27 Jul

Goodnight sweetheart

“Such modest attainments as you can boast in the way of polite society will hardly survive the faith to which they owe their significance.” – Choruses from the Rock (1934) by T.S.Eliot

In other words, if Christianity goes, the lot goes. Europe has rejected the Christian faith and consequently the form of life which was created by that faith and which sustained our continent for fifteen hundred years has disappeared. People imagined that western societies could, with impunity, abandon Christianity and somehow all the good things which we value and cherish would remain.

They won’t and they haven’t.

The secular modernity which has replaced Christianity has delivered us into spiritual, intellectual, moral and aesthetic decadence.

Spiritually, religiously, the churches have discarded their formative texts. Roman Catholics have ditched the Tridentine Mass in favour of modern doggerel versions. The Church of England has thrown out The Authorised Version of the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. Our theologians – from Bultmann’s “demythologising” of the gospel to Robinson’s Honest to God and John Hick’s The Myth of God Incarnate – have ceased to believe in the Virgin Birth of Our Lord, his miracles, his Resurrection and Ascension   

In the matter of morals, society, aided and abetted unfortunately by the church, has rejected the Ten Commandments and replaced those rules for living with act utilitarianism or situation ethics. This is defined as “doing the loving thing in any given situation. regardless of rules.” In other words, we make up our ethics on the spot. This is also known as “the new morality” – of which a wit remarked, “It’s only the old immorality in a miniskirt.” Whereas, the Ten Commandments are ethically sustaining because they are deontological – from being, from what is rather than what is merely thought . Separate morality from being and you end up, as Hamlet knew, in a world where “…there’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” So you can think yourself to be a girl even if in fact you are a boy. Or you can be non-specific or neutral. Schools have replaced the old pronouns “he” and “she” with the non-committal “Zie.”

As with our ethics, so with our intellectual life, we have descended into a new Babel of relativism. Deconstructionist critics such as Jacques Derrida claim that “Texts don’t have meanings.” (He said this in a text, by the way!) And if there are no meanings, there is no such thing as the truth.  There is only “true for me” or “your” truth and “my” truth and “post-truth.”. We are so intellectually distracted that we can’t see that this means we can no longer talk about truth. In such a world our great philosophical tradition from Plato to Kant, from Aristotle to Collingwood has come to an end.

Aesthetically, we value and admire the wrong things. The rot started at The Renaissance. I’m not saying the Old Masters couldn’t paint, but that their attention was wrongly focussed. From the divine and spiritual objectivity of the Middle Ages – of such as Giotto and Fra Angelico – the Renaissance painters decided to picture humankind and the natural world instead. As T.E. Hulme said, “They rejected man’s place in the world as a species bound by Original Sin and requiring a Saviour and came to believe that, on the whole, humankind is a good thing.” We have descended further into a generalised mess  which says that a work of art is anything that anyone says is a work of art. So we have installations, Saatchi, Tracey Emin and art as anti-art, Damien Hirst and animals pickled in formaldehyde, tattoos and the worship of ugliness.

We have abandoned chivalry, etiquette and honour along with natural hierarchy and deference. Our broadcast media, the Internet and the whole of our gadgeteered world of electronic devices is a lewd peep show. In their decline, the Romans had their bread and circuses. We have pizza and porn shows: Love Island in which people are paid to have sex on camera for the benefit of a depraved mass audience.

We are rotten within and we have become unable and unwilling to defend our civilisation against barbarism. This too is a consequence of our abandonment of Christianity. Four times since The Battle of Tours in AD 732 to the relief of the Siege of Vienna 1683, Christian armies led by Christian princes defended our continent against imperialistic, marauding Muslims who would first destroy it and then turn it into a dust bowl resembling the landscapes from which they originated. Secular, modern Europe invites the Islamic hordes in and reserves its condemnation only for those who oppose these disastrous incursions. The preferred word is “Islamophobia.” But a phobia is an irrational fear and there is nothing irrational about fearing a barbarous enemy who has stated times without number that he wants to kill us.

What words are left for Europe? Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetuam luceat eis…..Dies irae, dies illa.

Good night sweetheart

These fragments have I shored against my ruins.

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23 Jul

England, Our England

Anyone for pizza and porn?

A visitor arriving in England for the first time and looking for a brief introduction to the life and times of the natives could hardly do better than listen to a seven minutes news summary on a national radio network. I listened this morning to the seven o’clock news on Radio Four. Here is a summary of the contents…

Something called “gender re-assignment” is henceforth to be permissible without your having to get a doctor’s note to say you’re suffering from gender dysphoria – which my dictionary defines as “a state of general unease or dissatisfaction with one’s life.”

