About that view from Europe (January 30, 2003)

Here’s a link to an article in Time Europe, written by Christopher Caldwell, a Europe-based editor for the Weekly Standard.

I lived in the middle of Europe for five years; the place is far from a paradise, but in some ways it’s way ahead of the US, which continually disappoints me with its permanent, shameful health-care crisis (which no politician seems to have the will to do anything meaningful about), the persistence of the homeless in every major city and many minor ones, the gun culture and warmongering propaganda, the paranoia and the rampant consumerist, spend-money-on-things-you-don’t-need-and-go-into-debt mentality. Then again, Europe has calcified bureaucracy, unemployment, racism to match anything the US has to offer, and a seeming lack of willpower to do much of anything about the world’s problems other than tut-tut, criticize the Americans and enjoy the comforts of their own lifestyle. One area where the Euros and the Statesians are about at par is that they continually confuse the government of a country with its inhabitants; both also know less about other countries than they think they do.

I do agree with [Brian] Eno that the US needs to open up more to the world. The domestic edition of Time could start the ball rolling by seeing fit to print Eno’s essay — the lack of breadth of the political spectrum in the mainstream American media disgusts me. Isn’t this supposed to be the land of free speech? Apparently, in the words of AJ Liebling, freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.


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