The Mice That Roared

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The noise from Europe is tremendous, deafening. Faced with the collapse of the system of state socialism to which Europeans of all classes once eagerly committed their wellbeing, both the man in the street and the mobs in the street now demand their rights. But their rights to what?

For some, it’s the right not to pay for their education. For others, it’s the right to retire at the age of 60 (if not earlier). For a union leader from Portugal, whose government has gone broke by borrowing money to cover the cost of welfare benefits and labor-friendly laws, it’s the right not to be “sent . . . into poverty and misery” by wage cuts to civil servants, cuts averaging an enormous . . . 5%.

The Europeans are not rebelling against the feckless, spendthrift state; they are rebelling in favor of it and of what they want it to do for them. Witness an AP interview with a Spanish man in the street who “supported the growing outrage over salary and pension cuts and wondered why billions were being thrown instead at governments and banks. ‘People have to fight for their rights,’ ” he said. In other words, it’s the people’s right to receive money from the government, without ever needing to “throw” any of that money back, even to keep outraged creditors from cutting off the supply of cash.

This counter-revolution of the entitled is a sad commentary on human life under the conditions of socialized education. The denizens of Europe angrily but dimly perceive that they have somehow been bamboozled by their governments. Yet the politicians, the labor unions, the Eurocrats, the teachers in all those schools that Americans have been taught to regard as superior to our own, even the socialized clergy, specialists in smarm, have always told the populace that government handouts were “rights.” That sounded good, and it was accordingly believed. It continues to be believed.

So now, if we can judge by all available news accounts, the inhabitants of Europe lack any ability to distinguish real rights — such as the right not to have one’s money taken by the state and “invested” in the solemn farce of a planned economy — from the supposed “right” to be supported by the same predatory state.

In short, Europeans have lost their ability to reason. But they didn’t lose it this November. They lost it a generation ago, when they were educated to believe that all would be well, if only they referred all decisions to the state. And the biggest joke is that this state they worship, both at its national shrines and among the ever-proliferating cubicles of Brussels, is staffed by people who were educated in the same way as the rest of the population. The Europeans are rebelling against themselves. Their banner is: “Nonsense corrupts, and absolute nonsense corrupts absolutely.”


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