Saturday, 30 September 2017

John Stuart Mill and the decline of the West

I bought a leather bound copy of Mill's On Liberty for 50p when I was 16 and haven't read it. I assumed I knew what it said and that J.S. Mill was an arch libertarian, a Thathcherite avant la lettre. I should have read it and shall do so now, followed by Maurice Cowling's arch-conservative demolition. How I wish I'd gone to Peterhouse and Cowling had taught me.

Only today I was wondering yet again whether my personal philosophy of finding an authentic life by relating to people openly, regardless of their nationality or class (or sex for that matter) and keeping a distance from conventional or fashionable ideas, was really my own or was one I had taken from elsewhere. I see now that it is J.S. Mill, mediated through 
John Fowles, whose novels and philosophy greatly appealed to me when I was 18. It is an admirable but somewhat adolescent philosophy.

Three very important quotations

"Stephen Miller was too nice to CNN's Jim Acosta at yesterday's White House press briefing. He might have said something like this: "Yes, Jim: in 1883, when Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet 'The New Colossus,' America had open immigration. Millions of white European immigrants settled the American heartland, and we drove out the Native Americans to make room for them. In other words, we gave privileges to white people and killed or displaced people of color. You can argue the merits of this policy, but we don't want to return to a situation in which immigration occurs at the expense of people who were here first."
David Goldman, 'Spengler' in Asia Times
3 August 2017

Forget Saudi Arabia: Iran is our natural ally

The Saudi town of Awamiya — like so many countless cities across Iraq, Syria and Yemen that are witnessing an unleashing of the ancient hatred of Sunni for Shia — now exists in name only. Last month, days before an assault on its Shia inhabitants by the Saudi regime, the UN designated it a place of unique cultural and religious significance. But under the guise of fighting Iran-backed terror cells, the Saudis then subjected Awamiya’s entire civilian population to the indiscriminate use of fighter jets, rocket-propelled grenades, snipers, heavy artillery, armoured assault vehicles and cold-blooded executions.
More than a dozen Shia, including a three-year-old boy, were killed. Hundreds of young men were rounded up. At least 500 homes were flattened, and 8,000 residents were forcibly removed from those that

I am out of touch

Boris is in trouble again. I suddenly realise I am unable to understand the present age.  
The foreign secretary has been accused of “incredible insensitivity” after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.
Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: “The temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.”

Boris smells blood - Theresa May has always been a weak leader

"Several months before the general election, Boris Johnson returned to the Foreign Office after a meeting with Theresa May, flanked by her powerful joint Chiefs of Staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. It was clear to him who was in control – and it wasn’t the Prime Minister. “That’s modern slavery right there,” he told a colleague. More recently, he’s told allies that the disastrous general election result has left the Prime Minister a shell of her former self. Her mighty aides have been dispatched and the failed snap election hangs over every meeting. Her body language, he has told allies, is shrunken."

So begins an interesting article 
Gary Gibbon that suggests that Boris Johnson thinks that Theresa May will not last for the whole of this Parliament (I am sure that is right) and he has one last hope of becoming leader of the Conservative Party. I think he is in many ways not up to the job, had concluded that he'd be a disaster, but I have to say that he certainly would be better than Theresa May. 

Perhaps it's not such a bad idea.

Friday, 29 September 2017

For Israel victory for Assad in Syria is very bad news

It is in Israel's interests for the war in Syria to continue indefinitely and Syria to be a failed state. ISIS and Al Qaeda do not worry Israel nearly as much as ISIS's enemy, Iran. But, thanks to Russia, as I predicted from the moment Russia sent help to him, Assad has largely won. Most journalists said this would not happen but most journalists have been wrong about Syria all along.

And this, for all the unspeakable horrors perpetrate by a regime that almost no Syrians like, is the best hope for peace Syria has.

It's very understandable for Israel  to fear Iran, though they greatly exaggerate the danger, but for Europe and America Iran is effectively an ally ag
ainst Sunni extremism. Israel's unofficial allies, the Saudis, are in fact a greater threat to Europe.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Twitter exchange


"There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one's native land." 

