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European Disunion
Europe Is Eroding from the South
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  • D4x

    We do live in interesting times. One wonders if Italy is joining the Israeli Blue Flag joint air exercise in April 2017, for the first time, because of Italy’s migrant and refugee crisis. India, France, and Germany are also joining Israel, USA, Poland, and Greece in Blue Flag for the first time. Probably a different coincidence.

    • Proverbs1618

      No matter how much they may hate those uppity Jews, they still want to use their brains and skills. Same as it ever was.

  • lukelea

    “The north’s industrialists flourish thanks to their exporting prowess. . .”

    Or perhaps thanks to their genetic prowess? The differential achievement of northern Italians goes back centuries, at least since the Renaissance, in all fields of endeavor. There may be exceptions but they are exceptions. I think it’s time that pundits and social commentators start recognizing the realities of human biodiversity. Of course it wouldn’t matter except that refusal leads to a lot of bad policy decisions that adversely affect the welfare of everyone, including the less favorably endowed. At good place to start is with the emerging concept of gene-culture co-evolution, which operates on a timescale of centuries, or perhaps generations. For example, look at this article on “Whatever Happened to European Tribes” https://goo.gl/q18ekk

    • Tom

      Nope. It’s not genetics, it’s the consequences of the latifundia, which were much more prevalent in southern than northern Italy, and then the fact that southern Italy kept getting conquered and reconquered by various groups, while northern Italy generally managed to maintain its independence
      See Peter Turchin’s War and Peace and War.

      • ——————————

        Just about everything is determined by genetics in humanity…and all other organisms on earth….

        • Tom

          There are lots of things that are determined by genetics. Your culture is not one of them.

          • ——————————

            Actually it is.
            Genetics determine physical and behavioral traits, and physical/behavioral traits determine cultures…just like with all the different animals….

          • Tom

            No, actually, those traits are not what determines cultures. What determines cultures are the environments and circumstances that people groups happen to find themselves in–something the so-called “human biodiversity” crowd never quite manages to grasp.
            Humans, you see, have an advantage over other animals: we’re sapient.

          • Jon Robbins

            Who says it’s one or the other?
            Environment works on culture in two ways: First, directly via the conscious development and handing down of knowledge and traditions. Human beings respond in real time to real life problems, devise procedures and teach others, especially the young, how to live in their environment. “Here, kid, here’s what ‘we’ do for the harvest festival. Learn it and live it.” That’s the sapience you are talking about.

            But the environment also, indirectly, via the genetic evolution of population groups in different environments creates culture. Do you really not think that part of the difference between Finnish and Hausa cultures stems from the evolved psycho-physical differences determined by evolutionary development in vastly different environments? Of course it is. And it’s not necessarily easy to separate what the environment transmits directly to culture versus what goes through the process of evolutionary genetic development.

            Naturally , these psycho-physical differences blur where geographical barriers are less prominent and have been further blurred over the recent centuries as modern transportation technologies have facilitated mixing.

          • Tom

            “Do you really not think that part of the difference between Finnish and Hausa cultures stems from the evolved psycho-physical differences determined by evolutionary development over spans of time in vastly different environments? Of course it is.”

            You’re severely overestimating the differences there. Take a bunch of Finnish newborns, stick them in an environment similar to northern Nigeria and teach them as the Hausa teach their children, and within three or four generations–at most–you’ll have a society similar to the Hausa.
            The reverse is also true.

          • Jon Robbins

            What empirical evidence is there of the transplantation of culturally-viable-sized groupings in which these groupings are culturally transformed into carbon copies of indigenous groups?

          • Tom

            No one’s tried the sort of experiment that I’m talking about, mostly because no one would agree to having that done to their kids.
            And the reason I specifically said “newborns” was in order to avoid the kids being socialized in Finnish culture before the transplantation.

          • Jon Robbins

            I would say two things:

            1. Without any empirical data, I think that, at the least, we can’t really have the certitude to say, “Take a bunch of Finnish newborns, stick them in an environment similar to northern Nigeria and…you’ll have a society similar to the Hausa.

