Thursday, April 22, 2010
British "centrist" leader is no patriot
There is an element of truth in what he says but it is hardly a balanced view, let alone a patriotic one
Nick Clegg has claimed that the British people have ‘a more insidious cross to bear’ than Germany over the Second World War. In an astonishing attack on our national pride, the Liberal Democrat leader said we suffered from ‘delusions of grandeur’ and a ‘misplaced sense of superiority’ over having defeated the horrors of Nazism.
He said we found it hard to accept that Germany had become a ‘vastly more prosperous nation’ and that ‘we need to be put back in our place’.
His views, outlined in a newspaper article when he was a member of the European Parliament, cast grave doubts over his judgment of international affairs ahead of the second leaders’ debate this evening, when the topic will be foreign policy.
The jibes threatened to undermine the surge which has taken Mr Clegg from also-ran to serious player in the opinion polls.
The passionately pro-Europe Mr Clegg revealed his views in an article for the Guardian newspaper in 2002. ‘Watching Germany rise from its knees after the war and become a vastly more prosperous nation has not been easy on the febrile British psyche,’ Mr Clegg wrote, before attacking Britain’s approach to the war.
‘All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still.
‘A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place.’
Tory MP Nicholas Soames, grandson of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, said: ‘These views will disgust people the length and breadth of the country. They show that Nick Clegg is unfit to lead his party, let alone the country.
‘They are an insult to the memory of Britain’s war dead and to a time when the British public all pulled together for the common good. 'They prove that Mr Clegg shares the European view of Britain rather than the British view.’
Mr Clegg, who has a Spanish wife, a Dutch mother and a Russian grandparent, began his career as a Brussels bureaucrat and moved to Westminster after a spell as a Euro MP. Ironically, his mother was interned by the Japanese during the war.
His outburst was not an isolated incident. In another article from June 2003, Mr Clegg continued to denounce ‘Britain’s culture of superiority’.
Making clear his love affair with all things European, he condemned the British ‘belief in our innate difference from our mainland continental cousins’. He went on: ‘No other culture in Europe is quite so enamoured by such a false notion of difference.
'We Brits concoct a historically illiterate notion that we are divorced from outside influences. Maybe it was loss of empire, the choppy waters of the Channel, or the last war.’
Those with recent experience of fighting for their country condemned his views. Colonel Tim Collins, commander of the Royal Irish Regiment during the Iraq War, said: ‘What he’s articulating is the Liberal Democrat view of the British people.
‘They are ashamed of them. They are ashamed of British identity and pandering to those who don’t share it.’
How evil works
An interview with David Kupelian
Let’s start by talking about the Stockholm syndrome that, as you discuss in your book, is affecting the West right now in its confrontation with Islamic Jihad. Give us your perspective.
Kupelian: Jamie, thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about “How Evil Works.” In Chapter 3, “How Terrorism Really Works,” I use the Stockholm syndrome to explain the inexplicable level of weakness and appeasement we continually see in the West toward Islam – for instance, in our disastrous failure to stop Nidal Malik Hasan before he shot dozens of people at Fort Hood, killing 13, even though we knew full well he was a jihadist time bomb waiting to explode.
Everyone’s heard of the Stockholm syndrome, named after the Swedish bank robbery when two escaped convicts terrorized four hostages in a bank vault for five and a half days, during which time the hostages grew increasingly sympathetic toward their captors and antagonistic toward the police who were risking their lives to rescue them. The hostages, who had been tied to chairs, had nooses around their necks and guns trained on them day after day, ended up siding with their captors wholeheartedly, later raising money for their defense and refusing to testify against them at trial.
The syndrome, which law enforcement psychologists recognized long before it had a name, is pretty simple: When we’re seriously intimidated, in a life-threatening way, some of us start to side with whomever or whatever is intimidating us. I don’t mean just cooperating and “agreeing” with a captor as a survival strategy, which makes perfect sense. Extreme intimidation has a way of sometimes flipping our sympathy and loyalty in favor of the people doing the intimidating. In the news business, we see this in high-profile cases like Patricia Hearst, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard.
Radical Islam is extremely intimidating – by design. The more crazy it acts, the more powerful it becomes. Just a few weeks ago, in Nigeria, Muslim gangs slaughtered 500 Christians, including many children and pregnant women and old people – hacked them to death with machetes. Islam has spread in this way – “at the point of a sword” – for centuries. As I write in “How Evil Works,” I personally lost many family members, perhaps over 100, in the genocide of the Christian Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks. I tell one story in which my great grandfather, a Protestant minister, was martyred, along with 60 or 70 other clergymen and their wives, in Adana, Turkey, because they refused to convert on the spot to Islam. This is how it spreads, by traumatizing people. Many, just to survive, join the religion.
So the murderous Islamic tantrums we keep hearing about have a certain dark logic to them, in terms of enabling the spread of Islam. Remember the Danish Muhammad cartoons, which resulted in over 50 deaths? Or when Newsweek reported (incorrectly) that someone at Gitmo flushed a Quran down the toilet, which led to at least 15 deaths? Or the Miss World contest in Nigeria, when a single comment by a newspaper columnist about the beauty of contestants led to insane Muslim rioting in which rioters massacred over 200 people with machetes, or beat them to death or burned them alive – all because of a single sentence a newspaper columnist wrote, which wasn’t even offensive?
How do we respond to these outrageously demented and murderous tantrums? We refer to terrorist acts as “man-caused disasters.” We proclaim Islam as a “religion of peace.” Burger King recalls thousands of its ice cream cones because someone thought the ice cream swirl logo looked too much like the way the word “Allah” is written in Arabic and was therefore sacrilegious. “The 3 Little Pigs” is repeatedly censored in Britain so as not to offend Muslims, who don’t like pigs. In the U.S. we have a middle school curriculum that requires our children to dress up in Islamic garb, take on a Muslim name, memorize verses of the Quran and play so-called “jihad games.” Imagine trying that in today’s public schools with the Christian religion!
