Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I take a great interest in 19th century history. I think you have to know at least the late 19th century to understand all that has happened since. It was after all the era that produced Karl Marx, the most influential misanthrope of all times. But Marx was such an intellectual midget and such a depicable character (even his own father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought that Karl was not much of a human being) that it is no wonder his legacy has been so malign and, in the end, irrelevant.

By contrast, the two greatest political figures of the late 19th century, Disraeli and Bismarck, achieved an enormous amount for humanity, peace and civility. Bismarck is normally pictured wearing his Prussian Pikelhaube (spiked helmet) -- though he was only in the reserves of the Prussian military in his glory years -- and that does tend to mislead people into thinking of him as a brutal militarist -- but that is the sort of ignorance you have to expect of people who have been fed the highly selective pap that passes for history lessons these days. In fact, Bismarck gave Europe a long era of peace and rapidly increasing prosperity.

After his great victory over Napoleon III at Sedan in 1870, one might have expected Bismarck to go on to a Bonapartesque quest to dominate all Europe, but he did nothing of the sort. The entire military campaign had not in fact been aimed at conquest at all. Bismarck simply used the war to unite Germany under the Prussian crown. So when the war was over, all but a small (but controversial) slice of formerly French territory was evacuated and Bismarck concentrated on creating the German empire -- not by force but by diplomacy -- albeit by diplomacy of a rather dubious sort at times. And a united Germany of course soon became the economic powerhouse that it has been ever since. But note this: from 1871 on, Europe had no major wars until 1914 -- a 43 year period of peace -- pretty unusual for Europe up until that time. And that long peace was largely Bismarck's doing. The united Germany's formidable military was a much a hindrance as a help because it made the rest of the world fearful and could well have encouraged a grand alliance against Germany. But by a series of ever-shifting and totally Byzantine series of diplomatic manoeuvres, alliances and treaties, Bismarck kept everybody off-balance and both Germany and the rest of Europe were left free to prosper peacefully and to develop the full fruits of the industrial revolution -- which they did mightily.

Bismarck was not as successful at heading off unrest at home, however. As in most of Europe, the newly-created industrial working class was in a fairly ongoing ferment -- a ferment in which Marx played a small part. So there were some serious rebellions, uprisings and disturbances. As in foreign affairs, however, Bismarck's ever-shifting policies and alliances managed to keep the peace overall. Regrettably, however, it was a fragile peace and violent socialism still lurked just beneath the surface. So after Bismarck was gone it broke out again -- as the powerful Communist and Nazi movements of the post-1918 period.

Bismarck's great English contemporary, Benjamin Disraeli, was far more successful at containing domestic unrest. Like Bismarck he saw the need for worker-welfare legislation as a means of buying social peace and both men were notable welfare innovators -- THE welfare innovators, it might be said. So what was the secret of Disraeli's success? Fundamentally, it was sentimentality. Although he was always vocal about his own Jewishness, Disraeli had a sort of love-affair with the English people that was only surpassed in more recent times by the love-affair that Ronald Reagan had with the American people. And the results Disraeli got were arguably as transformative as the results Reagan got. Disraeli had a great love and respect for English traditions and preached the virtues of Englishness incessantly. And he included in his embrace the ordinary English working people -- whom he saw as "angels in marble" -- people with great and good potential. He actually trusted the working-class -- an almost unheard-of idea among all the governing classes in Europe at that time. So he sponsored legislation that gave the workers the vote on a greatly increased scale. And they rewarded his trust by being far less susceptible to the political and social agitation that plagued their contemporaries in Europe. They developed a lasting trust in their national institutions that did far more for lasting peace and civility than anything else could have done.

At one of the great international political conferences of the time, Germany was represented by Bismarck and Britain by Disraeli. To Britain's considerable benefit, Disraeli ran rings around all of them -- causing Bismarck to make his famous admiring remark: "Der alte Jude. Das is der Mann" ("The old Jew. THAT is the man"). Coming from Bismarck, that was a compliment indeed. Disraeli himself attributed the greater social peace of 19th century England to Englishness but to a considerable extent it was in fact his own personal achievement.



Minutewomen: "Across the rickety barbed-wire fence, about a metre high, is Mexico, dotted with walking trails along which tens of thousands of Mexicans, many of them dirt-poor and illiterate peasant farmers, have trekked on their way to America and a better life. This 50-kilometre stretch of the Mexico-US border - about 60 kilometres from Tucson, where President George Bush delivered a speech on illegal immigration last week - is a key unofficial entry point. It is along this forbidding stretch of country that Connie Foust and Carmen Mercer, known locally as the Granny Brigade, have spent many of their nights these past eight months patrolling the border. They are part of the Minutemen movement.... Ms Mercer favours a .45 Colt pistol holstered on a wide brown belt studded with bullets. Ms Foust prefers a more discreet Ladysmith .38, which she wears high up on her waist. Both women insist that Minutemen are sworn not to use their guns "except to shoot snakes or stuff like that" .. There are an estimated 13 million illegals in America and they arrive at the rate of about a million a year."

There is a good post here on the disgraceful pandering of the Chicago Presbyterian church to the terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Chris Brand's latest lot of posts are now up- dealing with immigration, IQ, sex differences etc. See here

Twilight of conservatism: "This year marks the 30th anniversary of [Robert] Nisbet's Twilight of Authority, long considered something of a minor classic, and it is from that book that most of Nisbet's words that follow have been taken. Most interesting are three things: Nisbet's warnings about the ongoing growth in executive power, his prescient critique of American conservatism, and his skepticism and caution about the growth of the warfare state that has long since vanished from establishment conservatism. Nisbet's 1953 classic The Quest for Community argues that for the most part, every major modern political philosopher in the West, from Hobbes to the present, has taken as his starting point the idea of a unitary, all-powerful central state ruling over an undifferentiated aggregate of individuals, and which is legally and temporally prior and superior to all subsidiary associations."

A small apology: I have in the past refrained from putting up many pictures on this blog as graphics greatly slow down loading times for people using dialup connections. Now that broadband has become very widespread, however, I see less need for such restraint

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here).


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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