Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Will Hillary's Alt Right speech make voting Republican cool?

Donald Trump continues to edge up in the U.S. opinion polls. Hillary's speech linking him with the Alt Right made the Alt-Right a thing, might make it a powerful thing and might even make voting GOP cool in the eyes of many of the young. That would be an eighth wonder of the world.

Whether it does or not, the speech was the kind of advertising for the Alt Right that money cannot buy. 

What is the Alt Right? A medley of (not necessarily gay) extemporanea. According to an article by Professor 
Thomas J. Main in the Los Angeles Times
The main challenge to our way of life today now comes not from the radical left, but the Alt-Right. ....The Alt-Right supports the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and protectionist trade policies. It opposes feminism, diversity, gay rights, globalism, gun control and civil rights.
If you do not particularly enthuse over feminism, gay rights, diversity or globalism, or are unfazed by the prospect of deporting illegal immigrants, you will find James Delingpole's article about the Alt Right in the Spectator more your cup of tea.
Part of me feels uncomfortable defending the alt-right because it has been associated with anti-Semitism and racism. Yes, most of this stuff is confected and insincere — just mischievous internet kids experimenting with irony, knowing that if there’s one way absolutely guaranteed to rile the grown-ups it’s a hideously tasteless Holocaust joke. But undeniably for some of the alt-right’s more extreme exponents, it’s a sincere expression of their philosophical core.

Ultimately — as blogger Sargon of Akkad explains on a YouTube investigation — it’s about the idea that white culture (which they identify interchangeably with western civilisation) is under threat and must be preserved for the future of the race. Hence the alt-right’s violent objection to immigration; hence the nationalistic ‘America first’ theme of Trump’s campaigning: it all appeals to that increasingly popular impulse, from northern England to middle America to Angela Merkel’s immigrant-friendly Germany, that this represents ordinary white folks’ last chance to preserve their culture and traditions before they’re overwhelmed by the dusky hordes.
The Alt Right seems to be an olla podrida of identitarians, traditionalists, nativists (meaning people who oppose mass immigration), fascists, racists, contrarians, rather a lot of anti-Semites, Catholics, pagans and people who like hierarchy. A diverse bunch, even though none of them like diversity very much. 

Many are young. Despite the fascists, most seem to be libertarians. All are horrified by how mass migration is changing formerly white countries. All like epater les bourgeois

A famous Alt Righter is Milo Yiannopoulos, a non-racist British homosexual, who eviscerates feminism here. From the evidence of that clip, he's a very good thing. In this article he explains the Alt Right, who are 'natural conservatives', to 'establishment conservatives'.
For natural conservatives, culture, not economic efficiency, is the paramount value. More specifically, they value the greatest cultural expressions of their tribe. Their perfect society does not necessarily produce a soaring GDP, but it does produce symphonies, basilicas and Old Masters.
I must say I am such a natural conservative and if that's what Alt Right means then good for them. I've always disliked the American Republican party - doesn't everyone? It's nineteenth century liberalism plus those awful cowboy hats. And I am not a great lover of the Toryism of the City of London and big business. I like laissez faire economics but not a so called conservatism which is mostly about free markets and economic growth, as opposed to tradition and freedom. 

Alt Right has some very unpleasant things mixed with a lot of, from a socially conservative point of view, very good ones. It's a curate's egg. Not by chance is it an American phenomenon, because the US is perhaps the last Western country that still allows (as non-Communist European countries did fifty years ago) free speech, unconstrained by laws against hate speech. I imagine quite a few social conservatives are suddenly wondering if their ideas, by definition out of date, could become fashionable, cutting edge. 

The bundle of ideas best described in shorthand as political correctness are taught heavy handedly in schools, universities and by figures of authority. They form a secular religion and, in many cases, are enforced by law. It is therefore odd that young people, who since the 1960s have liked to kick against their elders, have not rebelled against these ideas. It seems some are starting to.

I read in several places that the man who coined the phrase and idea Alternative Right is a philosopher I like hugely, Professor Paul Gottfried, the ultimate palaeoconservative and, incidentally, a Jew. Someone tweeted that, after a lifetime complaining that he had no influence, Professor Gottfried now finds himself described as the Svengali of this important movement. When asked, he distantly remembered the lecture in which he invented the Alternative Right. 

Pat Buchanan, whom I often agree with, is broadly the same kind of thinker, as are people who write for Taki's Magazine, as I sometimes do. Breitbart, an online news site, might be Alt Right, I suppose, and I recommend it as a good source of unfiltered information in news related to immigration and Muslims. Breitbart broke the story of the Cologne sex assaults, for example.

