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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Alternatives to the Euroweenie- Having used the term "Euroweenie" in about 38 posts over the last year, along with about a dozen occurrences of "EUnuch", this Jesus Gil piece caught my attention.
You have to wonder - living outside of the States - if the usual culprits who bandy words around like "euro-weenie," do so, because their arguments lack any substance. Come to think of it, it's kind of like when my parents taught me that you shouldn't swear, because it showed that you had a lack of vocabulary, and could hurt your argument - just like the types that are so willing to call anybody who disagrees with them a Nazi.
I'd like to come up with a better phrase than Euroweenie to describe that class of European-style secular statist who has too much faith in diplomacy, but I've yet to come up with one. I've backed off of using EUnuch for the phrase might play to the idea of the geopolitical impotence of the European diplomat but the castration metaphor isn't edifying. Euroweenie has more of a party-pooping dweeb feel to it, even if it does have some unintended phallic undertones. Gil borrows an uncited quote from this Timothy Garton Ash piece on anti-European attitudes in the US, which is well worth reading; the undisputed king of the Eurowhackers, Jonah Goldberg, referenced it in The Corner. Jonah is cited by Ash as saying that he "was 'anti-European,' so long, he explained, as one means by 'European' a certain kind of know-it-all, bureaucratic, liberal internationalist in Paris or Brussels." That's about as good a definition of a Euroweenie I've seen in print. How then do we critique this mindset without going into ad hom mode? By bringing facts and logic to the party. I'd like to take a long look at this Gil paragraph
I also find it disturbing that people, who I consider quite bright, fall into traps to suggest that only US markets work; or who argue for "free markets," yet at the same time argue for protective tariffs; who so readily fall into a black-and-white dichotomy of the world, where you're either with us, or against us; where patriotism is questioned, if you question the status quo.
European markets work as well, but often not quite as well due to the higher taxes and bureaucracy of their governments; you trade off some growth and efficiency for the thicker safety net. I've been running a Cold War II series looking at the coming scuffle for geopolitical and economic dominance between the US and European style market socialism; the metaphor is a bit harsh and might leave some to think that any move to the left is a move towards the enemy. Like Euroweenie, Cold War II is a tad over the top, but possibly useful
Or maybe it's, as this above article suggests, a ploy at cheap, base, infantile humor; a kind of defensive posturing, that really has no logic, other than to debase the other party, and some how make yourself collectively feel better. Personally, I don't really go for European- or US-bashing, which for the most part is a not-too-disguised nationalism. Besides, these types of rants tend to lose any positive effect: even if the argument being posited is totally logical, the use of such terms weakens their thesis since the subsequent focus tends to lie mistakenly, squarely on the use of the questionable vocabulary.
I hope not to be nationalistic; the US is a good place (arguably the best place) to live, but I'm more attached to the ideas of morality and freedom and democracy than I am to a patch of terrain in North America. The US is more an idea than a place. A flawed idea, yes, but a promising one and one worth partially replicating elsewhere. I hope that the occasional trips into hyperbole don't get into the way of the message.

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