I would not want to imply that I think silliness is a necessary part of going right-wing. But you cannot read the serenely egotistical incoherence of Rush Limbaugh without wondering:
“Of all the things that you want to honour. I mean, the people of Great Britain don’t even like the National Health Service! And then it hit me, and then it hit me. It was actually done on behalf of President Kardashian. They did it for Obama. Nobody will convince me otherwise.”
(Limbaugh, by the way, has long been described as “the Number One voice for conservatism in the US“, God help them.)
Then shortly afterwards I read Douglas Murray in the Spectator. He was quite anxious to point out that not liking the opening ceremony didn’t make him a Nazi. He had perfectly logical reasons for not liking to see the Director of Liberty honoured as a flagbearer:
Among the people honoured with the task of carrying the Olympic flag was the left-wing campaigner Shami Chakrabarti. The stadium voiceover announced that this was because of her ‘integrity.’ The conservative philosopher Roger Scruton is some years Chakrabarti’s senior and I would say rather demonstrably her superior in achievement and ‘integrity’. Yet I do not believe Professor Scruton was asked to be one of the Olympic flag-bearers. Nor was Ayaan Hirsi Ali invited to be honoured for her integrity. Or Margaret Thatcher. Why not? To ask the question is to answer it: all are recognised, like Chakrabarti, to be highly political figures.
When the emails and texts came in from friends across the political spectrum over the weekend, one in particular noticed the poignant contrast between the Beijing and London approach. In China, human rights campaigners get locked up; in Britain, even the most irritating gets to carry the Olympic flag.
The Olympic Flag has always previously been carried by Olympic athletes only. The nine flagbearers were from the US, Ethiopia, Argentine and Israel, Liberia, South Korea, Brazil, and three from Britain.