Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cardinal Newman explains why law and business should not be taught at university

‘…When I speak of Knowledge, I mean something intellectual, something which grasps what it perceives through the senses; something which takes a view of things; which sees more than the senses convey; which reasons upon what it sees, and while it sees; which invests it with an idea. It expresses itself, not in a mere enunciation, but by an enthymeme: it is of the nature of science from the first, and in this consists its dignity. The principle of real dignity in Knowledge, its worth, its desirableness, considered irrespectively of its results, is this germ within it of a scientific or a philosophical process. This is how it comes to be an end in itself; this is why it admits of being called Liberal. Not to know the relative disposition of things is the state of slaves or children; to have mapped out the Universe is the boast, or at least the ambition, of Philosophy.

Orthodox clergy ring church bells to protest transgender law

I googled 'transgender' and 'church' just now and got a lot of stuff about the Church of England being accepting to people who change their sex and, by contrast, this news item from ten days ago.
Greek Orthodox clergy ring church bells to protest transgender law
Church bells have rung “in mourning” across a western Greek diocese to protest the passing of a law making it easier for people to officially change their gender.
Under the guidance of Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta, a fiery conservative Orthodox bishop, clerics in his diocese decided that starting Sunday church bells are to ring every day, through Saturday, at noon for three minutes. They also called for the repeal of the “anti-Christian and anti-Greek” law.
Gentle reader, you probably know your views on this. 

Michael Gove and Harvey Weinstein: No Laughing Matter

Sean Gabb tells the story of how he was invited on the BBC to talk about the dreary and disheartening story of Michael Gove's little joke on the wireless about Harvey Weinstein. 

The latter has not, by the way, been charged with any offence, let alone convicted of one. 

Mr. Gove, who is a very nice and very polite man, apologised though he has nothing really to apologise for, except perhaps to Mr Weinstein, who is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Dr. Gabb, who writes thrillers, is a libertarian and, like all people of good taste, loves Lord Macaulay. He says in his blog:
I pointed out that satire in this country has died for two reasons. One is that the “brave alternative comedians” of the 1980s have become po-faced commissars, enforcing political correctness. The other is that it is impossible

Eastern Europe is more civilised than Western Europe

Knife Crimes in 2016 London : 21,365 All of Poland: 3,474

Andrew Marr reaches for immortality

'Our world is beautiful; but also very boring. I am writing this in Florida, once an untamed tract of mangroves and marshy rainforest, full of wildness and surprising beauty, but now a huge, bleak grid of turnpikes and motorways, endlessly scored across with lines of concrete and wire. Unlovely barrack-like buildings and a tangle of advertising signs offer a rare splash of colour. The roads are congested; as cars dawdle alongside you, you see angry and frustrated faces flinching at the red lights ahead. Everybody is on the move. Everybody, it seems, is anxious to be somewhere else. Time is sliced into harried segments.

Cișmigiu after a downpour yesterday

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Saturday, 28 October 2017

A neuroscientist who studies decision-making reveals the most important choice you can make

Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist who has been studying decision-making for over a decade, has concluded that happiness depends to a large extent on whom you spend time with. There are lots of reasons why the people you hang with are vitally important but his reason for saying so may surprise you.

"The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them ....This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike."

Read more here.


'One cannot love lumps of flesh, and little infants are nothing more.' Dr. Johnson

'If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.' Aristotle Onassis

'Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.' Voltaire

Cardinal Sarah says countries are entitled to reject refugees

On Sunday Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told the Europa Christi conference in Poland that
“The right of a nation to distinguish a refugee from an economic immigrant who does not identify with the culture of the country in which he wants to live cannot be undermined.”
The speech is reported in the Catholic Herald. It is common sense and repeats what

Robert Fisk: The poppy has become a symbol of racism – I will never wear one again

Talking of liberals, Robert Fisk often seems an interesting journalist when writing about the Middle East or Algeria, though his enthusiasm for Europe taking as many refugees as possible from the Middle East horrifies me. I now regard him with disgust after he equated wearing a poppy for Armistice Day with racism, in his latest utterance headlined

The poppy has become a symbol of racism – I will never wear one again

Apparently mourning our nation's dead not the dead of foreign countries is racist.

Quotations for Saturday morning

"When I was a child I thought I hated the human race, but when I grew up I realised it was only children I couldn't stand." Philip Larkin

Dr. Silenus talks about life in Waugh's Decline and Fall

“Life is like the big wheel at Luna Park. You pay five francs and go into a room with tiers of seats all around, and in the centre the floor is made of a great disc of polished wood that revolves quickly. At first you sit down and watch the others. They are all trying to sit in the wheel, and they keep getting flung off, and that makes them laugh too. It's great fun.

