Things Fall Apart; the Centre Cannot Hold: 1968 Redux

WTH is going on in the world these days? One is tempted to quote Yeats and turn away in disgust.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Well, that may be a wise quote for us, at that. It was written in 1919 just after the world-shaking carnage of the Great War when seemingly all was in flux. Victor Davis Hanson in The Washington Times this week compared our time to 1968, another year that shook the world.

Almost a half-century ago, in 1968, the United States seemed to be falling apart.

The Vietnam War, a bitter and close presidential election, anti-war protests, racial riots, political assassinations, terrorism and a recession looming on the horizon left the country divided between a loud radical minority and a silent conservative majority.

The United States avoided a civil war. But America suffered a collective psychological depression, civil unrest, defeat in Vietnam and assorted disasters for the next decade — until the election of a once-polarizing Ronald Reagan ushered in five consecutive presidential terms of relative bipartisan calm and prosperity from 1981 to 2001.

It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil.

After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two.

But this time the divide is far deeper, both ideologically and geographically — with the two liberal coasts pitted against red-state America in between.

[…]

The smears “racist,” “fascist,” “white privilege” and “Nazi” — like “commie” of the 1950s — are so overused as to become meaningless. There is now less free speech on campus than during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s.

No news in any of that is there? It’s simply our daily diet.

As was the case in 1968, the world abroad is also falling apart.

The European Union, model of the future, is unraveling. The EU has been paralyzed by the exit of Great Britain, the divide between Spain and Catalonia, the bankruptcy of Mediterranean nation members, insidious terrorist attacks in major European cities and the onslaught of millions of immigrants — mostly young, male and Muslim — from the war-torn Middle East. Germany is once again becoming imperious, but this time insidiously by means other than arms.

[…]

If we remember in 1968 the UK was starting to slip into that malaise that became known as ‘The British Disease’ and the cure didn’t come until Maggie Thatcher took charge just before Ronald Reagan cured the Carter malaise.

And we watch as Mrs May turns the UK’s best chance since Mrs Thatcher to again become a wealthy country, thanks to the voters who voted for Brexit, changes her title to Prime Ditherer, as she proves a less capable leader than -Barack Obama, perhaps. Sad to see. There are plenty of people in Britain who know how to win in these circumstances, but like our own GOPe the Conservatives hide in their bubble, out of fear of the people, or change, or Political Correctness, or something, and so fumble their chance, and are likely to ruin the country by turning it over to Corbyn. Taking the title of Venezuela North from Chicago in the process.

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

Neither traditional political party has any answers.

Democrats are being overwhelmed by the identity politics and socialism of progressives. Republicans are torn asunder between upstart populist nationalists and the calcified establishment status quo.

And again showing the wisdom of the founders, we now see Steve Bannon gearing up to challenge every GOP Congresscritter (save Ted Cruz) in next years Republican primaries. He won’t win them all, I predict. But I also predict he’ll win enough to put the fear of the electorate back into the Republicans. Of course, if they were as smart as they think they are, 2016 would have done that.

Yet for all the social instability and media hysteria, life in the United States quietly seems to be getting better.

The economy is growing. Unemployment and inflation remain low. The stock market and middle-class incomes are up.

Business and consumer confidence are high. Corporate profits are up. Energy production has expanded. The border with Mexico is being enforced.

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past — about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics — is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic — the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

And that is true too. The United States is actually doing pretty well, these days, which may well be why our left seems increasingly detached from reality, just like the NFL players biting the hand that feeds them. All gravy trains end, and so does extended adolescence.

No guarantees here but it looks to me if we keep on keepin’ on the way we are going, we may well make the United States stronger still. And if the UK can find their spine (a stiff upper lip wouldn’t hurt either) they may come through with the Union Jack flying proudly, as well. After all, we are the people who invented the modern world, we just need to do a bit of remodelling.

Advertisements

Continuing the Mission

One year ago today, the day of the Brexit election, my post started with a quote from Thomas Paine, this one

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

It was true in the winter of 1776, and it was true last year, and it is still true. But the British, being the steadfast friends of freedom they have always been voted to leave the EU regardless. They’ve had a tough year. They will stay the course, I think. We’ll talk about that later, but just for comparison what happened in the year after we Americans declared independence? A quick overview from BritishBattles. com.