Enoch Powell, no racist and a great anti-fascist, would be an Alt Right hero, were he still remembered. So, unfortunately, would the very racist and fascist Sir Oswald Mosley. 

Meanwhile, leaked emails make it clear that donors to the Clinton Foundation got little favours like sitting next to powerful politicians at dinners. This sounds like cash for access. It's very possible that Hillary took money and didn't do anything in return besides seating Arabs next to Biden. What would they make of that?

On the other hand, it appears that Hillary helped the Swiss bank UBS, which then gave millions to the Clinton Foundation in payment for speeches by Bill. 

No evidence of a quid pro quo but this is unacceptable. Caesar's wife should be above suspicion, especially if she wants Caesar's job.

The mafia complained that John F Kennedy 'took graft' and didn't do anything in return. I heard executives in big companies complain that Mr Obama did nothing in return for campaign donations, but those donations were not by obscure and very rich Arab princes and did not precede the campaign by eight years.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Quotations to start the week

Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend. 


From our human experience and history, at least as far as I am informed, I know that everything essential and great has only emerged when human beings had a home and were rooted in a tradition.
Heigegger (in an interview in 1966)

An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.
Don Marquis

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then — and only then — it is handed to you.
Annie Dillard

The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
Lord Macaulay

The Judge: After all that, Mr Smith, I am none the wiser. 

F.E. Smith: No, my lord, but you are better informed.

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Churchill, God and the Bomb

I thought Winston Churchill was Godless. I didn't know, until I read this article, that he intended to argue with God after his death about the morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Racism in England

A Romanian in England complains to me that the English are racists because they think Romanians are gypsies. I sense there is some illogicality here.

Brexit will change souls

As Margaret Thatcher said - one of the few things she said that I liked - economics is only the method. The object is to change the soul. 

Clearly, Brexit is primarily about independence, national self respect and democracy but it will also change souls.

Eliot Cohen, an American journalist put it well.
The London of today was sliding into becoming a bigger, brighter, and more lively Brussels—so international that it had no discernible identity; so cosmopolitan in its self-understanding that it had no pride in its own history and unique character; so unwilling to accept the burdens of self-government that it preferred the administration of well-meaning but unaccountable bureaucrats to the crash and bang of democracy in action. The poison of Brussels-style Euro-politics had clearly infected those Londoners whose first impulse was to do what European politicians have done for decades: compel the lower classes who have voted the wrong way to vote again until they do the thing their betters thought they ought to have done in the first place.
Nietzsche said that all philosophy is disguised psychology. Remainers' arguments about why leaving the EU will be a disaster or why the popular will should be disregarded, for the sake of cheap roaming charges, are not to be taken very seriously. They are a sort of therapy, a way of dealing with their grief. We must be sympathetic. 

In fact the European project, so called is very much about dealing with the neuroses of France and Germany.

It feeds into the zeitgeist which sees Western history as oppressive. It's an attempt to escape from history into a non historical non ethnic space, like the place beyond the stars where Lucretius's gods dwelt impervious to our hopes and pain.

Why people who want to leave the EU are racist

When did wanting to limit immigration become racist? Some time ago, it seems, in many people's minds. Here is a conversation last night with an old schoolmaster of mine on Facebook. 

If, Paul, Brexit isn't about economics or racism, then wtf is it about?!!

The fact that you ask explains a lot of the reason why we voted to leave.

No it doesn't

Either you are somehow unaware of the main issues - sovereignty, national independence, not wanting to be ruled by foreigners - or you (but this I can't believe) think they are racist.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Talking to people in England about Brexit

I thought of going to Iran but in the end I decided that the most interesting place to go, since I like holidaying in political hotspots, was England – with a two day stop in Nice where eighty innocent people had been mowed down by a Tunisian immigrant a few days earlier.

And, of course, England is the most astonishingly beautiful country. It has the most beautiful countryside in Europe, even more beautiful than Romania’s. It has wonderful summer weather. Meaning temperate. I speak the language, better than my compatriots. And it has so many wonderful cathedrals and churches, albeit much damaged by the Reformation. And full of such nice people, much nicer than in the 1980s.

So, my first summer holiday in England after emigrating to Romania eighteen years ago.
But I wanted to know what people thought of Brexit. I arrived a month after the referendum, when people were almost getting used to the result. It almost felt old news except people were still in shock

What did I find?

My very inscientific survey. Most (not all) nice people were Brexit. The nice people who voted Remain tended to do so mostly from fear not enthusiasm, pragmatism not ideals.

