Monthly Archives: January 2011

Egypt’s New Prince Of Peace

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Israeli writer Caroline Glick shows us why we should be skeptical of the media’s new Egyptian sweetheart:

…As IAEA head [Mohammed] Elbaradei shielded Iran’s nuclear weapons program from the Security Council.

He repeatedly ignored evidence indicating that Iran’s nuclear program was a military program rather than a civilian energy program. When the evidence became too glaring to ignore, Elbaradei continued to lobby against significant UN Security Council sanctions or other actions against Iran and obscenely equated Israel’s purported nuclear program to Iran’s.

His actions won him the support of the Iranian regime which he continues to defend. Just last week he dismissed the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, telling the Austrian News Agency, “There’s a lot of hype in this debate,” and asserting that the discredited 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate that claimed Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 remains accurate.

Elbaradei’s support for the Iranian ayatollahs is matched by his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

This group, which forms the largest and best-organized opposition movement to the Mubarak regime, is the progenitor of Hamas and al-Qaida. It seeks Egypt’s transformation into an Islamic regime that will stand at the forefront of the global jihad. In recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been increasingly drawn into the Iranian nexus along with Hamas. Muslim Brotherhood attorneys represented Hizbullah terrorists arrested in Egypt in 2009 for plotting to conduct spectacular attacks aimed at destroying the regime.

Elbaradei has been a strong champion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Just this week he gave an interview to Der Spiegel defending the jihadist movement. As he put it, “We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood. …[T]hey have not committed any acts of violence in five decades. They too want change. If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them.”

The Muslim Brotherhood for its part has backed Elbaradei’s political aspirations. On Thursday, it announced it would demonstrate at ElBaradei’s side the next day…

Partially in a bid to placate its opponents and partially in a bid to check Israeli power, Egypt has been the undisputed leader of the political war against Israel raging at international arenas throughout the world. So, too, Mubarak has permitted and even encouraged massive anti- Semitism throughout Egyptian society.

With this balance sheet at the end of the “era of peace” between Israel and Egypt, it is far from clear that Israel was right to sign the [peace treaty with Egypt] in the first place. In light of the relative longevity of the regime it probably made sense to have made some deal with Egypt. But it is clear that the price Israel paid was outrageously inflated and unwise…

And Power Line also does a job on the new “prince of peace.”

Scary: What Egyptians Really Think

Barry Rubin makes a convincing case that, when it comes to places like Egypt, there are much, much worse outcomes than the survival of a dictator like Mubarak:

…pessimism may not be what people want to hear [about Egypt] — and it certainly isn’t what they are hearing from “experts” and mass media — but policymakers and publics better start thinking seriously along such lines.

Consider recent precedents in this regard:

1. Iranian revolution, 1978-1979: Mass protests by a wide coalition against dictatorship. Result? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now president.

2. Beirut Spring: Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze unite against Syrian control. Moderate government gains power. Result? Hezbollah is now running Lebanon.

3. Palestinians have free elections: Voters protest against corrupt regime. Result? Hamas is now running the Gaza Strip.

4. Algeria holds free elections: Voters back moderate Islamist group. Result? Military coup; Islamists turn (or reveal their true thinking) radical; tens of thousands of people killed.

But what do Egyptians really think? According to a recent Pew poll, they are extremely radical even in comparison to Jordan or Lebanon. When asked whether they preferred “Islamists” or “modernizers,” the score was 59% to 27% in favor of the Islamists. In addition, 20 percent said they liked al-Qaeda; 30 percent, Hezbollah; 49 percent, Hamas. And this was at a time that their government daily propagandized against these groups.

How about religious views? Egyptian Muslims said the following: 82 percent want adulterers punished with stoning; 77 percent want robbers to be whipped and have their hands amputated; 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

In a democracy, of course, these views are going to be expressed by how people vote. Even if Egypt does not have an Islamist government, it might well end up with a radical regime that caters to these attitudes and incites violence abroad.

There are reasons not to expect Egypt to turn into a moderate, stable, and democratic state: There are few forces favoring this outcome; the rebellion has no organization; Egypt doesn’t have the resources to raise living standards and distribute wealth; extremist ideologies are deeply held and widely spread.

There are basically three possibilities for the outcome:

First, the establishment and army stick together, get rid of Mubarak, but preserve the regime. The changes put in charge a former Air Force commander (the same job Mubarak once held) and the intelligence chief. The elite stays united, toughs it out, does a skillful combination of coopting and repressing the demonstrations, and offering some populist reforms. The old regime continues. In that case, it is only a minor adjustment.

Disgusted with the Mubaraks — Hosni’s stubborn refusal to step down; his son Gamal’s disgraceful cowardice, showing he fully deserved his insulting nickname “the boy” — the regime throws them overboard.