  • Battle of Long Island:The disastrous defeat of the Americans on 27th August 1776 leading to the loss of New York and the retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Harlem Heights:The skirmish on 16th September 1776 in northern New York island that restored the confidence of the American troops.
  • Battle of White Plains:The battle on 28th October 1776, leading to the American withdrawal to the Delaware River and the capture of Fort Washington by the British.
  • Battle of Fort Washington:The battle on 16th November 1776 that saw the American army forced off Manhattan Island and compelled to retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Trenton:George Washington’s iconic victory on 26th December 1776 over Colonel Rahl’s Hessian troops after crossing the frozen Delaware River; the battle that re-invigorated the American Revolution.
  • Battle of Princeton:The sequel on 3rd January 1777 to the successful Battle of Trenton: the two battles began the resurgence of the fortunes of the American Colonists in the Revolutionary War.
  • Battle of Ticonderoga 1777:The humiliating American abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga on 6th July 1777 to General Burgoyne’s British army.
  • Battle of Hubbardton:The hard-fought battle on 7th July 1777 in the forest south-east of Fort Ticonderoga.

The next winter will see the naked Continental Army starving at Valley Forge. We didn’t win our independence until 1783. I think the cousins will have a somewhat easier time, but their perils are also different. But amongst other things, they have us. As they started this trend, we picked it up last fall, not a little encouraged ourselves by Brexit.

Dan Hannan recapped the status the other day for us.

An unexpected defeat is always unsettling. I suspect many ConservativeHome readers were disoriented when two in five people voted for Jeremy Corbyn. We wondered how we had so misunderstood our own country; and that was following a vote that we had won.

In the days following the referendum, three false assertions became widespread. First, that Leave had won dishonestly. Second, that the country had become more racist. Third, that the 52 per cent had wrecked the economy.

The “liars” complaint is levelled the losers of every vote. Political campaigners are not trying to behave like neutral academics: they are trying to win. Both sides make good and bad arguments; both sides get to rebut each other’s claims.

Remain told us that a Leave vote would trigger a recession in 2016, cost every family more than £4000, cause Scotland to leave the UK and transplant the Calais refugee camp to Kent. In fact, Britain boomed after the vote, support for Scottish separatism plummeted and the Calais jungle was dismantled. […]

What of the idea that the referendum somehow unleashed xenophobia? The notion that the Leave vote had been “all about immigration” was endlessly repeated in Remain circles and on the BBC. In fact, every opinion poll showed that sovereignty had been the main motivator. Lord Ashcroft, for example, carried out a massive survey on the day, interviewing more than 12,000 people, and found that democratic control was by miles the biggest issue for Leavers (49 per cent of them named it as their main reason for backing Brexit), with immigration a distant second (which was cited by 33 per cent). But opinion polls, for many Remainers, were no match for anecdotes: “Well, one Leaver I spoke to said…” […]

Saddest of all, though, was the determination to believe that Britain would become poorer. To be fair, several experts thought there would be an instant crash. A week after the poll, 71 per cent of City economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a recession in 2016; in fact, Britain grew faster in the six months after the vote than in the six months before it. Another survey, by Reuters, found that the consensus among economists was that unemployment would rise by 9,000 a month in the second half of last year; in fact, it fell by almost exactly that amount.

Well, almost none of that happened. In fact, Britain is booming.

From Euro-Guido:

UK manufacturers’ order books are at their highest level since August 1988. A CBI survey of 464 firms found a “broad-based improvement” in 13 out of 17 manufacturing sub-sectors, with food, drink and tobacco and chemicals leading the British-made boom. Meanwhile, export orders rocketed to a 22-year high. CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said:

“Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain” goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.”

Outstanding!

