Make one of these treats with a loved one this weekend

Christmas Market

December 1, 2015

Allan Stevo

With the advent of Advent upon us, Christmas markets open throughout Slovakia and across Europe. Of the many I’ve seen, Bratislava’s main market remain my favorite. I present to you this piece on that amazing visual and gustatory experience from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia.

In mid-November, the usual vendors are cleared out of the Main Square in Bratislava and carpenters spend a few days preparing it for its new seasonal look. They carefully lay out wooden foundations. Slowly over the next few days these foundations take shape and become the 100+ booths that will cover the Main Square and two adjacent squares for the next month. From these small booths, the citizens of Bratislava and all their visitors will buy the tastes of the season, the delicacies that characterize Central Europe at this time of year.

Vianočné trhy (or “Christmas markets”) the Slovaks call it, Christkindlmarkt say the Viennese, Karácsonyi vásár say the Hungarians of Budapest, and Vánoční trhy say the Czechs – words for the same thing – a big square filled with vendors selling delicacies of the season.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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A shot from the filming of the movie "Czech Dream" or "Cesky Sen." | Photo:

Black Friday

November 26, 2015

Allan Stevo

With the American holiday of Black Friday upon us, Friday, November 27, 2015 I present to you this piece from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia.

I work with a Greek man who constantly reminds me that the prescriptive grammar rules of languages are put in place with the intention of controlling a society. Language, after all, is the operating system by which virtually all thought and a great deal of action is processed. The more you can control a language the more you can control the people using the language.

Language and Control
The French rejoice that a governmental organization (L’Académie française) controls their language to help keep it pure and inflexible. Grammar teachers the world over exhibit a constant lack of creativity by always looking at what is wrong with speech patterns instead of allowing for any combination of words that allows for communication.  The Greeks in response to Ottoman control came up with a form of Greek in which many words had secretive double-meanings allowing for communication that meant something entirely different to whatever it was that the Ottomans thought it meant.

Click here to keep reading Blekfrajdejuješ?

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Anti-Immigration Propaganda of the Past: 3 Ways Political Correctness Pushes Us Back Toward Those Ugly Days


Political Correctness & Propaganda

November 25, 2015

Allan Stevo

There was a time where messages were communicated to an illiterate people in the United States in a unsophisticated and un-nuanced way through relatively brute depictions.

That continues to happen, just a little more gingerly. As a population learns to read the notion of caricatures can pass from visual arts to the writing in literature or periodicals where they can be used to tell only a small slice of an individual’s story. A caricature deludes the reader into believing he has done his due diligence by reading.

Due diligence of an individual is done by knowing an individual. The ethnic group or nationality a person belongs to, a person’s genetics, or a person’s occupation may reveal some slight information about a person (a too often overlooked fact in politically correct America), but knowing the person intimately is the only way to really understand a person.

Sometimes, a person, despite his best attempts, is unable to elucidate what is bothering him. This is a real concern. Down in his gut he knows something is wrong, he just doesn’t know what or why. He certainly can’t rationalize his feelings for popular consumption in the American environment of hyper political correctness.

Political correctness is a “meta” state anyway, a poor excuse for intellectual discussion, and only a discussion about the rules of discussion. People who have nothing valuable to add to a discussion resort to enforcing political correctness and other rules about how discussions can be had. In this era of mass education from kindergarten to whenever a person gives up on the educational system, many people look at their own diplomas as certainty that they can truly believe they have valuable contributions to intellectual discussion. The two are, often enough, mutually exclusive, with little correlation, and the more educated one is, the more likely the bullheaded ignorance of confirmation bias becomes that person’s modus operandi in discussion.

I am here to tell you that if they are using the term “offended” or “offensive” or asking “Can you say that?” or “Are you allowed to say that?” or commenting “That isn’t PC,” or anything remotely related to any of those terms, that person has nothing to add. That person is only commenting on the rules of discussion and not participating in the discussion.

Such people must be shut up promptly and ignored, because the adults in the room are trying to have an open and honest discussion about their feelings and beliefs. That is a moment when such an interfering person should not even be allowed to speak.

