Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conclusion of the European Seminar- Highways

As I write at this early time of the morning, my body believes it is nearly mid-day, European time. Let me not dilly-dally and get directly to the point- Europe is a socialist state. At least Switzerland, Germany and France. Very much socialists.

During my two-week trip abroad, I was not in contact with the daily rants here in the states. The Stuttgarter Zeitung, the Strasbourg Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace, and the Zurich, Die Weltwoche allotted little space to American news. Perhaps they know that their readers are little interested in the daily outrages of this dysfunctional nation of ours.

And so I return to the mess I left. The insurance industry still squeezes the nuts of the senators, racism continues to fester, and the ever-volatile voice of right-wing radio continues to corrode the brains of the listeners.

Why would the average German, Swiss or Frenchman care much about such a colonial society as ours? We truly are the odd, backwards distant cousin- the ignorant, hillbilly relative who bungles through life but gets nowhere. The relative that you hope doesn't make a surprise visit.

As an example of the effects of socialism, I note a comparison of the roads: the ones I travelled are as smooth as a baby's butt. German highways, town streets and the Autobahn were all in excellent condition as were those in Alsace and central Switzerland. As a stark and harsh comparison, the expressway from DTW to Toledo is a joke, especially in Michigan. Its condition would not be proper for an alley in Europe. The crumbling streets of Toledo are, at minimum, an embarrassment.

But our taxes are lower.

Exactly that.

Our taxes are lower.

Therefore, as one wise man once noted, you get what you pay for.

Our stuffy European ancestors understand that principle well and have concluded, after experimenting with 'low taxes' and resultant low services, that they would rather enjoy proper services and pay a little more in taxes to enrich their lives on a day-to-day basis. Thus the man who works in Mercedes in Stuttgart expects the roads he travels each morning and afternoon to be smooth, safe and well-designated. And they are.

One might question whether a 'road' ought to be deigned as a proper indicator of the level of civility, maturity and accomplishment of a society. Indeed, one might question such an index.

Ask the Romans.

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