Monday, May 21, 2012
Why defeat an evil empire – and then embrace a stupid one?
By Peter Hitchens
The European Union is like a hospital where all the doctors are mad. It doesn’t matter what is wrong, the treatment is always the same – more integration – and it is always wrong. The best thing to do is never to enter it. Once you are in, the best thing to do is to leave. If you can’t get out, you will probably die.
Those of us who pay attention to history, politics and truth have known this for many years. But as the EU’s ‘experts’ and ‘technocrats’ insanely destroy the economies of Greece, Spain and Italy, it must now surely be obvious to everyone. The EU, far from being a bright future, offers nothing but bankruptcy and decline.
If the old USSR was an Evil Empire – and it was – the EU is the Stupid Empire. Obsessed with the idea that the nation state is obsolete, the EU has sought to bind its colonies tightly, while pretending they are still independent.
This is why what is essentially a modern German empire is not held together by armies, but by a sticky web of regulations and a currency that destroys prosperity wherever it is introduced (with one important exception, Germany itself, for whom the euro means cheap exports to Asia).
It is also why it has been built backwards, starting with the roof and ending with the foundations. Old-fashioned empires were at least honest.
They marched in, plundered everything they could cart away, killed or imprisoned resisters, suborned collaborators, and imposed their language on the conquered.
Other humiliating measures followed – forcing the newly-subject people to live according to the invader’s time, to pay special taxes to their new masters, to surrender control of their borders, to use the invader’s weights and measures, salute the invader’s flag and obey the invader’s laws.
Eventually, after a few years of imposed occupation money, set at a viciously rigged exchange rate, the subjugated nation’s economy would have been reduced to such a devastated and dependent state that it could be forced to accept the imperial currency.
The EU, which cannot admit to being what it really is, has to achieve the same means sideways or backwards. The colonial laws are disguised as local Acts of Parliament. The flag is slowly introduced, the borders stealthily erased, the weights and measures and the clocks gradually brought into conformity.
Resources (such as Britain’s fisheries) are bureaucratically plundered, giant taxes are quietly levied, but collected by our own Revenue & Customs as our ‘contribution’, our banking industry is menaced.
Opponents are politically marginalised, collaborators discreetly rewarded, armed forces quietly dismantled or placed under supranational command. It is happening before our eyes and yet, while the exit is still just open, we make no move to depart.
Our grandchildren will wonder, bitterly, why we were so feeble.
EU's utopian dream slides into tyranny
As I write, Greece is experiencing what is now called a “bank jog” – a fairly slow “run”. By the time you read this, it may have become a sprint. How long before the (unelected) Greek government imposes a freeze on all bank accounts? Or exchange controls to prevent anyone taking or sending more than very small amounts of money out of the country? When will we start to see prosecutions for “economic crimes” in which the survival of the political project takes precedence over the right to access and make free use of your own funds? Not to mention tanks in the streets to control social unrest.
The West may have won the Cold War but its own brand of utopian solution – the great economic and political union that would put an end to war and social instability – is toying dangerously with mechanisms that are certainly anti-democratic and come close to being totalitarian.
This is not just a story of bureaucratic grandiosity, or of German insistence on domination. Certainly it is true that there is an irreconcilable cultural clash between the more puritanical North and the, shall we say, more indulgent South. It turns out that Marx was wrong about economic conditions determining political behaviour: a nation’s religion and geography are much more likely to affect its economic attitudes than the other way round.
But it is not the dream of European co-operation that was doomed from the start: given the ancient hatreds and unforgivable sins of the past, that was difficult, but it was not impossible. What has made the project unworkable is the insistence that the EU be a vehicle for democratic socialism: the impossible dream was not European unity but universal “social solidarity” stretching across a continent, for which the single market was simply a milch cow to produce the funds.
Unfeasibly enormous social security and entitlement promises were made on the basis that the free market would always provide.
Nobody bothered to ask what would happen when the market faltered or fluctuated (as genuinely free markets do) or when the sense of entitlement outgrew the wealth that could be created. The problem is not unique to Europe. They are facing the same question in the US, where benefits programmes – particularly social security (the US federal pensions system) and Medicare – have become as untouchable, and as financially unsustainable, as they are here.
How long will freedom survive in the face of mass rage at the loss of the economic security that has come to be seen as a basic human right? People were told that they could have lifelong protection from want without any restrictions on their liberty or their economic self-determination. So now the cake has been well and truly eaten and had. The EU is going to have to admit sooner or later that this fantasy has run its course.