A Tory of the old school, the school of Shakespeare and Dr. Johnson

Ruskin said he was a Tory of the old school, the school of Homer and Sir Walter Scott. Homer I agree on. I don't care much for the overrated Scott and I am a romantic Jacobite anyway. I'd say I am a Tory of the school of Shakespeare and Dr. Johnson. But I admire some liberals very much, including Chesterton (GK not AK) and Hilaire Belloc. 

Sir William Harcourt too, who said 
"Liberty does not consist in making others do what you think right. The difference between a free Government and a Government which is not free is principally this—that a Government which is not free interferes with everything it can, and a free Government interferes with nothing except what it must."

Friday, 27 October 2017

Bullingdon Club members are kicked out of Oxford college

The Daily Mail tells a story of the Bullingdon Club being ejected from a Commem ball to jeers from undergraduates. 
With their tailcoats between their legs, they were told to move on by college porters while students jeered and filmed the rather sorry episode on their phones.

Their humiliating ejection, which happened in June, was because the group had not obtained permission to take the photograph but is also symbolic of the social transformation in higher education.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

'A damned ugly old bitch'

Some Labour MP is in trouble today for calling a woman 'an ugly bitch'. Quel ennui. I can no longer remember which Edwardian peer (Liberal, I think) paid tribute on the floor of the House of Lords to which statesman, on his death, for being faithful to his wife 'even though she was a woman of no great physical attractions'. Thus stated the report in Hansard. What his Lordship actually said was, 'Even though she was a damned ugly old bitch'.

After the Czech election 'Central Europe Isn’t Going Anywhere'

Judy Dempsey, writing for Carnegie Europe (a site I read because it makes me angry and I enjoy feeling angry) is very disappointed in Central Europe, especially since the result of the Czech election. 

She  thinks that
the Visegrád Four had an immense opportunity to influence the debate in “old Europe.” In many ways they squandered it.
I'd argue that they are trying very hard to influence the debate and are the only pro-European countries in the EU.

Putin is a Russian De Gaulle

I agree completely with this article by John Bradley, called How Putin Came to Rule the Middle East. Please read it.

Had Hillary become President endless, pointless war in Syria would have ensued. 

Putin is a clever devil and has played his poor hand brilliantly. In some ways he reminds me of a (kleptomaniac, Bolshevik, possibly murderous) De Gaulle.

John Bradley concludes thus.
It is easy to understand why Netanyahu is quaking in his boots, but should we in Europe be alarmed at Putin’s Middle East triumph? Not unduly so. You do not have to be a Putin groupie to acknowledge that it isn’t him who has been launching one illegal invasion after another in the region, leaving millions

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A true Hanoverian: Princess Margaret's routine

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Apparently this was Princess Margaret's routine. I met her when I was 19 and lusted after her. A very beautiful, flirtatious and sexy woman who chain smoked using a cigarette

1776 and all that

I recently met a man who shares my lifelong opinion that the American revolution was thoroughly malign, like the French revolution.

Of course the French revolution was anti Christian which the American rebels weren't, even though many were deists or Freemasons. And the French revolution broke forever something very beautiful: France whereas the American colonies were not an ancient polity nor Americans an ancient race like the French. They were simply the British in America, so the end of the monarchy there mattered much less.

Of course the American Tories who were loyal to the king and forces of law and order were tortured, killed or expelled.

What kings were ever less tyrannical than Louis XVI or George III?


'Church of England to debate blessings for same sex marriages.'

Will they, for the sake of balance, also debate anathemas?

Will the EU be a nuclear power?

An EU army means the EU becoming a nuclear power. Is this a good idea?

Communism was always terrorism

Leninism and Communism was always terrorism. Starting exactly 100 years ago. Very comparable with other forms of nihilism, such as Islamist terrorism.

Universities, islands of totalitarianism

Ronald Reagan in the 1980s described universities as islands of totalitarianism in a sea of freedom.

Oxford weekend

I spent the weekend in Oxford, a place I prefer to my alma mater Cambridge.

Oxford is the most beautiful city outside Italy. Beautiful Christian colleges that are no longer Christian sustain a civilisation that no longer believes in God or in its tradition. 

The four taxi drivers I used were respectively a Filipino, two Pakistanis and a Lithuanian. They first three probably are believers. 

I always think London, Oxford and Brighton are the only three places to live in England. I was always Oxford in the boat race and wanted to go there. I associated it with romantic Tory Catholic reaction and snobbery, but in fact Cambridge in 1980 had more famous reactionaries and now both places are in the hands of the left. See the current Peterhouse saga.

Oxford on Saturday night is full of very loud, very drunk, fat, female townies. I don't object to this. It is simply an observation.

