Wednesday, September 25, 2013
It's not exactly news that Americans actually live in the Un-united States of America. We have Red States and Blue States, East Coast and Left Coast and whole lot of red-necks in between. The electorate as a whole over the last four or five national elections has been very close to a 50/50 split between the two parties. Then there are millions who don't consider themselves Republicans or Democrats - in fact those people may now be in the majority. But the real divide is between those who think we should be more like Europe and those who think we should be America, ruggedly independent and unique.
The Media and Hollywood mostly fall on the America-should-be-more-like-Europe side, and have been for decades. I think back to the James Bond movie in the 70's "Live and Let Die" where England was, of course, well represented by James Bond - the dashing Roger Moore in this case. America was represented by Sheriff J.W. Pepper a tobacco chewing red-neck Louisiana lawman. Actor Clifton James did an admirable job portraying every stereotype imaginable of the fat, stupid American. This treatment of a southern hick lawman was not written into the movie by accident. It was done to create a contrast, and that it did.
Millions of Americans see Sheriff J.W. Pepper as an apt representation of what America looks like to the rest of the world - and they may be right. I don't think it's accurate, but who am I to argue what others think.
I doubt Europeans care what I think of the trajectory of European culture. It makes me sad actually. It seems to me it's a culture that has decided on suicide. It's sad because so much of what makes America what it is comes straight from our European heritage. Many American's see our brash arrogance as an unfounded superiority complex while at the same time holding an attitude of our inferiority to our elders in the old world. The supposed European maturity and reasonableness stands in stark in contrast to the cowboy culture of can-do, no holds barred America.
Yes, there is probably some truth in that assessment, but what difference does it make when the writing is so clearly on the wall. In two crucial and critical areas Europe is throwing in the towel and therefore the wonderfulness of the mature and erudite European culture will cease to exist anyway. First, white Europeans have stopped having babies. No babies, no future. Having babies is a sign that the people believe in the culture and in the future. Obviously Europeans don't. Second, Europe has decided culturally on energy starvation. Without abundant energy and plenty of babies there can be no great future.
In America the pragmatic and sober in government and business have thus far thwarted the daffy Al Gore-rites. The shale gas and shale oil boom are beginning to transform the largest energy consumer into a legitimate big-time energy producer. If the Obama team can be held off for a few more years, there's an actual shot at something that has been thought an impossibility. That being energy independence from the Middle East. Now, I understand the global chess board will never actually let that happen, but having real leverage is plus for the U.S.
On the other score unlike much of Europe the U.S. is still a very religious country. Like it or not religion seems to help people believe in a future worth living. Religion is also family oriented and so is having babies. It's not to say there isn't a problem, white Americans aren't having enough babies either, but certainly far more than Europeans.
America is poised to grow, to achieve, to be relevant if Washington politics doesn't derail it, however I'm not so confident in the great European cultures. Right now Europe is a huge and relevant market, but the trajectory in terms of population, debt and energy is frightening.
Many Americans - the European Americans - see the health care systems and welfare systems in most European countries as something to be admired, without opening their eyes to the fact that they are unsustainable. Neither are they sustainable in this country without strong and robust economic growth. Current policies on both continents are not fostering strong and robust economic growth. Energy seems to be the difference - if the U.S. doesn't (completely) fall prey to the "climate change" insanity gripping Europe then America stands a chance.
How obvious does it have to be that alternative energy is a joke. They like to call it sustainable, but it cannot, will not ever sustain a modern economy. Wind and solar, both strategies that Europe has bet the farm on, are never going to be a consistent high output solutions. A child should be able to see that, yet the powers that be and apparently the people of Europe are willing to pay outrageous costs for some kind of feel good principle. Wind is just plain inconsistent and the Sun, well news flash, the Sun sets everyday - for many hours at a time.
The act of labeling CO2 as a dangerous pollutant may help them justify this insanity. It is not a pollutant but rather a vital element necessary for life on Earth.Water vapor is by far the greatest of all greenhouse gases, however mankind and his SUV's don't put water vapor into the atmosphere. Their SUV's do put CO2 into the air and thus the irrational focus on a trace element.
Sure plenty of American's believe this tripe too, but so far rational men have not allowed it to kill our future - so far. It's no coincidence that a number of large European companies - many from Germany - are building huge facilities in the U.S. precisely because of energy costs. Among the companies setting up shop in the U.S. we see Airbus going to Mobile, Alabama. Siemens, to Charlotte, North Carolina. BASF, to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Michelin, to Greenville, South Carolina. BMZ GmbH, to Virginia Beach. SO.F.TER Group, to Lebanon, Tennessee. Prufrex Innovative Power Products, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Thomas Magnete GmbH to Brookfield, Wisconsin. Wacker Polysilicon, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kayser Automotive, to Fulton, Kentucky. British-based Rolls Royce to Prince George County, Virginia for producing engine parts. The Kűbler to Charlotte, North Carolina. The Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine AG to Corpus Christi, Texas. Royal Dutch Shell to Pennsylvania.
That's a veritable who's who of major European companies. The German government in particular has committed to alternative energy, to the point of doubling down in recent years. Their corporations have taken notice. They may argue that lower labor costs can be found in many of these southern U.S. states, but even lower labor costs can be had in any number of places - it's reliable energy at reasonable costs that are attracting these German titans. I have also heard rumblings that some American companies are seriously considering bringing manufacturing home from China for the very same reason.
None of this will ever convince European American's that America need not emulate European socialism. It's not say there aren't many, many admirable things about Europe. The rat race pace of modern American life borders on it's own form of insanity, but we will mature, because our culture will survive. It's not that certain that great cultures of Europe will survive in any recognizable form.