One hates to indulge in broad generalizations, but Bryan Caplan has written an interesting post on why Europe is a wonderful place to visit while America is a wonderful place to live. Tyler Cowen added the following observation:
My alternative view is that Americans rate European life so highly (in part) because the buildings from previous eras are so striking and attractive. If all of the U.S. looked like U.S. postwar construction, the country would still impress more or less as it does. If all of Europe looked like its postwar construction, Americans would be less likely to admire European policies and political institutions.
During the heyday of laissez-faire, when the success of Victorian economic liberalism seemed undermine the case for dirigiste economics, you did get a lot of handsome architecture, but now we’re just belaboring the point.
But I think if we take a longer view, the problems we’re facing today just aren’t out of line with problems faced by previous generations.
What follows is characteristically measured and smart.