Buttiglione, a Brit at the Dom and the dog that didn’t bark

Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, 31 October 2004 16:57.

There has been no shortage of blogging about Rocco Buttiglioni.  He is, or was, good copy.  He brought about a colourfully chaotic passage in EU life, and we should all be grateful for that.  No doubt, the focus will now quickly move on.  His honesty and principle will not be much remembered.  Probably, there was never much chance that he could succeed to the Commission.  But it was a stand worth making, if only to remind us how dominant, arrogant and wrong the left is.

That said, one shouldn’t get too carried away with Rocco’s heroism.  He wasn’t proposing to expunge cultural marxism from the face of Europe.  Quite the contrary -  as a modern conservative politician he was a realist on social policy in the same way that his more or less post-socialist persecutors in the European Parliament are more or less realists on economic policy.  And he wanted that justice job.

So, with this post I will not pile more words onto the mountain of them blogged about the erstwhile Buttiglioni crisis.  Instead, I am going to ask you to make three leaps of the imagination.  If nothing else that is, as my foolish generation used to repeat ad nauseum, something completely different.

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Iraq, 9/11 and the state of the West

Posted by Phil Peterson on Sunday, 31 October 2004 07:28.

At the risk of beating the same drum as the formidable Matt Nuenke, I publish my first post here on a subject which I believe reveals more about the state of the post-modern West than any other: 9-11 and Iraq.

Much ink has been spilled on this, the most remarkable of follies in American history. Some of that ink speaks for folly, issuing a call to arms for further action against Iran, Syria and a few other Neocon favourites in the Middle East. Traditional conservatives and Paleos have, in contrast, attempted to demonstrate the nature of this folly and how the “project” has little to do with conservatism properly understood.

With President Bush running for re-election on essentially one slogan: “9-11 changed America”, it is perhaps a good time to take stock of where America - and where the West - stands after that event.

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Why the war in Iraq will fail

Posted by Matt Nuenke on Thursday, 28 October 2004 08:25.

As the Presidential Elections draw towards their close in the United States, Kerry and Bush strive with increasing intensity to assure us that each is uniquely able to defend America.  But in all the claim and counter-claim the assumption that there can actually be such a thing as a War on Terror goes unchallenged.

Well, is that so surprising?  Modern warfare has always been instigated by the elite and, of course, fought by the masses.  It was won when the elite found it too costly or simply ran out of resources to fight on - usually a shortage of men, materials and/or territory.  The enemy, meanwhile, was crushed as a definable materialistic unit, not as an abstract set of attitudes emanating from the common man.  Warfare was always about governments indoctrinating the people about the rightness of their cause against the enemy, and the people rallying around the cause until victory or defeat was at hand.  Moreover, the victor wrote the history, defining how and why the war was started and what was at stake.

The current conflict is far different, and few are able to comprehend the consequences of fighting such a war using the old assumptions.

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Do liberals discriminate?

Posted by Guest Blogger on Wednesday, 27 October 2004 04:50.

Are liberals willing to practise religious discrimination? In the case of Chris Cranmer, it seems not. Mr Cranmer has won recognition of his satanism on board his Royal Navy ship, meaning that he is free to publicly practise satanic rituals and to have a funeral carried out by the Church of Satan.

But then we get to the case of Signor Buttiglione who has been deemed unacceptable for a position of responsibility with the EU because of his orthodox Catholicism - this despite a promise that he would keep his Catholic beliefs private.

Matthew Parris, in a column in the Sunday Times, wrote of Mr Buttiglione that,

“Signor Buttiglione claims that he has been the victim of anti-Christian discrimination ... I think Signor Buttiglione has indeed been the victim of anti-Christian discrimination, and that such discrimination is now in order ... Catholic teaching on contraception and abortion are unacceptable and insulting, not only to me but also the majority of Europeans, and the overwhelming majority of educated Europeans. I do not shrink from according special status to the educated, for they lead thought.” (via Conservative Commentary)

So, we’ve arrived at a situation where it’s thought reasonable to allow Satanism to be practised in the Royal Navy, but that Catholicism is too “insulting” to be accepted even as a private belief by a political candidate.

