Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Serendipitous Gift of Providence

I’ve just begun reading The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt against the Liberal Elite by Lee Harris. We’ve had the book for a long time, and I think Dymphna may even have reviewed it in this space a few months ago. But I’m just now getting to it — I’m always behind in my reading.

The passage below, from Chapter 1 (pp 12-14), is striking for its lucid description of the difference between Burkean and Lockean concepts of human liberty. The “optimism” that the author is referring to concerns the enthusiasm with which American neoconservatives embraced the idea of bringing liberty to the despotisms of the Middle East:

Behind this optimism lies a long philosophical tradition that looks upon liberty as the natural birthright of all mankind, a tradition most closely associated with the seventeenth century’s John Locke and the eighteenth century’s Thomas Jefferson, one that has been enormously influential among English-speaking people, especially in America. When President George W. Bush argued that we all want the same things — among which he included liberty — he was echoing this philosophy of freedom. But there is another English tradition about liberty that takes a radically different view of the subject.

The eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish orator and political thinker Edmund Burke gave the classic formulation of a rival philosophy of liberty when he argued that the unparalleled rights and liberties enjoyed by the English people of his time were not the result of any vague or abstract natural right but were an inheritance from their ancestors. Against those who saw liberty as a universal right of all men, Burke argued that liberty could only flourish among those whose ancestors had fought for it, and who were themselves determined to preserve and cherish the rights and privileges that had been won for them by earlier generations. Liberty was not to be found in bold experimentation, which often destroyed it, but in a kind of political conservationism — that is to say, a careful and alert stewardship over those cultural, political, and religious traditions that were the indispensable condition of the preservation of a free society.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the American conservationist movement sought to protect America’s great natural treasures, such as Yosemite Valley and Yellowstone Park, from destruction through pollution and exploitation. A century earlier, Burke’s political conservationism aimed to protect Britain’s great national institutions, such as Parliament and the Church of England, from reformers who wished to tinker and tamper with them. Behind both conservationist movements, however, was the same insight. Great things that are the work of time, that have arisen organically and through the interplay of many contending and conflicting forces, must be conserved, because once they are gone there is no way of replacing them. For Burke, English liberty was like the Grand Canyon — a serendipitous gift of Providence that no amount of human contrivance could hope to recreate once human folly had allowed it to perish.

At first sight, these two conflicting paradigms of liberty — Locke’s and Burke’s — may appear to be two sides of a purely speculative dispute, without any serious consequences for the real world. Yet it was the triumph of Locke’s concept of liberty over Burke’s that was ultimately responsible for one of the longest, costliest, and most controversial of all the wars that the United States has ever fought. Had Burke’s view of liberty been dominant in White House circles, Saddam Hussein might still have been overthrown, but there would have been far less extravagant rhetoric about bringing democracy to the Middle East. Indeed, one might argue that the dampening of expectations for democracy in the Middle East reflects a revival of Burke’s emphasis on liberty as a specific cultural tradition prized by some societies but not by others.

We can’t revive Burke too quickly, from my point of view. If his insights don’t start guiding our policy soon, the United States will probably destroy itself trying to do the impossible in the Middle East.

I may run into other relevant passages in the book as I make my way through it. If I do, I’ll fire up the scanner and post some more excerpts here.


Col. B. Bunny said...

The idea of natural rights has always seemed problematic to me. It's a useful concept if you're making the point that our rights are independent of the will of the sovereign. However, if you speak to a people who are not of the Christian faith, will the idea of God-given rights resonate in the same way? Where Muslims are concerned there's no question that you'll get a blank stare. There's nothing in the Koran or its related scribblings and pathetic glosses that resembles "rights" distinct from any caliph or imam, let alone amounts to a sustained discussion or codification of rights. "Submission" to what I may said -- without fear of contradiction -- is a capricious and indifferent god is job #1, and it doesn't mix with the idea of rights any more than hot sauce goes with peach ice cream. Try "blasphemy" while you're at it.