Britain’s got some serious problems, many of them caused by uncontrolled immigration, and by a Conservative Party which seems to have lost its mooring in history. Not to mention a press that is at least as biased as the American one. So it ain’t all beer and skittles. But remember what Paine wrote, and hopefully they will get themselves back on track one way or another. Along that line, I was thinking the other day that Tom Jefferson and George Washington were miles prouder to be British (until arbitrary government forced them out) than Jeremy Corbyn ever dreamed of being. Sad for a prominent politician to owe his allegiance to something outside his country, mostly for his own aggrandizement. Right General Arnold? Was Peggy Shippen worth it?

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

Brexit: a Month On

w10564Well, we are a month on from the Brexit vote, and it still echoes around Europe and indeed the west. Perhaps it would be a good time to review.

Everything is connected: Brexit, Trump, le Pen, Isis – even Ghostbusters. They’re all part of the same story.

It’s been nearly a month since the Brexit vote and Remainers are still in a daze. Most struggle to articulate why it’s so emotional, why we feel so bereft and angry. Surely this isn’t all for the EU itself, an institution no-one showed any real love for in the years leading up to the referendum, or even now as we hope to get back in. […]

It’s because this was never about the EU. This was the culture war. It is the single greatest question of our lifetime, the one which defines this moment for the West: do we accept globalisation? Do we share goods and people and culture across the world, or do we retreat into our closed identities? Nativism versus globalism.[…]

This correlates to the chaotic changes we’ve seen in the two main Westminster parties. Labour is in a state of absolute disarray, but the clash of personalities just reflects a deeper ideological malaise. Immigration is a wound at the heart of the party, preventing it from bringing together traditional support in its northern working class heartlands with middle class liberalism in London and the cities.

The Tories would be in precisely the same state right now if it weren’t for one little rule, a very sensible rule which has saved them as a functioning party: the three month window between membership and voting for the leader.[…]

Look overseas and see our own problems mirrored a thousand times over. Donald Trump is a walking Brexit. Where the phrase ‘take back control’ dominated the referendum, he promises a wall against Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the US. But it’s not just the policy – the emotions are identical too. Take Trump’s promise to make Mexico pay for the wall. That’s the real kicker in the policy. Crowds at his rallies love the way it implies strength, total dominance, superiority. It is identical to the swaggering ignorance of Brexiters talking about how the EU will accept whatever trade deal we give it, or how Brussels doesn’t get to call the shots anymore. It’s the emotional frustration of those who feel powerless, disguised with bravado.

via A new politics forms in the furnace of Brexit

In a way, it’s funny: I (and many conservatives) am at heart a free trader. Like many of us, I recognize that the best chance for our poor to have upward mobility includes free trade, not least because protectionism mostly hurts the poor. If you doubt that a visit to WalMart will disabuse you. Free trade provides many, many things at a low cost that without other countries would be very expensive indeed, if even available. Like your Chinese made iPhone. But, we almost all, at least American ones, supported Brexit. Why, because from our vantage point, we could see that the EU had become the problem, not part of the solution. A protectionist continent, that was doing undue harm on its inhabitants. I wanted to say citizens in that sentence, but Europeans had long lost control of the bureaucracy of the EU. We, or at least me, don’t see the Brexiteers as little Englanders so much as we see the Remainers as little Europeans; and the Brexiteers as a free trade possibility for us.

What Mr. Dunt says above about the referendum as part of a larger story that includes Trump and le Pen is, I think, true, although I think ISIS is a point too far. ISIS is, I think, merely reacting to weakness in the west, and an inability to effectively defend ourselves. Yes, part of it is related to our mishandling of the middle east going back at least to Sykes-Picot, but that’s not really that novel anymore is it.

Chalcedon makes the point this morning that the founders of the EU were profoundly influenced by their Catholic heritage. I think him correct, as usual. He decries that England specifically lacks that heritage. Also true, but perhaps that is why England above all had the vision to see that the EU had become unfit for purpose, and should be scrapped, as it scrapped the hierarchy of the Catholic church during the English Reformation.

Theodore Dalrymple also wrote on this recently, his thoughts are also interesting.

[…]Certainly, many young people selectively interviewed by the media said that they felt that their future had been stolen from them by those who voted for Brexit. (The fact that the youth unemployment rate in Belgium and France was 25 percent, in Portugal 30 percent, in Italy 39 percent, in Spain 45 percent and Greece 49 percent did not seem to worry them. They were not of the youth-unemployment class.) And it was the old, who predominantly voted to leave, who had snatched their glorious future from them.

