The Old Urbanism of Crunchy Europe
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.
7:23 AM / August 25, 2007
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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.....