Burke on Twitter

Love this line from Daniel Hannan:

If ever you find yourself confusing social media with public opinion, look at what Edmund Burke had to say about Twitter back in 1791:

Because half-a-dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.

Source: Brexit is happening – so let’s all cheer up about it – CapX

Don’t be a snowflake

John Stuart Mill diagnosed what today’s “snowflakes”, focused on no-platforming people who have views other than their own, are missing.

In On Liberty, he wrote: “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

Source: Students can’t be allowed to curb free speech | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times

No Bland advice, this

Christopher Bland, who has died, taught people ‘always to make a decision: however difficult, never dither. Of course you might get it wrong sometimes. But if you’re any good at your job, you’ll far more often be right.’ As Martin Vander Weyer points out, it’s remarkable how many people rise to the top without learning to …

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Your view of a policy depends on who is promoting it…

 

Shortly before the 2012 presidential election, a senior figure in the British intelligence community was asked who he wanted to win. He said he was praying for Obama: if Mitt Romney won and simply continued Obama’s drone strikes, there would be tens of thousands demonstrating in London and questions asked in Parliament about how exactly the UK was assisting.

Source: James Forsyth, What No. 10 has learned about dealing with the Donald

Explaining Trump

Bruce Anderson’s take on explaining Trump is one of the most succinct I have come across. Since President Nixon, the liberals having been struggling to retain their reputation for patriotism and their appeal to the middle ground. Because of Watergate, Nixon made a false start. Reagan quickly picked up the baton. Roosevelt Democrats became Reagan …

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Why Trump can do what he likes

Trump’s ascent to the presidency involved beating not only all of his Republican rivals, but upending the assumptions of the entire political establishment — columnists and consultants, funders and favour-mongers — so he is beholden to none of the traditional Washington power centres. That, alongside a Republican majority in House and Senate, gives him almost unprecedented …

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Brexit in history

When the history of this decade comes to be written, we may conclude that in voting to leave the European Union as it drifts towards the economic and political rocks, Britain has averted rather than experienced a populist revolution and the election of a demagogue. We have prevented the installation of a British Trump, or …

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Hate crime

The increasing confusion about what hate crime means, who it refers to and what it covers is having its own divisive effect. Inflated hate crime figures are reinforcing division by painting a picture of a Britain more bigoted and hate-filled than it actually is. It has also created a two-tier justice system, because when it …

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Corbyn and Trump

Jeremy Corbyn is not as straightforward as his supporters claim. He has, most notably, been disingenuous about his real views on Brexit. But then Trump used to be a Democrat. Authenticity is not the same as policy consistency. John Rentoul Source: Can Jeremy Corbyn win by becoming a left-wing Donald Trump, railing against the ‘rigged …

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Corbyn and May

When Corbyn promises to “break the grip of vested interests” he’s saying what Labour leaders have always said. The trouble is that it’s not very different from what Theresa May is saying, and she says it a bit better than he does. John Rentoul Source: Can Jeremy Corbyn win by becoming a left-wing Donald Trump, …

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Trump as Nixon

After he became President in 1969, during his very first post-election session with Henry Kissinger, who would become his national security advisor, Nixon rebuked the Agency as a group of “Ivy League liberals” who lacked analytic integrity and had always opposed him politically. Like Trump, Nixon did not see the value of CIA intelligence briefings. …

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Obama: success or failure?

The wages of expectation are paid in disappointment. That, too, is one lesson to be drawn from Obama’s presidency. If you are led to expect $100 you will be disappointed to receive just $50. Obama never quite managed to balance results with expectations. Alex Massie Source: The lost promise of the Obama presidency – CapX

The Centre Left

Those who claim leadership of the centre-Left (in which I include Tory liberals) are know-nothing poseurs who talk only to each other. What is now called (as if it were a brand new phenomenon) the cosmopolitan governing class is not new at all. It is the established bourgeoisie of our age which embraces all the …

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