Throughout history, powerful and wealthy nations tend to dictate and even control what kind of culture spreads to nearby regions of the world. This was the case in respect of ancient Mesopotamia, the Roman Empire, Alexandrian Greece, multiple Persian states, the initial Arab Caliphates, Ottoman Turkey and multiple ancient Chinese dynasties to name but a few.
Today, as has been the case for just under a century, it is the United States that shapes the culture of the western world and to a large extent even beyond the west. Between America’s natural influence over the west and a European Union that has successfully exorcised the cultural traditions of individual European nation states, the ancient and often rival cultures of Europe have been deeply homogenised so as to become a blank slate. Now, European culture sits in perennial purgatory in the same way that uncivilised tribes might sit in anticipation of enlightenment from a foreign race.
For those who love the Austro-Germanic school of orchestral music, Dutch painting or French sculpture, this realisation is unspeakably grim when taken at face value. Ironically, whilst some in the US fear a mythical “Chinese takeover”, China has virtually no cultural influence on the west and ironically has less cultural influence on the rest of east Asia than it has since at least the 18th century. Thus, the US for all its virtues and vices remains both a locomotive of its own success and a victim of its own failures. It influences others but others scarcely influence it.
This is quite unlike the cultures of Europe which have for decades been eroded through open sabotage conducted by a cosmopolitan elite whose only claim to power is technocracy at the expense of cultural sovereignty. But this is a reality that many in Europe (on both the left and right) ought to admit rather than lie about.
If all of the western world and Europe in particular has been Americanised, the question is: which America should one choose? In the true tradition of the American market place, there are in fact many options available.
Whilst there are multiple Americas from which to choose, one can summarise the major categories as follows:
1. The America of hectoring acultural liberals who seek to remake the entire world in their image in spite of how much violence must be waged in order to accomplish this.
2. The America of free speech, personal liberty and limited government
3. The America of endless war making, whether on its own soil or abroad
4. The New Deal America that accepts big government as automatically virtuous
Of each of these Americas, it is the most malleable, the most ethical and the most humane which has for too long been ignored both inside of the US and in America’s cultural colonies throughout the western world. One naturally refers to option number two as the America that is both the most admirable and therefore the most desirable in terms of other western countries emulating its characteristics.
It is somewhat remarkable that an America characterised by a vindictive and neo-imperial liberalism, big government and/or constant war is antithetical to the best Jeffersonian traditions upon which the United States was largely founded. Perhaps this is why these arguably anti-American versions of America have become so popular among Europeans who are trying their best to act as second class versions of the worst kinds of Americans.
With this in mind, because the west is already an extended version of America in terms of cultural outlook and social characteristics, it is high time for realistic Europeans and other westerners to emphasise the best aspects of the United States which are succinctly summarised in the first amendment to the US Constitution. This famed first amendment reads as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.
If Europe has to be part of the US military apparatus (NATO), if Europeans more readily eat McDonalds than traditional cuisine and if one is forced to observe several generations of Europeans grow up ignorant as to the works of Beethoven, Goethe, da Vinci, Rodin and thousands of others, the least that Europe could do is gift itself its own first amendment.
21st century Europe has forgotten its cultural values yet it has retained a distinctly less free atmosphere than that which the first amendment legally guarantees to Americans. Since it is unlikely that the old Europe of unique cultural traditions will ever return, the best that Europe could do is to become the best version of America rather than the worst.