When such people are allowed to interfere in a discussion among adults, they drive the discussion into a different place where people are afraid to argue, explain, or attempt to develop views. They also chase it to a place where views are unable to be challenged in a friendly, welcoming environment.

It leads to a regression of views. Instead of each individual learning to grow by having discussions on viewpoints, we are led to an extreme where individuals are forced to whisper slogans to each other in unthinking discussions. This is very bad and further illustrates the anti-intellectualism of political correctness as it limits the individual capacity to think through concerns. Below are three ways that political correctness leads down a undesirable path.


1. We do not want to return to the brute propaganda of the past, so free discussion is important.

Limiting discussion and expression leads us down that path of caricature where interpretation is relied on more and clarity of message is done away with.


2. Political correctness leads us down a bad path by burying the opportunity of free expression.

Let views that aren’t PC be aired. Let those views be welcomed and discussed, not hidden where they can fester. Festering is exactly what happens to views that aren’t allowed free expression. They alter and grow into perverse examples of their original intent.


3. Political correctness feeds base ways of discussing people and problems.

Some people can’t intellectually move beyond prejudices. Those people have a hard time finding agreement in society. Suddenly when communication is not welcome those people find even the mainstream coming to them. This is the sad result of allowing the meta (the rules of discussion) to be discussed when a discussion is taking place. Discussions require no outside rules, no mediators; the two people involved make their own rules and communicate them to each other in umpteen ways including tone, posture, words, eye contact, pace, volume, and gestures. There is no third party “should” in a serious discussion because there is no need for a third party should, there is no need for permission-seeking behavior, because it is simply two people having an open and honest discussion. Political correctness tends to force people toward dishonesty and American culture hungers for straight shooters, honesty, and connection at this moment. Such human needs will inevitably be met.

The risk of letting political correctness prevail is a return to the ugly low-brow propaganda of the past. Meta discussion has no place in a discussion. They are mismatched. Discussion requires no rules to succeed, requires no permission. If anyone ever broaches the subject of political correctness to quiet a conversation partner, anyone so desirous of speaking with so little to contribute should immediately be silenced by the truth seeker hoping to have a successful discussion.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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On Thanksgiving I’ll Be Enjoying Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

November 24, 2015

Allan Stevo

With the American holiday of Thanksgiving upon us, Thursday, November 26, 2015 I present to you this piece from the archives of 52 Weeks in Slovakia.

If there’s anything from a Slovak perspective that demonstrates everything wrong about American culture, it is the sweet potato.

Slovaks are generally guilty of not following the Hinlicky Rule when referencing the sweet potato. Many will speak about sweet potatoes negatively, while having never tasted them. Nonetheless, I hear about them regularly enough to warrant this discussion in late November, around the time of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and in line with recent articles on the venerable potato.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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That Awkward Moment Where Only Donald Trump Makes Sense

Donald Trump | Photo:

Donald Trump | Photo:


November 19, 2015

Allan Stevo

For months I’ve suffered through Donald Trump. I’ve been happy to hear a successful American man speak his opinion publicly without shame or even the slightest fear of the PC police. I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve criticized the essentially national-socialist views he shares with Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. I like some of Trump, I dislike some of Trump.

At this moment Republican (and some Democratic) governors across the US are talking over how to make the US “safe” from Syrian immigrants. As I write this, at the federal level, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is working through this question behind closed doors.

The endeavor is a near futile one however, because regardless of what is done, America’s borders are not secured. America’s borders are porous. The government doesn’t know who comes in and out. The best Paul Ryan can achieve with his closed door meetings is to make sure bin Laden’s cousin doesn’t fly through JFK. Government has truly failed us in developing national security, government has failed us in developing sound immigration policies, and at the same time government has so effectively destroyed the freedoms that are so quintessentially American, doing so, almost ironically, in the name of the failures that are our national security and immigration programs.

