Fulton Sheen famously defined the intelligentsia as "those who have been educated beyond their intelligence." I am usually reminded of this after listening to members of the American intelligentsia gabble on about how god-awful this country is compared to ... Europe.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am probably more appreciative of European culture than most contemporary Europeans. A few years ago, my wife and I spent some time in Tuscany. It was like a visit to paradise. But we are both sane enough to know that our perspective as tourists was skewed. The few conversations we had with Italians about their domestic politics revealed a powerful undercurrent of discontent.
I mention all this by way of introduction to Theodore Dalyrmple's Is “Old Europe” Doomed?