Actually, this is not the whole truth. The proportion of the electorate who voted in the referendum increased sharply with age, those over 80 being more than twice as likely to vote as the young, despite it requiring much more of a physical effort for them to do so. It seems, then, that the elderly care more about the future of their country, or have a greater sense of civic responsibility, than the young.[…]

The statistical correlation between both age and relatively low levels of education, on the one hand, and a vote to leave on the other, was much remarked upon, not only in Britain but throughout Europe and the rest of the world.[…] And only the young and educated know what the right way is.

While age is certainly not a guarantee of political wisdom, the ever-increasing experience of life might be expected to conduce to it.[…]

The relation between political wisdom and levels of education is far from straightforward. It was educated people who initiated and carried out the Terror in the French Revolution. The Russian Revolution, and all the great joy that it brought to the Russian people, was the denouement of decades of propaganda and agitation by the educated elite. There was no shortage of educated people among the Nazi leadership. And the leaders of the Khmer Rouge were also relatively highly-educated, as it happens in France. The founder of Sendero Luminoso, who might have been the Pol Pot of Peru, was a professor of philosophy who wrote his doctoral thesis on Kant.

via: Who Understands the European Project?

And so, in some sense, you pays your money and makes your choice, but I think it very important that we don’t make the mistake of considering these things in their own little vacuum bags, what happens in Europe affects America, and vice-versa. If we don’t defend the least (pick whatever measure you prefer) of our citizens, we defend none of them, and that is where ISIS enters the equation. But we also owe them the duty not to arbitrarily make their lives worse, and that is exactly what protectionism will do. It was no coincidence that because FDR continued and strengthened Hoovers anti-trade policies, the Great Depression continued and worsened until World War Two ended it. That is not a good model to follow. We should learn from history, not strive to repeat it.

The politics of chaos

may-leadsom

To think it was only a few months ago the British were shaking their heads sadly and wondering how on earth it had come about that America, the greatest country on earth, was facing a choice for President between a permatanned mogul with a comb over and a woman who couldn’t even sort her emails or recognise truth from fiction! How times change. Now, thanks to asking the voters a silly question, and them giving a silly answer, we’ve declined from the fifth to the sixth largest economy in  the world in two weeks, sterling is at par with a brass washer, and we are in political turmoil.

Of the leading Brexiteers, Nigel Farage has retired to spend more time in Europe (or something), Boris Johnson was knifed in the back by his friend Michael Gove, at the same time Gove managed to shoot himself in the head. It’s like the last scene in Hamlet, just about everyone is dead. That leaves only a woman no one had heard of a few weeks go, called Leadsom, who may or may not have been a prominent banker, but whose resume says she was, even if no one can remember her, and who seems to think that only those who are mothers have a real stake in the country. Oh, and she’s never been a Cabinet Minister. Obviously just the person to undertake the herculean task of disentangling us from the EU – well, at least if she gets it, she’ll be the one Brexiteer having to face the music. By ‘it’ I mean the premiership. Yes, thanks to the peculiarities of our political system here, the next Prime Minister will be chosen by about 140,000 members of one party – average age over 55. Perhaps they haven’t heard what most voters think of ex-bankers with dodgy resumes? Perhaps they are all bankers with dodgy resumes? Who knows?

Facing this ingenue in the lists is Theresa May, ‘a bloody difficult woman’ according to one of her former colleagues; well I warmed to her at that, I have to say, being one myself. But it appears not to be difficult to spot the difference between Mrs May and a ray of sunshine, and she appears to have to charism of a carrot. She also wanted to spy on our emails and failed to restrict immigration – oh, and she (sort of) campaigned for ‘remain’, so is clearly ideally placed to lead us in the opposite direction. I wish I was making it up – but you really couldn’t.

[And just before this was due to be published, we hear that Mrs Leadsom has had a rush of common sense, or realises how hopelessly ill-equipped she is, as she has pulled out of the race – goodness me – those of us with jobs have trouble keeping up!]

