29 May

The religion of peace and love – again

The Arch of Cant says he is “horrified” by the stoning to death of a Pakistani woman (by her friends and family) who had married a man of whom her relations disapproved. Justin Welby added, “And every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified.” What did he mean by that remark? Did he mean to suggest that no Pakistanis approve of stoning? Clearly, he had not spoken to the victim’s family and friends who so enthusiastically perpetrated this murderous atrocity – and especially not to her brother and father who, after the mob had done their worst, went in and (as reported by The Daily Telegraph) “finished her off.” Neither did Welby speak to any of the hundreds of lawyers inside the court near which the murder took place, and who might have intervened. Nor to the hundreds of bystanders who witnessed the stoning and were clearly not horrified enough to help the victim.

But we can guess what Welby intended to convey: that most Pakistanis – i.e. Muslims – were horrified by the stoning. I don’t believe that to be the case, otherwise these and similarly appalling events would not take place as often as they do. The awful truth is that while our Archbishops and Bishops have set up a useless everlasting talking shop with “moderate Muslims,” there is a very considerable faction in that country which, far from being horrified by such atrocities, is willing to condone them by inaction. We must assume tacit approval. Why else are churches burned down every day, individuals slaughtered for converting from Islam to Christianity; terrorised, tortured, mutilated and murdered for “blasphemy”?

Such appalling events would not be tolerated in a country in which the majority of the population disapproved them. Blood-soaked fundamentalist Islam, Sharia in practice, is alive and well – I mean alive and sick – throughout Pakistan. If, by his remark about so many being horrified, the Archbishop meant to play this down, to pretend that things are other than what we know them to be, then he is by implication an appeaser of those who commit such barbarous acts in the name of their religion.

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28 May

The beauty of holiness

I can’t dispel the nasty taste produced by my reading the Church Commissioners’ Annual Report and particularly its description of what the church is up to in Liverpool. A project called “Zone 2” which features “cafe-style worship” for the poor on Sunday mornings while the rest of the Christians attend the regular Eucharist. The Commissioners say they aim to extend this Zone 2 stuff into other impoverished areas. Thus the poor will be impoverished yet further.

As I brooded on this travesty, I thought to myself that things don’t have to be like that, and indeed there was a time when they weren’t like that: a time when the poor were not patronised and singled-out for dumbed-down substitutes for religion, but were offered only the best. Throughout the 19th century, priests went into the slums, lived among the industrial poor and adorned and beautified their churches with lights, colours, music, incense and sound theological teaching. We can name names. First there was the Clapton Sect of High Churchmen, followed by the Guild of St Matthew and the Christian Social Union. The priests in the ritual movement conducted worship to the highest aesthetic standards – not out of any culture-vulturism but because they believed that all worship must be to the glory of God and to the edification of the people

There’s not much glory and no edification in Zone 2.

Standards in worship were maintained for the first two thirds of the 20th century too. I was brought up in a Leeds slum without benefit of cafe-style worship. The Parish Eucharist was celebrated according to The Book of Common Prayer and the musical setting was Merbecke, sung by the whole congregation, a hundred and fifty and more of us. Choral Evensong was also as set in the Prayer Book with readings from The King James Bible, with fifty attending. None of our priests presumed to offer us something trashy just because we were poor. I suppose we churchgoing slum-dwellers of the 1950s would be regarded as “elitists” by the present shambolic regime.

The rot started in the 1960s with the first of the modern services and the proliferation of new hymns and songs of stultifying banality. Merbecke was dropped in favour of Lloyd-Webberish musical clowning which recognised no chordal progressions beyond tonic-dominant-subdominant. The disastrous invention of the General Synod in 1970 and parliament’s abdication of its control over forms of worship ensured the triumph of trash. And now in so many churches there prevails a new tradition – one of intellectual and aesthetic bankruptcy

The fact that some people are poor doesn’t mean that they are also stupid and incapable of an appreciation of beauty and the finest things, along with a response to the articulate teaching of the truth. It is beyond demeaning, it is shameful to patronise those who are materially poor and to deprive them of the best things of the mind and heart.

“Or which you, having a son which asketh for bread shall give him a stone?”

