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Europe is Caught in America's Culture Wars

Left-wing and right-wing Americans reduce Europe to Amsterdam, Brussels and the Hague and misunderstand Europe, writes Patrick J. Deneen, associate professor of government at Georgetown University:

In America, it is our liberals who praise the liberties of Europe while overlooking the conservative impulse of its self-restraint. Meanwhile, our conservatives condemn the statism of Europe without understanding that efforts to conserve - to be conservative - require the active support and laws of government in order to combat the tendencies of markets to produce waste and undermine thrift. Americans of both the left and right have lost the ability to perceive a form of liberty that is achieved through restraint.

America's culture warriors ignore the small towns and villages, which Prof. Deneen visited in southern Germany, central Switzerland and western Austria:

The Europeans I have seen are light years ahead of us in energy conservation and will weather the storm of rising energy costs better than we in America. Indeed, the combination of local economies, nearby productive farmland outside every town, viable public transportation and widespread use of alternative energies points to a culture that has never abandoned sustainable communities in the way that America willfully and woefully has done over the past 50 years.

You can also get some sense of why there is resentment toward America even here in a nation that generally has positive regard toward the U.S. Europeans pay higher prices for everything in an effort to use less and to create less waste in order to leave a sustainable world for their children, and whatever "give" there is in the worldwide production of resources is a kind of unintended sacrificial gift that many Europeans are making so that America can continue its energy gluttony.

Read his entire article in the Dallas Morning News (via EU Digest), also recommended by Rod Dreher in his blog Beliefnet: "If you read nothing else on this blog today, read the post to which I'm linking here." Maybe better transatlantic understanding is on its way after all. By the way, Prof Deneen also blogs at What I Saw in America.

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Anonymous on :

Pointless hippie drivel. Is there any major city in the sample area? Munich maybe whose wealth is derived from the resettling by major German companies after the Russkies conquered Berlin; western Austria? Hell, Salzburg? How many people fly into western Austria and central Switzerland for skiing or hols? If you want to get all carby, these areas are exemplars of carbon wasting with their spacious second homes and non-eco tourism. Central Switzerland? Yeah, Zug is a model of social progressiveness. You could say the same thing for Sweden by Noerkoepping or Karlstadt. thats cause there is nothing there...only the state propping up the local population

Pamela on :

Has this dingbat ever been to upstate New York? Idaho? ------------ Europeans pay higher prices for everything in an effort to use less and to create less waste in order to leave a sustainable world for their children, ----------- He's a professor of GOVERNMENT? At GEORGETOWN? No wonder university degrees have become so devalued.

Pat Patterson on :

Let's see, chickens roaming free, compost heaps, limited access to housing, reliance on familiy connections, canning and pickling for the winter, high fuel costs, etc., that sounds an awful lot like all those horrible people in the rural blue states that voted for George Bush in the last two presidential elections. But in fairness it should be admitted that Patrick Deneen has volunteered to be the first person in his co-op to hang the laundry on an outside line and start a compost heap. No problem in one of the top 50 wealthiest neighborhoods, Georgetown, in the US. Point of correction, he is an associate professor, that means he probably shares an office, doesn't have tenure and gets to teach Intro to Western Civ on MWF at 7:30 AM. Now if Prof. Deneen had gone to Southern California, Central Asia and Western Australia that might have been illuminating.

Pat Patterson on :

Should have read, "...rural read state." Not "...rural blue state."

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

So his description of German villages sounds similar to what you see in rural red states. Okay, fine. So you can relate. Then, why do Americans on the right (who either come from rural red states or idolize those "heartland"-states) think of Europe as only the liberal cities full of prostitutes, welfare queens, bums, punks, drug users etc? Why don't they have the knowledge or imagination of the rural Europe? Besides, I don't understand the strong criticism from you guys against Deneen as a person and professor. Americans do produce more trash, recycle less and use more energy per person than Western Europe. No statistics at hand, but I am pretty sure about it.

Don S on :

"Besides, I don't understand the strong criticism from you guys against Deneen as a person and professor. " Perhaps it's the notion that he can spend 3 weeks traveling through a place and make a firm conclusion about the way the people there live. Perhaps they live close to the land but make bi-weekly dashes in the Merc/Audi to Aldi/Lidl in the nearest small city to stoke up on a bit of modernity? It seems likely they would I lived in Trento in Italy for a total of 18 months and could not tell you with that kind of authority the way the people 'live'. I could tell you about individuals but would not have the temerity to speak for all Trentinis, much less all Italians. Guess it just shows how much more intelligent the good Doctor is than I am.....

