Monday, 23 April 2018

Barbara Bush subverts careerism

The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you’ve had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work, and, of course, that’s true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer, or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections—with spouses, with children, with friends—are the most important investments you will ever make. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. . . .
Whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children—they must come first.

The late Barbara Bush in her commencement address to the 1990 class of Wellesley College, the leading U.S. women's college.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Quotations from Sir Roger Scruton

"Conservatives should study the ideas and arguments that prevail on the left. There is always something to learn from these, if only which way the wind of resentment is now blowing. And lifting your eyes from this joyless stuff, you will thank God that you are a conservative."

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Enoch Powell: "In the Middle East our great enemies are the Americans."


"Ah, Enoch, dear Enoch! He once said something to me I never understood. He said, "You know, I've told you all I know about housing, and you can make your speech accordingly. Can I talk to you about something that you know all about and I know nothing? I want to tell you that in the Middle East our great enemies are the Americans." You know, I had no idea what he meant. I do now."

Sir Anthony Eden to Andrew Freeth after the Suez Crisis

Was Enoch Powell a racist?

Asked in an 1969 television interview as to whether he was a 'racialist' Enoch Powell replied: 
'If you mean being conscious of the differences between men and nations, and from that, races, then we are all racialists. However, if you mean a man who despises a human being because he belongs to another race, or a man who believes that one race is inherently superior to another,then the answer is emphatically "No"'.

The global village

Manuel Castells: “Elites are cosmopolitan, people are local”.

Samuel Huntington: “A major gap is growing in America between its increasingly denationalised elites and its ‘thank God for America' public.”

Thomas Friedman: "When I was growing up, my parents told me, 'Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.' I tell my daughters, 'Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job."




Friday, 20 April 2018

Antisemitic riots in England in 1947 and antisemitism in England today

In 1947 the non-white population of Great Britain was estimated to be about twenty thousand. The Southern Irish had not yet completely ceased to be British and the largest ethnic minorities were Poles (160,000) and Jews (up to 400,000). 

Anti-Jewish feeling in England is said to have become a thing, thanks to the Labour Party and the progressive young. This article on the 1947 anti-Jewish riots is therefore now topical.

Some allegations of anti-semitism (a lot in fact) boil down to the unpleasant tactic of calling people who oppose Israel's policy towards Arabs as anti-semites. But there is more to it than that as this article written by a young Labour supporter proves. As he says,

Corbyn is often described as a nice guy, and I’m sure he is in person. But it’s no coincidence that the anti-Semitism epidemic within Labour really kicked off when he became leader. He appealed to the young, and it’s the young these days who refuse to see Jews as an authentic minority. For them, Zionism is now a synonym for white supremacy, neoliberalism and western colonialism. As the years pass, the historical association changed. So now, for my generation, Jews are not oppressed. They are the oppressors.
Jews having been hated for centuries for being Asiatics in Europe are now, you see, hated for being Europeans in Asia.

What is also depressing is the widespread hatred of colonialism among the young, something which not only morphs into hatred of Jews but hatred of Europeans.

I have come across at least four British anti-semites over the last few years: two on the right and two on the left. Back in the 1980s in London it was an attitude I came across among some upper class people and people who aspired to mix with the upper classes.

I used to have a British Bengali Muslim friend, now dead, whom I suspected of being anti-Jewish (he was anti-Israel) and whom I probed on a whim. I asked him if, had he been in Germany in the 30s, would he have joined the Nazi Party?

His reply was:
Well, I don't really like joining movements.
I presume that he sympathised with the Nazis and it was the Jews that were his reason. 

He voted Labour and read the Guardian. He was kept for most of his life by the British state but, after his death, a common (British Indian Hindu) friend told me he was 'extremely racist'. I assume he was an anti-British racist as well as anti-Semite.

[Even I have finally given up on not using the word anti-semitism incorrectly. People who like Arabs are not anti-semites, of course. They may be anti-Jewish.]

Quotations

To the man-in-the-street who,
I'm sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of life,
The word intellectual suggests right away
A man who's untrue to his wife.

W H Auden



The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are.