Even in (formerly) Christian lands you have no protection against government denial of rights if large numbers of people don't think of a divine origin of their rights, not to mention their being unalienable. I get the feeling that a lot of people would be more than happy to alienate their rights for the right price.

The "We stand on the shoulders of giants" approach works for the religious and the secular. It's a lot healthier because you then look at what our ancestors did specifically and can't just be content with "God gave us our rights." And will make sure we continue to enjoy them?

It's undeniable that a great many intelligent people have no concept of the many, many experiments tried and dead ends discovered that eventually led to the specific, vibrant concepts enunciated in the Constitution and the common law and a general reverence for rationality.

They are like fish who don't know they live in the water. In fact, a great deal of brainpower and money is expended to convince them that everything about their lives is corrupt and suspect. This is the result of hostility and deliberate plan.

Sagunto said...

Baron -

Judging from the quote it might look like Harris argues that on balance Burke was against natural rights. I can't imagine him actually defending that reading of Burke, but if he does or comes even close, he's very mistaken in my opinion.

Burke was so in favour of natural law and natural rights, that he abhorred the abstract modern usurpation of it in service of a new world order. Simply put: he defends another, more traditional and "seasoned" natural law philosophy: the Christian one.

Russel Kirk writes:

"Burke was at once a chief exponent of the Ciceronian doctrine of natural law and a chief opponent of the "rights of men".
The religion of Edmund Burke [..] needs to be mentioned before any consideration of Burke's political fundamentals. God gives us our nature, said Burke, and with it he gives us natural law. But that law, and the rights which derive from it, have been misunderstood by the modern mind [..]"

Baron, I'd be very interested to know whether Harris really argues that Burke was not in favour of natural law as he himself understood it.

Take care,

Baron Bodissey said...

Sagunto --

I'm just getting started on the book, so I'll let you know if he covers Burke and natural rights at any lengths. So far, he doesn't really touch much on the topic.

His main focus is on liberty as an outgrowth of custom and tradition, won and maintained repeatedly by force of arms; versus universal liberty, available to everyone at the flip of a political switch.

I tend toward the Burkean view, naturally. But even Jefferson was not entirely in the other camp. I'm a Jeffersonian to the extent that I believe we are about to enter one of those periodically recurring times when the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

xlbrl said...

Burke, on liberty

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free; their passions forge their fetters.

What is liberty without wisdom and virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.

The restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights.

This sort of people are so taken up with their theories of the rights of man that they have totally forgotten his nature.

Lawrence said...

Not sure how we can have a Populist revolt against Liberal Elitism, when in fact our current Populist supporters are striving for basically the same Liberal policies as the Liberal elites.

It seems it really is just about which faction has power over the agenda.

Sagunto said...

Lawrence -

So in your estimation, the Populists are sort of trying to save Liberalism (both left and right "wing") from the ruling elites?

Interesting point.


Evanston2 said...

Col Bunny, well said. It is a conceit that without Christ we can stand for anything. No, we will fall. I shared this conceit until the age of 38, after graduating from an elite university and while a major (eventually LtCol) in the USMC. For those who believe that atheists and agnostics will stand for natural rights, look to present-day Europe. Cowering to and compromising with big government elites from above and thugs from below is the rule, not the exception. American Exceptionalism relies on authentic, personal, Bible-centered Christianity. Otherwise you have the fate of the Greeks, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, and soon the English in store.

Hesperado said...


"...the Mahomedan law, which is binding upon all, from the crowned head to the meanest subject; a law interwoven with a system of the wisest, the most learned, and most enlightened jurisprudence that perhaps ever existed in the world."

-- Edmund Burke, "Speech in the Impeachment of Warrent Hastings, Esq."


Explain that.

Sagunto said...

Baron -

I also support the Burke position, at least as I understand it to be on natural rights. For him, the problem was not so much with universalism, but with the foundation of it and the source of natural law. He opposed the modern and politically motivated immanentization of natural law, that he saw as fundamentally transcendent in origin.


