Monday, November 30, 2009

Next time a European criticizes America

I love Europe. I love Europeans. However, what the heck is going on in Switzerland? I guess the Bradley effect applies to the Swiss more than Americans right now.

The problem in Europe is for all their talk of tolerance and liberalization there are major ethnic problems. A few Germans were rude to me because I am of Russian heritage. Gypsies are roundly persecuted throughout Europe. Nationalist, extreme-right wing parties are on the rise. These are problems the United States doesn't have to the same degree as Europe. Sure we have complicated ethnic histories. Japanese interment, slavery, genocide of Native Americans, anti-immigration against everyone from Germans to Irish to Asians to Slavs and now Latinos are all things that America has had problems with in the past (and present). Yet in America we don't ban Nazis or other groups just because they hate we seek justice for people who are violent or actively discriminate (Europe feels their people are so out of control they have make political expression in some cases illegal).

Still American, after 9/11 mind you, still allows head scarves, minarets, and American Muslims are far better assimilated than their European counterparts. The fact is the more tolerant a society is the better race relations you have and the better assimilated people are. Freedom, acceptance, free markets, and fairness are not western values they are universal. Everyone does better when they can practice their religion and celebrate together. We eat better food, learn knew things, experience different art and culture. In short, diversity is exciting.

Tell me were else can you have Chinese food, watch French movies, drink Corona, read Russian novels, and listen to jazz? America is not perfect but in some ways we are far ahead of our friends across the Atlantic.