Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The origins and history of the Freedom Party in Austria

If Wikipedia is to be trusted the Austrian Freedom Party is not far right at all. SInce being founded in 1955 it seems to have combined belief in free market classical liberalism (Thatcherism) with a desire for Austria to unite with Germany. Sounds a respectable old fashioned tradition, stretching back to 1848. 

The FPÖ is a descendant of the pan-German and national liberal camp (Lager) dating back to the Revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas. During the interwar era, the national liberal camp (gathered in the Greater German People's Party) fought against the mutually-hostile Christian Social and Marxist camps in their struggles to structure the new republic according to their respective ideologies. After a short civil war, the Federal State of Austria, an authoritarian Christian Social dictatorship, was established in 1934. By 1938, with the Anschluss of Austria into Nazi Germany, the national liberal camp (which had always striven for an inclusion of Austria into a Greater Germany) had been swallowed whole by Austrian National Socialism and all other parties were eventually absorbed into Nazi totalitarianism.Both Socialists and Christian Socials were persecuted under the Nazi regime, and the national liberal camp was scarred after the war due to guilt by association with National Socialism.

The first FPÖ party leader was Anton Reinthaller, a former Nazi Minister of Agriculture and SS officer.He had been asked by ÖVP ChancellorJulius Raab to take over the movement rather than let it be led by a more socialist-leaning group. While the majority of former Nazis had probably joined the two main parties in absolute numbers, they formed a greater percentage of FPÖ members due to the party's small size. Nevertheless, none of them were real revolutionaries and they pursued pragmatic, non-ideological policies. The FPÖ served as a vehicle for them to integrate in the Second Republic; the party was a welcome partner with both the SPÖ and ÖVP in regional and local politics, although it was excluded at the national level. The ÖVP and the FPÖ ran a joint candidate for the 1957 presidential election, who lost.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stavropoleos Church this afternoon

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It’s Lermontov’s 203rd birthday

I've meant to read him since my mid-teens, bought 'Another Hero of Our Times' after I returned from my visit to wonderful Georgia and still havn't. Unlike me he was productive. He had achieved undying fame before he died at the age of twenty-six, three years younger than Marlowe, ten years younger than Byron, eleven years younger than Pushkin.

No, I'm not Byron, it's my role
To be an undiscovered wonder,
Like him, a persecuted wand'rer,
But furnished with a Russian soul.
I started sooner, sooner ending,
My mind will never reach so high;
Within my soul, beyond the mending,
My shattered aspirations lie:
Dark ocean answer me, can any
Plumb all your depth with skillful trawl?
Who will explain me to the many?
I... perhaps God? No one at all?

Exit polls: Austria swings to the right

First exit polls in Austria: the centre right People’s Party 31%, the right wing Freedom Party 29% and the ruling Social Democrats: 25%.

I am pleased that the far left Greens did badly on 4.9%. They are a dangerous party. Sadly, they will pass the 4% threshold and have seats in Parliament. The President, of course, is Green.

In 1683 at the Battle of Vienna Europe was saved from attack by the Turks and this proved a decisive turning point in history, the beginning of a very long retreat that continued to the 1920s. 

Popes and European leaders in 1683, of course, were made of different stuff.

On the social media I see many people are alarmed by the news, especially Americans who read liberal papers. So, predictably, is the Financial Times which is very globalist and very pro-immigration but so too is the Daily Telegraph and even the Daily Mail. I think they should learn that evil morphs, that Islamists are not fascists exactly (I know many people who insist that they are) but much closer to the threat posed by Hitler than the people who want to stop Europe taking refugees.

It seems that nowadays Nazi analogies must be deployed in almost every argument and when it comes to an Austrian right-wing (though democratic) party, founded in 1955 by two people who had been in the SS, that's very natural. But Nazis analogies can be used in more ways than one.

