American Elephants


The Leader of the Free World by The Elephant's Child

The presidency has evolved into something that was not quite intended. George Washington felt a great responsibility and made a real effort to avoid any elements of grandeur. There were many who would have made him a King, but he resisted, and set the plain standard for future occupants of the office.

Today, we still don’t do grandeur, at least not in the European way. In contrast, other new countries have gone for presidents as we did.  We do, however, make a very big deal of our president as the leader of the free world, and the most important man. We watch every action of the president and of his family, approve or disapprove, love him or hate him. Yet we think of him as someone we picked to lead for four years, and if he does a fairly good job, we’ll give him another four. Then we want them to fade away. George W. did a particularly good job of working with the veterans he sent off to war, encouraging the wounded, honoring those who served.

We are told that those who unsuccessfully ran, but were not elected, never get over it. Harold Stassen kept running for years. That may account for John McCain’s attitude towards Trump. Al Gore concentrated on getting rich with environmental propaganda. But we had what ? —17 candidates when Trump got the nomination. Do they all still resent that they didn’t get the nomination? I’ve seen signs…

But we really don’t want to hear from past presidents, except on formal occasions. Perhaps each retiring president should be supplied with a copy of Winston Churchill’s Painting as a Pastime. George W. got a copy and has used the pastime to honor the veterans who served. Very nice. Good paintings too.

Perhaps someone could send a copy to Hillary?

 



How the EU went Wrong and Why they did. by The Elephant's Child

George W. Bush gave a speech last Thursday at “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World” event in New York City. Politico called it a speech on Trumpism, but they were perhaps a bit hasty with their definition. But then, any opportunity to accuse Trump of designated awfulness, is the goal of the current news media.  I had admired George Bush for his ability to avoid speaking out on politics as a past president, especially in not commenting on Obama who had canceled all his executive orders, which must be galling.   I know it’s hard, but we really don’t want to hear from past presidents or past candidates. Their time is past.

We’re having some trouble with definitions, and throwing way too many “isms” around:  nationalism and nativism, for example. The Left, big on wide open borders, prefers to define nativism something evil, as if favoring your own citizens over illegal immigrants is reprehensible? Look up the definition of nativism. Other troublesome words are bigotry, prejudice, civility and incivility, and immigrant and migrant. ABC recently called illegal aliens (illegal: not according to law, alien: owing allegiance to some other nation) to avoid using such negative language, “undocumented citizens.” No, they’re not.

We are living in a time when the difference between undocumented citizens, immigrants and migrants is increasingly important. Europe, because of their cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits, has a declining birthrate. Because they have a declining birthrate, without enough young people working to pay for the cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits they so generously offered in order to get elected, they thought by inviting more immigrants to work and pay for the benefits, they could still prosper. “Poor” Americans have more living space than ordinary Europeans who are not poor. And more amenities.

The inviting immigrants in was a mistake for Europeans. They were feeling sorry for those in Middle Eastern refugee camps, and the well-meant invitation quickly became a flow of migrants from every hell-hole on the planet, and many ordinary countries that just didn’t have the presumed wealth of Europe.

Charles Hill explained how modernity went astray, based on a system that made room for wide cultural diversity based on a judicial doctrine of “the equality of states.”      (Do read Hill’s whole piece linked just above. It’s not long.)

The EU would become a new form of trans-national entity that would eschew war, abolish sovereign borders, exalt diplomacy, and supersede the Westphalian system by offering the world a compelling model of how to dismantle the state by devolving some of its powers downward according to the concept of “subsidiarity” while pulling other powers up into a pan-European bureaucracy in Brussels which, however defined, would not be a state. The EU assured that it was entirely un-religious and noted the care with which the text of its voluminous constitution – unratified – avoided any reference to Europe’s Christian heritage.

Put simply, the EU made itself the epitome of the Modern Age by relentless secularization. Islamism, emerging from the post-World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate, made itself the vanguard of jihadist religion’s rise to become the implacable adversary of modernity. If Europe is where the siege is to take place, the drawbridge already is up:

Ambassador Hill adds: “Transatlantic unity has been the keystone of the defense and extension of freedom in wartime for a hundred years and must remain so.”

It is not the EU but NATO that has been the key to transatlantic solidarity. Strengthening NATO as a military alliance with political consequences in support of a reformed EU must be at the core of American policy. NATO’s role “out of area” will be vital along with continued efforts to integrate like-minded partners to the extent possible: Russia, Israel, the Gulf Arab states. The Modern Age itself is at stake.




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