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27 May

Saving the planet by killing its people

I am grateful to Google for so helpfully telling me which persons I should revere. This morning when I switched on, I was informed that today is the 107th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Louise Carson who wrote the book Silent Spring. This book proved to be a sensational success and its publication, more than any other single factor, created the environmentalist movement. It became trendy – even holy – to be Green. Carson argued that the use of pesticides was profoundly deleterious to animal life. Particularly, if the world continued its widespread use of DDT, the wild creatures would be killed off and we should enter the silent spring of her book’s emotive title.

The consequences of discontinuing the use of DDT have been catastrophic.

For example, in the southern states of the USA malaria killed as many people as scarlet fever prior to its eradication, by DDT, in 1947. After that it killed nobody there. Before 1953, when DDT was first used in India, there were 75 million cases of malaria every year and 800,000 deaths. By 1966 there were fewer than one million cases and proportionally fewer deaths. Similarly, Indonesia saw cases of malaria cut from 25% of the population to 1%. Since the banning of the widespread use of DDT in 1976, the scourge of malaria has returned with a vengeance. Now 2000 children die from it every day, most of them in Africa.

The author of Silent Spring was accused of the selective use of data and of fanaticism. Her most telling critics did not belong to Big Pharma but included internationally renowned biochemists such as Christopher Leaver and Bruce Ames, the immunologist Peter Lachman and the Director of Africa Fighting Malaria, Michael Tren.  The true and accurate data concerning DDT’s great usefulness is still available and I have quoted some of it, above. Alas the fanaticism is still with us and it has become even more fanatical, a sort of worldwide, lethal psychosis. Sentimental attachment to what is called “the environment” has intensified and proliferated like the plague of malaria itself. If you say this, you will be pilloried as a man who wants to slaughter elephants for their ivory, shoot the remaining tigers and make impolite remarks about gorillas in the mist. Of course most of those who criticise the insanity of the Green agenda have no desire to do any of these things. We just don’t think that the best way to preserve animal life is by adopting a policy which murders millions of human beings, and impoverishes countless millions more.

So called environmentalism is not really about preserving animal species – or, to quote the vacuous slogan, “saving the planet” – but about political ambition and the means to control. Green is the new Red. The banning of DDT is probably the most extreme example of the awful consequences of following the Green agenda. There are many other examples of its disastrous effects. The useless windmills which are said to be constructed in order to save the environment but which succeed only in scarring the landscape. The vast subsidies paid to wealthy landowners for permitting these eyesores on their property is not only immoral in itself but also leads to methods of electricity generation which are absurdly expensive and so impoverish the poor yet further.

I have a dream: that one day there will be a great universal awakening amounting to the recognition that all this is sentimental. misanthropic folly, followed by a return to sense and with it the true conservation of a healthy environment.     

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26 May

C. of E. RIP

The Church Commissioners have kindly sent me a copy of their review of 2013. Nice coloured brochure stuffed with bullet-points, task groups, significant difference, something called the “Joint Simplification Group” and a smiling photograph of the Arch of Cant. We learn that the Commissioners manage a portfolio of £6.1billions. Then they tell us what they spend our money on. There are some exotic ventures. For instance a programme called “Jesus-shaped people” in Bradford with “special priority for those on the edge.” The edge of what – the Yorkshire Moors, the verge of insanity? This project “challenges evil and injustice” and operates a “development strategy.” I hope it’s a better strategy than the one employed by the Commissioners some years back when they lost £800millions of parishioners’ money donated through the collecting plate.

If it’s excitement you’re seeking, i suggest you go to Liverpool and pay a call on something called “Zone 2 – an all-age, cafe-style worship service that meets every Sunday at the same time as the traditional Choral Eucharist.” Why not just invite people to the traditional Eucharist? But it isn’t traditional in any sense other than that it’s not quite so barmy as as cafe-style worship. And it’s all modern language liturgy anyhow. They claim to be trying to “…replicate this type of initiative into deprived parishes.” So that these parishes become even more deprived? And St Mary’s Church, Bramall lane, Sheffield has “established a monthly Messy Church.”

The whole damned thing is a mess  

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25 May

Give ‘em hell

Attleborough Baptist church in Nuneaton has been accused of committing a “hate crime” for its poster featuring the fires of hell and saying “if you think there’s no God, you’d better be right.” I’d like to start by saying so called “hate crimes,” nasty as they are, are nothing like as bad as love crimes. Burning in hell is a prospect devoutly to be wished rather than hearing those dread words pronounced, “if you don’t stop picking your nose in public, I’ll get Vince Cable to come and kiss you.”

