Carthago Delenda Est

For quite a few years, some time ago, I subscribed to The Economist.  I liked several things about the newspaper (they describe themselves as a “newspaper,” which I also find charmingly old-fashioned).  I liked that they don’t have bylines, so while I have to assume their writers are no more immune to pride and vainglory than anyone else, at least they don’t indulge in the kind of fashionable byline that, for example, The New York Times does (I mean, seriously: would anyone with more than just bare walking-around sense pay attention to a column written by Paul Krugman if it didn’t have his name on it, trying desperately to steal the credibility that comes with a Nobel?).  I liked that they weren’t afraid to stake out a clear position, and didn’t hide behind a false façade of impartiality (like most of the lamestream media); I still recall their cover back in the late 1990s when Clinton got caught committing perjury.  It was a picture of him, and the legend, “If It’s True, Go”.  Mostly I liked that they still held to the basic outlines of their founding world view from 1834: classical liberalism.  Their reportage, their opinion leaders, their whole package seemed to take a presumption in favor of human liberty and the ability of private persons, voluntarily organized as they see fit, working through the mechanisms of the free market wherever possible, to address the restrictions and failings of the human condition.

And then things seemed to change.  Looking back I can no longer recall just when I first noticed it.  It might have been when they decided that George W. Bush really was as stupid as all the Deep Thinkers made him out to be.  Or when Bush refused to apologize for wanting to win the West’s war on terrorists (notice I did not say “terror”; you cannot wage a war against an ideology; you can only exterminate as many of its exponents as you can lay hands on).  All I distinctly recall is that by the time ol’ Hopenchange came along, The Economist had truly drunk the Kool Aid.

One of my partners now subscribes, and so the gents has a healthy supply of back issues for reading.  I predictably get to read about how wonderful socialized medicine in the U.S. will be (presumably because it’s worked out so damned well in the U.K.), or how U.S. politics is now “polarized” and both sides are at fault (although curiously acts of polarization are only mentioned in any detail if it’s just the one side going partisan) as if it’s unreasonable for a huge slice of the American population to react badly to years’ worth of being slimed as stupid, racist, parasitic leeches by the other party and its adherents. 

Islam comes in for a healthy dose of kowtowing.  A socio-economic system that — and here I’ll go out on a limb — has Absolutely Bugger All to offer the West in terms of advancing either the moral stature of mankind or his physical circumstances of existence is routinely presented as something that we here in the West are just going to have to understand and get along with.  Those few who are willing to characterize them by their actions, as opposed to their activists’ words, are painted as beetle-browed would-be SA thugs who just don’t like people with darker skin (ignoring that the African slave trade is still alive and well, with Muslim lands a principal destination for the captives).  A recent low point was reached in their opinion leader on how wonderful it was that Dear Leader has effectively blessed Iran’s race to acquire nuclear weapons.  No, seriously; as the Blogfather would say, Read the Whole Thing.  The Economist thinks it’s wonderful because, if you assume that the theocracy of Iran, which has as its stated public policy objective to “wipe off the map” the nation of Israel, suddenly makes nice, then . . . well, nice will be made.  “But the deal matters mostly for what it heralds. If Iran shows restraint and the world rewards it, the negotiators might generate sufficient goodwill to reach a more durable and comprehensive agreement.  And that would open up the possibility of America and Iran co-operating more, or at least feuding less, in the world’s most troubled region.”  And so forth.  Transpose a few names and dates, and it might have been an opinion leader ghost-written by Neville Chamberlain in early October, 1938.  If Hitler is satisfied with the Sudetenland, and he says he is, then this might open the door to more comprehensive agreement on re-armament in Central Europe.  Pathetic.

But mostly I get to read, with the regularity of one of the magnificent wristwatches they advertise, about how “climate change” is right up there at the top of what ought to be Everyone’s Agenda.  Really; it’s as though they can’t let an issue get out the doors without shoving something in on how vitally important it is that we hand unparalleled powers over to multinational bureaucrats (you know, because they’ve done such a bang-up jobs running the EU and — in their free time from running drugs, narcotics, and sexual slavery rings — as “peace-keepers” all around the world) in order to stave off “climate change.”

One reads, well nigh week in and week out, the mantra that “the science is settled” (I’d also remind them that at one time the theories of Gobineau were “settled science”) that the world is warming up and it’s pretty much all humans’ fault and what we really need is to siphon trillions of dollars away from productive uses (you know, the stuff that’s got to keep 6-plus billion humans housed, clothed, and fed for the foreseeable future) in order to stave off something that computer models say will happen 100 or more years out.  These would be the same computer models that cannot explain the last fifteen years of minimal if any “global warming.”  The writers there also don’t seem to bear down much on the extent to which the “science” being “settled” was the result of a highly orchestrated effort among the one side to suppress publication of any contrary views or evidence.  By the way, this was after having so thoroughly cooked the evidence that their own computer guru, after something like three years’ effort, eventually threw up his hands and stated, in precisely so many words, that the raw numbers had been so manipulated and compromised that there was no way to reconstruct what the data had originally been.