Some Jewish friends of mine are afraid of the Freedom Party. Others are afraid not of the anti-immigration parties but of the islamification of Europe. 

Lord Weidenfeld was of the latter view. He was a Viennese Jew who came to England following the Anschluss in 1938. In an interview he gave on BBC Radio 4 shortly before he died said that if things became hard for them as a result of anti-Semitism "Jews could go to Israel but...the rest?" and that the people of Europe might be stuck with "millions of not-so-friendly people".

Sunset in Bucharest four minutes ago

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This is by Octav Dragan:

The Middle Ages didn't end here till the mid or late 19th century

One of the reasons I so love Romania, or at least the Regat, is that the Middle Ages didn't end here till the mid or late 19th century. No Reformation (outside Transylvania and the Banat), no Enlightenment.

The French Revolution did have a very delayed but very great impact, but 'liberté' was understood in the Balkans not as personal freedom but as 'national self-determination'. Fraternité, of course, meant nationalism. But in the end the French Revolution indirectly did for Romania, via its bastard offspring, Nazism and Communism.

Judy Asks: Why the Delay on an EU Migration Policy?

Just one very mild, quotidian example, out of thousands every day, of the way EU enthusiasts think, speak and write.

This pensee is from one Miriam Lexmann, styled 'Member of the advisory board, COMPASS project on capacity-building and governance at the University of Kent'.

"Beyond the focus on the (in)sufficiency of development aid and technical policy details, it highlights more fundamentally that the EU cannot reflect solidarity if its populace does not cherish this virtue and if political leaders opt for popularity instead of leadership. The Visegrád Four’s dispute over migrant quotas displays a deep lack of democratic procedure, while the EU as a community lacks sufficient communication methods with its own demos, who are often hijacked by populist rhetoric."

Translated into English

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The academy as a special zone of (left-wing) Truth that must be protected against (right-wing) Falsehoods

Indeed, for the looniest end of the left-wing academy, even the theory is hostile to viewpoint diversity. They view the academy as a special zone of (left-wing) Truth that must be protected against (right-wing) Falsehoods of the real world. Genuine pluralism, from this vantage, is a cover for privilege and oppression. Why import such falsehoods into the charmed

An Austro-Hungarian partnership, to counterbalance Germany and France?

A victory in the Austrian general election for the People’s Party seems likely after the discovery of the dirty tricks of their opponents. They have tacked a long way to the right on immigration issues recently and will probably form a coalition with the Freedom Party, which will mean Vienna looking to Budapest not Brussels.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party, has said that he wants Austria to join the Visegrád Group that includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The Eurosceptic billionaire Andrej Babiš's AnoParty is expected to win the

A big bagful of good quotations that will be new to you

“For me dying is a lot like going camping. I don’t want to do it.” Phil Wang 

“Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.” Charles Baudelaire 

“Everything must be learned, from reading to dying.” Gustave Flaubert

Friday, 13 October 2017

Surviving sexual assault

Today I was trying to remember which famous woman writer wrote that she had her bottom pinched by George Moore and felt proud that it had attracted the attention of such a great prose stylist.

I had my bottom pinched by Danny Blanchflower, the footballer, who was wearing a bottle green dinner jacket. I was 20. I also had my bottom pinched by two very pretty fifteen year-old girls when I was the same age. I found all three incidents very surprising but not in the least traumatic.

If Philip Hammond isn't willing to prepare for no-deal, Mrs May needs a Chancellor who is

Nigel Lawson thinks Philip Hammond should be sacked and I agree. Negotiating a payment to EU before settling trade was a big mistake on our part. Leaving without a deal looks likely and it is better if Hammond is not in the cabinet if this happens.

Fraser Nelson is of the same opinion.

France will welcome 10,000 refugees over the next 12 months

News item in the EU funded Euronews:

France will welcome 10,000 refugees over the next 12 months, including sending out teams to Tchad and Niger to identify and transport people deserving asylum status.
10,000 is the equivalent of a small town.

