Waiting for the Barbarians

Edmund Burke wrote, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France:

But one of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should not think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin instead of an habitation – and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances, as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could link with the other. Men would become little better than the flies of summer.

Paul Krause writes in American Thinker about that very concept.

The West is a dying civilization. That much is evident.

But it mustn’t be. Who will defend the flame that once illuminated the skies and sang songs of ascents up on high? In the rush to destroy all things Western, few so-called conservatives—anywhere—risk themselves to defend our patrimony and our future. [..]

The riots are not about George Floyd, police reform and accountability, or justice. The riots are the systematic attempt to exterminate Western civilization and culture from the very lands in which its roots are planted. […]

Multiculturalism is not about multiculturalism. That is the greatest misnomer of all time. Multiculturalism is the veiled vehicle for dismantling and destroying Western civilization. This is not about political power as asinine conservatives often say. This is about civilizational desecration and destruction.

When multiculturalists complain about European and American statues, they are only voicing their genuine attitude of resentful hatred. What hath the multiculturalist in common with Julius Caesar, George Washington, or Horatio Nelson? Nothing. And they never will. Even if they reside in Western nations. Multiculturalists hate all Western heroes precisely because they’re Western. Even white abolitionists are targets of their rage because they are “murderers” and “colonists.” Anything and everything Western, as Susan Sontag said, is “the cancer of humanity.”

That is the truth that no liberal or the pseudo-conservative of Conservative, Inc. want you to realize. They are all wreckers, and what they mean to wreck is western civilization, and they are succeeding. Paul thinks, as do I, that only America can preserve our heritage. Here’s why.

We are the Keepers of the Flame in the City on the Hill

What makes the American unique is that he is the product of all of Europe and European history converged onto this New World and New Continent. Without the Greek victory at Salamis there would be no America. Without Alexander the Great there would be no America. Without Julius Caesar or Augustus Caesar there would be no America. Without Charles Martel there would be no America. Without Christopher Columbus there would be no America. (And this is why the multiculturalist tears down statues of Columbus—they only defile Western heroes.) Without Sir Francis Drake there would be no America. Without James Wolfe there would be no America. Every great Western hero of the past is now on the chopping block of the multiculturalist terror campaign.

Americans have the richest history and heritage precisely because we are the children of pilgrims, adventurers, and lovers stretching across the millennia whose actions made safe the possibility for the European settlement of the New World. This would serve conservatives well if they understood this fact and embraced it. The Greek heroes at Thermopylae and Salamis died for us. The Franks who died stopping an Islamic invasion of Europe died for us. The Catholics who fought the Turks at Lepanto died for us. The brave and heroic sailors, settlers, and pioneers who died in the New World died for us. If we love them let us honor them and immortalize them. We once did. Now we must show our love for them again in defending them against the new barbarians from within.

We are, in a sense no other country shares, the west incarnate. From English roots we embraced all of European civilization, incorporating the best from each and discarding the worst. We are the culmination of western civilization, and the most powerful nation to ever spring from Pallas Athena’s brow. For those very reasons, it is our task, our duty, and our honor to defend all the rest. If not us, who?

Do read the article, the excerpts I’ve quoted only provide a taste.

Otherwise, we become the city in Cavafy’s poem.

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
      The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?
      Because the barbarians are coming today.
      What’s the point of senators making laws now?
      Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?
      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.
      He’s even got a scroll to give him,
      loaded with titles, with imposing names.
Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?
      Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.
      And some of our men just in from the border say
      there are no barbarians any longer.
Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.

Ordered Liberty

On Saturday, Pontiac, questioned my use of the phrase ‘ordered liberty‘, saying this, ” Lastly, I’m intrigued, Dave, by the words “ordered liberty” used in your preface to Jessica’s article and that it could be a dream. Could you explain more on that because I find those 2 words together an oxymoron.” and that is good, when phrases like that are used, it is to convey a specific meaning, and if one is not to miss the point, one should question. Sadly, I gave him a fairly glib and off the top of my head answer. So let’s do better.

As it happens, on Sunday, our blog buddy Portly Politico touched on this very thing, saying:

Disorder” – Americans love to focus on our rights and our freedoms, but we often do so at the cost of understanding our obligations that flow from those rights.  We also tend to neglect that Burkean wisdom that liberty, to be truly liberty, must be ordered.  One of the most shocking elements of these riots is the continued violation of legitimate authority—of order.  The disorder and chaos these looters have unleashed threatens not just real people and property, but the very foundations of a stable, free society.

If we follow PP’s link above, we find ourselves looking at the work of Edmund Burke, the Father of English conservatism, and at least the uncle of American conservatism. As PP quotes he had much to say in his  Reflections on the Revolution in France written as the French Revolution got underway in 1789, he wrote with reference to the Queen of France:

“I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroick enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.”

