The Free Associator

The Philadelphia Syndicate is a collection of writers, businesses, artists, musicians, and activists based in Philadelphia, with connections to associates around the world via the internet. This publication is produced by members of the Syndicate's private online discussion forum for the purpose of giving exposure to the organization's thinkers to the public.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dingus of the Day


Today I will take aim at yet another neo-con columnist, and in this case, Harvard professor of history. The dingus of the day is Niall Ferguson. And boy, this guy is a real treat.

I will avoid commentary on his past defense's of imperialism, and instead focus on his recent contribution to the bizarre publication The Atlantic. I say bizarre because it seems the magazine's sole mission is to convince liberals that their ideology has failed and that they must embrace conservatism. They attempt this endeavor by pleading with liberals to ditch Roe vs. Wade, ditch Clintonism, and well basically, ditch liberalism. (Predictably, you'll have to pay for the magazine to read the full articles.) But it is uncommon for the arguments to make any sense to anyone but closet Republicans raised in Portland or San Francisco. So, unless you fit the bill, don't bother.

But, aside from my obvious distaste for The Atlantic, let's take a look at Ferguson's argument in "The Widening Atlantic". Ferguson lists three reasons for the apparent policy differences between Europe and America:

First, we must not forget the primary reason for the formation of the transatlantic alliance, in the 1940s and 1950s: to keep the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain. We should not deceive ourselves that the French and the Germans, or, for that matter, the British, were passionately pro-American during the Cold War. But as long as a Russian empire was menacing Western Europe with missiles, troops, and spooks, there was an overwhelming practical argument for the unity of the West.


The second reason the West is unlikely to come back together is the difference in the ways Europe and the United States assess the risk of Islamic extremism.


The third reason why transatlantic rapprochement is so unlikely: the precipitous decline of European Christianity over the past three decades.

You'll have to go buy the magazine if you have a real desire to get the full effect of his argument. As you should be able to determine, Ferguson places the blame for poor relations with Europe firmly on Europe. George Bush has nothing to do with it in his analysis.

Now, I'm sure that in his capacity as history buff, Ferguson has been on many European vacations and cruises and seen much of Europe from the luxurious confines of a Princess cruise ship or a luxury, rented SUV. Perhaps he has even done Europe on a shoestring budget. But, seriously, I think the former much more likely.

Ok, you want to know what really set me off about this column? He states that American churchgoing is twice what Europe's is without offering anything in the way of evidence or even a number. As if the source of contention between Americans and Europeans were churchgoing. He also states that "scarcely any Americans - compared with 15 percent of Europeans - can be characterized as atheists." Niall, you really need to get out more. And I don't just mean to more church services.

Yes, relations with Europe predate George W. Bush. But as someone who was living in Europe during the first term of GWB, I can tell you with certainty that the commander of the Armies of Compassion has something to do with their current distaste for things American.

You know what? I don't even care about the rest of his argument. Anyone who thinks the fault for deteriorating alliances with other, less evangelical, countries lies with the secularism of those countries and not the perverted religiosity of this one, is a lunatic in my book. Or a neo-con. Take your pick. Either way, Niall Ferguson is my "Dingus of the Day." Congratualtions Niall. Keep up the propaganda.


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