Henry Hazlitt

The Iron Gates

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Warning

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The Lost Heart of Asia



I am just rereading Colin Thubron's The Lost Heart of Asia which I first read in the mid-90s, about his journey to Central Asia just after the USSR split up. 


It is quite marvellous and the perfect introduction to Uzbekistan. I wish I had reread it before my recent visit, though I did read his Shadow of the Silk Road about his return in 2006.

Uzbekistan is a place whose heart has been ripped out by communism. Lovely people but half destroyed by atheism, materialism, socialist internationalism and deracination. 

Had the khanates of Samarkand, Bokhara, Kokand and Khiva been British not Russian protectorates they might be something like the UAE now, with gold and plutonium instead of oil. Though thinking about Dubai that does not seem such an attractive idea.


For decades I only travelled in post-Communist Europe and I still find it rather depressing to go to Western Europe. All that shininess and affluence make my heart sink. Now I travel around Western Europe because it has the best monuments and to exotic places like Iraq and Mozambique, because I wanted to see the world, but I realise it is only Eastern Europe and the especially the former USSR that I really love - where people are human and normal. 

I loved Uzbekistan, as I expected to. Colin Thubron says he is in love with the whole of Asia but for some reason I am not.

China, Vietnam and Laos which still are Communist and Cambodia, which was Communist, do not greatly interest me. I wonder why not.

Is it because Uzbekistan was ruled by Russians and is therefore less Asian? No, because Indochina was ruled by the French. 


A lot of it is to do with the attraction of the Muslim world. I am a proud orientalist who thought Edward Said's critique of orientalism vapid and uninteresting. I found Pakistan more appealing than India.

The attraction of the Mohametan world and the former Soviet bloc. Former Soviet Central Asia is where the two circles overlap and it has the poetry of inaccessibility and obscurity.

"At the moment you see we have no feeling about ourselves as a nation. History is the key and the Soviets took ours away. We were sold a mass of Bolshevik stories and nothing of our own." An Uzbek talking to Colin Thubron in 1992. 


I detect faint echoes of this in present day Western Europe.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

That was the news

Some people prefer just not to follow the news. I think it's a duty. Perhaps in a macabre way it's even a dark pleasure. But no not a pleasure.


Winnie Mandela who said 
"Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country"
died and was praised in the Western press. Necklaces meant burning people alive by putting tyres around their necks filled with petrol.


When F.W. Klerk, who dismantled apartheid and freed Nelson Mandela dies, his obituary will be unflattering.


Emmanuel Macron talked about the threat to democracy from populists, by which he meant the threat to democracy from politicians who offer to do what the public wants. He won widespread praise for this.


In England a male voice choir was ordered to admit women.


Canada announced she will no longer discriminate on the grounds of physical disability when deciding which immigrants to accept.

Tweets

Tara Ann Thieke‏ @TaraAnnThieke
Basically I don't want to hear a single supporter of the Iraq War offer their foreign policy advice without long, sustained mea culpas and explanations of why they should now be heeded. The burden of proof is on them, not on war skeptics.


Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer):
Principled conservatism: the president can drop bombs wherever he feels like but we can't deport criminal aliens

Robert Fisk's search for truth in the rubble of Douma makes him doubt whether there was a chemical attack

Please read this article. After visiting Douma and speaking to many people there, Robert Fisk doubts there was a chemical attack in Douma.

I don't have any direct information and was beginning to think the British and French governments may have been right about the Syrian government using chemical weapons, until I read this.

The truth is that I am sure the inhabitants of Eastern Ghouta , which was blockaded rather than besieged from 2013 until last year, did not want to be blockaded because they

Censorship and fake tweets


Something very strange happened to me yesterday. Can anyone give me advice?


I was told my Twitter account was being temporarily limited for 8 hours because of a tweet I sent.


This was very annoying but the tweet in question (below) is not one I sent or retweeted though it has my 'avatar'. 



Paulvew
@paulica44
@BourneWolf @AlfDubs @paullewismoney @stellacreasy @YvetteCooperMP @guardian @ThangamMP @safepassageuk @HelpRefugees @refugeecouncil @KateGreenSU Syrian refugees have already been involved in terrorist murders in Europe.

