Friday, October 01, 2004


I rarely bother to fisk Leftist rubbish but there is an article here that tempts me. An evidently Leftist economist asks why the USA is more conservative (which he seems to equate -- rather narrowly -- with less welfarist) than most other countries. He says it is because the U.S. constitution makes change difficult and limits the power of the central government. He also says that Americans are less willing to spend on welfare because so many of the poor are racially different and most voters therefore have difficulty identifying with them.

The second point is undoubtedly true -- there has been research to support it -- but the rest of the article is lamebrain stuff. For a start, the author identifies the much greater Christian committment of Americans as part of their conservatism but nowhere explains how the constitution or the presence of minorities brings that about. Perhaps the great influx of Muslims into France and the Netherlands in the last 50 years has made those countries more Christian? There is no evidence of it.

And if the constitution limits the power of the central government, no-one told Abraham Lincoln. Nothing restrained him from actually making war on other Americans. And the claim that the U.S. Supreme Court tends to support conservatism would draw a horse-laugh from almost all conservatives. How many conservatives agree with the court's decisions permitting racial discrimination in favour of minorities on the specious grounds of "diversity", for instance?

The subheading of the article also proclaims that: "Europe is in the 21st century, but we remain locked in the 18th". I would have said that Europe has returned to the feudalism of the 12th century -- in that Europeans now as then are dependant on their political masters for most things -- rather than being as free to provide for themselves as Americans are.

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