Monday, February 21, 2005

Morning reading

Here are some of your best bets as National Review and the WSJ take today off due to "Presidents Day" -- a horrendous misnomer and cheapening of two holidays. More on that in a separate post.

First, two comments from non-Americans: Clive Crook on whether the US and Europe will remain good friends (see here) and Iain Duncan Smith on the blogosphere's potential for aiding the currently flaccid intellectual wasteland known as the British Right.

A comment on Crook: The Monk still thinks that Europe is more than just France/Germany/Spain and hopes that the rest of the continent can smarten up and realize that the Franco-German-Spanish axis is not looking out for the best interests of Poland, Italy, UK, Hungary, Ukraine, Czech Repub., etc.

As for Smith, he notes a couple of trends that indicate his sharp understanding of why the blogosphere could be useful for the Tories:
. . . the American left's relationship with the internet has been disastrous. The internet has sunk a knife into Bill Clinton's moderate Democratic party. Mainstream business people were Clinton's principal funders, simultaneously approving and driving his centrism. But the Democrats' new paymasters are the 600,000 computer users who, in 2004, supported Howard Dean's bid for his party's presidential nomination. Dean energised an unrepresentative group of voters with a stridently anti-war message. Electronic money powered Dean's campaign, and all of the other contenders for the Democratic crown soon pandered to his base.

The Democrats' problem has only worsened since. The site of a Democratic consultant gets 500,000 hits a day. That site's memorial to four American contractors murdered in Iraq was "screw them". Hatefulness also pours out of the popular websites of Michael Moore and The conservative blogosphere has dubbed the Democrats' IT base its MooreOn tendency.

* * *
But the blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet's automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

* * *
All this should put the fear of God into the metropolitan elites. For years there have been widening gaps between the governing class and the governed and between the publicly funded broadcasters and the broadcasted to.

Until now voters, viewers and service users have not had easy mechanisms by which to expose officialdom's errors and inefficiencies. But, because of the internet, the masses beyond the metropolitan fringe will soon be on the move. They will expose the lazy journalists who reduce every important public policy issue to how it affects opinion-poll ratings.

Next, there's a truckload of good stuff at The Weekly Standard, and the best of the bunch is Christopher Caldwell's trenchant look at the Swedish welfare system and its attempts to cope with Muslim immigration.

Don't miss eminent historian Paul Johnson's commentary in Forbes on those who (quietly) are saying G-d Bless America.

And for U.N. haters, two big stories: (1) the High Commissioner for Refugees resigning under pressure for allegedly sexually harassing female employees of his agency; and (2) this rather heinous account of U.N. "peacekeepers" giving minimal amounts of food to starving Congolese teenage girls in exchange for sex.

No comments: