Category Archives: History

Brexit

James Bennett proposes a CANZUK union to replace the UK’s membership in the EU.

Meanwhile, it looks as though the permission of the Scottish Parliament and Ulster may be required to leave:

We asked Sir David whether he thought the Scottish Parliament would have to give its consent to measures extinguishing the application of EU law in Scotland. He noted that such measures would entail amendment of section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998, which binds the Scottish Parliament to act in a manner compatible with EU law, and he therefore believed that the Scottish Parliament’s consent would be required.83 He could envisage certain political advantages being drawn from not giving consent.

We note that the European Communities Act is also entrenched in the devolution settlements of Wales and Northern Ireland. Though we have taken no evidence on this specific point, we have no reason to believe that the requirement for legislative consent for its repeal would not apply to all the devolved nations.

Stay tuned.

[Update a while later]

“Citizens of the World?” Nice thought, but don’t hold your breath:

The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.

Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

[Update a few minutes later]

Brexit’s complicated aftermath:

For a long time, Britons who wanted their country to leave the European Union were regarded almost as mentally ill by those who wanted it to stay. The leavers didn’t have an opinion; they had a pathology. Since one doesn’t argue with pathology, it wasn’t necessary for the remainers to answer the leavers with more than sneers and derision.

Even after the vote, the attitude persists. Those who voted to leave are described as, ipso facto, small-minded, xenophobic, and fearful of the future. Those who voted to stay are described as, ipso facto, open-minded, cosmopolitan, and forward-looking. The BBC itself suggested as much on its website. In short, the desire to leave was a return to the insularity that resulted in the famous—though apocryphal—newspaper headline: fog in the channel: continent cut off.

And then there’s this:

One possible reason for the success of the Brexit campaign was President Obama’s ill-conceived intervention, when he threatened that if Britain voted to leave the Union, it would have to go to the “back of the queue” as far as any trade agreements are concerned. This sounded like bullying, and was not well-received by much of the British population, which had already been subjected to quite a lot of such bullying from others. If I were an American, I shouldn’t have been pleased with it either, for Obama spoke not as a president with a few months left in office, but as a president-for-life, or at least one with the right to decide his successor’s policy.

Yes, the arrogance would have been stunning, if it hadn’t been typical. And on that last Nigel Farage agrees:

Obama certainly has that reverse Midas touch. Recall his efforts to secure the Olympics for Chicago that ended in embarrassing failure.

After nearly eight years in the White House, President Obama can’t understand that the influence he has as president is a precious resource not to be wasted unless he is sure that he can make a difference. That includes efforts to influence domestic as well as foreign policy.

Have any of his ham-handed attempts to influence events overseas not backfired on him? I can’t think of any.

[Sunday-morning update]

Walter Russell Mead: The problem with Brexit is the “leaders,” not the voters.

And Roger Kimball says it’s not an exit, but an entrance.

Meanwhile, Richard Fernandez has a tart rejoinder to whinging from the children:

Essentially people much older than you gave you what you now take for granted. They won World War 2, fueled the great boom, walked through the valley of the shadow of nuclear death — and had you.

You didn’t make the present, nor as you now complain, are you making the future. No children, no national defense, no love of God or country.

But that’s just it. You’ve brainwashed yourselves into thinking someone else: the old, the older, the government, the dead would always do things for you.

If you learn anything from Brexit, learn that nobody got anywhere expecting someone to do things for him.

Time to grow up.

[Monday-morning update]

The howla against democracy:

Media commentary has dripped with contempt for the moronic people. ‘Some of the oldest and whitest people on the planet leapt at a chance to vote against the monsters in their heads’, howled a writer for Esquire. There’s much talk about the people being ‘manipulated’ by lies and misinformation, as if they’re lifeless putty in the hands of the likes of Farage. Some have gone so far as to twist the definition of democracy in an attempt to rubbish the people’s will. ‘The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily “democratic” is a perversion of the term’, says Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff. Sometimes, democracy means making sure the people ‘avoid making uninformed decisions with catastrophic consequences’, he says. So it can be democratic to thwart the majority’s wishes if we think they’re stupid. And they have the gall to talk about manipulation.

And make no mistake: it is their aim to thwart our will. They want to use the law or politicians’ clout to undermine the result.

Because their totalitarian dream of world government is being undermined.

Brexit

The British elites cannot continue to ignore the masses:

Somehow, over the last half-century, Western elites managed to convince themselves that nationalism was not real. Perhaps it had been real in the past, like cholera and telegraph machines, but now that we were smarter and more modern, it would be forgotten in the due course of time as better ideas supplanted it.

