Sunday, September 17, 2006

Moore Is Less

Last week was the week when Muhammad Abdul Bari claimed that if native Britons didn’t stop linking Islam with terror, every Muslim in the country would turn into a suicide bomber. And that still wasn’t the stupid contribution that week.

The winner was, predictably enough, Call Me Dave, with a bold attempt to reach out to Michael Moore. All the usual Dave trademarks were present and correct. Take his attempt to have his political cake and eat it, by denouncing anti-Americanism, while alluding to every Yank hating stereotype imaginable, even to the point of whining about ‘neo-Conservatism’ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
We should be solid but not slavish in our friendship with America.

Which begs the question where he thinks we've been slavish.
We have never, until recently, been uncritical allies of America.
Uncritical ? What would count as 'critical' ? Tony Blair self-immolating on the steps of the US embassy ?
We have for more than half a century acted as a junior partner to the United States… I worry that we have recently lost the art.
Still. Waiting. For. Actual. Complaint.
I fear that if we continue as at present we may combine the maximum of exposure with the minimum of real influence over decisions.
Hang on a mo’ – Dave just got through telling us how Britain has to act independently, now he’s complaining that those damn Yankees act too independently. But let’s not let the superficial humbuggery blind us to the more profound problem. All this talk of ‘exposure’ is just by way of saying that British policy should be driven by the likelihood of drawing fire. The cowardice and amorality behind this position is despicable, but consider too the utter inability to understand the nature of the enemy. They will strike as and when it serves their agenda. Yes, they will be more likely to strike at countries actively opposing them, but there is no peace to be had by craven appeasement.
But I believe that in the last five years we have suffered from the absence of two crucial qualities which should always condition foreign policy-making.

Humility, and patience.
Yes, we’re going to wage war in a humble and patient way. It’s absurd, of course, injected for no better reason than to take a shot at the arrogant and impulsive America (i.e. the one that doesn’t exist anywhere except in moonbats’ imagination).

The next bit is even better:
They are not so glamorous and exciting as the easy sound-bites we have grown used to in recent years.

But these sound-bites had the failing of all foreign policy designed to fit into a headline.

They were unrealistic and simplistic.
Mr Kettle, we have an e-mail from

C’mon – Cameron trying to cast himself as a deep thinker ? He can’t even keep the same thought together in a single paragraph. Exhibit A:
They represented a view which sees only light and darkness in the world - and which believes that one can be turned to the other as quickly as flicking a switch.
Huh ? Let’s translate that into English: ‘the Right believes that good and evil are real concepts, and that good and evil are perfectly interchangable’. That doesn’t even make sense on its own terms.

Mind you, at least that sodium penthol is having an effect:
I am a liberal conservative, rather than a neo-conservative.
At least he’s 50% right. That’s progress. But I think we’ll need to continue the treatment for a while yet, at least to judge by the first of his five propositions:
First, that we should understand fully the threat we face.
Yes, we need to understand the threat, instead of taking refuge in platitudes like this:
[The terrorists] are driven by a wholly incorrect interpretation - an extreme distortion - of the Islamic faith, which holds that mass murder and terror are not only acceptable, but necessary.
Of course, Cameron means ‘understand’ in the PC sense of the word, i.e. blind acceptance rather than any real attempt to get at what motivates the enemy. In a similar vein, consider this:
The danger is that by positing a single source of terrorism - a global jihad - and opposing it with a single global response - American-backed force - we will simply fulfil our own prophecy.
But it isn’t ‘a single global response’ – in Thailand, China, Nigeria, Russia and many other places, Infidels are fighting to save civilisation. But that’s the thing about the America haters, for all that they call the US insular, it’s them that can't get east of Ellis Island. You could throw a bucket of water over Liberals at 3 AM and they’d jerk awake denouncing America.

There’s a moment of self-awareness coming up though.
The transformation of a country from tyranny to freedom does not begin and end with regime change and the calling of elections.

Put another way, democracy is not the foundation of freedom.

Democracy itself has foundations, without which it cannot stand.
Exactly, deposing a leader and installing a new one does no good at all if the new guy isn’t prepared to do what needs to be done to reverse the previous regimes excesses - which is another reason not to vote for the ‘heir to Blair’.

Needless to say, such insights are few and far between. Instead we have stuff like this:
The ambition to spread democracy is noble and just.

But it cannot be quickly achieved to suit a political timetable.

Because it takes time, it cannot easily be imposed from outside.

Liberty grows from the ground - it cannot be dropped from the air by an unmanned drone.

Like, that's totally profound, maaaaan!
You can't carry out nation-building unless the people inside a country want to build a nation.