Meanwhile, in my bailiwick, Scotland, the UK Independence Party has given a mighty boost to breaking up the UK by allowing the Scottish Nationalists to bank on about yet another referendum on Independence – because, of course, there was one only just over a year ago and it didn’t give them the answer they want – but hey, referenda come and go – perhaps we should make them an annual event?

In the meantime, sensing that the Tory Party might be in meltdown, the Labour Party decided that instead of opposing it, they would oppose each other – might as well attack those you really hate. Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a Bernie Sanders tribute act, is disliked and distrusted by so many of his MPs he can’t find enough of them to nominate him if there is a challenge; but, being a goof socialist, he will sue his own party if they don’t let him stand again. His opponents, meanwhile, have spent two weeks dithering about whether to actually put up a candidate against him – and have finally done so. During this period more than 100,000 youngsters, most of them further to the left than Bernie Sanders, have joined the ‘Labour’ party to support the Bernie tribute act. File under ‘you couldn’t make it up’ – what’s that, we need a new filing cabinet?

See what I meant about changing times?

Hullo, Mummy. Welcome to the Revolution!

World US

How Americans see Europe

Over here, we’ve long viewed the United Kindom as the mother country. After all, we based our freedom on English practice, as we did our law, our trade practices, and even our treatment of each other. In fact, that was so strong that our founders referred to the Revolution, not the rebellion. That is because we were completing the revolution, restoring our rights as Englishmen, not rebelling against lawful authority. That is most of the reason that after the unpleasantness in 1812-1815, it became pretty easy for us to resume our friendship.

And you know, the revolution is completing yet again, as the United Kingdom itself finds itself in exactly the same position as we did 240 years ago, being ruled by another power, without representation, in their case, Brussels and the European Union. Mark Twain said history rhymes, but this is almost as close as history ever comes to repeating.

Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has also noticed this phenomenon:

[Recently at Colonial Williamsburg] Oh yes, and we also got together in a mob outside Raleigh Tavern and hanged Lord North in effigy. […] Most of you, I suspect, will not know who Lord North was or why we were (symbolically) hanging him. But it’s entirely relevant today.

w1056 (1)Lord North was His Majesty’s Prime Minister during the crucial years of the American Revolution, from 1770 to 1782. The specific infractions for which he was subjected to mock trial and hanging in effigy were the Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures against Boston that were widely interpreted as a declaration of war against colonial America.

Today, we tend to think of the American Revolution as a war against King George III. But it was just as much a war against the British Parliament and its leadership, which was increasingly regarded by Americans as a “foreign” body that did not represent them. We already had our own, long-established legislatures (Virginia’s General Assembly, for example, will soon celebrate its 400th anniversary and is one of the oldest in the world), and we considered them to be our proper representatives, solely authorized to approve legislation on our behalf.

[and] The key issue — the breaking point — is the European Union’s practice of seeking to validate its authority through popular referendums then ignoring them when they don’t get the result they wanted.

The EU crossed a fatal line when it smuggled through the Treaty of Lisbon, by executive cabal, after the text had already been rejected by French and Dutch voters in its earlier guise. It is one thing to advance the Project by stealth and the Monnet method, it is another to call a plebiscite and then to override the outcome.

[…] And when you think of it, we were just following the British example. Britain had faced its own conflicts between the authority of Parliament and the overreaching ambitions of its kings, and they had already set the example of removing the king to preserve the power of Parliament. Before we did it in the 18th century, they did it in the 17th century — twice. Britain itself had established the precedents of the rule of law and the consent of the governed. I don’t know why they would want to throw that away now.

via Brexit: Welcome, Britain, To Our Revolution

You know he is exactly right. We took those (God-given) rights that the English had taken back for themselves, and enforced that they could not be removed from the people, as the English had done over the centuries. That is really how the Amerexit from the first empire came about. Now it’s up to the British to take back Britain for themselves, with Brexit. If you think you need justification, how about John Locke, who said this:

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

He was hardly alone, he was supported in Parliament (the only time it happened) by both William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox, who took to wearing the blue and buff of the Continental Army in Parliament itself.

John Adams chimed in with this:

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

Yes, we’ve talked about this before, that article is here.

