Friday, August 14, 2009

America is different from Europe

Ammerica (with two or three "m") is different from Europe.

This comes to my mind viewing the heated discussion on the health care reform proposed in Congress.

Over here, in Europe, it has always been cause of a certain disconcert knowing that not everybody in the States is assured adequate health care. With us, health is almost numbered among "human rights", but, given that human beings have the strange tendency to fall ill, it is considered a right to have the State take care of it. Save the right of complaining, eventually, of the way it does it.

What does it mean then this opposition in the States to an extension of health care to everybody by way of public, federal insurance? Are may be Ammericans, or at least those many who oppose the proposed plan, so egoistic not to consider the need of people left without protection by the present system?

I wouldn't think so.

There are larger issues involved, which concern the global difference between Europe and America.

Robert Kagan tried, sever years ago, to determine where the difference lies, with a characterization from Greek mythology: so that America would be Mars, Europe Venus.

If this meant that Europe has become the land of that whore of Venus, leaving aside those more honest women of Juno and Minerva, I might even agree.

Out of jokes. It doesn't convince me, because Europe and America don't mean the same thing for everybody.

If I think of Europe as it is today promoted by the European Union, I cringe with abhorrence. It would take a sophisticated historical analysis to substantiate the why, that I limit myself here to state: it is the soft version of the hard core totalitarianism of Twentieth Century. These latter thought that to control people was needed the police. Now days it has been understood that it is enough to keep control on schools and the media, to provide panem et circenses, in modern terms work and leisure time, and, why not, health care. Anything may be provided, exept the freedom that comes from looking beyond the confines of biological life.

And though, many Americans look up at this Europe.

There is on the other side that long standing European civilization in whose inheritance America can be viewed.

America has been indeed an European experiment in "nation building".

Some Europeans recall today, in opposition to the European Union trend, the principle on which that experiment was made: over here we call it "subsidiarity", in the States it is called "federalism".

This means that public authority should not come in where civil society can do by itself; that State authorities should not come in where towns and counties con do by themselves; that federal government should not come in where States can do by themselves.

Now, this is the principle that makes the discussion on the public extension of health care so heated. Is it really necessary, or it can provided otherwise?

Obama was elected because of his promise to be a pacifier between the two visions of Europe, so to speak, battling in America. Now his administration finds itself before a divisive issue. Instead of turning paranoid about it, shouldn't it rather take more care in assuaging the principled concern it raised?

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