Beyond my extensive writing on the topic of reducing the subsidy immigrants receive from the welfare state, there is no better way to secure a border. At all levels of government America offers subsidies – free giveaways – for anyone who wants to come be a mooch in America. If subsidies are eliminated, the overwhelming percentage of our immigration tensions are eased. At this moment, I don’t hear anyone preaching on that logical and economically sound solution to America’s immigration problems.

A far inferior second best option is the Trump secure-the-borders-and-follow-the-laws plan. I hate that our scope of debate is so limited that we find the Trump Plan being the best option being discussed by the presidential politics, but it is at this moment. It is the closest thing to common sense that anyone is saying – follow the laws or change the laws. Secure the border or just admit that the federal government has failed at its job of protecting the states that it was formed to protect.

Again, the real solution here is the Stevo Plan to cut welfare state benefits to all newcomers and their families in perpetuity. The much less effective, difficult, and unlikely to be that good Trump Plan has some other common sense discussion on immigration and the concept of laws.

We have reached that awkward moment where of the fifteen or twenty major party candidates seeking the office of president, only Donald Trump makes sense. I expect on my visit home to the Democratic bastion of Chicago for the holidays, I am going to hear exactly that said to me repeatedly by latino, black, and white, democrat, republican, and independent, as I have been surprised to have said to me so many times over the last five months or so that Trump has been the champion of the little guy, the hero of the DC outsider, the straight talking wild card and consistent front runner.

I can come up with more intellectually consistent options than Donald Trump, but those guys have not inspired the voters of my home town and so many other places in America the way Trump has. If past experience is any indicator, I expect to hear on my next trip to Chicago about terrorism, immigration, the economy and to be told across the political spectrum that Trump is the only guy on the debate stages who makes sense about the important things.

With luck, maybe this time will be different, and I will hear everyone talking about some erudite philosopher. I’m thinking I won’t though. The GOP makes no sense, the Democratic Party makes no sense, John Q. Public, Jane Sixpack, and Joe Plumber see sense in Trump. The details of that could leave me forever scratching my head, but I think it might be wise to defer to the wisdom of the French on this one.

They have a phrase for the unquantifiable in a person, the indescribable, to avoid leaving everyone scratching their heads trying to define it. Trump has that je ne sais quoi. He has that je ne sais quoi that allows him to speak off the cuff with impunity. He has that je ne sais quoi that people appreciate in a leader. He has that je ne sais quoi that made Democratic Chicago support Reagan. Trump has that certain I don’t know what and so many know he has it. Whatever it may be, we see that it is Trump left on the debate stages who makes sense to many Americans on the topic of American politics.

With all the pollsters the presidential candidates have on their teams, they are really terrible at identifying what the American public wants. With all the consultants and messaging experts the presidential candidates have on their teams they are really terrible at telling the American public what they want to hear from a campaign. What they want is some hope, some change, some common sense, and some je ne sais quoi. For that melange, we seem to have only Trump to turn to.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Why Philosophy is Everything and How Kasich the Idiotic Slav Lost it When He Dumbed it Down For America

John Kasich | Photo:

John Kasich | Photo:


November 18, 2015

Allan Stevo

Tuesday night I watched the fourth GOP debate in an upper East Side of New York political club founded by Teddy Roosevelt. This fourth debate was housed in the Milwaukee Theater, a venue about which Politico this week told a fascinating story:

“The fourth Republican presidential debate will be Tuesday, Nov. 10, live from the Milwaukee Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The venue has a loaded history: On Oct. 14, 1912, candidate Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest by an assassin outside a Milwaukee hotel. Instead of heading to the hospital, he continued to the Milwaukee Auditorium (now the Milwaukee Theatre) to deliver a 90-minute campaign speech. In front of a horrified audience and with the bullet lodged in his rib, he pulled a bloodied 50-page speech with bullet holes in it from his coat pocket and declared, ‘It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.'”

You see, Teddy Roosevelt’s life philosophy, his theory on life, meant everything in that situation. Without the theory he would have offered little to the world to stand out. He created himself a virtue, a story, an ethic, an identity that fit his life and shaped his life and he then followed through with it.