But the poster is tasteless, a typical example of Protestant aesthetics: crude, blatant, literalistic. A sensitive twenty-year-old called Robert Gladwin had his feelings hurt by the sight of the poster and so (as should be done more often when examples of bad art are discovered) complained to the police. I wish someone would get the cops to go and set fire to the whole Saatchi collection, the complete repertoire of Damien Hirst, the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and… and…But why stop there? The sensitive Mr Gladwin offered us a lecture in theology: “Christianity is inclusive and loving.” Quite right, Bob. And sentimental, touchy-feely, nice, cosy, celebrating diversity, togetherness and cups of coffee in the church hall after the schmaltzy singalong and aisle-dancing which passes for morning service in so many places.

The plain truth is that Jesus Christ is totally inappropriate and unacceptable in our enlightened, progressive and very nice 21st century. I think Prince Charles should come out from under his prestige biscuits, windmills and his flowerpot and compare Jesus unfavourably with Adolf Hitler. ‘Cos it was Jesus – betraying a conspicuous lack of inclusivity and lovingness – who said:

“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on the left. Then shall he say to unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Jesus’ saying is… but what word is there to describe such products of a diseased mind?

How about “judgemental”?

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22 May

The Ecclesiastical Politburo

One of the main features of fascist regimes is their unwillingness to listen to rational, informed criticism. Well, if a perverse unwillingness to respond to criticism and to enter reasonable discussion and debate is a defining characteristic of fascism, then the Church of England authorities qualify perfectly. When the Liturgical Commission published draft revisions to the Baptism Service at the end of last year, this draft received much criticism of both theological and literary sorts. I am not talking about Yah-boo disapproval, but about intelligent, articulate comment. The authorities did not take a blind bit of notice and so this week the House of Bishops – why does that phrase make me think of a house of cards? – is blundering heedlessly ahead and incorporating their ill-advised alterations to the Baptism rite official. Having scorned debate first time round, this smug coterie of theological illiterates have again stopped their ears to reasonable discussion. Fascism, or what? Nevertheless, those who have ears to hear, let them hear… 

The new Baptism Service is a gross insult to Our Lord Jesus Christ and is therefore properly described as blasphemous. There is no mention of sin in the rite, no call to repentance and the devil is not so much as mentioned let alone renounced. The insult to Our Lord consists entirely in this: if there is no devil to defeat, no sin to atone for and no repentance to be made, why did Christ bother to come here at all and die for us? So it is time to ask just what the modern, euphemistic, coy, sentimental and touchy-feely so-called Christians who devised this (dis)Service actually believe and stand for?

They are specimens of that sort of theologically-vacuous liberal so tellingly dismissed by Richard Niebuhr a long time ago: “They believe that a God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgement through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

True Christianity has nothing to do with this effete, sanitised, fawning, inoffensive fraud. Christianity is not very nice. It is not goo and slush sucking up to debauched and cloying notions of “family.” There is a proper sense in which Christians are a family: but we are a family at war against sin, the world and the devil. Or we used to be. Think back to something Rowan Williams said in his last sermon before he retired: that the church “has quite a bit of catching up to do with secular mores.” But that is what the church has been doing for the last forty years. The policy is one of appeasement so, if the punters don’t like the original message, no probs, as they say: simply change the message. And so the stark challenge of the gospel has been abandoned to accommodate the barren emotionality of our sentimental and infantilised society, and the new code of practice that is political correctness. The result is banality. And it was Aquinas – 800 years before Hannah Arendt – who told us, “Banality is evil.”

For forty years the liberals have ruled the church and they have destroyed it. The bland have led the bland and they have all fallen into the Kitsch. And behold, those who live by the euphemism will die by the euphemism.

In effect, Christian theology has been demoralised. The doctrines of personal sin and Original Sin discarded while, by way of contradiction, the notion of corporate sin – by the bankers, the capitalists, the social heretics in the nasty party – has been retained. So, insofar as any concept of sin remains, it is depersonalised and institutionalised and identified in a range of preferred targets. For the modern church – that oxymoron – sinners now are those who don’t sign up to foreign aid, who question the virtue of mass immigration, who deny global warming, who warn against the moral and social destructiveness of the benefits culture which condemns succeeding generations to dependence and lives of sheer pointlessness. In short, for today’s church, sinners are all those who don’t subscribe to the nostrums of the new Establishment, which is the socialised state.