Homosexuals and “sex-workers” are to be allowed to donate blood, so long as they promise they have abstained from sex for three months. (They used to have to wait for a whole year). I couldn’t help thinking that a prostitute who hadn’t plied her/his/their trade for three months must be rather on her/his/their uppers, and surely in no state to give of her/his/their blood. Will the blood-donating homos and prostitutes also be required to promise they’re telling the truth about their sex lives?

On the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, her sons the princes William and Harry have been offering their recollections of her. Harry said. “She was wonderful and she said we could be as naughty as we liked – only not to get caught.”

Forty left wing – there is no other variety – women presenters at the BBC – the sort who come on the air waves every day to excoriate Tories and fat cats – have written a letter to the director general complaining that some of them earn as little as £150,000pa

A little boy is gravely ill at St Ormond Street hospital and his sad case has been all over the papers for weeks. The hospital authorities claim that to offer the poor mite further treatment would not be in his best interests. The mob has taken to abusing doctors and the nursing staff on the street and over “social media.”

In a rather infelicitous phrase, the newsreader said that the TV programme Love Island is “coming to its climax.” For non-devotees, Love Island is the latest nuts ‘n’ sluts show in which good looking young people are paid to have sex on camera.

So there – courtesy of BBC News – is a brief introduction to what’s going on in England today.

In their decline, the Romans went in for bread and circuses. For us it’s pizza and porn.

As a sort of Thought for the Day, I end my summary report with a text:

“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.” – “City of God” by St Augustine (AD 354-430)

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20 Jul

Dianafication II

Twenty years ago Britain wallowed in a public exhibition of gross sentimentality. The occasion was the untimely death of the Princess of Wales. For a fortnight weeping crowds thronged the area around Kensington Palace producing an ocean of floral tributes. There were similar scenes in many towns and cities. A visitor might have been excused for concluding that the favourite pastime of the British was to watch royal funerals on television, pausing now and again to rush out into the street and throw teddy bears at passing hearses.

It was nothing less than mass hysteria. In such instances when the mob takes over, all reasonable sentiment and genuine mourning are replaced by intense emotionality threatening violence. And indeed there were many threats issued by the crazed throng, especially to the Queen. In an ecstasy of irrational hatred the maudlin mob claimed the death of the princess and her paramour, late at night in a car being driven too fast through Paris, had somehow been contrived by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The mood was psychotic and ugly and if, as I did, you criticised the frenzy, you received death threats – as I did.

We can, I think, detect, a change in the nation’s character from that time twenty years ago which we might for convenience refer to as The Great Dianafication. Its symptoms erupt again every time something nasty happens, such as the many acts of Islamic terrorism and slaughter to which we have had to become accustomed.

Here again is the signature carpet of flowers, the mawkish inscriptions daubed all over the public spaces, the flying teddy bears and the now obbligato crooning by pop-singer-of-the-moment of some hideously sugary ballad. The telly omnipresent, of course, and whipping up the hysteria.

As i write, I notice we have entered upon a Second Dianafication and this time the occasion is the catastrophic apartments fire in Kensington.

Yesterday in a public meeting to discuss the fire and its tragic aftermath there was the spectacle again of mass emotionality threatening violence. Elizabeth Campbell, newly appointed leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, was asked to resign. No, she wasn’t asked: rather the mob howled for her blood. Speaker after speaker screamed and yelled incoherently from the public gallery. After each had spoken, he was hugged by fellow members of the crowd. When one who announced himself as Hamid ended his tirade with the words, “I’ve had enough!” the room boiled over in tears of anger.

Needless to say, if the whole purpose of the meeting was to discover the facts about the catastrophe, a parade of mass hysteria was no way to go about it.

Sinisterly, the newly-elected Labour party MP for the constituency, Emma Dent Coad, declared, “I agree entirely” when she was asked if she backed the petition of 1500 demanding Elizabeth Campbell’s resignation.

What makes these events so frightening is not the display of mass hysteria – worrying though that is – but the fact that this hysteria is being hijacked and exploited by politicians of the hard left.

For Corbyn and his gang, this – thanks again to the ubiquitous telly – widely publicised protest is one more useful ingredient in their revolutionary stew. It amounted to an advertisement for the nationwide discontent being whipped up by the Corbynistas. Corbyn has already promised a summer of co-ordinated strikes and “a march of a million” to culminate a “Red October” to sweep him into Number Ten.

