Will Europe Be Okay?

Ezra Klein thinks I might be wigging out:

I was just in Europe, where the bars are full of smoke, the avenues are dotted by cheese shops (including those raw milk cheeses you can’t sell in America), the bikers don’t wear helmets, and the marijuana is way less regulated. But who’re you going to believe: The ineluctable logic of Friedrich Hayek, or your lying eyes?

Moreover, I wouldn’t take EU expansion as such a given. While in Amsterdam, we met with all manner of Labor party leaders and intellectuals, including the Deputy Prime Minister, and the despair they exhibit over the future of the “Europe project” can hardly be overstated. Forget the onerous individual regulations Poulos fears; the people keep rejecting proposed Constitutions, the opinion leaders keep darkly warning of Dutch troops under German command (as they, uh, already are in Bosnia), and the rising tide of nativism has rendered expansion into anything that could increase Muslim voice and immigration a rather unlikely possibility.

I can’t dismiss any of Ezra’s facts. Be sure to read the comments to his post, though, where — among other delights — you will discover that everyone who blogs at TAS had first to pass Reihan’s infamous “Are you a Platonist?” litmus test. Ironically enough, if Ezra’s right, and I hope he is, it’s Europe’s aristocratic heritage that will see it through.

But why can’t both my trends and his be unfolding at the same time? Nothing in my Eurodystopia excludes bitter acrimony over army rules, gangs of neo-fascist white youths, or repeated No votes on the EU Constitution. Indeed, what makes Eurodystopia so truly heinous is that its bureaucratic elites can press forward with an ineffective and redundant Euro-army at the same time that its force structure is undermined by inter-member bickering; that Muslim immigration continues to rise while Europe’s younger generations refuse to tolerate what their elders had resigned themselves to; and that the 40,000+ civil servants in Brussels, allied with sympathetic national leaders, can conspire to ram through ever-more-onerous and comprehensive Constitutional regulations even while citizens — their citizenship growing ever-more-meaningless — register protest votes against a process being inexorably withdrawn from democratic initiative, participation, or even oversight.

So irresponsible substance smoking, helmet eschewing, and cheese eating have a great future as popular activities that simply have become more expensive because they are ‘officially’ ‘illegal’. And of course the people indulging in these activities are likely not to be the same people as the uptight gendarmes and fine-collectors and anti-Muslim skinhead brigadiers running around in the same cities and towns. If Labour parties around Europe are so despondent over The Europe Project, why are they working so hard to ram it through by hook or crook, and rhapsodizing over it in such ridiculous language? Or did I just answer my own question?