“Intellectuals are naturally attracted by the idea of a planned society, in the belief that they will be in charge of it.”
Sir Roger Scruton

''In revenge and love woman is more barbaric than man is.''

A poem for National Poetry Day

For National Poetry Day I post this, one of my favourite poems. It's not a favourite because it's an elegy for the demise of Catholic folk religion at the Reformation, but because I simply love it. It is comparable with, though not as good as, Shakespeare's 'When icicles hang by the wall' from Love's Labour's Lost.

FAREWELL, rewards and fairies, 
Good housewives now may say, 
For now foul sluts in dairies 
Do fare as well as they. 
And though they sweep their hearths no less 
Than maids were wont to do, 
Yet who of late for cleanness 
Finds sixpence in her shoe? 

Judge Moore and separation of church and state in the USA

Judge Moore, the Trumpian who defeated the mainstream Republican candidate to be the party candidate in Alabama for the US Senate, sounds rather appealing, in a homespun Southern Protestant way, at least compared to the dreary mainstream Republicans whom he defeated. I can't stand them. Democrats hate him because he engraved the Ten Commandments in granite and tried to place them in the Alabaman Supreme Court.

This is contrary to the separation of church and state in America, you say? Actually not. The US Constitution does not separate church and state. It says

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

More thoughts on Boris Johnson

The ending of Arnold Bennett's The Card always comes to mind when I think of Boris Johnson. 
"What great cause is he identified with?"  
"He's identified with the great cause of cheering us all up."
He also reminds me of Bagehot's description of the Cavalier mind. 
"The essence of Toryism is enjoyment. Talk of the ways of spreading a

Boris Johnson: Romanians are “extremely valuable members of our society”.

Boris Johnson made a whistlestop visit to Bucharest yesterday and assured Romanians that their compatriots in Britain “should not be worried” about their situation after Brexit because they are “extremely valuable members of our society”. 
When asked about how worried Romanians living in the UK should be after Brexit he said:

“I don’t think they should be worried at all. They shouldn’t worry because they are extremely valuable members of our society. We love them. They make an enormous contribution to the economy of the United Kingdom, to the British culture.” 

Said this week

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump):

I love Twitter.... it's like owning your own newspaper--- without the losses

For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.
Helen Gao writing in the New York Times this week.

[Carl] Bildt argues that because some Middle East nations have to cope with even bigger numbers of refugees, Europeans shouldn’t gripe. However, this is dishonest.
For a start, in reaction to the emergency of the past couple of years, Europe has belatedly done a great deal to close its borders, ­including paying Libyan war lords to stop the boats leaving Libya. Second, most Middle East nations hosting refugees hope they will go home in due course. And third, several hundred thousand Sunni Syrians are a huge burden for a ­nation like ­Jordan, which deserves Western financial support, but they do not threaten to fundamentally and forever change Jordan’s identity in the way they will destroy ­Europe’s identity.
Greg Sheridan, 'Angela Merkel signals ruin for Europe'

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Douglas Murray on AfD and the misuse of the word Nazi

From Douglas Murray's piece in the Spectator about AfD. 

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I agree with it, and think it well worth you reading, though what most strikes me is the bad grammar on the part of a truly brilliant man who went to Eton and Oxford. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

AfD are not extremists but the real Christian Democrats

The German exit polls show the expected victory for the Christian Democrats and a stronger showing for the AfD, whom the BBC mistakenly calls far right, following the lead of the party's opponents.

They misuse the expression often. They use it for the Austrian Freedom Party and have done since the 1980s, even though the only thing right-wing about Freedom Party is opposing immigration. Which, along with scepticism towards the EU, is most of AfD's platform, though AfD has, inevitably, attracted some extremists and, regrettably, added

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Muslim rebels in Rohingya are few and have a jihadi link

Please read this article from Asia Times, a serious source of intelligent analysis, by Bertil Lintner, a respected Swedish journalist who has been writing about Burma for nearly four decades. Mr. Lintner explains how the Muslim 'Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army', which may only number 500 men, deliberately stages attacks intended to incite bloody reprisals from the Burmese army.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army uses local villagers when it attacks the army to give the impression of large numbers. Terrible reprisals are then visited on local people, whom it hopes will thereby become radicalised.

