The Left is Collapsing EverywherePosted: April 23, 2017 Filed under: France, Global, History, Think Tank | Tags: 2003 invasion of Iraq, BBC, Brexit, British people, Chuka Umunna, Iraq War, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrats, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair Leave a comment
This weakness should give conservatives no pleasure.
[VIDEO] President Reagan at the Arrival Ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on February 26, 1981Posted: March 31, 2017 Filed under: History, Politics, White House | Tags: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan 1 Comment
Full Title: President and Nancy Reagan at the Arrival Ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from the United Kingdom and then Reviewing Troops and followed by Speeches on the South Lawn then the Prime Minister Departure from C-9 on February 26, 1981.
Creator(s): President (1981-1989 : Reagan). White House Television Office. 1/20/1981-1/20/1989 (Most Recent)
Series: Video Recordings, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989
Collection: Records of the White House Television Office (WHTV) (Reagan Administration), 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989
Production Date: 2/26/1981 Read the rest of this entry »
March is Women’s History Month. Here Are 10 Quotes by Women Liberals Tried to SilencePosted: March 3, 2017 Filed under: History, Politics | Tags: Anne M. Gorsuch, Jeane Kirkpatrick, March, Margaret Thatcher, Phyllis Schlafly, Women, Women's Month Leave a comment
“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”
– Margaret Thatcher
“Do you think you would ever have heard of Christianity if the Apostles had gone out and said, ‘I believe in consensus?’”
– Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister
“We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.”
– Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister
“Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite characteristic of them.”
– Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister
“The feminist movement is not about success for women. It is about treating women as victims and about telling women that you can’t succeed because society is unfair to you, and I think that’s a very unfortunate idea to put in the minds of young women because I believe women can do whatever they want.”
– Phyllis Schlafly
“The United States is the world’s most stunning example of a nation that has peaceably and successfully assimilated people from many disparate cultures. So why are some people trying to separate us into factions, emphasizing what divides us instead of what unites us?”
– Phyllis Schlafly
“We certainly don’t need a committee of foreigners who call themselves “experts” to dictate our laws or customs. But that’s what this treaty and most other U.N. treaties try to do.”
– Phyllis Schlafly
“Environmental policies are driven by a kind of emotional spiritualism that threatens the very foundation of our society. There is increasing evidence of a government-sponsored religion in America. This religion, a cloudy mixture of new-age mysticism, Native American folklore, and primitive Earth worship, is being promoted and enforced by the Clinton administration in violation of our rights and freedoms.”
– Helen Chenoweth, U.S. Congressman (don’t call her “Congresswoman”) Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Daniel Hannan’s Brexit View: Protesters Can’t Stop British DemocracyPosted: December 6, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, Global, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Brexit, Donald Trump, European Union, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, President of the United States, The Heritage Foundation, United Kingdom, United States Leave a comment
Brexit Champion Daniel Hannan: ‘There Are Crybabies on Both Sides of the Atlantic’
“There are some crybabies on both sides of the Atlantic, who don’t accept the verdict of the people as final. And you can see this — it’s exactly the same kind of people on both sides (of the Atlantic). It’s the slightly spoiled millennials, it’s the generation of the safe spaces and the micro-aggressions and the trigger warnings, who have been taught from the moment they went to school that the correct way to deal with a difficult opinion is to try to silence it, and that someone disagreeing with them is a form of violence, rather than something that just happens in life.”
[VIDEO] REWIND: Margaret Thatcher, Thatcherism, Europe, and BrexitPosted: June 23, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Brexit, EU, EUROPE, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Thatcherism, UK, United Kingdom Leave a comment
As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher defended Britain’s national interests within the EU and accepted modest steps towards Europe’s economic integration, but she became increasingly hostile to its political unification and the transfer of powers from London to Brussels that it entailed. Her downfall was in part precipitated by her resistance to “ever closer union.” After losing power she spoke and wrote extensively in opposition to European federalism and the concept of a European super-state that she felt would divide and weaken the West.
Almost the first controversy of the Brexit campaign was over how she would vote if she had lived to see it. How would she vote? How will the Tory Party, traditionally the patriotic party, recover from a campaign that has bitterly divided it along unfamiliar lines? How will Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy of ideas – a.k.a. Thatcherism – influence the result? And how will her historical reputation be affected by whatever the British people decide?
A Message from Margaret ThatcherPosted: June 23, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Breaking News, Diplomacy, Humor, Politics | Tags: Brexit, David Cameron, England, EU, European Union, Great Britain, Ireland, Margaret Thatcher, Scotland, UK, United Kingdom Leave a comment
Ronald Reagan Writes Margaret Thatcher on ‘Dark Day’ of Fall of Saigon, this Week in 1975Posted: April 28, 2016 Filed under: Asia, History, Mediasphere, War Room, White House | Tags: Communism, Fall of Saigon, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Saigon, Southeast Asia, Viet Nam 1 Comment
Europe’s Socialist Descent into HatefulnessPosted: October 8, 2015 Filed under: Global, History, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: 10 Downing Street, Bernie Sanders, Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, House of Lords, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrats, Margaret Thatcher, Politics of the United Kingdom, Scottish National Party, Tony Blair, UK Independence Party, United Kingdom 3 Comments
Socialism in Europe is increasingly defined by hatred
Tom Rogan writes: As enlightened arbiters of human interest and morality, socialists get angry when they don’t get their way. This unpleasant truth has been on very public display in Europe this week.