I am told gangs of drunken women are a fact of English life and have been since the 1990s at least.

I went to a wonderful sung Latin High Mass (Novus Ordo) at the Oxford Oratory (next door to my digs at Somerville) and in the evening to Evensong at Christ Church but, unlike the wonderful Mass, Evensong wasn't my thing. 

Why was I unhappy there? The priestess was one reason. But Evensong itself is another. It was created by Protestants to replace monastic evening prayers. It brings to mind the Reformation and all the harm, physical and spiritual, that the Protestants did. I came fifteen minutes late and after another fifteen crept away.

The Protestant Duke of Norfolk

The Dukes of Norfolk, who hold the the oldest earldom and dukedom in England, are the Earls Marshal and lead peers into House of Lords to take their seats but being Catholic before 1829 had to stop at the entrance to the House. The eleventh Duke of Norfolk (1746–1815) decided that he had led such a wicked life that he was sure to go to hell and therefore became a Protestant so he could take his seat.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


The Japanese have strict gun laws and a low murder rate. The Japanese in the USA commit remarkably few murders despite easily available guns.

This is not an argument for or against gun control. It's a reminder of reality.

Theresa May is jinxed, but her speech was not so bad

What a year this is for politics: Spain, Great Britain, France, Korea, USA. Like last year was. Politics which was so boring before Margaret Thatcher and again in the 1990s is interesting now. The Chinese proverb about interesting times is a fake, by the way.

Napoleon did not ask of a general 'Is he lucky?" Cardinal Mazarin said it or rather asked something fairly similar. But Theresa May certainly isn't. Some politicians are and it's very important.

'I know what kind of woman Theresa May is. Her worst nightmare is losing control' says Judith Woods in the Daily Telegraph. Yes and that is one of her very many Plutarchian

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Theresa May speaking to Conservative Conference now

Theresa May can scarcely make her speech because of a bad cough.

She has just said that "this country has always been a beacon for democracy". No it hasn't. One man one vote came in (admittedly thanks to the Tories) in 1918. One person one vote eleven years later, thanks again to Tories. Democracy was not considered generally a good thing in England until 1917, when our ally the Tsar was deposed and the USA became our ally. She said our country has always stood for tolerance, but only up to a point, Lord Copper.

She keeps talking about the 'British dream'. A new expression that she has coined, as far as I know. It sounds like it's her policy that we become a copy of the USA.

Why do I dislike the phrase 'British dream' a lot? 

David Laws's diary for 4 December 2012: Cameron and Osborne humiliate Theresa May

We very easily imagine Theresa May squirming, as she squirmed in her interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.

She is not nearly as clever as Messrs. Cameron and Osborne, was a hopeless Home

"Men who are not free always idealise their bondage" and other quotations

"Men who are not free... always idealise their bondage." Boris Pasternak

“Direct self-observation is not nearly sufficient for us to know ourselves: we need history, for the past flows on within us in a hundred waves.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

King Philip VI of Spain condemns the Catalan 'referendum'

It is NOT King Felipe, BBC. It is King Philip VI.

His Majesty did very well to condemn Catalonia's independence referendum as illegal.

King John Charles made a big mistake by abdicating. Every year makes a monarch better, like Chateau Lafite.

"Learning to read and write is a fundamental right"

This makes me cross. I just learn that "Learning to read and write is a fundamental right", according to UNESCO. This is as bad as the 'right' to clean drinking water. Don't misunderstand me. I am in favour of clean drinking water and learning to read (though illiterates know so very much that the semi-educated lose). But these are not RIGHTS. Freedom of movement, expression, worship, fair trials, freedom from unjust interference by the police - these things are rights.

These are Continental 'positive liberties' and damnable.

Europeans, who have no real tradition of freedom, love rights that involve infringing freedom. The right to clean water means someone is required to pay for your clean water. EU law is full of positive liberties. Why should there be a right to privacy or respect for family life? One reason UK is not staying on EU.

I had a conversation on  tie theme with  German Christian Democrat Professor of Human Rights, very different from a Conservative, which I published here.

Blogging Boris talking to Conservative Conference live

Boris is talking live.

"Jeremy Corbyn still admires Bolivarian revolutionary socialism. I say he's caracas." (Groan.) 

Boris speaks admiringly of Romania's flat tax - which is a definitely conservative idea - and points out that Tories were opponents of USSR. (So were Labour, so not a fair point.)

Gun control is irrelevant to the Las Vegas massacre

It is unintelligent to accuse people of not being intelligent because you disagree with them, but the people talking about the need for gun controls in the USA following the Las Vegas massacre are uninformed. The machine gun used by the killer was subject to gun controls and he had all the documents needed. Las Vegas is irrelevant to the case for gun controls.

