Posted by Peter Lawler
Dr. Pat explains, using what he saw with his own eyes, why they’re in some ways more conservative and more libertarian than we are.
Had I known the Deneens and the Knippenbergs were in such close proximity (by American standards at least), we might have arranged a visit to compare notes. I commented over at Patrick's site: I agree that the Catholic folks in southern Germany and western Austria are somewhat crunchier im Durchschnitt than is the average American, that family-based commerce is still a regular part of the local economies, and that residential densities protect greenspace and facilitate mass transportation (though Austria is much more car-oriented than is Holland).
In my mom's hometown, graves are also well-tended, at least by the older residents. Few folks regularly attend church, however.
One last quality of life point, which strikes me as massively favoring our kinfolk in the old country: not only does virtually every rural Tyrolean family make its own schnapps, but the wines available in the supermarkets are inexpensive and drinkable. I never paid more than about 3 Euros a bottle (mostly less) and never gagged. I even found a decent Spanish red (available here for about $10 per bottle) in the EuroSpar for under 3 E.
Another thought: if charming urban life is unavailable to the average European (Salzburg's old city--on both banks of the Salzach--has only 5,000 residents, as opposed to the 15,000 it once had, and Venice is down to 68,000 from its peak of 250,000--both sets of numbers I had from tour guides), isn't sprawl more likely? And those small European cars might work for small European families, but the family size required for population resurgence requires something a little bigger. When the Archbishop of Salzburg shook my hand, noted my family, and made a reference to "our future," he might have been right, but not in the way he meant.
Everyone should read Joe K's comments at Pat's blog. Joe offered up a generous "corrective" to Dr. Pat's overly-rosy view of Europe's "crunchiness" AND prospects for a resurgence of faith. (Peace, Pat!) But, hey, a Spanish red for under 3 euros goes a long way to maintaining anyone's sanity.....
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