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The Geopolitics of it all

Janet Daley is a favourite author of mine. She is an American Jew that started off life as a Marxist and an acolyte of the New Left, and ended up, some decades later, in London writing for the very conservative Telegraph...

So when she says this I believe she speaks with authority.

The creation of this confusion over what counts as a fact has been the object of Leftist subversion for generations. In the heyday of the New Left, when the old Marxist doctrines were being refashioned to suit new cultural ideas, the slogan was, “objective truth is a bourgeois construct”. The “facts” that are offered by powerful authorities are just traps created by the ruling class to keep people enslaved.

This current orthodoxy of personal truth is a direct descendant of that ideology. It is not new or original. (Indeed, the primacy of feelings and intuition over provable, disinterested knowledge has very old roots in mysticism and superstition.) It is being promulgated now by people who actually believe that they are advocating a more communal way of life when what they are really promoting is a form of solipsistic, isolated existence which would make it impossible for human beings to understand one another, let alone share a common cause.


In the awakened future of this brave new world, truth is whatever you feel it to be. It is your emotional needs and reactions – driven by your own psychological imperatives – that determine “your truth” which must be accepted by the world as “valid”. It is clear that this promotion of what could be seen as pathological narcissism and disassociation from normal social expectations has been permitted to run riot through official and governmental institutions to such an extent that defying it now takes immense moral courage.

It is impossible to exaggerate what is at stake here. It is nothing less than the understanding of what is real, of what constitutes evidence for a true belief. Without reliable and consistent standards for the verifiable meaning of the word “true”, it is literally impossible to make sense of anything.

But there is movement ...

The combined party political forces which run the Irish government clearly thought they were on a roll. They were leading their historically conservative Catholic country into a modern progressive consensus with the enthusiastic gratitude of a liberated people. So confident were they that their attitudes were universally welcomed that they presumed to alter their country’s constitution in ways that would seal this change irrevocably.

The electorate were offered two referenda designed to eliminate the anachronistic words “mother” and “woman” from the great founding document. This was clearly going to be a triumph of the newly enlightened nation which would gratefully, indeed ecstatically, embrace its contemporary identity by a large majority.

Guess what happened. Not only were both these votes overwhelmingly defeated but the humiliation of that misjudgment was almost certainly the chief cause of the presiding Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar’s, resignation.

This was not just a political miscalculation. It was a catastrophic failure by the governing elite (a term which has now become indispensable in political analysis) to remain in touch with the actual opinions of the people who elected them.


....

There seems to be a mood supportive of disruptors.

Every now and then there is a popular cry for Reform!

And sometimes they have effect.


The Reform movement in Upper Canada was a political movement in British North America in the mid-19th century.

It started as a rudimentary grouping of loose coalitions that formed around contentious issues. Support was gained in Parliament through petitions meant to sway MPs. However, organized Reform activity emerged in the 1830s when Reformers, like Robert Randal, Jesse Ketchum, Peter Perry, Marshall Spring Bidwell, and William Warren Baldwin, began to emulate the organizational forms of the British Reform Movement and organized Political Unions under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie. The British Political Unions had successfully petitioned for the Great Reform Act of 1832 that eliminated much political corruption in the English Parliamentary system. Those who adopted these new forms of public mobilization for democratic reform in Upper Canada were inspired by the more radical Owenite Socialists who led the British Chartist and Mechanics Institute movements.


Reformism is a type of social movement that aims to bring a social or also a political system closer to the community's ideal. A reform movement is distinguished from more radical social movements such as revolutionary movements which reject those old ideals, in that the ideas are often grounded in liberalism, although they may be rooted in socialist (specifically, social democratic) or religious concepts. Some rely on personal transformation; others rely on small collectives, such as Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel and the self-sustaining village economy, as a mode of social change. Reactionary movements, which can arise against any of these, attempt to put things back the way they were before any successes the new reform movement(s) enjoyed, or to prevent any such successes.
 
And, in Europe, Macron vs Scholz

Differences of opinion between the two men abound.

Scholz has strong anti-nuclear and pacifist leanings, inherited from his formative years on the hard left of the Juso, the Socialist Youth, in the early 1980s.

He belonged to the “Better Red Than Dead/Atomkraft, nein danke” generation, which rejected nuclear power, civil or military.
Germany has been phasing out power plants for years.

Macron, meanwhile, has advocated for a nuclear “renaissance”, promising to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors by 2050.

Scholz marched against the deployment of Pershing missiles in Germany, demanding Germany leave Nato. In 1984, as a Juso leader, he appeared on East German State television, with Egon Krenz, then East Germany’s leader. (Scholz has since mentioned his “detox” from extreme opinions.)


Macron, while initially reluctant to challenge Russia in Ukraine, is today far more strident.

The two men have clashed in public on multiple occasions, always hastily arranging a photoshoot afterwards to insist they are actually on good terms.

Yet tensions are ratcheting up as the war in Ukraine drags on.

“Emmanuel Macron has made a spectacular two-year journey from apparent dove to leading hawk since February 2022,” says Mujtaba Rahman, the Europe Director for the Eurasia Group, a leading think tank.

