Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thatcher: Philo-Semite. Keynes: Not

Thanks to PowerLine for pointing out the antisemitism of Paul Krugman’s favorite economist and the warm regard with which Margaret Thatcher held Jews.

Damian Thompson provides a repulsive quote from liberal icon John Maynard Keynes:

…[Jews] have in them deep-rooted instincts that are antagonistic and therefore repulsive to the European, and their presence among us is a living example of the insurmountable difficulties that exist in merging race characteristics, in making cats love dogs …

It is not agreeable to see civilization so under the ugly thumbs of its impure Jews who have all the money and the power and brains…

On the other hand, Charles Johnson describes Margaret Thatcher’s (an ogress to the left) staunch support for Israel and Jews:

When asked about her most meaningful accomplishment, Margaret Thatcher, now embodied by Meryl Streep in the biopic Iron Lady, did not typically mention serving in the British government, defeating the Argentine invasion of the Falkans, taming runaway inflation, or toppling the Soviet Union. The woman who reshaped British politics and served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 often said that her greatest accomplishment was helping save a young Austrian girl from the Nazis.

In 1938, Edith Muhlbauer, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, wrote to Muriel Roberts, Edith’s pen pal and the future prime minister’s older sister, asking if the Roberts family might help her escape Hitler’s Austria. The Nazis had begun rounding up the first of Vienna’s Jews after the Anschluss, and Edith and her family worried she might be next. Alfred Roberts, Margaret and Muriel’s father, was a small-town grocer; the family had neither the time nor the money to take Edith in. So Margaret, then 12, and Muriel, 17, set about raising funds and persuading the local Rotary club to help.

Edith stayed with more than a dozen Rotary families, including the Robertses, for the next two years, until she could move to join relatives in South America. Edith bunked in Margaret’s room, and she left an impression. “She was 17, tall, beautiful, evidently from a well-to-do family,” Thatcher later wrote in her memoir. But most important, “[s]he told us what it was like to live as a Jew under an anti-Semitic regime. One thing Edith reported particularly stuck in my mind: The Jews, she said, were being made to scrub the streets.” For Thatcher, who believed in meaningful work, this was as much a waste as it was an outrage. Had the Roberts family not intervened, Edith recalled years later, “I would have stayed in Vienna and they would have killed me.” Thatcher never forgot the lesson: “Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life,” she told audiences in 1995 after Edith had been located, alive and well, in Brazil.

Other British politicians and their families housed Jews during the war, but none seems to have been profoundly affected by it as Thatcher was. Harold Macmillan, a Thatcher foe and England’s prime minister from 1957 to 1963, provided a home for Jewish refugees on his estate, but his relations with Jews were always frosty, the mark of a genuflecting anti-Semitism common among the Tory grandees.

During the controversial Versailles peace talks that ended World War I, Macmillan wrote to a friend that the government of Prime Minister Lloyd George was not “really popular, except with the International Jew,” the mythic entity thought to be behind all of Europe’s troubles and made famous by Henry Ford’s eponymously titled book. Macmillan often made snide jokes about Jews and Jewish politicians, derisively calling Leslie Hore-Belish, a Liberal member of Parliament and a critic of appeasement in the years before World War II, “Horeb Elisha,” a jabbing reference to Mount Horeb, where the Ten Commandments were handed down to Moses. Viscount Cranborne, a Tory member of Parliament and a Foreign Office official in the 1930s, undermined attempts to ease the entry of Jews into Britain or Palestine, shutting out those other would-be Ediths from finding safety under the British Union Jack. And together, Cranborne and Macmillan were among the Tory parliamentarians who forced Hore-Belish out of the government in the early 1940s for allegedly conspiring to force Britain into a war on behalf of the Jews on the mainland.

Thatcher, by contrast, had no patience for anti-Semitism or for those who countenanced it. “I simply did not understand anti-semitism myself,” Thatcher confessed in her memoirs. Indeed, she found “some of [her] closest political friends and associates among Jews.” Unique among British politicians, she was unusually free of even “the faintest trace of anti-Semitism in her make-up,” wrote Nigel Lawson, her chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1992. Lawson knew of what he spoke. Alan Clark, a senior Tory politician, wrote in his diaries that some of the old guard, himself included, thought Lawson could not, “as a Jew,” be offered the position of foreign secretary. Lawson’s “Jewish parentage was disqualification enough,” the Sunday Telegraph wrote in 1988, without a hint of shame. Rumors and speculation persisted well into the 1990s about why this or that Jewish member of Parliament couldn’t be made leader of the Conservative Party.