First, France. On Monday, infuriated by Air France’s necessary reforms to reduce costs and improve productivity, hundreds of airline employees attacked two of the company’s executives. Video of the incident shows the executives throwing themselves over a fence to escape.
[Read the full text here, at Opportunity Lives]
While the French government has condemned the violence, it is not an isolated incident. Just a few weeks ago, Parisian taxi drivers waged a violent uprising against competition — smashing Uber cars and assaulting drivers. The cabbies couldn’t bear the possibility of passengers choosing lower fares, and they got their way. Uber is now banned in France.
Then there’s the United Kingdom. This week, Britain’s Conservative Party held its annual conference in Manchester. But while the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats held their 2015 conferences without incident, things were different for the Tories. It began Sunday, when a group of young conservatives became surrounded by a baying mob. That incident ended with the mob hitting the conservatives with flagpoles and an egg.
“While this week’s events in Britain and France are sorry tales, the leftist fury flows naturally from socialist ideology. After all, where capitalism empowers individuals to use their skills for common advantage, socialism encourages people to believe society is the state and that we’re all subjects to it.”
Then on Monday, a journalist from that well-known conservative outlet, The Huffington Post, was spat upon. Every day of the conference, attendees lining up outside have been subjected to swearing and intimidation. Yet as much as those incidents are shocking in and of themselves, they speak to a deeper truth. Socialism in Europe is increasingly defined by hatred.
“As a result, while capitalism provides for broadly shared human prosperity, socialism provides only for the subsidy of human suffering.”
In France, the alliance between labor unions and government has fostered a climate of special-interest privilege and lawlessness. (Sadly, this attitude is seeping into U.S. politics as well.) French labor unions are stretching the bounds of legality as far as possible. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Nick Cohen Can’t Take it Anymore: ‘Why I’ve Finally Given Up On The Left’Posted: September 17, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: 10 Downing Street, Associated Press, Barack Obama, BBC, Jeb Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Republican Party (United States), Ronald Reagan, United States, United States presidential election Leave a comment
Left-wing thought has shifted towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic. It is insupportable.
Nick Cohen writes: ‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left. If you are a man, you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism. ‘This pathetic small-minded jealousy of the anti-democratic bourgeois shows them up for the reactionary neocons they really are,’ a Guardian commenter told its columnist Rafael Behr after he had criticised Corbyn.
Not that they are careful about anything, or that they will take advice from me, but the left should be careful of what it wishes for. Its accusations won’t seem ridiculous soon. The one prophesy I can make with certainty amid today’s chaos is that many on the left will head for the right. When they arrive, they will be greeted with bogus explanations for their ‘betrayal’.
Conservatives will talk as if there is a right-wing gene which, like male-pattern baldness, manifests itself with age. The US leftist-turned-neocon Irving Kristol set the pattern for the pattern-baldness theory of politics when he opined that a conservative is a liberal who has been ‘mugged by reality’. He did not understand that the effects of reality’s many muggings are never predictable, or that facts of life are not always, as Margaret Thatcher claimed, conservative. If they were, we would still have feudalism.
[Check out Nick Cohen‘s book “You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom” at Amazon.com]
The standard explanation from left-wingers is equally self-serving. Turncoats are like prostitutes, they say, who sell their virtue for money. They are pure; those who disagree with them are corrupt; and that is all there is to it.
Owen Jones, who seems to have abandoned journalism to become Jeremy Corbyn’s PR man, offers an equally thoughtless argument. ‘Swimming against a strong tide is exhausting,’ he sighed recently. Leftists who stray from virtue are defeated dissidents, who bend under the pressure to conform.
It won’t wash, particularly as Jones cannot break with the pressures that enforce conformity in his left-wing world and accept the real reason why many leave the left. It ought to be obvious. The left is why they leave the left. Never more so than today.
[Read the full text here, at The Spectator]
In the past, people would head to the exits saying, ‘Better the centre right than the far left.’ Now they can say ‘better the centre right than the far right’. The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.
[Check out Nick Cohen‘s book “What’s Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way” at Amazon.com]
In 2007 I tried to make amends, and published What’s Left. If they were true to their professed principles, my book argued, modern leftists would search out secular forces in the Muslim world — Iranian and Arab feminists, say, Kurdish socialists or Muslim liberals struggling against reactionary clerics here in Britain — and embrace them as comrades. Instead, they preferred to excuse half the anti-western theocrats and dictators on the planet. As, in their quiet way, did many in the liberal mainstream. Throughout that period, I never heard the BBC demanding of ‘progressives’ how they could call themselves left-wing when they had not a word of comfort for the Iraqi and Afghan liberals al-Qaeda was slaughtering.
The triumph of Jeremy Corbyn has led to What’s Left? sales picking up, and readers acclaiming my alleged prescience. Grateful though I am, I cannot accept the compliment. I never imagined that left-wing politics would get as bad as they have become. I assumed that when the criminally irresponsible Blair flew off in his Learjet, the better angels of the left’s nature would re-assert themselves.
What a fool I was. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorry, Liberals, Obama is No ReaganPosted: July 17, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank, White House | Tags: America's Newsroom, Arms control, Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Berlin Wall, Chris Christie, Earned Income Tax Credit, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milton Friedman, Neoliberalism, Privatization, Ronald Reagan, Tear down this wall!, United States 1 Comment
The Ronald Reagan Foreign Policy Legacy Distorted
Peter Wehner writes: One of the more amusing things to see in journalism is for committed liberals who didn’t work for Ronald Reagan, who didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan and who were fiercely critical of Ronald Reagan to invoke his name in order to instruct conservatives on how to better understand Ronald Reagan.
