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Showing posts with label Daniel Hannan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel Hannan. Show all posts

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Rest in Peace, Sir Roger Scruton

Six years ago we posted the following tribute paid by Daniel Hannan, author and British Member of the European Union Parliament, to the great thinker and champion of the good, the beautiful, and the true, Sir Roger Scruton.  Hannan's tribute might well have been a eulogy to this great thinker and champion of Western Civilization.  Sadly, Roger Scruton has now died of cancer.  Let us honor a beautiful mind by embracing his timeless message.
"Some years ago, while canvassing for his wife in a local election in Wiltshire, Roger Scruton was asked on the doorstep, “What is conservatism, anyway?” The voter had unwittingly put the question to the man who, more than any other, has defined what conservatism is; the man who has as good a claim as any to be the cleverest living Englishman.
If he were on the Left, Roger Scruton would be recognised as one of our towering public intellectuals; but it’s a peculiarity of our age that conservative thinkers occupy a space beyond the mental horizons of most commissioning editors. There will always be Rightist columnists of the Richard Littlejohn variety, I’m delighted to say; but a Rightist professor whose writings range from German philosophy to the oddities of common law, from religious art to country sports, is likely to be regarded as an eccentric class traitor.
Still, Roger will be read and remembered when many of the prominent literary figures of our day are footnotes – partly for the keenness of his intelligence and partly for the consistency of his vision, but mainly for the grandeur of his prose. He can ennoble almost any subject – economics, cooking, telephone boxes – by his gentle logic and his courteous insistence on treating readers as his intellectual equals.
Roger’s detractors call him an unthinking man’s thinking man, alleging that he will justify any prejudice, from insistence on traditional marriage to dislike of immigration, with allusions to Herder or Aristotle. In fact, the good professor makes a solidly Burkeian case for prejudice. Life, he holds, would become impossible if we had to think through every situation from first principles, disregarding both our own experience and the wisdom of our ancestors."  Read the full essay here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Treasonous British Political Leaders Betraying the Best Interests of Their Own Country

Britain just needs to go and give the dying European socialists nothing. Her Majesty is the head of state for 16 realms with which Britain can trade, there are 53 nations that belong to the Commonwealth, and Britain has a special relationship with the United States. That is a far more formidable alliance than the EU could ever hope to be and a powerful force for freedom and the good of mankind.

Here Daniel Hannan describes the unholy alliance between the European Commission and treasonous political leaders in Britain siding with foreign interests against the best interests of their own country.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Daniel Hannan: Here's What Happens When Britain Votes to Leave

We are unused to referendums in this country, so we tend to think in terms of general elections. Behind much of the coverage of the EU debate is the assumption that voting to leave somehow means putting the Leave campaigners into office.

Hence the interest in what precise alternative we favour. Do we want Britain to be “like” Switzerland or “like” Norway or “like” Canada or “like” Jersey? (It’s worth noting, en passant, that the phrasing of the question demonstrates its silliness: the fact that no two non-EU states have identical deals with Brussels makes a nonsense of the idea that Britain would precisely mimic any of them. Plainly, we’d have our own deal, tailored to suit our own interests.)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Daniel Hannan: Why Americans Should Back Brexit

The campaign is in full swing. On June 23, Britain will decide by referendum whether to leave the European Union (EU). Most of the political establishment, including the leaders of all the main parliamentary parties, are arguing for a “remain” vote. But the country is unimpressed, and opinion polls remain evenly balanced.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daniel Hannan: If the UK Were Not Already a Member of the European Union, Would We Vote to Join It?

If the United Kingdom were not already a member of the European Union, would we vote to join it?

It’s never easy to answer hypothetical questions; but it’s worth noting how people feel in the Western European countries that stayed out. Perhaps the non-EU nations most comparable to Britain, being neither ex-Communist nor microstates, are Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In all of them, there are solid and settled majorities against joining the EU.

