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Culture War Roundup for the week of July 10, 2023

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The last gasp of the europoor

For years, I've been treated to a steady diet of smug elitism coming from effete liberal Europeans laughing at obese, gun-toting and bible-thumpin' Americans. This reached its crescendo during the George W. Bush administration, took a lull during the Obama years and was resurrected after Trump took office.

The American was an ignoramus, a loud-mouth, a religious fundamentalist and irreversibly stupid. Hopelessly inferior to us sophisticated and cosmopolitan Europeans. Did you know half of Americans don't even own a passport? Most don't even know a second language!? Ha! And don't get me started on their healthcare, their gun crime and all other sorts of social pathologies. America, you see, is a third world nation masquerading as a first world one.

But as the years went by, these smirks felt increasingly hollow. The economic distance - and with it, standard of living - between the two major partners is growing wider by the day. A young French econ professor at Wharton lays out the bad news over just how deluded his fellow Europeans are on this question. Prominent FT columnists have noted the same.

Yet, perhaps there is still time to save the last shreds of honor for us poor Europeans. For one, the gap in PPP terms doesn't seem to be changing much. Europe has been behind for a long time. In terms of total GDP, the situation is much the same. Another aspect is that Europeans tend to work fewer hours.

While some of these arguments may have some validity, they all feel like desperate excuses. I for one am very much happy to see the insufferable elitism of Europeans slowly being wiped off our collective smug faces. The uncouth and primitive barbarian across the ocean turned out to be smarter and harder-working all along.

Perhaps this can also lead to a more pro-capitalist liberalism in the US. For much of my upbringing, liberal Americans were typified by folks such as Michael Moore and his obsessive admiration of the European welfare state. Colbert's snark about the embarrassing Red State American always felt like an underhanded way to gain favor with declassé elites across the ocean. Ann Coulter's observation that liberal elites in the US loved soccer because it is European surely hit closer to home than many in the media were willing to admit.

Of course, there is still some amount of liberal American simping left in the bag. This is perhaps most obvious whenever there are discussions on urban policy and the words "walkable city" invariably comes up. (To be clear, I actually think Europe gets this part better than the US).

Outside of an increasingly narrowing set of areas where Europe still outperforms, we are slowly witnessing a reshuffling of the deck. The old illusions are slowly coming undone and reddit-tier arguments about the US being a third world hellhole are convincing fewer by the day. At long last, after years of insufferable and unjustified smug elitism, the europoor is finally unmasked as the sham living on a lie that he always was. And I couldn't be happier.

unattractive styles such as short hair

You take that back!

As for the state of the cities—yeah, things probably were best in the late 90s or maybe mid 2000s. But something happened in 2008, and it wasn’t a demographic transition.

I am curious as to why you think we’ve hit peak dollar. There’s still a lot of room for chaos in the rest of the world. None of our economic competitors do a very good job pretending to be a safe market. China’s got its protectionist holding companies, and the Euro is…the Euro.

And from what I’m seeing it turned right around and declined for as many years as it grew. It wasn’t until 2020 that we jumped past the halcyon days of, uh, 2007. Same for general crime.

I’ll buy that there was an ideological shift post-recession. Not so much for “demographic trends.” The Hispanic and Asian proportions have grown. That’s hardly the driver for abolishing police, though.

Mestizos and Asians are not as crime-prone as blacks, but they don't create cities that are optimal for the enjoyment of white people.

The cores of most Latin American cities don't seem all that different from their antecedents in Spain and Portugal; there is more crime and sprawling slums around many of them of course, but recent events in El Salvador show that that can be fixed. Plenty of westerners seem to love the urban planning in places like Japan or Singapore as well. Given American population densities, we will not see any Tokyo-style megacities for the foreseeable future, but I fail to see how getting a Sapporo or two (a city that was built in consultation with American engineers in the late 19th century and looks the part) would be sub-optimal.

Those cores weren't designed by or built for Mestizos...

No, but they were built by Mestizos for a white overclass, which is the same thing we would get in the US even for the most extreme possible levels of immigration, except that some of that overclass will be Asian as well.

Is San Salvador now as nice as Copenhagen?

To me, yes. Copenhagen is flat and boring and the people are (by my American standards) standoffish, rude, and lazy. San Salvador also has much better food and it isn't dark half the year (I should note that while I have visited Denmark, Sweden, and many South American countries, I have not been to El Salvador specifically). That's not to say that much of the architecture in Copenhagen or Stockholm isn't jaw-droppingly beautiful, and they are definitely places I might choose to live...if they weren't inhabited by Scandinavians.