'The social networks will deliver a Corbyn government'

Here is an interesting discussion by Niall Ferguson about how social media will have as big an effect as printing, which produced the Protestant Reformation and a century and a quarter of wars in Europe. Niall Ferguson thinks it may put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10. It's put Donald Trump in the White House.

Society is now increasingly organised by networks rather than in hierarchies, he points out. This is something to be welcomed, I am sure, necessary though hierarchies are.

Niall Ferguson is often right but is often wrong, as he was about China in Civilisation: The West and the Rest. People always lived in echo chambers. Left-wingers read the Mirror and right-wingers read the Express and they all mixed with others mostly of a similar outlook.

I see the internet and social media as a hugely positive advance for democracy and freedom of expression. That includes the freedom to express stupid or malign ideas. The Guardian, in any case, has done that for decades.

Is the Pope a populist?

He is a multiculturalist certainly. That has nothing necessarily to do with populism. But on divorce, homosexuality, living in a hostel, climate change and numerous pronouncements that the secular press loves?

Aristotle thought that slavery was a natural thing

Aristotle thought that slavery was a natural thing and that human beings can be divided into people who are by nature slaves and people who by nature are not. I see this important distinction every day.

Dear politically correct reader, I am using the word slave as a metaphor.

Does online dating increase racial Intermarriages?

Does online dating increase racial Intermarriages? - it seems so according to this - and a very good thing. Intermarriage is the only solution to the cantonisation caused by multiracialism.

Eloi: Political Correctness 'Triggering' Dangerous Herd-like Mentality

A reader called Peter posted this clip as a comment  on the blog- it's well worth watching.

'In a more civilised age Hans Kung would have been burnt.'

Evelyn Waugh, whose early death the Second Vatican Council caused, said that 'In a more civilised age Hans Kung would have been burnt.'

He was not joking. He meant it.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wants global ban on blasphemy

The USA will leave UNESCO. Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, an Iraqi-Jordanian, is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and wants a global ban on blasphemy. I hope they reduce funds to him.

Hollywood in a fit of morality

I don't really get the reactions of horror by people who know him well to the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Haven't people read Jackie Collins?
No, it seems. They are shocked. Shocked!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Britain is trying to do something that no society has really done

The former director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor has made a series for BBC Radio 4 about how religion has shaped society. 
In a very interesting interview in the Daily Telegraph he says:

“In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time,” MacGregor said.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Christopher Caldwell's 'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' and Enoch Powell

The respected American journalist Christopher Caldwell is senior editor at The Weekly Standard and writes for the Financial Times. His 'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' (2009) is a book everyone should read. It is the precursor to The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by the British journalist, Douglas Murray, who is Deputy Editor of The Spectator.

Caldwell vindicates the accuracy of British politician Enoch Powell's predictions of the size of the non-white population in the UK thus.
“Although at the time Powell`s demographic projections were much snickered at, they have turned out not just roughly accurate but as close to perfectly accurate as it is possible for any such projections to be: In his Rotary Club speech, [November 16 1968] Powell shocked his audience by stating that the nonwhite population of Britain, barely over a million at the time, would rise to 4.5 million by 2002. (According to the national census, the actual “ethnic minority” population of Britain in 2001 was 4,635,296.)”

According to the 2011 census, the non-white population of the UK was over 7.5 million. 

Sabrina has died

I suspect Sir Oswald Mosley had Sabrina in mind when he said 'In or around 1955 the British discovered sex and instantly made it ridiculous'.

Philip Larkin thought we discovered sex later. 

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three 
(Which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

In or around 1963  the world and England began to change out of recognition. From 1963 it was a few steps to joining the Common Market, out of town shopping centres, same sex

I tweeted this a year ago today

More liberal wars are in prospect. Hillary Clinton said last Monday that removing President Bashar al-Assad is the top priority in Syria.