Pamela on :

Oh c'mon Jeorg. You see the same thing in rural 'blue' states too, e.g. Vermont (elected the only Socialist senator in Congress) I didn't criticize him as a person. I expressed astonishment that a professor of Government seems to think that the taxes Germans pay are for sustainability of the environment. They're not. They go to sustain the social services provided by the state.

Anonymous on :

Americans dont have an imagination of rural Europe because outside of Pippi, Heidi or Sound of Music there is no cultural connection. Certain types of Euros glorify the bucolic life as a virtue itself; Americans don't. They may look at the rural areas of the country as embodying certain favorable traits, but they dont glorify hopping on the tractor at 4:30 am. Americans dont have first hand knowledge of same Innsbruck because it is far away, dumbass and expensive. Germans can travel to a foreign country every weekend; say, Bavaria. The distances involved in going anywhere in America are vast. Truism, but I dont think you appreciate the logisitical hurdles appropriately. NYC does not recycle because it wastes more energy to recycle. The metropolitan area is too huge and zoning prohibits waste plants within a certain number of miles of concentrated residential areas. To paraphrase the Russians: This isnt Poland; It is bigger here. Germany is the size of Texas. It is easier to find ways to conserve energy by public transport (you guys own a lot of cars per capita), recycling and waste treatment plants for more cities... Look at Phoenix the fifth largest city in the US. There is no another town around for 400kms. Nearest is Tuscon I think. Take out a map and find Goslar or a town in the geographic heart of the new truncated German and go 400 kms in every direction.

Pamela on :

The distances involved in going anywhere in America are vast. One of the funniest stories I ever heard about this was from a girlfriend (American) of mine who lived in Germany for 2 years. She was at a bar with some friends who introduced her to a couple guys getting ready for their first trip to the U.S. She asked them about it - saying for a week, landing in Miami, Florida, driving to Los Angeles. She didn't say anything. Three weeks later she saw them again and asked about their visit. They never made it out of Florida. (Can these people understand maps?) As a favor to an acquaintance I picked up a friend of his who was 'enjoying' and 8 hour layover at Dulles airport en route back home to the Netherlands. I brought him back to the house so he could freshen up. He wanted to see the White House, so we played tourist downtown. Then back to Dulles. His jaw dropped when he realized we had driven half the width of his country. The only visitors I have ever met here who are NOT initially a bit overwhelmed by the scale are Canadians, Brazilians and those from the former USSR.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"The distances involved in going anywhere in America are vast." A German and an American farmer are boasting about how big their estate is. The American says: "It takes me a whole day to drive my tractor from one end of my land to the other end of my land. The German says: "Yeah, I had such a slow tractor once as well. It broke down all the time, but then I bought a new one." Something like that. Sounded funny, when I first heard it.

influx on :

While I do understand that recycling in big cities and a country as vast as the US can be a difficult and expensive thing, I am a little baffled by [url=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_mun_was_tre_exp-environment-municipal-waste-treatment-expenditure]this statistic[/url]. How come the US spends so much more on waste treatment? This is not a leading question, just wondering if any of you have an answer to that.

Anonymous on :

Gee, that is a bit, isnít it. Could be that it takes into account Hawaii, Alaska and the coasts. Germany only has one coast; America has loads. EPA rules are pretty stiff about acceptable risk in long-term waste treatment plants; they donít like it and donít want any. All so most of the eastern coast is pretty close to see level so the sewage plants and pipes have to be reinforced against hurricane conditions. Sewage pipes in California have to be earthquake resistant or put up a good showing at any rate. Dunno, maybe our teamsters are better at stealing than yours.

Pamela on :

influx, I think this graph may be a little misleading. It views the U.S. as an aggregate. To get a good feel for where that number comes from you'd have to look at individual municipalities. Just to give you and example of the kind of situation that may be skewing this: Las Vegas Nevada. It's probably one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It also is a desert environment. They're in the process of draining the Colorado river (and getting into water rights fights w/California, which needs that water for its agriculture). The cost for new infrastucture to support this growth is high. Just a thought...........