Here we’ve got their leader for the 2013 holiday double-issue.  This year is the centenary of World War I’s outbreak.  The Great War happens to be a fetish of mine, and so for the next four-plus years I’m going to have a great number of anniversaries to contemplate, both on their own merits and for what they have to suggest to us today.  And what does The Economist have to say to tee it up?

“The most troubling similarity between 1914 and now is complacency. Businesspeople today are like businesspeople then: too busy making money to notice the serpents flickering at the bottom of their trading screens. Politicians are playing with nationalism just as they did 100 years ago. China’s leaders whip up Japanophobia, using it as cover for economic reforms, while Shinzo Abe stirs Japanese nationalism for similar reasons. India may next year elect Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist who refuses to atone for a pogrom against Muslims in the state he runs and who would have his finger on the button of a potential nuclear conflict with his Muslim neighbours in Pakistan. Vladimir Putin has been content to watch Syria rip itself apart. And the European Union, which came together in reaction to the bloodshed of the 20th century, is looking more fractious and riven by incipient nationalism than at any point since its formation.”

The only place the Religion of Peace even gets a mention is that some Hindu politician has refused to apologize to them, and might get into a nuclear exchange with a Muslim state that — of course it’s not mentioned — is among the most unrepentant sponsors of violent religious-based warfare out there.  Really.  Apparently a nation that sits atop a vast fund of fossil-fuel wealth and has for its stated objective killing every Jew it can lay hands on, and has now been given the go-ahead to pursue its nuclear ambitions is not sufficiently disturbing to enumerate among the things about which people ought not be complacent.  The Economist isn’t complacent about it, after all: they’re whole-heartedly for it (q.v.)

Not to worry, though.  There are two things suggested that will head us off from going over the cliff like the grandparents and great-grandparents of The Economist’s writers and editors.  “One is a system for minimising the threat from potential dangers.”  The two specific instances that are mentioned are (i) China and the U.S. figuring out how to address North Korea’s eventual collapse, and (ii) figuring out how to defuze China’s regional aggressions.  Dealing with a nuclear war of extermination against Israel (and the Sunni peoples) again doesn’t make it onto the radar screen.

“The second precaution that would make the world safer is a more active American foreign policy. Despite forging an interim nuclear agreement with Iran, Barack Obama has pulled back in the Middle East—witness his unwillingness to use force in Syria. He has also done little to bring the new emerging giants—India, Indonesia, Brazil and, above all, China—into the global system. This betrays both a lack of ambition and an ignorance of history. Thanks to its military, economic and soft power, America is still indispensable, particularly in dealing with threats like climate change and terror, which cross borders. But unless America behaves as a leader and the guarantor of the world order, it will be inviting regional powers to test their strength by bullying neighbouring countries.”

It’s hard to know where to begin unpacking this nonsense.  It was a “more active” foreign policy, of going after the Islamofascists where they live and breed, rather than sweeping up the wreckage and burying the bodies after attacks on our home soil, that turned The Economist against the U.S. and freedom.  Dear Leader’s “interim agreement” with Iran is going to turn out pretty much precisely as well as Chamberlain’s “interim agreement” on the Sudetenland.  And precisely what about illegally bombing Libya and then abandoning it to the Islamofascists, hectoring a U.S. ally from office and then rejoicing when the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, and then gratuitously mixing himself into Syria (only to get his mom-jeans-wearing ass handed to him by a leader — Putin — who knows how to play hard-ball beyond the kind of bullshit ward-heeler politics of Chicago) is “pulling back”?  No, he’s getting in, in over his head.  He’s “done little” to bring China into the global system?  Really?  China?  The joint which has pretty much bought out the U.S. economy?  The place which is eagerly buying up every drop of oil from whatever kleptocracies and anti-U.S. Islamofascist dictatorship it can?  The ones who just launched an aircraft carrier?  Short of having the Politburo over for a fish-fry on the South Lawn, exactly what more needs China to become part of the “global system”?  Or India, the world’s largest democracy and one which is bursting at the seams with human capital and entrepreneurial spirit, all of which it gleefully either exports to the far reaches of the free world or brings in-house to its own educated class?  I have an idea:  Why don’t The Economist’s writers call up the technical support lines for their laptops and see what sort of English they hear on the other end of the line?

But Cato saves his tired exhortation for last.  Yep, the U.S. needs to squander what little influence is left after five years of insulting our allies, accommodating our enemies, making a pig’s breakfast of pretty much everything we try overseas, and taking dead aim on blowing up our own economy . . . on fighting “climate change.” 

He’s just phoning it in at this point.

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