The idea that an increasing sense of material precariousness can lead to cultural retreat from liberalizing “self-expression” values can help us understand why low-density white America turned out to support a populist leader with disturbingly illiberal tendencies. But this idea can also help us understand why our larger national culture seems to be growing apart in a way that has made it seem harder and harder to communicate constructively across the gap.
Okay, this one is a bit of a challenging read. It’s an interesting analysis, though, and from a libertarian rather than liberal source. And there’s fun with data visualization.
Early last year, journalists from the Netherlands’ de Correspondent contacted their counterparts across the EU, beginning a joint effort to answer questions about European security:
Bodycams, drones, border surveillance, airport scanners, lawful interception, facial recognition – high-tech gadgets are being developed by businesses and deployed across Europe. But what kind of businesses make these technologies? How much money do they earn from them? How are they working with governments? And do these tools really make us safer? We wanted to find out. Not on our own, but working with a team from all over Europe.
pub. throughout early 2017
They’re collecting the many and complex answers in their series Security for Sale; the articles are linked in the right sidebar of the page. Among other things, in a globalized and often opaque world, it’s great to see the collaborative efforts of investigative reporters in action.
Take-home point: The balance between unity as a continent and separation of individual nations created an intellectual climate in which countries competed with each other but also shared ideas.
We must recognise that Europe’s (and the world’s) Great Enrichment was in no way inevitable. With fairly minor changes in initial conditions, or even accidents along the way, it might never have happened. Had political and military developments taken different turns in Europe, conservative forces might have prevailed and taken a more hostile attitude toward the new and more progressive interpretation of the world.
It is thus somewhat ironical that it is Germany, the country that is politically and economically dominant in Europe, that will now have to fill in many of the gaps created by America’s withdrawal from the old world order, the one referred to by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as “Pax Americana.” At the same time, Germany must build an alliance against Donald Trump, because it otherwise won’t take shape. It is, however, absolutely necessary.
On the upside, I wonder if, during an otherwise dark time, a Europe unified against the US could become a bastion of liberalism?