Liberals, in other words, will discriminate on the grounds of religion, but just aren’t concerned to discriminate against satanists. In fact, on one very liberal Australian website, satanism was declared to be admirable for its “frank and rational hedonism”. So I don’t like the chances of a return to a more traditional ordering of things, in which discrimination was practised against satanists rather than Christians, at leat not in modern liberal societies.


An Aphorism

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sunday, 24 October 2004 20:15.

“Modern man does not love, but seeks refuge in love; does not hope, but seeks refuge in hope; does not believe, but seeks refuge in a dogma.” —Nicolás Gómez Dávila

I think that this outlines a central flaw in the modern soul.  Everything good and great exists as a means to a pitiful and self-serving end.  We justify our lives by the metric of personal satisfaction.


More than a pretty face

Posted by Guessedworker on Friday, 22 October 2004 17:24.

Something perfectly pointless, egregiously superficial and just plain corny has passed into history with the decision by ABC to drop Miss America from it’s 2005 schedule.  It isn’t a passing that will trouble many.  Last month’s pageant drew a record low of 9.8 million viewers.  The American public has pronounced sentence on the high heels and swimwear, the tiara tat and tearfulness in victory.  No more brilliantly smiling hopefuls from Abbeyville or Rainbow Springs will tell the nation that, yes, they adore children and just want the chance to work for a better world.  I don’t know what “totter off in peace” would be in Latin.  But something like that would seem to be appropriate.

OK, so what?  The Humourless Ones For Whom No Man Ever Cared will savour the moment, obviously.  But why should we bother about the passing of these cattle markets?  Well, it’s simple really.  We should bother because there is more to this than a minor, overdue triumph for sexual equality.  We should bother because of what it tells us about our own wives and daughters and the people they and we have become.

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End of the Canterbury tales

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thursday, 21 October 2004 17:32.

When I was an Episcopalian — that’s what we call Anglicans in America — it seemed to me the name summed up the core belief that held the church together: they believed in bishops. It was pleasant being a bishop, it should be pleasant being a bishop, and if you didn’t go along with that you didn’t belong and you should go someplace else. Of course, there was more to it than that. Episcopalians also believed in relationships. People should be nice to each other, and accept and affirm each other in their mutually affirming whateverness, so long of course as the various whatevernesses stayed mutually affirming.

The effect was that you could think and do whatever you wanted as long as you approved of everyone else thinking and doing whatever he wanted, and you otherwise didn’t make waves. The Episcopal Church was thus a religion formed on the model of the politically correct managerial consumer society. Everybody pleased himself by following his own pursuits, within a structure that ruled quite effectively without seeming to do so because nothing could ever become an issue. How could anything be an issue, after all, when everything was either private taste, amusement, happy talk about celebrating otherness, or arranged by higher-ups over whom there was very little control? The only real issue was how to redefine apparent issues as non-issues as smoothly as possible. To make anything else an issue was to show you weren’t really an Episcopalian, because you had violated “Anglican comprehensiveness.” And besides, it wasn’t nice.

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Joschka Fisher on European geopolitical ambitions and you and me.

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 21 October 2004 06:39.

Apologies for being a day behind with this one.  But Jim Naugherty’s interview yesterday of German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fisher, is worth revisiting.  It vividly demonstrates the gulf between public discussion here about the meaning of Europe and the kind of thing that is said across the Channel.  We shouldn’t only blame Blair or Dennis McShane or, in their time, Peter Hain or Keith Vaz for this contemptuous and underhand treatment of the British public.  No one from any British political party has revealed as vividly as Fisher the driving preoccupations of the European political elite.

A while ago the always interesting if, perhaps rather client-centred George Freedman concluded an article on Iraq with the words, “geopolitics always trumps conspiracy.”  In terms of our EU debate we might well make that: geopolitics always trumps the need to explain anything to the common man.

One has the nasty suspicion that our political elite is convinced on the one hand of the absolute necessity to respond as a unified European entity to the redrawing of global power and influence beyond the reach of the nation state and, on the other, of the potential of the common man, if told of his marginalisation and impotence, to fuck it all up as fast as possible.  So we have a deeply asinine debate conducted by the elite with Straussian detachment and with the minimum ideological division.  The European project, meanwhile, just bowls along.  Oh Maggie, where art thou? 

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