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"NYC does not recycle because it wastes more energy to recycle." I don't quite follow. Though, I know that avoiding trash is better than recycling. We can learn from the communists and the hippies. Not good: In the US you get a plastic bag for free every time you go shopping. Better: In Germany you have to pay for plastic bags. Best: In the old East Germany there were hardly any plastic bags available. Customers just brought their own bags to the shop. Now you can call me a communist, who conveniently ignores the Soviet Union's gulags. ;-)

Anonymous on :

Current ecological studies demonetize environmental impacts to grant a clearer picture for cost/benefit analyses. NYC always lost money on recycling, but they continued the practice b/c it was benefiting the environment. So we will take your commonplace tired example of a plastic tutte. A recycled plastic tutte has a monetary amount, what the city receives per metric ton, but has an energy component of how much energy is expended getting that recyclable product to the plant. The energy cost of recycling the plastic tutte far outweighed any potential benefit in conservation that NYCís own enivormentalists wanted the practiced stopped. From my blue recyclable basket in Chelsea, it has to be picked up by the garbage men. They double check the sorting of different types of recycables, put it on a truck to a way station, where it is sorted again by machine and put on a barge down to NJ or Delaware. There is gets re-sorted and finally returned to a useable plastic form. The energy expended in the entire process far outweighs any demonstrable ecological benefit.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Exactly! That's why everybody should reuse plastic bags. We should bring our own plastic bags to the shop rather than getting a new one every time and then throwing it in the trash for recycling or for laying around some trash site for a few thousand years until some microbes (?) eat the plastic. Amen! Long live the plastic-bag free communism ;-)

Mr. Bingley on :

We re-use our plastic bags. Well, technically the [i]dog[/i] re-uses them...

Pat Patterson on :

I have always hoped that Germany would look to the conservative impulse of Fredrich Schiller not those of Petra Kelly. But I fear the latter!

Don S on :

"Then, why do Americans on the right (who either come from rural red states or idolize those "heartland"-states) think of Europe as only the liberal cities full of prostitutes, welfare queens, bums, punks, drug users etc? Why don't they have the knowledge or imagination of the rural Europe?" I'm an American on the right. I don't idolize the 'heartland' particularly. I readily acknowledge the charms of New York, Princeton, San Francisco, Chapel Hill, Durham, Berkeley, Madison et al. I LIVE in London by choice, for craps's sake! Parts of the heartland are pretty nice. I love rural Pennsylvania, upstate New York, rural Ohio, large parts ot Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Northern Georgia, Arkansas, West Virginia, wetlands of Delaware, etc. I look at the Black Forest and laugh, though. Europe has the US beat for cultural artifiacts (some exceptions). The US has Europe beat hollow for natural beauty (some exceptions in Italy, Greece, France, and the UK). Nor do I think of Europe only as "liberal cities full of prostitutes, welfare queens, bums, punks, drug users etc". That is part of the picture but only a small part. I also think of the Sud Tirol with the grapevines clinging to the mountainsides, Trento with it's medieval alleys, river walks in Verona, the center of Assisi, the canals of Venice and Bruges. Also the godawful architecture of European strip-mall equivalent areas - fully as ugly as ANYTHING in the US! So why do you stick us with this stupid stereotype, Joerg?

Pat Patterson on :