“J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post…argues in his column that Barack Obama’s Iran strategy parallels Reagan’s approach to Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. In fact, the lessons are exactly the opposite.”
The most recent example of this is E. J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post, who argues in his column that Barack Obama’s Iran strategy parallels Reagan’s approach to Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. In fact, the lessons are exactly the opposite.
“Both Reagan nor Thatcher were able to revise their assumptions based on new facts, new actors on the world stage, and new opportunities. They were not dogmatists. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, most assuredly is.”
For all the criticisms of the left against Reagan that he was a rigid ideologue, he was, in fact, a man who was quite willing and able to adjust his views in light of shifting circumstances. That is precisely what he and Margaret Thatcher did in the case of Mr. Gorbachev.
“Barack Obama is all about trust and completely indifferent to verify. The president was determined to strike a deal with Iran, any deal, for the sake of a deal. The Iranians, knowing this, were able to win one concession after another from the president.”
To their credit, both Reagan and Thatcher were dedicated anti-Communists. They understood the evil nature of the Soviet regime and they took a hard-line stance against it for most of their careers. But equally to their credit, they saw that Gorbachev was someone with whom, in Thatcher’s words in 1984, “We can do business together.” And they did. Both Reagan nor Thatcher were able to revise their assumptions based on new facts, new actors on the world stage, and new opportunities. They were not dogmatists.
“Mr. Reagan negotiated from a position of strength and operated within the four corners of reality; Mr. Obama negotiates from a position of weakness and operates in a world of his own imagination.”
Mr. Obama, on the other hand, most assuredly is. He has been ideologically committed to a rapprochement with Iran even before he was elected president; it has been his foreign policy holy grail for his entire tenure. Nothing was going to keep him from striking a bargain with which he was obsessed. (It explains in part why the president was so passive during the Green Revolution in 2009, essentially siding with the Iranian regime over the democratic movement seeking to topple it.)
[Read the full text here, at Commentary]
And here’s a key difference between Reagan and Thatcher and Obama. The former revised their approach based on an accurate assessment of Gorbachev and, therefore, the Soviet regime he ruled. Read the rest of this entry »
Want Your City State to Become a Capitalist Success Story? Ban SpittingPosted: March 24, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Think Tank | Tags: Asia, China, China–Singapore relations, CNN, Deng Xiaoping, Goh Chok Tong, Kwa Geok Choo, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew, Margaret Thatcher, Park Geun-hye, People's Action Party, President of South Korea, Prime Minister of Singapore, Shinzō Abe, Singapore, Westminster system Leave a comment
It may be hard to measure just how much Singapore’s famed spitting crackdown helped – but it certainly didn’t hurt.
The governing philosophy of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew contained multitudes: a belief in the enriching power of the free market; a development agenda implemented by a strong central government at the expense of personal freedoms. Alongside these well-known themes, however, there was also this: absolutely never, under any circumstances, would there be public spitting in the Lion City.
“Many of the biggest admirers of Singapore’s rise have since followed in its footsteps and stepped up anti-spitting measures. In 2003, in the wake of the regional SARS outbreak, Hong Kong announced a “no-tolerance” policy, tripling the penalty for spitting to $300.”
In Singapore, anyone caught expectorating can be hit with a hefty fine of up to $1,000 and $5,000 for repeat offenders. That law is part of a raft of legislation that Lee put in place — on gum chewing, bird feeding, and flushing public toilets — that reached deep into citizens’ daily lives and that remain a part of Singapore’s legal code today.
[Order Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – 1965-2000” from Amazon.com]
Lee’s strictures on spitting were designed to curb a habit fairly thoroughly ingrained in traditional Chinese culture. Here, for example, Deng Xiaoping meets with Margaret Thatcher with a spittoon in the foreground. The Chinese reformer was a lifelong spitter.
In the West, Singapore’s laws on personal behavior are seen as quirky eccentricities at best (that happen to be great listicle fodder: “If You Think the Soda Ban Is Bad, Check Out all the Things That Are Illegal In Singapore”) and the mark of an invasive nanny state at worst. These laws, however, are rarely considered as a component of Singapore’s much admired economic growth – but maybe they should be.
“The Shenzhen ban comes at a time when the politics of spitting as a dividing line between the ‘civilized’ and ‘uncivilized’ world have grown increasingly fraught, given the growing clout of mainland China, a country of rampant spitters.”
Spitting has long been against the law in Singapore, a vestige from the days when, as the New York Times put it in 2003, “British colonialists tried in vain to quell what the port’s Chinese immigrants once considered as natural as breathing.” The city-state didn’t begin enforcing laws on the behavior until 1984. But when Singapore did decide to crack down, it meant it: The government fined 128 people for spitting that first year and another 139 in 1985. Read the rest of this entry »
Stop Obsessing About Inequality. It’s Actually Decreasing Around the WorldPosted: January 12, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Global, Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: Beijing, China, Chinese economic reform, Communist Party of China, Deng Xiaoping, Great Leap Forward, Hong Kong, Industrial Revolution, Japan, Mao Zedong, Margaret Thatcher, Protest Leave a comment
Many Americans point to globalization as a bogeyman, robbing our country of good jobs and resources. But really, the phenomenon has ushered a period of unprecedented prosperity in many poor countries.
Marian L. Tupy writes: Is inequality increasing or decreasing? The answer depends on our point of reference.
