Identical Cousins

So we’re more like Europe than commonly thought?  Depends on what or who you mean by “Europe”.  A review from The Claremont Institute of The Narcissism of Minor Differences:  How America and Europe are Alike by Peter Baldwin.

“…one vast difference between Europeans and Americans is in the mastery of groundless condescension… (There is) greater differentiation among European states than between US and European average.  (Our respective societies’) outcomes are similar, though the ways we get there are not.”

“…the differences aren’t found in bar graphs and can’t be measured, but are real.  Hand on heart, which cities more resemble each other: Stockholm and Minneapolis or Helsinki and Thessaloniki?

Baldwin’s numbers—fertilized by studies from the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and other international organizations and institutions, where statistics grow as thick and high as Iowa corn

For those on the American left who love holding up European solutions for American problems, Baldwin’s collection of discoveries will be a blow. Who knew that in the U.S., taxes are more progressive than in all of Europe? Or that American social welfare policies are as generous as Van Rompuy’s cherished continental welfare state? Or that the Germans are even more litigious than Yanks? Or that for education, state spending byAmericans and Europeans is about the same and achieves about the same results? Or that Americans have been more successful in reducing carbon dioxide output per unit of GDP than nine European countries, some of them notoriously sanctimonious? Or that the French, Austrians, Swiss, Germans, and Italians—with their expensive public transportation networks—all own more passenger cars per capita than Americans do? Or that New Yorkers are the politest big-city residents on either side of the Atlantic? Fuggedaboutit! Europeans ridicule perceived American religiosity, yet, as Baldwin notes, “About a third of Germans, Austrians, and Irish, and even more French and Swiss, believe that fortune-tellers can foresee the future.”

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