Islam, Europe and Christianity

“It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
Pope Francis, May 2016

Friday, 22 September 2017


We begin to live when we have conceived life as a tragedy.

W. B. Yeats‏

Thus a whole religion sustains modern England, the religion of patriotism. Destroy that in men by some heretical development, by “excepting” the doctrine that a man’s prime duty is towards the political society to which he belongs, and England, as we know it, would gradually cease and become something other.

Hilaire Belloc (The Great Heresies, p.6)

"Evangelicals have tried the “Alpha” approach to open up the Gospel to a new generation – in its own way this is no more than an update of the notion set out by C S Lewis in "Mere Christianity"whereby the bare bones of belief are laid out (a sort of Christianity “lite”) and it is left to the individual to put denominational clothes onto that body. This, I believe, is based on a misconception for, to use Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message". Faith cannot be separated from culture (after all the Incarnation took place at a particular time, in a particular nation) and the accumulation of interpretation and experience through the generations offers the rich and varied mix in which we are able to make the act of faith – this is what we call “tradition”. From within the tradition we can honestly say with Saint John: “something which has existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our own hands: the Word, who is life” (1st Letter 1:1). Culture is not just an “add on”: it is the outward expression of inner truth, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things, as yet,unseen” (Hebrews 11:1)."

Christopher Colven

"How else are we to explain Europe’s indomitable civilization, despite being beset by barbarians at the gates and the plutocratic pursuit of political power? The answer is apparent to much of Eastern Europe; they have seen where the unstable forces of leftism lead them and have returned to the Church as that common transcendent system of higher cultural values which bound Europe together into a network of communities. This is why they stand strong and terror-free, boldly declaring their Christian identity and closed borders in the face of the EU taking Poland, Czech and Hungary to court."

We shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

How the Ottoman Empire managed multiculturalism

"An interesting new book, reviewed by one Barnaby Rogerson, makes the point that the Levant of the 18th century was peaceful and prosperous (and surprisingly libertine), because it was made up of “a grid of self-governing communities.” Integration between disparate communities was not enforced. And surprise, surprise: communities freely chose to live in complete segregation. This freedom fostered “remarkable tolerance” among diverse communities across the cities of the Levant of that time. “Deals before Ideals, City before State, Trade before Politics,” as the reviewer puts it. This freedom of association was the source of strength. These autonomous ethnic communities were free of the top-down, punitive, forced integration that has become the hallmark of the 19th-century nation-state that usurped their authority."

Jordan Peterson and the transgender wars

'Because thoughts aren’t like that,’ he says. ‘People mostly think by talking. Not only do they think by talking, but they correct their thoughts by talking. If you deprive people of the right to think, then you doom them to suffering. You doom their stupidity of its right to die. You should allow your thoughts to be cast away into the fire — instead of you.’

A very interesting interview with Professor Jordan Paterson, a Jungian and Christian, who is in trouble for many offences, including refusing to use the preferred gender pronouns of people "who don’t identify with their biological gender". He sounds fascinating and brave.

At this point, to my astonishment, Peterson begins to weep. He talks through his


Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Doris Lessing

Do in thy lifetime what, in the hour of death, you will wish you had done.

Goffines Devout Instructions.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

It is every migrant’s dream to see the tables turned

It is every migrant’s dream to see the tables turned, to see long lines of Americans and Britons in front of the Bangladeshi or Mexican or Nigerian Embassy, begging for a residence visa.

Suketu Mehta, Indian-born New York-based author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Jeffrey Ketland is right

"I'm reasonably sure that the driving force behind every SJW is "purity": a kind of moral purification, reminiscent of the original Puritans. This Puritanism is visibly central to the pervasive, ultra-toxic American Ideology of "social justice", with all that it entails: purification rituals, denunciation of deviance, mass hysteria, ostracism of imagined witches, etc.

"Who aside from the original Puritans were so obsessed with purity? The Jacobins. The Bolsheviks. The Nazis. Mao's Red Guards. The Brotherhood. American feminists and SJWs."

