America and Europe: liberal parent, radical children
John Laughland at Brussels Journal argues that the European Union, far from being inimical to the U.S., is the fulfillment of the “American Idea,” the idea that America is—and thus by implication that every other nation should be made into—a universal abstraction embodying universal human rights rather than a particular and concrete country concerned primarily about its own well being. But the Europeans then took this universalizing idea even farther than the Americans had, and thus ended up disliking the actual America, which to their eyes still has too much of traditional nationhood about it. To the rescue comes Barack Obama, whose election gives the Europeans the feeling that the U.S. is now perfectly in tune with them, and so they are very happy.
In fact, Europeans’ tendency slavishly to adopt an American belief and then, in their very slavishness, take it to an extreme that the Americans themselves hadn’t imagined, was seen in another aspect of Europe’s response to Obama’s election, as discussed at VFR last week. Since America had elected a nonwhite as its president, the Europeans instantly decided that they had to have nonwhites in top leadership positions too—not through plain old popular elections, mind you, in which the nonwhite candidate might, ahem, lose, but through affirmative action.