America, Europe and the management of danger

February 28, 2008

ANYBODY who dabbles in transatlantic affairs has come across one giant stereotype: Americans admire risk-takers, whereas Europeans (at least in the rich, stable parts of the continent) are instinctively risk-averse, expecting the state to shield them from all sorts of dangers, including their own folly. Move a bit farther east to the ex-communist world, especially Russia, and you enter a place where things seem to have gone from one extreme to another: from an all-demanding, all-protective state to a free-for-all where life is full of deadly dangers, about which even the prudent can’t do very much. more