N.b.: I believe Jefferson was more of a universalist than Locke on freedom of religion, as he didn't seem to exclude Catholics and certain Protestant sects from religious "toleration", like Locke did.

Zenster said...

Evanston2: It is a conceit that without Christ we can stand for anything. … For those who believe that atheists and agnostics will stand for natural rights, look to present-day Europe.

Unadulterated rubbish! Christ is not the sole source of morality. How on earth did mankind manage to survive for so many millennia before Christ ever walked this world?

Neither Atheism nor Agnosticism are Europe's cup of hemlock, it is Socialism (i.e., Communism), that poisons their world. Speaking as a devout Agnostic, I will certainly connect a few dots as to why Communism has such a taste for Atheism. Communism must be taken on just as much faith as any religion. It cannot survive the disinfecting sunlight of reason.

If Atheism seems to be the source of Europe's woes, look past such a superficial artifact and deeper into that philosophical cesspit to find the Communism which commands them to kneel before it and no other.

Hesperado said...

And when one does a search for "Mahomedan" in the link I provided above to Burke's long speech relevant to the British in India, one finds quite a few references that certainly sound like he laments the ill treatment of Indian Muslims by some of the British Colonial administrators. Pending deeper study, the conclusion that Burke, with relation to Anglo-Muslim relations in India (if not also elsewhere), was an idealist ignoramus about Muslims, seems regrettably accurate.

If so, it just goes to show how deep the PC MC rot can go; and would tend to vitiate the etiological spasms which keep cropping up here and elsewhere in the AIM.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: Pending deeper study, the conclusion that Burke, with relation to Anglo-Muslim relations in India (if not also elsewhere), was an idealist ignoramus about Muslims, seems regrettably accurate.

It also goes to show just how long and successfully Islam has been peddling its meme/lie about being the Religion of Peace. [spit]

1389 said...


I am amazed at just how old the PC MC rot truly is.

That said, we live in a fallen world, and as such, we all make mistakes. Lots of mistakes, often very serious mistakes, and indeed fatal mistakes - renowned thinkers not excepted.

Hesperado said...

Yes Zenster and 1389,

And one has to wonder how an intelligent person like Burke living in the 18th/19th century before the social dominance of PC -- who furthermore had spent much time and study of Islam (elsewhere he claims he read the Koran and has had lots of experience in India with Muslims on various levels) -- would be so PC about Islam.

It's not just an aberration; there are others. And anyway, one cannot explain away Burke's fondness for Islam by recourse to aberration.

Baron, Egghead, El Ingles, Fjordman and many others whose names escape me at the moment need to come up with a plausible explanation for this, else their theories -- which cannot account for an Islamophiliac Burke -- would seem to fail.

Hesperado said...

Meanwhile, the supposedly best right-wing opponent of Obama the U.S.A. has, Michele Bachmann (who for several weeks now was able to fool Lawrence Auster into thinking she was a "real conservative"), waxes Wilsonian about Afghanistan:

On Afghanistan, I firmly believe that we are at a point where we've got to stay the course, and we've got to finish the job. Reports coming out of Helmand right now are positive.... David Petraeus, who wrote the book on counterinsurgency and on the surge strategy, is successfully prosecuting the surge.


Now in Afghanistan, we are making great progress. We have to win southern Afghanistan, then we have to go on and win eastern Afghanistan. I believe that we will be victorious, and we'll end it. I understand why people are frustrated. I completely understand. But I do trust General Petraeus in that effort and in what he is doing over there. And I think that they are doing what we need to do.

Really guys: the litmus test has to be simple and ruthlessly stringent: Condemn Islam and all Muslims -- period straight no chaser full stop.

(Which means don't drag immigration Mexicans Blacks Hmong gay rights abortion the economy Red China and the kitchen sink into it.)

