I took a two-week break to take my bride of nearly 46 years to Europe. Specifically, we flew to Germany, where my father’s people came from. On our first day we saw a ruin called Castle Blankenhorn, built in the 12th century. Folks who came from that castle, which was controlled by the Hohenstaufen dynasty, took its name when they moved on.
We moved on, too, in a 2022 VW Tiguan with a 6-gear stick shift, along Autobahns which at times had no speed limit. We saw the Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy tale accompaniment to an older pile built on a ruin like “da castle a my fadder.” We saw a statue dedicated to Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Studios (and 20th century Hollywood). We went to a soccer game in Ingolstodt, visited its street festival, and explored the “Romantic Road,” created after World War II specifically to lead tourists to medieval sites (and extract their money). I do wish they extracted a little more of mine, in the form of hats, t-shirts and the like, but they’re still into books, postcards and refrigerator magnets.
Everyone was friendly. If someone didn’t have any English, there was someone nearby who did. My only problem was that so many smoked. I got a “contact high” during the soccer game, which helped me get to our hotel but still didn’t put me in a good mood.
Europe is being hit hard by the Ukraine War. Much harder than we are. It is exhausting. Many have had enough. Germany is also being flooded with Chinese electric cars, which threaten its own industry. There’s a technology storm brewing across the EU because the continent’s industry never fully adapted to Moore’s Law and thus has little control over the 21st century’s key infrastructure.
But there is peace right now. The governing party in Bavaria expects a resounding re-election, and may not need allies in the next Landstrat, or state legislature. Those medieval cities are way ahead of anything in America when it comes to urban planning. Wherever there are people, they live close together. Bikes and trains are everywhere. You don’t need a car and most people don’t have one.
One more thing. The Germans are worried about us. They see a Nazi storm coming our way. They see a media that is too desperate for attention to call it out. (A right-wing slant gets more clicks than calm acceptance of improvement does.) This is impacting the Ukraine war as conservative parties look to deal with a world without a democratic America.
There are storm clouds everywhere. I believe we’ll get through the storm. But not everyone agrees. Even among my father’s people.