The Slippery Slope of Fighting Barbarism

A friend sends this quote of the day along:

Your debate with Beinart made me remember this great Evelyn Waugh quote. It’d be interesting to hear a Ron Paul acolyte respond to this point:

“It is in the nature of civilization that it must be in constant conflict with barbarism. Very few empires have been the result of a deliberate ambition. They have grown, inevitably, because it has been found necessary to expand in order to preserve what is already held. The French had to annex Algiers because it was the only way in which the Mediterranean could be made safe from pirates. Empire moves in a series of ‘incidents,’ and these ‘incidents’ mean that it is impossible for a country to live in isolation. Barbarism means constant provocation.”

From “We Can Applaud Italy” (1935), in The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh.

Update: Just for the record, the above post does not, in fact, constitute an endorsement of Waugh’s applause for Italy. I just thought the quote was interesting. 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. © 2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.