America, Europe and Britain today, in the way they deal with radical Islam and the terror threat, reveal something very akin to a low-grade, widespread Stockholm syndrome.
Bottom line, we don’t want to offend Muslims. Why? Because we’re afraid of them. We’re not afraid of Christians or Jews, because Christians and Jews don’t have tantrums and burn down other religions’ houses of worship and cut of people’s heads and commit terrorist acts. Radical Muslims do. We’re so afraid that, even after the Fort Hood attack, the Pentagon, in its 86-page postmortem report analyzing the event, did not see fit to mention the word “Muslim,” “Islam” or “jihad.” This is reminiscent of the “Harry Potter” stories, where everyone is so spooked by the villain Voldemort that they are afraid even to utter his name.
Ironically, people in the grip of jihadist fervor have nothing but contempt for our weakness and appeasement, which actually encourages more violence. Their madness is neutralized only by strength. Ronald Reagan knew this, which is why his watchword was “Peace through strength.”
Much more HERE
Dangerous to carry a walking stick in Britain
Dashing out of a shop after buying a newspaper, Andy Berry's only concern was catching his bus. But that worry was soon forgotten when he was confronted by five police officers carrying Heckler& Koch machine guns.
The 29-year-old was ordered to approach them and hand over his collapsible walking stick. His surreal predicament continued as the armed officers checked the black stick did not pose a threat - before revealing a member of public had mistaken it for a shotgun.
After realising the error, the police warned Mr Berry not to carry the stick in an 'inappropriate' fashion before sending him on his way
Mr Berry said: 'It was very scary at the time. I just froze to the spot and was a bit shaken afterwards but I can see the funny side now. 'I am just grateful that the police were not trigger-happy and prepared to shoot first and ask questions later. When I came out of the shop and saw them with their machine guns I thought, "What the hell is going on?"
'I never imagined it was anything to do with me. Then they asked me to stop. Their exact words were, "Can you come here for a moment please?".
After hearing why he had been stopped, Mr Berry said: 'I told them that it was just an extendable walking stick. It was black and I was carrying it horizontally like an umbrella but even so, it was clearly not a gun. 'I was warned not to carry the stick like that again in case it gave people the impression that it was a gun.'
The bizarre confrontation happened on Monday morning as shop assistant Mr Berry made his way to the convenience store where he works in Kesgrave near Ipswich. He bought the £5.99 stick, which is two feet long when collapsed, last year after suffering a leg injury and was taking it to work to donate to one of his customers.
However the intended recipient had found an alternative - and Mr Berry was too scared to risk venturing into public with the apparently threatening object and gave it to someone else.
The case has echoes of painter and decorator Harry Stanley, 46, who was shot dead by police in September 1999 after a caller dialled 999 to say that he appeared to be carrying a gun in Hackney, East London. It later emerged the 'gun' was a table leg he was carrying in a plastic bag.
Marriage is still the ideal
By Miranda Devine, writing from Australia
One of the most watched videos on YouTube last year was about marriage: 48 million hits and rising. The video of Jill and Kevin's Big Day shows a wedding in Minnesota in which the couple and their bridal party dance down the church aisle in a joyous celebration of love and friendship that captivated the imagination of the world. The video went viral within days of being posted by a family member, showing the perennial appeal of a happy marriage and all it implies for a stable and dynamic society.
More than two millenniums ago, Confucius sang the praises of marriage as the basic foundation of civilisation, with its main purpose to cultivate virtue, establish social cohesion and harmony. Aristotle saw the family as the foundation stone of society.
But marriage increasingly is under threat, from sky-high divorce rates and de facto unions to a push for same-sex marriage, which confuses legitimate gay rights with the undermining of a battered institution maligned as misogynistic and fostering intolerance.
Only a few days after the Jill and Kevin wedding video went up on YouTube came the spoof: Jill and Kevin's Last Day, which takes place in a divorce court, with the lawyers and judges dancing around the courtroom. While amusing, it fulfilled a pessimistic modern expectation that fairytales must inevitably disintegrate, that modern spouses are too weak and self-indulgent to weather the tempests any long marriage brings.
The most high-profile marriages - such as Tiger Woods' - seem destined to end in tears, as gossip magazines stage death watches on celebrity unions, and report break-ups with lascivious glee. Woods was the poster boy for the misery marriage narrative - the husband who seemed too good to be true, was. Not only did he excel at golf but he excelled at cheating on his wife.
When Sandra Bullock's marriage collapsed a few days after she won this year's best actress Oscar for The Blind Side, having been blindsided by her husband's Tiger-like infidelities, the story of the Oscars Curse emerged. Bullock was following a long line of actresses - Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry and Helen Hunt - who won the award only to find their marriages collapse soon afterwards.
What can we make of the Oscars Curse: that as women become more successful in their careers inevitably their marriages must break under the pressure? Or that husbands could not cope with their wives' success? Or the wives suddenly decided they were worth more?
Perhaps, more likely, it is just that celebrity unions are inclined to brittleness, because of the unique pressures and temptations of that self-obsessed industry.
Celebrity breakdowns like those of Bullock and Woods show when marriages are bad, they are toxic. But they are the exception. More marriages survive than don't, especially in Australia where more than two in three remain intact, while divorce rates have been dropping and marriage rates increasing.
Regardless of Hollywood pessimism, a generation that has felt first-hand the effects of marriage breakdown and instability is embracing the institution afresh.
Instinctively they know the truth of what C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:
"If you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned person for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.