I can't think of one public figure who passes -- not even Wilders and ESW (and Edmund Burke apparently was miles away from passing it). I guess we'll have to wait until after a few million of us get mass-murdered by Muslims in the coming decades before we see even one influential public figure pass the litmus test.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: I can't think of one public figure who passes -- not even Wilders and ESW

You do Wilders and especially Elisabeth, whom I know personally, a real disservice. Were either of them to take your suggestion and "Condemn Islam and all Muslims", they would find themselves arrested, tried, convicted and jailed in their respective countries.

This is not to say that Islam shouldn't be condemned. Merely that the presiding politicians in Holland and Austria have been osculating Islam's backside for so long that they now blow their noses with toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesperado,

So, I always check wikipedia first - with a general assumption of its accuracy. Regarding Edmund Burke:

"Winston Churchill in "Consistency in Politics" wrote:

'On the one hand [Burke] is revealed as a foremost apostle of Liberty, on the other as the redoubtable champion of Authority. But a charge of political inconsistency applied to this life appears a mean and petty thing. History easily discerns the reasons and forces which actuated him, and the immense changes in the problems he was facing which evoked from the same profound mind and sincere spirit these entirely contrary manifestations. His soul revolted against tyranny, whether it appeared in the aspect of a domineering Monarch and a corrupt Court and Parliamentary system, or whether, mouthing the watch-words of a non-existent liberty, it towered up against him in the dictation of a brutal mob and wicked sect. No one can read the Burke of Liberty and the Burke of Authority without feeling that here was the same man pursuing the same ends, seeking the same ideals of society and Government, and defending them from assaults, now from one extreme, now from the other.'

"The historian Piers Brendon asserts that Burke laid the moral foundations for the British Empire, epitomised in the trial of Warren Hastings, that was ultimately to be its undoing: when Burke stated that "The British Empire must be governed on a plan of freedom, for it will be governed by no other",[144] this was "...an ideological bacillus that would prove fatal. This was Edmund Burke's paternalistic doctrine that colonial government was a trust. It was to be so exercised for the benefit of subject people that they would eventually attain their birthright—freedom"."

Hesperado said...


Thanks for the quotes. If Piers Brendon is correct, Burke sounds like a forefather of Wilsonianism. However, I know complex individuals like Burke may often be misunderstood or over-simplified.

If I can get my hands on the works of Prof. Rodney Kilcup on Burke and read them, I will have a better handle on this. For now, Burke is tentatively damned by the quote I quoted first, above.

Anonymous said...

:) Here are two more wikipedia quotations:

"The economist Adam Smith remarked that Burke was "the only man I ever knew who thinks on economic subjects exactly as I do, without any previous communications having passed between us"."

"In Das Kapital Marx wrote:

'The sycophant—who in the pay of the English oligarchy played the romantic laudator temporis acti against the French Revolution just as, in the pay of the North American colonies at the beginning of the American troubles, he had played the liberal against the English oligarchy—was an out-and-out vulgar bourgeois. "The laws of commerce are the laws of Nature, and therefore the laws of God." (E. Burke, l.c., pp.31,32) No wonder that, true to the laws of God and Nature, he always sold himself in the best market.'"

Anonymous said...

;) Here is the MONEY quotation - which Burke expressed toward the end of his life - offered years after the first quotation that Hesperado revealed:

"Writing to a friend in May 1795, Burke surveyed the causes of discontent: "I think I can hardly overrate the malignity of the principles of Protestant ascendency, as they affect Ireland; or of Indianism, as they affect these countries, and as they affect Asia; or of Jacobinism, as they affect all Europe, and the state of human society itself. The last is the greatest evil".[124]"

"However by March 1796 Burke had changed his mind: "Our Government and our Laws are beset by two different Enemies, which are sapping its foundations, Indianism, and Jacobinism. In some Cases they act separately, in some they act in conjunction: But of this I am sure; that the first is the worst by far, and the hardest to deal with; and for this amongst other reasons, that it weakens discredits, and ruins that force, which ought to be employed with the greatest Credit and Energy against the other; and that it furnishes Jacobinism with its strongest arms against all formal Government"."

