Friday, December 02, 2011

PEW: Americans the Mirror Image of Europeans on Freedom/Nanny State

From the PEW Research Center:
"American opinions about the role of the state also vary considerably across age groups. About half (47%) of those younger than 30 prioritize the freedom to pursue life’s goals without interference from the state and a similar percentage (46%) say it is more important for the state to ensure that nobody is in need; among older Americans, however, about six-in-ten consider being free a higher priority, with just about three-in-ten saying the state should play an active role so that nobody is in need. No such age difference is evident in the four Western European countries surveyed.

"Asked if they agree that “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” Americans again offer more individualistic views than those expressed by Western Europeans. Only 36% of Americans believe they have little control over their fate, compared with 50% in Spain, 57% in France and 72% in Germany; Britain is the only Western European country surveyed where fewer than half (41%) share this view."
There's a lot interesting in this PEW study not only on state matters but on cultural superiority, religion and morality. The chart on Morality and Belief in God reminds me of Mark Steyn's discussion of Nietzsche in After America:

“We know [Nietzsche] called the twentieth century right ["as an age of ‘wars such as have never happened on earth.’"]. So what did he have to say about the twenty-first? He foresaw a time even worse than the ‘wars such as have never happened,’ wars that were after all still fought according to the remnants, the ‘mere pittance’ of the late God’s moral codes. But after that, what? The next century–-our century–-would see ‘the total eclipse of all values.’ Man would attempt a ‘re-evalutaion,’ as the West surely did through multiculturalisms, sexual liberation, eco-fetishization, and various other fancies. But you cannot have an effective moral code, Nietsche pointed out, without a God who says ‘Thou shalt not.’” (pp. 321-322)

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