In a recent piece on another site, I suggested that conservatism would have wide appeal among regular folk in Western countries if only it had a centre-right parties to carry the torch. My list of conservative positions went like this:
Promoting unashamed patriotism
Rejecting lies about the nation’s history (like the non-existent Stolen Generations in Australia)
Putting the traditional family at the centre of national life
Encouraging enterprise by lowering taxes and burdensome regulations
Making energy reliable and affordable
Providing quality public education untainted by politics and sleaze
Opposing the sexualisation of children
Sensibly limiting abortion
Outlawing the chemical and physical maiming of children’s bodies
Guarding free speech and religious liberty, and
Not leaving fringe groups to monopolise public discourse and control the agenda
I didn’t get much feedback on my list. But a list of this kind is useful to measure politicians against. Trump comes up well for example. Probably Dutton’s instincts are sound. However, when you’re surrounded by assorted wets, greenies and effete pantywaists perhaps there is little a leader can do. It’s different of course in the U.S. where the president can bring in his own people. Here Dutton (and Perrottet maybe) lead parties which, to a large extent, have been infiltrated by university-educated lefties; liberals in U.S. parlance.
I think we can afford to be pessimistic. The prognosis is unpromising. As new graduates pour from university campuses, the disease will only metastasise throughout the body politic. Is there hope? If there is, it’s in the U.S. Nowhere else in the West. Think Ron DeSantis among other prominent Republicans. Though, perhaps, Viktor Orban and (not far right) Giorgia Meloni are worth mentioning in despatches.
Mrs Speedbox is back in Kislovodsk, Russia. I wasn’t able to travel due to work commitments and on this trip she will catch up with her numerous friends and the remaining relatives in the city. Our youngest Miss Speedbox has accompanied her on this occasion.
In my phone/video calls with Mrs Speedbox, I have been particularly interested about life in this small city (pop 140,000) now that the conflict with Ukraine has been ongoing for six months accompanied by wide-ranging sanctions. Cats may recall that Mrs Speedbox was also in Kislovodsk in April this year.
I have referenced a couple of comments from my post of April for comparative purposes.
1. During one of our video calls, Mrs Speedbox walked around the main town square/CBD of Kislovodsk and it was filled with people. The shops were trading; there were street musicians; pop-up stalls, local artists painting and selling their wares, the cafes were bustling……
1A. No significant change except people are wearing warmer clothing outdoors given the shift in seasons from her visit earlier in the year. The number of street musicians/artists is thinning as the weather cools. The market is brimming with fresh foods and other goods although the prices have noticeably increased on some products.
2. Enterprising Russians are travelling into Europe and buying large numbers of goods. Want an new Apple phone? Sure, still in its sealed box. Want a new Audi, Renault, Toyota etc.? Sure, what colour? Let me check with my dealer in Austria/Germany/Turkey etc.
2A. This practice continues unabated but appears to have focussed itself as the bulk of the supply of western goods now primarily originates from Turkey.
Everybody is now certain that the conflict in Ukraine has become a war by proxy with the USA but there is no question, none, about Russia’s eventual triumph and the hoped for collapse of the Federation is merely the dream of some stupid westerners.
More broadly, there is a palpable shift in perception/realisation that is fuelling a ‘defend the Motherland’ mindset. The recent mobilisation of military reserves is fully supported and some local men who were not called up have volunteered and were accepted. Furthermore, this has reputedly occurred in towns/cities throughout the region and whilst the official call-up is 300,000 persons, the actual number re-inducted into the Russian military is expected to be well in excess of that figure. (Remember that virtually all men have military experience and for all its acknowledged faults, it is still a revered institution among most Russians).
Overall, it appears that the Ukraine conflict continues to have limited effect on the residents of this small city and the impact of the sanctions is nominal. However, and despite this apparent calm and business-as-usual, the awareness that Russia is under increasing NATO (read USA) threat has taken a marked step forward and that threat is not being treated casually. Russians are certain for example, that the bombing of Nord Stream 1 & 2 was an American action. They are also aware that extensive American military intelligence is being provided to Ukraine and that the CIA is agitating certain groups to take terrorist action within Russia. Meanwhile, highly sophisticated cyber-attacks on Russian infrastructure systems have increased exponentially. The USA is believed to be sponsoring, if not directly responsible for, the increased cyber activity.