Roosevelt, once a sickly little boy, became a true giant among men, almost larger than life. His great spirit made him an indomitable man and a figure that remains lionized to this day as a key personality in the cult of rugged American individualism that is so intertwined with the common definition of what it means to be American.

Everything about that moment was lost on Kasich when he said (emphasis added):

“Neil, that’s the difference of being an executive. And let me just explain: when a bank is ready to go under and depositors are getting ready to lose their life savings, you just don’t say we believe in philosophical concerns.”

“You know what an executive has to decide? When there’s a water crisis, how do we get water to the city? When there’s a school shooting, how do you get there and help heal a community? When there are financial crisis, or a crisis with ebola, you got to go there and try to fix it.”

“Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something. And I gotta tell you, on-the-job training for president of the United States doesn’t work. We’ve done it for 8 years, — and almost 8 years now. It does not work.”

He became a pliable Jeb Bush rather than a principled Rand Paul. You can say a lot of good things about the political record of Jeb Bush, but principled is probably not at the top of the list. You can say a lot of bad things about the political record of Rand Paul, but pliable is probably not at the top of the list. They are both politicians, and as such are of questionable value in the grand scheme of things, but one has a rigorous identity of principled limited government that he follows. The other has a philosophy of pragmatism and flexibility that he follows. Though they are both life principles, they are not both principled. Just as I like the Hasidic Jews who do so much I do not yet understand and hold views so contrary to my own religiously, I appreciate people in the world who stand for something. I appreciate individual shows of strength and my experience has often found that there’s something accurate about the core philosophy of a passionate person.

Rather than understanding and elevating the passionate person who disagrees with us, we are more likely to feel alienating by the person’s passion and to miss out on the opportunities offered by whatever insight such a person has. There are more important tests to an idea’s validity than “I disagree so it must be wrong” or “I don’t like the form that person uses, so his ideas must be wrong.”

Often, the only thing stopping the world from accessing that beauty and figuring it out is a lack of insight caused by being intellectually disobedient to an idea that I often like to touch on called the Hinlicky Rule, developed by Paul Hinlicky, it is a tool for, among other things, finding a sense of empathy for others, for modeling good behavior in others, and for ensuring intellectual honesty. The Hinlicky Rule is part of my life philosophy, part of the standard I aspire to:

“You shall not criticize the position of another…until you can state that position with such accuracy, completeness and sympathy, that the opponent himself declares, ‘Yes, I could not have said it better myself!‘ Then, and only then, may you criticize. For then you are engaging a real alternative and advancing a real argument. Otherwise you shed only heat, not light.”

Philosophy informs all. We all have life philosophies. We all have stories we tell ourselves, some good, some bad. The finest among us tell ourselves good stories about who we strive to be and stick to those stories, modifying them only when we see an even higher standard we can aspire to. That discipline and rigor ran contrary to the Slavic candidate Tuesday night from Cleveland when he presented a low brow philosophy on life and in governing: “Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something.” To the contrary, philosophy informs all.

Everything in life flows out of the identity we have for ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves, the standards we set for ourselves, the people who we surround ourselves with, the philosophy we have. All these ideas are near synonymous.

Kasich can be the most disagreeable fellow in the room, but if I believe he has a philosophy on life that will surround him and others with principled success he is likely to have my support.

He chose last night to dismiss that whole concept and to pretend to be a flexible, go along to get along politician, with no standard for himself. “Someone has to be president, so why not let it be me?” Is what I heard. “At least I’m not Obama, at least I’m not Hillary,” is the standard I heard.

I have huge complaints with Theodore Roosevelt. I have huge problems with cults of personality. I think politicians are by-and-large a joke. The office of President of the United States is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Government is proven less and less meaningful with every passing day as technology develops and the world marches on toward brighter (non-governmental) ways of organizing man’s potential.

All that being said, I continue to agree to participate in the fiction that is the presidential elections. The president is a figurehead. A figurehead put under tremendous strain. That figurehead better stand for something before being put under that strain. John Kasich joked last night about standing for little, about momentary pragmatism being more important that life philosophy. Having a hard time reaching the common voter, he tried something so base that he came across as an idiot. He came across as a person of diminished mental capacity.

