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East Meets West

Europe and America are divided by a common language.

May 17, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 33 • By TOD LINDBERG
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But let us not try to expunge all differences. “American” and “European” continue to have resonance as “ideal types,” in Max Weber’s old term. To say that the “social scientists with liberal leanings” and “tub-thumpers on the right wing” are confused or intellectually irrelevant is almost to say that political debate and the means by which it takes place (the Internet, for example) don’t really matter. That’s rather a lofty perspective. Baldwin’s facts and figures do, indeed, point to the fundamental similarities in American and European social and political arrangements. But if you want to know what went into the making of those outcomes, you need to take into account the aspirations of the tub-thumpers and the Stockholm-worshippers, not just what they are missing.

There are some of each on both sides of the Atlantic, but there are relatively more tub-thumpers in the United States and more Stockholm-worshippers in Europe. That’s where Mars and Venus come back in.

Tod Lindberg is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and editor of Beyond Paradise and Power: Europe, America and the Future of a Troubled Partnership. 

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