It turns out that this infection (or a syndrome, or a vile habit) has had an elegant Latin name for almost thirty years. Oikophobia – literally “fear of one’s own home.” Or – a dislike for such. In 1993, the American philosopher Roger Scruton coined this word to denote people with an almost biological aversion to their own country and culture. Our home is unpleasant to us, we are the intellectual elite (in this case, the American one), we are not like our people, we are better, we are not from here at all: this is the way of thinking. This oikophobia is familiar – and not only in America, is it?
And they remembered the forgotten Scruton because a wildly scandalous book on a similar topic had just been published in the United States. For a long time there was no such thing that reviews were going through all the sites, and the voice of the author (David Harsaniy) sounded from each speaker. Here is probably the most detailed written commentary on this topic.
David Harsaniy begins with curses. He writes not about the intellectual elite in general, but, of course, about the democrats. Among them it is fashionable to hate our America, consider it some kind of garbage dump, a country of slavery – and love Europe. No, this is your Europe – a trash heap, says Harsaniy. And puts this word (Euro-trash) on the cover of the book. Like this: “Eurot-rash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent”, or “Eurotrash: Why America Should Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” This Europe of yours, he says, is “outdated institutions, economic fatigue, moral anemia and cultural surrender.” And our America is this!
It is important here that there is a clear system in the author’s patriotism, and it is ideological. It is precisely the democrats who are smashing them, who have fallen to the left in recent years; they have now emerged a powerful trend that openly calls itself socialist: here is the unfortunate presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and a whole crowd of other intellectuals. They consider themselves not local and very European, and, most importantly, they believe that European social demo-cracy, if not socialism, works very well and this model needs to be reproduced in the United States.
And here, in the book about the European washer, the beating of babies begins. It’s one thing to accuse your opponents of “wrong” convictions and lack of patriotism: just think, they themselves will gladly admit it. Another thing is to tell them: guys, you are just illiterate. You are living with the illusion of thirty years ago.
The strongest section of the book is about Swedish and other alleged Scandinavian socialism. Socialism, we are reminded, is when almost everything that you have earned is taken away from you, and through the enormous state apparatus it is redistributed to those who have not earned so much. And then you get an omnipotent state that subjects its subjects to any kind of massive experiments to impose social justice.
So the Scandinavians, as democrats who do not love their country say, have a progressive income tax: up to 57 percent. Sales tax is 25 percent, and only 65 is taken away (a popular figure in Scandinavia). That’s how it should be! As these countries grow and develop. The author of the book answers them with great knowledge of the matter: your numbers and facts are from the late 1980s. Then in the mentioned socialist Sweden taxes were like that, and half of the population either worked for the public sector, or sat on benefits. But in the early 1990s, the Swedes brought a conservative government to power and began to pursue the opposite policy. Taxes were canceled one by one. And the country really began to flourish. The same thing happened in Denmark – and not only there. The lesson of Scandinavia, the author says, is that the policy of “taxing the rich” does not work anywhere. Everyone should be taxed
Further in the book, a riot of patriotism begins. Harsaniy says that Europeans, unlike Americans, are not able to integrate migrants (he, a descendant of Jewish settlers, knows better, but this is clearly arguable). In the average British hospital, you are exactly four times more likely to go to the morgue than in the average American hospital. And this is your France, where unemployment is permanently kept for 40 years at the level of seven percent or worse! Yes, if this very France was an American state, it would be the second or third from the end in terms of poverty level – bet-ween West Virginia and Ar-kansas. Sweden would be in the same place as Kent-ucky, but your Italy and Sp-ain would be in last place. And all because the Ameri-can system and everything American is better.
Alien patriotism, of cou-rse, must be respected for all its immoderation. Espe-cially if we are talking ab-out a discussion that has b-een going on since the seventeenth century. Why did the Europeans leave everything and cross the ocean? Because Europe was called by that word and they tried to start life anew and according to different principles. In general, they will figure out for a long time whose system is better.
But here the author (and the United States as a whole) has a problem. After all, the dispute, we note, is not between the two shores of the Atlantic, but between the two Americas. Between a patriotic and conservative economic model and an oikophobic (and violently socialist) one. And if the second America were in a hopeless minority, then the author would not have to proceed with such rage in his book. Well, let them argue for our benefit.
But at least one useful idea David Harsaniy gives us. This is about the fact that oikophobes, haters of their country and patriots of the European West, simply feed on the realities of the past decades, including because those realities correspond to their petrified beliefs.
In recent months, I have communicated at meetings and discussions with three very prominent our ideologists and politicians of the late 80s – early 90s. One of them wanted to head the state, the other was Yeltsin’s minister. And they all unanimously answered fairly similar questions like “what chance did you miss then?” answered the following: it was necessary to drag the country into the EU and NATO at any cost. Okay, they thought so then – but they say it today. Today, when Europeans and two types of Americans are enthusiastically and quite convincingly figuring out which of them lives in the garbage.
It’s interesting how many percent of our special people from among the oikophobes (who “we are better than the people” and who are “not from here”) feed on the illusions of a world that has gone somewhere in 30 years. The list of illusions is long. This is an omnipotent NATO, a prosperous and united West, and China, which only copies other people’s technologies, and Russia, which can and should be forced into European social experiments, and much more.