RE: European vs. American Fanaticism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sun Jul 01 2001 - 18:15:18 MDT

Anders writes

> I think you Americans have no monopoly on silliness - it is
> just that you are much better and more entertaining at it.

I must hasten to explain, said Lee modestly, that we Americans
do not have an innate talent at being silly. Our formidable
skill arose, as so many things do, from a great deal of practice.

More seriously, Mike Lorrey writes

> I consider the issues at the basis of european extremism to be
> rather simple, while their solutions are hilariously ludicrous.
> American examples of extremism (slavery, civil rights, taxation
> without representation, the desire to not live under the threat
> of nuclear annihilation, the desire to not live in a police state)
> are all rather profound issues of the human condition.

Those don't sound extreme to me; but perhaps that's your point.

> You'd have to LIKE living like a lemming in a fishbowl in a house
> full of hungry cats to enjoy the sort of extremism that occurs in
> Europe. I'm sure that such is just fine for some people, but we
> are over here specifically because we DONT like it.

Actually, your being born here may have had more to do with it :-)
Also, as all the do-gooders used to say about U.S. and Soviet
tendencies, "they are becoming more like us, and we are becoming
more like them", a prospect I'm sure that you dread.

Amara adds

>> So there is something going on.

> Europe is made of many many very different cultures.
> Your subject line reveals your bias, Lee.

I can only infer from this that you believe that the fanaticism
exhibited historically by Germany, Italy, Russia, France (in the
revolution) and Yugoslavia (recently) have no common denominator.
I suspect that they do; or rather, that there is an explanation
as to why America has been spared. Further, I still think that
the Americans were fanatical about waging World War II (commendably
so, I should say), and are equally fanatical about anti-smoking,
and that possibly there is a common denominator (maybe Puritanism,
as Mitch and Tiberius suggested).


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