Here are the latest poll numbers. In Iceland, which formally withdrew its application in 2015, voters oppose joining by 50.1 per cent to 34.2 per cent. In Norway, by 72.0 per cent to 18.1 per cent. In Switzerland, opinion polls on the EU are rarer, because membership was killed off when a referendum in 2001 resulted in a massive 76.8 per cent against reopening accession talks. Still, for what it’s worth, the latest survey shows that 82 per cent of Swiss citizens support their current bilateral arrangements.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Daniel Hannan: 2015 Was the Best Year in Human History, and 2016 Will Be Better Yet

From Conservative Home
By Daniel Hannan

If, like this site’s Executive Editor, you make your once-yearly visit to church at this time, the chances are you’ll hear more than carols. Almost as traditional as the solo that opens “Once in Royal David’s City” is the pulpit homily to the effect that, “especially at this season,” we should “remember the poor, the hungry and the refugees”.

Quite right, too. All the Abrahamic faiths enjoin their followers to care for those in need of food or shelter. The patriarch himself spent time as a homeless immigrant:  “And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, ‘I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight’.”

Christian clergy like to remind their congregations that Jesus’s family were refugees in Egypt (often failing to add that they returned home as soon as it was safe). Again, the ministers are right: whatever the failings of our current immigration rules, we should remember that every human being seeking to cross the Mediterranean, or encamped outside Calais, is as much the centre of his universe as we are.

Still, it would be nice if, amid all the reminders of war and persecution and terrorism, the clergy acknowledged something else. There are fewer hungry people in the world than ever. There are fewer victims of violence, at least in proportionate terms. Churchmen are supposed to broadcast the Good News at this season; but they sometimes appear reluctant to admit that it can have an earthly as well as a celestial manifestation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Daniel Hannan: Small Is Beautiful

What are the two richest countries in Europe? According to the Legatum Institute, which publishes an annual prosperity league, Switzerland noses ahead of Norway. Money isn’t everything, of course. The United Nations runs a quality of life index, which also takes account of literacy, longevity, infant mortality and the like. It reaches the same conclusion: Switzerland and Norway are the best places on Earth to be born.

There has been a great deal of focus on these two chilly, mountainous lands recently. Because they are flourishing outside the European Union, Euroskeptics point to them as examples of how it pays to be a sovereign nation. Supporters of the EU, by contrast, are keen to rubbish their arrangements with Brussels, portraying them as oxpecker birds clinging to the mighty EU hippopotamus, voiceless passengers downloading Brussels laws over whose framing they have no say.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Daniel Hannan: The Absurdity of Demanding Reparations for Slavery

I am descended from slaves. So are you. From slave-owners, too. Given the history of the human race, it could hardly be otherwise.

Slavery was the normal form of social organization from the discovery of agriculture onwards. It may have been common among hunter-gatherers long before that, but the evidence is inconclusive. What we do know is that ownership of human beings is at least as old as civilization. The cities of Ur and Sumer, of Egypt and Persia, of the Indus Valley and Xia Dynasty China were built by forced labor.

Slaves raised the Acropolis in Athens and the Pantheon in Rome. They piled up the ziggurats of Meso-America. Incas, Maoris, Apache: All accepted slavery as part of the natural order. An Aleutian tribe kept a special caste of boys raised as girls for the sexual gratification of its chiefs. An early Indian clan bred slave children for the specific purpose of sacrificing them. Slavery was so endemic in Africa that it became more common following the abolition of the Atlantic trade.

This history is what makes arguments about reparations so bizarre. The people paying up would be statistically certain to have both owners and owned in their family tree; so would the people accepting compensation.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Heritage Foundation Celebrates the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta: Its Enduring Legacy – 1215-2015

Magna Carta – the Great Charter – is one of the foundational documents in Anglo-American legal history. Ironically, it began, not as a statement of principle, like our Declaration of Independence, but as a peace treaty. Signed on June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, England, Magna Carta sought to end the barons’ rebellion against King John by forcing the crown to adhere to the laws and customs of the realm. Magna Carta was initially thought to be a failure because King John repudiated the treaty almost before the ink was dry. But time has been good to the Great Charter. In fact, it is difficult to overstate the importance of Magna Carta in the development of Anglo-American law. English law treats it as “the Bible of the English Constitution.”

