And yet more random thoughts

I’m finding it hard, this vacation, to do any sustained blogging. And to those of you wondering, I like blogging sufficiently that it’s a pleasure, not a chore I willingly leave behind when I turn off my familiar office computer. So, here come a few other random observations, which are easier to pack into a single post than to spin out into individual posts.

First, Hal G.P. Colebatch, writing at The American Spectator, thinks Brits have finally had enough of the multi-culti game their government has been playing for the last 25 years, and are starting to holler for a new Britishness:

Islamicists may be about to find out, as others have before, that Britain, given sufficient provocation, is not as soft and decadent a society as it sometimes looks.

Although the Tories under David Cameron are still apparently paralyzed with fear over the possibility that they might be called nasty if they show any awareness of a clash of civilizations, it seems that the recent failed car-bomb attacks at London and Glasgow have marked a paradigm shift in British attitudes. Perhaps the fact that those involved were doctors and other professionals was the tipping-point, being taken by many as showing in unmistakable terms what the clash of civilizations is all about. As far as the Internet is any guide to popular opinion — and it is — the mood now is of that sort of rage that doesn’t go away.

John Smeaton, the Glasgow airport baggage-handler who tackled the terrorists, and who when interviewed issued the memorable warning, “Coom ta Glasgie an’ we’ll set aboot ye!” is a popular hero throughout Britain, quite transcending the English-Scottish divide that has been coming to look menacing and ominous lately.

The endlessly promoted slogan of “celebrating diversity” (a few years ago the head one regional police force claimed the enforcement of this was part of police duties) is looking very sick. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George, Lord Carey, has recently publicly urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to control immigration. Carey, who as Archbishop was notably gentle and conciliatory, said pretty forthrightly that he hoped the new Prime Minister “will not forget the importance of Christian identity at the heart of being a part of the United Kingdom.” So it’s not the influx of Catholic Polish workers that he is referring to. A few years ago, probably even a few months ago, any public figure, Archbishop or not, who made such a statement would have declared a pariah and hounded out of public life. Such was the fate of Enoch Powell once upon a time. Today the main criticism of Carey’s statement is: “Why didn’t he say it sooner?”

I hope Mr. Colebatch’s optimism is well-placed.

The Democratic Senate’s attack on AG Gonzales, which has now morphed into a full  scale attack on the White House  may well be part of the reason Americans  are so disgusted by congress.  You can hear the ordinary man in the street thinking, “Yo, Dudes, there’s a war going on, a market wobbling, the usual crisis in the Middle East, etc., etc., and you’re expending all your visible energy playing gotcha political games.”

I  thought of this very strongly when I read two  opinion pieces today about the recent criminal  contempt  charges the Senate brought against  Meirs and what’s his name.  The  first is in  the Times, which spews forth an utterly fact-less “it’s not  fair”  diatribe, demanding White House blood.  The second  is Kimberly Strassel’s WSJ opinion piece carefully analyzing the separation of powers, talking about the options available to the Senate, and discussing  the politicization of the option the Senate chose.  Pretend  you’re a visitor from Mars, without any knowledge of  any of this, and without any biases, and see which you find to be the more intellectually compelling argument– and decide which branch is veering more  wildly from its Constitutional limitations.

And that’s enough randomness for now.


9 Responses

  1. I hope Colebatch is correct and the psychic tide is finally turning in Britain. I’ve been watching Europe with great concern — wondering if I should take my children to see the great treasures of Western civilization before they are burned by mullahs.

    Now I’m starting to be more concerned about where to flee if the Democrats get their way and America is destroyed.

  2. The trouble with this country is (1) it’s too damn big…so big that most of us, no matter how bright, have no prayer of having influence over anything; and, (2) in consequence we produce more hot air and political bloviating than we can consume locally.

    We keep the situation somewhat in check by having a political system that has a big inbuilt status-quo bias — it’s really hard to do anything without at least 60 percent of movers and shakers being on-board. But because nobody ever wins anything, and nobody feels that his opinions can matter (and because we have the media in there kicking, amplfying our disagreements), the frustration level is threatening to swamp the system.

  3. Pretend you’re a visitor from Mars, without any knowledge of any of this, and without any biases, and see which you find to be the more intellectually compelling argument– and decide which branch is veering more wildly from its Constitutional limitations.

    Personally if I was an invader from Mars, I would be thinking of how best to subvert Congress by promising all kinds of goodies if Congress will do what I tell them to do. Divide and conquer is always a good strategy.

  4. Isn’t the Archbishop’s comment–that Christianity is the heart of Britishness–really a return to what’s best about diversity?
    THe US has some ethnically diverse areas, in which diversity means less about boundaries of respect than it means celebrations of strengths. For example, sushi is tasty, the Texas two-step is really fun, and Argentinian wine is a pleasure.
    It’s just a relief to hear someone returning to the positive aspects about what made Western culture strong, in the first place.