And here is as good an exposition of ordered liberty as one will find from its originator. Burke was an implacable foe of Revolutionary France, as was Pitt the Younger, but twenty years earlier he had been one of the staunchest allies of the Continental Congress to be found in Parliament, along with both Pitt and Charles James Fox, the only time the three agreed on anything.

The difference between the revolutions is vast, the Americans upholding the ancient rights of Englishmen, and vying for a return to the good old law, and the French overturning all convention with a drive for libertinism. Truthfully, exactly as BLM and Antifa are today.

In its basics, this dichotomy goes directly back to the Enlightenment where the French version sought to overturn all norms, creating radical personal freedom for elites by enslaving most of the population, while destroying all traditional things, the church, the family, personal responsibility, private property. The English/Scottish Enlightenment did none of this, it found a way to join ever-increasing personal freedom into the sinews of British society as well as Christianity, creating a free yet ordered society, as cognizant of its duties as it is of its liberties.

And yes, the modern world is built on the British model, because the two countries, the United Kingdom and the United States, who have led modernization since the eighteenth century, are the two countries who adopted Edmund Burke’s concept of ordered liberty. It is that fundamental. It is also the reason that the Regressives in all their multivariate hues, attempt to destroy the Anglo-Saxon powers above all else.

 

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Queen Margrethe of Denmark’s 80th Birthday. She sounds like an original, and very interesting, lady. From Frontpage Magazine.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark turns 80 today, and to commemorate the occasion she gave an interview that appeared in the newspaper Politiken on Saturday. The conversation was wide-ranging, but the part that made headlines throughout Scandinavia was her admission that while she considers climate change an important issue, she’s not personally panicked about it, and that while she’s aware that climate does change – “it has changed and is changing all the time” – she’s not certain whether humans directly influence those changes. Let it be emphasized here that this is one queen who actually knows something about these matters: she studied prehistoric archeology at Cambridge and hence has an extremely long-term perspective.

(This isn’t the first time, by the way, that Margrethe has failed to strike the approved tone on climate change: in more than one New Year’s address, for example, she’s celebrated the melting of Greenland ice because it opens up the possibility of exploiting the island’s rich natural resources.)

Sounds quite lovely to me. As much as I like Queen Elizabeth II and understand why she is as reticent as she is, I sometimes long for a spirited defense, and it looks like Queen Margrethe is quite willing to mount such.

So the Danes are lucky in their Queen, although their politicians aren’t much different than anywhere in Europe, or indeed ours. But they do have a queen who knows how to think and is not afraid to say what she means. And that’s a very good thing.

Happy Birthday, Ma’am.

What’s Going on Here?

Clarice Feldman, in her weekly article at American Thinker, illustrated why I have enjoyed her columns for a decade now. Let’s look in.

My online friend Jeffrey Satinover compared the President to an ultrasonic whistle “that cause all of the vermin to rush frantically out of their hiding holes, and you suddenly realize how infested the place is.” This week’s presser was a masterstroke that exposed the lie of socialism versus capitalism, central power versus federal systems with its diffusion of power and responsibility, and the effects of a dynamic leader versus conventional ones. In the process, we can see how  Trump’s fight against open borders, bureaucratic red tape, and globalized production is a critical part of national health and security.

Open Borders 

Porous national borders aid the spread of infectious disease and given China’s mendacious two-month secrecy about the Wuhan virus outbreak, the President’s shutting down travel from China gave us a bit more time to cope with its spread despite the Chinese-created lag. Europe’s EU mandated open borders policy, in contrast, has made the continent the new epicenter of the pandemic. Banning all flights of non-U.S. citizens and permanent residents from Europe as the President has done also gives us more time to respond.

All very true, the phrase from my childhood keeps ringing in my head, “A stitch in time, saves nine”. And it’s very true, the President bought himself time to deal rationally with the problem instead of in another old phrase, “Running in circles, screaming and shouting”.

And in what may prove the masterstroke, this week he managed to corral a lot of big health care onto his team to break the logjam. That surprised me, I thought most of them had passed title to the globalist one world order, but maybe they retain enough rationality to realize that America has a clue while Europe and China are coming apart at the seams, largely due to their command economies.

Interested in who else handled this well? Russia did. They are not exactly free, but economically they tend to be very pragmatic, and Putin acted even more decisively than Trump did. Interesting that the two major countries who emphatically describe themselves as Christian, one western and one eastern, so far are dealing with this far better than the secularists.

As Clarice says:

Socialism Versus Free Markets

As he’s learned nothing over his many decades on earth, Bernie Sanders cites the virus as proof we need socialized medicine. In fact, socialized medicine is killing people and free markets are saving them.