Second, the elite loses its nerve and fragments, in part demoralized by a lack of Western — especially U.S. — support. The Muslim Brotherhood throws its full weight behind the rebellion. Soldiers refuse to fire at or join the opposition. Eventually, a radical regime emerges, with the Muslim Brotherhood as either ruler or power behind the throne. Remember that the “moderate democratic” leaders have been largely radical and willing to work with the Brotherhood. In that case, it is a fundamental transformation.

The new regime turns against the West, tears up the peace treaty with Israel (in practice if not formally), and joins hands with Hamas. Iranian influence isn’t important with this regime, but that will be small comfort as it launches its own subversive efforts and even goes to war against Israel at some point in the future. This will be the biggest disaster for the region and the West since the Iranian revolution 30 years ago. And in some ways it will be worse.

Third and least likely, neither side backs down bringing bloody civil war.

Absolutely critical here is the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision. Should it be cautious or decide that the moment for revolution has arrived? The choice is not clear because if it picks wrong it could be destroyed. Have no doubt, though, that the Brotherhood is the only non-government group with disciplined followers, real organization, and mass support. In an election where it was harassed, repressed, and cheated — thus undercounting its support — the Brotherhood officially received 20 percent of the vote.

The regime’s survival is by no means impossible, but if that is going to happen it is going to have to mobilize quickly. Meanwhile, the same U.S. policymakers who stood by as enemy Iran crushed democratic protestors is pushing too hard on a friendly Egyptian regime to make big concessions.

… with the inert roused it might be the entire Western position in the Middle East that is swept away, and one dictatorship might be replaced by — unimaginable today — a worse one. I hope this analysis is wrong; I fear that it is accurate.

Also Roger Kimball:

…Are those rock-throwing multitudes in Egypt the “voice of democracy”?

Maybe. But who or what is the demos, the people?

The largest opposition group in Egypt — as in many Arab countries — is the Muslim Brotherhood. Officially, the group, which was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna (the grandfather of Muslim confidence man Tariq Ramadan), is banned in Egypt. No matter. It is nonetheless the “world’s most influential Islamist movement.” No one knows exactly how many members it has in Egypt. The number is certainly in the millions.

What is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood? To make the Koran the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state.”

What is the means by which the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to achieve this goal? Jihad — a “grand jihad,” as one document puts it, which seeks to destroy Western civilization “from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Particulars? In Egypt, since the Muslim Brotherhood is banned, supporters “run for office as independents.” It preaches “social justice,” “the eradication of poverty and corruption,” “political freedom” — important caveat — “to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam.”

What is happening in Egypt?…

The “unrest” (a polite word for “riots”) we are seeing in Egypt is certainly “popular” unrest. We are supposed to be in favor of unrest when it is “popular,” aren’t we?

Again, I would suggest that we take a look at the nature and composition of the populace before offering a definitive opinion about that…

An unhappy truth: in this imperfect world, we are often faced with a choice between something bad and something worse…

And the always insightful David Warren:

…In Egypt…the “dog that does not bark” is the Muslim Brotherhood. The Mubarak regime fears them much more than it fears the children of the middle classes, whom it is patiently tear-gassing in places like Cairo’s media-visible Tahrir Square. In a sense, those demonstrators are “yesterday’s people” — descended from the secular nationalists of another generation, before the siren of “Islamism” began wailing.

They are the sort of people with whom we can identify in the West. They dreamed, they dream, of what we would recognize as an “open society,” with peaceful multi-party elections, and all the trappings of constitutional democracy: freedom of speech, religion, and so forth; security of person and property, under uncorrupted secular laws. Whether or not the individual demonstrator can articulate his full list of demands, he knows they pertain to a “normal country,” where the standard for “normal” is essentially European.

It is almost impossible to assign good numbers to factions in the Middle East, even in a country outwardly as “advanced” as Egypt. Estimates, for instance, of the number of Christians range from less than five to more than 16 million. And while the Egyptian census gives more reliable information on the distribution of income and formal schooling, it would be harder to guess at the size of the “middle class.” For a hint: illiterates outnumber university graduates about three-to-one, according to the last official census.

From what I can make out, in Egypt and elsewhere, the people on the streets are the “accredited” — the bourgeoisie. They are the ones who could most benefit from western-style constitutional government and would suffer most if the government falls into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are, in terms of “class,” the same people who have revolted in Iran — haplessly against the Islamist regime of the ayatollahs.

We’d like to think they are simply “the people,” and I should admit that on a couple of occasions I have fallen into this conceit myself. The rhetoric of the Bush administration took them in this way, fondly hoping that with the passage of time, “modern” attitudes would keep spreading, as they once did in Europe, and have done more recently in countries of the Pacific Rim. The “neo-conservatives” sincerely believed that once constitutional democracy is implanted, it will grow, until it can be sustained by habit. India, “the world’s largest democracy,” is the standard example of this sort of miracle.

