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The Road Ahead

Nov 14, 2015
You reap what you sow.

Western Europe and the United States have, for several hundred years, enslaved, colonized, and ravaged peoples around the world. We have overthrown legitimate governments and established and supported brutal tyrannies in the name of stability and to support unbridled capitalistic pursuits. While our enviable democracies have enabled a level of peace and plenty which made of us the beacon of hope for the rest of the world, we have taken every opportunity to withhold a share of our good fortune. And in being willing to go to any lengths to protect and enhance our own interests, we have created monsters of much of the rest of the world.

What happened in Paris last night; in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, in 2001; in Madrid in 2004; in London in 2005; is going to happen continually and forever. Unless we change.

We know what we have to do, to undo what we have done. It will be a long and bumpy road. If we donít decide to take it, however, we know the cost, as we already have begun to see our enviable democracies under attack, both from within and without.

Our only avenue to continued peace, liberty, and plenty is to bring peace, liberty, and plenty to the world.

tags: Europe

Lifting the Veil

Apr 12, 2011
There has been much debate of late regarding the French ban on the wearing of the Arab niqab (mask) in public. The two sides are well represented in an editorial in Canada’s National Post,1 so I am not going to rehash them here.

However, I will add one comment not mentioned in this editorial or in anything else I have read on this issue. If a government is going to conclude that the wearing of a mask in public is, indeed, a matter for the legal system to deal with, then they should not double down on blaming the victim—which is what the oppressors of these women are doing in the first place—and arrest these hapless females. They should arrest the culpable parties—the husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons of these abused women.

The radical Islamists tell their women, “Get raped and we will stone you to death.” The French tell them, “Wear a burka or naqib and we will put you in a cell and fine you 150 euros.” Does such an attitude not merely represent a milder form of the same injustice and, ever at the root of this sort of thing, misogyny?
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1 Don’t ban the burka, an editorial from the National Post, Ontario, Canada, Apr 12, 2011, accessed Apr 12, 2011.

tags: Europe

Euros and Euro Happiness

Dec 11, 2008
What do you know? The European Union actually cares about the quality of life of all its people, and not just the enrichment of a tiny few at the expense of the rest. Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, was founded in 1975 “to contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.” Eurofound researches these conditions across the 27 European Union countries (including three current candidate countries), tries to identify what works, and passes along that understanding to labor, employers, and governments.

Their Second European Quality of Life Survey (.pdf, 416Kb) has just released its first findings. The full report will be available in spring 2009. The survey sought data on general life satisfaction and happiness relating to family, work, and social life. Among interesting findings we may wish to take to heart:

  • Earning disparities are lowest in the countries that show the highest general satisfaction and happiness.
  • The country with the highest household income (Luxembourg, with over twice the average EU income), comes in sixth out of 27 on the scale of general satisfaction/happiness.
  • The country with the highest general satisfaction/happiness (Denmark) comes in ninth in household income.
A decent income is essential for happiness; however, people in countries with higher incomes and, especially those in countries with high income disparities, show markedly less life satisfaction and happiness than people in countries where household income is lower and more equalized across the population.

The happier populations are in countries, primarily in Scandinavia, where government of, by, and for the people is working. They should be models we seek to emulate in the hard times to come.
tags: Europe

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