European perspective on Jeffrey Epstein, Brexit, Immigration, and Donald Trump

I spent three weeks with 471 fellow “explorers” through the Northwest Passage. Most were German, Scandinavian, or from the UK. Only 22 of us were American. Out of 150 staff and crew, only 1 was American (most were from the Philippines). Every day the ship provided us with a printed summary of news, organized by country. Thus, it turned out to be a great way to get the European perspective on current events.

[What was the racial composition of the passengers? The same as in American communities where residents hang Black Lives Matters signs and say that their top priority is racial diversity: 90+ percent white with the remainder being Asian.]

News about Jeffrey Epstein bewildered the Scandinavians and Germans. “If she wants to work as a real prostitute paying taxes she needs to wait until she is 18,” said a Dane. “But there is nothing illegal about a 15-year-old having a sugar daddy buying her whatever she wants. A 15- or 16-year-old is considered an adult in sexual matters.” Germans noted that the age of consent in their country was 14 and that prostitution, though not a career to aspire to, was legal.

A retired English lawyer doubted that Epstein had ever abused anyone: “the women kept going back.” She was scornful of the actresses who’d had sex with Harvey Weinstein and of the #MeToo movement in general. “I was the only female lawyer in my firm and then the only partner,” she noted. “I could have claimed harassment or discrimination dozens of times.” (Proof that criminal defense lawyers are right in wanting older women on juries in what used to be called “date rape” cases?)

The UK passengers were drawn mostly from the London/Southeast area and many had worked in multinational enterprises. Thus, the majority had voted to Remain, but there were quite a few Leavers. Nobody seemed to have any affection for the EU as an institution: “I voted to Remain,” said one woman, “but now that I’ve seen how the EU has treated us, if there were another election today I would vote to Leave.” The business experts noted that the EU had begun as a trade and customs union, but had morphed into an attempt to forge a single political entity. They considered that effort a failure, but the Remainers wanted to try to reform the EU from within (since reforming big centralized government has been so successful everywhere else?).

Just as with Americans, claiming to dislike Donald Trump is a mark of sophistication and intelligence. Hardly anyone wanted to admit that there was anything to like about our dictator. However, the folks who’d done business internationally said that Trump was doing exactly the right thing with respect to China and talked about how they’d been unable to get access to the market there without opening a factory and transferring technology. Others said that they thought Trump’s trade policies would be bad for Europe, but were in Americans’ best interest.

The Europeans were at least as hostile to low-skill migration as Donald Trump. They wanted a wall on Europe’s southern border. They wanted their welfare state, already stingier than ours (see Hartz IV, for example), further curtailed so that Europe would stop being a magnet for those who are helpless in a modern economy.

The Europeans who said that they didn’t like Trump also shared his fondness for low tax rates as a way of fostering economic growth. A Swedish business executive whose company has a U.S. division said that he thought U.S. taxes were currently higher than Sweden’s. He pointed out that Sweden has no estate (death) tax. What about their higher headline personal income tax rate? “Nobody pays that,” he said. “If you’re a corporate executive you will find a way to turn the income into a capital gain, taxed at 30 percent.” A Scandinavian who was generally in favor of big government earned most of his income through an Estonian corporation. As Estonia is tax free, he won’t owe any taxes on this income until he needs to get the money out and spend it, which could be 50 years from now.

It was interesting to be with people who don’t share our assumptions, but now I’m back in the land of GroupThink. From a Toyota at our local public library on Saturday:

15 thoughts on “European perspective on Jeffrey Epstein, Brexit, Immigration, and Donald Trump

  1. So, you met some rich people and they’re in favor of low taxes, Trump and a smaller welfare state? That’s not particularly interesting. Those bumper stickers are unremarkable as well.

    Also, there have to be some Black Lives Matter banners hanging in black neighborhoods somewhere.