Stephen Platten, Chairman of the Liturgical Commission, explained that the devil is omitted from the new Baptism Service because the devil is “theologically problematic.” Now that’s a fine example of strangulated bureaucratic jargon. It is not the devil who is theologically problematic, only the Liturgical Commission is. Since the 1960s and the first appearance of alternative services, marketing a different gospel, each succeeding rite has been more accommodating to the spirit of the age than its predecessor.

But the spirit of the age is unchristian, secularised, diverse and multicultural, while Christianity is particular, definite, dogmatic and, as St Paul said, scandalous. St Paul said the cross is a stumbling block. The modern church has removed the stumbling block and replaced it with an ornament. No original sin? No devil and all his works? No need for personal repentance with weeping and gnashing of teeth? Then, dear Jesus, you had no business coming here, preaching your offensive parables of the wedding garment and the sheep and the goats. You might have spared yourself the bother of being flogged to the point of death and then nailed on a cross of wood and left to die a lingering death on the first long Good Friday. Why didn’t you simply stay up there in heaven easy-listening to soppy charismatic choruses and watching the General Synod’s flatulent proceedings on your I-pad?

The catastrophe of the church’s collapse was not something forced upon it by external enemies, but willed upon itself in a decades-long process of serial self-emasculation. The gruel has got ever thinner so that now there is nothing there. Or, to change the analogy, it is a case of wine into water. Every one of the modern Services has been purged of “offensive” reality. No worms or vile bodies at funerals. No fornication or men as brute beats with no understanding or dreadful day of judgement at the marriage. No devil and all his works at the christening. The new hymn line is effectually “No Lord, no faith, no baptism.”

What can be done? Much. But we must not pretend to ourselves that when Our Lord promised St Peter he had set his church on a rock and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it, he had our contemporary, simpering Church of England in mind. The church is thriving – but not in England, not in Europe the civilisation created by Christian values. In the centuries when Europe professed Christianity, in obedience to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel, it sent out missionaries to Africa – an heroic achievement now disparaged by our trendy prelates and spiritless theologians as “cultural imperialism.” It is salutary to notice that today African Christians are returning to preach Christ to our godless continent.

For the individual English Christian all that is left is to hang on to the faith and try, however desperately, to find a place where it is still preached. This may involve crossing denominational boundaries. It will certainly mean doing the equivalent of those early Christians who went into the desert to think, pray and worship. There will be a renewal, for the gospel is true and therefore indestructible. Only don’t expect our decadent Ecclesia Anglicana to provide it.

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21 May

Going Forward or Going Down?

“Going forward” – it’s not just another tedious socio-linguistic tic like “like” and starting every utterance with “so.” “Going forward” has replaced “in future” and it carries profound philosophical weight, conveying the idea of unstoppable Progress and improvement. Belief in Progress is the new religion which began at the Renaissance when the wholesome medieval dogma of Original Sin was replaced by the sense that, as T.E. Hulme puts it, “Humankind is, after all, very satisfactory.” It is there in Renaissance painting, its delight in the human form and its equal delight in the world of nature. Next came the 18th century Enlightenment, the beginning of the slow death of Christianity in Europe and a burgeoning confidence that science, as it becomes ever more perfect, will answer all our questions and provide for all our goods. The idea of the existence of God was not disproved. God and the propositions of theology simply became irrelevant. Of God, Laplace said, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

The Enlightenment begat Romanticism,  which is the religion of sentimentality and feeling and with it the idea of art as entertainment. Beauty became detached from truth. Instead of being the natural accompaniment of truth – as you might say, truth’s by-product – beauty became something merely aesthetic, to be pursued for its own sake. (And, incidentally, subjective – only a matter of opinion.) Concomitant with all this was the rejection of the ancient and traditional belief in absolute moral values, the collapse of deontological ethics: actions were no longer performed because they were the right things to do – that is right in themselves – but only in order that desired consequences might result. And so these desired consequences were the start of the search for further desired consequences and so on forever – like an overture by Rossini, a series of penultimate climaxes postponed into everlastingness. There was, as Hamlet said, “Nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet’s statement was incomplete: we should add and feeling.

