Friday, July 06, 2018

Was it all due to Disraeli?

It was mostly in the 18th century that Britain invented the industrial society but in the course of the 19th century most of Europe had caught up and reached a degree of industrialization that was comparable with Britain. Railways were even snaking out across the vast plains of Russia.

And the social problems that industrialization brought were similar too. Economies that had mostly been populated by peasant farmers had rapidly transformed into economies inhabited by factory workers. And compared to their hardscrabble and often hungry life back on the farm, the industrial worker had a greatly improved life. He rarely went hungry and he could even keep a dog. Whippets were very popular.

No matter how good the worker had it, however, he could see that the bosses had it a lot better. And that generated anger. And anger generated unrest, including violent unrest.

So where was society going, many people asked? They were in a totally new situation so the past was no guide. The one thing that was clear however was that the old stability was gone and real violence threatened. The unrest had to be suppressed in some way if an orderly society was to continue.

But that was easier said than done. There was a lot of energy behind the unrest and a new middle class had emerged which produced a new breed of intellectuals. And Karl Marx was only one of those intellectuals. There was an intellectual ferment all over Europe. Even the Pope got involved with his encyclical "De rerum novarum".

And there was certainly all sorts of agitation in Germany. Bismarck, however, kept the peace with his tough stance and ever changing alliances and policies that kept everyone off balance. But there was nobody similar in France so all sorts of revolutionary movements rose and fell.

So if you looked just at Europe in the late 19th century, you saw what looked like an ever bubbling cauldron of unrest that had to be contained in some way lest it degenerate into total anarchy. It was not a pretty sight and it bode ill for the future. Would peace and quiet ever resume? If it were to resume, how could it be done? It looked very much like Bismarck's iron fist was the only viable model. Europe was in danger of reverting to an oriental despotism where a King of some sort kept order through widespread brutality. The energy behind the unrest was great so even greater energies had to be deployed to suppress it.

But what about Britain? The British empire was at its height in the late 19th century. For much of that time the Prime Minister was Benjamin Disraeli, a Jew by ancestry but a nominal convert to the Church of England. Nobody asked him if he believed in the CofE's "39 articles of religion" for the excellent reason that many of the clergy did not believe in them either.

Disraeli showed that democracy was viable in the industrial era. The survival of democracy was not a foregone conclusion. The world has always been ruled by kings before great flowering of democracy in ancient Greece and Rome. But vigorous and transformative though those flowerings were, they eventually succumbed to the Macdeonian monarchy and Caesar respectively. They resumed the normal human form of government: Monarchy. Would the flickering light of democracy in 19th century Europe go the same way?

With Solomonic wisdom, Disraeli saw another way. He was greatly assisted by the fact that democratic trditions were particularly strong in Northern Europe, of which Britain was a part. Disraeli built on that. The fundamental feature of democracy is consultation -- consultation with many if not all of the people governed. In Britain, that process had become pretty corrupt. Those consulted were only a small part of the population. Disraeli decided to widen that. In so doing he worried a lot of people. If you gave the vote to ordinary working people what would they do? Would they seize all the wealth for themselves?

Disraeli solved that problem by making friends with the workers. He praised Britain's great history of liberty and civility and implied that the workers were part of that. And his giving them the vote unasked was certainly a persuasive proof of his high regard for the workers. It would not be stretching it much to say that Disraeli asked all Britons to help him make Britain great again. And it worked. Disraeli made the Conservative party the party that stood for the welfare of the whole nation.

So there was unrest in Britain but it was minimal. Most workers felt proud to be part of Britain and supported the orderly functioning of British society. And to this day, Communist movements have never at anytime gained significant traction in British society. Jeremy Corbyn is doing his best but there just are not the votes in Britain for anything really destructive or extreme.

But amid all this, Britain was arguably the most powerful nation in the world They even marchied into Washington and burnt the White House down in 1848. And the British navy ruled the waves. So the picture of dynamism and power that radiated from democratic Britain was a powerful argument for all things British, including its method of government. Disraeli made democracy the ideal -- though it was often an ideal that was respected rather than implemented. So even ghastly tyrannies such as North Korea feel obliged to call themselves democratic in order to claim some shred of legitimacy.

Because we don't have access to alternative history it is difficult to know how the world would have gone without Disraeli but that he saved democracy for the world seems probable to me.


Is Abolishing ICE the New Liberal Litmus Test?

By Patrick J. Buchanan 

"No Borders! No Nations! No Deportations!" "Abolish ICE!"

Before last week, these were the mindless slogans of an infantile Left, seen on signs at rallies to abolish ICE, the agency that arrests and deports criminal aliens who have no right to be in our country.