As in war, so in a revolution, truth is the first category. The lie put about during the first Dianafication is that the death of the princess was the fault of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The tower block fire is being promoted as all the fault of the Tory government.

It is just another step towards the mob’s conclusion that all our ills are the fault of the Tory government. So let us bring down the Tory government – as Chavez and Maduro would say, “By hook or by crook.”

There will be more protests, more. floral tributes, more teddy bears and more cringingly awful crooning; more hugs, more tears and more riots.

There will be blood

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17 Jul

Four legs good; two legs bad

I don’t know how they get away with it. Let me try to explain, but first you’ll need a bit of background

The first Bishop of Loughborough is to be Rev’d Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, Canon Francis-Dehqani was born in Iran in 1966 and, along with a great many other Christians, she and her family fled that country after the 1979 Islamic revolution which brought to power Ayatollah Khomeini

The new bishop likes to be called Gull and the Diocese of Leicester (of which Loughborough is a part) has told us what they expect from her: “Guli will take a full role in the work of the Church across Leicester and Leicestershire, but the post will also have a focus on supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county.”

Gull is delighted with her job specification:

“I’m very excited…”

(Newly-appointed hierarchs always start off by telling us how excited they are)

This one is excited “…about the potential for this role which draws together several important themes in the current life of the Church. Whilst being a bishop for the whole diocese, it (sic) will be a particular joy and a privilege to learn from and draw out the rich resources of Christians from minority ethnic communities.”

Well, she does not exactly speak as we speak in the street, but I think we know what she means. Since her escape from Iran, she has held a great many posts in the realm of synods, quangos and church committees and she has mastered the art of talking multi-culti bureauspeak.

That’s what I meant by saying I don’t know how they get away with it. I mean Gull and the Diocese ought surely to be arraigned for racism?

We can only imagine the furore that would ensue if a diocesan office had issued a job-specification as follows: “The post will have a focus on supporting White, English and Majority Ethnic (WEME) clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county>”

And if the appointee’s response had been: “It will be a particular joy…”

(Joy, like excited is another word they can’t leave alone)

“…and a privilege to learn from and draw out the rich resources from the majority white English population.”

An appointee saying such things would be denounced immediately for shameful and vile racism. She certainly wouldn’t be appointed. For the scandal is that you can be as racist as you like – so long as the objects of your racism are British and white.

I have listened to the arguments of the multi-culti fascists for for half a century and so I know them all off by heart. We are allowed to make exceptions in the case of preferred minorities, because they are under-represented and so we must give them a leg up with a good dose of positive discrimination.

The trouble with this is that there is nothing positive about it. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.

The multi-culti bureau-speakers are racists. And they get away with their racism because the counter culture, the culture of preferring minorities, is the culture now.

Do you remember chapter three of Animal Farm and Snowball’s condensation of The Seven Commandments of Animalism? “Four legs good; two legs bad.” 

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16 Jul

Coming soon: Venezuela

I have long wanted to visit Venezuela for its mountain scenery, glaciers, rain forest, great plains and the Orinoco delta. The country ranks seventh for biodiversity, featuring rare and magnificent species. Such colour, variety and grandeur.

But it’s a long way and the cost is off-putting, so I shall probably never manage to arrange my visit. I’m not too disappointed though because, when Mr Corbyn comes to power – sooner than you think – Venezuela will come to me. Corbyn is a great admirer of Venezuela’s former Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez, saying: “He has done so much for his country and for a wider world.” Chavez is dead now but his successor Maduro is carrying on – and even improving upon – the former president’s good work.

As a good Marxist, Maduro understands that you can get that wonderful Communist system to work perfectly only after you have seized absolute power and political control. And here we must congratulate him on his 100% success.

In 2015 Maduro’s party lost the general election – a bit of a blow to any aspiring leader which would have disheartened a lesser man than Maduro. He may have lost but he was not going to be defeated. The day after the election results were declared, he announced, “I’m going to prevent the opposition coming to power by hook or by crook.” Interesting word, crook. So he ignored the verdict of the people, remained in office, sacked the judges, appointed new ones and established personal control of the military.

Forget such hell-holes as Somalia and Syria, Venezuela is the most murderous country on earth. There is a killing every twenty minutes and, over the last decade, millions have been slaughtered – more than those killed on both sides in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.

Crime is the number one national occupation but only 2% of offenders are prosecuted.

The prisons are squalid and holding twenty times the population they were designed for. There is imprisonment without trial. There is widespread use of torture. As one Caracas journalist put it. “Thousands of people just disappear.”

