Recent links of note:
“Horace on Brexit”
Roger Kimball, PJ Media
When the people of Britain took to the polls last Thursday to settle the question of EU membership, our own editor Roger Kimball was on location in London, savoring the moment and sending back dispatches all the while. Roger’s first round of posts praised the triumphant Brexit campaign for casting off the EU’s grip on British affairs and opening the door to a more flexible partnership with Europe and the wider world. On Monday, he turned to the task of addressing the doubts of the Brits in his circle who didn’t share his enthusiasm. In “Horace on Brexit,” penned for PJ Media, Roger recalls the Roman poet’s advice to “preserve a calm mind” during uncertain times, and he works through the facts of Britain’s new situation with calming sobriety. Britain’s position as a net-consumer of European goods will help it remain attractive an trade partner, its new freedom from EU restrictions will allow it to strike better deals with Europe and elsewhere, and slowing down the free flow of immigrants will help its labor market stabilize. Perhaps, these frank observations from a sympathetic American will help shell-shocked Brits take their first steps toward optimism.
“Brexit, One Week and Counting”
Roger Kimball, PJ Media
Back home in the States on Thursday, Roger revisited the Brexit story to check the status of the dire predictions that pro-EU pundits made in the wake of the vote. In “Brexit, One Week and Counting,” he notes that Britain’s markets have already stabilized since their early dive last Thursday, a sign of faith among the British and others that the City of London will hold onto its place as a global financial hub without the EU’s common market. And with just as much confidence, he dispels the media myth that the Brexit campaign was spurred on by flat racism. As a Lord Ashcroft poll showed, more than half of voters in favor of withdrawal listed national sovereignty as their top concern—a concern so alien to the post-nationalist types in the British media that anti-immigrant fury seemed the only possible explanation. Roger wraps up his post with a thought about the coming race for the Prime Minister’s seat, saying that we ought not count on the same “smart money” voices who failed to predict Brexit to call the outcome in Westminster. Indeed, it would be wiser, in my humble opinion, to stay tuned in to Roger himself as he continues to chronicle this unique British moment.
“Vive La Permanent Revolution”
Guy Sorman, City Journal
On this side of the Atlantic, Alexis de Tocqueville is remembered as the great foreign chronicler of American character. It should come as no surprise, however, that he had just as keen a sense for the quirks of his own country. Writing for City Journal, Guy Sorman begins his critique of France’s current political dust-up with Tocqueville’s centuries-old words: “The French are better at revolution than reform.” Since the birth of modern France in 1789, Sorman argues, nearly all of French politics has sprung from the urge to preserve the revolutionary spirit—whatever “revolution” happens to mean in each unique moment. Defying irony, today’s would-be revolutionaries are seeking the total preservation of France’s crumbling economic status quo, as they mobilize to block the labor reforms proposed by President François Hollande. Sorman’s take on revolution helps us distinguish between two types of political revolt: the reform-minded type that Tocqueville saw in America’s independence (and might have seen in today’s Britain), and the amorphous type of political rage that France’s Socialists have found themselves muddling through once again.
From our pages:
"Rightly to be great”
On liberal media pundits’ misconception of honor.