He had many guns and in Nevada he only needed a license for automatic weapons, but he was rich and respectable and would have had no trouble getting licences.

The killing is being used by Democrats for political points about gun control because that's the kind of thing politicians do, which is fine.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Groucho Marx danced on Hitler's grave

I just learnt that Groucho Marx climbed a pile of rubble that marked the site of Adolf Hitler's bunker, the site of Hitler's death, and performed a two-minute Charleston.


"My presence here today shows the Government is committed to recycling." 
Michael Gove beginning his speech to the Tory Conference today.

"Today the individual must gradually reconstruct inside himself the civilized universe that is disappearing around him." 
Nicolás Gómez Dávila

More last words

The dying Duke of Valencia, a 19th-century Spanish prime minister, was asked whether he wanted to forgive his enemies. "I have no enemies," he said. "I killed them all."

General Franco did much the same thing. Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, described in his diary their meeting in Franco's study, while the Caudillo continued to sign a large pile of death warrants. Occasionally, he would ask his secretary which party the condemned man belonged to and, if it was one he particularly disliked, he wrote on the warrant 'garrote'. Ciano said, 'I can come back later if you are busy' but Franco replied, 'Oh no. It's just routine stuff'.

At least fifty murdered at Las Vegas

The local sheriff, holding back tears, announced that at least 50 were dead and 200 were injured in the Las Vegas shooting.

People are dead and dying yet what the world wants to know is was the killer a Muslim. Either way, this horror can be used for political purposes (gun control, immigration control, fear of Islam, fear of Islamophobia).

It's interesting that when things like this happen, as they do all too often these days, one turns to Breitbart as the only trustworthy source. Certainly not to the BBC or CNN. As Douglas Murray put it, when it comes to Muslim terrorism the media seem to see their role as negotiating between the public and the truth.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Why are people sympathetic to the Catalans over the referendum that isn't one?

Why are people on social media sympathetic to the Catalans trying to break the law? I don't get it.

I don't mind Catalonia becoming 'independent' but I very much mind them breaking the law and love it that Madrid will not stand for that. But Catalonia is really ruled by foreigners, in the EU and in the future perhaps by other foreigners.

The violence that the police used, on the other hand, was unjustified, unnecessary and will redound on Madrid.

Eastern Europe, the last hope for Europe and the world

You might be interested by this articleWhy the West Can’t Unite Against Terrorism, written by Richard Storey, who thinks Eastern Europe the last hope for Europe. 
I assumed Eastern Europe was the best part of Europe before I got here in 1990 and I have never doubted Romania's superiority to the West, in innumerable, intangible ways, since I came to live in Romania in 1998. But when asked 'In what ways?' I always have difficulty in answering - apart from saying they still believe in God here.
But, as I type this, I think of many strong reasons. They also still believe in the nation, their tradition, in freedom, hierarchy, the divine order in the universe that makes men men and women women. I could think of many more reasons if pressed.

Mr. Storey says, rather gushingly:
"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 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)

Neagu Djuvara and Dan Hodges on Trump

Dan Hodges today: Donald Trump is a lunatic. A big lunatic. An ocean going lunatic.

Neagu Djuvara to me last year: Trump is a bull and a bull is what we need now.

Good gossip about Theresa May

Some good gossip about Theresa May in a book serialised in the Sunday Times. She annoyed 'courtiers' by making the Queen postpone her visit to Ascot and by telling the Queen she had a deal with the DUP 17 days before she sealed one.
It reveals that the prime minister repeatedly broke down in tears after surrendering the Conservative majority and went into a spiral after she faced widespread criticism for failing to meet victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Pope Benedict XVI: Catholics are free to disagree with the Pope

Non-Catholics usually think that Catholics have to agree with the Pope. This is not so. Catholics are required only to subscribe to dogmas (contained in the Creeds with some additions) and popes are only infallible when enunciating dogmas. On matters of faith and morals the Church claims to be infallible but this does not mean that the Pope is. On matters of politics, including immigration policy, and of the physical sciences, such as climatology, the popes are certainly not infallible or even necessarily competent to make judgments. In such matters, laymen should and will decide for themselves.

Anyone who thinks Pope Francis' obiter dicta are binding on Catholics might read these words of Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Benedict XVI) in 1969.

Famous Last Words

“I see that you have made three spelling mistakes,” remarked the Marquis de Favras when he read his death warrant.

Coming across that quotation reminded me of that I once collected last words and must find and publish online my collection. Here are one or two.

These are the last words of King Frederick William I of Prussia, the father of Frederick the Great. A Lutheran clergyman was giving him the last rites and said