Trump argues for healthy national egoism

"Trump's UN 'hate speech' criticised"
The BBC headline shows their disapproval, but I think it was a good speech (though I have some big caveats), praising 'independent sovereign nations'. No wonder the BBC hated it.

I liked these words
"In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone."
He praised nation states. He probably doesn't know the phrase 'healthy national egoism', but this is what he believes in and think makes for peace. The liberal wars of recent years certainly didn't.

Wonderfully, he talked of the great harm mass migrations do to the countries the migrants leave and enter.

More quotations

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”

Donald Trump speaking at the U.N.

From The Times Diary

Reporting on the Rohingya: “The Tip of a Huge Iceberg of Misinformation”

This article gives another side of the story of the Rohinga that we are told - I have no idea where the truth lies but I had searched in vain on the net for another side. 

The tube bombers were refugees

The suspects in the latest London tube bombing, which could have killed many people were it not for the criminals' ineptitude, are two refugees.

What a shock.

One of the suspects was arrested because he continued to wear the distinctive red hat caught by the TV cameras. Thankfully, these people are not intellectuals.

What do we do? More police, more restrictions on extremism on the net? 

No, Great Britain urgently has to amend our adhesion to the Geneva Convention on

Do evil people know they are evil?

I think from my experience that evil people usually know they are evil. 

On the other some evil people like Lenin and Stalin (Stalin was certainly a psychopath, though Lenin and Hitler are more complex) think they are doing bad that good may come of it.

Was Genghiz Khan who killed forty million (about a tenth of the world's population) evil?
He probably thought he was a hero. How would Homer have judged him?

I wrote some thoughts on evil people here.

Most evil people are psychopaths and psychopaths are well aware that they are very

5 immigration quotations

"We've massively overestimated our ability to bring people in and massively underestimated how much they will change us."

Douglas Murray

“Yes, God loves the English … but in their own land.”

Saint Jeanne d’Arc under interrogation

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Three quotations

If you’re BORIS-NORIS then you’re reckless, and act without considering the impact of your behaviour.

(A Glossary of Dorset Dialect, 1863) 

Four quotations

Replying to 
Until Brexit vote Scottish nationalism looked like winning in the end. Now it doesn't. 2015 was dangerous moment. Now it has passed

Stefan MolyneuxVerified account @StefanMolyneux  4 seconds ago
The whole purpose of propaganda is to make the obvious seem obscure, or offensive.

Douglas Murray, 'The Strange Death of Europe'

By 2015 more British Muslims were fighting for Isis than for the British armed forces.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Top ten enclaves

Here is an interesting list of enclaves made by John Rentoul, maker of fascinating lists. I had only known about one of them, Llívia, in Spain but surrounded by France. When the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659 gave all villages north of the Pyrenees to France the Llívians adduced evidence that Llivia had been accorded the status of city by a Roman Emperor. It therefore remained in Spain. It is Catalan, as are the villages given to France.

This is interesting:

Since the rationalisation of the India-Bangladesh border last year abolished Dahala Khagrabari, the world’s only third-order enclave (a piece of India inside a piece of Bangladesh inside a piece of India inside Bangladesh), Baarle’s second-order enclaves are as complicated as it gets – there are pockets of the Netherlands inside some of the Belgian enclaves. The border is so complicated, said Robert Kaye, “they operate a front-door rule where the country of your front door determines which law applies”.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


Gerald Brenan:

The only test of work of literature is that it shall please other ages than its own. 

Kristian Niemietz (@K_Niemietz):

There should be a German word for "a person who is notionally on the right, but who spends most of their time talking leftie drivel".

Jonathan Spyer:

A hollowing-out of European culture has taken place over recent years. The elites of the continent are united by a set of joint perceptions deriving from a shared experience of

'There are more beheadings than there used to be but, on the plus side, there's a much wider range of cuisine'

I am watching this absolutely fascinating (and very alarming) interview with Douglas Murray on the Mark Steyn Show. So should you. 

Two of the best thinkers we have.

