"Save us from the innocent and the good"
Dear Ross Douthat, you need to get out more often. Your column comes from such a constrained lens of XX-century, American, religious, self-righteousness that all I can think of is Graham Green and his quiet American. In what country do you live that you can claim that Europe has a democracy deficit vis a vis the US? The US legislative body systematically votes against the opinion of its vast majority, ranging from reasonable gun control to health care, passing through net neutrality, government surveillance and many others---least of which is electing a president who lost the popular vote by a lot and a severely gerrymandered congress! What about the rights of minorities within a democracy? Have you heard of #blacklivesmatter and the disproportionate number of African-Americans on death row (how religious is death penalty, by the way?), or the unemployment and otherwise horrible conditions of Native Americans? On Europe: the Euro is certainly a bad invention as implemented, but it could be improved. We should not scrape a Union that has brought unprecedented peace to the continent because religious conservatives feel threatened by a secular society---especially one that works quite well in practice, as demonstrated by fact-based (not opinion-based) health, life-expectancy, education tests, and democracy indices---all higher than the US (21st below most EU countries in democracy index, from the Economist, not a leftist, pro-European outfit, by the way). Both sides of the North Atlantic have problems as well as successes. Shallow analysis in support of Populists who only point to the downsides and not the many demonstrable upsides, is "Innocence", which, as Greene put it best, “is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”