    • Most of the passengers were not “rich.” An American passenger was a retired school principal, for example. Europeans apparently couldn’t save that much while working for the government, but they could do it working as mid-level managers at manufacturing companies (e.g., BMW or Mercedes) and one German guy had made money as a welfare industry contractor.

      And they were most definitely not in favor of Trump! No European said “I think he was the best choice for President” or even, “I think that Trump has been doing a reasonably good job.” Where it got interesting (to me) was that they actually agreed with Trump on seemingly any given policy topic.

    • PHIL BOARDED A WRONG SHIP.
      That dirty ship only carried white (and Asian) supremacists of just two pre-selected genders.

      The real people would have surely condemned Jeffrey Epstein for promoting young healthy women. How many transgender people has JE worked with? was he engaged in race discrimination? how many women of color aged over 60 ever flew on the Lolita Express? That’s the ugly face of racism and xenophobia for you. Besides, was there any discrimination by political views? specifically, how many long-term registered Democrats has JE employed (talking about people with a real, verifiable, over 30-year track record)

      Next time, Phil should try a truly European ship, such as The Open Arm that carries new Europeans from the capitalist North African shores to the nearest port in Italy.
      Or he should try a ship manned exclusively by truly vetted progressives and not by the Russian operatives who managed to run out of asparagus on day two of the trip.

    • Rich is a relative matter. It’s certainly reasonable to assert that the passengers would have to be rather prosperous. Whether an individual considers them to be rich (quotations marks aren’t helpful) generally depends on that individual’s own net worth.

      A more representative sample of Europeans would probably admire a number of proposals that have come from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Medicare for all would seem like common sense to most British people and university is free in Germany. Next time you should discuss some Trump policies that have gotten less attention – weakening environment protections, leaving hundreds of OSHA inspector positions unfilled, and reducing inspection of pork slaughterhouses. Such policies could be more controversial among the Europeans. On the other hand, those with large share portfolios might appreciate the resulting higher corporate profits and wish for similar policies in their own countries.

  2. Oh come on, Phil, maybe those Europeans were not woke yet but everyone knows, Greta Thunberg notwithstanding, that women are not sentient beings capable of making decisions, but, rather, exist on this planet like little sheep solely solely for the purpose of being coerced and taken advantage of by the wicked and therefor need to be protected from the wolves.

  3. 14. Legal age 4 sexual consent; come on not much respect 4 the young girls of their country
    TRUMP is a
    FOOL globally whether they voice it or not
    Trip sounds Grand

  4. > A 15- or 16-year-old is considered an adult in sexual

    In America, a 16 year old is considered a child in sexual matters. But if that same 16 year old shoots someone, they can be considered an adult! What a country!

    • And at 17 y/o, you have the right to kill someone if you join the military but you cannot buy tobacco or alcohol.

    • If a teenager wants an abortion, she’s an “adult” and anyone who suggests otherwise is Deplorable.

    • > at 17 y/o, you have the right to kill someone if you join the military
      Ehh… in the sense of protecting youth from trauma it’s a reasonable comparison, but people of any age can be traumatized. We have age-limit laws because we don’t trust the judgement of the young whereas the military role is all about following orders and getting to make very few decisions.

  5. What if Epstein was part of an blackmail operation?

    What if our politicians, Republican and Democrat, have been blackmailed for decades?

    Question of the Day.

    How many Americans know that the Russians gave us a sculpture called The Tear Drop Memorial to commemorate September 11th?

  6. I call BS. If the Germans don’t have an issue with what Epstein was doing, why didn’t he choose to live there in peace, and without the fear of legal consequences?

    • A few years ago, didn’t Roman Polanski do just that in France? Fled the US with an underage girl to avoid charges? I have a friend doing 10-20 in a Texas state facility because he had an affair with a 15 year old. The girl admitted to initiating the affair, and giving consent. In Texas, 17 is the age of consent, so none of what she said or did was allowed in court. She was traumatized as much by the media spectacle as the sex. My wife and I choose to disagree because I agree with Germany and France and she does not.

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