Both men fear that we are seeing the early stages of a war in Europe.

Mark Steyn, inimitably, says that we are in the torture dungeon but the safe word doesn't work. I am unfamiliar with sado-masochism, but I get the joke. If it is a joke.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The recent past is a foreign country

I wrote this on 16 June 2016, just before the murder of a pro-EU Labour MP, Mrs. Jo Cox, by a man who shouted out, as he did so, "This is for Britain".

I firmly expect Great Britain to vote to stay in the EU next Thursday, but let's all enjoy every single blissful moment of these halcyon days when our German and other European rulers think we might leave. This is the last moment when Great Britain roused herself to become a free country. After we vote to stay in, it will probably resemble what Claude Cockburn's tutor told him life was like after Oxford: just a long slow slope to the grave.

Bertrand Russell said ‘Collective fear stimulates herd instinct and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd’. I see a lot of this coming from the In camp who seem almost to hate or despise the Outs. Especially they seem to hate UKIP and despise the working classes. The viciousness is born of fear. I find it disgusting but it is what politics and democracy are about.

Whatever your views on Brexit what a great argument this referendum is for lots more referendums. Though of course there is not really very much room in the EU for referendums.

The opinion polls today show Leave up to 7% ahead of Remain and the bookmakers, who are always the best place to look to find out what's going on, today give Leave an astonishingly high 30% chance. I give it a lot less (5-10%?) but what does impress me is that the polls are swinging towards Leave, despite the attempts of the government the IMF and most of the establishment to terrify electors with (continued here).

Friday, 15 September 2017


“He who is not angry, whereas he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices, it fosters negligence, and incites not only the wicked but the good to do wrong.” St. John Chrysostom

"He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that." John Stuart Mill

"If boys can be girls, and girls can be boys, why can't girls and boys also be unicorns?" Douglas Murray

Martin Amis misses England

Martin Amis plans to move back to England one day, he tells the Guardian. 

“I miss the English … I miss Londoners. I miss the wit. Americans aren’t as witty as Brits, because humour is about giving a little bit of offence. It’s an assertion of intellectual superiority. Americans are just as friendly and tolerant as Londoners, but they flinch from mocking someone’s background or education.”
Is it good form for us English to mock someone’s background or education?

Americans are very scornful and superior too, not so much about class but about attitudes they identify as deplorable - which are often closely linked to class. Being bigoted is being vulgar. 

It’s James Fenimore Cooper’s 228th birthday

Today is Fenimore Cooper's birthday. I never read him and never intend to after reading what Mark Twain has to say about him. Yet Cooper is a classic. He sounds an even worse writer than the worst novelist I ever read, Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

As a reactionary schoolboy I disapproved of F.R. Leavis savaging the canon of English novelists. Now I hugely admire him for doing so and wish the Americans and had done the same.
Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in "Deerslayer," and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.

Today's the Duc de la Rochefoucauld’s 404th birthday

Il ne faut pas s'offenser que les autres nous cachent la vérité, puisque nous nous la cachons si souvent à nous-mêmes.

[We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.]

On parle peu quand la vanité ne fait pas parler.

[When not prompted by vanity, we say little.]

"‘British jobs for British workers’ is a fascist incursion into mainstream politics"

In case you need persuading that the Guardian is a poisonous newspaper, much less reasonable than the Daily Mail, here is an article from today's issue that argues that

‘British jobs for British workers’ is back, a fascist incursion into mainstream politics

"Thanks to leaked proposals we now know that the guiding principle of the government’s post-Brexit immigration plan is to put British workers first.......

"Gordon Brown, appallingly, used the term while Labour prime minister in 2007 but he did not invent it. As was highlighted in parliament by the then Conservative leader David Cameron, such slogans could be found in leaflets from the National Front and the British National party 

"Go back to the 1930s and you find Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, declaring: “No more admitting of foreigners into this country to take British jobs.” At that time, the foreigners he meant were Jews."

