“This is not a funny thing. There is a weird thing about your political party [Republican]. It’s nativist. It is weird. Obama — you still have a big bloc of Republicans that say he wasn’t born in this country, in Africa or somewhere,” Chris Matthews said on his show.
Chris Matthews clearly doesn’t understand what people mean when they refer to Obama’s economic policies as “European” or “European-style.” Well, maybe he does understand and everybody else is wrong. Perhaps saying President Obama practices European-style economics is a racial “slur” and an example of “nativism” from his opponents.
There was a time when, in élite circles, being called “European” or a “Europhile” was a high compliment. (There was a time when I thought it was a high compliment, but I digress…) The US was that boorish, provincial country we just happened to be stuck in for various and sundry reasons, but we all knew lux ex orientem.
Unfortunately, in the game of bluff called American life, we can never say or be what we really think. Élites may still think that Europe is the ne plus ultra of polity and life, but given that many Americans don’t agree, instead of standing up for what they believe in they hide it and then turn around and accuse others of being weird or fanatics, as Mathews has done.
It’s dishonest, Chris, and you should admit it. Unless, of course, you’re one of these people who have figured out that, if we really went to true internationalism, we’d dilute our own power base, and then you should admit that too.
The problem with imposing a European style social net on the US is that too many people will either cut back on their drive to succeed (and thus reduce the generation of economic activity) or “lay out” altogether. We’re seeing the beginnings of that in the wake of the current depression and the Obama Administration’s response to same. Now we have the Acting Solicitor General telling us that we can escape the individual heath care purchase mandate by simply becoming poor enough, which simply encourages us to lay out. (Funny, I thought about that, too, before he said it.)
Speaking of bluffing and huffing, I recently linked to my post Half a Million Roubles: Is It Enough? in a Facebook conversation. One of the respondents went postal on me for pointing out that Mormons believe that they can and should become gods, which is a central idea of theirs (and has been since the King Follett Discourse). He basically accused me of not knowing what I was talking about; when I challenged him to prove me wrong, he pulled his insults off of Facebook.