That stage was the stage that Roosevelt stood on in a moment of passion, a moment of great toughness.

Kasich stood on a historic stage with an opportunity to have a historic moment, and he shrugged his shoulders at that moment, and then made fun of anyone who would appreciate the symbolism of that moment.

He kept true to his identity, a stodgy peasant descended from generations of stodgy peasants, laughing at the world.
I appreciate tradition and I appreciate peasant tendencies, while I also realize it’s out of the American melting pot that something better than Old World tendencies can be formed. Kasich did not rise to that key moment he had. He backed down from it. So much about his background told me there was potential in him to be something more.

America desired something greater. America desired a sense of hope and change in 2008 in the Obama presidency. America desired something greater in the Tea Party revolution of 2010. Still unfulfilled, that hope is still very much alive waiting for a leader who will take up that torch. Americans want something reliable to believe in. In our era of unprecedented change, principle is poised to trump all.

I don’t know who our imperfect electoral system will elevate to the highest office of the land. I know America is hungry for principled people who stand for something.

Philosophy can have limitations and it can also feed a man unwilling to accept limitations.

Kasich proved himself so very Old World in thinking when he chose to dwell on the limitations and to present it in an appeal to the American people. Perhaps good for the role of ambassador to an Old World, Old Europe European continental government like Germany’s or Austria’s, as a cog in the wheel, Kasich does not belong in the Oval Office where life philosophy can have an impact on America, and arguably philosophy is the most important impact that office can have on the world.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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The Immigration Crisis Germany Caused & How Goofy German Governing Politicians Momentarily Behaved With a Shred of Sense on Immigration

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel  | Photo: Wiktor Dabkowski

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel | Photo: Wiktor Dabkowski

Germany & Immigration

November 16, 2015

Allan Stevo

True to German History, Germany is the Big Unilateral Bully.

The German government, in a unilateral move some months ago caused an immigration crisis with its politicians’ behavior. They made the world believe Germany was going to welcome and pay for everyone who wanted to come to Germany, whether the migrant chose to work and entirely pay for his own existence or whether that migrant chose to live with significant reliance on the generous German social system.

Under European Union rules, specifically the Dublin Regulation, unless a person seeking asylum crossed the European common border into Germany first that person cannot continue onto Germany to apply for asylum, but must file the application in the first country that person crossed the common border into. The European open border system is defined by the Schengen Agreement, which also includes signatories that are not EU countries while including most, but not all EU countries. The Schengen Agreement allows for passport free travel between its signatories, establishing a common external border.

Basically, Germany is a signatory to many treaties that say simply welcoming everyone is not that easy. They agreed to some rules with their neighbors regarding borders and who is to cross those borders. Adding to the frustration of Germany’s unilateral behavior in disregarding these laws, it’s worth mentioning that German was among the leaders of the EU that foisted these laws on the other countries. This is seems to some an extension of the old canard “the King can do no wrong” – suggesting that if Germany writes the laws that it forces others to sign then it can disregard those same laws at will.

To illustrate the contentiousness of this topic one need only look at the fact that border treaties are not agreed to by all EU member states and Dublin is not agreed to by all Schengen states. This does not even touch on the contention of the common currency adoption or many other issues. In this environment where the fragile European Union is still trying to come up with a consensus on governing as a supra-national body, Germany’s politicians have gone and behaved unilaterally (imagine that) saying they don’t care what may come of this, they will open up their borders to as many migrants as possible.

In doing so, they encouraged about a million outsiders over the past few months to trample over their neighbors’ land causing a great deal of destruction and disorder along the way. Naturally there should be ill will toward the unilateral way German handled their partners and forced an immigration crisis on then. Germany however is getting so little blame for the immigration crisis that they caused by presenting an incentive system bound to cause an immigration crisis.

