnumber the gasthauses (Northern European pizza is different than Italian or American, but it’s good), and we had a killer Greek lunch in Brussels. Again, America has triumphed - McDonald’s and Burger King are everywhere. Globalization has supersized conformity.
I wanted to get a ground level view and talk to people, so we drove, which reminds me - don’t drive in European cities. But Germans understand the concept of a freeway - clean, not potholed, and often without a speed limit. It’s everything California’s freeways should be, and could be if our weird climate cultist governor wasn’t intent on building a unicorn train to move people really fast between Bakersfield and Fresno. How come our blue state libs always yack about the alleged superiority of the Europeans but never seem to copy any of the things the Euros do right?
We stopped at Dachau so the kids could see what happens when socialists get power. I noted that when the US Army liberated the camp, our soldiers looked around at the carnage and promptly hauled a couple dozen Nazi guards behind the torture bunker for a get acquainted session with the legendary M1 Garand rifle. A few less lucky guards they handed over to the prisoners, and then walked away. You gotta love the can-do, improvisational spirit of the American soldier.
By about a year after the liberation, the US had tried about 50 of the guards and hanged 38 of them. As a particularly apt touch, we disposed of the bastards’ bodies in the crematoria the Nazis used to destroy the evidence of their crimes. In contrast, the semi-humans who helped pull off 9/11 and who helped bin Laden are still getting tender loving care at Gitmo. If we dished out some of that old school hard style justice to the scumbags who didn’t get Linda Sarsour’s memo about jihad being all about love n’ puppies n’ stuff, maybe we wouldn’t have to get felt-up like drunk cheerleaders on prom night just to board a 747.
You would think the security would be tight in Europe, but it isn’t. There were a few pairs of butch Belgian soldiers with SCARs on the street in Brussels - they seemed bored. There were almost no uniformed polizei out elsewhere. Maybe the cops were undercover - regardless, there was no fear, at least not of jihadis.
We did talk to one German over drinks who told us he was afraid to talk politics. Of course, maybe he was afraid of us, since I had just explained that America has a terrible gun problem in that there are millions of American citizens without guns. But his real concern seemed to be saying what he really thinks in front of his friends - he did not want to speak openly and, presumably, politically incorrectly when they might hear. Creepy - and exactly the kind of subconscious fear of open discussion and expressing dissenting opinions liberals want to impose upon us at home. So say what you think, normals - don’t be like Fritz.
No one mentioned Trump. Not one person, not one time. The idea that Trump has somehow made Americans persona non grata in the Old Country is nonsense. Perhaps liberals show up there and start spontaneously apologizing to every Horst, Dick, and Harry they meet, and the locals are just being polite by nodding and hoping the lunatic with a genital hat will go away. The only reference I saw to Trump anywhere was a dumb painting in an Amsterdam shop of him and Putin in drag. This transgressive masterpiece failed to blow my bourgeois mind, or anyone else’s. In any case, the rest of the world is as utterly disinterested in the rantings of #TheResistance as are normal Americans.
The Euros don’t seem to be having many babies these days, but all of them were on our two trans-Atlantic flights. There were lots of churches, all empty except for tourists. The old Europeans don’t think they need God anymore. They fill the void with a secular eco-faith that goes perfectly with their sense of resignation. Their new cathedrals are giant falcon-shredding windmills; today's indulgences involve separating one’s trash.
They are very nice, but you don’t feel the old Europeans are looking forward to much except the next beer, the next EDM concert, or the next government-mandated paid vacation. But there’s no hope, no striving, no energy to improve as opposed to merely treading water. It’s prosperous, but also empty, like the natives are just living off of the corpse of a prouder, stronger Europe that expired long ago.
The new arrivals don’t seem to feel the same way - they still have their religion, and the resolution that comes with it, at least for the current generation. Sadly, the Europeans don’t seem to have the will to resist their supplantation. Perhaps their best hope is that the newcomers will succumb to the same comfortable malaise as the locals, and be too busy poking at their cell phones to take over.