By last week, however, "Abolish ICE!" was no longer the exclusive slogan of the unhinged Left. National Democrats were signing on.

Before his defeat in New York's 14th Congressional District, Joe Crowley, fourth-ranked Democrat in the House, called ICE a "fascist" organization.

After Crowley's rout by a 28-year-old socialist who called for killing the agency, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declared ICE to be "a cruel deportation force (that) we need to abolish."

Cynthia Nixon, a candidate for governor of New York, described ICE as a "terrorist organization.terrorizing people who are coming to this country.. We need to abolish ICE."

A star of "Sex and the City" castigated the men and women of ICE as terrorists at St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Manhattan. One wonders what the pastor thought of this Christian message.

Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the clamor: "We should abolish ICE." Over the weekend, Senator Elizabeth Warren signed on: "President Trump seems to think that the only way to have immigration rule is to rip parents from their family (and) treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages."

What ICE does is "ugly" and "wrong," said Warren.

"We need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality."

Wisconsin Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan plans to introduce legislation to do exactly that-abolish ICE.

President Donald Trump describes this latest liberal campaign as social and political insanity: "You get rid of ICE, you're going to have a country that you're going to be afraid to walk out of your house."

What is going on here?

Democrats, having just gone through the worst week in memory for progressives, are in imminent danger of losing it altogether.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that not only is the Trump travel ban constitutional, government unions have no right to extract "agency fees" from workers who do not wish to support the union.

Such fees violate the First Amendment rights of government workers not to promote policies or ideas in which they disbelieve.

Then came word that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the "swing vote" on the Supreme Court who was crucial to decisions that established abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage as constitutional rights, will be stepping down.

And Trump informed the press that he would announce Kennedy's successor on July 9, to be drawn from a list of 20 jurists and legal scholars, all of whom have been vetted by the Federalist Society.

Panic ensued.

"I'm scared. You're scared. We're all scared," says Warren in a video her campaign has released.

On Bill Maher's show, leftist film director Michael Moore called for a million citizens to surround the Capitol to prevent a vote on Kennedy's successor. How Moore's million-man march proposes to get into Mitch McConnell's Senate chamber was left unexplained.

At a fundraiser in Berkeley, California, Barack Obama tried to calm his terrified minions: "All these people that are out here kvetching and wringing their hands and stressed and anxious and constantly watching cable TV and howling at the moon, `What are we going to do?' Their hair is falling out."

But liberal elites making fools of themselves is a less serious matter than the savage slanders Democrats are hurling at the 20,000 men and women of ICE who are daily protecting us and our country.

ICE, after all, was established to prevent another 9/11, when real terrorists, some of whom had overstayed their visas, massacred 3,000 innocent people, most of them Americans.

This vilification of ICE, writes Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan, represents both an injustice and an act of ingratitude:

"Since September 2016, ICE has arrested nearly 5,000 criminal aliens in New York-individuals with a criminal conviction in addition to their violation of immigration laws. Many of these arrests were conducted at large in the community which ICE is increasingly forced to do due to sanctuary policies in the state that prevent us from taking custody of criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail.

"Governor [Andrew Cuomo] supports these policies at the expense of the safety of the very same communities he took an oath to protect."

Whatever one may think of Trump's policy of "zero tolerance" of immigrants who break into our country, for elites to smear the 20,000 men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe as "terrorists" and "fascists" is an especially egregious form of liberal ingratitude.

What is it in the DNA of the Left that it is always ready to enlist in any new war on cops?

The issue of 2018: should we, or should we not, abolish ICE and embrace the progressive alternative of open borders?



The Democratic Party Has a Death Wish

By Roger L Simon

Last week I wrote that the Democrats were having a nervous breakdown. I was wrong.  It's worse.  They actually have a death wish or what Freud called a "death drive" (Todestrieb). They literally want to extinguish themselves and/or their party, or many of them do. At least they're acting that way.

That was the first thing that crossed my mind watching the explosion of demonstrations by liberals and progressives (I'll spare you the scare quotes) across the country evidently mortified that families were being separated at the border -- something that had been happening for decades without their protesting or, in ninety-nine percent of the cases, their even knowing about it. Now it was the greatest cause c‚lŠbre since, well, whatever was the greatest cause c‚lŠbre three days before.

The polls show the vast majority of Americans think they're cracked and want, as do citizens of almost all countries, secure borders and legal immigration.

