The Only Reality There Is…The National Suicide Note

Writing in the New Criterion, James Bowman comments on the New York Times’ obnoxious , preposterous post-election editorial:

…[A] line in the [Times’] editorial tells us that Senator Obama’s “triumph was decisive and sweeping, because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens.” One smells a paradox somewhere nearby. Say what you will about him, President Bush has what would seem to be undoubtedly to his credit the fact that he and his administration have protected the country from any attacks on the homeland since 9/11. Yet the Times doesn’t need to bother with paradox any more than it does with grace or wit. The voice of the gods has no need of that either. It merely delivers itself of what, to some of us, is an obvious and blatant falsehood as a simple statement of fact, and we can like it or lump it.

That’s because those of us for whom it is an obvious and blatant falsehood don’t really exist, so far as the Times is concerned. The paper’s idea of being an advocate and a controversialist is to pretend, in its characteristically high-minded way, that there is no controversy, and that its own self-defined reality — the reality of the Democratic party’s talking points, essentially — is the only reality there is…

And Melanie Phillips on Britain’s (and possibly America’s) national suicide note:

…Just as Britain thinks the “powerless” can do no wrong at home, so it thinks the third world can do no wrong abroad — and even when they fly planes into American buildings, the blame therefore lies with America for behaving badly in the first place. It is hard to exaggerate the virulent hatred of America that has been coursing through Britain these past eight years. The reason was that America had dared to defend itself by use of force, riding roughshod over the U.N., and thus, it was said, putting the rest of the world at risk; and that it wanted to export its values to countries which did not live under democracy and the rule of law because it thought that these values were superior to their own. Britain thought this was an imperialism which had cost thousands of lives — and that America was to blame for Islamic violence in the first place because it supported Israel.

Now, however, the refrain in Britain is that “now we can all love America again.” Britain is ecstatic that America has elected an apparently antiwar president in a time of war. Some might think this is a form of national suicide. But Britain recognizes Obama as one of its own. That is because Britain’s intelligentsia and political class is signed up to “transnational progressivism” which holds that the nation is the source of all the ills in the world because it is inherently racist.

Obama believes America has to expiate its sins: both its original, Founding sins of slavery and racism, and its latter-day sins against the world of Islam. Britain likes the sound of that. It wants America to be humbled. Nations, it thinks, cause wars. Arrogant, hubristic, imperial nations like Bush’s America cause big and horrible wars. By contrast transnational institutions — such as the sacred UN or EU — promote civilised “engagement” with the enemy to discuss grievances and reach compromises. So it is thrilled that Obama will get out of Iraq and talk to Iran and may even force wretched Israel (which Britain blames for Everything Bad in the World) to give away the disputed territories and half of Jerusalem to the Arabs.

The fact that such actions would leave Iraq in chaos, empower Iran still further, destroy Israel’s security and imperil the free world doesn’t trouble it at all. And if Obama, under the responsibility of office, should change from an appeaser to a war leader in America’s national interest, then Britain’s new found love for America would revert once again into rage and disdain.

Of course. transnational progressivism, multiculturalism, victim culture, pacifism, and all the rest of it do amount to a national suicide note. The reason Britain has embraced them is because, for the past several decades, it has lost belief in itself as a nation and so has been systematically hollowing out its values and its defences.

The result is a cultural vacuum which is steadily being filled by radical Islamism. Paralyzed by its “universal” value system of multiculturalism and minority rights, Britain is failing to assert its own civilisational principles against the cultural onslaught being mounted by Islamists. Accordingly, it is permitting the spread of Muslim enclaves governed by a parallel jurisdiction of sharia law — the steady creation of a “state within a state” — encouraging the development of sharia finance, and permitting Saudi money to fund British universities and other institutions.

Millions of Britons are appalled by the implosion of British culture, identity, and values. But they find themselves politically disenfranchized, because the Conservative party does not understand that British values are under attack. And Republicans should take careful note of this in order to recognize a similar danger and dilemma facing them following their defeat.

The British Conservatives think that, to regain power, they have to show they have broken with cultural conservatism and go instead with the way society has changed — gay rights, green politics, anti-racism. What they have failed to grasp is that such change has turned values such as right and wrong, good and bad on their heads and has produced a sentimentalised, cruel, oppressive and perverse society — one where burglars go scot-free but householders are prosecuted for putting the wrong kind of garbage in the trash can, and where people are too frightened to protest at the erosion of British, Christian, or Western values because of the opprobrium that will follow.

The Conservatives don’t realize that by embracing such “change” they are endorsing a kind of enslavement. They don’t realize that the first duty of a conservative is to conserve that which is precious and protect it against attack. The result is that millions feel betrayed and abandoned by the absence of conservatism, and yet more still think the Conservative party is just a bunch of opportunists who don’t have any principles. Why vote for the progressive wannabes, after all, when you can have the real thing?

The challenge for conservatives on both sides of the pond is to find a way of conserving the essential values of Western Civilization and defend them against the onslaught being mounted against them both from within and from without — but to do so in a way that is generous and big-hearted rather than narrow and sectarian, and embraces rather than repels.

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