Yes, Corbyn’s heroes Chavez and Maduro  have certainly done a great deal for Venezuela.

The country has greater oil reserves than Saudi Arabia but its people are scavenging for food in dustbins and rioting is constant. Fertile fields are left barren and grain production has fallen by 80% in just a few years.

The currency is worthless and people require wheelbarrows to carry the notes necessary for the daily purchase of what little there is on sale – reminding us of Germany’s hyper-inflation of the 1930s.

Tropical diseases are rife and there is a diphtheria epidemic. But the hospitals have no drugs, medicines or other vital supplies.

The British government has strongly urged none of our people to travel to Venezuela.

Now observers fear the country is on the verge of civil war.

It must require a very special magic for a political leader to bring a fertile and oil rich nation to starvation and the brink of dissolution. It does: it requires a Marxist magic of the sort that Corbyn admires and promises to bring to our country.

Corbyn repeats time and again that he will introduce stratospherically-high taxation. Profligate public spending and borrowing. Endless subsidies to the shiftless underclass and to the “state-uneducated” youth who adore him because he promises them the earth. Massive pay rises to his supporters in the public services and the industries he vows to re-nationalise. The establishment of a nomenclatura of his political cronies. Co-ordinated industrial chaos. The promise to rise to power by months of rabble-rousing on the streets culminating in “a march of a million” to overturn the results from the ballot boxes.

Coming soon then: Britain Venezuelan style.

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14 Jul

Transcendental gibberish

William Hague, who was leader of the Conservatives while they were in transition between what Theresa May called “the nasty party” and what, under her leadership, has become “the totally useless party,”  now moonlights as Occasional Panglossian Columnist (OPC) on the Church Times.

William is very ambitious. Not for him the trivial aims of passing a law to ensure that everyone is happy all the time or turning the reservoirs of ignorance and imbecility which are our state schools into models of scholarly excellence. No, William really wants to make his mark.

He wants to abolish all rape and sexual violence in warfare. He says: 

“It is often said to me that without war there would be no war-zone rape, as if that were the only way to address the problem. While, of course, our goal is always to prevent conflict, we cannot simply consign millions of women, men, girls, and boys to the suffering of rape while we seek a way to put an end to all conflict, since this goal is one we should always strive for but may often not attain.”

I have read William’s statement eight times already this morning and I still can’t make up my mind whether it is a moral message so profound that we should all be awe-struck and take our shoes off before we read it, or whether it is a candidate for one of the six impossible things that the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass boasted she could do before breakfast.

William’s words are so momentous that I cannot bear the full glory of them in their entirety, so I shall have to discuss them a bit at a time.

First his certainty of the truth of the proposition, “Our goal is always to prevent conflict.”

No it isn’t. Sometimes the right thing to do is to wage war thoroughly – for instance, when our country is threatened by a murderous aggressor. Let us take the example of Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in September 1939. We shouldn’t have done it according to Bill Pangloss. We should have tried to prevent it. And we did this resolutely and consistently for a decade. It was called “appeasement” and it didn’t work. In fact, most military historians are agreed that, if we had waged war on Hitler sooner – for instance when he marched into the Rhineland with a battalion that was little more than ceremonial – the far greater carnage that ensued would have been averted.

I hope I’m not going too slowly for you, but one has to be so punctilious when stating the bleedin’ obvious.

So, let me move on to the next episode of Willie in La-La Land by reminding myself that in moral philosophy ought implies can. In other words, I cannot be bound morally to do what I can’t accomplish physically. For convenience, let us take another historical example. How would William have prevented the mass rapes perpetrated on German women by the avenging Red Army in the last years of the Second World War? What “mechanisms” would he have “employed”, what “systems” would he have “put in place” so that these unpleasant things could not have happened?

The answer of course is that, if William had been around in 1943, he would have been powerless to do anything to prevent these atrocities – because he would have had no authority over the Red Army. Similarly today, he has no control over what barbarians of Islamic State or Boko Haram might do in the territories which they occupy.

(Incidentally, he might just possibly be able to minimise such atrocities but, ironically, only by doing the one thing which, he says we must not do – and that it by waging war on them).

Of course, we might devise a moral code for the conduct of our own armed forces which says that they must not rape the enemy’s womenfolk. But the conduct of the enemy’s armed forces is beyond our control.

In the light of these reflections, we can return to William’s original statement and see that it is not, after all, some exalted ethical proposition.

It is sanctimonious gibberish

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