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October 01, 2010

Comments

 Simen

Thank you, David. I really enjoyed the other National Review bit, and will be watching this this evening as well.

Following the 3xTory -link, I saw a comment from georges that really resonated with me;

"
This is a historic reversal. It used to be the right who were cultural pessimists, fearing their hallowed traditions would be swept away. Actually Capitalism is far better at destroying tradition than Socialism.
"

Capitalism is great at destroying tradition, because it is the effect of self-determination that sorts workable strategies from unworkable strategies - ie it is the individual who decides what to do, and what don't to do. Tradition is a 'this worked before' -guideline, and people won't willingly discard it unless they believe the new will work better. Thus, when change is imposed on people, they prefer not to change - while if they see the benefit of the change, they change.

This means that when people themselves can decide, they change to the better, breaking with tradition.

-S

rjmadden

David, thanks for posting the Tory! Tory! Tory! series. I'm about half way through. Fascinating stuff.

Gaw

Thanks for the Berlinski interview.

She certainly put into relief the ignorance and paranoia regarding Muslims that one finds amongst the tin hat-wearers of the Corner. I also enjoyed her response to the prospect of Palin as President: "Where are the adults?" The new Thatcher - what a very daft joke. I hope it turns out to be a harmless one too.

georges

Historically, the Conservative Party believed in conserving things; tradition, the monarchy, the established church, the organic unity of the nation, classicism, high culture, the rural interest. In the 19th century it was the Liberal party that truly believed in capitalism, free trade and modernism, especially radicals like Richard Cobden and John Bright. The Conservatives were the party of protectionism and Imperial Preference. Insofar as Conservatives were intellectuals, it was the pessimistic dread of encroaching industrial philistinism and its attendant dumbing down - of Matthew Arnold's "Culture And Anarchy" - which caught their tone.

I think capitalism undermines all of these core Conservative traditions far more than socialism does. David hints at this, noting how members of the cultured soft-socialist elite despised Margaret Thatcher's own supposed suburban philistinism. Quite an Arnold-like High Tory attitude.

I'd go further. If the UK abolishes the monarchy and becomes a republic, it will not be because Ed Miliband belatedly takes up the mantle of the American revolutionaries; it'll be because we come to see them as a costly nationalised industry like British Steel that we can no longer afford. Ditto the C of E. Ditto state-subsidised high culture; if the punters prefer X-Factor to the Opera, close the Opera Houses.

I just think it's a fascinating paradox at the heart of British Conservatism.

Bessie

Hmm: “odious suburban gentility,” “the worst of the lower-middle class.” That's put me and my family in our place. Admittedly, I always thought Margaret Thatcher's strangulated vowels were a bit ghastly. At least my mum paid attention in her elocution lessons.

Meanwhile, there's an interesting Radio 4 programme tonight, by David Davis, on working-class Tories:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v1294

dw

I've ordered the Berlinski book. Thanks for the pointer.

David

dw,

It’s very readable and a useful reminder of a rather dramatic time.

For instance, some people seem to have forgotten just how despicable, delusional – and dangerous – Mr Scargill was. This is a man who repeatedly advocated violence and coercion (even against his own union’s members), who approved of the Soviet invasion of Hungary, who fawned over Stalin, who aimed to position the unions, not the electorate, as the country’s preeminent political force, and who thought himself entitled to “abolish capitalism.” Having previously toppled the Heath government, Scargill didn’t hesitate to attempt a repeat performance. Toppling elected governments by force was, apparently, his prerogative.

At the time of the 1984 miners’ strike, Scargill made his ambitions for Britain clear in the pages of the communist newspaper, The Morning Star: “Capitalism is an obscene system that deserves to be overthrown.” And Scargill thought himself just the man for the job, which would entail “the nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange” and state control of the media. This would all be part of an “irreversible shift towards a socialist system.” Scargill was very fond of the word “irreversible” and used it frequently. As Berlinski notes, “irreversible” is often a far left euphemism for “no more elections.”

jones

Mr Arturo Scarginelli also denied himself the same material delights so enjoyed by the capitalist overlords....one assumes.

I wonder how he survives on his NUM pension?

All equitable stuff I'm sure.

tehag

"I also enjoyed her response to the prospect of Palin as President: "Where are the adults?" "

I assume she caught that social snobbery in England.

"The new Thatcher - what a very daft joke"

I wouldn't want Palin to be Thatcher. Andy Jackson, yes. Thatcher, no.

sackcloth and ashes

'For instance, some people seem to have forgotten just how despicable, delusional – and dangerous – Mr Scargill was. This is a man who repeatedly advocated violence and coercion (even against his own union’s members), who approved of the Soviet invasion of Hungary, who fawned over Stalin, who aimed to position the unions, not the electorate, as the country’s preeminent political force, and who thought himself entitled to “abolish capitalism.” Having previously toppled the Heath government, Scargill didn’t hesitate to attempt a repeat performance. Toppling elected governments by force was, apparently, his prerogative'.