In America, the income gap between the top 1 percent and the rest has grown. But if we look not at America, but the world, inequality is shrinking. We are witnessing, in the words of the World Bank’s Branko Milanovic, “the first decline in global inequality between world citizens since the Industrial Revolution.”
For most of human history, incomes were more equal, but terribly low. Two thousand years ago, GDP per person in the most advanced parts of the world hovered around $3.50 per day. That was the global average 1,800 years later.
But by the early 19th century, a pronounced income gap emerged between the West and the rest. Take the United States. In 1820, the U.S. was 1.9 times richer than the global average. The income gap grew to 4.1 in 1960 and reached its maximum level of 4.8 in 1999. By 2010, it had shrunk by 19 percent to 3.9.
That narrowing is not a function of declining Western incomes. During the Great Recession, for example, U.S. GDP per capita decreased by 4.8 percent between 2007 and 2009. It rebounded by 5.7 percent over the next 4 years and stands at an all-time high today. Rather, the narrowing of the income gap is a result of growing incomes in the rest of the world.
Consider the spectacular rise of Asia. In 1960, the U.S. was 11 times richer than Asia. Today, America is only 4.8 times richer than Asia.
To understand why, let’s look at China.
Between 1958 and 1961, Mao Zedong attempted to transform China’s largely agricultural economy into an industrial one through the “Great Leap Forward.” His stated goal was to overtake UK’s industrial production in 15 years. Industrialization, which included building of factories at home as well as large-scale purchases of machinery abroad, was to be paid for by food produced on collective farms. Read the rest of this entry »
HK: Dueling Definitions of DemocracyPosted: October 19, 2014 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Global, History | Tags: Anthony Galsworthy, Beijing, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, China, Hong Kong, Malcolm Rifkind, Margaret Thatcher, Martin Lee, Sino-British Joint Declaration, Thatcher, Tiananmen Square 4 Comments
Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.
“There was no doubt in our minds that Beijing was quite prepared to give us democracy or universal suffrage as everybody would understand it to be.”
— Martin Lee
When China and the U.K. began negotiating the transfer of Hong Kong in the early 1980s, both sides spoke optimistically about elections. Promises for future balloting were embedded in documents signed at the time to guide Hong Kong after its return to Chinese control in 1997.
For WSJ – Ned Levin, Charles Hutzler and Jenny Gross: In recent months, arguments over the meaning of those promises have helped to propel increasingly confrontational protests over how the city will choose its next leader in 2017. Beijing says that it has honored its commitment to provide universal suffrage; pro-democracy activists say that China has trampled those promises by insisting that candidates be approved by a committee whose members are largely pro-business and pro-Beijing.
“No one told Hong Kongers when they were assured of universal suffrage that it would not mean being able to choose for whom they could vote.”
Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.
“They can interpret white as black, yellow, green or red. And tomorrow, they can interpret back to white,” said Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee. He resigned after China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
The agreement to return Hong Kong to China was signed by U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984. During a tense 1982 trip to China, Mrs. Thatcher tripped and stumbled on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] REWIND: Margaret Thatcher ‘Dead Parrot’ Monty Python Sketch ReferencePosted: July 25, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: British, Conservative Party, Dead Parrot Sketch, John Cleese, Labour Party, London, Margaret Thatcher, Monty Python, satire, Terry Gilliam 1 Comment
New Obama Promise: If You Like Your Life, You Can Keep ItPosted: February 20, 2014 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Ann Coulter, BarackObama, Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher, New York Times, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, White House 4 Comments
Ann Coulter writes: Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.
“It’s not that Obama doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism; it’s that he wants to end it.”
What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven’t you already read all the magazines in your current doctor’s office anyway?
The New York Times has described Obama’s repeated claim that you could keep your insurance plan and keep your doctor under Obamacare as a mere slip of the tongue: “Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.”
“…Obamacare punishes you for having a healthy lifestyle. The Obamacare tax is a massively regressive poll tax on the middle-aged and the middle class.”
Misspoke? How exactly does one misspeak, word for word, dozens of times, over and over again?
That wasn’t misspeaking — it was a deliberate, necessary lie. Even Democrats couldn’t have voted for Obamacare if Americans had known the truth. It was absolutely vital for Obama to lie about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctors.
Of course, it was difficult for voters to know the truth because every time Republicans would try to tell them, the White House and the media would rush in and call the critics liars.
‘Neoliberalism’ – A Term Both Ubiquitous and Ill-Defined – is an Evolving Body of Market-Driven Ideas. Or a Conspiracy by Elites to Torment the Poor…Posted: February 10, 2014 Filed under: Reading Room, Think Tank | Tags: Friedrich Hayek, Hayek, James Callaghan, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman, Princeton University Press, Tim Barker 1 Comment
Spontaneous Order: Looking Back at Neoliberalism
Tim Barker writes: “The owl of Minerva,” Hegel famously wrote, “flies only at dusk”: historical events can be theoretically comprehended only in retrospect. Is this the case with neoliberalism? A term ubiquitous in the academy but scarcely used outside it, the concept is difficult to define with precision. A common shorthand identifies it as the economic and philosophical ideology behind the Reagan-Thatcher revolution; it is also often agreed that this ideology contributed somehow to the financial crisis of 2008. Now, with the recession technically over but recovery still ambiguous, two recent books attempt to describe neoliberalism’s historical origins and explore its current political implications.
Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism
by Johanna Bockman
Stanford University Press, 2011, 352 pp.
Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics
by Daniel Stedman Jones
Princeton University Press, 2012, 432 pp.
In Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Daniel Stedman Jones charts the rise of neoliberalism, which he defines as the “coherent, if loose, body of ideas” that underwrite our contemporary “market-driven society.” He begins with the intellectual biographies of three exiled Central European thinkers—Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Popper—who challenged the industrial West’s consensus around social welfare programs, full employment, labor unions, and state intervention. This first, émigré generation (joined by kindred Americans and West Germans) were “neoliberal” in their opposition to central planning, but also “neoliberal” because they sought a reformed liberalism for the middle of the twentieth century, not a simple return to the laissez-faire of the nineteenth. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, for example, countenanced significant departures from laissez-faire, including universal health care.
[VIDEO] 2012 Post-Election Time Capsule: Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan at the End of the World, on Uncommon KnowledgePosted: January 31, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Politics, The Butcher's Notebook, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, John O'Sullivan, Jonah Goldberg, Margaret Thatcher, Mitt Romney, National Review, Peter Robinson, Uncommon Knowledge, YouTube Leave a comment
From Uncommon Knowledge, days after the 2012 election, discussing the GOP’s future, interviewer Peter Robinson begins with the question: Are we, or are we not, doomed?
I meant to only watch a few minutes of this, but got sucked in and watched the whole thing.
It’s as relevant now as the day it was recorded. Goldberg and O’Sullivan are relaxed, reflective, unusually lucid (while Peter Robinson makes a valiant effort to keep up) insightful, and in good spirits, considering it was only days after during a disastrous national election. Perhaps it’s the location? It was conducted on National Review‘s Post-Election Cruise, aboard The New Amsterdam, in the Caribbean, December 4th 2012. So, that helps.
A Jonah money quote:
“…it’s been a 100 year project of American progressives, to diminish and delegitimize the authority and the sovereignty of the family, to clear away the mediating institutions in society [until] all is left is the individual and the Sate…as Woodrow Wilson put it, ‘the point of progressivism is to have the individual marry his interests to the State…’”
45 minutes long, it’s engaging stuff. It’s especially relevant, on the eve of the upcoming mid-term elections.
Many of you know Jonah from NRO’s The Corner, and appearances as a guest political analyst on Fox News. He’s an AEI scholar and NRO’s founding editor. Jonah Goldberg‘s book “The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas” is available at Amazon.
National Review‘s editor-at-large John O’Sullivan served in the 1980s as special advisor and speechwriter to Margaret Thatcher, looks like he should be wearing a tie, and not enjoying himself so much. He is the author of “The President, the Pope, And the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World“, also available at Amazon.
The Special Relationship: Past, Present and FuturePosted: January 13, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History, Think Tank | Tags: Britain, Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, Reykjavík Summit, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ronald Reagan, Special Relationship, United States 1 Comment
The history of the Special relationship, from Churchill to Thatcher and beyond
Henry A. Kissinger writes: The challenge that we have come together to discuss is how America and the Western world can find a sense of direction at a moment when they are confronted by revolutions on many continents. And as they navigate this issue, our public needs to have a sense that its leaders are devoted to peace, and our adversaries have to know that there is a line they cannot cross except at extreme peril: To combine these two is the key challenge.
But before we make a few remarks about that, let me say a few things about Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. I knew both of them for many decades, and I used to brief Reagan for President Nixon every month on international development. I remember during the 1973 war, I told him we had a problem. We wanted to help Israel with resupply, but we wanted to do it on the basis of criteria that were not too provocative to those Arabs that had not yet joined the war. So Reagan said, “I have a suggestion. Tell them you will replace all the planes that the Egyptians had said they have shot down.” That would have tripled the Israeli air force, and the Egyptian air force at that time was renowned for never getting anywhere close to an Israeli target.
I had moderately frequent contact with Reagan when he was President. He was exactly the right man for those times. He knew how to navigate between the two poles that I described: defining the limits beyond which the Soviets would not be permitted to go, but, at the same time, laying down perspectives for peace around which people could rally. It was, after all, Reagan who proposed the abandonment of all nuclear weapons at the Reykjavík Summit, but the one weapon he wouldn’t give up at the Reykjavík Summit was the Strategic Defense Initiative because he wanted to be protected against Soviet violations.
Mandela vs. the Iron LadyPosted: December 10, 2013 Filed under: Art & Culture, Diplomacy, Global, History | Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Knesset, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yedioth Ahronoth 1 Comment
Netanyahu’s decision to skip Madiba’s memorial is principled but controversial, especially in light of that fact that he attended Margaret Thatcher’s funeral
Joshua Davidovich writes: Israeli papers feature a mishmash of domestic news on their front pages Tuesday morning, with Knesset laws, a coming winter storm, and a shortage of doctors and paramedics trumping reports of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ninth visit to the region in as many months, and low-level talks over the Iranian nuclear deal in Geneva.
The decisions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres not to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg also gets some play on A1, with Netanyahu coming in for a not-small amount of criticism, though Peres, with a doctor’s note, gets a pass.
While former Israeli ambassador Alon Liel said Monday that Netanyahu’s decision to skip was the right one, seeing as how his policies are seen as anathema to Mandela’s and his presence might sully the service, Sima Kadmon writes inYedioth Ahronoth that she could die from embarrassment over Netanyahu’s reason for skipping, namely the high cost of such a trip.
“Netanyahu’s reason for not going is an affront to intelligence,” she writes. “And now that every news channel around the globe is citing his reason for not going, it’s an affront to the whole country.”