That now seems hopelessly naive. People do care more about people who are like them — who speak their language, eat their food, share their customs and values. And when elites try to ignore those sentiments — or banish them by declaring that they are simply racist — this doesn’t make the sentiments go away. It makes the non-elites suspect the elites of disloyalty. For though elites may find something vaguely horrifying about saying that you care more about people who are like you than you do about people who are culturally or geographically further away, the rest of the population is outraged by the never-stated corollary: that the elites running things feel no greater moral obligation to their fellow countrymen than they do to some random stranger in another country. And perhaps we can argue that this is the morally correct way to feel — but if it is truly the case, you can see why ordinary folks would be suspicious about allowing the elites to continue to exercise great power over their lives.

It’s therefore not entirely surprising that people are reacting strongly against the EU, the epitome of an elite institution: a technocratic bureaucracy designed to remove many questions from the democratic control of voters in the constituent countries. Elites can earnestly explain that a British exit will be very costly to Britain (true), that many of the promises made on Brexit’s behalf are patently ridiculous (also true), that leaving will create all sorts of security problems and also cost the masses many things they like, such as breezing through passport control en route to their cheap continental holidays. Elites can even be right about all of those things. They still shouldn’t be too shocked when ordinary people respond just as Republican primary voters did to their own establishment last spring: “But you see, I don’t trust you anymore.”

Brexit is Britain’s Trump, but it’s a much healthier response to the “elites” (they’re not particularly elite in matters of knowledge or competence) than ours has been.

“Violent Extremists”

They’re not “on the run” as the president says; they’re on the march:

“Today we worry about more than just terrorist cells — we worry about full-fledged terrorist armies as they capture territory and enlist thousands to join their ranks.”

In Syria and Iraq, McCaul said the world is witnessing “the largest global convergence of Islamist terrorists” in modern history.

Note: In “modern” history. This really has been going back for centuries. They just have better weapons now, and weaker-willed foes.

Hiroshima

I agree with Glenn:

All this talk about the Hiroshima bombing being a war crime is just virtue-signaling, mostly by people who would regretfully acknowledge the unfortunate necessity of obliterating, say, Texas…

[Update a while later]

No, Brian Williams, we did not use atomic bombs against Japan “in anger.”

As I said, second-guessing historically ignorant moral midgets.

[Update Saturday morning]

Hiroshima as gun control:

It is instructive to consider that if president Obama had been transported to 1945 nobody in the audience would have understood what he was talking about. By the same token Harry Truman would be scarcely comprehended if sent into the 2016 future to address the modern Democratic electorate. That is because these men, separated by 70 years, saw the arrow of causality as working in a manner opposite to the other.

To the World War 2 generation threats to mankind came from ideologies which once allowed to spread would automatically find the things necessary to effect destruction. The Atomic Bomb was incidental. An ideology on the loose in the 21st century would invent something else far more deadly. To that way of thinking a creed which vowed to destroy “the American way of life” would be seen as a menace with the same fervor that moderns would regard it as harmless. The ideas would be central, the things secondary.

Who is right time will tell. Truman’s record now speaks for itself. His legacy, the Pax Americana also known as the Long Peace, has prevented a general war for three generations, the length of living human memory. Some will say his achievement was accidental. By contrast the record of the man who now promises a world without nuclear weapons — his synonym for peace — has only just embarked on his plan.

It has been far from auspicious; according to a former secretary of defense the world is today closer to a nuclear conflict than at any time since the height of the Cold War. From the South China Sea to Ukraine, to the Middle East, the shadow of war is everywhere one looks. Perhaps one should give it time, as socialism and other sure-fire schemes should be given time, and we will not be disappointed.

It is ironic to consider that today’s generation perhaps has more blind faith than the men who 70 years ago defeated Hitler and Tojo. Moderns know what’s going to happen much more than people in the past. They read it in a book. They saw it on social media. They know it will be specified in talking points memos. We forget sometimes that by contrast the World War 2 generation had no certitude of triumph. They did not even know the Atomic Bomb was going to work or that they would perfect it before Hitler did. They could not have seen it as evil with the same retrospective certainty that Obama can. At each step of the way these young men won victory — can the word still be used without embarrassment? — with none of the certainty which today’s generation possess in such abundance.

RTWT.

But it’s worth noting (as he does not) that traditional Islam (and sharia) is a creed which vows to destroy the American Way of Life. You may not be interested in ideology, but ideology is very much interested in you.

Pot, Kettle On Line One

In the latest display of his utter lack of a sense of irony, Barack Obama says that world leaders are “rattled” by Trump’s “ignorance” and “cavalier attitude.”

Pretty rich coming from the guy who’s very life has been a textbook example of the Dunning–Kruger Effect in action. Which is why Obama likely has no idea that Trump is his doppelganger.

Yup.