Update: Progressive Conservatives become even MORE endangered…

After the thrashing last week that the Manitoba PCs suffered at the hands of the NDP, this week’s sacrificial slab was the PC government of Pat Binns out east in P.E.I. Not to beat on a dead horse too much, but after having a local Ontario PC MPP (that’s what our MLAs are called here thanks to the legacy of Red Tory Premier Bill Davis, for my out-of-province friends) stress to me at a CPC event the other night that the provincial party is the PROGRESSIVE Conservative Party, I figured it’d be useful once again to flood Google with another example of how care bear conservativism isn’t the winning formula in Charlottetown or Winnipeg…and it certainly will not make Toronto become Toryonto! John Tory’s fan club, consider yourself dually warned….

Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Greatest Political Orator of Our Day

With lines like this one he gave at the Council of Foreign Relations, it’s easy to see why Governor Schwarzenegger is such a successful politician:

“If you are against taking actions against greenhouse gases and carbon emissions your political base will melt away as sure as the polar ice caps.

You will become a political penguin on a smaller and smaller ice floe drifting out to sea. Goodbye my little friend.”

He also dresses extremely well, as Nicholas Antongiavanni has noted.

Goodbye my little friends.

Congress 2007/CPSA Conference in Saskatoon – Are You Going?

I’m going to be at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the rest of the week. Congress is the largest annual academic gathering in Canada and I’ll be attending the Canadian Political Science Association part of the conference.

If you’re planning on attending, drop me an email me [greg – at – mediablitz.ca](or contact me here) and maybe we can discuss the state of the blogosphere over a few drinks

Falklands War Anniversary – Remembering War

On the twenty fifth anniversary of the Falklands War, an ambitious war fought by Britain some 8,000 miles away, here is a good documentary on the conflict, produced for the twentieth anniversary.

In the conflict, Britain took more casualities than they have taken in both Iraq and Afghanistan to date. Winning the conflict took political courage on the part of an embattled Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, defending substantive British sovereignty though it be fought over a seemingly insignificant group of islands, with barely sufficient military hardware to do it.

Anniversaries such as this make us realize that defending one’s national interest and security is always at the chancy cost of high casualties and potential loss of face. War isn’t easy but an ever-present reality in human history; just wars being fought. Further to this point, Rich Lowry provides good commentary on why war history matters and what’s wrong with it in contemporary liberal education:

Battles are so important to history that their names alone — Vienna, Waterloo, Stalingrad — can evoke the beginning or end of epochs and empires. Violent conflict is one of the most persistent characteristics of human history, and warfare features the interplay of strategy, weaponry, chance, logistics, emotion, and leadership. It is an occasion for folly and brutality, and — as we remember on Memorial Day — heroism and sacrifice.

It is for all these reasons that books and TV programming on warfare are so popular; their subject is both fascinating and important, history at its most consequential and dramatic. Nonetheless, military history has been all but banished from college campuses. …

History departments are dominated by a post-Vietnam generation of professors for whom bottom-up “social history” is paramount, and the only areas of interest are race, sex, and class. History focusing on great events and the “great men” central to them is retrograde — let alone military history that ipso facto smacks of militarism. …

Edward Coffman, a former military historian at the University of Wisconsin, studied the 25 best history departments according to U.S. News & World Report rankings and found that a mere 21 professors out of more than 1,000 listed war as their specialty. A Notre Dame student complained recently: “We have more than 30 full-time history faculty members, but not one is a military historian. Even in their self-described interests, not a single professor lists ‘war’ of any era, although half list religious, gender and race relations.” …

The gatekeepers of the profession practically proscribe traditional military history. John A. Lynn recently looked back at the past 30 years of the prestigious academic journal The American Historical Review. He found no articles on the conduct of World War II, the American Revolution, or the Napoleonic Wars. There were articles that discussed atrocities in the English Civil War and in the American Civil War and an article on World War I — on women soldiers in the Russian army.

One frustrated teacher of military history jokes that military historians have become “exactly the types of marginalized people that the social historians are supposed to be championing.”

That military history has been chased from the academic field is especially perverse given that, when the classes are offered, they are popular with students. And military history, as a discipline, is as vital as ever. Writing on the American Heritage’s website, Sarah Lawrence College professor Frederic Smoler argues that “the past 30 years have seen a brilliant expansion in the intellectual and methodological breadth of military history,” beginning with the publication of John Keegan’s 1976 classic The Face of Battle.

None of this is enough to overcome the deep intellectual bias against military history. New Republic contributing editor David A. Bell locates that bias deep in the social sciences: “The origin of these sciences lie in liberal, Enlightenment-era thinking that dismissed war as primitive, irrational and alien to modern civilization.” This represents a fundamental misapprehension of human nature and thus the nature of history.

Brave men always will be necessary to defend freedom, and what they have done deserves to be remembered, and studied.