Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Friday, November 12, 2004
Anti-Protean Nationalists

A tremendous intellectual failure on the part of American liberalism is the assumption of European tolerance. This assumption is predicated on a belief among American liberal intellectuals that all things European are superior. While it is argued that having more than a hundred different kinds of cheeses is conclusive evidence that France is a tolerant nation, it ignores a central truth that the French do not import another hundred kinds of cheese. While the Europeans are not entirely intolerant, they are not actually deeply tolerant. It would be more accurate to say that in the latter portion of the Twentieth century, Europe adopted the Dutch model of being benignly intolerant.

What confronts the European Union today in general and the Netherlands specifically after the death of Theo Van Gogh is the central hypocrisy that they are not actually promoting tolerance, they have instead banded together to enshrine benign intolerance. A huge portion of this is driven by the French realization that their cultural identity was disappearing under the onslaught of a massively more compelling culture distilled from the American melting pot. It must be tremendously galling for them to admit that American culture was approaching supremacy as an unintended byproduct of superior marketing research on Madison Avenue. The only way for them to combat the golden arches was to promote cultural isolation as a central facet of governmental operations.

Regrettably, the same governmental structure that keeps the 158th cheese of France competitive in the market also keeps sharply flavored Islamist intolerance active. There will be no assimilation as long as the melting pot is illegal in Europe. The price of cheese in Europe may be Islamist encroachment. There are solutions to this seemingly intractable problem, but they may require more courage and toleration than EU law allows.
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