The UK Should Ignore the Mediocrities and Listen to the Pretty Lady
Earlier this month Ronald Radosh told us of an ongoing controversy stirring in the UK over the Marxist upbringing of Labor Party leader Ed Miliband. To be sure, after reading Mr. Miliband's conference speech I could find nothing as offensive to Americans as Prime Minister Cameron's remark that Obama "pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world."
The free world, under the leadership of the United States, never lost moral authority - despite what some people nostalgic for the days of Saddam Hussein would like to think.
But his proposals -- tax hikes, price controls, ecotyrany, nationalizing private property ("so we'll say to private developers, you can't just sit on land and refuse to build. We will give them a very clear message -- either use the land or lose the land, that is what the next Labour government will do.") -- are a threat to liberty and the economic foundations of British capitalism (or, what is left of it).
The immortal Michael Ledeen, once -- in pre-PJM days, in The American Spectator, April 1998 -- wrote that:
These are decidedly bad times for Europe, and for those of us who have long looked to Europe for inspiration. Unlike the enormously creative generation or two following the debacle of the Second World War, today's Europeans suffer from an enormous sense of taedium vitae. The postwar Europeans gave us great theater, great cinema, great novels. Back in the mid-fifties, when I and my highschool pals dreaded ending up in grey flannel suits and living a boring existence in the suburbs, the Europeans gave us sexy women, sexy movies, even sexy philosophers. The French and Italian existentialists, and those angry young Englishmen were surrounded by intellectually fascinating and physically luscious girls, while we made do with dreams inspired by Grace Metalious and Harold Robbins. They had great cuisine and fine wines, we had hot dogs, hamburgers, Coca-Cola, bourbon, and bad beer. Joie de vivre was theirs, not ours. Europe offered pleasures of the flesh and of the mind, and, above all, Europeans incessantly pondered the meaning of it all. ...
No more. They're burnt out, and they know it. Only a masochist would voluntarily attend what now passes for an intellectual salon most anywhere from Paris to Rome, because such conversation is more an exercise in group therapy for the depressed than a spirited inquiry among people expecting to shape the world.
This essay, titled "The Sick Men of Europe," was prophetic. It predicted with remarkable precision the rise of a continent-wide, mediocre ruling class, and the unbelievable corruption and devastation brought on by the European Union. (Thatcher may have been able to save the UK from the latter, but, sadly, the former took over once she left.) However, Mr. Ledeen may have been too quick to stipulate the extinction of everything he so fondly remembers. Some of it certainly did survive.
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