By contrast, the Obama administration has no idea what is happening or what it is doing, and Hillary Clinton is actually overrated as a secretary of state.

This means that American influence — potentially decisive until quite recently — can now be fully discounted. Washington does not know whether it should support Mubarak or abandon him; it will therefore mutter meaningless platitudes. The vast sums of U.S. aid that sustain the Egyptian state will continue flowing. Mubarak thus knows that it is entirely between him and his people.

I tend to look at the world more darkly than the “neo-conservatives” did.

While I recognize that support for “democracy and freedom” is substantial, within each Arab national society — that the middle class is not a nothing; that each economy depends on it — I doubt this “faction” can prevail. Worse, I think we are watching its final, hopeless bid for power.

The key fact, in Egypt (paralleled in Yemen and elsewhere), is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not declared itself. The Islamists could put vastly more people on the street. They could subvert the loyalties of policemen and soldiers, who already resent the moneyed middle class. They could generate just enough heat to make large districts of Cairo and Alexandria, now simmering, boil over.

But instead, they are playing neutral, watching those policemen and soldiers put the demonstrators down, while most of Egypt remains quiescent.

For this is not their revolution, and for the moment they are content to watch the autocratic regime, and its frustrated middle class, weaken each other. Their moment will come when Mubarak totters.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has effectively taken over, and the same middle classes who briefly prevailed in the Cedar Revolution of 2005 are on the streets to express their displeasure. But Hezbollah has the guns, and the will to power. Lebanon is finished as an “open society.”

And those who feel hopeful about the outcome in Egypt should explain just what they are hoping for.

The Left Criminalizes, The Right Appeases

Blood Libel illustration in the Nazi Newspaper Westdeutchen Beobachter of Cologne, published by Robert Ley - the most popular newspaper in Western Germany in the early years of Nazism.

Israeli columnist Caroline Glick examines the technique leftists use to criminalize their opponents and why trying to appease such leftists is self-defeating:

…[Sarah] Palin’s characterization of the Left’s appalling assault on her and her fellow conservatives as a “blood libel” was entirely accurate. Moreover, as her previous use of the term “death panels” in the healthcare debate brought clarity to an issue the Left sought to obscure, so her use of the term “blood libel” exposed the nature of the Left’s behavior and highlighted its intentions.

By warning about “death panels,” Palin highlighted the fly in the ointment of government healthcare. Government control will induce scarcity of healthcare and government rationing will necessarily follow. That rationing, in turn, will be undertaken by panels of government officials empowered to decide who gets what care. Her remark focused the debate on the flaws in the program in a way no other had.

In the case of her use of the term “blood libel,” Palin exposed the Left’s attempt to criminalize conservatives and make it impossible for conservatives to either defend themselves or pursue their alternative policy agenda. A blood libel involves two things: First, an imaginary crime; second, the accusation that an entire group of people is guilty of committing that crime that never occurred.

Classically, of course, blood libels have been used against Jews. Anti-Semites accused Jews of killing non-Jews for ritual use of their blood. Jews had murdered no one and Judaism has no ritual involving the use of human blood. Yet, repeatedly entire communities were criminalized and persecuted based on these blood libels.

By criminalizing the entire community based on false allegations regarding a never-committed crime, anti-Semites made it impossible for Jews to go on about our lives. If we sought to deny the charges, we gave them credibility. If we ignored the charges, our silence was interpreted as an admission of guilt. And so no matter what we did, the blood libel firmly attached the stench of murder to a completely innocent Jewish community.

Just as its Israeli counterpart did in the wake of Rabin’s assassination, so the American Left seeks to attach a sense of criminality and violence to the American Right in order to make it socially and otherwise unpalatable to support or otherwise identify with it.

By calling the Left out for its behavior, Palin exposed its agenda. But the logic of the blood libel remained. Trusting the public’s ignorance, and the liberal Jewish community’s solidarity, the leftist media in the U.S. immediately condemned Palin for daring to use the term, hinted she was an anti-Semite for doing so, and argued that by defending herself, she was again inciting violence.

Many conservative thinkers and politicians have long viewed Palin as a liability. By remaining in the spotlight, they allege, Palin is helping the Left. They argue that the media have already destroyed her ability to communicate with non-conservatives. Since she is viewed as a conservative leader, by failing to shut up she is making it impossible for other potential leaders whom the media don’t despise to connect with the swing voters they will need to unseat Obama in 2012.

While alluring, this position does more than harm Palin. It renders the 2012 election irrelevant.