OK, it's a guess based on a quick superficial reading of wikipedia, but it appears that Burke may have discovered his own past mistake (!) at previously elevating Islam - which he might have called Indianism in a time before Muslim Pakistan siphoned off most Muslims from India.

We MUST allow for the possibility that Burke may have grown on the issue of Islam - the same way that most - if not all - of us here have grown to realize the true depths of evil to which Muslims adhere through the practice of Islam.

Frankly, I am relieved, and this idea gives me hope - and glee! :)

Hesperado said...

Thanks again, Egghead.

I'll have to investigate this word I've never heard or read before, "Indianism".

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesperado: I've just been googling the same. Indianism refers to colonial India with no quick or easy answers as to the extent of reference to Islam. :)

Also, earlier, I had searched your archives to see who you credit as the first PC MC because I couldn't remember. Of course, I became distracted reading your other essays. :)

Just to make it easy on me, is your first PC MC credit before or after Burke? Because, if the wikipedia information is to be believed, Burke appears to have been an early PC MC proponent. I will be tickled if Burke turns out to be the first - who then realized the error of his ways! That would be a great PR opportunity for "Knowledge is power" regarding PC MC regarding Islam.

"A Jacobin (French pronunciation: [ʒakɔbɛ̃]), in the context of the French Revolution, was a member of the Jacobin Club (1789–1794). The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican convent, where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques (Latin: Jacobus), Paris. At that time, the term was popularly applied to all supporters of revolutionary opinions. In contemporary France it refers to the concept of a centralized Republic, with power concentrated in the national government, at the expense of local or regional governments." (wikipedia)

Anonymous said...

If we exchange the words Islamism for Indianism and The New World Order for Jacobinism in Burke's quotation, look what we get:

"Our Government and our Laws are beset by two different Enemies, which are sapping its foundations, Islamism, and The New World Order. In some Cases they act separately, in some they act in conjunction: But of this I am sure; that the first is the worst by far, and the hardest to deal with; and for this amongst other reasons, that it weakens discredits, and ruins that force, which ought to be employed with the greatest Credit and Energy against the other; and that it furnishes the New World Order with its strongest arms against all formal Government"."

Anonymous said...

Hesperado, I wasn't planning to comment on this thread, because I'm definitely not up to speed on philosophy, but I can point out that there are many people nowadays, who identify as conservatives, who have also praised Islam. You must have seen the occasional comments at VFR and elsewhere, in which an otherwise intelligent commenter will say something like, Islam would be good for America, because people would go back to being moral and wouldn't tolerate decadence.

So maybe Burke (don't everyone jump on me if I'm wrong, I know nothing of Burke or Locke, I only read blogs), maybe Burke, being a conservative, recognised in Islam a pure conservative system. There is something pure and aesthetically pleasing about some of the ideas about social order, so if you don't know the details, it could appeal to a certain type of person.

Anonymous said...

The Devil is in the details....

Anonymous said...

Here is a related American Thinker article from February 19, 2011:

Revolution in the Middle East? Ask Burke

Be sure to read the comments. Quite good.

On a side note, Kipling knew the score....

Anonymous said...

This link is better. The other is for the comments page.

Revolution in the Middle East? Ask Burke

EscapeVelocity said...

Hesperado, you need more study of Burke.

Burke was against imperialist control of other peoples. Forcing our ways upon them. And vice versa.

He was a segregationist. That Muslims rule their own, just as we do. We have different traditions and those traditions and heritage are useful to good governance...but not when put upon others who do not share that tradition.

He was not an advocate of mass immigration of foreigners of different traditions into a multicultural pluralist democratic balkanized stew. That way be madness and destruction.

I think that the world is much closer than it was in his time. Which may have influenced his live and let live attitude.

EscapeVelocity said...

"So maybe Burke (don't everyone jump on me if I'm wrong, I know nothing of Burke or Locke, I only read blogs), maybe Burke, being a conservative, recognised in Islam a pure conservative system. There is something pure and aesthetically pleasing about some of the ideas about social order, so if you don't know the details, it could appeal to a certain type of person."

