Frank Maguire
The metastasizing dirigisme
By Frank Maguire
November 21, 2012

"The United States has now acquired an electorally powerful liberal bourgeoisie who are convinced, as their European counterparts have been for several generations, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that public spending is inherently virtuous, that poverty can be cured by penalizing wealth creation, and that government intervention can engineer social "fairness." But just when some of Europe's political class has begun to appreciate the dangers of this philosophy — that taken to its logical conclusion, it leads to economic stagnation and social division — America seems to have decided that it is the quintessence of enlightened sophistication." Janet Daley, the London Telegraph (November 10)

"The problem with you progressives is that you never progressed beyond childhood; you think only of what you want in the moment and are oblivious to long-term implications."

Useful Liberal Idiots and Vote Fraud by Selwyn Duke (November 19)

This article concerns the freedom of a Constitutional Republican democracy in contrast to Social Democrat Drigisme — "control by the state of economic and social matters." I prefer to call it Fascism — Public-Private Corporatism — a la Benito Mussolini, but Socialism of any variety, including Marxism, satisfies the general definition of dirigisme. They are all competitors of the Progressive-Autocratic Left, contrary to the persistent efforts of that very Left to call socialist Fascism and NAZIism "the Right."

The artsy-crafty myth-makers of the Left were so audacious as to have created Red State-Blue State, and applied "red" to we whom they have accused of being retrogressively anti-Red. How juvenile, but, alas, effective for those mis-educated in our Halls of Ivy — the garrulous academissions (sic.), with termagent tongues and hubristic "cheek."

In 1984 my wife and I were in England. We were in a pub in lovely Rochester when I heard that Ronald Reagan had made "mushy peas" out of the other-Party candidate. I chanced a wild-Irish "hoot and holler," and bought pints for the publican's custom.

Helen, my wife, and I visited Great Britain many times in the following years. I have been a loyal Anglophile. We loved London and purlieus, and we would walk hither and yon through town and countryside, day or night, with no fear. We saw Agatha Christie's most renowned play The Mouse Trap six times, at the famous St. Martin's Theatre. Many actors and actresses who went on to notoriety started their climb as characters in The Mouse Trap. So, my lovely spouse and I, who admired the exceptional British thespian traditions, enjoyed the interpretations by new players each year.

But things were changing in Old Blighty. It was apparent. London's demeanor, dress, and decibel levels were rising to new lows, while the population was descending to new "highs." London had been Carnaby-ized . The rhythm of England had changed from the confident up-beat of a nation that had courageously withstood the massive NAZI onslaught to the back-beat of such as Ringo Starr, the Beatles most renowned drummer. (I mean no offense to Ringo. He eventually came to his senses and saw the Light.)

The solid, staid, conservative "Upstairs" class, once devoted to setting the standard for the superiority of Great Britain, became decadent, displaying a lack of confidence that Britannia ruled the waves, and a sense of guilt that since they, themselves, felt unworthy, then Great Britain must have been unworthy. The attitude was "Maybe nothing has ever been any good?"

Gilbert and Sullivan's great light-opera parody the Mikado had this to say about what was a dangerous flaw in the England of their day. In "As Some Day It May Happen" they present the list compiled by the Lord High Executioner. And on that list: "Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own."

Inevitably, the "Downstairs" populace, conservatively proud to be British, observed the decline of the noblesse-oblige aristocracy, and feeling betrayed, lapsed into a Huxleyesque world of moral relativity and nihilism. This while the Krishna- conscience, hemp-happied hippies mantra-chanted "Hare Krishna, Hare, Krishna, Hey, Hey, Hey, Hare Hare," evangelizing for "Love" and "Hope."

I remember on our last visit to London an incident that made it clear that the once homogenous population of England, the England that proudly but, yes, somewhat unaware of what their politicians had in mind for them, credulously asserted, "But this is England, things like that don't happen here. Our Bobbies don't even have to carry guns," had undergone a rapid transmutation.

Helen and I have been in a section of greater London with which we were unfamiliar. We boarded a bus and found it was going in a direction opposite to where we intended to go. We were talking about what we would do and I said "Let's get off at the next bus stop and go back."