Some migrants are real winners brain-drained from some other place where they were already successful. Some migrants were illiterate even in their own languages and behaved as degenerates even in their own home towns. It’s questionable what value the later bring to Germany or any other land.

While an orderly migration process might seek to determine who is a good fit and who isn’t, Germany wasn’t having it. It’s almost as if their politicians were acting to create a crisis. If I didn’t know so many politicians and if I were not able to observe their frequent “politician moments” – in which they repeatedly make poor decisions in their personal and public lives that the limelight draws out of them – then I would think that this was done with malicious intent. Intent is a common question people ask, and I doubt any of this is done with malicious intent.

Intent isn’t all that important however, results of actions taken are key in evaluating a person’s behavior. If one must include intent in one’s evaluation of a politician, my findings show that ineptitude is much more common that malicious intent. A bottom line for me is that Germany’s politicians caused an immigration crisis and are creating a schism through this unilateral behavior. They are additionally quite unapologetic on that topic.

Suddenly, after finding themselves a million immigrants deep into what will likely be a years long crisis they’ve caused, German politicians are losing the will to weather this crisis and now want to suddenly distribute their burden among other EU states. This is a very selfish and socialistic way of viewing the world: “I get to do anything I want, and if I don’t like the outcome I will expect others to shoulder the consequences with me.”

The EU Observer reports “The [German] interior ministry announced Tuesday it would start sending back Syrian refugees to the country of entry into the EU, taking coalition partners by surprise.” This should have been an announcement made some months ago.

Too little, too late, and still very unilateral. If Germany is so intent on being unilateral why is it even in the EU? It might be time for Germany to leave. It does whatever it wants so often while bashing countries like Slovakia or Greece or Hungary over the head when those countries don’t follow the prescripts of the gospel of Germany.

I don’t particularly like EU immigration policy, so please do not read this as a defense of that. I appreciate some obeisance to the rule of law. Laws on the books should be obeyed or done away with and all should be subject to the existing laws. In fact, other than believing existing laws should be followed, I rather dislike EU immigration policy. Coalition partners accepted that Germany would be taking huge swaths of migrants, ignoring the laws German politicians helped write and pass, causing mayhem and stressing the governmental and nongovernmental resources in every country between the Middle East and Germany. In a show of appeasement, they generally accepted that, though they probably shouldn’t have. Now, that the moody German chancellor has changed her mind, the world is again supposed to conform to the diktat of the week.

That would be relatively easy, except now there are a million people in the EU who don’t belong there, attracted by Germany, who Germany now says they won’t send to their homelands, but to other EU countries. This appears to be a sneaky backdoor way to change EU immigration policy. Whether or not that was the intent, that is exactly what Germany has caused to happen. The German government 1. Attracted a crisis level of migration, 2. Insisted they would shoulder the burden, 3. Reneged on that insistence, and 4. Insisted that others, even those who never wanted any part in this and predicted this outcome all along, now shoulder the burden.

The lesson here is that appeasing unilateral Germany is a bad thing. Maybe it’s best to just sit Germany’s politicians in a corner when they get out of hand and ignore them til they quiet down or maybe to just tell them “no” whenever they have screwy ideas – as the politicians of Hungary, Slovakia, and much of the rest of New Europe seem to have wisely done throughout this rambunctious German behavior this year – 2015 – the year Germany caused an immigration crisis.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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The Destruction that is European Immigration

Child | Photo:

Child | Photo:


November 16, 2015

Allan Stevo

A useful principle in my life is that “I will create, not destroy.” It’s a personal mantra of mine, among others. This push towards creation and away from destruction is meant in many aspects of life both literal and figurative, in both the physical and the not quite tangible. What can take great resources to build can be so easily destroyed, leading some to feel comfortable walking through life destroying the spiritual, emotional, and physical beauty around them. Being a critic is easy. Being an amateur demolition enthusiast is easy. Being a builder is a harder role to play.

