Friday, August 22, 2008


There is a little fuss brewing over at Lefty Conspiracy about the America in the World blog. Frankly the sound of repeated comfort-zone positions is pretty deafening, with neither side addressing the arguments of the other much.

So the conspiring lefties complain with some justification about being lumped in with the Taleban, when all they are doing is criticising a government. America in the World complains also with some justification that the USA is misunderstood, that it is good for the world, in a world where so many forces and powers are pretty heinous and do not attract the same condemnation.

Of course everybody knows that the USA, even when under the Democrats is a terribly conservative country, and this does seem to be a large part of what is behind why AitW's Conservative founder thinks it is so great, and the lefties think it is so awful. This seems to me to be a very narrow perspective. Compared to most of the rest of the world, there is little difference between the values of the USA, EU, and the rest of the democratic world. When, for example, one country is left holding out against action on global warming, that country will be Russia.

But actually what is so great about the USA is not its conservatism but its liberalism, if only they knew what the word meant. The USA is still a beacon of freedom and democracy. It's prosperity benefits the rest of the world through trade. Its contributions to science are enormous. And even its military and intelligence services have played some positive roles alongside their various crimes.

It is too easy to forget all this in the face of a few disagreements over policy. Among political people, political disagreements tend to loom large. So it is a shame that this vital cause of opposing anti-Americanism has been conducted in such a partisan way. It is foolish to big up the USA, as AitW does, with snide remarks about the EU. The USA and EU are on the same side, and will have to stand together in the future.

It is utterly bonkers, as AitW does, to offend those who most need to be reached by this message - those with the greatest political disagreements with American people and governments - by lumping them with racists.

Yet the anti-anti-anti-Americans on Liberal Conspiracy should not get a free ride. It is too easy to focus on the comfortable and justifiable: our right to disagree with a government. Beneath the cheap attack on the left and liberals, that few Conservatives could resist, AitW is largely correct about the USA and its other detractors. And we should say so.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Still alive

...and back from the beaches of north Wales. I will resume putting the world to rights as soon as I get round to it, etc.

Actually I did pop in to the David Lloyd George museum in Llanystumdwy. I learned that Lloyd George was the greatest statesman of the 20th century; the man from whom Churchill learned everything he knew (except, presumably, disastrous naval tactics); a man without flaws, at least none worth mentioning.

It impressed me how much he did for ordinary working people - pensions and national insurance and more, and yet he and the party were brought down effectively by the rise of the Labour Party. How does that event look today? What is the Labour Party for? A class war movement winning power has to either represent this new elite, and invent new class enemies, or become a cipher, or a bit of both, as it happened. We have been out of power for 100 years for this? What a stinker.