Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Of Hobbits and Kangaroos.

The Corner reminds me that it is Anzac Day. Most Americans know New Zealand only for The Lord of the Rings and Australia for Kangaroos, Crocodiles and Fosters. I have never been there, and like Johnny Cash (and Hank Snow before him), I've been everywhere.

But on every Continent but the antipodes and Oz I have run into folks from one of these two countries on "walk about." Drank with 'em in Hong Kong bars, toasting the Empire weeks before it went back to China. Drank with 'em in every part of Western Europe and parts of the East (and anti-Communist they were too). Gambled and drank with them in Cairo. Even ran into a few briefly in South America and Canada. Always great fun and great company.

New Zealand prohibited nuclear armed vessels from going to its ports some years ago but has created one of the great free market economies anywhere. Plus it's got Maoris. Australia now stabilizes nations like East Timor and the Solomons and of course fights Al Qaida wherever it's found.

Thanks to Captain Cook and the Penal Laws, we have great friends and allies at the Bottom of the World. And we ought not forget them today. Happy Anzac Day!

Ed. note - How New Zealand ever managed to establish a market economy with a prohibition on nuclear-armed wessels in place is one of the great mysteries of modern economics. And, oh yes, three cheers for the Penal Laws! There's no denying the quality of the result but even a skimming of The Fatal Shore almost makes the British response to the potato famine look good.


jjv said...

The point on the nuclear wessels ban was that New Zealand denied port access to American ships during the latter part of the Cold War (and now I think). I was merely noting that type of weeny behavior need not be a permanent black mark.

Also, I think my link to the Penal Laws explains that they were neither wise nor kind. They did get a lot of people to Australia though.

Dave S. said...

You make it sound like a travel promotion. I could of course blame the US for that since the Brits needed somewhere else to ship their crumb-stealers after 1783. But I don't hate America that much.