Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Wednesday June 02 2010

I don’t know to how many people Paul Marks sends his emails.  To lots, I hope.  I hope this because as the years have gone by, my admiration for Paul has gone up and up.  Here is the latest.  Rather than put it all as if mere quoted paragraphs, I have put this bit, by me, in italics, and the rest as a regular posting, as if I were recycling a bit from a book.  Me publishing this doesn’t mean I agree with it all, although if I knew enough to do so, I probably would.  The two embedded links near the end flag up two of my moments of particular ignorance.  I thought: What is that?  And I further thought that others might share my ignorance and appreciate a quick way to learn more.

Paul refers, in the text below, to him, Paul Marks, being a “semi-illiterate”.  By this I take him to mean that there is a slight touch of the suicide note style about his way of writing, in that there are quite frequent spelling errors, as well as occasional grammatical infelicities, often in the form of sentences lumped together with dashes, brackets or commas, that I think ought to be separated by full stops.  I have taken the liberty of correcting all the mistakes, as I consider them, of this kind that I have spotted.  More editing, and I would probably have cut out even more of the brackets.

Paul mentions a distant cousin of mine, with the same surname as me, John Micklethwait, now the editor of the Economist.  Paul does not admire this member of my clan.  In another recent email, also critical of John Micklethwait, Paul expressed the hope that I am not hurt by this criticism of my “kinsman”.  I am not.  Especially since he went out of his way then to say kind things about me, just to prove that his was not a general anti-Micklethwait bias.

Anyway, here it the latest of Paul’s emails.  If it turns up in a few hours on Samizdata, well, sorry and all that.  If Paul Marks approves of me doing this, I will probably (although I promise nothing) continue, and post more of his emails.  If he disapproves, I will note this, and refrain in the future.  At present, I think it is a great shame to waste these thoughts as mere emails, although, as I say, I have no idea how many people get them, as mere emails.

When I praise someone or stick up for them in any way, it should not be taken as meaning that I would support them politically.

For example, saying that the words of a candidate for Governor in Alabama were not “racist” should not be taken to mean that I would have voted for him in the Primary (far too moderate for me). And what I am about to say should not be taken to mean that I support the recently resigned Prime Minister of Japan.

I think the Prime Minister of Japan who has just resigned was a well meaning and honest man. The last point will get some laughs (given the level of corruption in the government that was elected only nice months ago), but looking at his rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights face I cannot believe that he knew anything about the corruption (and it is the corruption, not the failure to move the American military base from Okinawa, that is the real reason for the decline in support for the Prime Minister that has led to his fall).

As for him being well meaning - his plan for office was to take money from waste and corruption (especially corrupt government building projects - the Japanese equivalent of Crossrail in London, or the 2012 Games) and use the money to improve education and social services.

Of course, being the evil reactionary that I am, I would point out that the Japanese Welfare State has been growing out of control since at least 1972 (not 73 - it was not the Oil Shock that caused the Welfare State to expand and expand as a percentage of the economy), so yet more and expanded schemes were not exactly a good idea - however much “openness” and “public input” went into their design.

However, what the Prime Minister of Japan tried to do is entirely in line with the international ideology of the elite (with their love of ever expanding “public services") which is why they supported him and his Democratic Party against the Liberal Democratic Party government of Japan nine months ago. The Economist magazine was very strong in its support - and they are usually a good guide to who the international establishment favour.  For example John Howard former Prime Minister of Australia was hated by the Economist magazine - so, in spite of his many faults, it is hard for me to believe he was all bad.  The Economist magazine never supports open Marxists.  Chavez, the Castro brothers, the Dear Leader in North Korea – these all are too much for establishment folk.  But as long as someone keeps the corporate welfare cheques coming (in accordance with the ideology of bailouts and “stimulus") it does not look too deeply into their background or objectives.

It is hard to see reform coming to Japan - not with the powerful Civil Service against any real change (a Civil Service the now former Prime Minister tried to get under control) and an education system dominated by the left.  (Should anyone doubt that statement check the political allegiance of the teachers union.)

The very effectiveness of Japanese education (so admired by semi-illiterates like me) is actually a problem when they are teaching political attitudes, rather than reading or mathematics.

Still why do I say that this man was unlike Barack Obama?

Firstly when the now former Prime Minister said “I take responsibility” he meant it. He meant he was resigning.  Barack Obama would only use those words (and he does) because a focus group told him to.  He has no intention of leaving office voluntarily. So the moral character of the two men is quite different - that is clear just by looking at them or hearing them talk. It was clear to me nine months ago that the new Japanese Prime Minister was a well meaning, gentle soul - and it was clear to me in 2008 that Barack Obama only cared about ideology and himself, not about other human beings, although some might say that I spotted that in Obama because I see a man like that every morning in the mirror.  “It takes one to know one, Paul.”

Also, their policies were rather different.  True, both men wanted an ever bigger Welfare State. But please remember what I mentioned above, that the Japanese Prime Minister went to great lengths to find savings by cutting corrupt spending.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has not only pushed Bills vastly increasing Welfare State spending (such as the health care Bill which will see ever increasing numbers of people dropped by their employers and forced into government care), but has also increased corrupt pork project spending by something close to a TRILLION Dollars.  (Of course the Economist magazine supported all this.  The corrupt, Apollo Alliance designed spending was a “stimulus” according to the editor, Mr John Micklethwait.) This is quite different from what the Japanese Prime Minister was trying to do.

Unless one is utterly corrupt it is impossible for someone who knows the facts to claim that Barack Obama is “well meaning”.  On the contrary, it is quite clear that he has a deliberate aim of spending the United States into economic breakdown - along the lines suggested long ago by the Marxist husband and wife team Cloward and Piven. But this was not the aim of the now former Prime Minister of Japan.  He was a nice man, well meaning and (I believe) honest, but educated into mistaken ideas.