Early on in her career—even before she entered politics—Thatcher had worked alongside Jews as a chemist at J. Lyons and Co., a Jewish-owned company. (She had graduated from Oxford in 1947 with a degree in chemistry.) After quitting chemistry, she became a barrister and grew increasingly involved in politics. She ran for office in some of the more conservative districts and lost each time. Thatcher finally won when she ran in Finchley, a safe Tory seat in a north London borough. Finally she had found her constituents: middle-class, entrepreneurial, Jewish suburbanites. She particularly loved the way her new constituents took care of one another, rather than looking to the state: “In the thirty-three years that I represented [Finchley],” she later wrote, “I never had a Jew come in poverty and desperation to one of my [town meetings],” and she often wished that Christians “would take closer note of the Jewish emphasis on self-help and acceptance of personal responsibility.” She was a founding member of the Anglo-Israel Friendship League of Finchley and a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel. Aghast that a golf club in her district consistently barred Jews from becoming members, she publicly protested against it. She even joined in the singing of the Israeli national anthem in 1975 at Finchley.

The Jews of Finchley were “her people,” Thatcher used to say—certainly much more so than the wealthy land barons that dominated her party.

When Thatcher became leader of the opposition in 1975, it was suggested that her closeness with British Jews might imperil the country’s foreign policy. Official correspondence released in 2005 shows the unease with which bureaucrats at the Foreign Office treated Thatcher’s affiliations in the run-up to her election as prime minister in 1979. Michael Tait, an official at the British embassy in Jordan, worried that Thatcher might be too readily seen as a “prisoner of the Zionists” unless she severed her official ties with pro-Jewish groups. Tait even suggested that Thatcher give up her beloved Finchley constituency for Westminster, a less Jewish district, and distance herself from the “pro-Israel MPs” that might make Middle East peace impossible. In the end, Thatcher reluctantly agreed to quit the Jewish groups she belonged to, but she kept her district and her relationships with pro-Israel parliamentarians.

Once she became prime minister, Thatcher appointed a government of outsiders. “The thing about Margaret’s Cabinet,” Macmillan would later say, “is that it includes more Old Estonians than it does Old Etonians.” (Eton, the famous prep school, required that its students’ fathers be British by birth, so as to keep out the Jews.) British politics had always been a club for genteel gentiles; Thatcher wanted to make it a meritocracy.

Thatcher appointed whomever she liked to positions in her government, whatever their religious or family background. Chaim Bermant, the Anglo-Jewish writer, probably went too far when he said Thatcher has “an almost mystical faith in Jewish abilities,” but he wasn’t completely off the mark. In addition to Nigel Lawson, she appointed Victor Rothschild as her security adviser, Malcolm Rifkind to be secretary of state for Scotland, David Young as minister without portfolio, and Leon Brittan to be trade and industry secretary. David Wolfson, nephew of Sir Isaac Wolfson, president of Great Universal Stores, Europe’s biggest mail-order company, served as Thatcher’s chief of staff. Her policies were powered by two men—Keith Joseph, a member of Parliament many thought would one day be the first prime minister who was a practicing Jew, and Alfred Sherman, a former communist turned free-market thinker.

With Thatcher, Joseph and Sherman formed the Centre for Policy Studies in 1974 to inject classical liberal ideas into Britain’s Conservative Party. Joseph, son of one of the wealthiest families in Britain, wanted to “fundamentally affect a political generation’s way of thinking.” It wasn’t enough to win elections, he believed; there had to be a change in how people thought of politics. He took his cue from his ideological nemesis, the Fabian Socialists, a group of British intellectuals who wanted to make Britain a socialist country through gradual change. Joseph would copy the Fabians’ style by writing policy papers, giving speeches, and writing to famous Brits to try to change public opinion. One of those forays became a co-written book, Equality, published in 1979, which argued that equality of opportunity “requires that no external barrier shall prevent an individual from exploiting his talents. No laws shall permit some men to do what is forbidden by others.” It was Thatcherite to the core.

Thatcher’s philo-Semitism went beyond the people she appointed to her government; it had clear political implications as well. She made Jewish causes her own, including by easing the restrictions on prosecuting Nazi war criminals living in Britain and pleading the cause of the Soviet Union’s refuseniks. She boasted that she once made Soviet officials “nervous” by repeatedly bringing up the refuseniks’ plight during a single nine-hour meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, “The Soviets had to know that every time we met their treatment of the refuseniks would be thrown back at them,” she explained in her book The Downing Street Years. Thatcher also worked to end the British government’s support for the Arab boycott of Israel. During the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Thatcher criticized Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath’s refusal to supply Israel with military parts or even allow American planes to supply Israel from British airfields. In 1986, Thatcher became the first British prime minister to visit Israel, having previously visited twice as a member of parliament…

Dr. Death Wish

Melanie Phillips on our (America’s) scary politics:

What is happening in American politics is simply astounding. Here is an incumbent President whose approval ratings are rightly dire. He is the most far-left, dangerous and damaging President the US has ever known. In office, he has amply fulfilled the worst fears of those like myself who warned well before he was even elected that his agenda was to neuter America’s influence abroad and to extend the reach of the state into people’s lives at home.