Hence the brutal guerrilla wars in Germany and Japan.
Bombs and missiles are bad ambassadors.
Judging by the Foreign Office’s track record, so are actual ambassadors. It’s a false duality anyway. Is it a coincidence that following the Iraq invasion, Libya gave up its nuke program and Syria withdrew from Lebanon ? It works both ways. Bin Laden himself cited the US withdrawal from Somalia to drum up support. Insane though he is/was, Bin Laden knew that basics of power. While Bin Laden talked about strong horses and weak horses, Dave offers something new: the dead horse. For all Dave’s critcisms of the Right, he can’t offer anything better than the same ol’, same ol’, multilateral, supranational, institutional blather.

Actually, it’s far worse than that. Call Me Dave doesn’t just want to outsource national security to the klepocrats in Noo Yark, nope, he also wants to give Cherie Blair and friends a veto too.

A moral mission requires moral methods.

Without them, we are merely war-makers.

Might becomes our only standard of right.

And we sink in the esteem of the world.
How can we go on without the esteem of the world ? Well, quite easily actually. Britain probably lost the world’s esteem when the Royal Navy waged war on slavers. Would Dave have opposed that war too ?
That is why we must not stoop to conquer.

We must not stoop to illiberalism - whether at Guantanamo Bay, or here at home with excessive periods of detention without trial.
Hey, in the self-same speech Dave was telling us that the wogs were too chaotic to handle the whole democracy thing, but now he’s telling us that terrorists are motivated by the government’s failure to fully implement the European Convention on Human Rights. This was where we came in. If some guy is watching the news when he sees a story he doesn’t like, so he goes out and blows up a bus, he probably wasn’t a moderate anyway.
We must not turn a blind eye to the excesses of our allies - abuses of human rights in some Arab countries, or disproportionate Israeli bombing in Lebanon.

We are fighting for the principles of civilisation - let us not abandon those principles in the methods we employ.
Civilised warfare ? Again, I refer back to the examples of Germany and Japan. More to the point though, back not five minutes ago, Dave was talking about the importance of multilateralism and the world’s esteem. Now he’s admitting that, actually, large parts of the world are hell holes. So, which is it ? Should we respect the views of our fellow UN member, the Peoples Republic of Enema, or should we refuse to turn a blind eye ? Which principle, so to speak, is the principle one ?

Some politicians grow in stature in time of crisis, Churchill, Bush and Guilliani for example. Others are exposed, competent in the peacetime world of frivolous posturing and synthetic emotion, but lacking the skills for real leadership. Cameron is very definitely of the second type.

In many ways, Cameron is a politician out of his time. Just like his idol, Cameron is the perfect 1990s politician, a touchy-feely, happy-clappy, leader of our national group hug. The difference is that deep beneath all the Third Way drivel, Blair possessed both a vestigial moral sense and the ability to grasp the central realities of this war, while Cameron lacks both these abilities.

This is the central absrdity in Cameron claiming to have a more sophisticated approach than those pesky ‘neo-Cons’. Whatever the deficiencies of the Right, it is the Left that remains not only wedded to a single worldview, but to a one that died on September 11. Similarly, Cameron’s thinking remains firmly mired in the 1990s simply because he has no real ideas on how to deal with this century’s threats.

The inevitable result of a Party – or anyone else - that bases its policy on refusing to face reality is cognitive dissonance. Hence the attempts to square the circle with insane conspiracy theories about naughty neo-Cons and the like. Hence the urge to concentrate on eco-displacement. Anything to avoid having to take a stand on the greatest issue of the age. Expect Michael Moore to be guest of honour at Conference before 2008.

The real irony is that Opus Dave’s favourite tactic is to compare the Conservative Right to Labour’s 1980s Militant Tendency. They’re both extremists making their Parties unelectable, see ? Except, hang on, what was the definitive example of 1980s Labour lunacy ? Ah yes, unilateral nuclear disarmament, a position that was toxic not only on its own terms, but also in the sense that it was the perfect barometer of how unserious the Left was in dealing with Soviet thuggery. Now, fast-forward twenty years and it’s the Conservative Party which not only wants to coddle totalitarians, but thinks it can pick up votes doing so.

But how big is the Michael Moore tendency in this country anyway ? Fortunately, the Spanish division of the VRWC recently carried out an experiment into this very topic. The Left might have mau-maued people into mouthing multiculti platitudes, but when the rubber meets the road, Joe Public is under no illusions about where the threat is really coming from.

What we have is a public enraged by how the government’s natural sloth combined with political correctness has combined to do all but give terrorists an access all areas pass, but the Conservative Party thinks ordinary people should just shut up and trust the security provided by government drones. How does that work ? For those who really do think Fatty Moore is a prophet, there's always the Lib Dems, but right now no one's representing folks who worry that PC is giving terrorists a pass (even when they're right). Tory strategy makes no sense politically, but there's something deeper there. This is the issue that exposes the void at the heart of the Party.

If a Conservative Party doesn’t stand for national defence, what does it stand for ? Here’s an absolute bottom line issue. Cameron might hope to keep natural Conservatives onboard by giving them the hope that somehow his government can’t be as bad as Blairs, but even on an absolutely core issue, he’s prepared to give the store away. After this, there’s nothing the Conservative Party can be trusted on.

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