The American Framers used the phrases “the law of the land” or “due process of law” in numerous important contemporary legal documents, including statutes passed by colonial assemblies, resolutions enacted by the Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, and state constitutions. Magna Carta has come to stand as proof that a written document can make important revisions to the law, fend off tyrannical government officials, restrain even the sovereign’s power, and grant rights to the entire community, not merely to certain favored individuals – an enduring legacy that helped to establish “the rule of law.”

In an event at The Heritage Foundation, recorded above, two esteemed historians reflect on the contributions of the Great Charter from both the British and American perspectives.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty

June marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter’ that established the rule of law for the English-speaking world. Its revolutionary impact still resounds today, writes Daniel Hannan

King John, pressured by English barons, reluctantly signs Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter,’ on the Thames riverbank, Runnymede, June 15, 1215, as rendered in James Doyle’s ‘A Chronicle of England.’ Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection 

By Daniel Hannan 

Eight hundred years ago next month, on a reedy stretch of riverbank in southern England, the most important bargain in the history of the human race was struck. I realize that’s a big claim, but in this case, only superlatives will do. As Lord Denning, the most celebrated modern British jurist put it, Magna Carta was “the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”

It was at Runnymede, on June 15, 1215, that the idea of the law standing above the government first took contractual form. King John accepted that he would no longer get to make the rules up as he went along. From that acceptance flowed, ultimately, all the rights and freedoms that we now take for granted: uncensored newspapers, security of property, equality before the law, habeas corpus, regular elections, sanctity of contract, jury trials.

Magna Carta is Latin for “Great Charter.” It was so named not because the men who drafted it foresaw its epochal power but because it was long. Yet, almost immediately, the document began to take on a political significance that justified the adjective in every sense.

The bishops and barons who had brought King John to the negotiating table understood that rights required an enforcement mechanism. The potency of a charter is not in its parchment but in the authority of its interpretation. The constitution of the U.S.S.R., to pluck an example more or less at random, promised all sorts of entitlements: free speech, free worship, free association. But as Soviet citizens learned, paper rights are worthless in the absence of mechanisms to hold rulers to account.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal >>

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Daniel Hannan MEP: How the Left’s Hatred Devoured Its Own Election Campaign

By Daniel Hannan

It’s not always about you. The truism is especially worth remembering in the aftermath of elections, when all parties tend to look at the results wholly in terms of their own campaigns. We Conservatives lurched away from everything John Major had stood for after 1997, and then ludicrously over-compensated after 2001, convinced that William Hague’s emphasis on the asylum crisis had lost us the election. In truth, it’s hard to see any campaign having triumphed against Tony Blair at his height. It’s not always about us.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Daniel Hannan: How Big Should the State Be?

When the times require another Margaret Thatcher, Daniel Hannan will be that leader.  In this BBC discussion, he addresses the appropriate size and scope of government.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daniel Hannan MEP: Cameron’s Coming EU Renegotiation Will Alter Nothing

If David Cameron wins the next election, he will secure 100 per cent of his negotiating objectives vis-à-vis the EU. How can I be sure? Because those negotiating objectives have been drawn up in such a way as to make their acceptance certain.

I can think of no other issue where there is such a disconnect between what politicians have said on the record and what reporters and columnists suppose them to have said. David Cameron set out his seven conditions for remaining in the EU in this article last year. Later that day, Nick Clegg popped up to declare that he wholeheartedly endorsed them: after all, said Cleggie, they wouldn’t require a new treaty, so nothing fundamental would change. The following day, Ken Clarke gave his approval on the same grounds.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daniel Hannan: 'God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.'

Daniel Hannan is an MEP for South-East England, and a journalist, author and broadcaster. His most recent book is Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World.

At this season, it seems apt to quote the American humourist, P. J. O’Rourke:

“I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Daniel Hannan: 'Hitler Was A Socialist'

Here is our favorite statesman, the brilliant Daniel Hannan, discussing the socialist economic philosophy shared by Adolf Hitler, Karl Marx and Barack Hussein Obama, and its far more bountiful alternative, capitalism, which has underpinned freedom throughout the Anglosphere.