One of the things that America has preserved is the written history of liberty, it is probably harder with the government in Parliament, and that problem is why our founders organized these United States as they did. We’re an originalist bunch, basing ourselves on rights hard won by Englishmen and Americans alike.

UKIP has a very cute video out as well.

Come on out, the sun is shining and there’s corn, and most of all, there’s freedom.

Something I rarely do, but I think you should also read this:

 http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/06/21/this-realm-this-england/

 

Brexit

w1056So in a few days, you Brits will decide whether to remain a part of the European Union. In a way, it’s none of our business, but like our elections make a difference to you, this matters to us as well. I’m not about to tell you how to vote, that’s no more my place than it’s yours to tell me how to vote for US President. But, sometimes its easier to see the issues from a bit farther away.

Jess, here, and I, here, have each written our views on the issue. Some of you may have seen them, but the links will take you to them, in any case. Yes, as far as I know, she still favors staying, and I still think you should leave. Interesting, I think that two people who agree on so much differ on this.

The economics, well, I don’t think anybody really knows what will happen if you leave, or if you don’t. I doubt it will be as good as the Brexiteers say, nor will it be as bad as the Remaindeers say. It’s rather like our election this year, nobody knows what will happen, except this: on 21 January 2017, Barack Obama will not be the President. And surely by now you know we are not going to throw away trading with the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. Heavens, we once went to war with you when you wouldn’t let us trade with France. We, like you, built our country on trade. That’s purely a bogus argument. I think the same goes for Europe, they need you a lot more than you need them. As an aside, have you ever wondered why there are all those banks in London, and even Edinburgh, rather than say, Düsseldorf and Paris? There’s a clue for you, I think.

But I think the real issue is sovereignty, as does Jess. She makes a pretty fair case that none of us have full sovereignty anymore in the modern world, and there is a good deal of truth in that. But sovereignty is exactly the reason we never ratified the Treaty of Versailles or the Kyoto accord. And by the way, we are also the only country to meet the goals stated in Kyoto, and pass them by a fair way. The last time we said it out loud was when President Bush said this, “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.” It’s an attitude that has served us, and you, well. Nor will we turn over our people to be judged by anybody else, which Europe is doing to you.

And for me, that’s the deciding factor, like you, we value the heritage of freedom, that has come down from the Anglo-Saxons, and the EU undermines that, above all. As long as it was a customs union, it was a good deal for you, but as it starts to unravel your history and freedom, I think it becomes an intolerable weight. The EU increasingly seems to me to be a return to the divine right of rule, this time by bureaucrats.

There’s things about the EU that we have a lot of knowledge about. I think you’re smart enough to learn from others, even if your Prime Minister is trying to scare you. (Seems to me that people who have tried to scare Britain have usually come to a bad end, sometimes on St Helena.) You know, there once was a bunch of Englishmen who went to war with the slogan

No taxation without Representation

They didn’t learn it from the Native Americans. They learned it at their daddy’s knees, those men who had curbed kings, and barons, and even in that day, made the United Kingdom the most powerful country on earth. Another Britisher said this in 1755,

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety,

deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

By the way, the context is not what you’re thinking. That wise man, a member of the Royal Society, Benjamin Franklin, said it in an address to the Pennsylvania governor in an attempt to persuade him to allow William Penn’s estate to be taxed, for frontier security. Elites don’t change much over the years, you might check how much all those EU functionaries make, and how much taxes they pay.

This will tell you about that, and how the EU costs you so much in lost trade with the world, I keep hearing how you won’t be able to make trade deals with us, or India, or China, and so forth, well so what, none of us have them with the EU either. In fact, of your top ten trading partners, nine don’t. You should be expecting this, and I’m not going to disappoint you.

Well you, like us, have form on that. In fact, I published this today, because 801 years ago, today, your barons had a good bit to say about the rule of law. You can still see where they did so, it’s a meadow on the Thames, not far from London, called Runnymede, and while you are there, you can see the monument erected by the American Bar Association to commemorate your, and our, journey, which started it’s modern progress there. There’s also a poem, which you may have heard about, by Kipling, of course.

 

I can hear the echo, clean over here along the Platte.

%d bloggers like this: