Moving on to last week’s March Diary:
The closest anyone has got me to that Lenin quote, or pseudo-quote (“We shall now create the socialist order”), is this, from Lenin’s speech to the Petrograd Soviet on November 7, 1917: “We should now occupy ourselves in Russia in building up a proletarian socialist state.” It can be found in David Shub’s biography of Lenin, or here on Google Books.
Reader G [Quoting me]:
“Is this European-leftist style of hubris a new thing in U.S. politics? Can anybody think of a leftist quote in this spirit from the pre-Obama U.S.A.?” Did not Ronald Reagan make use of Thomas Paine’s declaration that “We have it in our power to begin the world anew”?
[Me] Indeed he did, more than once. The oddity of the Paine-Reagan connection has been noted many times, including here at NRO, though I can’t recall by which one of us. Neither Paine nor Reagan had in mind a “vanguard party” of enlightened “masters” taking control of people’s lives and affairs, though. That’s the socialist spirit, and that’s what I was looking for.
I yield to no one in admiration for Ronald Reagan and what he tried to do, but I’ve had problems with his rhetoric.
Reader H [On the same topic]:
Closest thing I can think of is George Stephanopoulos announcing that “today we begin the process of dismantling Reaganism.”
[Me] I’d forgotten that one. Though if George Stephanopoulos ever in his life dismantled anything more challenging than a pup tent, I’d be most surprised.
Reader I [In response to my question “Was Enoch Powell the last Anglosphere politician to resign from high office in protest against government spending?”]:
Mr. Derbyshire – I was wondering if you would give Senator Judd Gregg partial credit in reference to Powell’s decision to step down. If I remember correctly, the nomination [i.e. for Secretary of Commerce in the Obama cabinet] was there for the taking, and I’m sure he would have been confirmed. Does he perhaps deserve extra credit for the foresight?
[Me] I think Judd deserves credit, but it’s not on the same scale as actually resigning from office, and I’m not clear on Judd’s motives for withdrawal. Someone remind me please.
Reader J [a dot-mil]:
Mr Derbyshire – A couple years back, while one of my barracks mates was engaged to a lovely Indian-American woman (now his wife), we came up with quite a few clarifications on the “dot, not feather” model. Two of the more memorable were “tech support, not blackjack” and “MD, not AA.” Ahem.
[Me] Made me chuckle. You need to be careful, though, Sarge. If General Casey’s Diversity Police hear you cracking jokes like that, it’ll be pack drill for thee, and a fortnight’s C.B.
Reader K [On my reference to shad roe]
Being a native Hoosier now living on the East Coast, I have been viewed as a provincial oddity at times. This has made me relish the strange provincial underground of the oh so urban East Coast. Perhaps my favorite event so far was going to a shad bake in rural Connecticut (there was plenty of shad roe) with the family of a friend who is now a newly minted PhD in neuroscience. It reminded me that no matter how liberal and refined a locale is in the United States we are all just a couple steps removed from our disturbing pioneer or immigrant roots . . .
[Me] Italian-immigrant friends in the New York suburbs invited me to a party celebrating their granddaughter’s First Communion. When I arrived, they were roasting a pig in their yard. On a spit. I love this stuff too. Long may it persist. Not much I can contribute in this area, though I can always whip up a Marmite sandwich for visitors seeking ethnic authenticity.
Dear Mr. Derbyshire – North Dakota, where I have lived for 21 years, might be a good temporary bolt-hole while one arranges Uruguayan citizenship . . . Crime is so low that people are used to safety and actually do something about it in the rare instances when, say, gang activity manifests itself. There is much churchgoing, although unfortunately some of the benefits of that are doomed because the main Protestant denomination here, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has signed on to Sodom. People are strongly family-oriented because there is nothing to do here, aside from hunting, other than attend high school sports. North Dakotan support for Ron Paul was strong, a good indication of appreciation for liberty. I would think that North Dakotans would sympathize with and welcome bolt-holers, since we actually need in-migration of productive citizens.
[Me] It’s definitely on my list, Sir. The winters I hear are brutal, but that’s all to the good – keeps out weaker, softer spirits.
Mr. Derbyshire, What is your opinion of New Zealand as a bolt-hole? China will not work for me because (1) They farm and eat dogs, (2) I can’t speak Chinese, and (3) I have not yet reached retirement age and must make a living. Yes, the New Zealand government is relatively large, but they have one of the most free and least corrupt economies in the world. I actually am not joking about this. I have a June trip planned so that I can see the place during [their] winter. I have seen it in spring and summer.
[Me] I think I’ve worked over this ground before on NRO. Some of the most attractive bolt-hole countries are really hard to get settlement visas for. New Zealand’s in that category. A year or so ago, they refused a visa to a woman because she was too fat. Uruguay doesn’t come up to New Zealand in appeal (well, to me), but it’s a lot easier to get into. Still not as easy as North Dakota, though . . .
Re: Uruguayan bolt hole Having sworn a loyalty oath to the United States, as a condition of working at a defense laboratory, I feel an obligation to go down with the ship . . . but I am not unsympathetic to your pessimism. And the idea of Uruguay as a bolt hole is not without merit. South American has vast natural resources that it has made a complete hash of using to improve its condition. I wonder; if the United States goes belly-up, and South America is finally left to its own devices, might it finally get its act together? It has a young, potentially dynamic population. Give them a decent government and a little education, and who knows what they might accomplish? On the other hand, there’s Chávez. Pessimism seems like the wave of the future.
[Me] I certainly hope so, Sir! Uruguay’s population isn’t that young, though: median age 33.4, older than Israel (29.1), though a tad below New Zealand (36.6).
More feedback shortly.