It matters not whether these conservative thinkers support Palin. What matters is that by telling her not to defend herself from libelous attacks, they are accepting the Left’s right to criminalize all conservatives. If she is not defended against a patently obscene effort to connect her to a madman’s rampage in Tucson, then conservatives in the U.S. are signaling they really don’t want to control U.S. policy. They are saying that if a Republican is elected in 2012, he or she will continue to implement Obama’s radical policies.

In certain ways, Palin is a revolutionary leader and the Tea Party movement is a revolutionary movement. For nearly a hundred years, the Left in its various permutations has captured Western policy by controlling the elite discourse from New York and Los Angeles to London to Paris to Tel Aviv. By making it “politically incorrect” to assert claims of Western, Judeo-Christian morality or advocate robust political, economic and military policies, the Left has made it socially and professionally costly for people to think freely and believe in their countries.

What distinguishes Palin from other conservative leaders in the U.S. and makes her an important figure worldwide is her indifference to the views of the Left’s opinion makers. Her capacity to steer debate in a way no other conservative politician can owes entirely to the fact that she does not seek to win over leftist elites. She seeks to unseat them.

The same can be said of the Tea Party. The reason it frightens the Left, and the Republican leaders who owe their positions to their willingness to accept the Left’s basic agenda, is because it does not accept the Left’s policy platform.

Today in Israel the Left is running a campaign to protect foreign-financed, anti-Zionist, Israeli registered NGOs from public scrutiny. All politicians who support an effort to publicly expose these groups’ foreign funders are demonized as “anti-democratic” and “fascist.”

Fearing the Left’s assault, Likud ministers Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan and Benny Begin as well as Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin have sided with these radical, anti-Zionist groups against their transparency-seeking Knesset colleagues. And all four men were congratulated for their commitment to “democracy” and “liberal norms,” by the media.

It doesn’t matter that the Left’s accusations against those demanding transparency are completely ridiculous and libelous. It doesn’t matter that the Left’s campaign exposes a deep-seated fear of the very democracy it fraudulently claims to value. What matters to these Likud politicians is that the media place them above their unwashed colleagues.

In many ways, modern Zionism began with the 1840 Damascus blood libel. When Syrian Christians colluded with Muslim leaders to accuse and persecute the Jewish community for the imagined crime of ritual murder, Jewish leaders in Europe and the U.S. mobilized to the defend them. This was the first instance of modern world Jewish solidarity. And it was a necessary precursor to the Jewish national liberation movement whose first stirrings were felt at that time with mass immigration to Jerusalem.

The Left’s campaign against Palin is not just about Palin. If she is discredited for standing up to blood libels then no one in the U.S. or anywhere else can expect to succeed in moving past the failed and dangerous leftist policy agenda. But if she is defended, a world of possibilities opens up for all of us…

And the Paul Krugman dishonesty watch:

…American conservatives have long had their own private Europe of the imagination — a place of economic stagnation and terrible health care, a collapsing society groaning under the weight of Big Government. The fact that Europe isn’t actually like that — did you know that adults in their prime working years [my emphasis] are more likely to be employed in Europe than they are in the United States?— hasn’t deterred them. So we shouldn’t be surprised by similar tall tales about European debt problems…

Notice the weaselly phrase I emphasized above. I’m no expert on this, but I know that “youth” unemployment in Europe, youth meaning those under the age of 30, is through the roof. I assume that Krugman will be called on this.

After You, My Dear Alphonse

Last night, Barry delivered a State of Denial Address. The Republicans don’t deny reality, but they refuse to get really specific about what to do about the coming deficit and debt disaster. Barry and the Republicans are doing a not-so-funny Alphonse and Gaston act which will play out in the coming months.

Meanwhile, a few Democrats deserve credit for biting the bullet.

Retiring Senator Kent Conrad on ABC’s This Week:

…You know, it’s very interesting. What I hear all across my state are three words: Enough is enough. When you put together TARP, of course, which was done under the Bush administration, but it sort of all runs into the same reaction by people, and you add stimulus, and the auto bailout, and the health care bill, it just struck people that there was too much coming from the federal government, and so people wanted to make a change…

Also The Washington Post’s editorial board:

…Now that the bipartisan commission has reported, but Mr. Obama didn’t fully endorse any of its recommendations. To the contrary, he promised more jobs for teachers and construction workers. He warned against “slashing” Social Security benefits. Corporate tax reform is fine, but if it’s revenue-neutral, it only postpones – and makes more politically difficult – the task of narrowing the nation’s deficit.

So what happens now? Maybe some members of Congress will display the courage the president has lacked. Maybe Mr. Obama, in the budget he proposes next month, will grapple more realistically with the hard choices than he did Tuesday night. But even if he does, how can he expect public support if he hasn’t made the case? From the man who promised to change Washington, it seemed all too drearily familiar.

She Said What? Oh, Nevermind!

