The big news in Europe these days is unification. Hosting two world wars within one lifetime inspired European nations to understand the necessity of working together. With the advent of the European Union (EU), its 27 (and counting) member nations have succeeded in attaining their two key goals: avoiding intra-European war and integrating their economies. Now they're moving on to new challenges: forming a common foreign policy and an integrated legal system. Of course, it's dangerous to generalize about "Europe," and many Europeans are not in step with the EU. These "Euroskeptics" mock the EU's high-minded ideals in light of its obvious failings. But despite foot-dragging in certain quarters, Europe as a whole is moving forward.
Europe is the part of the world most similar to the USA. That's why I consider it the wading pool for world exploration. Americans and Europeans are both affluent, well-educated peoples who love their freedom. But, while we have much in common, we also have fundamental differences. I learn a lot about America by studying Europe. Europe does some things better than we do. Some things, they do worse. And most things are open to debate. Considering innovative European approaches to persistent challenges that vex our own nation can be constructive.
The next several blog entries are designed to showcase some of my favorite examples of the Europe-America divide. You'll probably find some of these ideas appealing, and others appalling. I'll state the obvious: Europe doesn't have all the answers. But I wonder if Europe is "out-innovating" us when it comes to finding clever new solutions.
When I encourage Americans to take a look at a European approach to a problem that is befuddling us, some critics accuse me of “America-bashing” — “If you love Europe so much, why don't you just move there?” Short answer: I love America more. And because I care about our society, I challenge us to do better. Particularly in difficult times, we should be open to considering all the solutions we can.
About This Entry
You are reading "Europhiles and Euroskeptics", an entry posted on 20 July 2009 by Rick Steves.