european exceptionalism

there is no European exceptionalism.

the constant citation of what Europe has/does that is better than anywhere else in the world needs context. and without context, i think we run the risk of erroneously legitimizing Europe’s place at the top of various global hierarchies. 

so when facts citing Sweden’s high life expectancy, or Finland’s ridiculously healthy birthing practices, or various countries’ universal healthcare, or Holland’s elimination of waste, or Germany’s elimination of college tuition…all of these things, when they are mentioned, need to also be placed within the context of their colonial history, their past and present exploitation, looting, pillaging, genocides, and destructive foreign policies that enable them to have these things that are so much better for their populations. in the same way that America’s overabundance of damn near everything needs to be understood as something that could only happen after centuries of enslavement, genocide, and present-day colonial foreign relations, everything about Europe has to be understood within this same context. 

yes, European country X has universal healthcare and a 90 year life expectancy and a .5% infant mortality rate - but why? how was this possible? how many genocides did France have to do in order to reach this? how many sacred shrines  did they have to loot to have the best museums in the world? how many Caribbean nations went bankrupt paying “reparations” and taxes to them? i think whenever we cite some type of (seemingly) exceptionalism of a country or region of the world - especially when it comes to Europe - we need to discuss how that became so and what took place in order for it to be so. none of this stuff happened/happens in a vacuum and none of it is through sheer determination.  it’s the result of centuries of looting, pillaging, murdering, and exploiting that majority of the world’s populations.