I left Europe in 2010 having lived there, in various countries, my entire life. Here’s why I did it.
1. Europe Lacks Belief
The average European lacks belief in their own ability and prospects. European society does not encourage its members to reach for the stars. Instead, people are sorted into social and economic classes, and don’t have belief that they can break out.
The 2007 financial crisis created widespread youth unemployment, above 50% in many countries. The result is a whole generation that has little belief in their own ability to find a job, let alone reach for something higher.
2. Europe Hates A Winner
European society is collectivist, and punishes the individual. The Law of Jante is Nordic in origin but is increasingly valid across the continent. From its ten rules, consider these:
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
When society has these beliefs at its foundation, winners are hated. Everything and everyone pushes you towards mediocrity, so you don’t stand out. Not only do the people not believe they can do better, they’re punished if they do.
3. The European Project Is A Failure
The majority does not want the EU in the form the politicians do. All the grand European political projects have been enacted undemocratically. But the EU imposes itself into the political lives of every citizen.
The EU is “supranational” – its sits above democratically-elected national governments. Yet the most powerful bodies in the EU are unelected, or elected in very flawed ways. You have a permanent foreign elite ruling over the majority of European citizens. They hate it, but can’t do anything about it.
Elites in Europe clearly want a “United States of Europe”, but nobody else does. People don’t feel “European”; they feel British, or French, or Italian, or Greek. Most don’t even speak the same language. But their elites will push through measures without consulting anyone until the whole thing goes down in flames.
Is it any wonder the European public starts running when given a chance? See Brexit.
4. Europe Is Old Money
Europe’s economy is almost as big as America’s. But where are the breakout success stories? The top four most valuable companies in the world are in tech. The internet changed everything – and Europe did almost nothing to capitalize. Where are the European tech companies that go global?
There’s hardly any – because getting anything done in Europe means getting past entrenched old-money interests. And unlike in the US, these old-money interests have existed for centuries upon centuries – longer than the US has even been around.
5. Europe Regulates Everything
European leaders love to regulate everything they can. They will decide what’s good for you, and you’ll have to live with it. Manufacturing a product? Get your colors, sizes, and shapes cleared. Want to start a company? Make sure you’re meeting tax regulations C3 through Y7. European government stifles innovation within its borders.
And these regulations can kill people. Many European countries regulated e-cigarettes so stringently that they’re basically not available to buy. There is no scientific basis for such bans. Europeans smoke a lot more than Americans do. How many people will get lung cancer as a result?
6. Feelings Make Policy In Europe
Government in Europe makes laws on the basis of feelings, not reality. Angela Merkel flung the door open for refugees, vowing to accept as many as would make it to Germany. Just 10 minutes of logical reflection would have shown that this is a bad idea. No country in history has taken well to a mass influx of foreign migrants. But the policy went through, and Europe has been suffering with social strife ever since.
On practically every “social justice” issue, Europe leads the way. Science be damned. The policies that result are totally divorced from reality, and are pushing Europeans to right-wing politics as nobody else will stop the madness. And those politicians can claim truthfully that they’re just “saying what everyone else is thinking”, because the current leaders never asked everyone else if their policies were a good idea.
What’s happening in Europe is a tragedy – the cradle of some of civilization’s most incredible accomplishments is now rudderless. The people are dejected and lack belief in their ability to change things. The economy is stagnant and caught in a swamp of regulation. The leaders are deaf to the voice of the common man. Anybody trying to rise above, to achieve something better, is a nail sticking out to be hammered down. And all the while, policy increasingly fails to reflect reality.
It’s a shame. I don’t see the situation improving much in the next five years, but Europeans’ frustration with the status quo is increasingly turning them to extreme politics. As the political scene in Europe is disrupted, maybe something can rise out of the ashes. I certainly hope so.
If you like self-belief, winning, dynamism, and the quest for new money, you might enjoy following me on Twitter.