The professional burden will not be as heavy. Tech companies in other countries are happily snapping up educated refugees. These young people have long had choices beyond which French cheese to buy.
The United States has been accused, not unjustly, of being a materialistic culture. But some overstate the damage our love of gadgetry does to our souls. That self-flagellation has gone so far as to turn our love of stuff into a selling point.
You know those Expedia ads. “We really love stuff,” Scottish actor Ewan McGregor says. “Thinner TVs, sportier SUVs, smarter smartphones” and so on. “Do you think any of us will look back on our lives and regret the things we didn’t buy,” he says, opening a door onto a stunning uncrowded beach, “or the places we didn’t go?”
Well, the character presumably bought a plane ticket, hotel room and car rental — and his trip’s use of fossil fuels did not help the environment. Travel is also consumption, or as the ad really suggests, a form of inconspicuous consumption.
We who are busy clearing the excess from our messy closets should bear in mind that decluttering is also a choice. Russians taken in by Putin’s call for heroic sacrifice might turn their gaze to the yachts, private jets and French villas his oligarchs are now trying to shield from seizure.
Ukrainians do talk of the comfy life they left behind. But it’s also clear that the resisters throwing their bodies against the Russian tanks think of themselves as defending a way of life in which they had say on what they could do and think as well as buy.
Once again, an autocrat looking for plunder accuses another country of “decadence,” too drugged by affluence to fight back. He attacks; then he loses. Vladimir Putin, step right up.