Monday, November 9, 2009

The Student and the Teacher

By Tom Kando

The other day, I wrote that Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, despite what his venomous detractors were saying and writing. It wasn’t just Limbaugh, Beck and other rabid right-wingers who ridiculed the President for receiving the prestigious award. He was also made fun of by all the PC crowd - Saturday Night Live, Letterman, Conan O’Brien, you name it. But here is a thought - an analogy if you will (which will aggravate many of you):

When the Nobel Committee gave our President the Nobel Prize, it was the equivalent of giving him an "A" for his firs midterm.

You see, Europe is the teacher, and America is the student. Europe is the parent. America is the child. So what the teacher is saying is that President Obama has passed his first midterm with flying colors. He is a brilliant and promising student. (His predecessor flunked out of school).

The analogy continues: Europe is old and wise. America is young and less experienced. It is learning.

How dare you! Some of you will say. Europe has f... up more than anyone else - as recently as six decades ago, it tried to commit mass suicide. It gave us Fascism, Communism, Colonialism and Racism. And they are supposed to teach us? Don’t make me laugh!

But wait. That’s also part of the analogy: The older folks (teachers, parents) whose job it is to teach the younger folks always have a lifetime of trials and errors behind them. It’s called experience. And that is why they should be our teachers. Isn’t the best AA counselor a reformed alcoholic? The best psychologist someone who has undergone psychotherapy?
For example, it is because of its catastrophic experience that Europe knows, with absolute certitude, that war is not the way to go. War is not only immoral, but it is also stupid.
I can’t get into a debate here as to whether or not some wars are just and necessary. There is always that one prototype of the just war: the one against Hitler. Yes, that one had to be fought. But by and large, most wars were stupid and unnecessary. The world (that is, all sides) would have been better off without most of the wars which have been fought, including World War One, the Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars, you name it.

Another lesson we should learn from Europe is that universal, publically funded health care is good. They have had it for the better part of a century, and they are the better for it. It works. People are healthier while spending less on medicine, and the government isn’t broke (at least, no more than here). Everyone wins. Again, experience.

Tomorrow, I might turn around and say that Europe has a lot to learn from America - our country’s youthful idealism, optimism, elan vital, creativity, freedom. But today, this is my insight.
leave comment here