The Remarkable Difference Between Europe and the USA
We have been rallying those that read RedState to oppose the Obama agenda by likening it to European style socialism, with its tight control of medical care and private enterprise. For a lot of Americans who don’t pay attention to what goes on in Europe, or what the current mindset of the European leadership is, today brought a terrific example to study and understand.
This interview published in Spiegel Online International between Spiegel and Peter Krämer, a German multi-millionaire illustrates the depth of socialism in Europe.
Spiegel: Forty super wealthy Americans have just announced that they would donate half of their assets, at the very latest after their deaths. As a person who often likes to say that rich people should be asked to contribute more to society, what are your first thoughts?
Krämer: I find the US initiative highly problematic. You can write donations off in your taxes to a large degree in the USA. So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable. (emphasis mine).
Spiegel: But doesn’t the money that is donated serve the common good?
Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, (emphasis mine) but rather the rich want to decide. That’s a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?
Speigel: It is their money at the end of the day.
Krämer: In this case, 40 superwealthy people want to decide what their money will be used for. That runs counter to the democratically legitimate state. In the end, the billionaires are indulging in hobbies that might be in the common good, but are very personal.
There are a number of interesting things to see here:
* ”bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires” Apart from the idea that it would also transfer power to others who aren’t billionaires, the Europeans seem to have gotten our Declaration of Independence exactly backwards. Power is granted by the consent of the governed to the state, not the other way around.
* The whole notion of individual acts of charity seems to be missing from the discussion, which I suppose is an indicator of the extent of “post Christian” thinking in Europe. This is truly sad, given the heritage of cathedrals, monasteries, the Reformation and the Catholic Church.
* The gentleman seems also to miss the point of “it’s their money” as the source of the legitimacy of their desire to see it used well (even when tossed the softball by the interviewer!). He also seems to ironically miss the point that these billionaires are already have the power to decide “where massive sums of money will flow” and they apparently are doing a pretty successful job of it — or they wouldn’t be billionaires. Maybe that’s why he’s still just a multi-millionaire.
The most important point to draw from this interview is this: After less than 70 years (or two generations), the concepts of capitalism, individual rights, liberty and individual choice seem to have withered to non-existence in Europe.
Those who think we should not try to fully repeal the bailout/Obamacare/amnesty/cap-n-trade/’environmentalist’ laws that have been rammed through in the past 18 months are wrong. Dead Wrong. Leaving any parts of these in place will lead to re-emergence of the ideas until freedom, free enterprise and individual choice are choked out as surely as kudzu destroys anything in its path.
Just look at what has happened to Europe. I, for one, don’t want to go there.