It's laughable, but millions of Guardian readers buy the newspaper and buy this argument. Is it possible to unbrainwash these people? They include the schoolmaster class, who are rearing the next generation.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The French invasion of Germany in 1939

I am very ashamed that I had forgotten about the French invasion of Germany in September 1939, till I read about it here. One German strategist thought that had the French continued they could have defeated Germany. How different the world would be now had they done so.

Eastern Europe would, in many ways, resemble Western Europe, France would be the dominant power in Europe, America would not interfere in the affairs of the Eastern

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Four quotations from Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

It’s Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach’s 187th birthday. She was an Austrian and a major German language novelist. Here are four of her aphorisms.
In misfortune we usually regain the peace that we were robbed of through fear of that very misfortune.

Dennis Skinner asks a very sensible question about Turkish immigrants

Dennis Skinner, the elderly and very left-wing Labour MP, has always opposed Britain's EU, EC and EEC membership and voted for the EU Withdrawal Bill, or so-called Great Repeal Bill, on its second reading on Monday. 

Dennis Skinner is about as left-wing as Jeremy Corbyn. Both are members of the hard-left Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs. When the Group met two years ago to decide who its candidate for the Labour leadership, the choice was between Dennis Skinner and Jeremy Corbyn. Skinner was 83 and didn’t want to do it. Corbyn was 66 and didn’t mind. None of the group imagined that their candidate would win.

Pascal Bruckner on the invention of Islamophobia

The excerpt below is by Pascal Bruckner in a piece about the invention of Islamophobia

The term “Islamophobia” probably existed before these bureaucrats of the empire used it. Still, this language remained rare until the late 1980s, when the word was transformed little by little into a political tool, under the pressure of British Muslims reacting to the fatwa that the Ayatollah Khomeini had pronounced against novelist Salman Rushdie, following his publication of The Satanic Verses. With its fluid meaning, the word “Islamophobia” amalgamates two very different concepts: the persecution of believers, which is a crime; and the critique of religion, which is a right. A newcomer in the semantic field of antiracism, this term has the ambition of making Islam untouchable by placing it on the same level as anti-Semitism....


The Remainers' Damascene conversion to parliamentary government

"MPs have quite simply betrayed our democracy " by implementing result of democratic vote. 

“The majority of MPs have quite simply betrayed our democracy - that must never forgotten”

Tweeted by Henry Porter and (predictably) retweeted by A. C. Grayling.

The Remainers' Damascene conversion to parliamentary government restores one's faith in human nature.

Truly there is more rejoicing in heaven....

Free speech

I always loved second-hand bookshops above all things - they were my true alma mater, not my university. But now I see that they are also the last bastions of freedom of speech and freedom of thought.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


"Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."
St. Francis de Sales

"Catholics are born for combat." 

Pope Leo XIII

"There is too much fighting in history, as if men only were brought into this world to send one another out of it. It nourishes false notions of our being, and chief and proper end, Mr. Croftangry.”
Sir Walter Scott's Mr. Fairscribe in 'The Surgeon's Daughter'

'But would it be worth reading?'
Cleanth Brooks on being told that European history would have been no different if there had been no poetry.

“When I wake up in the morning, and I feel good, I tell myself: ‘Today may be the last day of my life.’ That is my sense of urgency."

Josef Koudelka

In the future, everyone will be White House Communications Director for 15 minutes

This one is pretty. 

Why Hillary lost - thoughts prompted by her new self-exculpatory book

Democrats lost in 2016 not because of Hillary but because of the Democratic Party. The second big loser was the GOP. Trump defeated both for good reasons.

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Why good people turn into monsters

"Nazis are bad and must be opposed."
"People who enable or defend Nazis must also be opposed."
Makes sense!
"Unlawful violence is perfectly acceptable when opposing Nazis and their enablers."
Wait, I'm not sure I'm on board with that ...
"Anyone who opposes the use of unlawful violence against Nazis is also a Nazi enabler."
What? No! I'm one of the good guys!
"Also, if you think about it, all American institutions and capitalism itself help support white supremacy, therefore all are Nazi enablers and eligible for violent retribution."
Hey, I think you just declared war on literally everyone who isn't currently in the room with you.