The Copernican revolution had the very opposite result of that which is generally thought: it did not locate the centre elsewhere but in mankind. God had died and man became the measure of all things. And as science enabled him to construct a brave new world, Utilitarianism enabled him to create his own values, to declare the rights of man universal. The significance of the idea of evolution does not lie so much with Darwin as with the likes of Herbert Spencer and H.G. Wells who really did think that, as the species was evolving physically, it was also progressing morally: getting better all the time. Commentators in the press and radio and TV presenters forever refer to things which are cruel and barbaric as medieval – and somehow manage to ignore the fact that in the wonderfully progressed 20th century there were more people slaughtered in wars than perished in the wars of all the previous centuries added together.

“Going forward” then is what, it is said, we are always doing. We have only the linear notion of time which continues in a straight line, always onwards towards the sunlit uplands. But there are other notions of the character of time and hence of history. One of these notions, to be found in ancient and classical civilisations, was of time as cyclical – the eternal return.  This view was revived by Oswald Spengler and applied to history and civilisations in his Der Untergang des Abendlandes  – The Decline of the West – (1918). In a spectacular analogy, Spengler likened a civilisation to a tree or a plant which has its life cycle: so it grows from seed to sapling, to mature foliage and then it begins to fade and weaken towards its eventual death. There could not be a more stark contrast with our secular dogma of Progress. Eliot puts the cyclical view of history epigrammatically: “Do you need to be told that what has been can be again?”

So where are we today in the cycle? With Spengler, I believe we are towards its end. Since it is not a straight line but a cycle, we have been here before. C.H. Sisson has something illuminating to say about St Augustine: “What makes St Augustine so interesting is that he lived through times which are very much like our own – and rejected them.”

And what did Augustine himself have to say?

“Why do you seek an infinite variety of pleasure with a crazy extravagance, while your prosperity produces a moral corruption far worse than all the fury of an enemy?”

There were theatres putting on gross pornography and the sadism and blood lust of the gladiatorial arena. Augustine described and condemned these scenes of depravity:

“Full publicity is given where shame would be appropriate; close secrecy is imposed where praise would be in order. Decency is veiled from sight; indecency is exposed to view. Scenes of evil attract packed audiences; good words scarcely find any listeners. It is as if purity should provoke a blush and corruption give grounds for pride.”

And the public squalor was accompanied by intellectual bankruptcy: Augustine said, “Listen to sense, if you can still hear sense – your minds so long clouded with intellectual nonsense.”

And so the squalor and the nonsense come round again: Renaissance anthropocentricism; Enlightenment atheism; Utilitarian ethics; the dogma of Progress. All alongside the loss of decency, the decay of public life – what Augustine called full publicity given to things which are shameful.

From the theological perspective, there is something to be added to Spengler’s picture of the death of the tree. In the Judeao-Christian tradition – now abandoned by Europe – after death comes judgement. And after judgement, one can go up – or, of course, one can go down. 

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20 May

Hate Crime Corodinator

Sussex Police have just advertised for a Hate Crime Co-ordinator. I wonder why? I suppose they got fed up of all these random, unco-ordinated hate crimes, acts of violence, being committed more or less willy-nilly and decided it was time they were knocked into shape, so to speak. Hence the need for a co-ordinator: though I notice the advertisement calls her or him a “corodinator.” They kindly sent me a job description defining a hate crime as something that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person. Well, that nicely helps us distinguish between hate crimes and other sorts – love crimes, perhaps?

These may be crimes directed against a person’s “disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.” The job description then adds mysteriously, “These crimes can be committed against a person or property.” Property – if we discount our slaves – consists of inanimate objects and these too must be protected against hatred. So if you see a bloke kicking a bus just because it’s got itself transgendered from its former life, unhappily on the wrong track as a tram, shop him to the fuzz. The worst I’ve come across so far was seeing my auntie shouting at a – Methodist? – tube of toothpaste when she couldn’t get the cap off.

Mysteriouser and mysteriouser… They say, “A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact anyone could be the victim of a hate crime.” So why carefully list the categories which constitute victimhood? I’m confused. Moreover, I’ve read the whole advert twice but for the life of me still can’t work out what the hate crime corodinator is supposed to do. There are hints: “You will be required to be (sic) oversee the management of the Sussex Police (East Sussex) response to hate crime around audit and review of recording, processes and action taken.” Bureacratese gobbledegook like that tells me that Sussex Police also need to advertise for candidates with an expertise in English as a Foreign Language.

