Written by Frank Li
In a previous post (America: What is the EU, Anyway?), I explained the EU to my fellow Americans. In this post, I will try to correct the top 10 American misconceptions about the EU.
Misconception 1: The EU was a bad idea
The EU was a good idea! There was no way for any European country to possibly compete against the U.S. or Japan, two economic powerhouses in the 2nd half of the 20th century! Now, adding BRICS, especially China, to the list of competitors, it would be even more impossible for any European country to compete globally, without the EU.
What the EU has done is unprecedented in human history: peacefully grouping many countries together to form a union. Few expected it to work smoothly right away, and it would be a miracle if it truly works out in a long-run.
Misconception 2: The Euro was a bad idea
The EU without the Euro would have been meaningless, and it was fortunate for the EU to kick off the Euro in 1999 with about 10 countries. Money is not everything; money is the only thing! Can you imagine each and every state in the U.S. having its own currency? It may be a good idea for some big and self-sufficient “conservative” states (e.g. Texas), but not for the majority of the smaller states.
However, the British were foresighted not to buy into the Euro, yet, as the British have done well within the EU, but outside of the Eurozone.
Misconception 3: The EU is a serious competitor to the U.S.
Unless the U.S. seriously self-destructs, the EU cannot possibly compete against the U.S. for one single reason: The U.S. is one nation and one people, while the EU is multiple nations and multiple people, with divergent needs and goals.
Misconception 4: Diversity is good
It’s good, but only to some extent. Overall, uniformity is better, not only for countries but also for individuals. For example, do you want to marry someone who is radically different from you (e.g. in race and religion)?
Misconception 5: All people are the same
All people are not the same! Whether due to nature or nurture, some people work harder and become better educated than others.
Misconception 6: Germany is the greatest country in the EU
To me, the greatest country in the EU is the U.K. For more, read: The Greatest Countries in Human History.
Misconception 7: Germans work harder than Americans
We Americans work longer hours than any nation in the EU, including Germany, as shown by the chart below.
Misconception 8: America should look up to the Europeans
There is a lot America can learn from many EU countries, but socialism is not one of them! Two examples:
Germany: There is a lot America can learn from Germany (e.g. vocational schooling or training), but not its socialist part. Socialism is destructive. As a matter of fact, Germany is just as socialistic as some of its EU brothers. It is just a lot better than them in many other aspects (e.g. productivity). As a result, Germany is leading the EU, and deservedly so.
Misconception 9: Europeans are religious
Overall, there are many more church-goers in the U.S. than in the EU, especially as a percentage of the population. For more, read:
Misconception 10: NATO is still necessary
NATO has lived long past its time! It must be greatly scaled down and ultimately forced into extinction. America can no longer afford to save the world while bankrupting ourselves at home! For more, read: America: A Culture of War.