On Ayn Rand’s birthday it seemed apt to quote in full on Orphans of Liberty, a posting made on 11th April 2011 at Ironies Too, I hope it still strikes a note:
Europeans prefer leisure to performance, security to risk-taking, paternalism to free markets, collectivism (group entitlements) to individualism. They have always been more risk-averse than Americans but the difference continues to grow. Also freedom seems to have a very low priority there. It seems that Europeans are not interested in capitalism and free markets and that they do not understand that their today’s behavior undermines the very institutions that made their past success possible. They are eager to very intensively defend their non-economic freedoms, or better to say the easiness, looseness, laxity and permissiveness of modern, or perhaps post-modern European society, but when it comes to their economic freedoms, they are quite indifferent.
The inefficiency and unsustainability of this system was later “reinforced” by the gradual acceptance of green ideology, of environmentalism. This process started in the 1970s, but reached its peak, and its economic devastating effects now, in the era of global warming (or climate change) alarmism.
Another good discussion of the problems in Portugal and Spain comes from Michael Jennings on Samizdata, linked here, with a very pertinent closing sentence. Or as Ayn Rand said in her book: