In policy debates over contentious issues like abortion, national health care, and capital punishment, a common argument, brandished like a flag , is that the United States is out of step with the rest of the world. My reflex reaction to that claim, when I can resist the impulse to say, “Good!”, is to point out that the rest of the world has never lacked for enthusiasms for terrible ideas, and the United States, by going in its own direction, has often been unique, innovative, and right.
Still, a bad idea abroad will inevitably inspire some enterprising social architect here to propose it, and a legislator to try to make it law. Thus, when possible, it is wise to try to identify and reject the most sinister examples of Europe being Europe before anyone here starts trying to play “me too.” In the case of Europe’s current push to create a so-called “right to be forgotten” on the internet, some very effective critics are on the case. Continue reading