I ended the post below by pointing out the folly implicit (proudly proclaimed might be more accurate) in the 'moral' imperative of the 'Eustonites' to change the regime of any nation whose dictatorial rulers infringe the Charter of Human Rights. Of course, the signatories are intelligent people and have no intention of going to war with most of the rest of the world but that leaves them with the problem of choosing. Why Iraq and not Zimbabwe? Why Afghanistan and not Kazakhstan? There must have been factors that influenced the decisions. A choice was made, but on what grounds? Why, of course, it was our old friend, international power politics! Iraq and Afghanistan posed a military threat so they had to go. At this point I am tempted to write 'plus ca change mais ... ' but that old bully, George Orwell, forbids it. Instead I will simply suggest that the 'Eustonites' are rather like a bunch of fastidious Mrs. Bouquets uneasily aware that coarse, rude 'Uncle Real-Politik' whom they have carefully locked in the attic might break free and embarrass them.
But now I would like to pose a deeper question: Are all dictatorships inherently "A Bad Thing"? And its implied opposite: Are all democracies "A Good Thing"? (I hardly dare venture too far into these deep waters but confine myself to a paddle in the shallows whilst recommending readers to visit 'Deogulwulf', here and here plus the comments, for the sort of erudition you won't find here!) If the first proposition is true then it seems to me that a good deal of the Roman empire must be written off, to say nothing of the rule of, say, Queen Elizabeth I in England. For those of a more republican disposition, which probably includes a fair number of 'Eustonites', are we to write off Cromwell's despotic rule as an 'evil empire' that should have been overthrown by foreigners? As for the second proposition, well, personally speaking, I can hardly bare to watch as just about everything I thought was admirable in English society has inexorably crumbled and decayed when it hasn't actually been torn down and trampled upon by savage, uneducated plebeian boots egged on by corrupt, lying politicians expert in bribing the 'People' with their own money. Is post-modern Britain the exemplar that the 'Eustonites' wish to inflict upon the rest of the world? If so, one can only mutter with the poet, "Poor world [...] what would thou do?" Surely it must be obvious that different societies and cultures will develop and change, for better or worse, in their own way and in their own time. Are British and American bayonets really necessary? And can we be sure that they will actually help the process so devoutly desired by the 'Eustonites' and not hinder it or even set it back?
Mind you, this Manifesto does provide me with a wry smile. My guess is that most of the signatories take a dim view of the British empire but, in essence, what is the difference between those muscular Christian Victorians who ventured forth, with bible in one hand and Lee Enfield in the other, in order to teach the 'Fuzzy-Wuzzies' the virtues of the British way of life and the compassionate rule of the 'Great Queeen Over the Sea'; and the eager 'Eustonites' stepping over the bodies of British and American soldiers waving copies of their wretched Manifesto ?
Finally, on the subject of bayonets, dead soldiers and teaching the natives democracy, I have one very hard question for the 'Eustonites' - how? Iraq and Afghanistan are the test beds and I want to know how the 'Eustonites' intend to set about changing societies that have developed to what they are now over a thousand years or more? Some of the more naive American neo-cons (and perhaps some 'Eustonites, too) thought that simply giving the people a vote w0would be enough. Well, it's patently obvious now that it isn't! These countries aren't going to change their ways unless you establish an immensely strong military power and hold it for 200 years as the British did in India. Even so, one then risks emulating the words of a (fictional) American general in Japan after the war who barked out, "I'll teach these bastards democracy if I have to shoot every one of them!" The 'Eustonites' bleat that neither Bush not Blair had made any preparations for the aftermath of the war. Almost certainly true, but the question is, what methods would the 'Eustonites' use to impose their aims?
This brings me to the end of my generalised attack on the Euston Manifesto. Later I will pick some particular nits contained in the wording of the document. Warning! I, or at least my study, is about to be redecorated and so I may go off the air for a while.