The real meaning of the Harvey Weinstein scandal

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.
Lee Smith in The Weekly Standard


Jung quoting a letter from a former patient: "Out of evil, much good has come to me... I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them.

Trudeau: Canada is the first postnational state

‘‘There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.’’

Justin Trudeau speaking to New York Times, Dec. 8, 2015

Sunday, 8 October 2017

"The souls that never go to confession are like rooms with closed windows, which never get any fresh air in."

"The souls that never go to confession are like rooms with closed windows, which never get any fresh air in." (Octavian Goga)

"'I know of no joy,' she airily began, 'greater than a cool white dress after the sweetness of confession.'" (Ronald Firbank)

Why do some people stay in the confessional so long? I am thinking of a very old lady ahead of me who took at least 15 minutes, which is a very long time. What had she done?

BBC pro-immigration bias

The BBC tonight describes AfD as 'anti-immigrant'. It is not - it is anti-immigration.

In fact, not even that but anti- mass immigration from outside Europe.

From my window this evening

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'Today everybody's identity is his or her iPhone. There is no national identity as such.'

In this article from the BBC site a famous Catalan writer is prosing on about the crisis when he suddenly says
Do we have an identity? I don't know. I think today everybody's identity is his or her iPhone. There is no national identity as such.
A Romanian academic economist when I asked him what the future of Romania would be in fifty years time thought it wouldn't exist and be no loss.
Surely there'll still be people speaking Romanian?

Solitude is the school of genius

Does one find ones true self only when alone? I don't think so - ones true self is more likely to be found with close friends, a true love, a soul-mate.

Though great minds need solitude, which Gibbon called 'the school of genius'.

He never married but was very sociable and proposed to a lady when quite old. He went down on her knees and she rejected him saying 'Mr Gibbon, don't be so silly.' Even worse

Gun control would mean the end of the American moral project

My default setting, or rebuttable presumption, to use the lawyers' phrase, is that we English get things right and Americans don't as a rule. So it probably is with gun control. But the gun debate in the USA is about what sort of society America wants to be. It's a question that is existential for American society, as well as existential for people shot dead with legally acquired guns.

It's about the American attachment to rugged individualism and freedom as opposed to statism. Health care is similarly existential but less important because the Constitution does not forbid the US from enacting 'socialised medicine'. If America changed the Second Amendment to control guns the American moral project or American moral society will have ceased to be. Just as Eire ceased to be the Irish moral project when she legalised abortion. It would be the end of something absolutely fundamental, I think. 

What the papers say about Theresa May and that speech (spoiler: it's not good)

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Is it just four days since that speech? It seems like a fortnight.

Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph is very unforgiving.

"Every broadcaster (like every actor) knows that if you are suffering from a cough prior to a performance, a doctor can produce an anaesthetising throat spray which will ensure you are untroubled for a number of hours.
"If Mrs May’s team does not know this – or if she refused to accept their advice – then they are all unfit for their offices. This isn’t even a matter of political judgment: it’s a question of professionalism and simple competence."
Andrew Rawnsley in 'The Observer' points out in an article with the headline, 'Outrageous good fortune smiles once again on Theresa May' that she became Prime Minister by good luck and that her coughing, the unfunny comedian and the letters dropping off the slogan behind her were 'rather lucky' for her in that they eclipsed the speech itself, which was vacuous. 

I think this is right. Her speech began by being, by her low standards, well written and delivered, but had no ideas. She praised the free market and then cribbed Labour policies. It was a speech to the left of Gordon Brown's.

Most Prime Ministers do get the job by luck, including Wilson (the death of Gaitskell), Blair

Four quotations

"We are or we become the result of our network: our ten or fifteen close friends, clients, partners, acquaintances and competitors. Choose them well!" 
Alain Cardon

"The habit of ignoring nature is deeply implanted in our times. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life." 
Marc Chagall 

Seen on Facebook

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Poles pray at borders

Poland Catholics hold controversial prayer day on borders

I wonder if the only people to whom the Polish day of prayer to celebrate victory of Christendom over the Muslim Turks at Lepanto is "controversial" are the BBC - or if Poles think it is too. The story is here.

