The Palmerstonian Principle

by Iain Murray

Charles’s article on the home page is worth reading for a reminder of the sort of behavior a robust classical-liberal nation engaged in when challenged by petty dictators and rabble-rousers. The thing is that this exact sort of behavior was the norm until very recently. Some illumination might be gleaned from this transcript (1950s political incorrectness included, I should add) of an episode of the 1950s BBC radio show The Goons. “The Nasty Affair at the Burami Oasis” is the rip-roaring tale a British garrison at a small oasis beleaguered by Sheikh Rattle and Roll so that he might secure victory in a soccer match. HMG decides to send a battleship to defend the oasis, which is rather problematic given that the oasis is only ten feet long and the army is short on sailors. In a truly British moment, it is discovered that the oasis is made of gin . . .

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