Britain

Letter From London

UKIP’s Tremor

By 5.27.14

Democracy is very well-defended against public opinion. Political parties, especially, are immune to almost everything that the majority actually desires, and are much less interested in mass tastes than shopkeepers, broadcasters, or industrial corporations. Modern politicians employ battalions of professional deceivers and manipulators, whose main job is to persuade the electorate to want what they are already being given, or what they are going to get. Our democratic leaders much prefer this to giving the people what they actually want.

So it is quite funny to watch men and women who are publicly dedicated to government for, by, and of the people, getting angry and exasperated when the people actually speak.

Events in Britain over the last few days have reminded me strongly of Berthold Brecht’s embittered sneer at his East German Communist comrades who, faced with a revolt by the workers they claimed to represent, ordered those workers to do penance for this outrage.

As Brecht sarcastically enquired, “Wouldn’t it be simpler if the Government just dissolved the people and elected another?”

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Letter From London

UKIP If You Want To

By 5.23.14

This coming Thursday will likely see one of the most significant electoral results in Britain’s modern political history: the triumph of the United Kingdom Independence Party in the European Parliament elections.

Nigel Farage’s fiercely anti-European Union party consistently tops polls of likely voters, and, what is more, it looks increasingly likely to make a splash at next year’s general election.

Despite this, I believe that any American enthusiasm for the rise of this new political force in Britain is deeply misguided.

While I am sure many readers will empathize with UKIP’s ostensible aim of giving “the Establishment” a bloody nose, it seems apparent that their message is a flawed one. UKIP is not the libertarian party it pretends to be, and its leaders and members are not worthy personalities for elected office.

Before UKIP rose to the level of national prominence it now enjoys, the party’s activist base was allowed to be a little more eclectic. As such, many libertarians, who were deeply disappointed by the combination of statist economics and social conservatism espoused by Labour and the Conservatives, saw UKIP as a potential political home. 

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Feature

18th Century Fox

By From the November 2013 issue

TWO THINGS ALL  conservatives love are narratives of decline and talking about conservatism. Put those together and you have the popular argument that conservatism ain’t what it used to be. The chart of that supposed decline, if you were to draw it Ascent of Man style, would start with Edmund Burke looking intelligent and walking upright, followed by William F. Buckley as Australopithecus, slouching. The present age would be represented by some knuckle-dragging, prognathous creature like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. First comes very smart, then pretty smart, and then not very smart at all.

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