[lit-ideas] Re: Europe's New Normal

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 12:27:17 -0700 (PDT)

I am not sure why it must be concluded that, since an article deals mainly with 
economic issues, it holds the underlying assumption that “economics” trumps all 
other concerns". I certainly don't think so, myself. However, it is probably 
true that the primary concerns of most Europeans these days are with economy 
rather than Islamist terrorism or some such.


 From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 4:46 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Europe's New Normal 

This article begins, “The eurozone's troubles no longer qualify as a crisis, an 
unstable situation that could either quickly improve or take a dramatic turn 
for the worse. They are, instead, a new normal -- a painful situation, to be 
sure, but one that will last for years to come. Citizens, investors, and 
policymakers should let go of the idea that there is some magic bullet that 
could quickly kill off Europe's ailments. By the same token, despite the real 
possibility of Greek exit, the eurozone is not on the brink of collapse. The 
European Union and its common currency will hold together, but the road to 
recovery will be long.” 
The underlying assumption for this article is that “economics” trumps all other 
concerns.  It doesn’t specifically address my concern but if it did the author 
might invoke Fukuyama and argue that we are at the end of history.  There is 
nothing for any of us except Liberal Democracy and Germany is in it with the 
rest of us; so they are just going to have to learn to live with its 
As it happens I am reading several books about the American Civil War and 
notice a parallel between the American and European States.  Eighty years 
previously the 13 colonies divorced themselves from the British Monarchy: “if 
only we can be free from British control we shall be at the end of history as 
we know it” [my paraphrase], but in the interim between this obtained freedom 
and say the 1850s something reminiscent of the above article occurred.  That 
is, some states didn’t want a central government telling them what to do.  
Other states believed that a central government was necessary.  
It took a long time for this stress to create a crack but that crack occurred 
in December of 1860 when South Carolina seceded from the Union.  They weren’t 
doing anything illegal.  Nothing was in the constitution that said they 
couldn’t do that but after several other states followed suit, President 
Lincoln by executive order declared such secessions illegal.  And so the two 
sides went to war.  Both sides believed in the 1861 version of Liberal 
Democracy but they went to war anyway.
To argue that this sort of thing can’t happen in Europe in 2012 is one most 
Europeans would agree with, but most Americans in 1850 would have argued that 
the American States could never go to war with each other, and yet in 1861 they 
did.  Both sides believed in the same things more or less but one side didn’t 
want a central government telling them what to do.  
[By the way, slavery wasn’t initially a major issue.  Lincoln didn’t go to war 
because of slavery.  The war officially began April 12, 1861 when Fort Sumter 
was attacked by Confederate Forces.  The Emancipation Proclamation freeing the 
slaves was declared January 1st, 1863 and the historians I’ve read suggest that 
the primary reason for it to have been declared was to keep Britain from 
providing support to the Confederacy.  Slavery was illegal in Britain but as 
long as it was legal in both the American North and South Britain could 
continue to favor the South; after the Emancipation Proclamation that was no 
longer politically possible.]

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