            2. If you believe that the environment has no effect on evolved population group psycho-physical characteristics, then do disagree with the basic concept of evolution itself?

          • Tom

            My issue is with the idea that psychological characteristics are hardwired into the genetic code.
            To put it another way, some people have problems with the idea of “magic dirt.” I have problems with “magic Vitamin D processing efficiency.”

          • Jon Robbins

            What IS your issue with psychological characteristics being at least partially determined by genetics?

            Don’t understand the last part. Guess it has something to do with lactose tolerance/intolerance as a racial characteristic.

          • Tom

            The fact that most of the people talking about psychology and genetics tend to forget that, at most, genetics provides a blueprint.

            The last part is me snarking about how the “human biodiversity” crowd somehow always tends to put the Nordic phenotype at the top of the list, although the intellectually honest ones will occasionally let East Asians in.

          • Jon Robbins

            A “blueprint” is still pretty deterministic.

          • Tom

            Truth be told, calling it a “blueprint” is something of a stretch. Psychology is more nurture than nature.

          • Jon Robbins

            But what is your basis for saying that “psychology is more nurture than nature?

            The brain is a physical organ, subject to the same genetic influence as other physical organs and the product of evolution over the longer term. That there are direct environmental (“nurture”) influences is true, but what evidence have you seen that supports the idea that brain functioning is primarily determined by non-genetic factors?

          • Tom

            The fact that when looking at identical twins separated at birth no one’s ever come up with 1:1 correlations for any kind of psychological condition comes to mind.

          • Jon Robbins

            So then to your way of thinking, to go back to the Hausa–Finn comparison, within a few generations, the Hausa population of Finland would be developing cell phone technologies and have among the best school systems in the world?

            Do you really believe that?

          • Tom

            No. What I believe is that within a few generations the Hausa transplanted to Finland would have the cultural attitudes that would allow them to do so, while the Finns transplanted to northern Nigeria would not.

          • ——————————

            Of course those things have an effect on behaviors. But the genetics determine how those groups (as a general rule, not an individual), deal with, and/or create those environments and circumstances….

            Genetics play a large part in everything that relates to living organisims…fact….

          • Tom

            “But the genetics determine how those groups (as a general rule, not an individual), deal with, and/or create those environments and circumstances….”

            No, in fact, they do not.

    • Pete

      It could be that industries do better in the north because the geography there is better suited for it — network of rivers, plains, etc.

  • Andrew Allison

    I think this analysis is a bit superficial — the problem in Italy, as in Greece, is that the flood of money from Northern Europe was not accompanied by insistence upon reform. Consequently, there was no reform, and the money went down the rabbit-hole. In the cases of, e.g. Ireland and Spain, reforms were actually undertaken, and the economies recovered. The argument against austerity is, in fact, an argument against austerity.

  • Joey Junger

    I’d take corruption and incompetence any day over idealism and insanity. Give me fat plutocrats who look like me, speak my language, enjoy my cuisine, and live in the same country with me and I can live with that. Also, it may sound misogynistic but please, no more post-menopausal childless women trying to compensate for their barrenness by bringing in “Kinder” from Syria. Thanks.

    • Pete

      “but please, no more post-menopausal childless women trying to compensate for their barrenness by bringing in “Kinder” from Syria. Thanks.”

      That is a priceless observation.

    • Tom

      You might want to ask Rome how that worked out for them.
      Answer: Not well.

  • S.D. (Bob) Plissken

    Walter Russell Mead voted for Barack Obama both times. Why did you do that, Walter? Answer please.

  • Anthony

    piketty.blog.lemonde.fr/2017/01/09/of-productivity-in-france-and-in-germany/ (of European productivity)

  • Jon Robbins

    I would have thought that an article proposing the thesis that “Europe is eroding from the South,” would have felt it necessary to explain how Brexit fits into the theory. Of course, the UK was never in the Euro, but Brexit still bears on the theory being propounded here. But yes, southern Europe certainly has socio-culturally problematic features that are part of Europe’s raft of problems.

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