The French president evolved “from would-be Putin intermediary to implacable Putin foe”. He has gone from saying “‘Don’t humiliate Russia’ (2022), to ‘Russia must be defeated’ (2023) to today’s war leader,” notes Rahma


Macron is also pushing back against what is seen in Paris as wilful denial of resources to Ukraine. Berlin was slow to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine and is now resisting sending Taurus long-range missiles.

There was anger in Paris when the Kiel Institute, a German think tank, compared the amount of arms and equipment sent by Germany (€17bn worth) and by France (€900m to €2bn depending on how you count).

“The provoking Kiel release aimed to camouflage Olaf Scholz’s flat refusal to send Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine,”
says Norbert Röttgen, a Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) MP and until three years ago the head of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Chancellor Scholz still believes that Germany should not be perceived as an aggressor by Russia. It was the same with Leopard tanks. Because of our delays the Ukrainian offensive was crucially stalled. Ukrainians died.”

Röttgen believes Scholz suffers from a fatal flaw of timidity. He believes Scholz is unable to realise “that all of us in the West will be more vulnerable if Ukraine loses, or even if it has to make major compromises with Russia.”

Röttgen’s – and CDU leader Friedrich Merz’s – assessment now match Macron’s own conviction, but it is not likely to soften Scholz’s attitude. Scholz is locked in a Liberal-Green-SDP coalition whose well-documented discord could at any moment trigger a snap election before the set 2025 date. The polls are not encouraging.

“Often, depending on whom you ask within the German government, you can get three different answers. And Scholz is incapable of arbitrating,” says a Paris source.

No coincidence then that Germany’s public opinion so far supports not sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine. Scholz has no mandate to do much more than listen.

But the German Greens, Liberals and Christian Democrats all seem to be vociferous supporters of Ukraine and of assisting Ukraine.

Ostis and Westis?
 

The key to the elite has always been the catechism. And catechism is learnt at seminaries.

Pierre Trudeau's journey is illustrative.

He started off at a Catholic seminary steeped in Ultramontanism, Quebec Nationalism and Corporatism. Brebeuf College.
He voyaged by way of a Congregationalist seminary that became a liberal seminary. Harvard College.
He ended up at a Socialist seminary of the Fabian or Shavian school. London School of Economics.

The words are less important than the ability to recite them.

....

My credo.

Science is never settled.
 

The key to the elite has always been the catechism. And catechism is learnt at seminaries.

Pierre Trudeau's journey is illustrative.

He started off at a Catholic seminary steeped in Ultramontanism, Quebec Nationalism and Corporatism. Brebeuf College.
He voyaged by way of a Congregationalist seminary that became a liberal seminary. Harvard College.
He ended up at a Socialist seminary of the Fabian or Shavian school. London School of Economics.

The words are less important than the ability to recite them.

....

My credo.

Science is never settled.
Not sure what to think of the Trudeau analogy - but the main article greatly overestimates how much of the capitalist "elite" is either progressive or woke. Maybe some of the more vocal ones. IMHO, the mass of the super rich are conservatives and in many cases, fundamentalists or at least pseudo fundamentalists.

Now the academic middlemen OTOH ... they're worth revolting against.

🍻
 
Not sure what to think of the Trudeau analogy - but the main article greatly overestimates how much of the capitalist "elite" is either progressive or woke. Maybe some of the more vocal ones. IMHO, the mass of the super rich are conservatives and in many cases, fundamentalists or at least pseudo fundamentalists.

Now the academic middlemen OTOH ... they're worth revolting against.

🍻

IMHO, your average Canadian is pissed off at the Corporatist for making their lives miserable and unafforable, the Academics for trying to settle scores from pre-Colonial days, and the Government for playong along with both of the latter.

How far some are willing to go remains to be seen.
 
Not sure what to think of the Trudeau analogy - but the main article greatly overestimates how much of the capitalist "elite" is either progressive or woke. Maybe some of the more vocal ones. IMHO, the mass of the super rich are conservatives and in many cases, fundamentalists or at least pseudo fundamentalists.
Party alignment or underlying political philosophy might not matter very much.

Issues & Insights commissioned Rasmussen to run a poll, and the results suggest the One-Percenters stand well apart. Article here. There's a link to a PDF of results.

The answer to a separately asked (by Rasmussen) question is unsettling. From the article: "Among all Americans, just 7% said they would want their candidate to win by cheating. As Rasmussen put it, he’d rather see that number lower, but that’s not bad. But more than a third of the elite 1% he surveyed would condone cheating. And among those who are “politically obsessed” – meaning that they talk about politics every day – that number shot up to 69%."
 
Not since the road to Damascus has there been a more notable spiritual volte-face than the one made on LBC this week. Having spent a career breathing threats against the disciples of the Lord, a certain Richard Dawkins is struck by a moment of realisation. And lo, the voice of Rachel Johnson came unto him and said “Dawko, Dawko, why persecutest thou me?”