So why are they doing this?  Do they secretly want open borders?  Are they actually wannabe socialist revolutionaries out to change American society at its core?  Maybe some are, but if you truly wanted those things, you would behave differently and not so counter to your own interests, alienating with your behavior the very people you claim you want to convince.

As I mentioned, I think the reality is worse -- and infinitely sadder.  You don't have to be a Freudian (and I'm not) to see the Austrian doctor had a point about our unconscious desires. He was far from the first. Ages before, the ancient Greeks personified this death wish in Thanatos, a minor god in their pantheon but not so minor in our lives.

All of us have moments of self-sabotage, but what we are witnessing with the Democratic Party now is a massive expression of this, approaching self-destruction.  Trump hatred has released something far deeper than anger at one person. The rage is projected outward at a supposedly unjust country, but also equally at themselves, mocking or inverting everything they previously stood for.  The party, as Eddie Scarry writes in the Washington Examiner, is in deep crisis.  Who knows what will come out the other end or if it will?

At this point, they don't know what they want, only what they want to destroy.  This is a symptom of depression, as explained by William Berry in a Psychology Today article entitled "How Recognizing Your Death Drive May Save You."

    Freud believed that most people channel their death instinct outward. Some people, however, direct it at themselves. Depression has often been described as " anger turned inward." Many with suicidal ideation make disparaging and aggressive self-statements. This also relates to Freud's theory; some people are driven to destroy themselves.

    In her excellent post, "The Inner Voice That Drives Suicide," Lisa Firestone, Ph.D discusses how a critical inner voice convinces people "it is better to end their lives than to find an alternative solution to their suffering." This inner voice may originate in the death drive.

Can this also be true of political parties?  Well, they're also composed of people, n'est-ce pas?  If I had advice to give the Democrats at this point, it might be the subtitle of Berry's article: "Your Death Drive Is Out to Destroy you.  Tame it."

But on second thought, why bother?  Was it Sun Tzu, Machiavelli or Napoleon who said "Never interfere with an enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself"?



Terror Plot 104 Targets the Fourth of July

On July 1, the FBI arrested Demetrius Pitts for planning a terrorist attack in Cleveland on the Fourth of July. This plot was the 104th Islamist terror plot or attack against the U.S. homeland since 9/11 and the 91st plot or attack that was homegrown.

The FBI first became aware of Pitts at the end of 2015 when he sent pro-terrorism Facebook messages to a political commentary show.

Over the course of the next few years, he continued to post on social media, increasingly threatening violence against the U.S. The FBI began a deeper investigation that revealed his desire to conduct an attack in the U.S. or travel abroad to join a terrorist organization.

In June 2018, an undercover FBI agent posing as an al-Qaeda “brother” met with Pitts. Pitts expressed a desire to attack government and military targets, with a variety of violent methods.

When told by the undercover agent that there were other “brothers” willing to carry out an attack, Pitts began planning an attack. He planned an attack on July Fourth.

The attack would involve weapons ranging from remote control cars with bombs that they would give to the children of military members, to a van filled with explosives. He decided the attack should be near the fireworks at Voinovich Park and that the nearby U.S. Coast Guard station would be a great target. Pitts thought of himself as the mastermind, while others would actually carry out the attack.

Pitts used his phone to do surveillance of various sites around Cleveland, including the Coast Guard station. He also made videos pledging himself to do violence against the U.S. and calling on others to rise up as well. He helped with logistics in finding a vehicle for the car bomb against the Coast Guard station and believed the bombing was ready to go for July Fourth.

Pitts also began to think beyond this attack and that he could plan or commit additional attacks. He said that he had nothing to live for and that he knew Philadelphia well and would plan or commit an attack there on Labor Day. He was interested in federal buildings and landmarks in the city. He was arrested on July 1.

Targeting the military and mass gatherings like the Independence Day fireworks are the two most common targets of Islamist terrorists.

Also common is that the FBI foiled this plot with a successful sting operation. Stings and the use of undercover officers or informants are some of the FBI’s most successful tactics to deeply investigate terrorists while keeping the public from any imminent harm.

This case also shows the disturbing reality that the FBI must keep an eye on certain radical individuals for years before they move to action.

Such long-term investigations consume limited resources and cannot always be sustained. Indeed, this has sometimes led to terrorists slipping through the cracks, as was the case with Omar Mateen, the shooter at the Pulse nightclub in 2016.

Mateen had been investigated by the FBI for about a year beginning in 2013 but not enough evidence was found to justify continuing the investigation.

Thankfully, this was not the case this time. The FBI kept track of Pitts and stopped him before he could engage in violence.

This Fourth of July, let’s thank the hardworking men and women of the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities for all they do to keep us safe at home.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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