I can't say I remember the miners strike (I was only 9-10 when it happened), but looking back on it I can't help feeling both a profound sense of sadness at the plight of the NUM rank-and-file (the 'Brigade of Guards of the Labour movement', as one Tory grandee called them) and an utter loathing for the man who led them into oblivion.

Scargill cared more for his twisted ideology than for the working and living conditions of the workers he claimed to speak for. When Neil Kinnock compared him to a First World War General, he was insulting Field Marshal Haig.

Gaw

How asking 'where are the adults?' can be construed as social snobbery is beyond me. I presume the only way to defend Palin on this front is to retreat into ad hominem.

Luther

"Andy Jackson, yes."

Love that tehag. A balanced response to the last fifty or so years.

Spiny, embarrassed to admit falling head over heels for Jenny in my early twenties when I should have known better than to fall for anyone on the silver screen, whom I would never meet. But first, Walkabout was a good movie. Second, Jenny evolved into a real woman in that film, naked an all. If desire were money I'd have been a trillionaire.

sackcloth and ashes
Spiny Norman

"How asking 'where are the adults?' can be construed as social snobbery is beyond me. I presume the only way to defend Palin on this front is to retreat into ad hominem."

Except that this is the attitude of most in the British media, Left or Right (even Jeremy Clarkson, ferchrissakes), towards Americans in general, who are very often portrayed as ridiculous, childish buffoons who have no business on the world stage, let alone as a Superpower.

Spiny Norman

Oh, and this:

"...the ignorance and paranoia regarding Muslims that one finds amongst the tin hat-wearers of the Corner."

Do you have the foggiest idea who Andrew C. McCarthy is, besides a contributor to The Corner? He's the "tin hat-wearer" who successfully prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirators. I think it's a fair assumption that he knows what he's talking about.

Oh wait, there's that word again...

David

Sackcloth,

“Incidentally, David, I presume you've seen this:”

Oh yes. As others have noted, it’s the most bizarrely misjudged ad campaign of recent years. Given the Green movement is home to authoritarian fantasists who advocate forced sterilisation, who describe humanity as an “infestation” and a “cancer,” who glorify human extinction, and who cheerily weigh the merits of “culling” British babies, it’s really not that funny.

Though it is, I think, revealing.

sackcloth and ashes

When I saw this video I asked myself what planet the people who made it were on. Because it wasn't the one they claimed they were trying to save.

Gaw

Spiny Norman: Yes, I do know who Andrew C McCarthy is. And having been a contributor back in the '90s I also know what the National Review is.

What is 'that word again' you advert to? Snobbery? One thing I don't know about McCarthy is his social background - but, anyway, how is this relevant to his dangerous and flaky arguments?

Since when did supposed members of the political right (this is what I take you for) get so hung up on social class? It's totally irrelevant to my assessment of the merits of these arguments. I feel I've walked through the looking glass and am arguing with a Marxist with a chip on his shoulder. 'Where are the adults?'

Shaden Freud

Can someone please critique my thumbnail understanding of politics...

Capitalism/Libertarianism = Economic growth & advancement of human culture.
Conservatism = Tradition & cautiousness towards change & Authoritarianism.
Socialism/Collectivism = Economic wrecking-ball & impoverishment & Authoritarianism.

ta

Spiny Norman

"What is 'that word again' you advert to? Snobbery?"

No, that would be "conspiracy", since you seem to believe such things exist only in the minds of American right-wing "tin hat-wearers". For what it's worth, I never mentioned anything about McCarthy's social class, nor did I even consider it.

While I've never believed Sarah Palin to be Presidential (the current White House occupant has also proven himself woefully inadequate as well), the disdain for her by her supposed "betters" is part of a disturbing and long-established pattern aimed at (mostly conservative) Americans deemed to be too "common" by self-styled media and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic.

Gaw

Palin isn't worthy of any significant political role because she's ignorant, incurious and uninformed and seems to be proud of it - not because she's 'common'. One of the reasons I admire Thatcher is because she was clever, curious and well-informed. I think you need to get over your class analysis of this situation. I also think the idea of a conservative who has no time for the concept of the 'better' is a contradiction of terms.

Andrea Harris

Don't try to argue with Gaw. He knows everything he needs to know about Sarah Palin and conservatives already. He "contributed" to the National Review in the 90s, don't you know! (As what, I wonder. Writing letters to the editor doesn't count.)

Gaw

I last came across this chippy snideness in lefty student politicians of the the late-80s.

Gaw

And I'm merely echoing the thrust of Berlinski's comments. 'Where are the adults?'

I'm happy to be in her company. No doubt 'she also knows everything she needs to know about Sarah Palin and conservatives already'.

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