European Cultural Assumption

Europeans ........ insert Cultural Assumptions here ....... or perhaps Europe is culturally neutral?

The primary EuropeanCulturalAssumption that I can see from here is that Europe is somehow better than other parts of the world, notably the USA: more moral, more intellectual, more artistic, most sophisticated, you name a good thing they think they have a lock on it.

Or perhaps Europe is too culturally heterogeneous to lump into one category.


How about the assumption that the EuropeanUnion == Europe?

Europe's a big place; and not every country there is a wealthy democracy like the UK, France, or Germany.

Perhaps that's a WesternEuropeCulturalAssumption?; the assumption that all of Europe holds the same values as folks living in Western Europe.

You're kidding right? More like an AmericanCulturalAssumption about Europeans!

That's kind of ironic considering that America actually includes Canada, Mexico, and several South and Central American countries with various cultural values and economic statuses, but when we say America, we mean the USA.

I've ran into plenty of folks from WesternEurope? who tend to hold that assumption; who speak of "European values" when what the really mean is the values common to European social democracies like France, Germany, the Benelux, or Scandinavia. Other parts of Europe have a markedly different point of view on many matters - in particular the poorer parts to the east.

Certainly, Americans (some of us) do hold cultural assumptions about Europe; some of the nastier ones got aired in the aftermath of the UN debate concerning the War on Iraq. But Europe is hardly free of its own set of cultural assumptions.

Perhaps it's just that Western Europeans simply don't think of Eastern Europe as existing. The same way that Americans tend to think that Canada and Mexico don't exist.

The problem is more likely that very few things can be considered to be European cultural assumptions as there is such a wide cultural difference between each European state. In the US, you can be a long way from a border to a different country. In Europe, you will rarely be more than a couple hours drive to somewhere which speaks a different language and has different food, art and possibly social goals as well. (I'm aware there are large difference in the States as well but I do have the European cultural assumption that they aren't as big as here is Europe.) -- JamesKeogh

Where do you draw the line between abbreviation and cultural assumption? We do say Europe to refer to the EU in certain cases (and you would be able to tell which from context), but that does not imply we are unaware of eastern Europe, indeed many eastern European states have joined the EU or are in the process of joining.


There is no such thing as a "European Culture". Consider Germany, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Suisse, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, each of which has its very own specific cultural, historical and ethnic identity, outlined by the fact that they were at war with each other or themselves through some period in history (often several times). Most of these countries inhabitants won't even understand other languages than their own, excluding countries that don't officially have their own language (Suisse and Austria, though their dialects are hardly understood by anybody else).

A common mistake of US Americans is to regard Europe as a whole, probably due to the fact that they live on a continent where you can get away with two languages and one currency. The EU is a union of nations, not a nation of states like the US.

Probably much more due to the fact that European politics is so radically different from Anglo politics. Europe has largely social-democracies, or states that aspire to being social democracies. Anglo countries are tyrannies and they aspire to becoming ever more tyrannical. What that means is that Europe is committed to no particular economic order, so long as the one they have works acceptably. Meanwhile, the Anglo countries are committed to TotalitarianCapitalism? (what people euphemistically call neo-liberalism) OR ELSE.
Don't forget that Europeans advocate Socialism, namely:
  1. When it comes to economics, slicing the pie is all-important and growing the pie is irrelevant.
  2. When it comes to socialist institutions, throwing good money after bad is better than throwing no money after good.
  3. If I raise exorbitant taxes to subsidise a government institution (like national healthcare), it somehow becomes 'free'.

Ah, a lovely example of AmericanCulturalAssumption about Europe.

No wonder the average European (not average poor European, AVERAGE European) is below the USA's poverty line...

No wonder no less than ten European countries rank higher than the USA on The Economist's "quality-of-life" index. See http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/QUALITY_OF_LIFE.pdf

Yeah, quality of life is such a hard objective metric that withstands scientific and statistical scrutiny. And quality of life has 100% to do with one's country, not one's situation, mindset or culture...

So your overall point is... What?

That this is becoming yet another goddamned PissingContest.

Quality of life is a dumb rejoinder anyhow. The proper response was pointing out that the GenuineProgressIndicator has been in free-fall in the USA for more than a decade, and IIRC, since Reagan. So while the Europeans are committed to allocating the pie properly, the Anglos all talk talk talk about growing the pie while they smash smash smash it into inedible pieces in order to get the biggest chunks for themselves. Because we all know that fighting is so efficient.

Another European cultural assumption is that human rights refers to the 20th century Universal Declaration of Human Rights or to some other theoretical moral system that produces more or less the same results as the UDHR. In the USA this is not so since they subscribe to the 17th century morality of Social Contract Theory invented by John Locke.

As the Yank above points out, people in the USA don't consider health care to be a human right and so a necessary element of a free society. It's something that they all want, excluding extremist lunatics, something they all think would be a good idea, but they've been successfully propagandized into believing that they don't have any actual rights to it. Hence the ridiculous rejoinder that government paid health care isn't free. The Yanks don't have a very good conception of freedom at all and so they continually confuse gratis with libre; they don't understand that free health care means libre health care. And of course, in order for health care to be libre it has to be gratis. Just imagine a libre election where you had to a pay 1000$ user fee to vote.

I think you're equating Anglo and US here sometimes. Anglo surely has to include the UK, but that has free-at-the-point-of-delivery universal health care (and has incorporated the (equivalent of) the UHDR into the law). It sits (culturally as well as geographically) somewhere between a lot of European countries and the US.
See also TheThreeWorlds CulturalAssumptions
CategoryCulture

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