  5. I think you’re absolutely right, Keiki. The classic melting pot took what each culture offered and stirred it into a greater whole. Modern diversity insists on slicing and dicing into little disparate pieces, along with a huge dollop of Western self-hatred, until nothing but that self-hatred is left as the core around which those other little multi-culti pieces array themselves.

  6. Keiki,

    The song and dance, the food and wine are epiphenomenon of culture, at least in terms of what the hard left has been driving at lo these many years–ie., the destruction, by any means necessary, of Western cultural supremacy. Any expression of love or respect for our own culture–including, incredibly, our very openness and tolerance for the cultural expressions you mention–are met with derision and charges of racism, colonialism, and imperialism.

    It IS refreshing to hear some faint rattlings of self- defense among the til now clueless Brits; but until they (and we)recognize that Islam owns the field of cultural imperialism, and that it involves more than mere alternatives in food, dress, and alcohol, we and they remain in danger of falling before the slow grinding advance of dhimmitude.

    We Americans can love and enjoy polish sausages, Cinco de Mayo, the Feast of St Genovese, dim sum, and all the rest of the vibrant ethnic banquet laid before us, because none of these other immigrant groups insist on dominating us or consider themselves our rightful rulers. Islam does so consider it self, and the radicals among them intend to make good their claim.

  7. The Brits may wake to their experience, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Collectivism, in any form, is a very strong narcotic, and they have been hooked on it for 25 years. Also, when something has had hold over a society that long it takes a massive effort to throw it aside, and it only requires 20-30% of the adult population to furiously defend and maintain the status quo. The task is made even more difficult by the fact that that 20-30% is in firm control the media (BBC, et al), the education system, the courts, and other non-democratic institutions, and they will not willingly share power. The giant may awaken, but it will require more than a smile and a handshake to restore sanity to British society. A Maggie would help, but there are none on the horizen.
    The prognosis is no better for Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and other states gripped by collectivist nonsense.

  8. While Europe may have a sense of collectivism, I think the odd interpretation of “diversity” in the US (focusing on how we must protect and elevate various characteristics and interests of non-majority groups) is more rooted in the 60’s-70’s perspective on opression. That is, the world is seen through the lens of “opressor” v. “opressed”. It weirds me out, although since my Grandmother was in the PI during WWII, I do enjoy demanding that my friends with Japanese heritage stop opressing me with their Nipponese agenda (I really have no interest in going to a karaoke bar). Yeah, the protectionist bent of “diversity” doesn’t make much more sense than that.
    I prefer to have a sense of cultural identity based on one’s strengths and interests, free of a compare-and-contrast, us-vs.-them description. pacifus, when you’re talking about “Islamists”, my other Grandmother’s recollections of anti-Catholic biases spring to mind. Surely, there are places in the world where Islam is practiced as you describe it, but I can’t totally write off the second-largest religion in the world. Nearly all (not entirely all) American Muslims are just as interested as their fellow citizens in peaceful coexistence. Ataturk figured out the benefits of a secular society nearly a century ago.
    Insistence on implementing religious dominance is wrong (just as the Spanish Inquisition was wrong), and people who fail to speak out against it are complicit. Just the same, I’m uncomfortable in letting the discussion go without asserting that it is not all Islam and all Muslims at fault.

  9. Kieki, quoting you:
    “pacifus, when you’re talking about “Islamists”, my other Grandmother’s recollections of anti-Catholic biases spring to mind.”

    Where to start. The ugly prejudice against the immigrants in the last century was an expression of a bygone era–a much more cruel age, with a whole host of practices we now consider babarous–child labor, animal abuse, oppression of women, explicit and official racism, and you could probably tick off a few more. The anti Catholic bias was of a piece with that society and culture–irrational and vicious. Irrational most of all, because Christianity had not, for long ages, had any bent toward conquest or inquisition. This is clearly not the case with radical Islam, whether some number of moderate, semi-practicing Muslims in this country support it openly or deny it.

    In my own defense, I did specify the radicals among them– I am not moving quickly to tar them all with the same broad brush. On one hand, it appears in many of their communities the good folks are under threat from these violent would-be martyrs, and thus are under siege every bit as much as we are. On the other hand, when you read of polls taken, where very significant numbers of western Muslims think that suicide attacks on us are justified–think about that, justified!– I think we are in danger from one of our own prejudices–that of thinking the best of people until they prove otherwise. I do not like the thought of living in a world of such suspicion, but these jihadis are taking that choice away from us. Soon or late, we will be forced to take some unpalatable actions in order to preserve our way of life.

    I admire your Anglo-Western inclination to tolerance and fellow-feeling; I am one however who has come to the conclusion that we may have to suspend those virtues in some sense to deal with Islamism, an ideology which thinks nothing of exploiting sentiments such as yours to their own wicked ends. I’m sorry to bring the analogy, but Stalin referred to those with the like mentality in mid-century as “useful idiots”, knowing their propoganda and policy potential. I know you are not an idiot, but please understand, they will use your patience, kindness, and tolerance to extend their reach into our legal system, our school systems, and political order. They intend that your grand daughters in years hence will wear the hijab (or whatever the head covering is called).

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