In foreign policy, he has made the world an immeasurably more dangerous place by strengthening America’s enemies and dumping on its allies (even vitiating the sacrifice of America’s own soldiers in Iraq, now poised to descend into world-threatening anarchy because of the miliarily illiterate and defeatist withdrawal of US forces from there). With the US economy tanking so disastrously, one might think that such a President offered an open goal for the Republicans. Yet the amazing fact is that the Republicans just have not got a credible candidate. One after the other, they have been exposed as either embarrassingly third rate or off-the-wall or both…

But you really do have to scratch your head when the candidate who is currently capitalising most from the Republican disarray is the maverick Dr Ron Paul, now tipped to win in Iowa and do well in New Hampshire. He is now being talked of as not just a spoiler but as a possible kingmaker and even of winning the White House itself.

Yet Ron Paul has views which once would have consigned him to the far-reaches of outer-kookdom. He is not just an extreme libertarian having opposed all drug laws and all income tax; Texas newsletters published in his name in the 1980s and 1990s contained racist and incendiary material from which he has subsequently sought to dissociate himself.

He also believes that the US brought 9/11 on itself; that there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme but if it did this would be reasonable, since Iran is threatened by hostile powers in its neighborhood some of which already have nuclear weapons (three guesses which one); and he has claimed that the war on terror has amounted to a declaration of war on the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims.

Loony tunes? But the really striking thing is the symmetry between Ron Paul and Barack Obama. Both are isolationists; both blame America for the terrorist war being waged against it; both serve as apologists for America’s enemies; both take positions antithetical to the survival of America’s sole ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel.

This symmetry is actually no surprise. For not just in the US but in Britain too, significant elements of both the left and right now meet on this very territory. In the profound confusion of the times, both left and right march behind the banners of libertarianism and isolationism.

The core of these positions is the belief that nothing matters beyond the individual’s immediate gratification or circumstances. On the left, this takes the form of preening narcissism; on the right, pulling up the drawbridge against that terrifying place called ‘abroad’ and declaring ‘I don’t want to know’.

This symmetry is yet further evidence of the death wish in the west, now progressively paralysing itself before an enemy which on one flank is steadily conquering the citadels of western culture and on the other is poised for what in its apocalyptic fanaticism it considers to be the final war to end all wars.

So as we stagger towards 2012 we find that America first elected a far-left President whose entire history, past associations and declared beliefs always indicated that he would bring America to its knees — and now that same America is prepared solemnly to countenance as an alternative Commander-in-Chief a man who acts as a cheerleader for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The question is therefore not just what in heaven’s name has happened to the Republican Party. It is what has happened to America.

Homeland Hogwash

Brody and Carrie
I became addicted to the Showtime series Homeland not because it was a masterpiece (cinematically at least) like Boardwalk Empire, but rather because it was, well, addictive. A Manchurian Candidate type plot in which an American prisoner of war is “brainwashed” by bad guys to do something awful on his return home from captivity is usually a winner with audiences and it certainly got me.

But I also liked it that the bad guys seemed, at first, to be real world bad guys, namely Islamists, not some Jeremy Irons type Brits with no clear political motivation that might possibly offend any officially certified victim group. So I suspended my disbelief that Hollywood would ever make a Muslim a villain, which now I realize was at least part of the method the creators used to suck in skeptical viewers: Do they really have the guts to create an evil Muslim?

But I should have seen the politically correct dénouement coming early on. Like when the POW becomes attached to an adorable little Arab boy who is then killed in an American drone strike. Like when the top American political figure is the Vice President rather than the President. But I didn’t, for which I will give the creators of Homeland some credit. (My wife says that she suspected something when that adorable little kid was introduced.)

So the season finale has Brody (the POW) motivated by revenge because of a drone strike ordered by the Vice President, not the President or some military officer, who knew that most of the victims would be innocent children, a Vice President who also had ordered the CIA to “torture” innocent people. Sound to you like a left wing caricature of any of our recent Vice Presidents? Sound to you like the Susan Sontag- Noam Chomsky-Michael Moore (and Ron Paul) reaction to the 9/11 attack? Here’s a bit of Sontag’s emission right after 9/11:

The disconnect between last Tuesday’s monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a “cowardly” attack on “civilization” or “liberty” or “humanity” or “the free world” but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word “cowardly” is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s slaughter, they were not cowards.

As Kregg Janke wrote about why he will not be watching next season:

I guess someone will have to let me know [what happens in season two], since I won’t be watching. I have no interest in continuing to watch a show that paints Islamic terrorists as the good guys and the Vice President and CIA as the bad guys. A show that claims our CIA commits “outright torture.” A show that says we kill kids on purpose. A show in which the only person who understands the terrorist’s plans is literally psychotic.

The outrageous message of Homeland is the familiar moral equivalence hogwash that there is somehow a justification for Islamic terrorism, that we made them do it, an argument that offends most Americans which is probably why I didn’t see it coming. And I loved the touch of a CIA agent threatening to leak the VP’s “war crimes” to the New York Times, the favorite repository of Anti-American, Islamic terrorist apologists the world over.

So as Christopher Hitchens said about similar left wing apologies for Islamic terrorism, “Surrender in your own name. Leave me out of it.”

Christopher Hitchens And “The Supreme Virtue”

Christopher Hitchens’ death is a great loss to everyone who admires skillful writing, clear thinking, and unflinching courage. Here’s an example of Hitchens in debate:

…it was Hitchens in debates and columns after 9/11, as much as or more than anyone else, who provided the intellectual and moral foundation for America’s war against Islamist-inspired terror.

“If you want to avoid upsetting these people you have to let Indonesia commit genocide in East Timor, otherwise they’ll be upset with you. You’ll have made an enemy,” he bellowed at a questioner who dared blame the West for instigating the terror threat against it.

“If you tell them they can’t throw acid in the faces of unveiled women in Karachi, they will be annoyed with you,” Hitchens continued. “If you say we insist — we think cartoonists in Copenhagen can print satire on the Prophet Muhammad — you’ve just made an enemy. You’ve brought it on. You’re encouraging it to happen.”

Hitchens would have none of it.

“So unless you are willing to commit suicide for yourself and for this culture, get used to the compromises you will have to make and the eventual capitulation that will come to you,” he went on. “But bloody well don’t do that in my name because I’m not doing it. You surrender in your own name. Leave me out of it.”

The best thing I have read so far is by his brother Peter with whom “Hitch” had differences on politics and religion:

…Here’s a thing I will say now without hesitation, unqualified and important. The one word that comes to mind when I think of my brother is ‘courage’. By this I don’t mean the lack of fear which some people have, which enables them to do very dangerous or frightening things because they have no idea what it is to be afraid. I mean a courage which overcomes real fear, while actually experiencing it.

I don’t have much of this myself, so I recognise it (and envy it) in others. I have a memory which I cannot place precisely in time, of the two of us scrambling on a high rooftop, the sort of crazy escapade that boys of our generation still went on, where we should not have been. A moment came when, unable to climb back over the steep slates, the only way down was to jump over a high gap on to a narrow ledge. I couldn’t do it. He used his own courage (the real thing can always communicate itself to others) to show me, and persuade me, that I could. I’d add here that he was for a while an enthusiastic rock climber, something I could never do, and something which people who have come to know him recently would not be likely to guess.

He would always rather fight than give way, not for its own sake but because it came naturally to him. Like me, he was small for his age during his entire childhood and I have another memory of him, white-faced, slight and thin as we all were in those more austere times, furious, standing up to some bully or other in the playground of a school we attended at the same time.

This explains plenty. I offer it because the word ‘courage’ is often misused today . People sometimes tell me that I have been ‘courageous’ to say something moderately controversial in a public place. Not a bit of it. This is not courage. Courage is deliberately taking a known risk, sometimes physical, sometimes to your livelihood, because you think it is too important not to. My brother possessed this virtue to the very end, and if I often disagreed with the purposes for which he used it, I never doubted the quality or ceased to admire it. I’ve mentioned here before C.S.Lewis’s statement that courage is the supreme virtue, making all the others possible. It should be praised and celebrated, and is the thing I‘d most wish to remember.

We got on surprisingly well in the past few months, better than for about 50 years as it happens. At such times one tends to remember childhood more clearly than at others, though I have always had a remarkably clear memory of much of mine. I am still baffled by how far we both came, in our different ways, from the small, quiet, shabby world of chilly, sombre rented houses and austere boarding schools, of battered and declining naval seaports, not specially cultured, not book-lined or literary or showy but plain, dutiful and unassuming. How unlikely it would have seemed in those irrecoverable suburban afternoons that we would take the courses we did take.

Two pieces of verse come to mind, one from Hilaire Belloc’s ’Dedicatory Ode’

‘From quiet homes and first beginnings, out to the undiscovered ends, there’s nothing worth the wear of winning but laughter and the love of friends’

I have always found this passage unexpectedly moving because of something that lies beneath the words, good and largely true though they are. When I hear it, I see in my mind’s eye a narrow, half-lit entrance hall with a slowly-ticking clock in it, and a half-open door beyond which somebody is waiting for news of a child who long ago left home.

