Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Greetings from a pro-market Flemish friend of America

First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to join your blog. Mark suggested to introduce myself a bit first and to tell you something more about my political beliefs and how I developed. Defining yourself is not easy, but here we go.

I think there are three major influences that shaped my political beliefs.

My parents. They are hardworking people who owned and managed a shop together. They are retired now and recently moved to a beautiful house to spend the rest of their life. They have earned it. I learned from them that YOU have to bear responsibility for your own life. Through hard work you can achieve anything you want. People should be encouraged to do so without government interfering by imposing excessive taxes or regulations. Later, as a student in economics, those parental lessons got a more scientific underpinning as I learned about the liberal (in the European meaning of the word) philosophers and economists. So I am a pro-market liberal.

The family newspaper. As a teenager, I started to read more than just the sports pages of our newspaper. Doing so, I felt more and more outraged about how the state of Belgium denies the majority of its inhabitants, the Flemings, their basic rights and, to add insult to injury, how the Flemish politicians hardly defend their own people. I will elaborate more on this issue later on. So I am a Flemish patriot.

The end of the cold war. I grew up during the cold war. I was 14 when millions of people in Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic and elsewhere got rid of their communist rulers, when the Wall came down and Germany reunited. I still remember those images very vividly. I realized that this couldn’t have happened without the steadfastness of the United States. Two years later I saw how a coalition under the leadership of president Bush liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Another few years later, I witnessed how American planes bombarded the Serbs to the negotiating table to end the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. So I am a staunch friend of the United States and the American people.

As a result, I do not support a European Union that is economically illiberal, that denies the existence of the European nations and that antagonizes the United States for sports.

I would like to elaborate on this last point. Americans, republicans and certainly when they come from Texas are generally not popular in Europe. It is bon ton to describe them as dumb cowboys compared to the intellectual, sophisticated Europeans. Well, isn’t it hard to explain then how America has become the most powerful country of the world and how Europe is getting in an ever worse shape, demographically, economically and culturally? Living in Europe and having visited the United States several times, I have noticed with my own eyes that those stereotypes could not be farther from the truth.

During one of my visits to the US, in June 2001, I stood on the Twin Towers in New York. Three months later, two planes flew into them, killing thousands of innocent people. The images still outrage me. The attacks felt like an attack on a friend, on myself, on my beliefs. Therefore I support the GWOT and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think President Bush is doing a great job and that he is setting the base on which his successors can build to win this long struggle. History will judge him as a great President.

Yours truly,

De andere kijk (The other view)