Ok, for the sake of argument lets accept all the negative points about America. The result still is that Americans may look at the practices of Europeans he describes as basically poor people that can't afford to be wasteful and are dependent on the government to maintain the status quo. Deneen goes to Europe for three weeks and comes back with a trunkful of insights? And there is surprise the some might find his starry eyed enthusiasm for a way of life reminds many of the glowing reports that the deluded sent back about the Soviet Union in the 20's and 30's. But on a more serious note I think that Americans look upon Prof Deneen's observed conservative values in Europe and simply don't recognize them as American conservative values. Americans, 3rd generation like myself, and all the other generations of immigrants rejected these kinds of conservative values when they left their home countries. Americans might see conservative values as being left alone and are convinced that European conservative values amount to the government maintaining the countryside as a theme park. My paternal family came from Scotland and some of the older members would just about get heart attacks when describing life in the mines, the docks, the trenchs and even the schools as backward and parochial. My maternal family were essentially exiled from first England then Ireland and were only allowed to come to the US to take up farming and kill Indians before they reached Charleston or Savannah. And yet they were glad to do so as they could own their own farms and businesses, worship in their own churchs and not have to take up the King's shilling.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"The result still is that Americans may look at the practices of Europeans he describes as basically poor people that can't afford to be wasteful" What does that tell you about Americans? Does that reinforce all the stereotypes about Americans? If you want to reduce the terrorist threat to the US, then you have to stop being wasteful with energy. I don't care one ounce if you think we are poor. In fact, most Europeans (especially in Skandinavia) dislike people, who show of their wealth. And you sort of indicated that you got to be wasteful in order not to look poor. Reminds of young professionals who don't bring sandwiches from home, but spend their breaks to walk to delis to buy expensive sandwiches that they cannot really afford, but they don't want to appear poor. Similar thing in highschools. For some reason I hear Madonna singing "material girl"... I also remember this Dick Cheney statement about conservation: Jim Lehrer confronted him with what he thought was a change of attitude: JIM LEHRER: Ö "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." Monday your wife reading your words because of your laryngitis problem said, "Conservation is a must; we must become much more efficient in energy used, for the country efficiency helps us make the most of our resources, softens the impact of high prices, and reduces pollution." Did you have a conversion or Ö what happened? VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: No. What happened is you've only quoted my in your first quote there the tail end of a long section on conservation I gave in a speech at the to the Associated Press in Toronto. And there are several paragraphs where I talked about conservation, how important conservation was, about our tremendous record in conservation as a nation over the last 30 years we've grown our economy 126 percent, and only increased energy demand 26 percent; we have to be much more efficient. At the very tail end of that, I said, but it's not enough. Conservation won't close the gap; we also have to produce more supply. And we've been very consistent. Go back and look at the report, at the energy report we turned out, which was drafted before I ever gave the speech in Toronto. We've got a long chapter on conservation before we ever get to talking about increased supply, so we have been consistent on it. It's just not everybody read the report, and sometimes quotes were taken out of context. JIM LEHRER: But would you not agree that those words created a perception that, whether they were taken out of context or not, that conservation was not a number one priority of you and the president and yet, now you all are saying it is? Vice President CheneyVICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: No, I disagree with that, Jim. Partly, I think I mean, look at what I said. I said it is a personal virtue. Who's going to disagree with that? And I also said it's not sufficient to do the job. California has got the best record in conservation in the country in terms of the amount of energy that they use per on a per capita basis, but they've got the most serious electricity problem in the country with rolling brown-outs because of a fouled-up regulatory scheme, because they didn't build any new power plants for ten years. The other thing that's frustrating when you get to dealing with these issues, everybody wants to deal with them in shorthand. But the fact of the matter is, for example, if you develop and build new gas-fired power plants, that also involves conservation. JIM LEHRER: How is that? VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, the fact is a new gas-fired power plant -- a gas-fired power plant is twice as efficient as an old one. So this year, for example, Texas is going to generate more electricity and burn less gas than it did a year ago. California has got a problem because they haven't built any new plants, but 60 percent of their generating capacity is over 30 years old. But those plants use a lot more gas; they burn it inefficiently; they've got more pollutants going into the atmosphere than if they'd replaced them with new plants. So in the name of the environment they haven't built new plants and they've kept old plants operating; their keeping those old plants operating, in fact, is less efficient, involves less conservation; it involves more pollution. So it's not oftentimes a matter of choice, either we're going to conserve or we're going to have additional supply. You've got to do it all, and it's all interrelated. [url]http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/white_house/july-dec01/cheney_7-18.html[/url]

Jean on :

Mmmkay. This is the last time I bother with this site - the bias is just too deep. Whenever Joerg's bias is challenged, he moves the goal posts. I'll post one last time in case someone neglects to mention these facts. The reasons that Americans use more energy than Europeans are population density, and more extreme weather in the US. The warmer parts of Europe do not experience the humidity levels of the US, nor do they experience the harsh winters that even the warmer States in the US get - 40 degrees Celsius in the summer and 2 to 3 feet snowfalls in the winter months. And I'm sick of apartment living here in Germany - can't wait to get back to the Great Satan so my children can have their own yard! Btw, all coal-fired electric plants in the US are to be emissions free by 2012. And Joerg - your post on Iran's president? The newspaper in using a pun (space program - the eagle has landed!) and making a valid point. Or do you agree with hanging homosexuals from cranes for the 'crime' of being homosexual? It's a bit rich to describe Americans as materialistic when it appears that the main consideration of Germany's foreign policy seems to be trade e.g. trade fairs in the Sudan, or criticizing racist attacks because the attacks would endanger trade with India.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Most American houses have very thin walls. That's a major reason for the huge energy consumption. Another one is SUVs, which also people in city drives.

