Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The taste for change 

Glenn Reynolds links to this article from Der Spiegel, which wonders whether George Bush might be right. Professor Reynolds focused on the heart of the column, which dares wonder whether Bush's visit to Europe this year might not compare to Reagan's "tear down this wall" tour of 1987. Then, as now, the European sophisterati snorted at the simplistic cowboy from America. Will they be as wrong this year as they were 18 years ago?

Buried in the article, though, is a very direct paragraph about the difference between the American and European appetite for change:
This, in fact, is likely the largest point of disagreement between Europe and the United States -- and one that a President John Kerry likely would not have made smaller: Europeans today -- just like the Europeans of 1987 -- cannot imagine that the world might change. Maybe we don't want the world to change, because change can, of course, be dangerous. But in a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. In Mainz today, the stagnant Europeans came face to face with the dynamic Americans. We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow.

This great disparity in the taste for change explains many of the differences between Europeans and Americans, including our respective employment laws (theirs being designed to maintain the status quo, and ours intended to equalize opportunity) and the much greater willingness of Americans to form and tolerate the destruction of businesses.


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