The Dangers of Saccharine

Much of the newspaper commentary in Europe after the attack on Brussels has referred to the “shared values” under attack by the terrorists. But what are they?

As far as I can see, the value that most prevails in Brussels, thanks to the European parliament, the European Commission, and other so-called institutions, is that of the free lunch. I have met European politicians there who clearly haven’t paid for so much as a single course of a meal for forty years or more, and who develop as a consequence that gray, slablike or tombstone countenance that members of the Soviet Politburo used to have. I have nothing against free lunches myself—indeed I have enjoyed many—but I have never made them the acme of my ambition, nor did it ever occur to me that, in seeking and eating them, I was defending, furthering, or expressing “our values.”

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