This is closer to the mark. The conservative order is different amongst peoples, and those peoples are best governed according to their own traditions. Burke was against the British Empire.


Eggheads quotations that he was a Centrist are accurate. Just as the modern Western Conservative is a Classically Liberal Christian, who opposed to both the Far Left and the Far Right.

The princpal problem is that the the populace is divided into 2 along the broad lines of this Centrist Position and the other half along the lines of the Far Left position. Thus we have been steering further and further Left as a society.

Western Conservatives are really Leftists from the 18th Century. Just as Burke was. Against Tyranny from both directions.

EscapeVelocity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hesperado said...

Escape Velocity,

I'm not so sure I'm getting the impression that Burke was some kind of a proto-Ron Paul isolationist/segregationalist. My impression so far is not that Burke was against the West's Colonialism at the time, but rather against its "unjust" treatment and "exploitation" of the locals (both Muslim and non-Muslim).

I'd have to see more evidence that Burke was advocating some radical restructuring of the world (i.e., Western) economy which was profoundly enmeshed and dependent upon Colonialism (and had been for a good two centuries by that time since the Age of Exploration beginning in the 16th century).

To add that he was not an advocate of mass immigration of Third Worlders isn't saying much, since I don't think anyone in the 18th and early 19th centuries even contemplated such a preposterous notion, anyway.

Hesperado said...


The earliest PC MC thinker I have found so far goes back to the 16th century -- in the famous philosopher and essayist (and political advisor to the French King for a time) Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592):

MontaIgne: Godfather of PC MC?

Hesperado said...


Actually, while of course Kipling was far less PC MC than our contemporaries relatively speaking, after having read some of his writings I have found it to be rather saturated with respect for Muslims and Muslim culture; concomitant with a wry denigration of his own English culture.

I just don't think you guys realize the extent of the disease -- it is so deep, it is part of our civilizational health. No cabal can be isolated as the cancer to be surgically removed (however much such a simpler solution is tempting).

Hesperado said...


"Indianism refers to colonial India with no quick or easy answers as to the extent of reference to Islam."

The problem is that further study of Burke is required to distinguish whether "Indianism" refers to a simple criticism/condemnation of Muslims (and Hindus too probably) or rather to a criticism/condemnation of Western (British) enmeshment in its prize Colonial "Jewel" India -- with the latter not necessarily advocating a radical withdrawal and dismantling of Colonialism altogether, as Escape Velocity claims, but rather a reform of our unjust "exploitation" of the natives.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

Indianism - Burke's meaning maybe a derogatory term for the arbitrary use of colonial power not a synonym for islam, Burke is clearly an advocate of political islam and sharia law, the foundations of British Conservatism that Thatcher and Cameron constructed their muscular liberalism upon.

Hesperado said...

Egghead and Escape Velocity,

That American Thinker article is of no help in ascertaining Burke's position on Islam. The author is simply taking a couple of general principles Burke believed in, applied at the time to the French and American Revolutions, and then using these as a springboard to articulate his own opinions about the "Arab Spring".

The final comment in the comments thread is nice, and points to a productive form of intervention in the Muslim world -- of aggressive occupation with an eye to enforce the criminalization of Islam, as we did with the ideological diseases of Shintoism in Japan and Nazism in Germany. That's what I expect to read in Burke, with relation to the proper British role in India when the British had more than ample enough power to effectively do so. Anything less -- much less compromised by ridiculous statements about how "wise" Islam is -- is simply impermissible and ruins Burke for all time as far as I am concerned (if, that is, it is accurate, which I still don't know for sure).

Hesperado said...

Another nice Burke quote:

"...I am certain that every means effectual to preserve India from oppression [oppression by the British, of course] is a guard to preserve the British Constitution from its worst corruption".

According to the author of this essay on Burke (whose name I cannot immediately find but who at least documents his claims with actual citations unlike many Internet essays) --

Closer examination of Indian affairs led Burke in 1783 to conclude that there were great abuses in the [British East India] company's administration of India. From this period he urged Parliamentary control more vehemently than he had ever opposed ministerial supervision...