And T.S.Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’ (one of the Four Quartets)

‘We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time’

These words I love because I have found them to be increasingly and powerfully true. In my beginning, as Eliot wrote elsewhere in the Quartets, is my end. Alpha et Omega.

In Defense of Tom Friedman: Krugman’s Worse

The Deep Thinker

John Hinderaker of Powerline examines the not quite worst New York Times columnist:

Tom Friedman isn’t the worst of the New York Times columnists–not while Paul Krugman is around–but he is the most overrated. If Friedman has ever had an original thought, he has chosen not to share it with his readers. Unfortunately, the thinkers he recycles keep going downhill. Now he has come to the bottom of the barrel, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

In his current column, Friedman blasts Newt Gingrich for his “invented people” riff and Mitt Romney for saying he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a long-time Republican Party Platform plank. These criticisms are par for the course for Friedman, a loyal Democrat. But he goes on to bash, simultaneously, all of Congress, the “Israel lobby,” and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government:

“I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.”

I can’t explain the weird obsession that so many on the Left have with the “Israel lobby.” In some cases, it is transparently driven by anti-Semitism… But that diagnosis doesn’t seem to apply to Friedman. Maybe in his case, like so much that one reads in his columns, it is just a reflexive repeating of something he heard someone else say. But one hardly needs a nefarious “Israel lobby” persuading Congressmen–let alone bribing them, as Friedman claimed–to support Israel.

Israel enjoys broad support among the American people, and it is natural to see that support reflected in Congress. This graph from Gallup shows how Americans have answered the question, “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” from 1988 to 2011:

I love the reference to an audience at the University of Wisconsin. Of course Netanyahu’s speech before such an audience would be boycotted and/or booed because the University of Wisconsin, like most universities, is a bastion of leftist orthodoxy which requires its adherents to hate Israel.

Friedman, like most Democratic intellectuals, does not seem to understand that most Americans who do not live on university campuses (bless their unsophisticated hearts) see Israel as a tiny “sliver of Jews” (in Mark Steyn’s words) surrounded by zillions of Arabs and Muslims, many of whom are impossibly rich, but nonetheless cannot tolerate and would like to murder a handful of Jews (or anyone else who isn’t Muslim) in the neighborhood.

Most Americans also understand that when you lose multiple wars, you don’t get to dictate terms to the folks who defeated you.

Friedman and the other international intellectual apologists for the Arabs cannot see things the way the commonsense community does. And they never will. It must be the fault of a secret cabal known as the “Israel lobby.”

Tolerance Does Not Mean Approval

David Warren dares to question our toxic, politically correct culture:

As Facebook and other “social media” have reminded us, there are many ways to bully, and technology is improving them every day. Plain, direct, physical bullying is just a point of departure, the most elementary form. And even that is contextual. There are such things as necessary evils, and I take it few readers would deny the police the right to “bully” a freshlyarrested felon into a squad car. The law itself requires bullying; which is what makes unnecessary laws such an evil.

One mentions the self-evident because we have come to a time when it is fading from view. On the subject of bullying alone, I have read recently many statements in the media, “pushing the envelope” for a very political cause, that would not bear up to the slightest scrutiny.

Suddenly bullying in schools, which has been with us for as long as there have been schools, has been elevated to a “crisis.” When this happens, people who were not born yesterday look for the agenda. And we find it written in large capital letters, in a scheme to impose “gay-straight alliances” on unwilling Catholic and private Christian schools, and otherwise extend the reach of “LGBT” propaganda into places where it is especially unwelcome.

This political method is itself a ripe example of bullying. Victimhood status is declared on behalf of a favoured group, emotionally-loaded examples of apparent victimizing are publicized, and the “crisis” is declared. Powers are sought by activists on behalf of such victims.

Those who resist their power grab are demonized. This is the way every “progressive” cause is advanced. It works, because no one could want to be publicly tarred.

It takes some courage to stand up to bullying, and there is not much available today, in places like the (now nominally) Catholic separate school system. Indeed, very few people who work in there themselves uphold Christian teaching on sexual morality.

And it is perhaps worth reminding that plain teaching on chastity – specifically, no sex outside marriage – was common to all Protestant denominations, to the Orthodox, the Eastern churches, to all Jewish congregations, to all streams of Islam, and throughout Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious traditions.

What these faithful so long considered to be moral aberrations – to be confidently discouraged among the young, unformed, and potentially confused – is now upheld in law as an identity issue. A “right to choose” one’s sexual identity, and the presumptive sexual practices that go with it, is now codified. Which means, the jackboot of coercion is on the other foot: for those who uphold received religious teaching may now be convicted under left wing “hate laws.”