Glenn McCoy

Victor Davis Hanson:

…Is the problem with Palin that she uses inflammatory language far too loosely given her position of responsibility? Of course, evocation of “enemies, punishing, kicking ass, relegation to backseat, knives, guns, getting angry, getting in their face, hostage takers, trigger fingers, and tearing up” does not suit a national public figure and former vice presidential candidate. Oops, those allusions were Barack Obama’s, not Sarah Palin’s.

Well, then, confess it — Palin has a disturbing tendency to blurt out dumb, even wacky things — a sort of window into her Wasilla vacuity that daily reminds us why she simply is unfit for higher office. Remember when she claimed that the images of Berlin’s Victory Column were photo-shopped phallic symbols? Didn’t she muse about a radio talk show host being blown up “Mr. Big”-style with a CO2 pellet to the head? Sorry again, that was the New York Times’ esteemed columnist Bob Herbert and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Fine, but she thought people in Austria speak some weird language called “Austrian” and she pronounces “corpsmen” “corpse-men” as if soldiers were some sort of walking dead, and she thinks there are 57 states, and she … sorry, all that and much more was Barack Obama’s, and they were slips after a weary day’s work, not “deep” reflections of reality.

OK, I think what many people don’t like about Sarah Palin is her tendency to oh so subtly emphasize race — as in her celebration of a largely white anti-government Alaskan culture. That isolation makes her especially inept anytime she must deal with the multicultural, multiracial reality of the lower 48 states. Do we remember in the campaign when she said of Obama — “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man”? Excuse me, that gem was from Senate veteran, eastern-seaboarder, and now Vice President Joe Biden.

Well, what I meant to quote was Palin’s ridiculous description of Obama as a “light-skinned African American,” one “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” OK, sorry again, that was the work of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

But maybe the rub is Palin’s complete lack of bipartisanship. Did she not as an Alaskan politician have the most partisan voting record in her various offices, or duck issues by serially voting present? Got me again — that was Barack Obama in the state legislature and as a U.S. senator.

But at least admit her political extremism is deleterious to the commonwealth, especially her tendency to go over the top in demonizing enemies with inappropriate and hurtful language. Don’t we remember how she tarred the incumbent administration with the loony charge of “Nazis” or “digital brownshirts”? I apologize again — that stuff came out of the mouths of former U.S. Senators Robert Byrd, Al Gore, and John Glenn.

Well, then, there’s Todd and his strange Alaskan paranoia and his anti-government excess that almost sounds anti-American. Remember when he not long ago just lost it and shouted out that our America “was downright mean” and that America was always “raising the bar” on the Palins? And remember Todd’s unfortunate boast that his Sarah “is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.” Then, to top that braggadocio off, ol’ Todd blurted out: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” Scary, militia stuff no doubt.

Sorry again, that was First Lady Michelle Obama.

We could go on, but you get the uncivil picture. The popular hatred of a self-described elite culture toward Sarah Palin is almost inexplicable — whether expressed in Andrew Sullivan’s unhinged efforts to suggest Palin faked her fifth pregnancy, or David Letterman’s slur that she seemed a “slutty flight attendant” and her 14-year-old daughter “was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez,” or CNN guest host Kathy Griffin’s crudity that her next target was the teenaged Palin daughter: “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down.”

So why the war against Palin, when Palinisms are not demonstrably different from Bidenisms, Obamaisms, or Goreisms? Uppity-ness I suppose is the short answer. In the binary world of a Sullivan, Letterman, or Griffin, or in the larger culture of network news, NPR, PBS, the New York Times and Washington Post and their columnists, and the weekly newspapers like Time and Newsweek, Sarah Palin is apparently all that they are not.

In such a metro, hip, in-with-it culture, one is supposed to have a thinking-man’s or artiste’s billet of some sort in Washington or New York (that it often comes from nepotism, insider networking, or marriage matters little). Being a mom of five children flies in the face of the demography of yuppie careerism, abortion, and the gay world. Cross-country skiing is OK; snowmobiles polluting the atmosphere and gashing the Earth are not. Credentials matter much: University of Idaho and sports journalism are not polar, but planetary, opposites of Yale and law. Wasilla is to the Upper West Side or Chevy Chase as Uranus is to planet Earth. And how can it be fair that Sarah Palin seems stunning after five children when so many in the DC-NY corridor after millennia on the exercise machine and gallons of Botox are, well, “interesting looking”?

If one is going to drop one’s “g’” and talk to the folks, then do that with Barack Obama’s “Negro dialect” when he “wants to,” not her 24/7 authentic NASCAR/Fargo patois. The former is fake and ephemeral and for liberal purposes and so OK, the latter is real and permanent and often Tea-Partyish — and so scary…

And James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal Online, diagnoses Palinoia.

Lie Back And Think Of England

A figure of scorn among Britain's elite

Mark Steyn on the erosion of the English-speaking nations’ inheritance.

An excerpt:

…In cutting off two generations of students from their cultural inheritance, the British state has engaged in what we will one day come to see as a form of child abuse, one that puts a huge question mark over the future. Why be surprised that legions of British Muslims sign up for the Taliban? These are young men who went to school in Luton and West Bromwich and learned nothing of their country of nominal citizenship other than that it’s responsible for racism, imperialism, colonialism, and all the other bad -isms of the world. If that’s all you knew of Britain, why would you feel any allegiance to Queen and country? And what if you don’t have Islam to turn to? The transformation of the British people is, in its own malign way, a remarkable achievement. Raised in schools that teach them nothing, they nevertheless pick up the gist of the matter, which is that their society is a racket founded on various historical injustices. The virtues Hayek admired? Ha! Strictly for suckers.

When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the modern British welfare state in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want,” to be accomplished by “cooperation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from the vicissitudes of fate, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity. Churchill called his book The History of the English-Speaking Peoples—not the English-Speaking Nations. The extraordinary role played by those nations in the creation and maintenance of the modern world derived from their human capital.

What happens when, as a matter of state policy, you debauch your human capital? The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers; marriage is all but defunct, except for toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population. One-fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming “sick benefits,” week in, week out, for ten years and counting. “Indolence,” as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a free society, but rarely has any state embraced this oldest temptation as literally as Britain. There is almost nothing you can’t get the government to pay for.

Plucked at random from The Daily Mail: A man of twenty-one with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers’ money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute. Why not? His social worker says sex is a “human right” and that his client, being a virgin, is entitled to the support of the state in claiming said right. Fortunately, a £520 million program was set up by Her Majesty’s Government to “empower those with disabilities.” “He’s planning to do more than just have his end away,” explained the social worker.

“The girls in Amsterdam are far more protected than those on U.K. streets. Let him have some fun—I’d want to. Wouldn’t you prefer that we can control this, guide him, educate him, support him to understand the process and ultimately end up satisfying his needs in a secure, licensed place where his happiness and growth as a person is the most important thing? Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights.”

And so a Dutch prostitute is able to boast that among her clients is the British Government. Talk about outsourcing: given the reputation of English womanhood, you’d have thought this would be the one job that wouldn’t have to be shipped overseas. But, as Dutch hookers no doubt say, lie back and think of England—and the check they’ll be mailing you.

After Big Government, after global retreat, after the loss of liberty, there is only remorseless civic disintegration. The statistics speak for themselves. The number of indictable offences per thousand people was 2.4 in 1900, climbed gradually to 9.7 in 1954, and then rocketed to 109.4 by 1992. And that official increase understates the reality: Many crimes have been decriminalized (shoplifting, for example), and most crime goes unreported, and most reported crime goes uninvestigated, and most investigated crime goes unsolved, and almost all solved crime merits derisory punishment. Yet the law-breaking is merely a symptom of a larger rupture. At a gathering like this one, John O’Sullivan, recalling his own hometown, said that when his grandmother ran a pub in the Liverpool docklands in the years around the First World War, there was only one occasion when someone swore in her presence. And he subsequently apologized.

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” But viewed from 2010 England the day before yesterday is an alternative universe—or a lost civilization. Last year, the “Secretary of State for Children” (both an Orwellian and Huxleyite office) announced that 20,000 “problem families” would be put under twenty-four-hour cctv supervision in their homes. As the Daily Express reported, “They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.” Orwell’s government “telescreen” in every home is close to being a reality, although even he would have dismissed as too obviously absurd a nanny state that literally polices your bedtime.

For its worshippers, Big Government becomes a kind of religion: the state as church. After the London Tube bombings, Gordon Brown began mulling over the creation of what he called a “British equivalent of the U.S. Fourth of July,” a new national holiday to bolster British identity. The Labour Party think-tank, the Fabian Society, proposed that the new “British Day” should be July 5th, the day the National Health Service was created. Because the essence of contemporary British identity is waiting two years for a hip operation. A national holiday every July 5th: They can call it Dependence Day.

Does the fate of the other senior Anglophone power hold broader lessons for the United States? It’s not so hard to picture a paternalist technocrat of the Michael Bloomberg school covering New York in cctv ostensibly for terrorism but also to monitor your transfats. Permanence is the illusion of every age. But you cannot wage a sustained ideological assault on your own civilization without profound consequence. Without serious course correction, we will see the end of the Anglo-American era, and the eclipse of the powers that built the modern world. Even as America’s spendaholic government outspends not only America’s ability to pay for itself but, by some measures, the world’s; even as it follows Britain into the dank pit of transgenerational dependency, a failed education system, and unsustainable entitlements; even as it makes less and less and mortgages its future to its rivals for cheap Chinese trinkets, most Americans assume that simply because they’re American they will be insulated from the consequences. There, too, are lessons from the old country. Cecil Rhodes distilled the assumptions of generations when he said that to be born a British subject was to win first prize in the lottery of life. On the eve of the Great War, in his play Heartbreak House, Bernard Shaw turned the thought around to taunt a British ruling class too smug and self-absorbed to see what was coming. “Do you think,” he wrote, “the laws of God will be suspended in favor of England because you were born in it?”

