Saturday, November 09, 2002


It is a marvellous tribute to President Bush�s patience and good sense that he has now got the resolution he wanted from the UN about Iraq. After 9/11, he did not rush into action against the Taliban the way I would have done in his place but his patient approach was a famous success. I am sure he will now have equal success -- one way or another -- against Iraq. And I am sure that every former and serving member of the military will join with me in hoping that the approach via the UN will de-fang Saddam without the need for war and the inevitable casualties. If Saddam fails to comply with the new resolution nobody will be able to say that President Bush failed to explore all peaceful avenues for solving the problem of the Iraqui madman.

And I hereby call on all conservative bloggers to do all they can put a stop to this stupid Leftist stunt of referring to Britain�s Tony Blair as �Bush�s poodle�. I am no friend of British Labour Party policies on things like education but no reasonable person can fault the way Tony Blair has vigorously and articulately supported the USA in the war on terror. Let�s resurrect a famous old metaphor for Britain on this occasion and start referring to Tony Blair as �Bush�s Bulldog�.



I like a couple of the posts that Armed and dangerous has up at the moment: His analysis that it was their lack of any principle that has finally caught up with the Democrats and his comments on the still amazing vigour of the Lunatic Left in the USA.

I think I am a lot more relaxed about curry than he is, though! Make mine mild!



My recent posts tracing English conservatism to the individualism of their Germanic forebears have got a lot of response -- mainly by email but also see here.

I should therefore note here that my thesis is, of course, not exactly original. Montesquieu, De Tocqueville and Jefferson all saw English exceptionalism and independence of spirit as tracing back to German roots and all relied particularly on Tacitus for their view of the early German character. The work of Macfarlane (1978 & 2000) is however probably the best modern reference on the topic.

It could also be said that the decentralized nature of the early German communities was no different from the decentralization in Greece before the Athenian Empire, the decentralization in Italy before the ascendancy of the Roman Republic or indeed the decentralization of the original Mesopotamian civilization. The important point, here, however is the much longer survival of that form of organization among Germans -- and it is certainly to Germans that the English must trace it.

Macfarlane, A. (1978) The origins of English individualism. Oxford: Blackwell.
Macfarlane, A. (2000) The riddle of the modern world. N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan



Jim Ryan of Philosoblog recently put up an argument that it is realism and pragmatism that make one a conservative. I think he has something there but I pointed out in a recent post that there are some difficulties in substantiating that account of things. My comments seem to have made him pull his horns in on that one a bit so I feel rather sorry about that. Just to encourage him to keep up the good fight, I reproduce below three references to work by historians of the British Conservative party which also conclude that a realistic and pragmatic attitude is the main enduring characteristic of conservatism. They are all �dead tree� references and we all now avoid those like the plague but maybe there are still some people who are dedicated enough to look them up.

Feiling, K. (1953) Principles of conservatism. Political Quarterly, 24, 129-133.
Gilmour, I.H.J.L. (1978) Inside right. London: Quartet
Norton, P. & Aughey, A. (1981) Conservatives and conservatism. London: Temple Smith



There is to much good stuff on today�s Opinion Journal for me to excerpt any of it but it is not to be missed.



In a long line of people waiting for a bank teller, one guy suddenly started massaging the back of the guy in front of him.

Surprised, the man in front turned and snarled, "Just what the hell are you doing?"

"Well," said the guy, "you see, I'm a chiropractor and I could see that you were tense, so I had to massage your back. Sometimes I just can't help practicing my art!"

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" the guy replied. "I'm a lawyer. Do you see me screwing the guy in front of me?"


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