May 6, 2012

Great comments by Adam Gopnik in the May 7, 2012 New Yorker, “Vive la France.” Anti-European sentiment in the U.S. And not just with the “right” but also with the “left.” The Americans keep talking about the possible dissolution of the European Union. Hey, people. Wake up. The EU is good stuff, smart stuff, a model.

Gopnik observes that the American tone – about all the stuff happening in Europe – is “oddly punitive…as though the EU had been the product of some Brussels bureaucrat’s utopian folly rather than a miracle of coexistence wrought by a handful of quiet visionaries after more than fifty years of catastrophe.”

To paraphrase Gopnick, stop thinking about the Euro exchange rate or the Greek deficit. The number to remember when it comes to Europe? 60 million. Approximately 60 million Europeans were killed between 1914 and 1945 – in those two world wars that divided the continent.

“Social democracy in Europe, embodied by its union, has been one of the greatest successes in history…. A continent torn by the two most horrible wars in history achieved a remarkable half century of peace and prosperity, based on a marriage of liberalism properly so called (individual freedoms, including the entrepreneurial kind) and socialism rightly so ordered (as an equitable care for the common good.)”

That’s the European Union. An extraordinary experiment. An extraordinarily successful experiment.

The U.S. should admire and respect this fact. The U.S. should cheer this example.

Read the column. Read past the early paragraphs about Sarkozy and Hollande. Read about the EU.


Filed under: Social Commentary

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About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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