Don S on :

"Another one is SUVs, which also people in city drives." The first Hummer I ever saw was in London. The first STRETCH Hummer I ever saw (only last week) - was ALSO in London! The most amazingly ungainly thing.... Ok, maybe Hummers aren't a French or German thing. But I bet you have stretch Mercs in Bermin and Frankfurt, eh?

Mr. Bingley on :

"Most American houses have very thin walls. That's a major reason for the huge energy consumption. " Er, well most Brits have very bad teeth I hear. I can throw around unsubstantiated generalizations too. Any house built in the last 30 years is, in fact, [i]too[/i] well insulated, which is why a lot of them have mold problems and radon problems. That Tyvek stuff is nasty-good insulation.

influx on :

Aw, come on now, Don S. [url=http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9430924]Here[/url] is a graph from a source you will trust. You're seriously trying to say that there are more SUVs on European streets than in the US? Also, why not address some of the points the author raises? Such as: why do even restaurants and bars use plastic cups and plates in the US? Why is wastefulness seen as a sign of prosperity, as Pat Patterson would have us believe? Why is paying for the trash you produce maybe not a bad idea?

Don S on :

Straw man, influx. I asserted no such thing..... My point (about Hummers in London) is that if there were ever a city where driving a large car made little sense - It's London. Yet we see Hummers and stretch Hummers in London with it's crazy street plan and often constricted centre. Ok, San Francisco also - because of the parking more than the street plan. Paper plates and glasses? I've rarely encountered them in restaurants in the US. Take-out joints or kiosks or pizza delivery, yes. Fast food 'restaurants', yes. I believe McDonalds operates in much the same manner globally - as do it's competitors whether global or local. You can buy them in the store whether you are in the US or the UK. I won't speak for Germany - you can tell us. I think paper plates are a bit more expensive in London than in the US - I didn't use them much either place. They are nice when I;m having a sandwich and don't wish to bother with washup. BTW, I wash my dishes by hand - no dishwasher. Much more energy efficient. Can you claim the same?

influx on :

Why, yes, I do wash my dishes by hand, even though I believe that modern dishwashers are actually just as good, ecologically speaking. Plastic cups - seen them in countless bars in the US, (never got used to them, though) never saw them in European bars. But back to the topic: did you see The Economist statistic I linked to? Care to comment? Doesn't Prof. Deneen have a point when it comes to the amount of waste produced and they way that waste is dealt with? Or is it just liberal hogwash since the US doesn't come out on top?

Don S on :

Care to comment? Why sure. What is this - a guilt trip? Sorry - I'm not playing that game. Particularly with a German posting under a psued. Seems to me that Germans ought to quit bouncing cheques on their own obligations to American BEFORE beginning the lecture series. Just my POV... Or perhaps you're a Yank. If the latter, why is it that so many of the most pointed Yank lefties one encounters have wasteful personal lifestyles? Back when I lived in the DC areas you would see them in Lincoln Navigators, big Beemers, and Mercs. I drove a Cherokee for 2 years (the small one), but spent 8 years in a Corolla hatch. I haven't owned a car since moving to London in 1999. I ride buses and trains - if public transport don't go there I don't go - or use a mini-cab if I have to. They lived in mini-mansions (3000 sqft+), I was in a 1200 sqft apartment. In London I live in a small terrace house. Sorry dude, I don't have a damn thing to explain - to anyone!

influx on :

Don S, no guilt trip at all. I was just wondering why people were so quick to dismiss what the article said without even considering the content? Btw, I agree with almost everything Sue said further down. But I fail to see how it weakens any of Deneen's points. I don't care whether the lifestyle described is due to post-War poverty or self-restraint or whatever. I do care, however, about the results of that lifestyle. "Seems to me that Germans ought to quit bouncing cheques on their own obligations to American BEFORE beginning the lecture series." I don't know what you're referring to here, but again, what does that have to with thinking about one's lifestyle choices? Just because Germans, who have bounced whatever cheques, live in a certain way, that way has to be bad? You lost me there. It's very easy: I don't care whether you're a leftie, a neo-con, a kraut, a yank. But: I do care about wastefulness and natural resources. If that's lecturing, so be it. And, hey: "you only serve crap in plastic glasses." No argument there! Btw, since you mentioned it, I also have fond memories of my old Corolla. Never failed me, even after it was covered under four feet of snow for several months. Most reliable machine I ever owned.

