Sunday, April 20, 2008

Foreign Policy Magazine: At It Again

As I've said elsewhere, Foreign Policy is a magazine that even senators can understand. Please don't mistake that as a endorsement (it's not), for I say it merely to insult the senatorial simpletons that take it as truth.

Well, they're at it again. It's the usual Europe-bashing article that is part fear-mongering, part-insult and part untruth that comforts the American right-wing in its puerile belief that America is the best place that ever!

Samuel P. Huntington's minions sound thus the alarms:
Millions of children are being raised on prejudice and disinformation. Educated in schools that teach a skewed ideology, they are exposed to a dogma that runs counter to core beliefs shared by many other Western countries. They study from textbooks filled with a doctrine of dissent, which they learn to recite as they prepare to attend many of the better universities in the world. Extracting these children from the jaws of bias could mean the difference between world prosperity and menacing global rifts. And doing so will not be easy. But not because these children are found in the madrasas of Pakistan or the state-controlled schools of Saudi Arabia. They are not. Rather, they live in two of the world’s great democracies—France and Germany.

It certainly sounds like students are reciting these "doctrines of dissent" like the masses at a North Korean rally. But it gets worse, because the Left--unlike the World Bank, the IMF, the folks at Davos --has an agenda that may spread:

The deep anti-market bias that French and Germans continue to teach challenges the conventional wisdom that it’s just a matter of time, thanks to the pressures of globalization, before much of the world agrees upon a supposedly “Western” model of free-market capitalism. Politicians in democracies cannot long fight the preferences of the majority of their constituents. So this bias will likely continue to circumscribe both European elections and policy outcomes. A likely alternative scenario may be that the changes wrought by globalization will awaken deeply held resentment against capitalism and, in many countries from Europe to Latin America, provide a fertile ground for populists and demagogues, a trend that is already manifesting itself in the sudden rise of many leftist movements today.
Ok. So you get the idea. This article is full of less-than-nuanced insult. It should be noted that the author quotes not a single statistic in this piece. De does not demonstrate that globalization has been much more beneficial for places like Europe and the U.S. than for, say, Côte d'Ivoire. He does not mention that the minimum wage has stagnated in the U.S. and Europe. He does not mention the increasing disparity between CEOs and the average worker. He does not give us statistics about child labor. Really, this is not serious work, Stefan.

I won't deny that some of the quotes above sound provocative, but they are couched in a language that is not scientific or analytical. He does not seem to have done a full survey of economics books, for example, but merely chosen the "juiciest quotes," some of which, by the way, do not sound outlandish at all. No, the only outlandish thing about the article is the constant need to draw unproven conclusions about the supposed "nature" of Europeans from a non-scientific "study."

But wait, who is Stefan? Well, FP tells us that "Stefan Theil is Newsweek’s European economics editor. He completed his research of American, French, and German textbooks and curricula while a trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States."

That's the kicker. He has his hand on the media spigot draining into America. He has a position of true power, and, unfortunately, he appears to be either an intellectual fraud or weakling. Here we have, baldly exposed, the deepest thoughts and sincerest feelings of our media elite and Marshall fellow, Stefan Theil. Unsurprisingly for our media elite, he produces one of the most trite, vapid and insignificant pieces I have read since, well, the morning paper.