The View From 1776

§ American Traditions

§ People and Ideas

§ Decline of Western Civilization: a Snapshot

§ Books to Read


Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Rival Power Blocs

We have to keep an eye on the EU (but don’t forget China).

Jonathan Rauch has a useful overview in National Journal, dated January 28, 2005.  In Europe Is the Next Rival Superpower.  But Then, So Was Japan. he notes that, just as liberal-socialists in the 1980s were predicting that Japan would shortly eclipse the United States as the world’s economic super-power, they now are prognosticating that we will be thrust aside by the emerging power of the European Union (the EU).

The next candidate for world supremacy ought to be China.  But European socialism is so much cozier and familiar to academic liberals.  Depend upon it, however, liberals will soon began proclaiming the necessity for the United States to copy China’s economic and political regulatory system.  After all, the Chinese are the world’s most populous socialist nation.

Mr. Rauch compares and contrasts the strengths and weaknesses of Japan in the 80s and the EU today.  From an economic viewpoint it’s difficult to get too excited about the long-term threat of the EU, because its population is older on average than ours, which means that it is being strangled by its own socialistic welfarism.  Every problem we face with our Social Security and Medicare systems, Europe confronts in spades.  We may be able to muster the political courage to deal with onrushing disaster, but socialist Europe can’t do so without repudiating its definition of itself.

Excluding Great Britain, which hasn’t yet fully signed on to all the features of EU socialism, the EU’s economic vitality exists only in smaller member states.  Unemployment in Germany, the largest single economy within the Continental EU, is near the catastrophic levels of the 1930s that catapulted Hitler into power.  France is no ball of fire either.  If Great Britain, pushed by the socialist Labour government, does swallow the full set of EU hooks, it too will be reeled in and gutted by the Brussels planning mafiosi.

Mr. Rauch notes that EU cheer-leaders tout its socialistic welfare-state model, its revulsion at business competition in the free market, and its emphasis on UN diplomacy as more attractive to the rest of the world.  President Bush’s preemptive foreign policy admittedly has alienated the average street-mob sign-waver in the rest of the world.  If EU apologists are to be believed, this will inevitably isolate the United States, as the rest of the world swoons at Jacques Chirac’s feet.

Against this, Mr. Rauch reminds us that we’ve been here before.  He doesn’t mention Hitler’s National Socialist Germany and its “tomorrow the world” intentions in the 1930s.  But he lists the Soviet Union, which in the 1950s announced that our grandchildren would be living under socialism within the Soviet Comintern.  Japan in the 1970s and 1980s never declared any such intention, but liberal pundits certainly did.  Remember that, when President Clinton took office, his Council of Economic Advisors declared that we could not compete against Japan, Inc., without imitating the collectivized coordination among the Japanese government ministries, the giant banks, and the giant Japanese manufacturing and trading companies. 

Our survival, the liberals asserted, depended upon socialistic collectivization.  Only the Federal government planners were smart enough to foresee what technology and what businesses would be the growth engines of the future.  Therefore, to survive, we had to stop relying on private companies operating in the competitive market place.  American corporations were just too short-sighted, too focused on the next quarter’s earnings per share. 

Shortly thereafter Japan fell into an economic trough from which is still hasn’t escaped. 

Mr. Rauch, because it’s not within the scope of his article, doesn’t look at the most fundamental difference between the United States and the collectivized rival powers which threaten us.  That all-important difference is the English heritage of economic, social, and political individualism brought here by the earliest colonial settlers and persisting, albeit in a much diluted form, even today. 

National Socialist Germany, Japan, the EU, and China were/are economic monoliths in which individuals and corporations are tightly regulated and constrained by central planning boards and collectivized political power.  The United States has far too much of that, but it still looks more than the others to the competitive forces of the free market to determine what business does. 

Sometimes, as in the 1960s and 1970s, corporations are paralyzed and misdirected by management still wed to old market strategies.  Sooner or later, however, thousands of individual entrepreneurs and corporations begin looking realistically at the implications of changing market conditions and react to them. 

China’s Chairman Mao instituted his “let a thousand flowers blooom” era, but only as a trap to reveal supposed enemies of the state.  In the United States the flowers are always blooming.  At least a few of them are beautiful.  In Japan and the EU, it tends to be all or nothing.  To mix the metaphors, if liberal-socialist planners bet wrong, they’ve lost the whole (flower) pot.