While countries like Italy are hamstrung by government controls in dealing with it, America’s biggest companies have stepped up to the plate offering space in their facilities for drive-in testing, speeding up the production and development of test kits, vaccines, information technology, and providing assistance to the homebound. Vice President Mike Pence tapped into the broad private sector to battle the virus. And these companies promptly and significantly responded — Roche, Google, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Quest Diagnostics, Signify, Lab Corps, and LHC! I couldn’t help comparing Pence’s creativity and executive skills with Joe Biden’s when as the vice president he said his job was to “focus like a laser on a three-letter word [sic] J.O.B.S.”

In fact, the one part of the U.S. that did not respond well was the federal bureaucracy — not private industry, not the White House. A State Department official ignored a presidential order to hold returnees from China overseas in quarantine. Worse, due to a 1938 regulation, inattention and foot dragging in the CDC,  the bureaucrats there and in prior administrations, the CDC was not prepared and actually, hindered a faster response.

She’s spot on here as well. Nothing responds as well as a free (or even sorta free) market. When you suppress that you get an inflexible system that can’t handle anything out of the ordinary. Read it all, it’s as good as anything she’s ever written.

I intend to look this week at other, non-medical aspects of this crisis, if in fact, it be other than a figment of the media, Democrat, and never Trumper’s (but I threepeat myself) imagination. Oh, it’s real enough, but here I sit in a small town in Nebraska, with schools closed, stores out of toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Why? Because of a disease that has killed far fewer people than traffic accidents in the last two months.

One of the big lessons will be, calm down and get a grip, I suspect.

Is It Time to Panic?

A pretty famous redhead, because why not?

Are you panicked by the coronavirus yet? Seems like we are supposed to be. For me, the answer is no. There are several reasons for that. First and foremost, I don’t do crowds, I like my own company, my books, and my friends in gray boxes. Second, I tend to get plenty of rest – four hours a night is what they recommend, right? But mostly, I’ve learned that it’s a waste of time and energy. What will be, will be. If I’m going to die of the flu (in any of its forms), I won’t die in a car wreck. So my advice is, take it one day at a time, do what seems right, and just keep on. One of the advantages of being older is that one learns that everybody, even including Christ himself, dies someday. So why borrow tomorrow’s troubles. Today’s are plenty.

Stacy McCain wrote about this the other day as well, saying:

Trump spoke to the nation at a fearful moment, when the rhythms of everyday American life are starting to shut down — with schools closing, the NBA suspended, hospitals on high alert and movie icon Tom Hanks saying he and his wife have the disease.

Well, you’ll have plenty of time to worry, what with the Power 5 basketball conferences canceled, the big dance itself being played in front of only families and whatnot. Still, these are probably the right things to be doing, crowds are the best method one can think of to spread disease. And sports fans are called fans (which comes from fanatics) for a reason, many would take an ambulance on their deathbed to a game.

Trump’s big announcement for keeping the virus at bay — what he said was a 30-day ban on travel to the US by Europeans and restrictions on cargo — was immediately engulfed in confusion.
The President later rushed to clarify on Twitter that he was stopping travel and not trans-Atlantic trade in goods, and officials said his plan did not apply to Americans or US permanent residents — though such travelers would face mandatory quarantines.

I like that phrase, “engulfed in confusion” — the media cause confusion, and then pretend to report objectively on the confusion they caused.

And that is the proper action as well. I looked at the dashboard I linked yesterday this morning, we have about 1760 cases while France has almost 2900. The EU is not doing well, although the UK is doing better, which is probably no surprise. That’s why the ban on the Schengen Zone, of course.

In comments yesterday, I noted that it was time to ‘Buy American’ in medical consumables (face masks et. al.) so yesterday I read that there is an Executive Order coming that says that exact thing. We’ve seen too much chasing of the quarterly bottom line in recent years, it’s time to put America First.

The Federalist picked up an article from CapX about life these days in Milan. It’s pretty interesting.

“What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest — health, integrity, purity (if you like) — is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention.” – Albert Camus, “The Plague”

Introduction: The Miracle

Of course Albert Camus is absolutely right: society—and all that comes with it—is the miracle. This is a thought absolutely none of us have in a normal, day-to-day sort of way, as we have been blessed to live in a time that has spared us the calamity of World Wars and Great Depressions. We have walked between the raindrops, avoiding the sort of world historical calamities that force people and societies to know, to the marrow of their bones, that all that is good man has painstakingly built since the age of Athens. That is, until now.

I find myself in something approaching full quarantine from the coronavirus in my adopted city of Milan. The first thing you notice is the deathly silence of the usual frenetic and creative place, the New York of Italy. Instead, as I walk the ghostly five minutes between my apartment and that of my fiancée, I feel like an extra from the television series, Chernobyl. There are no people moving about on what would normally be a bustling Thursday.