Monday, 22 August 2016

You've got to string these blighters up

I heard General Zia, the dictator of Pakistan in the 1970s, on ITN say these words, an antiquated cliché
 that I hadn't think anyone had ever really uttered.
"You've got to string these blighters up. It's the only language they understand."
He looked exactly like Terry-Thomas except brown - the same moustache and grin, and clipped Sandhurst way of speaking. I don't remember whom he was talking about. Probably Bhutto.


I suppose Mrs. Merkel is not actually the worst German leader since Hitler. One has, grudgingly, to admit that Ulbricht and Honecker were even worse than her.

Before Facebook

There was a time, wasn't there, when Facebook didn't exist?

So the elders tell us.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Monaco is expensively cheap - Nice is nice - Vermiglia is heaven

I spent two days in Nice on my way to England to check out the reasons for the massacre there. There were several more killings by Muslims in Europe before and after I arrived.

Nice is enchanting, even though seaside resorts usually repel me, but I missed the opportunity to go to the public housing areas or talk to enough people about the massacre that had taken place so recently. Flowers piled up at the grandstand at a memorial for the dead. My waiter at the Hotel Negresco was traumatised by seeing children killed before his eyes as he served guests in the garden beside
the Promenade des Anglais

What did I expect to learn?  It seemed the France of films, books and paintings. Some women in headscarves. Not very many. I was told Muslims do not live in a specific part of town. I should have found out more but I was on holiday and it was very hot.

Nice is cheap to get to and its gracious early nineteenth century architecture is exhilarating. A great, quick and very beautiful train ride takes you along wonderful coast to Monaco, Menton and Italy.

Monaco I had been warned was awful and it is dull and ugly, slightly like Durres in Albania, but with less interesting people. A friend who grew up in Monaco told me it was

Friday, 19 August 2016

Putin and Cromwell

Worrying about Russia feels like Cromwell fighting Spain when France was the threat.

in 1943 Churchill suddenly said to Macmillan late one night: 

'Cromwell was a great man, wasn't he?' 'Yes, sir, a very great man.' 'Ah, but he made one terrible mistake. Obsessed in his youth by fear of the power of Spain, he failed to observe the rise of France.'
After posting this, I discover Putin has said,
Cromwell was just as much of a bloody dictator, as was Stalin.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The plan is a Europe with open borders and without nation states

Ulrike Guérot the "Founder and Director of the European Democracy Lab", at the European School of Governance in Berlin, said in an interview in Deutsche Welle that 
the existence of nation states is in itself one of the biggest problems with the European project. 
She went on to say that Angela Merkel was right to let in the migrants, but did it the wrong way. She should have consulted the other EU countries first. The second point is true. 

According to Frau Guerot, the influx of migrants into Europe is not a problem caused by the EU, but this is not quite right. Were it not for Schengen, far fewer migrants would

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Il Brexito: synopsis

This synopsis of the opera Il Brexito isn't by me (I wish) but was posted on Facebook. I don't know the author and hope he doesn't object to my borrowing it.

Act 1: The Ducal Palace. Davide, Duke of Mantova, has summoned the peasants to the marketplace to vote on his plans to allow the citizens of Verona and Vicenza to continue to offer goods for sale in the Duchy. He sings of his love for Samantha. Michele, the Judge, enters. He tells the Duke that his plan is against the ancient constitution. Boris (the Duke's half-brother) appears: he too, he says, will be opposing the Duke. Outside a hubbub is heard: it is the Corbinistas, local brigands arguing about who should be their leader.

Act 2: The Marketplace. The peasants are gathering. Davide sings from his balcony 'Guarda questi idioti' (look how stupid they are). Michele and Boris move through the crowd. When the time comes for the vote, to the Duke's horror his motion is defeated. With a howl, he runs back into the palace.

Act 3: The Palace. Giorgio, the Duke's Treasurer, is busy packing gold coins into sacks ready to flee Mantova. He sings 'Erectione straodinario' (what an amazing c8ck up). Boris enters the room and goes out onto the balcony to speak to the crowd in the marketplace below. Michele creeps up behind him and stabs him in the back. As Boris lies, apparently dying, he sees to his delight Teresa, head of the police force, come in and stab Michele in his turn. He collapses as Andrea, a scullery maid, enters the room. She taunts Teresa with the aria 'Your ovaries are frozen', but then as the crowd below starts to chant Teresa's name, stabs herself, and falls dead over the corpse of Michele. Boris rises: he was wounded but not killed, and Teresa tells him that he must be her Ambassador to the other Italian cities. She drives Giorgio from the room, and the opera ends with Teresa and Boris singing the duet 'Panforte per tutti - ma senza tariffi', while outside the window the Corbinistas can be heard, still arguing.