No Rights of Conscience for Military Chaplains?
When President Obama prepared to repeal the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in July 2011, defenders of marriage and religious freedom warned that the repeal would open Pandora’s Box. Military chaplains even sought congressional action to protect their rights of conscience.
The predominant concern was that the President’s actions would usher in attempts to redefine marriage on military installations, which would, in turn, force chaplains to perform the ceremonies for same-sex couples in uniform.
As one might expect, the people who voiced these concerns were mocked the way Orville and Wilbur Wright were mocked for believing men could fly. Yet in the months since the repeal, it turns out the concerns were well-founded.
This recently came to light when members of the U.S. House of Representatives added protections for chaplains to the National Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4310), and President Obama balked. According to reports, his administration “strongly objects” to aspects of the legislation that “prohibit the use of military property for same-sex ‘marriage or marriage-like’ ceremonies” and which also protects “military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to perform ceremonies that conflict with their belief.”
Perhaps no one wants to think this way about their president, but a refusal to protect chaplains from facing repercussions for following the dictates of their consciences is just a simple way to strong-arm them into performing the ceremonies in the first place.
It’s a simple case of “do this or else.”
So far, the administration is defending its opposition to the language in H.R. 4310 by saying the legislation contains “unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law.”
And this brings us back to the start, where defenders of marriage warned that marriage and religious freedom would pay a heavy price if acceptance of homosexual behavior was imposed upon the military. Now, before our very eyes, members of President Obama’s administration are saying we cannot protect the consciences’ of chaplains because that “would inhibit the ability of some same-sex couples to marry or enter into a recognized relationship under State law.”
Yet it’s clear the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” has everything to do with same-sex “marriage” and trampling the consciences of anyone who stands in the way: chaplains included.
The Wright Brothers were proven correct, and were happy for it. Defenders of marriage and religious freedom have been proven correct as well, but it’s nothing to be happy about.
Samantha Brick is stirring the pot again
She says she's proud of being a 'trophy wife'
My husband sets me a £250 allowance each month for my wardrobe, I ask his permission before booking a hair appointment and discuss with him what I will have done.
He even has an opinion — which I adhere to — on how I dress and what I weigh. He prefers I wear classic ladylike attire and, at 5ft 11in, he insists I tip the scale at no more than 10½ stone. In fact, he’s there when I weigh myself.
At this point, many of you will be thinking I’m little more than a trophy wife for my husband, Pascal, and you’re right. I am a trophy wife — and what’s more, I’m proud of it.
Pascal has built up a very successful business, he earns more than I do and I’m lucky enough not to need to bring a salary into the home, though I still work part-time to keep my wits about me.
Pascal is a Frenchman with particularly traditional views. He is a decade older than me and unashamedly tells people he chose me for my looks. But that doesn’t make me a designer-clad airhead who’s only interested in getting my hands on his cash.
People disapprove of relationships like ours because they assume love doesn’t enter the equation — that our marriage is merely an exchange of commodities: my youth and good looks for his wealth. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Whatever else the naysayers may throw at us, I’m comfortable with my trophy-wife status for two reasons: Pascal and I are deeply in love and I adore being treated like a princess.
And even in these egalitarian times, many people enjoy this kind of marriage — even if most are shy of the ‘trophy wife’ tag.
Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Rod Stewart are known for their clout in their fields and for their choice of younger, attractive wives: Melania Trump, Georgina Chapman and Penny Lancaster respectively.
These are smart women, just like me, who are more than a decade younger than their other half. They staunchly support their husbands and, in return, receive a wonderful lifestyle.
Reading all this, it might surprise you to learn I started out as a strident career woman. My formative years were during Thatcher’s Eighties. Being a kept housewife was out; becoming a financially independent career girl was in.
I even found myself a younger, prettier husband — one who earned less than I did. At the time of my first marriage, in my early 30s, I was working as a successful TV boss on a six-figure salary and turning over millions of pounds each year. I wore the trousers in the office and at home, and enjoyed it — for a while.
Inevitably, when you earn more than your husband, the financial responsibilities fall on your shoulders. I asked him to pay the mortgage one month and he agreed only after I assured him I would pay him back within the week. I paid for the running of our home, forked out for our holidays and it was even left to me to fund our wedding and honeymoon.