In the Ninth Report (June 25, 1783) itself, Burke flatly stated that the East India Company had followed "principles of policy and courses of conduct by which the natives of all ranks and orders were reduced to a state of depression and misery"...

...he [Burke} insists that "the prosperity of the natives must be previously secured, before any profit whatsoever from them is attempted".

Burke did urge reform zealously, but it was reform of the British system that he demanded, not of Indian entities. India, he argued, was already civilised:

"This multitude of men does not consist of an abject and barbarous populace; much less of gangs of savages... But of a people for ages civilised and cultivated -- cultivated by all the arts of polished life while we were yet in the woods."

Edward Said could not have said it better (or worse).

Nota bene: Burke is referring to an India that had been conquered and occupied horribly by Muslims for centuries before and right up to the time that the French and then the British arrived.

This is almost as bad as when I found out that even Eisenhower was PC MC about Islam:

As I wrote in my essay on it:

...with reference to a mosque that had been built in Washington, D.C., in 1957 (and planned for years before that) -- a mosque, by the way, that, just like Imam Rauf's Ground Zero Mosque, was deceptively framed by the term an "Islamic Center":

...the Islamic Center’s dedication ceremony took place on June 28, 1957. Former United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke for the American representatives. In his address, he praised the Islamic world’s “traditions of learning and rich culture” which have “for centuries contributed to the building of civilization.”

He affirmed America’s founding principle of religious freedom and stated that:

“America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience. This concept is indeed a part of America, and without that concept we would be something else than what we are.”

Eisenhower concluded:

“As I stand beneath these graceful arches, surrounded on every side by friends from far and near, I am convinced that our common goals are both right and promising. Faithful to the demands of justice and of brotherhood, each working according to the lights of his own conscience, our world must advance along the paths of peace.”

To absorb the full impact of these nauseatingly Wilsonian statements of Eisenhower's, one must remember that Eisenhower is vaunted as one of the great -- and one of the staunchest -- conservatives in 20th century America (and let us not forget that his Vice-President was Richard Nixon). He was staunchly anti-Communist, for example.

Furthermore, before he was elected President (to two terms), he was one of the great Generals of World War 2.

Sean O'Brian said...

To absorb the full impact of these nauseatingly Wilsonian statements of Eisenhower's, one must remember that Eisenhower is vaunted as one of the great -- and one of the staunchest -- conservatives in 20th century America

National Review refused to endorse Eisenhower for the Presidency in 1956 on the grounds that he was not a conservative. He was head of the "modern Republicanism", which was the moderate wing of the Republican Party.

EscapeVelocity said...

Im not a Burke expert either, Hesperado.

Just for the record.

Hesperado said...

Sean O'Brian,

Interesting. Still, it seems to make little difference anyway. I know precious few "real" Republicans or "true" Conservatives who will condemn Islam and all Muslims as readily as they would condemn Stalinism and all Communists; or Nazism and all Nazis; etc..

Dymphna said...

Eisenhower was wooed by parties while he was president of Columbia. He did an "eenie-meenie-minie-mo-I-choose-you and pointed at the Republicans.

As one of our famous handicapped Southern politicians opined "there's not a dime's worth of difference between 'em". Plus ca change, except maybe the Dems get away with breaking more laws cuz they're so cute.


I'm too tired to tangle wid ya Hesperado, but nonetheless *ahem*... there are indeed lots of us knuckle-dragging, Commie-hating, Naziphobe, Islamo-bashers walking around.

Surely you've noticed that before now?

Hesperado said...


Sorry, I didn't make clear that by "precious few" I meant in politics.

But then again, I still recall that mass rally in D.C. by the Tea Party a couple of years ago, upwards of one million people -- and nary a peep about Islam. No excuse for that. (The pathetic excuse that they were focusing on the economy is like saying, "we didn't call attention to the house on fire because we were worried about the funds for a new gazebo" -- i.e., any excuse at all is worse, even, than no excuse.)