OK, perhaps it didn’t happen quite like that, but Professor Dawkins’ admission that he considers himself a “cultural Christian”, who is, at the very least, ambivalent about Anglicanism’s decline is an undeniably contradictory position for a man who in the past campaigned relentlessly against any role for Christianity in public life, railing against faith schools and charitable status for churches.

Before we start preparing the baptismal font, it’s worth noting that Dawkins says he remains “happy” with the UK’s declining Christian faith, and that those beliefs are “nonsense”. But he also says that he enjoys living in a Christian society. This betrays a certain level of cultural free-riding. The survival of society’s Christian undercurrent depends on others buying into the “nonsense” even if he doesn’t.

Still, though Dawkins has spoken of his “cultural Christianity” before, this feels like another staging-post on a journey towards the good Professor finally admitting that the New Atheism, of which he was such a shining light, was wrong in crucial respects. First, in its almost touching naivety that a post-Christian world would give way to a values-neutral space, rooted in reason. Second, in its semi-adolescent diagnosis of Christianity as a retardant upon cultural and intellectual progress. A New Atheist would generally cite the Spanish Inquisition or some wacky US creationist as representatives of the world’s largest faith – conveniently ignoring any contradictory examples.

Like all good conversions, there’s an element of repentance; though unlike St Paul, Dawkins hasn’t had to go blind for three days to experience this epiphany. He also speaks of his concern at the rise of Islam in Christianity’s place; perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that some prominent atheists (though not he) focused excessively on Christianity, being an easy target compared to other religions.


The Glorious Revolution of 1689 gave the world Locke's toleration, Shaftesbury's civility and Smith's capitalism. It gave the world liberals, whigs and masons, meeting houses, clubs, coffee shops and the freedom to say whatever you ruddy well liked.

All via Christian infighting.

Nobody else was offering anything comparable.
 
Oh, Aye! It also brought you anti-establishmentarians and abolitionists.
 
Apparently Boris Johnson and Tony Abbot are in town....


Donald Trump will fail to “make America great again” if he lets Ukraine fall into the hands of Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson has warned.

The former prime minister urged Republicans in Congress, who have stalled a $60 billion aid package for Kyiv, to unite against Russia to maintain America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.

Invoking Ronald Reagan, he said the move would deter China from attacking Taiwan, while issuing a defence of Nato and hitting out at Western countries for appeasing Vladimir Putin.

Mr Johnson endorsed Mr Trump’s run for the presidency in January at the start of the primary season, saying he did not believe the Republican would “abandon” Ukraine.

However, his comments on Wednesday – at a conservative conference in Canada alongside former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott – suggest that belief has wavered.

It follows reports that Mr Trump has drawn up a plan to let Moscow seize parts of eastern Ukraine and maintain its grip on Crimea.

“If you are the party of Ronald Reagan, if you want to make America great again, then you don’t begin a new Republican presidency – which may well happen… by conceding victory to Vladimir Putin,” Mr Johnson said.

“It would be a disaster for the West and it would be a disaster for America… Ukrainians are a free sovereign, independent, European nation and what has happened to them is criminal and barbaric”.

Johnson and Trump in 2019. The former prime minister has endorsed the Republican frontrunner for president CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Mr Johnson endorsed Mr Trump in a Daily Mail column this year, noting that he had supplied Javelin anti-tank weapons that had proved critical in the Battle for Kyiv in the early days of the war.

“I cannot believe that he will want to go down in history as the president who abandoned a country that he has already signally helped to keep free”, he wrote in January.

However, the Washington Post reported last week that Mr Trump would pressure Ukraine to make peace with Russia by ceding Crimea and the Donbas border region if he wins the presidential election in November.
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Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said last month that Mr Trump would not “give a penny” to Ukraine, following a meeting with the former US president.
At the same time, Joe Biden’s attempts to keep military aid flowing to Kyiv have been blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Mike Johnson, the House Speaker, has so far refused to introduce a vote on the package – but has indicated he will do so this week. The move could lead to an attempt by supporters of Mr Trump to unseat him.

Mr Johnson said he believed the House Speaker was a supporter of Ukraine and argued that sending military aid was in the US’ own national interest.

“If you’re worried about the long-term ability of America to remain the superpower, if you’re worried about democracy around the world, if you’re worried about security, then investing in the security of Ukraine is the most cost-efficient thing you could possibly do,” he said.

“I would say, Mike – there aren’t any American boots on the ground in Ukraine, and yet those Ukrainians are fighting for freedom and security everywhere”.

Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, was snubbed when he attempted to meet the House Speaker to discuss the Ukraine package on a visit to Washington this week.

He did, however, meet with Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he reportedly urged the former president to help push the aid package through Congress.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said an Israeli airstrike on a convoy of aid workers last week was “appalling” but criticised those calling on Britain to suspend arms sales to Israel.

“Logically, what we seem to be saying by that action is that we’re willing to see Hamas win,” he claimed.

The move would allow Hamas to repeat its Oct 7 massacre “again and again”, Mr Johnson said, adding that there was a “clear moral difference” between the actions of the terrorist group compared to Israel.

“Israel and the IDF have done their best to minimise civilian casualties, minimise suffering, and Hamas as far as I can see are trying to maximise suffering,” he said.

 
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