But I knew I had to get out of the relationship when I found myself writing cheque after cheque for all of our outgoings. It wasn’t the money that upset me, I just found it deeply unattractive to have a man so dependent on me. Having our roles reversed in that way — me as the breadwinner, he the part-time worker — meant my respect for him evaporated and so, eventually, did my love.
I was in my mid-30s when I met my second husband, Pascal. From our first date I knew he was a man who cherished physical looks. He complimented me on my legs, my eyes, my figure. He would endlessly tell me how beautiful I was. He wasn’t attracted by my career or my bank account. Instead he viewed me as a prize to be won and, to my surprise, I found his approach seductive.
Pascal likes being a proper gentleman — the idea of going Dutch in a restaurant is abhorrent to him. On our first date it was the first time anyone, other than a chauffeur, had opened a car door for me. I loved it — it made me feel special.
Throughout our courtship I received flowers, and was taken to boutiques, where he would hand over his credit card. He’d have a bottle of my favourite champagne on ice when I arrived at his home. When a man goes to that much effort, why wouldn’t I want to go the extra mile for him?
Before our dates I would ensure I looked my best, spending hours on my grooming routine. I’d style my hair the way he liked it, down and slightly tousled, ensure I’d painted and filed my nails and applied a light layer of sun-kissed fake tan. I even ditched my wardrobe of designer trouser suits and rediscovered a love of floral dresses.
Since the time of our blossoming romance, a day has not gone by where I haven’t made an effort with my appearance. It pains me to read that women such as Hillary Clinton feel they’ve reached an age where they no longer need make-up.
If a woman doesn’t make an effort, it’s perfectly logical that her husband will assume it’s because she feels he’s not worth making an effort for. Can you then blame a man for looking elsewhere? A trophy wife, however, would never make such a mistake. It’s part of our job description to look good and support our husbands at all times. Pascal and I understand what the other wants. It’s not something we’ve ever discussed, but we both know my role in our relationship is integral to its success.
My husband runs a thriving building company where we live. When we met I was shown off to everyone as yet another perk of his success. We regularly socialise with other suppliers, clients and colleagues. They’re all his age — in their 50s — and love seeing a ‘blonde poppet’ (as I’ve been described) on his arm.
At first, I found such a label ghastly and patronising, but I defy any woman not to be secretly flattered by such accolades when they’re genuinely given as an appreciation of your femininity.
I know my place in the home – in the bedroom and kitchen I’m a consummate professional
I’m friendly and charming to those he works with and it’s fair to say they soon realise I might be an attractive blonde, but I’ve got a brain, too.
Pascal’s business has expanded because of me. It helps that I turn the heads of his friends in a male-dominated industry.
Most of the other wives are older and are focused on their families first, their husbands a poor second. My day is organised around my husband: isn’t that what all wives should do? I know my place in the home — in the bedroom or the kitchen, I’m a consummate professional.
I don’t make the mistake of suffering from headaches when I’m between the sheets or feign sleepiness when my husband makes amorous advances. In the kitchen, I put on my apron and prepare Pascal a home-cooked meal twice a day, every day. I wouldn’t dream of serving him up something out of a packet.
Each afternoon, before his siesta, I massage his head and shoulders with lavender oil. When he arrives home in the evening, I greet him with an aperitif. Having been married before, we both know about modern relationships — shouty, stressed wives trying (and failing) to do it all, husbands who stay out all hours to avoid the messy domestic scene at home, only convenience food on the table and growing resentment destroying the relationship.
We knew we didn’t want that again — that’s why this works for us. A man who covets a trophy wife has nothing in common with those in-touch-with-their feelings metrosexual men. Accordingly, I don’t witter on about PMT or yell at him when I’m stressed. That’s what my friends and mum are for. If I’m poorly I keep out of his way. I knew from the start he was ill-equipped to deal with me when I’m not bright and cheery.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t downsides to being a trophy wife. I know I’ll have to maintain my figure and looks. Pascal is adamant that even as I get older, it’s no excuse to let myself go. As a younger wife, you battle against the assumption you’re a gold-digger crossing off the years until your beloved is six feet under. But I have my career and own income, so my lifestyle wouldn’t suffer if I wasn’t with Pascal.
In France, there’s a flippant word used to dismiss trophy wives: potiche. It translates as an ornamental vase — something that exists purely because it looks good. Yet I don’t find it at all dismissive. We trophy wives are decorative, treasured and highly valued. And to me, that can never be a bad thing.
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.
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