The Second Version

20/03/08

Different From Birth

What makes Europe and America so different in culture and politics? It's ridiculous to think that genetic makeup may have something to do with it.

One reason, in my opinion, has to do with geography and other rather incidental facts.

The settlers in the USA wanted to build a society different from the ones they left (generally, they only wanted to be left alone and live as free, indipendent men), but the main point here is that they could.

The territory of the USA (and parts of Canada) was vast, rich of water, fertile land, natural resources and so on. And most important, it was rather empty: the population density of the American Indians was low and many of them were more or less nomads. They tried to resist colonization, but ultimately the technological gap was too wide and the native society too fractitious to mount a significant resistance. American Indians were ruthlessly wiped out and the settlers remained the sole dominators of a huge and rich stretch of land - where they could build the society they preferred free of costraints. It took a lot of hard work, but they succeeded.

In Europe instead things were very different: population density had always been relatively high since the Roman age at least, with power (and weapons) strictly in the hands of the ruling classes. Every attempt at revolution or reformation had to go against deeply entrenched customs and social equilibria; there was nowhere to go (except America, after a certain time) for the dissenters. While in America new ideas and social models could simply expand, in Europe they had to compete, and very hard, against existing ones.

Those are important factors to explain the differences we can see today.
Of course, some American don't even bother to think about these issues but insted keep chanting "America the best, Fuck the rest".

Etichette: ,

2 Commenti:

  • Israeli scholar Azar Gat, author of "War in Human Civilization" (a book I warmly recommend) argues that the original cradle of liberty is indeed Europe.

    For centuries because of a series of complex reasons that for the sake of brevity I won't be explaining here, compared to the autocratic civilizations of Asia, Europe was, politically speaking, a wildly free place.

    In modern times the extension of the size and powers of the european states coincided with the "discovery" (for want of better term) of America, so that the many europeans that moved over there took with them both the original, Europe-generated, ideas about liberty and the craving of that freedom they were being increasingly denied at home.

    Di Anonymous Wellington, Alle 20/3/08 16:30  

  • And in the vast expanses of the future USA, those ideas could flourish.

    Di Blogger Fabio, Alle 20/3/08 17:27  

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