September 24th, 2021


When scary times stalks the beloved country

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published May 10, 2016

Parlous times have descended everywhere. Barack Obama is so terrified by global warming that he wants to shut off further debate, perhaps to put the White House on stilts, lest the rising oceans soak the upstairs carpets.

France, which has paid the price several times for tragedies inflicted by radical Islam, announced Monday that it will build “de-radicalization centers” to meet the threat of jihad. Italy is fretting that it will be the next beachhead of the Islamic immigrant hordes arriving from Africa and the Middle East to transform Europe.

The debate over restrooms — called “bathrooms” by the sexually squeamish though no one but a very small person could take a bath in a public “bathroom”— continues to consume America. Hundreds of hairy men of devious purpose are said to be hankering for a look inside the ladies’ loo (but few women are expected to wander into the men’s latrine a second time once they get a look at all the toilet seats standing briskly upright, as if at full attention.)

In Britain the prime minister predicts World War III would follow if his countrymen vote to leave the European Union. Who would start such a war? Perhaps the French, ever eager to snipe at Old Blighty. Or the Italians, still looking for a war they can win. Maybe the Germans, itching to settle a score. The prime minister did not say. David Cameron and his precarious government is nevertheless running scared, as if he hears the sound of the guns of June already. A referendum on June 23 will determine whether Britain stays or goes. Three former prime ministers — Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major — have been called back to join the fight as Mr. Cameron’s allies in the struggle to stay in the EU. Other cabinet ministers, past and present, have taken opposite sides.

The prime minister plunders history in a desperate reach for persuasive hyperbole, invoking Blenheim, Lord Nelson at Trafalgar, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill, as representing similar pivotal moments in European history, and citing images of long lines of snow-white crosses above the graves of British soldiers who fell on the continent. “What happens in our neighborhood matters to Britain,” he said Monday in a speech at the British Museum. “That was true in 1914, 1940, 1989 . . . and it is true in 2016. He recalled that Churchill “argued passionately for Western Europe to come together to promote free trade and build institutions which would endure so our continent would never again see such bloodshed.”

But in a passage that no doubt set off a rumble in the ground felt within a mile of Churchill’s grave, the Tory leader argued that Britain should stand within the shadow of Europe in the fight against terrorism, even at the price of the sovereignty of the Crown. “When terrorists are planning to kill and maim people on British streets,” Mr. Cameron said, the closest possible security co-operation is far more important than sovereignty in its purest theoretical form.”

Security more important than sovereignty? “Far more important”? The ghosts below those crosses surely cry out for someone to say it ain’t So.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London until he relinquished the office this week to a Muslim successor, and widely considered a prospective successor to Mr. Cameron, is another who says it ain’t necessarily so. He chided the prime minister for his dark view of the future if Britain heads for the exits. “No,” he said, “I don’t believe leaving the EU would cause World War III to break out on the European continent. People should think very hard before they make these kinds of warnings.”

The conventional wisdom says the “British exit” or “Brexit,” won’t happen. A poll, released by Ipsos Mori on Monday, finds that only 35 percent of Britons say they expect to leave the Union. Half of the Europeans told pollsters that if Britain does leave it could be the spark to set off demand by those in other European countries to leave, too. Not all of them sound unhappy about the prospect. About half of the respondents in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Sweden and Spain say they want a referendum, too.

There is one bright spot in the doomsday news. Several “concerned scientists” have proposed a scientific plan to preserve the human race. The scheme, of a sail 20 times the circumference of Earth to alter the orbit of the planet, will cost a lot, and there’s not much time. The boiling, basting and broiling of the globe begins in only 500 million years, give or take a month or two. Or else the planet dearest to all will be an uninhabitable rock, just the way it was before man arrived to ruin it. Dust to dust, and all that.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.