Skip to main content

Continental Drift by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon

Ernest Bevin cph.3b17494.jpg

I have to say right up front: I haven't read Grob-Fitzgibbon's book. Nor do I plan to. Nonetheless, his is a really cool hyphenated surname, and that at least makes him and by extension his new book worth some mention here.

The book, Continental Drift, is apparently about the drift of Great Britain's political self-image away from the continent of Europe. Chronologically, the sweep seems to be from Ernest Bevin to the present.

Bevin was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Prime Minister Attlee from 1945 to 1951. That is his photo, above. Bevin accepted the loss of India, but thought the British Empire had to compensate by holding more tightly onto its possessions in Africa and the Middle East. Bevin also hoped to encourage a united new political structure in Europe, with Britain of course to play the leading role. This would enable Britain to retain Big Three status alongside the US and USSR.  

Britain's self-image as a member of this Big Three club did not survive the Suez crisis in the mid-1950s, though, and the nature of its relationship with the rest of Europe was to take a number of twists and turns.

I have a forthcoming book review in The Federal Lawyer that will speak to related issues, from the point of view of Britain's, and Europe's, finances. That's of another book, not of Grob-Fitzgibbon's which (have I mentioned?) I have not read. I am told it is a fine work.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Great Chain of Being

One of the points that Lovejoy makes in the book of that title I mentioned last week is the importance, in the Neo-Platonist conceptions and in the later development of the "chain of being" metaphor, of what he calls the principle of plenitude. This is the underlying notion that everything that can exist must exist, that creation would not be possible at all were it to leave gaps.

The value of this idea for a certain type of theodicy is clear enough.

This caused theological difficulties when these ideas were absorbed into Christianity.  I'll quote a bit of what Lovejoy has to say about those difficulties:

"For that conception, when taken over into Christianity, had to be accommodated to very different principles, drawn from other sources, which forbade its literal interpretation; to carry it through to what seemed to be its necessary implications was to be sure of falling into one theological pitfall or another."

The big pitfalls were: determinism on the on…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…