We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...this idea that it's normal for the state to be as big as it is in advanced social democratic societies is something that would have seemed incredible to anyone a hundred years ago. I mean, I remember being struck by - on September 11th - and I was writing a column a couple of days afterwards and, you know, we're all done with our initial reaction, so you're trying to think a couple of days ahead and find a new angle on it, and I happen to just notice that it was more or less (a hundred years after the) assassination of President McKinley. I was thinking, well, maybe I could tie these two things together, these two big traumatizing events and, you know, bookending the century, whatever - you know, just peck, peck, peck - we journalists always are going to peck.
So I sort of rummaged around the clippings of President McKinley's assassination and realized that while people were upset about it, they essentially regarded it as the removal of a remote figure who played a peripheral part in their lives. To that point for most people in most parts of the U.S. the federal government did not impinge on their life in any way.
That's the beginning and end of it - and so, in effect, I would say again, to make a point that I make in the book, immigration has its merits. I live in northern New Hampshire and I would certainly value it if there were a kind of a better of a range of Thai restaurants in this part of the world. So if I know a restaurateur in Thailand and I say, "Hey, there's an empty building on Main Street. You could come run a great Thai restaurant there," I mean, that's fine and dandy - but when you become dependent on immigration as Europe is and Canada is, then that's a sign of structural weakness.
On Islam in Europe:
If Islam is incompatible with democracy, that's not a problem for Iraq, it's a problem for Belgium, you know, because Iraq until, you know, a few months back had no democracy to lose. They can easily adjust to the way it's always been.
For Belgium or for Denmark or for the Netherlands, they've got real democracies and they are likely to lose and as you see, I think that is really the issue here, that when these contradictions are pointed out, Europeans essentially refuse to acknowledge them. Yet at the same time they're making capitulations to the most naked form of political bullying --and that's when Islam is officially a minority of, you know, 10% or so. In those cities it's a lot higher already. What happens when it's 30%? I mean, this is a question they never, ever ask themselves and you're right, they do take a dim view. I think at some level there's something else going on there, too, that a lot of these countries, you know, -- we talk about the Middle East, democratize the Middle East - we forget Spain was a dictatorship 30 years ago, Portugal, a little over 30 years ago, Greece, same 30 years ago.
Italy and Germany and France, you've got to go back half a century, but in essence the idea of living under non-democratic regimes is not foreign to these people and I think they think of themselves, their identities less as Europeans are less bound up with ideas of liberty than it is for the U.S. You know, the U.S. is an ideological project in a way that Italy isn't and so I do think that also accounts for part of the way they look at it.