A lovely lady heard me and said "Oh, I wouldn't get off here. Stay on the bus and I'll tell you a safe place to get a return bus. This neighborhood is dangerous." I thanked her. We did as she instructed and returned to our hotel safely. We have not revisited England since Tony Blair's reign.

As the sun goes down on the "Love...Hope" of Carnaby Street, and as members of the European Economic Community are experiencing chaos, and beginning to wonder whether the Great EU Scheme — The Scheme That Made the World Safe for Democracy — designed by Social Darwinists befogged in "Imagine all the People" Carnaby-pipedreams will, instead of assuring open borders and peace everlasting be more likely to result in internecine warfare amongst "civilized" tribes.

Let me return to Ms. Daley's statement of ironic actuality. "But just when some of Europe's political class has begun to appreciate the dangers of this (dirigisme) philosophy — that taken to its logical conclusion, it leads to economic stagnation and social division — America seems to have decided that it is the quintessence of enlightened sophistication."

The same day I read Daley's London Telegraph article I read the following two pieces in the NRA's America's First Freedom Dec. 12 issue, which accurately punctuates Daley's perceptiveness quite dramatically. The first is entitled "U.K. Judges Revive Right to Self-Defense."

Home owners Andy and Tracey Ferrie were awakened to the sound of someone breaking into the house. Mr. Ferrie grabbed his wife's "target" shotgun, confronted the "burglars," and wounded them both. For their efforts, the Ferries were arrested on "suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm."

But something unexpected happened at the trial which indicated that the Brits may have awakened from their sweet-dream that police protection was not adequate to assure the safety of British citizens. Judge Michael Pert, the case-judge, told the house-breakers' defense attorney, "If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, (being shot) is the chance you take."

Judge Pert denied the defense plea for a reduced sentence when the defense attorney mad the compassionate plea that one of his unfortunate clients had suffered a "near-death experience." Pert's terse response to this showed which side deserved the compassion. He said, "You cannot come to this court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it." He then sentenced the hooligans to four years in the hoosegow.

Later, in response to an appeal, Judge Pert's decision was upheld by the Head of the English Judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice, who made it clear that "If your home is burgled, you have the right to stop the burglar." He, then, cited Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) "an English lawyer whose defense of the supremacy of the common law against the claims of the royal prerogative had a profound influence on the development of English law and the United States Constitution" ; "A predecessor of mine 400 years ago said 'A man's home is his castle.'" Seems to me that the no longer culturally homogenous Brit's are moving in the right direction of realistically-progressive change.

In stark contrast, the second piece, which "rests" author Daley's solid case, tells about the Change called Progressive in the U.S. as the Progros stagger (and swagger) about in a condition of supercilious intoxication. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens perpetrated his profundities in a recent appearance at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project. "Maybe you have some kind of constitutional right to have a cell phone with a pre-dialed 9-1-1 in the number (sic.) at your bedside and that might provide you with a little better protection than a gun which you're not used to using."

To borrow from Aesop, with a minor adjustment, "Fine (robes) may disguise, but foolish words disclose a fool." As is the CYA habit of those who hedge with equivocation — employ weasel words — Stevens did protect himself, to allow for future "I was taken out of context," by using the words "maybe; might; and the phrase "a little better protection."

Only one with the wit of a nit could propose that house-breaking perps are merely there to relieve the home owner of their "plate." Burglary is risky, as the two you just read about found out. And in this age where life has been progressively de-sanctified by such as existentialist self-actualization and nihilism, criminals are more likely to kill anyone who might have seen them and who might witness against them if they are apprehended.

As for Stevens' "sky-pointing booby" posturing about the protective value of a 9-1-1 call when in direct confrontation with potential killers, if there is a "Booby of the Year" Pulitzer, Stevens deserves to join the Pulitzer Prize hagiography. The result of a 9-1-1 call under virtually 99% of the circumstances would summon the police to put-up the yellow tape, clean up the residue, do the evidence thing, and turn the remains over to the coroner.

If this is how the Progro John Paul Stevens views "constitutional rights," we can, once more, thank our wise founders for the Second Amendment.

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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