One indicator of the degeneracy of European liberalism is crime. Many countries where crime was once virtually unknown now have a serious crime problem, albeit mostly of the petty variety. Visitors and tourists are often the primary (and easiest) targets, so as I prepare for another European trip I find it necessary to take certain precautions that never would have even come to mind in the past. Moving around the United States, Canada, or even Mexico you don’t think much about pickpockets and street scams, but in many European cities they are thriving. New York City, where I live, was once caricatured by Europeans with mock stick ups and the like, but is now the safest big city in the US and one of the safest in the world, thanks largely to Rudy Giuliani and Ray Kelly.
Why is Europe experiencing this crime wave? The answer is what we in the US call “liberalism” (though the term has a different meaning there). Many countries have allowed themselves to be invaded by people up to no good due to liberal asylum laws and ease of admission. Where stricter laws exist they are barely enforced. But what is most striking is how lax the laws are. In Spain for example, pickpockets get all of three days jail time and a fine, no matter how many times they are caught. For the pickpockets and street hustlers it is just part of the cost of doing business so there is basically no deterrent. The result is that cities like Barcelona have become pickpocket heaven. These criminals are virtually all foreigners, as are many of their targets, i.e. tourists. The change is just mind-boggling from a few decades ago. It is as though the country has gone to the opposite extreme from the austere strictness of the Franco era. Similar conditions have led a country like Greece, where crime was once nonexistent, to now have a problem with it.
At the root of this problem is tolerance pushed to a loony extreme. In the contemporary western world the worst thing one can be is intolerant. That being the case, people go to great lengths to avoid being labeled “intolerant,” or “racist” as in the United States. To avoid this one must be nonjudgemental, no matter how rudely something violates a sense of propriety. This means there can be virtually no standards, which ultimately means that anything and everything must be tolerated. It warps the idea of tolerance, which in moderation is a moral principle, into circumstances where there can be no moral principles.
A corollary to this is when a society loses belief in itself. When there is no sense of common good there is no hope for the future. All that matters is getting the most one can out of the present, and thus basically assenting to how anyone else gets theirs. But common sense should tell us that the more you tolerate crime the more likely you are to become a victim of crime. The US has not yet succumbed to this lunacy but the trajectory is heading that way, as moral principles once commonly held fall away, and the notion of tolerance is skewed to provide cover for the most morally indefensible kinds of behavior. A society that does not have the conviction to defend itself is doomed to fail, and it is truly sad to see what is happening to our European cousins.