I just attended a Norwegian wedding at the Air Force Academy. Uniforms and swords. The wedding was a combination of two highly driven and successful people (Norwegian offspring). The atmosphere was almost stifling optimism, bonhomie and romantic good will.
Readers who know my earlier writing know that I ascribe a significant amount of America's character to the Norse Vikings. I give major credit to all the other North Sea and Proto-Germanic tribes as well, particularly the Dutch.
The Vikings are my proto-typical Americans.
The peoples who settled America left the grimness of the old world behind and differ significantly in the level of optimism and vigor they brought with them.
What I wonder is: did we "leave behind an understanding of tribal evil" that is currently haunting us?
I ask that, not just because we are optimistic about our prospects in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because old Europe is rather grim about getting immersed in barbarian tribal battles in the Middle East just as they were about getting involved in the post Yugoslavian blood bath.
I particularly notice the extensive anti-Israel attitude in Europe and wonder how much of this is the grim pessimism that suggests to Europeans that Israel is bound to lose in its battle with evil, its daily battle with tribal barbarians.
Maybe old Europe is right and America has lost or never had an ability to understand the dark side of humans.