Essays by Herb Meyer
An Open Letter to Europe
The American Thinker — November 11, 2004
Hi. Are you nuts?
Forgive me for being so blunt, but your reaction to our reelection of President Bush has been so outrageous that I’m wondering if you have quite literally lost your minds. One of Britain’s largest newspapers ran a headline asking “How Can 59 Million Americans Be So Dumb?”, and commentators in France all seemed to use the same word – bizarre -- to explain the election’s outcome to their readers. In Germany the editors of Die Tageszeitung responded to our vote by writing that “Bush belongs at a war tribunal – not in the White House.” And on a London radio talk show last week one Jeremy Hardy described our President and those of us who voted for him as “stupid, crazy, ignorant, bellicose Christian fundamentalists.”
Of course, you are entitled to whatever views about us that you care to hold. (And lucky for you we Americans aren’t like so many of the Muslims on your own continent; as the late Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh just discovered, make one nasty crack about them and you’re likely to get six bullets pumped into your head and a knife plunged into your chest.) But before you write us off as just a bunch of sweaty, hairy-chested, Bible-thumping morons who are more likely to break their fast by dipping a Krispy Kreme into a diet cola than a biscotti into an espresso – and who inexplicably have won more Nobel prizes than all other countries combined, host 25 or 30 of the world’s finest universities and five or six of the world’s best symphonies, produce wines that win prizes at your own tasting competitions, have built the world’s most vibrant economy, are the world’s only military superpower and, so to speak in our spare time, have landed on the moon and sent our robots to Mars – may I suggest you stop frothing at the mouth long enough to consider just what are these ideas we hold that you find so silly and repugnant?
We believe that church and state should be separate, but that religion should remain at the center of life. We are a Judeo-Christian culture, which means we consider those ten things on a tablet to be commandments, not suggestions. We believe that individuals are more important than groups, that families are more important than governments, that children should be raised by their parents rather than by the State, and that marriage should take place only between a man and a woman. We believe that rights must be balanced by responsibilities, that personal freedom is a privilege we must be careful not to abuse, and that the rule of law cannot be set aside when it becomes inconvenient. We believe in economic liberty, and in the right of purposeful and industrious entrepreneurs to run their businesses – and thus create jobs – with a minimum of government interference. We recognize that other people see things differently, and we are tolerant of their views. But we believe that our country is worth defending, and if anyone decides that killing us is an okay thing to do we will go after them with everything we’ve got.
If these beliefs seem strange to you, they shouldn’t. For these are precisely the beliefs that powered Western Europe – you -- from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, on to the Enlightenment, and forward into the modern world. They are the beliefs that made Europe itself the glory of Western civilization and – not coincidentally – ignited the greatest outpouring of art, literature, music and scientific discovery the world has ever known including Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Bach, Issac Newton and Descartes.
Europe is Dying
It is your abandonment of these beliefs that has created the gap between Europe and the United States. You have ceased to be a Judeo-Christian culture, and have become instead a secular culture. And a secular culture quickly goes from being “un-religious” to anti-religious. Indeed, your hostility to the basic concepts of Judaism and Christianity has literally been written into your new European Union constitution, despite the Pope’s heroic efforts to the contrary.
Your rate of marriage is at an all-time low, and the number of abortions in Europe is at an all-time high. Indeed, your birth rates are so far below replacement levels that in 30 years or so there will be 70 million fewer Europeans alive than are alive today. Europe is literally dying. And of the children you do manage to produce, all too few will be raised in stable, two-parent households.
Your economy is stagnant because your government regulators make it just about impossible for your entrepreneurs to succeed – except by fleeing to the United States, where we welcome them and celebrate their success.
And your armed forces are a joke. With the notable exception of Great Britain, you no longer have the military strength to defend yourselves. Alas, you no longer have the will to defend yourselves.
What worries me even more than all this is your willful blindness. You refuse to see that it is you, not we Americans, who have abandoned Western Civilization. It’s worrisome because, to tell you the truth, we need each other. Western Civilization today is under siege, from radical Islam on the outside and from our own selfish hedonism within. It’s going to take all of our effort, our talent, our creativity and, above all, our will to pull through. So take a good, hard look at yourselves and see what your own future will be if you don’t change course. And please, stop sneering at America long enough to understand it. After all, Western Civilization was your gift to us, and you ought to be proud of what we Americans have made of it.
That’s a huge change in attitude to ask for, and the very least that you can do would be to set a good example.