The Corner

Obama Fiddles, Athens Burns

While the president blathers on about fair shares, corporate jets, and those darn Republicans — and provoked this astonishing, unforced gaffe by Morning Joe’s Mark Halperin, for which Halperin and the rest of the crew spent much of this morning apologizing — the shape of things to come can be seen over in Greece, which is the subject of my New York Post column today:

Listen carefully to those screams of outrage and sounds of shattering glass you hear wafting from the streets of Athens as rioters “protest” the end of an internationally funded gravy train: This is what happens when an irresponsible government and a lazy, entitled public finally run out of other people’s money.

Welcome to the beginning of the end of the welfare state.

Talk about unsustainable: I spent the better part of the nineties working in western and central Europe while based in Germany, and the crash-course trajectory of the European social-welfare model was evident even then — and this was in a country that actually worked. But hey — it’s easy to have a social-welfare state dedicated to la dolce vita when Uncle Sam is providing the troops and the nuclear umbrella. Millions for Cinzano, but not one cent for defense!

Why the anger? For one thing, Europeans lack the American tradition of self-reliance. They expect somebody — the king, the chancellor, the Eurocrat — to protect them from life’s vicissitudes.

For another, the disconnect between productive labor and earned reward has never been so great. Punching a clock is what counts, not tangible results.

Third, the private sector has long been subjected to punishing employment regulations that have made hiring workers too costly, so that basic Western European unemployment rates have long been more than 8 percent (yes — the same rate that Americans are now being told to get used to). And forget about self-starting: In Europe, the self-employed entrepreneur is looked upon as a dangerous radical and social misfit.

A zero-sum mentality regarding capital and labor has brought Europe to its present pass — and Americans should be worried. Because what’s happening in the cradle of democracy could be coming here.

The culture of entitlement will not go quietly or easily, but go it must — and go it will, one way or the other.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More