As has been noted a number of times: Not all Russians love Putin, but all Russians love Russia. Therefore, this shift in the public’s threat awareness is immensely dangerous for the Ukraine as it provides fertile ground for President Putin to harness public support for increasing Russian engagement. Putin’s earlier forecasts about NATOs encroachment and the threat this will deliver to Russia is coming true before their eyes. Yet Ukraine is merely the battlefield where a much larger clash is being fought out.
This is a very good short video that outlines Darren Beattie’s argument that Wokeism is the official ideology of the GAE, which it uses at home and abroad against its enemies. To the extent that it is a successful instrument in the projection of power, the success of Wokeism is inevitably tied to the success of the GAE and the latter will defend the former by all available means. I would add, Wokeism isn’t, as some suggest, simply the march through the institutions of ‘cultural Marxism’, rather, it is the unfolding of political liberalism within our political regime.
It was the very thought that came into my own head the moment I heard this: ‘Reality of our time’: Dutton warns Australians to prepare for war. Of course, my Latin is a bit rusty so the thought occurred to me only in English. However, the more up-to-date and erudite chaps and chapesses at The Spectator were able to go straight to the original.
Yesterday, classically-literate defence minister Peter Dutton raised the campaign temperature by saying, ‘Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.’ Actually, that’s what a Roman chap called Publius Flavius Vegetius wrote the best part of 2,000 years ago. Dutton translated it on the Today show as ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’, with reference to Red China knocking on our door through its deal with the prime minister of the Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, our PM talked of ‘red lines’ being crossed if China militarises the Solomons: how the Reds would be thrown back behind that red line, if they crossed it, wasn’t spelled out by the government (nor did Labor spell out what they would do). But you can take it as given that those choices of words were workshopped in Liberal focus groups, and yesterday they set the media agenda.
The President of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., who is 79 years old and suffering from senile dementia at the end of a long life of bullying, lying, boasting, conniving, grifting, grafting, and living off the public tit to an extent indecent even by Washington standards, declared war on Russia on Friday. In the course of a typically blustering, hectoring speech, the senescent Biden went off script and interpolated the following peroration: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”…
During his long occupation of a Senate seat, Biden served for many years on the foreign-relations committee, and learned all the wrong lessons without acquiring an ounce of real-world savvy. This is the problem with electing a lifelong senator to the presidency with no prior executive experience except ribbon-cutting ceremonies and attending foreign funerals as veep. Senators’ words have no real-world consequences; presidents’ do. Senators can say anything they want, because their words carry no executive authority and they cannot be legally held accountable for them. They’re meant for the ears of voters back home, not for the guy in the Kremlin with his finger on the button.
And just what button is that?
The problem is that the current president of the United States is no longer disciplined by anyone, although those who are in charge are keeping everything as closely under control as possible. Biden himself is as illegitimate as it is possible to be since the evidence that he was fraudulently installed into office becomes more undeniable with each passing day, not that the media will fail to deny anything amiss, and will never report how the election was stolen.
Meanwhile, just as The Spectator asks, “will Biden’s talent for f***-ups lead to World War III?”, the big issue in the US continues to be the almost certainly fake and premeditated incident at the Academy Awards. This really was the front page on the largest selling newspaper in America’s largest city.
The United States is no longer a serious country and we are in great danger the more we rely solely on American protection.
When the rock of green and woke ideology hits the hard place of reality, sheer madness always results.
The world prices of oil and natural gas are skyrocketing. At the time of a major war in Ukraine, the Western democracies have framed the conflict as existential, with a Russia/Mordor on the attack against a declining West/Gondor.
A subtext of the struggle is that the world’s illiberal regimes—fossil-fuel exporting Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and the various Middle Eastern autocracies—are getting richer by the day while destroying Mother Earth, as noble gas and oil importing green Western nations can scarcely afford to drive or heat their homes.
And this is how the article ends:
Yet madness is predictable when the unchecked left-wing’s demand for limitless and endless power collides with a hated, but unremorseful ideological agenda utterly divorced from reality. Put simply, when ideologues demand power but cannot maintain it politically because they are cruel ideologues that destroy what they touch, expect more of their insanity to follow.
For the bits in the middle, you can go to the link, on the off chance you have not yourself recognised how mad the left is and how much worse they lately seem to have become.
I went looking for an analysis that would provide something like the Russian perspective on the events in The Ukraine, and by coincidence the video was sent to me at the very same time. The vid is from 2015 but once you watch this bit of history many bits fall into place. This is the notes that come with the vid:
The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis
John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, assesses the causes of the present Ukraine crisis, the best way to end it, and its consequences for all of the main actors. A key assumption is that in order to come up with the optimum plan for ending the crisis, it is essential to know what caused the crisis. Regarding the all-important question of causes, the key issue is whether Russia or the West bears primary responsibility.
And again I emphasise that the vid is from 2015 in a discussion of an earlier conflict in the same area with the same two sides involved. The first twenty minutes of the video provides a pretty good summary.
I also went looking for something on my own and went to DuckDuckGo, but the news reports that it has gone google seem to be true. Virtually everything was from some Western “news” source, which to me meant that you cannot rely on a word they write. Eventually I found this: What Russia Wants In Ukraine from The American Conservative whose tagline is this:
Russia’s position has been remarkably consistent for nearly three decades, especially when compared to the West’s.
We are just spectators here, but if we are going to have a nuclear war, might as well understand why.
My own sentiments exactly: The era of unprecedented ignorance. Not only that, but it’s from a source that is least expected: Matthew Bach who is the Victorian Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Child Protection and Youth Justice.
I recommend it all, but let me provide you with a few bits near the start before you go to the link.
First, we had a global pandemic. Then we had to deal with the devastating impacts of harsh health restrictions designed – we were told – to protect us. Instead, they resulted in a mental health crisis, years of lost learning for our kids, and the crushing of small businesses.
In my home state of Victoria, the situation is even worse.
The number of people awaiting vital surgery could fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and newly leaked documents show numerous Victorians have recently died waiting for their 000 call to be answered. Cost-of-living pressures are hitting families hard as the price of fuel and food sky-rockets, but the Andrews Labor Government continues to raise taxes to fund its massive infrastructure blowouts: $24 billion since coming to office.
As if to top it all off, we have a full-scale war threatening in Eastern Europe with the potential to reorganise the international order for the worse.
At every step of the way over the last two years, our leaders have been at pains to tell us how unprepared they are for these crises. The Covid pandemic was ‘unprecedented’ – we’ve heard it a thousand times. Now, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is ‘unthinkable’ – the word is repeated again and again in television news bulletins, on social media, and in print.
And yet, few things have more precedents throughout history than plagues and wars.
There was a time that even economists understood that the story of inflation went well beyond increases in the stock of money. But Keynesian theory, with its Y=C+I+G, is now so embedded across the mindset of everyone as a means to make economies grow, and not just amongst economists but there as well, that the bizarre rates of growth in public spending in the US is seen as normal and generally appropriate. In reality, it is not just the cause of inflation but will create vast pockets of poverty as well.
Saw the chart at Powerline with the heading about class dismissed. There was at least this one comment so that someone else does see the deeper nature of the problem.
If an economist tells you modern monetary theory works, that person is NOT an economist. Run.
We are on the edge of a precipice in so many ways that it is hard to see how we will survive the next five years.
LET ME ALSO ADD THIS:
Came across a couple of additional posts that seem to add to the issue. First from Instapundit.
Fascism is the amalgam of the corporate state with totalitarian political structures. Communism pretended it was international. Fascism is socialism within a single country.
We seem to live in our own version of that time in 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. I have tried to find something that matches my own views on what has just taken place and this is the closest I could find but there is nothing close enough. This is Kremlin Invades Ukraine from FrontPageMag with this as the subhead: “How Biden’s policies fueled Russian aggression”. Listening to Biden’s response is beyond weak and incompetent. The American left seems complicit in all of this to the fullest extent possible.
Also found this take from Instapundit illuminating in its own sad way.