Monday, December 13, 2004

American Life Part II

After so many months dormant, I will try to bring this site back to life with a new post. I thought a good place to start would be the recent elections in the states, which coincided well with observations regarding life in Europe and America. After spending several months in Europe, I have, if anything, grown in my appreciation for the United States of America. On so many different levels, I have seen how blessed we are as Americans. I was talking with an Italian friend of mine the other night and he put it very well. 'European nations became free, America was born free.' I couldn't have said it better. Not surprisingly, opinions of George Bush run pretty low on this side of the pond. Walking into any bookstore here, one can find an entire wall stocked with anti-Bush books. Also popular are general anti-American themed books. One in particular that caught my attention was entitled, Why Americans Can't Think for Themselves. Michael More is far more popular here than in the United States. What could be the cause for such a wide abyss between two allies, once considered inseparable? How has America defined herself from her European counterparts. Both America and Europe are considered 'Western', however the differences now are getting more and more difficult to ignore.

For starters, I think the most striking difference between the new and the old world is the degree of religious intensity found in United States, as opposed to the rampant agnosticism and indifference of modern European society. The statistics are pretty remarkable. I attended a talk by Robert Royal a month or so ago with my friends about this very topic, and he read off a litany of statistics revealing the disproportionate gap separating the practicing faithful of both Europe and America. The United States remains, as reaffirmed by the last election, an overwhelmingly conservative, traditional nation. Bush would not have stood a chance in any European country, with the exception of Poland. Americans gave the Bush Administration a resounding stamp of approval, giving him four more years to appoint judges, stand in the way of gay 'marriage' in the US and together with the Vatican, oppose the aggressive anti-family agenda of the United Nations.

It seems that, while both the United States and the countries of Europe preach and promote democracy, freedom and human rights, etc., they have fundamental differences in terms of understanding these basic terms. Although the United States broke away politically from England, it retained an appreciation for tradition, the classical notion of man, and above all, religion and morality. The Founding Generation was unanimous in believing that religion and morality were necessary 'pillars' of any good government. Europe is still reeling from the effects of the atheistic French Revolution and its radical rejection of, and attack on, tradition, customs and of course the Church, in favor of a rationalistic approach culminating in the Enlightenment. Is what we are wittnessing today nothing but an affirmation of the differences that exist between the American fight for independence and the French Revolution? Of course, we can't forget that since then, Europe has seen countless totalitarian regimes, numerous bloody wars and various occupations. Certainly these have had their own role to play in the formation of modern Europe.

At the risk of going on for too long, I will leave it here for now. I just wanted to get the ball rolling and see if we can start an interesting discussion on America, Europe and the differences and similarities that exist.