“What about creative destruction?” you may ask. “Doesn’t the Phoenix rise from the ashes of yesterday’s greatest ideas?” While there exists the beautiful notion of creative destruction, not all destruction is creative.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, creative destruction is beneficial change that supplants the standard of the past and brings about something arguably better, such as the iPhone supplanting the Western Electric Model 500 telephone, or steel toed work boots supplanting wooden clogs. Whether anything is “better” than anything else is naturally a subjective issue. Like any other subjective issue, creative destruction likewise can be argued for and against without clear winners. You may naturally prefer both rotary telephones and wooden clogs, and even eschewing many of things others might refer to as “advancements.” Then your opinion would be that there is no creative destruction in such situations, only destruction. That is where I stand on the trend of mass immigration currently taking place in Europe.

While destruction can be positive in its outcome, it is more likely to be negative. The current European immigration crisis is one such example.

The European immigration crisis poses a destructive risk to a beautiful slice of human existence – the experiment known as Western Civilization. Western Civilization exists where Western-minded individuals are present. The area of the globe with the greatest concentration of such individuals is in the northern hemisphere from the area west of the Urals spanning westward to the Pacific Ocean. Just as in the cities of Vancouver, Des Moines, or Paris, Western Civilization is alive in the Western-minded individuals of Aleppo, Monrovia, and Guangzhou. Western Civilization knows no geographic boundaries on our globe, but its engines are dominantly centered in North America and Europe.

Stating that immigration poses a negative destructive risk to Europe may seem overzealous to some, but because of the distinct ways Europe is different than America, this is very much the case. Mass migration from the outside of Europe to the extent now being witnessed, allowed, and in many ways encouraged, will destroy important aspects of the uniqueness of European culture and will make the supplicating countries in Europe into nothing more than a bad imitation of America.

North America is the experimental laboratory of Western Civilization. Europe is the staid and static home to Western Civilization. The east of Europe and west of Europe have long had tension over directions that culture should go. That tension between the east and west of Europe has been a magnificent cultural dynamo in Europe. While other dynamos exist in Europe, the staid cultures of Europe tend to produce a more sustainable, intellectual, sober, slower growth and change, all the while serving as an important cultural touchstone to the New World. This model is a beautiful one in which the West has been able to prosper and spread prosperity throughout the world. This prosperity has been taken on more successfully by some and less successfully by others. The foreign policy of European states throughout history has been far from perfect – brought often with guns and coercion – there’s much ugliness with how European states have interacted with the world. In stark contrast stand the ideas of Europe on how to structure a more free society. Those ideas on how to structure a more free society have been amazing gifts to the world.

To restate what I believe is an under-appreciated point: North America is the experimental laboratory of Western Civilization. Europe is the staid and static home to Western Civilization.

America can handle millions of Syrians tomorrow and will, within the month, be better off because of it. This comes with the caveat that these new migrants be made to hold their own in the dynamic American economy rather than being another addition to the welfare roles.

America is a melting pot, or tossed salad, or whatever analogy you prefer – the jumble of cultures works. It’s a fluid place and culture where people generally try to return society to criteria like freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and entrepreneurship. America is not perfect at these things, but if there were defining aspects of American culture it would be geographic and it would be based somewhat on the regular desire to make America more of a place for freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and entrepreneurship.

Many shelves of books annually for centuries have been written on what defines American culture and there is certainly much more to it than what I’ve stated. At its heart America has proven an amazing ability to absorb immigrants and maintain those general core aspects of its culture. There is also the obvious issue that all Americans find themselves subject to the same taxing body or other such base methods of forming identity. For the purposes of this essay there is no need to address such base issues of identify any further, as it is so obvious as to be assumed, and there are bonds among Americans that are far more significant than sharing the same government.

European countries also are based on geographic location, something they have in common with America. They share more similarities with America than dissimilarities. One dissimilarity is the focus on one ethnic culture in Europe. Europe is largely a collection of lands that are based around one ethnic group. It is so central to the concept of Europe that it is how European people generally have chosen to name their countries and regions and continue to use such names.