In Maariv, Michal Aharoni says Netanyahu seemed fine making the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, so why not Mandela’s, (though her scathing prose is somewhat undermined by insisting Netanyahu is skipping a funeral, and not a memorial service — plus she misspells Newseum).
“Oh, you’re not flying to save money? It costs a lot to fly to the memorial? There are security procedures and short notice? Strange. Margaret Thatcher, a former prime minister of Britain, died less than a year ago, and the prime minister and his wife managed fine flying there. And not only did they fly together, the plane was outfitted with a special half-million shekel bed and security arrangements were good and there was enough warning,” she writes. “What values, as a country, do we place higher, values of justice and ethics, or the economic values of Margaret Thatcher, who after her death Brits went out drinking and waved signs condemning her?”
Haim Schein in Israel Hayom, however, writes that the press is being too harsh on the prime minister, who he says would be attacked whether he went or not, seeing as he recently came under fire for spending too much state money on trips abroad, scented candles and other non-essentials.
Telegraph Piles on: Barack Obama is heading for a humiliating defeat over Syria: this will be a massive blow to his presidencyPosted: September 6, 2013 Filed under: Global, Reading Room, War Room | Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, John Kerry, Margaret Thatcher, Middle East, Obama, SCOAMF, Syria, United States Congress 1 Comment
President Obama’s Syrian campaign is in jeopardy
Politico has an eye-opening piece today revealing the extent to which the White House is staring defeat in the face over Syria. According to the influential Washington-based publication, President Obama doesn’t have the votes in the House of Representatives to secure a win, with large-scale opposition among Republicans, and lukewarm backing among Democrats:
If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big. That’s the private assessment of House Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides who are closely involved in the process. If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week — which is no sure thing — the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. Read the rest of this entry »
Margaret Thatcher dead: Weaned on the BBCs hatred, no wonder the young rejoice at her deathPosted: April 10, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: BBC, BBC World Service, Falklands War, Gerry Adams, Lady Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher, Northern Ireland, Prime minister Leave a comment
Because the BBC had a series of run-ins with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, and is hardly well disposed towards the Tory-led Coalition, I had expected it to pour buckets of cold water over the memory of the Iron Lady.
To begin with, I was pleasantly surprised. The tone of BBC News 24 on Monday afternoon was slightly awed, even reverential, as is befitting when any great figure dies. Some of the newscasters even wore a black tie. A picture of Margaret Thatcher was shown as silence was observed.
Of course, as was only right and proper, lots of people who did not at all admire Lady Thatcher were interviewed, such as Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley, but they were almost always measured, respectful and reasonable.
Thank God for the BBC, I began to murmur to myself. For all its faults, the Corporation knows how to behave on these occasions. It is capable of setting aside its prejudices, and rising above party politics.
But as the evening wore on, and the new day dawned, I began to change my mind. In many of the television and radio news bulletins, it seemed that Margaret Thatcher was on trial, and the case for the prosecution was subtly gathering force.
Again and again we were shown the same footage of 1990 poll tax riots, and familiar pictures of police grappling with miners during the 1984-85 miners’ strike. The clear message was: This is how it was under Thatcherism. Words such as ‘divisive’, ‘polarised’ and ‘out of touch’ began to be bandied about freely by BBC journalists describing the events of the 1980s. Charges were made against her which weren’t explained or placed in context.
For example, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was interviewed stating that Lady Thatcher had inflicted ‘great hurt’ on Northern Ireland. Now that Mr Adams represents himself as a democratic politician it is right he should have his say. But shouldn’t the BBC have mentioned that at the time of the Brighton bombing in 1984, which very nearly killed Margaret Thatcher, and did kill five others, the judgmental and seemingly virtuous Mr Adams was leader of the IRA’s Army Council?
Equally, Lady Thatcher’s opposition to sanctions against ‘apartheid South Africa’ was repeatedly cited by BBC television news, and her isolation among Commonwealth countries over the issue dwelt on.
What was not mentioned, at any rate while I was watching, is that she opposed sanctions largely because she believed they would harm black people most, though the BBC did grudgingly concede that she wasn’t in favour of apartheid.
Nor did the Corporation recall that after he was let out of prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress, visited No 10 to thank Margaret Thatcher for her part in securing his release. These caveats should have been entered. Why weren’t they? I suggest the reason is that they do not accord with the Corporation’s historically distorted depiction of her as an inflexible extremist.
And then, of course, there were countless interviews of people who claimed they or their families had been victims of Lady Thatcher’s allegedly draconian economic policies which supposedly ‘decimated’ British manufacturing. The similar (or sometimes worse) experiences of other advanced economies were not mentioned.
I don’t deny she was a ‘divisive’ figure – not in the sense of intending to divide people, and deliberately setting them against one another, but because she sometimes had this effect. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to interview people who believe they suffered as a result.
But on such a massive scale so soon after her death? It was when I was listening to the BBC World Service in the early hours of yesterday morning, and heard a disgruntled Welshman having a swipe at her over the Falklands War, that I decided I’d had enough, and the BBC was being unfair.
If anything, radio was worse than television, despite the repeated use of TV footage implying that the 1980s were one continuous riot. On Radio Five yesterday, I heard a young woman being interviewed who had taken part in a celebration of Margaret Thatcher’s death in Brixton.
Although she admitted she knew virtually nothing about Lady Thatcher’s record as Prime Minister, and was relying almost wholly on what her Liverpudlian parents had told her, this ridiculous person was taken seriously.
