Thursday, May 27, 2004

Imagine: the US pulls out of everywhere

P J O'Rourke makes a rare appearance in the Scotsman, extolling the benefits of US withdrawal from world politics.

"America had everyone’s sympathy after the World Trade towers were attacked. We can get that sympathy back if we limit our foreign-policy objectives to whining."

One thing to whine about will be the fate of Israel. Without American safeguards, that nation is certain to be militarily attacked. To judge by previous Israeli wars, in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982, the result will be serious headaches for Israelis as the Knesset furiously debates the status of Jewish settlements outside Damascus and on the west bank of the Euphrates.

Elsewhere, however, Islamic fundamentalists will likely triumph. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Our own country was founded by people who, today, would be considered religious extremists.

The threat of nuclear proliferation will abate as dangerous stockpiles of atomic weapons are quickly used up. The loss of life will be regrettable. But this will be counterbalanced by the welcome disappearance of long-standing international flashpoints when the India-Pakistan border is vaporised, Tehran disappears in a mushroom cloud, and whatever is left of the Korean Peninsula becomes reunited.

Read the whole thing.

The Scotsmans leader takes up the perennial theme of immigration, and why the stupid Brits (aka English) just don't seem able to appreciate the benefits.

It's always entertaining to hear a Scot (population density 64 per km2, half the European average, monocultural and monoracial, very few immigrants since the Normans) wonder why the English (population density 377/km2, 3 times the European average, multicultural, multiracial) are so bothered by immigration. Is it the tabloids ?

"The answer to these synthetic worries probably lies in the extraordinary pace of social and economic change (especially in London) and the psychological impact this has. At a time when middle-class pensions have been eroded, when jobs are no longer for life, when even the children of professional families experiment with recreational drugs, it is easy to become stressed and uncertain about the future. Anything or anyone who seems - no matter how ignorant or erroneous the impression - to be adding to the hectic uncertainties of life, gets the blame."

What I call the Weimar theory - that middle class collapse paves the way for bad things. But for the full effect you need to have lost a war as well. We happen to be fighting one now. So remember - a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for fascism.

"If Scotland can attract skilled and enthusiastic immigrants - as it has done many times in the past - their example in building a modern, successful society will calm many exaggerated fears."

Don't hold your breath.

Maybe I'm not great at Scottish history - John Prebble's 'The Lion In The North' and 'The Highland Clearances' are the only books I've read on the subject - but I just can't recall any of these great waves of immigrants - unless he means the English refugees of the last thirty years, running post offices, small hotels and mobile cafes all over the Highlands. Not to mention the hippies scattered from Findhorn to the Butt of Lewis.

UPDATE - Marcus at Harry's Place argues that Scotland is multiracial and multicultural - thanks to the 19th century Irish immigration which has left us Celtic, Hibs, and their tricolor-flying supporters as well as the contrasts between the Catholic and Protestant Hebridean islands. It's true that this contrasts with England where Irish Catholics have almost completely integrated (you could just about make a case for Everton and Man. U. as a pale Celtic and Hibs of the North West).

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