Oh dear, oh dear

At least 100 European Isis fighters 'to be prosecuted in Iraq, with most facing death penalty'

Among those detained are Belgians, Russians and fighters from Central Asia 

British fighters, including the notorious Mohammed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John’, were among them. He is believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria in 2015. 

One has to love Trump's sense of humour. A troll of genius

Trump nominates coal lobbyist to help lead Environmental Protection Agency

Andrew Wheeler has sued the agency several times but looks to be the Deputy Administrator of the EPA

Saturday, 7 October 2017

I wish I'd said that

Woman is born free and is everywhere in chain stores.

From an old Spectator cartoon

There has been just one prosecution for FGM in the UK

Amber Rudd, an A-lister parachuted into the Commons seven years ago, combines being British Home Secretary with being vice-chairman of the Parliamentary committee on female genital mutilation. Yet there has still been only one (unsuccessful) prosecution for this horrible practice in the UK, despite it becoming increasingly common and having been made a crime 30 years ago.

Many Tory MPs and journalists want her to succeed Theresa May before the 2022 election and be the next Prime Minister.

Food, diversity and the new international elite

“Bizarrely, as immigration began to change Europe at its economic and cultural core, the political vocabulary remained the same as when immigration had been a fringe phenomenon. People kept talking about restaurants.”

Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West 

Malcolm Muggeridge said sex is the mysticism of materialism

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour." William James

Sex is the mysticism of materialism. Malcolm Muggeridge

“Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyám

Today is a palindrome

7 10 2017

Male heroism

Stories of male heroism, men protecting women, in the Las Vegas massacre. Men are still men. 

Also wonderful female heroism too.

Some moving stories of old fashioned masculine heroism in the terrorist attacks in Paris. 

Human nature does not change and the Western world is not nearly as decadent as it seems if you read about politics. 

Three quotations

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

“Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Overheard: "If G.W.Bush reminded some of their lame ex-husbands, D.Trump now reminds others of their hysterical drama-queen ex-wives."

People in towns are healthier than those in suburbs and countryside

A recent survey shows that people who live in towns are happier and healthier than people in the suburbs and countryside. The main reason is that the townies walk more. That makes sense. 

The country, said Sydney Smith, is a healthy grave, but it seems this is no longer true, thanks to the invention of the motor car.

Friday, 6 October 2017

On my walk to work today

Will she leave or will she stay? Power is seeping from Theresa May and she had very little to spare

The Tories no longer stand for anything much and they have no obvious potential new leader to replace the useless current one. But these are not the worst thing.

The worst thing is that they made the incredibly stupid mistake of letting party members choose the leader, over weeks.

My guess is that George Osborne is behind the plot to replace Mrs May with Miss Rudd though I don't quite suspect him of making the letters fall off the slogan in front of which Theresa May was speaking
In fact only a Leaver can unite party and country. Gove? Davies is too busy. I'd be fine by now even with Boris - he is exciting and believes in Brexit, or so I believe - but it seems he's been snookered.

A Remainer plot to replace Theresa May with Amber Rudd?

Former Tory party chairman Grant Shapps just said he wants Theresa May to quit. I would too but I worry very much that this is a Remainer plot. I do not want Amber Rudd, an A-Lister who was parachuted into her set, and whom I just discovered is married to AA Gill who wrote this article.

I can easily imagine Mrs. May resigning. She obviously hates her job now and must see she is not up to it.

Philosophers are more dangerous than anything else

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. — Bertrand Russell

Yes perhaps but stupid people are usually right and do much less harm than the philosophers.

Through most of history, 60% of males failed to reproduce

Click here for the article. It is reassuring for confirmed bachelors.