Perhaps the nadir of radio coverage came yesterday evening when the BBC World Service unearthed someone called Mark, who had been promoting a song, Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead, taken from the film Wizard Of Oz. This was not simply unfair. It was in appallingly bad taste to give airtime to someone capable of pushing such a song about a woman who had died the previous day. Let him sing it in his bath, if he must, but this poison should have been kept off the airwaves.
God knows what foreign listeners to the often admirable BBC World Service will have thought when they heard a just deceased great stateswoman being referred to in this way. I don’t suppose it could happen in any other country on earth.
Nor can I remember any major political figure being so treated by the BBC so soon after his or her demise.
Humane: When Winston Churchill died, the BBC rightly dwelt on his wartime achievement (itself not without blemishes) and left it to historians to write about his failings
You may say Margaret Thatcher was unusual in being so divisive, and so is bound to be dealt with in an unusual way. But every statesman who has ever lived made lots of mistakes.
When Winston Churchill died, the BBC could have chosen to make much of his many cock-ups, and the evidence of his extremism: his controversial involvement in the bloody Sidney Street siege in 1911; the disastrous Gallipoli expedition, which he proposed in the First World War; his return to the Gold Standard when Chancellor; and his reactionary opposition to Indian Home Rule in the 1930s.
But the BBC rightly dwelt on his wartime achievement (itself not without blemishes) and left it to historians to write about his failings. That is the natural, humane and sensible thing to do when a great figure dies. So it should have been with Margaret Thatcher.
For all her faults and errors, it is widely agreed, even by people such as Tony Blair, that she managed to save Britain from economic calamity. That is a wonderful thing to have done.
She would not have received such treatment from the BBC had she been of the Left. No, the shortcomings of Leftists are usually indulged. On a much smaller scale, when the ex-Marxist historian and former sympathiser of Stalin, Eric Hobsbawm, died, the BBC kindly drew a curtain over his support for a totalitarian regime.
My submission is that an intelligent young person knowing little or nothing about the 1980s, who watched and listened to as much BBC coverage as I have, would come away with the false impression that she was a destructive leader who did more harm than good.
I would like to tell this young person that she won three elections, two of them with very large majorities, and that she achieved some great things, not least of which were liberating many working-class people in Britain, and helping to destroy Soviet communism. This democratically elected leader was not such a divisive and polarising person as the BBC pretends.
But that is how it often represented her when she was Prime Minister. The BBC hated her in life. The evidence of the past couple of days is that it still hates her in death.
via Mail Online
Margaret Thatcher remembered: highlights from around the webPosted: April 10, 2013 Filed under: Reading Room | Tags: Brian Walden, Geoffrey Howe, Germany, John Major, Leon Brittan, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Thatcher Leave a comment
Quotes from some the best of what’s been written about Thatcher in the last few days…
“…while Mrs Thatcher was fighting her lone battle against the prospective single currency abroad, she was being fatally undermined at home. Geoffrey Howe, her bitterest cabinet critic, went on television to tell the interviewer Brian Walden that in principle Britain did not oppose the euro.
In her Commons statement after returning home, she was forced to slap Howe down: “this government believes in the pound sterling.” Howe resigned, and days later delivered the famous speech from the back benches that set in motion a leadership contest.
Today, Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography, first published in 1993, reads like a prophecy. It shows how deeply and with what extraordinary wisdom she had examined Delors’ proposals for the single currency. Her overriding objection was not ill-considered or xenophobic, as subsequent critics have repeatedly claimed.
They were economic. Right back in 1990, Mrs Thatcher foresaw with painful clarity the devastation it was bound to cause. Her autobiography records how she warned John Major, her euro-friendly chancellor of the exchequer, that the single currency could not accommodate both industrial powerhouses such as Germany and smaller countries such as Greece. Germany, forecast Thatcher, would be phobic about inflation, while the euro would prove fatal to the poorer countries because it would “devastate their inefficient economies”.
It is as if, all those years ago, the British prime minister possessed a crystal ball that enabled her to foresee the catastrophic events of the past year or so in Ireland, Greece and Portugal. Indeed, it is one of the tragedies of European history that the world chose not to believe her. President Mitterrand of France and Chancellor Kohl of Germany dismissed her words of caution. And when Mrs Thatcher was driven from office in 1990, a crucial voice was lost, and a new consensus started to form in Britain in favour of the euro.
This consensus stretched across the entire spectrum of the British establishment…”
And my favorite bit from this article:
“Yesterday, I tried to reach the leading politicians who tried so hard 10 years ago to abolish the pound – Heseltine, Leon Brittan, Mandelson, Neil Kinnock, Charlie Kennedy. I wanted to ask them whether they stood by their extravagant warnings. I wanted to ask them for an apology. Not one of them came back.”
More via Telegraph Blogs
Thatcher in her own words. Socialism smackdown.
From NRO.com, The Corner
“…she seemed to be having so much fun. That, I think, is what they never forgave her for. Thatcher laughed at them, mocked them, outwitted and out-debated them. That infuriated the Left: Conservatives aren’t supposed to mock, they are supposed to be mocked. They might be allowed to win a few elections, but they could never be allowed to win the argument, much less to scoff at liberals’ public pieties.
Thatcher won, in no small part because she was her own best case. Her confidence, prudence, good humor, and other virtues were those she sought to encourage in her fellow countrymen.