The moral universe was thus turned upside down, within the space of my own lifetime. It is religious freedom that is now under attack.

And note, the issue here is hardly restricted to propensities encompassed by the “LGBT” coalitions. For traditional moral instruction was intended for everyone. The very idea that children should have sex lives – homosexual, heterosexual, onanist, bestial, or any other – was abhorrent.

That humans have sexual desires was universally understood. That these may run in wild and unpredictable directions, was also generally understood. But the taming and restriction of these desires to their right end was a universally accepted requirement of civilization. Children must be taught “what is right,” and confusion over this was itself a source of moral horror.

Whether certain forms of “moral aberration” should be legally tolerated, even sometimes winked at, is another question. “Toleration” does not mean approval. It means putting up with things one does not approve, where intolerance would lead to worse evils. Unfortunately the word has been appropriated in “Newspeak,” and is now used in the opposite of its original sense.

“Tolerance” here means, compelling people to publicly approve and support what they believe in good conscience to be moral aberrations.

But behind that overt bullying is a more fundamental subversion, of the ability of a society to establish moral norms, which in turn are ultimately necessary to survival. For those without moral norms die out.

I was not born yesterday, myself, and have the richest memories of schoolyard bullying, from half-adozen schools I attended through my childhood, in quite diverse places. Though I would love to bore my reader with emotive anecdotes – I was myself a natural target of schoolyard bullies throughout my childhood – it should not be necessary to make my clinching point.

It is that the character of a child is forged in his own responses to bullying. He will encounter it throughout his life; he must be taught how to stand up to it.

Bullying is as universal to human nature as sexual desire. (Sometimes they overlap.) The containment and redirection of bullying impulses – turning something bad into something good – is at the root of all education. The impulses can never be “eradicated,” for they are part of the raw material upon which educators must work.

Parents and teachers might, individually, succeed or fail, but to intervene in their task with hamhanded central government directives, dictated by political activists and social engineers, is to make their task impossible.

The Real Inconvenient Truth

I am not a Newt for President fan. But I give him a lot of credit for rejecting the usual nauseating, politically correct swill on the “Palestinians” offered up by politicians of both parties.

British journalist Melanie Phillips, as usual, gets it right:

US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich …has recently demonstrated yet again Melanie’s First Rule of Modern Political Discourse – the more obvious the truth that you utter, the more explosive and abusive the reaction.

For Gingrich said the Palestinian Arabs were ‘an invented people’ – and the world promptly started hurling execrations at him, as if such a statement proved beyond doubt that Gingrich was indeed a dangerously extreme individual who, when it came to political positioning, was just off the graph altogether.

So just what did he say? This:

‘ “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places…” ’

But of course, he is absolutely correct. As Elder of Ziyon pointed out, the Arabs who lived in Palestine were a disconnected bunch of tribes who had nothing in common with each other except that they were Arabs. They never were, are not and never will be a Palestinian people (the claim that they are now just because they say they are is risible and would be dismissed out of hand if applied to any other self-defined grouping). There is not and never has been any ‘Palestinian’ Arab culture, language, religion or national identity separate from that of the wider Arab nation. ‘Palestinianism’ was invented solely to destroy Israel. The one and only characteristic of this spurious ‘national’ identity is the aim of destroying another — authentic — national identity.

The Arabs have themselves repeatedly admitted this over the years.Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, the Syrian Arab leader told the British Peel Commission in 1937:

“There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it.”

At the United Nations in 1956, the Saudi representative stated:

“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria.”

And after the 1967 war Zuheir Muhsin, then military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council, said helpfully:

“There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.”

The agenda of ‘Palestinian rights’ is, however, now so deeply rooted in western discourse and diplomacy – and even in Israeli leftist discourse – that Gingrich has found himself under attack for talking rubbish. But it is his attackers whose arguments are jaw-droppingly absurd.

For example, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member claimed that Gingrich was ‘racist’ and ‘ignorant’ because the Palestinians had descended from the ‘Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites’. But as Elder of Ziyon comments in a further hilarious posting, there are one or two, ah, obstacles in the way of this particular claim:

‘The only confirmed mention of the historic Jebusites is in the Hebrew Bible. That’s the only source that says that the Jebusites lived around Jerusalem. This exact same source says that one of their leaders, Araunah, offered to give the Temple Mount to King David; David insisted that he pay for it, and he did – for the amount of fifty silver shekels. So if you believe that the Palestinian Arabs are actually Jebusites, you must believe that they sold the Temple Mount to the Jews in a legal transaction.

‘… There is another problem, though. The Constitution of Palestine refers numerous times to the “Arab Palestinian people” and that “Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation.” The PLO Charter similarly states “Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.”

