“In its worst moments, Europe seeks peace at any price, even what Saint Thomas Aquinas called a bad peace—one that consecrates injustice, arbitrary power, and terror, a detestable peace heavy with vicious consequences. Europe postulates freedom for all but is content with just its own. It has a history, whereas America is still making history, animated by an eschatological tension toward the future. If the latter sometimes makes major mistakes, the former makes none because it attempts nothing. For Europe, prudence no longer consists in the art, defended by the ancients, of finding one’s way within an uncertain story. We hate America because she makes a difference. We prefer Europe because she is not a threat. Our repulsion represents a kind of homage, and our sympathy a kind of contempt.
What is the point of our bad conscience? To purge our faults and to avoid falling back into old errors? Perhaps. But it serves mainly to justify renouncing political action. If the Old World invariably prefers guilt to responsibility, it is because the first is less burdensome; so one puts up with a guilty conscience. Our lazy despair leads us not to fight injustice but to coexist with it.”
Pascal Bruckner, author of the new book, The Tyranny of Guilt. This quote is from his recent essay in City Journal)