good-natured debate with a person with a handle that sounds less human than Hal 9000.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 28, 2002 06:45 PM

You said that anti-Americanism/Anti-Europeaninsm is not only "offensive, or ungrateful, or cheap", worse, it is wrong.

The oppositional views expressed by some are legitimate sentiments that reflect true conflicts. We would be wise to acknowledge them for they are not wrong. There are structural, historical and ideological conflicts that will not be resolved by talk. It's not a misunderstanding. Rather than refuting the bashers with scathing disrespect, we can refute them with carefully reasoned statements or support them in the same way, extend the debate rather than opposing it.

When we see and hear dissidents we understand not only their rude chants but also the conditions that prompted them to protest. There are cranky-pants professionals that can be discounted, they are performers, but when they attract an audience it is because they touch a nerve rubbed raw by conditions. There is a legitimate conflict.

The conflict between Europe and the USA is old, deep and growing. The bureaucratic authoritarianism favored by Europeans is anathema to the federalist libertarianism of Americans, and the feelings are mutual. Each is diminished in real terms by the policies of the other. They don't agree and they cause each other harm. One can imagine a middle ground but it won't be achieved easily or soon even with the best of intentions. There are American Europhiles and European Europhobes but they are small minorities and lack useful policy prescriptions. There are no useful policy prescriptions in the sense of being able to meaningfully reduce the conflict.

It's too soon, maturity takes time and humanity is still young. The social and technological stresses of our times will change us, slowly and perhaps painfully, perhaps for the better, perhaps not.

Posted by: back40 at October 29, 2002 08:31 PM

Back40: thank you for so eloquently providing a practical example to Matt's argument.

Posted by: Chris K at October 30, 2002 03:32 AM
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