Summer in the city
Hot evenings on the deck, with a cold beer in hand, make my mind flow freely.
As the old song goes – you fog your mind, you free your soul.
So here it is for tonight:
Europeans conquered the world and created humanity, connected the peoples.
The Chinese or the Aztecs didn’t do it, no other culture did either for that matter, and you may ask yourself why. The answer will show you how different we are.
European people were not afraid of risking their future exploring the world, we eventually came and conquered North America. I consider myself one of them; I came to Toronto a long time ago in the middle of a cold winter, with two suitcases not speaking English. Four years later I was able to buy my first house.
These days we are in process of eradicating what made us, Europeans, so successful.
There is no need to create laws that specifically guarantee any right to any specific group. The core of a successful civilization is that all groups are treated equally. Ethnicity, creed, race, religion or gender share common rights of equality. They do not share God-given talents, but the right to pursue whatever talent they possess.
We started having doubts about it, and this is making us week.
There is a reason for it - in the last century Europe and the European culture destroyed itself - between 1914 and 1945, 100 million people died in wars on a continent of less than 500M inhabitants.
What emerged after 1945 was a Europe without the sovereignty, being divided between countries under US and Russian control.
This arrangement is now in the process of change, as the Americans don’t care anymore and the Russians just want to be left alone. The question is what’s next?
We must remember that the most vulnerable country in Europe is Germany, with their GDP being dependent on foreign customers. This simple fact drives German foreign politic to no end, not easy to manage, but they took some heavy-handed steps not exactly good for the peoples of Europe.
The way the European Union was created was to limit entrepreneurship – the level of taxation and regulation there is extremely high, the workers councils are powerful to the point you don’t really hire a worker, you adopt him. And you couldn’t shake lose from a mere bankruptcy. Europe is still with 1950’s style corporations and they’re paying the price for it.
There is a reason that no Apple, Google or Cisco emerged from there. Interestingly, Switzerland (not a part of the EU) is more open and flexible to what business needs, even though the richest family here are the guys who run IKEA.
Things happen without apparent consequences, which bother me, and I understand that to be human is to be dogged by your own thoughts.
By now I am totally confused with the Covid-19 story. We had a saying back in the day in Eastern Europe – “if I didn’t know its stupidity, I would think it’s a conspiracy,” but the sad part is the damage to the economy and peoples lives.
Like Hemingway’s old quip about a man going broke slowly and then all-at-once.
Get this: none of these things now wobbling and staggering in society will be resurrected, so maybe there is something perversely good coming out of this so called “pandemic”.
Back to real life.
Wherever I go on my new black bike, people stop and ask what is it. “Limited production” I say, “heavy and fast.”
“And the insurance?”
“Okay for me, young lady, but I am old, like George Clooney.”
“You look like him a bit”, she said before driving off.
There you go – me and the slick George, but he drives a scooter around the lake Como and I am good for 200 horsepower.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler