Russell Kirk

I have been waiting to read the new biography of Russell Kirk by Brad Birzer for many months and am hopeful to read it very soon.  Russell Kirk was one of the old style conservatives who wrote The Conservative Mind in 1953 which was a trend setter for the modern conservative movement. According to Brad Birzer, Kirk was rather disinterested in politics with two lone exceptions.  The first was in the late 1950s and 1960s when he advised Barry Goldwater who was in his early terms as a senator for Arizona and supported his nomination for President 1964 which was unsuccessful.    Dr. Birzer wrote a piece in the Imaginative Conservative that goes into detail on how Kirk supported Goldwater.  The next time he involved himself in the political realm was toward the end of his life when he chided the neoconvervatives for their support of the First Gulf War.   As Gerald R. Russello stated in 2004 in the New York Sun:

He did not believe that the complex of customs, traditions, and norms we know as constitutional democracy could be packaged and exported to other cultures, especially under force.

Kirk died in 2004, but not before he left us with a great legacy and a pile of wisdom that will take years to pore over.  Brizer’s biography on Kirk is available from Amazon.com in hardback and Kindle formats.   It is an essential read and I hope many will enjoy its pages.

Tragedy in Paris

As of the writing of this post, over 120 people were gunned down or were killed in explosions across Paris.  Apparently, this dastardly deed was done by members who are sympathetic to the ISIS group which has occupied vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq as well as small portions of the Mediterranean coast in Libya.   Little is known about the men themselves, but it is clear that events that led to this event have developed over many years dating back to the  unwise actions of the United States in Iraq beginning in 1990 and interventions from other nations  dating to the end of the First World War.

Ever since the end of the First World War, the Middle East has been a cauldron of instability with either leaders ousted in violent coups (Iraq and Syria) or emirs and their decedents holding power for decades (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain).   Some good books to read on the early years of this transition from Ottoman rule to countries ruled by strongmen are John Hulsman’s fine book To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad”  which is a short book that explains how we got  to this tragic situation and “Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nationsby Georgina Howell.   The West’s refusal to heed the counsel of Gertrude Bell and Lawrence of Arabia with regards to post-Ottoman rule has led to unnecessary interventions by the West to stabilize that part of the world.    There is much more to this story on how events of a century ago led to the shootings in Paris, but suffice to say, it all began with the Sykes-Picot treaty which is mentioned in Hulsman’s book.

 

VW Emission Scandal

In the latest news from the environmental world, Volkswagen was found to have rigged the emission programs on their vehicles.   This has caused a stir among the minions of the EPA and the agency has vowed to crack down hard on the German automaker.  In a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, Eric Peters addresses the issue as well as sharing his thoughts on autos that we Americans cannot buy.

Hillary’s Escape Act

The GOP once again failed to take advantage of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous policy in Libya.  Going through hours of testimony, the GOP did not press for Hillary’s explanation of why she urged President Obama to go ahead and aide rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi.  Gaddafi, who ruled this North African nation for over 40 years, was ousted with the help of the Americans and suffered a summary execution at the hands of his captors.  Hillary’s boast of “we came, we saw, he died” has been rightly excoriated by a number of journalists and commentators including Glenn Greenwald,  Michael Scheuer and even Joel Gillin of the New Republic.   That such a disaster, with the resulting waves of refugees entering Europe and the killing of Ethiopian Christians along the Mediterranean Sea by ISIS forces having failed to put a dent in Hillary’s march toward the White House,  seems to indicate that the GOP is just along for the ride.

Once again, we have had another case of political theater inside the Beltway where players from the opposing parties engage in mock battle without much substance being accomplished.  More misery in North Africa will come for many people, including Christians whose ancestors have dwelled there for over thousands of years.  As they are being killed and their monasteries suffer destruction, Hillary will probably be dancing with her mate Bill in 2017 at the Inaugural ball if all goes according to plan.  The voters who will put her in power should heed the late H.L. Mencken’s wisdom when he said:  “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”