‘But Jebusites were not Arabs. They were not even Semites! No self-respecting Jebusite (if any had still existed) would identify with the Arab hordes who overran his homeland in the seventh century. He would probably want to behead the infidel invaders.

‘Is the constitution and charter wrong? When they call themselves Arab, are they all lying? Perhaps “Palestine” should quit the Arab League and re-assert its nebulous Jebusite ancestry.’

Next, here was Israeli revisionist historian Tom Segev:

‘“There is no intelligent person today who argues about the existence of the Palestinian people,” Segev said. “Nations are created gradually. I don’t think the Palestinians are less of a nation than the Americans,” he added.’

There is no intelligent person today who would compare like with unlike in this shallow way. Americans became a nation solely because they created, lived in and governed America. The Jews were the nation who created, lived in and governed Israel. The Arabs were among waves of colonisers who took their national homeland away from them. The Americans did not base their entire claim to nationhood on the big lie that they were the original inhabitants of the land. The Palestinian Arabs do just that.

Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, rips the American analogy apart and goes on :

‘Palestinian identity is just so much gibberish. The official definition of that identity encompasses only those parts of the Palestine Mandate which Israel holds today.

‘The people who live on the parts of the Palestine Mandate that were turned into the Kingdom of Jordan in 1921 are not Palestinians. There is no call to incorporate them into a Palestinian state. The people who lived in the parts of Israel that were captured by Jordan and Egypt in 1948 weren’t Palestinians, and there was no call to turn the land that today comprises the so-called “Occupied Territories” into a state. But in 1967 when Israel liberated those areas– only then did they magically turn into Palestinians. How is anyone supposed to take this nonsense seriously?

‘Suppose I were to tell you that there were an ancient people known as the Floridians whose land was seized from them to make resort hotels and orange groves. What would be your first clue that there was something wrong here? Florida is a Spanish name meaning flower. Palestine, which is a Latin name applied by its ancient conquerors, derived from the Greek, has the same problem.

‘When the Jews rebuilt their country, they did not call it Palestine, that was the name used by European powers. They called it Israel. The local Arabs who had come with the wave of conquests that toppled Byzantine rule had no such history and no name for themselves. Instead they took the Latin name used by the European powers and began pretending that it was some ancient tribal identity, rather than a regional name that was used by the European powers to describe local Jews and Arabs.

‘… This bloody circus has been going on for way too long. Enough that the Arab states and the local clan leaders have managed to turn out generations of children committed to killing in the name of a mythical identity for a state that they don’t really want. The call for a Palestinian state was a cynical ploy for destroying Israel. It’s why the negotiations never go anywhere, they’re not meant to go anywhere.’

Exactly. Which is why Gingrich’s remark goes to the very heart of the issue; and it is the fact that so many in the intellectual, political and diplomatic world – including in Israel itself – find what he said so outlandish that goes a long way to explain why there is still no peace in the Middle East.

Gosh – a presidential candidate who actually understands what’s going on in the Middle East and speaks the truth about it!..

Obama’s Second Term

Yesterday, President Obama delivered an unpleasant, nasty piece of demagoguery which apparently he and his surrogates will excrete relentlessly for the next 11 months, which is: The country is in terrible shape and it is all the fault of the Republicans and their “rich,” selfish supporters.

It is unusual for an incumbent to run for reelection on an entirely negative message, but it has been done before; Truman in 1948 and FDR in 1936 come to mind. So Obama just might pull it off.

So we had better start thinking about a second Obama term. First off, let us accept that Barry is no Bill Clinton. Clinton, when faced with no other choice, could pivot on a dime, accept all of his opponents’ proposals and then claim that they were his ideas all along. For example, Clinton signed a welfare reform bill written by the Republican Congress, which he and his supporters hated, and then claimed later that he reformed welfare. Obama is neither that clever, nor is his ideology that, er, pragmatic. Try to imagine Obama standing before Congress and saying, as Bill Clinton did after the 1994 massacre, that “the era of big government is over.”

The Democratic Party’s reason for being is to increase the size of government and expand government entitlements. So how is Obama, should he win reelection, going to do what the Democratic Party is compelled to do in an era when the government is broke, when almost half of every dollar it spends is borrowed, and when it has promised millions of people benefits it cannot pay for?

Republicans idolize Ronald Reagan and some Democrats give him credit for “reaching out across the aisle” to “fix” Social Security. Face it: If Reagan and Tip O’Neill had really fixed Social Security, we would not be faced with the crisis we are facing now. In fact, Reagan and O’Neill tinkered with the system a bit which just, as they say, kicked the can down the road for a couple of decades.

