Friday, September 21, 2007

Europe gets back to normal after the end of the Cold War

The New York Times has taken note of the crisis which is tearing Belgium apart:

BRUSSELS, Sept. 16 — Belgium has given the world Audrey Hepburn, René Magritte, the saxophone and deep-fried potato slices that somehow are called French.

But the back story of this flat, Maryland-size country of 10.4 million is of a bad marriage writ large — two nationalities living together that cannot stand each other. Now, more than three months after a general election, Belgium has failed to create a government, producing a crisis so profound that it has led to a flood of warnings, predictions, even promises that the country is about to disappear.

“We are two different nations, an artificial state created as a buffer between big powers, and we have nothing in common except a king, chocolate and beer,” said Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Bloc, the extreme-right, xenophobic Flemish party, in an interview. “It’s ‘bye-bye, Belgium’ time.”

When an entity as far out on the extreme left as the NYT calls you "the extreme-right, xenophobic . . . party" it means that you possess an ordinary degree of sanity, are of at least average intelligence and possess a world-view not dominated by bizarre delusions.

What are the manifestations of clear thinking that send the NYT into paroxysms of foaming madness? They are tired of having their wealth looted through confiscatory taxation and redistributed to the nonproductive and they are tired of seeing uncontrolled immigration of radical Muslims who refuse to assimilate into their nation. A problem which has become so severe that unless drastic action is taken immediately Europe will be majority Muslim by 2050 - at the latest.

Radical Flemish separatists like Mr. Dewinter want to slice the country horizontally along ethnic and economic lines: to the north, their beloved Flanders — where Dutch (known locally as Flemish) is spoken and money is increasingly made — and to the south, French-speaking Wallonia, where a kind of provincial snobbery was once polished to a fine sheen and where today old factories dominate the gray landscape.

You have the entrepreneurial free-market Flemings sick of being shackled to the dead weight of the socialist French (big surprise there) South. It is a European version of the American red state/blue state divide.