What Beste calls Idealism (I'll call it Subjectivism) is the philosophy that all of reality is a mental construct. Subjectivists (who probably have watched The Matrix too many times) believe there is no reality but what we create in our minds. Realism (hereinafter Objectivism) holds the opposite – that the universe is objectively real and that we should pay attention to what works in the real world. Steven Den Beste points out that Europe (especially France and Germany) leans toward Subjectivism while the United States is more Objective.
One can never be fully Subjectivist and remain sane. Likewise, a society cannot be purely Subjectivist without crumbling. At some point we must all acknowledge reality (I will never be Mr. Universe and France, sorry, but you are no longer a world power). Those who refuse to acknowlege reality eventually withdraw from the real world. If you don't believe in the real world, why exert the effort to change it? Just sit there and drool as the world passes by.
France and Germany have done this militarily. And their continued adherence to socialism post-glasnost is a huge denial of reality.
Subjectivists are not a long-term threat to the Objectivists. Subjectivists have trouble arousing the passion necessary to oppose anyone or anything. While they have nothing to contribute they still are engaged enough to be annoyed by the Objectivists.
"Those cowboys talk about good and evil and how evil must be fought! How unsophisticated!"
In spite of their Subjectivism, when it comes to material possessions Europeans are hardly Buddhist monks. They enjoy the finer things in life (and the time off to enjoy them) at least as much as Americans. The difference that matters is that their Subjectivism has left them incapable of passing judgement.
Jacque: Live and let live!
Abdul: Die infidel!
Jacque: Eh… who's to say who's right?"
This is the sort of nonsense that extreme Subjectivism brings.
If France and Germany are Subjectivist, why should that cause them to naturally ally themselves with evil dictators? If they care little about right or wrong, why not side with the world's sole superpower – be it right or wrong?
I think the answer is that European Subjectivists equally despise both Islamists and Objectivism. Of the two schools of thought, perhaps the Subjectivists feel more threatened by Objectivism than by Islamists because it appears that Objectivism is ascending. They might be siding with the less threatening of the competing philosophies in an effort to oppose "American hegemony."
On the other hand, they probably feel better equipped to oppose America philosophically than to fight Islamic fanatics militarily. Opposing fanatical Islamists is bloody, sweaty work. Opposing America simply involves giving weasley speeches at the UN and relying on the short attention span of Americans.
Home Sweet Home...
For the past two and half weeks I have been on the road visiting the three "F's": Family, Friends, and (most importantly) Fiance. The time, as always, was well spent and much needed, but as we were beginning another trip, this time to Hot Springs, I realized that I very much desired to be HOME. It wasn't a frantic need to be rid of my fiance or my family, but rather that I longed to return to the normalcy of what has become my life. That is, after all, what we American's love about our homes. They are our "Castles", our "Domains", and what we mean by those colloquialisms is that our home is the place where we can close the door and lie down on the couch and know that nothing can intrude upon us unless we allow it. This is not to say that our homes are place devoid of stress and problems, but they are a place where we can peacefully be ourselves. No one can comment on your "comfy" flannel, lounging pants or on the clutter of your kitchen. You do not have to keep the facade up for a minute longer once you cross that threshold and that perhaps is the most endearing aspect of all. So Happy New Year to all of you who have come home from the holidays. I look forward to sharing the events and thoughts and hope this year is sure to bring.