You didn’t have to be genius to figure out that Social Security and Medicare were going to collapse some day. It was absolutely predictable that medical science would prolong life so that millions of people would live well into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who without new drugs and “procedures” would have expired much earlier. It was absolutely predictable that the medicines and surgeries responsible for longer life would be very expensive. And it was also predictable that people would have fewer children, believing they could depend on the government to “care” for them in old age. But fewer children means fewer young adults contributing to a system serving an ever growing number of elderly recipients. It was the Democrats who devised this system while the Republicans mostly went along. Who wants to be against “free” stuff for the poor and middle class, even when it was always clear to anyone who thought beyond the next election that the system was eventually going to be unsustainable?

But back to Obama. All sentient, reasonably informed people know that raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires (who make more than $250 thousand) will do nothing to solve this mess and may actually harm economic growth. It’s just election demagoguery.

Most of those who dwell in the common sense community know that when you’re broke, you need to stop spending and borrowing. Only really smart people like Obama and Paul Krugman believe the opposite. As Nile Gardiner writes:

All over Europe governments have begun to implement austerity measures in an effort to rein in spending and reduce crippling budget deficits. It is hard to find a major European leader these days still advocating the kind of large-scale stimulus spending championed by the Obama Administration in the United States over the past three years. Ironically, the most vocal supporters of greater government spending in the EU can be found today in America.

In yet another hectoring New York Times piece last week on the European financial crisis (a follow-up to his November 10 article “Legends of the Fail”), imaginatively entitled “Killing the Euro”, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman attacked “deficit scolds and inflation obsessives”, completely dismissing the idea that the EU debt disaster has anything to do with out-of-control spending:

“How did things go so wrong? The answer you hear all the time is that the euro crisis was caused by fiscal irresponsibility. Turn on your TV and you’re very likely to find some pundit declaring that if America doesn’t slash spending we’ll end up like Greece. Greeeeeece!

“But the truth is nearly the opposite. Although Europe’s leaders continue to insist that the problem is too much spending in debtor nations, the real problem is too little spending in Europe as a whole. And their efforts to fix matters by demanding ever harsher austerity have played a major role in making the situation worse.

“So the next time you hear someone claiming that if we don’t slash spending we’ll turn into Greece, your answer should be that if we do slash spending while the economy is still in a depression, we’ll turn into Europe. In fact, we’re well on our way.”

Krugman’s piece followed a November 29 editorial in the New York Times, “Germany’s Denial, Europe’s Disaster”, which blasted the Germans for standing in the way of “a real bailout of Europe’s weakest economies by their richer neighbours of the European Central Bank”:

“European budgets must be brought into balance over the long term. And the euro zone will need much more fiscal coordination to survive. But right now the only way to stem the crisis is to give weak countries more cash and room to recover. Almost two years into the European crisis, it should be obvious that forcing weak countries to keep slashing their budgets will only make things worse — tipping them into deeper recessions that make it even more difficult for them to grow, raise revenues and pay off their mounting debts.”

Krugman and US liberal elites remain firmly in denial on the debt question, stuck in a time warp even as most of the free world has moved on. If this crisis is not caused by borrowing that markets find unsustainable, then what is it caused by?

Their foolhardy solutions for the European economic crisis as well as their prescriptions for America’s financial mess – more government spending and of course borrowing – simply beggar belief. The building up of towering levels of debt is at the very heart of the economic turmoil engulfing Europe, and it threatens to bring down the US economy as well.

All of the major European economies that are now in trouble have two things in common: membership of the eurozone and staggering public debts. According to IMF figures, Greece’s gross government debt as a percentage of GDP (2011 forecast) stands at 165.6 percent, up from 105.4 percent in 2007. Italy’s government debt now stands at 121.1 percent of GDP, up from 103.6 percent in 2007. Portugal’s debt has risen from 68.3 percent of GDP in 2007 to 106 percent in 2011. Even the EU’s second biggest economy, France, is not immune from the debt crisis. France’s government debt is now at 86.9 percent of GDP, up from 64.2 percent four years ago. And the United States is in an even worse situation – with gross government debt as a percentage of GDP standing at a towering 100 percent, a dramatic increase from the 2007 level of 62.3 percent.

So this is what it comes down to: A vote for Obama is a vote against doing what must be done. The European politicians are currently in the process of washing their hands of their problems and handing power to unelected technocrats who will try to slash spending and raise the sales (VAT) tax on the poor and middle class since they have run out of millionaires and billionaires who are experts at evading taxes.

There is, of course, no guarantee that the Republicans will do what needs to be done either. They are, after all, politicians. But it is either the elected Republicans or unelected technocrats.

One thing for sure: A vote for Obama is a vote for denial.

Barney The Blimp Goes Bye Bye

The great Michael Ramirez on Congress’s nastiest, most destructive slob:

It’s just a shame for all of us that he didn’t explode earlier.