The word “Compliance” makes its statutory appearance of course. Then more bureaucratese: “Represent safer East Sussex Team/Sussex Police on multi-agency case panels, provide expertise and advice to key and local stakeholders such as voluntary and community sector businesses and registered social landlords.”

It was only when I arrived at the end of the advert, I think I got an inkling of what the job entails by noting the qualifications required. I had imagined these might include sharp eyes – (I suppose we could translate this into suitably mangled jargon and call it “observational skills.”) Sensitivity and a broad sympathy would surely be advantageous, as would a sense of proportion and an equal sense of the ridiculous. But no – none of these attributes is listed as desirable. At last we get to QUALIFICATIONS ESSENTIAL: “IT skills including Microsoft Office, including use of social networking.” Of course! What else? As with 99% of all the jobs in Britain today, the successful applicant will spend half of her or his working days staring into a computer screen and the other half talking or texting on a mobile phone.

Still, the pay’s not bad. Applicants are invited to contact Chief Inspector Rosie Ross DR497, the Safer East Sussex Team on Twitter and @safereastsx. Sounds cheeky. Dear Rosie – may I call you DR497? – I should like to be your coordinator.

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19 May

Syntactic Tyranny

Nigel Farage has been driven to apologise for saying on television that he would be uncomfortable if a group of Rumanians moved in next door to him. An Australian professor of government has had a petition got up against him and signed by 10,000 for writing an article which claimed that Russian leaders since Stalin have done more to the detriment of civil society than to uphold it. The accusations made in both these cases is of “racism” – but what meaning can we attach to the use of this word?

Why is a man not at liberty to speak his mind and say that the arrival of neighbours of a particular sort and reputation would make him feel uncomfortable? Farage seemed to say that he would rather live next to a German – his wife is German – than to a Rumanian. I don’t think for a minute he meant all  Rumanians. I imagine he meant that generally he would be happier living next to a German than to a Rumanian. I think most people would interpret Farage’s remark in that way; and I dare say many would agree with him. This does not imply that all Rumanians are nasty and all Germans nice. Alex Boot in a recent blog puts the matter into perspective when he says, “I would rather live next to a Rumanian doctor than to a German lout.” This doesn’t imply that all doctors are nice people either! The shocking fact is that political correctness forbids us the rational use of general terms. Common sense understands that the use of general terms means exactly that – in general. The reductio ad absurdum of literal-minded political correctness would be the assumption that, if a man said, “I like the Germans,” one should conclude from his statement that he was an admirer of Hitler and his gang. Most people would understand Farage’s statement about Germans and Rumanians to be shorthand for something such as: “If you were to ask me, I should say that generally speaking I’d rather live next to a German than to a Rumanian. Of course this doesn’t mean that I like all Germans and dislike all Rumanians.”

I’m sorry to labour the point, but unfortunately such labour seems to be necessary.

Similarly with the professor. If he says, “Since Stalin, the Russians have done more harm than good,” no one in his right sense would conclude that the reference was to every single Russian man, woman, child, dog and pet rabbit.

And then, as again Alex Boot points out, there is the larger matter of truth. Looking at the record of Russia, including Stalin’s genocide of his own people, the red army’s viciousness in the invasions and occupations of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Chechnya and Georgia, it might indeed seem to an observer that there is some truth in the Australian professor’s statement. But here’s the rub: political correctness has no concern for the truth; it is the preferred tool of the elite which governs us and its motive is social and political control. The word for this is hegemony. The vocabulary of political correctness is ideological. Its key words – diversity, inclusivity, democracy, equality, freedom, racism, sexism and the resthave no truth-functional context: they are merely emotive and their aim is compulsion and control. This is what makes political correctness irrational. But, though irrational, it is pervasive and all-powerful.

As C.L. Stevenson in The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms (1937) admitted: the purpose of the emotive use of language is to persuade and coerce; and essentially there is no practical difference between persuasion by words and persuasion by a big stick. Our very own A.J.Ayer in Language, Truth and Logic (1936) agreed with Stevenson. (For those forensically inclined, it’s in chapter six) Those two philosophers wrote at the time when Hitler and Stalin were engaged on their vicious sprees. The two totalitarian dictators were as one with the two philosophers. And political correctness and newspeak are one and the same – the servants of totalitarianism.

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