THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Rule of law, or rule of men?

Why Normblog isn't

normblog: Bow - wow - ow!.

I read every post published on "Normblog" with interest. Generally, it is intelligent, well written and wrong. Occasionally it's intelligent, well-written and right. Sometimes it's about cricket and I can't judge. But it's never a blog. I am not being a purist. Nor am I deriding Norm's considerable efforts or writing talents. It's just that a blog provides the opportunity for readers to comment. And today (for the first time) I really wanted to. And I couldn't.

Norm defends Obama for bowing to foreign potentates and says it doesn't matter. Yes it bloody well does. America is a beacon to the world, not just for (relatively) unrestrained capitalism, freedom of speech and rock n roll. It is a republic founded on the views of Tom Paine and others who believed that (until he proves otherwise) one man is of as much value as as another. It was founded on a word I hardly dare utter because - like "liberal" - it has been hijacked, deformed and repackaged into meaninglessness. That word is "equality."

Equality before the law. Equality in the face of state power. Equality in everyday dealings between people. Not the fake equality of the Socialist, but striving for equality of opportunities. America has strived and has succeeded, not completely, but enough for a boy from an Arkansas trailer park to become President. The whole point of America, in short, is the much-derided (by "liberals" and believers in "equality") "American Dream."

As an Englishman, my first political thought was the realisation that I could not aspire to be head of state because my father was not the "right" guy. That's the opposite of the American Dream. It is disempowering. It undermines ambition. It inclines the nation's heads to the ground, not the horizon. Though Queen Elizabeth II is a good woman who does her best, the institution of monarchy is damaging to the national psyche. Of course an Englishman can do well and an American can do badly. But the American Dream makes the reverse more likely.

The Original and Best Tom Paine believed America should leave the bowing and scraping of monarchies and aristocracies behind. He wanted to build something better in fellowship and freedom. He was right to set such goals. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the rest understood as well as old Tom why an American should bow to no man. Still less should their President, who symbolically stands (unbowed) for them all. Every president since has understood it. Oddly and shamefully (for a man who professes to worship equality) Obama does not.

If Bill Clinton had so much as inclined his head, his own followers would have muttered. There is something sinister about the inability of Obama's supporters to recognise a mistake on his part. Norman is wrong. More wrong than usual. He is even more wrong because, while calling his web page a "blog" (twice in the heading alone) he does not allow his readers the facility to say so.