In that sense, we should be grateful to the odious likes of Ted Rall and Donna Brazile. As the treacly and insincere tributes from the likes of Barack Obama roll in, we should remember: They hated Margaret Thatcher. Hated her. Reviled her. Hated everything she stood for. Still do. So I do not really want to hear any tributes to her from the left side of the political aisle today. If you were not around at the time, it will be hard for you to appreciate the vulgarity and the cruelty of the attacks to which she was subjected. They hated her for the same reason they hated Reagan: She aimed to defeat socialism abroad and socialism at home, appreciating the structural continuity between domestic socialism and the idea’s full expression under the Soviets.
As we celebrate the remarkable life of Margaret Thatcher, it is fitting that we remember the most important aspect of it: She won, and she deserved to win. Those who opposed her and reviled her were on the wrong side of the most important question of their age, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with tyrants, many of them as guilty as those who manned the gulag watchtowers. And even today, when they make their pilgrimages to sit at the feet of Castro or bury Chávez, when they put leftist terrorists on their payrolls, they know: They lost. What they do not know, because they are incapable of understanding the fact, is that they deserved to lose. We should not allow them to pretend that they were on the right side all along…”
And from Jonah Goldberg
“…Buckley rightly identified the importance of Thatcher’s victory. “For over a generation we have been assaulted — castrated is probably closer to the right word — by the notion that socialism is the wave of the future.” The arguments between the major parties in the West had almost invariably been disagreements over the pace of descent into one or another flavor of statism. It “has always been possible for the leftward party to say about the rightward party that its platform is roughly identical to the platform of the leftward party one or two elections back.”
This was certainly true in the U.S., though Buckley may have overstated things when he wrote that “Roosevelt would have considered the Republican Party platform of Richard Nixon as radical beyond the dreams of his brain-trusters.”
What’s indisputable, however, is that the Tories and the Republicans alike suffered from an excess of “me-tooism.” From Thomas Dewey through Gerald Ford — minus Barry Goldwater’s staggering (and staggeringly influential) defeat — Republicans put forward leaders who promised to do what liberals were doing, but in a more responsible way. The pattern was even worse in Britain, which had thrown out Winston Churchill, at least partly, for wanting to trim back the welfare state.
For decades, conservatism failed to offer an alternative. This was why economist Friedrich Hayek said he couldn’t call himself a conservative. It has, he wrote, “invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing.”
One reason for this tendency is that in democracies, politicians usually can’t withstand the short-term backlash that comes with meaningful long-term free-market reforms. Thatcher was expected to follow the pattern. When it became clear that Thatcher intended to actually practice what she’d been preaching, the press demanded she make a U-turn. She didn’t. She explained in a defining speech in 1980, “The lady’s not for turning.” She had promised voters, to borrow a phrase from Barry Goldwater, “a choice, not an echo.” She delivered on it, and Britain is immeasurably better for it.
It’s worth remembering that Thatcher did not destroy the British equivalent of what Americans call liberalism. She destroyed socialism, which was a thriving concern — at least intellectually — in Britain. When Labour decided to get serious about winning elections again, Tony Blair had to repudiate the party’s century-long support for doctrinaire socialism and embrace the market. Soon, Bill Clinton followed suit, bending his party to Reagan’s legacy. Suddenly, liberals were playing the “me-too” game.
That’s one reason the Left still hates her and Reagan so much. Thatcher and Reagan didn’t just force change on their societies, they forced change on their enemies, proving that the wave of the future is not so inevitable after all…”
Dancing on Thatchers Grave: Brixtons Iron Lady Death Party Ends in Looting and ArrestsPosted: April 9, 2013 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere | Tags: Barnardo, Brixton, Death, Maggie, Maggie Simpson, Margaret Thatcher, Street party, Windrush Square Leave a comment
Revellers in Brixton staged a street party to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, culminating in arrests and an attack on a local charity shop.
Around 100 hundred people were out on the streets to celebrate the death of former the former prime minister, whose death from a stroke was announced on Monday.
A board at the famous Ritzy cinema in Windrush Square was hijacked by partygoers who swapped the letters to read ‘Margaret Thatcher’s Dead.’
Smashed glass was strewn on the street after the window of charity shop Barnardos was kicked in during ugly scenes.
Police officers trying to keep order were attacked, with extra numbers drafted in to stop revellers spilling out on to the roads and causing traffic delays.
Two women were arrested on suspicion of burglary and spent the night in cells after Barnardos was targeted during celebrations.
IBTimes UK reporter Ewan Palmer was at the scene. He said: “There was the notion that this morbid celebration has been planned in thousands of people’s heads for more than 30 years.
“Police stood by and watched as more and more people arrived with their drink and banners mocking her death. Shouts of ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! dead, dead, dead!” rang around gleefully.
“Chalk was handed out so people could graffiti their own message on the ground and surrounding walls.
“There were even two guys playing double bass and acoustic guitar in the crowd for a singalong. At the start of the evening, the whole thing resembled a middle-class music festival more than a raucous demo.
“Almost inevitably after a few hours of people drinking in the streets, this escalated into scenes of unrest between people and riot police, resulting in arrests and even serious injury.”
The revellers downed alcohol and brandished placards reading “The bitch is dead” and ‘Rejoice Thatcher is dead.’ Many revellers appeared younger than the 23 years which have passed since Thatcher left office.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police dealt with a group of approximately 100 people in Brixton who caused low-level disorder including throwing missiles at officers.
“In order to protect the community and to ensure the highways remained clear, extra officers were deployed.
“Two women were arrested after being found inside a shop in Brixton. They remain in custody.”