Sounds very bizarre, doesn’t it? I suspect we are going to see that repeated in a fair part of the world this year. One point he makes is very valid, there will be economic consequences, and they will be far worse in Europe and Asia than they will be here. While we’ve been booming since almost the day we elected Trump. Europe, especially Germany and France have been teetering on the edge of recession, and all of a sudden China’s foundations are shaking, which doesn’t surprise me, I suspect that just like the Soviet Union, we believed the lies the Chinese told each other.

Nothing like living in interesting times, is there?

Europe – With Whose Military?

From the blog of the United States Naval Institute by CDR Salamander.

Those who have served in NATO, especially those involved in the force generation process, are very familiar with the default response for the extra hard bits or blank spots in the CJSOR; “The Americans will fill it.”

Though it can be difficult to appreciate when the USA finally had enough, for me I can point to one decisive point that brought a macro-shift in feelings towards our European allies. The growing frustration with this habit reached a turning point almost 13-yrs ago in the summer of 2007 when NATO failed fill the rotary wing requirements in Regional Command (RC) South, and the USA finally jumped through hoops to make the aviation bridging force happen.

Combined with the Dutch and Canadians removing their maneuver forces from Uruzgan & Kandahar, it was clear that the USA needed to take back the keys after a few years of NATO being the primary force in all but RC-East. NATO had culminated.

With each passing year, the frustrations grew. You could hear it in the speeches by both General Craddock and SECDEF Gates from the Bush43 and the Obama administration, and finally bore fruit with the Trump Administration’s regular drumbeat about NATO nations increasing spending to at least 2% of GDP and a desire to have the USA to say “no.”

With the clear message out that the USA will be a hard sell on any operation under a NATO flag that would expect Uncle Sam to bear most of the effort, our Continental European allies are looking towards the EU as a venue.

The rhetoric out of Continental Europe continues to seem as if they have not quite gotten hold of the degree of their weakness and lack of capability that the USA complains about directly translates in to EU military weakness and lack of capability.

When you read what they are putting out, you keep wondering, “You and what army, air force, or Navy?” Are they aware of the lessons identified from the Libyan operations when it comes to European militaries?

First, let’s go to my friends the Dutch via Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Pardon the imperfect translation;

…first small step must be about safety and trust. For the civilian population in Idlib; the care providers; but also for the parties that are directly involved in the military. Let us all take one step back now and at least free the airspace above Idlib from bombing. No more Syrian fighter aircraft and helicopters. So: a no-fly zone for Assad above Idlib.

So Assad has no choice anymore and keeps his air force on the ground. The closure of the airspace above Idlib must then be monitored internationally. And if an air strike nevertheless takes place in Idlib, then at least we know who is responsible for it.

The monitoring of the closure of airspace is preferably carried out with a mandate from the UN Security Council. Unfortunately, he has been paralyzed for years about Syria, but we have a duty to try to break this stalemate. If that mandate does not come about, monitoring will have to be organized in a more creative way, for example by sharing information, accessing information from local organizations or performing remote monitoring. All with the aim of stopping the violence and identifying the perpetrators who use the violence and calling them to account.

If I knew how to laugh in Russian, I would.

These are wonderful words and ideas, but have the European nations invested in a military to do this? How much credibility do nations lose when their diplomats put things on the table their nations simply cannot do?

Read it all, of course. And realize this, I and many other Americans are Anglophiles, we are not Europhiles. Great Britain is, and has been for almost a century, an ally, in fact, our greatest ally. In contrast, most of Europe started as our enemies and now are at best, our dependants.

Thus the statement, that many of us truly believe, that Europeans are willing to fight to the last American.

Here is one of the underlying reasons why so many of us support Brexit. We sense that Britain is becoming just another cash (and blood) cow to the self-appointed elite of the Vierte Reich in Brussels and that this will increase as America increasingly becomes a hard sell on these usually stupid ventures. Instead of the old jibe that ISAF means ‘I Saw Americans Fighting’, it is likely to become ‘I saw Britons fighting’ as Brussels attempts to make Britain the barbarians to their Rome. Hewer of wood, carrier of water, and shedder of blood. All without thanks or reward of course. Like Americans in Paris in the late forties, they will be swindled and laughed at on the streets.

Except that the British people are too smart to sit down and shut up. Like the American people, they are waking up and making it known to their so-called elites that this is not acceptable to them.

More power to their elbow. We come back to the question for the Europeans. With ““You and what army, air force, or Navy?”. Be a shame if Europe fomented a war and neither Britain nor America came. Or would it?

%d bloggers like this: