What's different between fascism and its kinder, gentler younger cousin is two things:
- Fascism is explicitly nationalistic, and Transnational Progressivism is, well, explicitly trans-national. There's no place for concepts like Die Deutsche volk in modern Tansnationalism. A European volk, especially as a counterbalance to the vulgar cowboy Americans is welcome.
- Fascism was organized around the Führer Prinzip, a leader embodying the collective aspirations of the volk. Transnationalism (so far) has avoided this entirely, although a political elite maintains rigid control via a (largely unaccountable) bureaucracy.
But that's ending now. Whether the schemes and appetites of the ruling European Elite grew out of all sense of proportion, or whether there's just a limit on how long a system can continue before it starts to run down, we can now predict with confidence that the post-war European system is running down. The question is, what will replace it?
The system worked well at the beginning: the French still look back wistfully at the Trente Glorieuses, the years of rapid economic expansion through the 1970s. It's not surprising that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European Elites could foresee a time when a united Europe would eclipse the vulgar Americans. Populations were content to allow the elites to control their destiny, since incomes and living standards had been rising so fast, for so long.
That's been pretty much over for twenty years.
In 1992, the average American was about $5600 ahead of the average person in the Euro Area. This value has already been adjusted for inflation. In 2007, the difference had risen to more that $13,000 (and is likely to be almost $14,000 by 2008). That's how far behind the Euro Area is, and that's how much it has changed in a mere 16 years.So European incomes are stagnating, when compared to incomes in the US. This is new since 1980, and has accelerated since about 1995. Europeans in general have become much more pessimistic about their future than Americans are:
I'd like to return to a comparison of life in the U.S. vs. life in Europe. I am intrigued by that issue not because I want to trumpet the greatness of the U.S. but because so many people appear to be under the impression that the balance is tilted in favor of the Europeans even though the evidence strongly suggests that it is tilted the other way.Both of these are important background, and you should click through to RTWT. They're from 3 years ago, before the Euro started to fray. In other words, even when it looked like Europe was firing on all cylinders, the populations were not happy.
And now the wheels are starting to come off the EU bus. The PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) are in serious economic trouble, because the Euro is designed for the stronger economies of northern Europe. Interest rates and the resulting exchange rates are optimized for the industrial economies of Germany, Benelux, and to a lesser extent, France. This has depressed growth (and consequently increased government deficits) in the PIIGS region. They have, unsurprisingly, demanded subsidies from the wealthier northern states. As long as the northern economies were performing - and especially while a real estate bubble in Tuscany, Andalucia, the Algarve, and Greece drove huge amounts of cash south - the elites could keep this crack papered over.
That's done now, and it's hard to see it coming back. The subsidies required to defer a financial collapse and default are the better part of a Trillion dollars, just for Greece. Guess who pays?
You simply cannot look at this situation without a voice in the back of your head whispering die deutsche volk. Nationalism horrifies the elites, but nationalism feeds on an external enemy (or irritation), and the German people have every right to be steamed right now. One of the two key differences between Transnational Progressivism and Fascism is creaking.
And it's going to get worse. We have a bad demographic situation here in the USA, with the Baby Boom generation starting to strain the finances of Medicare and Social Security. Europe is much worse. Budgets will get tighter and benefits will have to be scaled back because there's no alternative. What the populations tolerated during boom times will no longer be tolerable. Gernams will rightly ask themselves why they have to work until age 65 or 70 to support a Greek who retires at 55 or 60.
It was an easy half a step sideways from Fascism to Transnational Progressivism, and it will be an easy half step back sideways. Steven den Beste predicted the collapse of the second major difference between the philosophies, the rise of Führer Prinzip:
Europe is screwed. It's dropped below the Power Curve, and the only question is whether it will be five years or ten. As Ron White jokes:
So in the end what you'll get is economic collapse. There are various ways in which this can play out, but none of them are good. And as long as Europe is locked in this economic death-spiral, they are unlikely to be a military threat to us, and at least that's a blessing.
But what comes after the collapse or emerges politically during the collapse? The historical record suggests a new rise of Fascism is the most likely outcome. In the midst of economic chaos, with a huge population of unemployed and people who are dissatisfied, charismatic leaders will appear who will blame the problems on foreigners and claim they can solve the problems if only they're given unrestrained power. Once elected, they abolish elections, dismantle most of the programs which are causing trouble, and actually do improve the business climate. But they do other things, too, and few of them are likely to be good.
The guy sitting next to me is losing his mind. Apparently, he had a lot to live for. He turns to me, he says "Hey man! [gasps for air] Hey, man! Hey, man! [gasps for air] If one of these engines fails, [gasps for air] how far will the other one take us?" So I was like, "All the way to the scene of the crash! Which is pretty handy, 'cause that's where we're headed. I bet we beat the paramedics there by a half-hour! We're haulin ass!"I'm stil optimistic about America. I'm not at all about Europe. It's been said that Fascism is always descending on America, but always landing in Europe. Buckle up, here we go again.