In our time, to be born a citizen of the United States is to win first prize in the lottery of life, and, as Britons did, too many Americans assume it will always be so. Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favor of America because you were born in it? Great convulsions lie ahead, and at the end of it we may be in a post-Anglosphere world.

And I really, if I’m permitted to say this, do not like Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She’s a political hack of monumental proportions (who is quickly becoming the new leader among pols obsessed with getting their pusses on tv), and today she really outdid herself in making a link between the Tuscon atrocity and opposition to Obamacare. Click to see and hear demagoguery personified.

Finally, the second installment of vile statements by liberal politicians and media figures: Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN).

Doubly Tainted: T’Aint Yours, T’Aint Mine

A good George Will column:

A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.
—Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

A specter is haunting America, the specter of Europe. Which is just one reason why Barack Obama’s first two years have been such a tonic for conservatism.

America’s debate about government’s proper size and purposes has proceeded against the backdrop of European disorders, such as rioting by French young people. Some of them, although they have not yet entered the labor market (unemployment is 25 percent among those under 25), are indignant that when they do, they will have to remain in it for two extra years because the retirement age has been raised to 62.

Such demonstrations of government-induced decadence—a.k.a. the entitlement mentality—have provided counterpoints to the Great Unraveling. That has been the fate of American liberals’ agenda in the 24 months since Barack Obama’s inauguration. That event was supposed to launch a long liberal epoch, something unknown since the one that ended in 1938, when the nation recoiled against Franklin Roosevelt’s overreaching, which included his attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court by enlarging it… Today, the long list of liberal disappointments is still growing:

Organized labor’s top priority—“card check” legislation to make unionization of workplaces easier by abolishing workers’ rights to secret ballots—is dead. So is the environmentalists’ dream of a cap-and-trade regime—or, failing that, a carbon tax. The Environmental Protection Agency, which seems determined to do by regulation what Congress will not do by legislation concerning limits on emissions, is provoking a contest with Congress over supremacy—a contest the EPA cannot win because Congress cannot afford to lose.

The near invisibility and complete futility of last month’s Cancún conference on climate change marked the exhaustion of a U.N. delusion: It was that almost 200 nations were going to negotiate a treaty unanimously requiring a few of them to bribe the rest to reduce greenhouse–gas emissions—and that 67 U.S. senators would vote to ratify it.

Things that liberals thought would be gone by now include: Guantánamo, the Patriot Act, and the Bush tax rates. Having denounced extension of those rates as “odious,” what adjective has The New York Times reserved for, say, genocide?

Regarding the rates applicable to high earners and large estates, most Americans seem to be channeling Mark Twain. When a journalist suggested that the vast wealth of one of Twain’s friends, a Standard Oil executive, was “tainted,” Twain replied, “It’s doubly tainted—t’aint yours and t’aint mine.”…

Matt Portal in London Telegraph

New department: Vile and violent statements made by media and political liberals. Chris Matthews on MSNBC two years ago:

“at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into [Rush Limbaugh’s] head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp”? Thanks to Ron Radosh.

Imagine a Calculating Democratic Strategist

Ken Catalino

Byron York rethinks Barry’s “political performance” in Tuscon.

An excerpt:

…By the time he spoke in Tucson, Obama had let four days pass while some of the angriest voices in the media — his supporters — either blamed Republicans directly for the killings or blamed the GOP for creating the atmosphere in which the violence took place. During those four days, the president could have cooled the conversation by urging everyone to avoid jumping to conclusions, as he did the day after the November 2009 massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas [my emphasis]. But he didn’t. Only after Loughner’s insanity had been indisputably established did Obama concede that politics was not to blame for the shooting.

By then, however, the president’s supporters had tied the killings to the issue of political rhetoric. In Tucson, Obama played good cop to their bad cop by assuring everyone that rhetoric had not motivated the violence. But he still brought up the topic because, he said, it had “been discussed in recent days.” Of course, it would not have been discussed in recent days had his supporters not made so many unfair accusations.

Some Democratic strategists hope Obama can capitalize on Tucson the way Bill Clinton capitalized on Oklahoma City. Perhaps he’ll be able to, and perhaps he won’t. But he’s already trying.

York’s piece is a must read.