Don S on :

"I was just wondering why people were so quick to dismiss what the article said without even considering the content?" Part of it is just knee-jerk backslap because he's an academi. A lot of US academic worship at the altar of the Divine EU without visibly understanding a damn thing about the institution or how it impacts daily life in Euope for better or worse. I poked around Deneen's website a bit. As US academics go he seems fairly well-grounded. I could probably get along with him Ok. What I don't get is how he can conclude all that with such certainty after three weeks presumably touring a number of such places? It takes a bit of time in a single place with a limited gropup of people to get any detail about their lives - in my experience at least. I MIGH\t be able to do it with a very small village in three weeks - might not. I clnclude that Deneen is either a genius - or his conclusions are shallow. Chances are he ain't the first. One more thing; If Deneen had gone on a driving trip to certain parts of norther Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan might he have seen something not dissimular? It's distinctly possible in my opinion. You have to get a fair way away from the big city, however.

Pamela on :

What I don't get is how he can conclude all that with such certainty after three weeks presumably touring a number of such places? Just a sec. Did he not write that he and his wife were visiting her family? I believe in that case it would be reasonable to conclude that this is not his first visit.

Don S on :

"Plastic cups - seen them in countless bars in the US, (never got used to them, though) never saw them in European bars." Sorry- I never did spend much time in bars - or in fast-food joints. My idea of a bar was to go to a brewpub, which really is a restaurant which brews its own beer or sometimes imports it from similar businesses. Good to drink, which most mass-marketed US beer is not. They serve it in glasses - glass ones. Shows respect for the product - you only serve crap in plastic glasses. Same with the food. At almost all levels decent food is served on china. Sometimes plebian thick china - but china. You might get paper plates at lobster or crab shacks near the shore but then you are saving on fuel because those kinds of places are right by the shore with the fishermen's boats in sight often as not.

Pamela on :

Thanks for the graph - I've bookmarked it. Do you have any idea if the price figures include taxes? (I'm assuming they do)

Pat Patterson on :

Jeez, obviously few got the pun. An American looks to Europeans pride at compost and thinks that poor person can't afford indoor plumbing.

Sue on :

Deneen on Europe: "...a culture that has never abandoned sustainable communities in the way that America willfully and woefully has done over the past 50 years." This implies that Europe's putatively more "sustainable" layout today was a result of farsighted, wise planning and virtuous self-restraint as opposed to the feckless greedy stupidity of those dumb Yankees. One might just as easily claim, however, that sustainability is a result of limited opportunity and relative poverty (there is economic parity now between Western Europe and the US, but this is only quite recent). People everywhere will strive to achieve as much convenience, mobility and freedom for themselves as they can manage, given their circumstances.Contemporary Europeans can't take moral credit for developments that occured under post-war conditions you didn't choose or create. Of course, there is no question that the American way of life is wasteful. William James in the 1890s noted that waste was America's national sin. Other countries have different sins.

Mr. Bingley on :

Evidently the good Professor has never bothered to drive outside of the Beltway; if and when he does he might be astonished to find "... breathtaking vistas of rolling landscape with miles and miles of forests and farmland, all oriented toward local food production, hunting and forestry." Heck, he will even find hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of acres of forests oriented towards...nothing at all other than simply being a forest. He'll even find them in New Jersey. And why am I not surprised that an associate professor of government in Washington, D.C. finds Utopia in heavy taxation and legislation?

Petra on :

The point on "heavy taxation" of European states is another point that is often made in arguments, without considering that taxes in European states vary widely. Compared to the hefty 25% taxes I paid on my salary while in the US (Michigan), the 12% I pay now in Switzerland seem rather tame. Considering that I got virtually no infrastructure in the US, but a great one over here makes me ask: Who is the big government?

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