It seems like every day some European “expert” proposes that the US adopt his or her country’s policies as the solution to transportation or energy or other problems that the US faces. More and more as I travel around the net, I see such advice coming from the Dutch. Seems like they have an awful lot of experts on US policy.
Today this happened again regarding to US energy policy. A Dutch person which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty suggested that the US should divert part of its electrical generating capacity to providing “district heating”. That is, to pipe hot water and/or steam to the citizens who now use “inefficient” electricity.
That struck me as odd, knowing the size difference between our respective countries. I made a reply that since The Netherlands is only about the size of a large US city, its solutions would compare more to municipal policy rather than state or national policy. After I posted that I got to wondering just how close my analogy was. Being a nerd, I decided to experiment.
I went to Mapquest  and called up a map of Holland. Then I opened another window and called up a map of the Dallas-Ft Worth, Texas area. I set the scales as close as possible, clipped the maps and combined them in Corel PhotoPaint. Here is the result
Holland is the dark area overlaying the two cities. Hmm, looks like I was pretty close. To add perspective, I called up a map of Texas and dropped Holland (so to speak :-) onto it.
Holland is that little dark blob overlaying Dallas-Ft. Worth. This really puts things in perspective.
Why do I get that feeling that the Dutch experts don’t have the faintest clue as to how large the US is? Or any other Euro-sperts, for that matter.
I do think that the current European situation is a good model, one that the US should strive for. That is, strong (relatively speaking) nation-states with a loose confederation linking them together with a common currency and a few other things. The European Parliament is pretty worthless, a status I pray fervently that the US government will achieve. Strong states/weak federal government, was, after all, the core issue underlying the War of Northern Aggression during the first part of the 1860s. (Bet you thought it was about freeing some slaves, didn’t you?) Unfortunately, the whole country lost that war.