Another must read is Canadian David Warren’s column. In this excerpt, he describes the emergence of:

…a “New Left” in the sixties, a strange new slurry of Marxist, Freudian, feminist, and hippiesque notions which by increments seized the American liberal mind. And so completely that today, the attitudes of the Kennedy generation of American liberals seem indistinguishable from those of the Tea Party.

Indeed, on plain policy as opposed to superficial style, I defy anyone to prove that John F. Kennedy was to the left of Sarah Palin. From tax-cutting to anti-Communist confrontation — with all the Norman Rockwell in between — his positions were generally those we now associate with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, though presented in the smoother suit of an age when men wore narrow ties, with two-inch collars.

The rewriting of history is a necessary component of the world view in which the forces of “progress” are constantly warring with the forces of “reaction.” It is necessary because, to make that view plausible at all, we must overlook the daisy chain of social, moral, demographic, fiscal, and associated disasters that have followed from triumphs of the left; and the retreat of traditional American values to what they ungenerously call “the flyover country.”

Yet “New Left” was simply the old left on drugs, and the formula “progressives versus reactionaries” was the very item laid bloodily down in the French Revolution of 1789. Given a choice only between these two positions, you bet I am a reactionary, as I think any fully sane person must be…

The Gospel According to Gabrielle Giffords

The New York Times’ Frank Rich has taken the sword from fellow leftist Paul Krugman and continued the campaign to charge Palin, Beck, and the Tea Party with murder. Rich’s approach is to appropriate the words of Gabrielle Giffords and send them into battle against the enemies of goodness and light.

Before the Tuscon shootings, Gabrielle Giffords was merely one of 400 plus members of Congress, a woman who was little known outside of Arizona. I saw her for the first time on TV during the brouhaha over Arizona’s illegal immigration law where she could be heard blasting the Federal Government for irresponsibly shirking its duty to protect the borders. Here’s what appeared on her website:

Our district in southeastern Arizona has paid a heavy price for the burden of drug smuggling and illegal immigration. I share your concerns that for too long, the federal government has failed to secure our border, and Congress has refused to fix our broken immigration laws. We are on the frontlines of the immigration crisis and confront the many negative impacts of illegal immigration every day. That is why I will not relent in my efforts to find ways to ease the burden placed on our local law enforcement, health and social service agencies and public schools.

After I first arrived in Washington, I have regularly met with community leaders, elected officials and residents to learn how illegal immigration affects their everyday lives. Receiving suggestions from constituents, like you, also guides my work. This information is very helpful as I educate and persuade my colleagues to take on this complicated economic, social and public safety issue.

However, until the federal government can demonstrate that it is serious about border security, we will see no progress in fixing our other broken immigration laws. Reform should include tough employer sanctions and a national employee verification system such as the New Employee Verification Act that I introduced along with Republican Congressman Sam Johnson. Amnesty cannot be granted to those who have entered illegally. They must be brought out from the shadows and overcome very strict requirements if they are to apply for legalization.

I will continue to fight to fix our broken immigration laws and against the partisan bickering that has stalled action for far too long. This remains my top priority in Congress.

And Giffords on the satanic Fox News:

Since the shootings, however, Giffords has been miraculously transformed from an aggressive opponent of illegal immigration and a vocal critic of Washington’s irresponsibility into a supporter of “comprehensive immigration reform,” also known as amnesty.

In other words, Jared Loughner has transformed Gabrielle Giffords from a real world politician who wants to be re-elected into a political martyr whose words can be mobilized by hacks like Frank Rich to bludgeon those with whom he disagrees.

Rich writes:

…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.

The week of that interview began with the House passing the health care bill on Sunday. Within hours, on Monday morning, vandals smashed the front door of Giffords’s office in Tucson. The Palin “target” map (and the accompanying Twitter dictum to “RELOAD”) went up on Tuesday, just one day after that vandalism — timing that was at best tone-deaf and at worst nastily provocative. Not just Giffords, but at least three other of the 20 members of Congress on the Palin map were also hit with vandalism or death threats.

In her MSNBC interview that Wednesday, Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” Chuck Todd then asked Giffords if “in fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.” She responded that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. But Todd moved on, and so did the Beltway. What’s the big deal about a little broken glass? Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start…

Did Loughner, Giffords, or Rich see the Democratic Leadership map with actual bulls eyes over “targeted” districts? Could the vandalism possibly have been perpetrated by those incensed by Gifford’s vocal stance against illegal immigration? No way!

The apotheosis of Gabrielle Giffords will continue. Thus an ordinary politician, motivated in large part by the desire to survive politically in a swing district, becomes a martyr whose utterances are to be taken as gospel. If she recovers and is able to return to politics, you can be sure the Democratic Party will move her from the back benches to front and center. A saint who has returned from the dead is a terrible thing to waste.

One Righteous Jewish Woman

Melanie Phillips on Israeli TV.