Arriving back at Heathrow late on Sunday night I felt - as you do on returning to Britain these days – as if I were entering a failed state. It’s not just the Third World shabbiness which is so dispiriting. It’s the knowledge that from its surveillance cameras to its tax regime, from its (mostly) EU-inspired regulations to its whole attitude to the role of government, Britain is a country which has forgotten what it means to be free.
God how I wish I were American right now. In the US they may not have the Cairngorms, the River Wye, cream teas, University Challenge, Cotswold villages or decent curries. But they do still understand the principles of “don’t tread on me” and “live free or die.” Not all of them, obviously – otherwise a socialist like Barack Obama would never have got into power. But enough of them to understand that in the last 80 or more years – and not just in the US but throughout the Western world – government has forgotten its purpose. It has now grown so arrogant and swollen as to believe its job is to shape and improve and generally interfere with our lives. And it’s not. Government’s job is to act as our humble servant.
What’s terrifying is how few of us there are left anywhere in the supposedly free world who properly appreciate this. Sure, we may feel in our hearts that – as Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe put it in their Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party manifesto – “We just want to be free. Free to lead our lives as we please, so long as we do not infringe on the same freedom of others”. And we may even confide it to our friends after a few drinks. But look at Australia; look at Canada; look at New Zealand; look at anywhere in the EUSSR; look at America – at least until things begin to be improved by today’s glorious revolution. Wherever you go, even if it’s somewhere run by a notionally “conservative” administration, the malaise you will encounter is much the same: a system of governance predicated on the notion that the state’s function is not merely to uphold property rights, maintain equality before the law and defend borders, but perpetually to meddle with its citizens’ lives in order supposedly to make their existence more fair, more safe, more eco-friendly, more healthy. And always the result is the same: more taxation, more regulation, less freedom. Less “fairness” too, of course.
Rarely have I felt more despondent about the world’s future than I do right now, Britain’s especially. At least when Blair and Brown were in charge, busily ruining things, there was always the consolation that soon would come the backlash which would see a decent, small-state, conservative administration regaining power and the country’s fortunes restored. This hasn’t happened. The similarities between the Eton Grocer’s Coalition and the New Labour government he ousted are far greater than the differences. All are run by a professional political mandarin class in the interests of the professional political mandarin class. The Big Society – contra a bizarre leader in this week’s Spectator – has very little to do with rolling back the frontiers of the State. It’s about entrenching Tony Blair’s Third Way socialism-lite, only under a zappy new name. For even the merest glimmer of hope about the future, the only place to look right now is across the Atlantic.
And this is why I’m more excited than an Englishman has any right to be about today’s mid-term US elections. As Scott Edwards, president of Republican Party Animals put it yesterday: “Tonight is a lot like the night before Christmas when you were a kid. You knew the next day was going to be great, but you didn’t quite know how great, and you were much too excited to sleep.” I agree with him. Not even with Margaret Thatcher’s first victory in 1979 or the Gipper’s in 1980 was there an election with quite so much at stake. We’re talking about the future not just of the US here, but of Western Civilisation itself.
If this isn’t obvious, let me explain why. As you all know, since Climategate I’ve been dedicating far more of my time than is healthy to exposing the great Global Warming scam. This is not because I’ve suddenly realised I’m a scientist manque who wants to spend the rest of his life obsessing about forcings, feedbacks and solar radiation. It’s because I understand that “Environmentalism” is but one strategically significant theatre in a much greater ideological war being waged across the world. It’s the same one Toby Young is fighting over education; the same one the likes of Rod Liddle, Andrew Gilligan, Nick Cohen and Mark Steyn are fighting over political Islam; the same one Melanie Phillips is fighting over Israel; the same one Douglas Murray is fighting on pretty much everything. And its ultimate outcome is at least as important as those of the ones we fought in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. At stake is exactly the same thing the Greek alliance fought for when Western Civilisation was born at Salamis in 480 BC; the same thing we citizens of the West have been fighting for ever since: the right to forge our own destinies as free men and women, rather than remain infantilised, oppressed and enslaved as vassals of a tyrant state.
Sure there’s no comparison (well not that much) between Obama’s US and Stalin’s Soviet Union; Coalition Britain and Mao’s China; Julia Gillard’s Australia and Queen Ranavalona’s Madagascar; sure the war we’re currently fighting doesn’t involve mass destruction like that of World Wars I and II. But it’s precisely because the ideological struggle we’re currently engaged in is so seemingly democratic and innocuous that it is in fact so dangerous. With Hitler and Stalin it was easy: the enemy was plain in view. Today’s encroaching tyranny is an of altogether more subtle, slippery variety. It takes the form of the steady “engrenage” – ratcheting – of EU legislation; of the stealthy removal of property rights and personal liberty under the UN’s Agenda 21; of the eco-legislation created by democratically unaccountable bodies like America’s Environmental Protection Agency; of the stealthy encroachment of the Big Government into the most intimate recesses of our daily lives – not just under barely disguised socialist administrations like Obama’s even under notionally “Centre right” ones such as Cameron’s or Sarkozy’s. When the Enemy is as sly and insidious as that, it’s much much harder for the increasingly oppressed populace to rouse itself to the appropriate state of alarm and rebellion.
That’s why today I say: “Thank God for the Tea Party!” Though it has been typically misrepresented by the liberal media as a rattlers’ nest of gun-toting fruitcakes who want to ban masturbation and abortion, it is, of course, nothing of the kind. It is – whatever the increasingly redundant Moonbat may claim
– a genuine grass roots movement inspired by the one great political cause truly worth fighting and dying for: the cause of liberty.