From an article on 

Migrant boats have started heading to Romania

Kit Gillet, the best foreign journalist writing in Romania, has published an article in the Guardian about the recent new trend: migrants trying to make the perilous crossing on the Black Sea between the Turkish coast and Romania. It started in the last month or so and there have so far been six incidents.

'Gabriela Leu, a spokesperson for UNHCR Romania, says that while it was difficult to draw a conclusion from a handful of incidents, “what is clear is that when legal avenues are closed, people fleeing war and persecution take desperate measures to find safety”.'
They are not fleeing war and persecution. They are coming form Turkey where they are perfectly safe.

Steve Bannon holds George W. Bush in total contempt

I miss Steve Bannon. This is from his interview on television at the weekend:

"I hold these people in contempt, total and complete." 

"George W. Bush and his entire national security apparatus, which included people like Condi Rice, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney."

I completely agree

The sanctity of the revelation of Mahomet

"Since 1989 the texts, ideas and even images of Islam have become so heavily policed and self-policed even in Western Europe that it would be understandable if a young person becoming politically and religiously aware in the last few decades might have arrived at the conclusion that the one thing our societies really do hold sacred and impervious to ridicule or criticism are the claims and teachings of Mohammed."
Douglas Murray - 'The Strange Death of Europe'

[Had Charles Tours not defeated the Muslims in 704] "perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet."
Edward Gibbon - 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

“I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
Richard Dawkins, the scientist and proselytising atheist, 2010

Monday, 11 September 2017

Since 1989 the world has been remade by nihilists, intellectual nihilists and ones who kill

Image result for derrida smoking

I was at Cambridge in my second term when Colin McCabe was denied tenure because he was a structuralist.

No one had any idea what a structuralist was, not even people reading English. Certainly not the people who wrote for the papers, who descended on Cambridge in a scramble. I tried to understand it and read a book by Roland Barthes but failed. Then I started work and forgot it.

Today, this very day, I see I have understood almost nothing about the story of my own lifetime. It was French Marxist intellectuals like Derrida who made the Sargasso Sea in which we are becalmed. He taught that categorisation is a form of exclusion, serving the interests of maintaining power, discriminating against excluded groups. Words are oppressive. It is morally necessary that language has to be remade to avoid victimising oppressed groups. Political correctness, a new kind of Stalinism.

Most serial killers read the Guardian

I read the Guardian most days and pray for the day, which will probably come soon, when it goes bankrupt and a malignant tumour is removed from the British body politic.

Lord ('Dear Bill') Deedes, who was a lovely man, found the letters hilarious and began his day happily chortling at them. I have a good sense of fun but I always found them terrifying. They induce despair.

Most serial killers read the Guardian

Well, that is not necessarily true, but Denis Nilson and Harold Shipman do, according to the late Frank Johnson. Johnson thought this was because of a feeling of superiority to ordinary people. Serial killers are driven by hidden rage and the destructive rage of the Guardian appeals to them.

Nihilism is the link. Love of destruction. Hatred of the beautiful.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

'Why do we still assign gender to children at birth?'

John Lewis, the British department store, has announced it will remove “boys’" and “girls” labels on children’s clothing. The Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, has banned skirts for new students as part of its gender neutral clothing policy. A writer in the left-of centre newspaper the Independent suggests here that England should consider not registering babies as boys and girls.

I have no comment to make, except that 
men and women were created to complement one another, which is why men are so utterly different from women.

The Strange Death of Western Europe and why is Eastern Europe different?

I am currently reading, am deeply depressed and alarmed by and am lost in wonder at Douglas Murray's new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Please read it people, if you read only one book this year.

The opening sentence is:
Europe is committing suicide.
and he continues
By the end of the lifespans of most people currently alive, Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place we had to call home.
He deals with Eastern European attitudes to migrants in a couple of pages and says this, under the rubric "Why is Eastern Europe so different?"
"....In January 2016, when the Swedish authorities, the European Commission and others began publicly to acknowledge that the majority of people they had taken in the previous year had no right to claim asylum in Europe, Jean Claude Juncker continued to insist on the Commission's proposed quota system to share out the migrants between each country. Slovakia refused to have any