The people it was sent to are not people I know.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

“Like the Roman, I see the River Tiber foaming with blood”

"All quotations are out of context." (Enoch Powell)

Two weeks ago an extraordinary thing happened. The BBC World Service made the fiftieth anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King its first item on the world news. 

Was the fiftieth anniversary of anyone’s death ever before, since the world began, first item on the news around the world? Lenin’s perhaps, in the Soviet bloc in 1984, but not worldwide.

Two weeks after the murder of King and fifty years ago today, Enoch Powell, a member of the British Conservative Shadow Cabinet, gave his famous and misnamed 'Rivers of Blood' speech, in which he warned in very highly coloured terms of the consequences of continued immigration from the former colonies into Great Britain. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Syria: the morning after the night before

It looks like America, England and France bombed locations in Syria at the cost of $240 million but no lives. Russia and Syria seem willing to take this without retaliation. This is what the ill-named Mad Dog Mattis counselled. A relief. Things can go on as before.

Donald Trump has shown he has more moral courage than President Obama - or is it immoral? His habit of threatening war with Russia in tweets certainly adds to an unpredictability factor that has a deterrent effect, on Russia and on North Korea, but he should not be acquitted of blame. 

He has intervened in a country where America has no genuine interest and this could be a precedent for further intervention. 

He was elected to keep out of foreign adventures. His supporters want him to protect America from invasion by illegal immigrants, not to protect Syrians from chlorine bombs.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Quotations



The gentleman has universal sympathies and is not partisan. The small man is partisan and does not have universal sympathies.
Confucius

The gentleman is dignified but not arrogant. The small man is arrogant but not dignified. Confucius



"I do find that the left have a tendency to suffer actual pain if exposed to non-left opinions."
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Tweets today

Matthew Goodwin
✔@GoodwinMJ

"What is the root of the defeatism on Brexit? It is a distrust of your own people. You'd rather get in bed with other elites and liberal cosmopolitans than your own community. They want Brexit to fail, to teach 'the people' a lesson"


CJC‏ @Chris_Cheetham
“When war breaks out, people say: "It's too stupid; it can't last long." But though a war may well be "too stupid," that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.” ― Albert Camus

Thursday, 12 April 2018

2 former British Ambassadors are sure that Assad is not responsible for chemical attacks

I was opposed to a strike on Syria in 2013 but have been thinking through the arguments this time. 

The 2017 strike by the Americans seemed worryingly like the start of a US intervention but in fact had no consequences apart from showing that Trump was not a Russian stooge, repairing the damage to US prestige caused when Mr. Obama did nothing after his red line was crossed and killing some innocent people. 

If Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons this time the 2016 strike did not deter him.

But is he?

I am very reluctant to think this is a trick by Western governments but is it a false flag operation by others unknown? The Saudis? 

How can we know?

But we do know this.

A former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, thinks that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons this time. The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, is certain that Assad is not guilty. I think two former Ambassadors saying this means the case against Assad is not proven. 


I have thought about it - we should keep our hands off Syria

[Published in Taki's Magazine.]


The BBC 5 o'clock news started with the most extraordinary and chilling words I have heard in fifty years of watching or listening to the BBC News. 
Russia and America edge closer to war over Syria.
Previously the most chilling words I had heard were 
Russian troops have entered Czechoslovakia.
I should say that I see virtually no possibility of fighting between America and Russia, but virtually is not absolutely.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Taken today by Octav Dragan

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Today was a heavenly day.

They lie and lie about Viktor Orban


"What is happening in Hungary today can accordingly be interpreted by stating that the prevailing political leadership has today attempted to ensure that people’s personal work and interests, which must be acknowledged, are closely linked to the life of the community and the nation, and that this relationship is preserved and reinforced. In other words, the Hungarian nation is not simply a group of individuals but a community that must be organised, reinforced and in fact constructed. And so in this sense the new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organisation, but instead includes a different, special, national approach." Viktor Orbán’s Speech at the 25th Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp, Romania, July 30, 2014. 

The words 'illiberal state', much quoted, look very different in context. He meant conservative and national as opposed to liberal. It is clear from the context that 'iIlliberal' was a mistranslation - it is defined as