India, in stark contrast has no such ethnic homogeneity. The world has been given a beautiful gift because of European homogeneity. Something about that homogeneity in European lands works as a laboratory of cultural refinement. Europe is where the first and the next Mona Lisa can hail from. In contrast, America is the place where the first and the next Britney Spears can hail from. America is crude, with its land of huddled masses and descendants of huddled masses. Europe is proper with it’s etiquette, ethnic concentration, and sense of history.

America is a place where several million middle easterners can easily fit in. Several million middle easterners appearing in Europe is the antithesis of Europe in this age and just as has been the case for some centuries – any such intrusion should be very decisively turned away by Europe. Forgive the heartlessness of that image, but the destructive affects that mass middle eastern migration would have on so many beautiful gems – the homogeneous cultures of Europe – is too great a loss to support, stand idly by during, or even ignore.

Austria is a unique Austrian gem (even though many of its people don’t seem to realize it), Spain for all its faults is a gem, Greece even with its inability to keep its financial affairs in order is a gem, Slovakia is a gem, as detailed in the pages of 52 Weeks in Slovakia, the Ukraine even with its present skirmish is a gem. From the Atlantic to the Urals something very special has happened in Europe the last thousand years and continues to happen.

By the same measure Syria is not a gem. Iraq is not a gem. The Congo is not a gem.* The people from those places have something wrong with them. I don’t know what it is. The proof of their wrongness though is in the condition of their homelands. In America whatever it is that those people have that can be seen as a marketable skill will be welcomed. In Europe, those people will never fit in. Part of it has to do with ethnicity, race, and native language. There is more to it though. They will never fit in Europe and I too will never fit in Europe. As European looking as I am, as fluent in a European language as I become, I will never be European enough to fit in. That’s a reality. It would be nice if the whole world could move to Europe and everything would be okay, but in reality that’s simply not the case. Millions of refugees moving to Europe will change Europe.

By different measures those places are gems and their cultures are worthy of study because of the success they’ve had in supporting a civilization of people. That concept is part of the thesis of 52 Weeks in Slovakia. It is not time for Europe to open its doors to refugees from the most undesirable failed states of the world. I doubt I will ever argue that it’s time. I doubt that I will ever argue that European culture should be disposed of like a no longer valuable relic of the past.

Are we to imagine that these migrants will have expert ability to offer the French or Germans on the topic of cultural refinement? Might we reach a higher state of human existence because an aggressive group of teenage and twenty year old Syrian males come to replace the inhabitants of a Flemish village? Will the next level of Western existence and achievement be realized when space is ceded to a group of migrants who prefer to cut and run to an easier cushier place in the rural Netherlands or Central Europe rather than stand firm and develop the potential of their own ancestral homes?

I don’t know. I doubt it and that’s not even the direction that the proponents of mass European immigration are publicly advocating for. No, the leaders in those places have a very different focus. The most common argument is that Europe needs fresh young workers to fund their continued silly experiments in socialism and that heaven forbid the birth rate will not sustain the population and the population might shrink. Ones values are out of line when those comforts become reasons for denying the world one of its most precious cultural reserves and dynamos of refinement and development. The wrong-headedness of those matters can be handled better at another time and in another essay. The beauty that is Europe homogeneity and the accomplishments that have come out of that engine in the past centuries is not something that mass immigration proponents are seeking to advance.

Disgusting, low-brow people from outside of Europe clambering for a chance in life have no place in Europe. They belong in America hustling for greatness; they belong in their homelands taking a stand against whatever terrible circumstance has befallen them; they belong in some third place that will be more hospitable to them. They do not en masse belong in Europe and the European who says they do undermines an important beauty of Europe.

My goal today is to get you only to recognize that Europe offers something special and unique to the world and that it is something very much worth preserving at virtually all cost. At one time European men stood on battlefields precisely with the intent of preserving encroachment on European lands from the Middle East. The European immigration crisis is a sad testament to how weak willed, disinterested, or unaware of Europe’s beauty so many of Europe’s leaders seem to be right now.

I find great hope in the fact that Europe-wide so many of Europe’s people recognize that same flaw in their leaders and that some European leaders have the sense to recognize it themselves.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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