Essays in Idleness

DAVID WARREN

Twice a day

A correspondent has adopted a diet plan I will recommend to others; I am even considering it myself. He wanted to cut down on his Internet consumption, with a view to leaner and meaner; but not to cut it out entirely, just yet. He wasn’t on the Internet at all, in a previous century. Time to move hesitantly backwards. Later, perhaps, he will be more decisive.

Closing his Twitter and Facebook accounts was something he had already done, along with closing several others. He’s also getting into the habit of exiting websites, the moment he’s confronted with “soft pornography,” or garish advertising displays.

“I wanted to detoxify myself on several levels. Why replace Twitter with Parler? The whole idea of social media stinks.”

He did replace his Google search engine, however, with something more frustrating called Bing, that was working less obviously for The Other Side. He won’t order anything through Amazon, thus saving himself a lot of money. Too, in a gloriously joyful moment, he smooshed his Apple handheld thingy (outdated), with an antique sledgehammer (found on Ebay, he admits).

As for Bezos, Gates, Pichai, and that Ho-bearded pothead in San Francisco, he wishes them well. “I pray for their conversion to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”

Gentle reader will guess this man lives in Montana (though originally from New York), and was a Trump voter. His current motto is, “Cancel them before they cancel you.” He likes to hum the old Shaker hymn, “Tis the gift to be simple,” while swinging his sledgehammer, or his glistening axe.

He has retained email, however, after transferring to a less curious, intrusive server. He did not wish to eliminate distant friends, just because they’d forgotten how to moisten postage stamps. But he reminds that sealed, handwritten notes, make it harder for Big Tech to “follow” you.

For that, and for “essential services” such as Idleposts, he has his new diet plan: “twice a day at nine o’clock.” That’s when he connects, for up to half an hour, thus restricting his buzz to an hour a day in total. He uses a loud, slightly rusting, pre-digital cooking timer to signal when this period is up.

Never having subscribed to most of these services, I have less emulative work to do. Even these Idleposts are first drafted by hand, although I mess with them in pixels. I was raised in graphite technology, albeit with an advanced, mechanical pencil (gift of my father, for my ninth birthday). I find it is still useful, to avoid lateral thinking, or wandering unintentionally “outside the box.”

“Reduce your electronic footprint,” Mike suggests. “Sure, The Enemy can find you and arrest you, but why make it convenient for him?”

____________

OBSERVATION. — A gentle reader in Arizona writes, regarding pencils, that he grew up with one in his hand, and through his subsequent career in architecture, “planning,” and art. His brain has been connected, through his hand, to pencil, pen, or brush, for some time now; rather than to a keyboard. Too, his brain reaches through other simple tools; and there is an internal connection between brain and heart. “It is rather difficult,” he writes, “and almost always painful, to caress the ones you love with a keyboard.”

The missing link

From the Devil’s point of view, things have been going well, lately. How better to lead us into a one-party state, than with the Batflu? For an important part of any tyranny, is to accustom a people to grimness; to make them hopeless, and certain they have lost; to “prep” them with an invisible fear.

The claustrophobia should not be overdone, however; at least not at first. There have been actual slave revolts in history, that weren’t always possible to put down. The taunting of one’s enemies, while some still remain at liberty, should stay within bounds. More: the oppression of one’s subjects should be moderated, lest they be left with nothing to lose. The good demonic leader will know some history; the downfall of so many was that they knew none. He must lead downhill gradually. He will need a five-year plan.

What if joy and good faith should break out, unpredictably? And at a time when he doesn’t have his troops in place?

Apparently, there is no risk of this at the Inauguration this week. Twenty-five thousand guardsmen have Washington boxed in. Special forces are disposed in state capitals across the country.

Forsooth, the program for demonizing the enemy has gone fairly smoothly. That was, in effect, the first five-year plan, and now we start the second. By now all the most powerful media of communication are on the One Party side. Some reliable information is still getting out, but as the weeks go by, more and more will be “cancelled.”

We’re in classical coup territory. Building a false “narrative” is essential preparation for the seizure of power. As Lincoln said, you can’t fool all the people all the time; but you must keep large numbers with their heads buzzing. Fraudulently overturning an election would never be enough; for the vote must be close enough to steal. As a rule of thumb, you need nearly one-third of an electorate psychically committed to your asinine socialist/fascist agenda; victory comes by attaching the abnormally stupid.

(This is where the urban vote comes in, for in modern, degenerated cities, there is a plentiful supply. Getting them to vote is your only real problem.)

But enough of numbers. They can only lead us into some sort of “conspiracy theory” — which one accuses dissenters of spreading, whether they have one or not. But I don’t believe for a moment that a conspiracy is possible for long, with more than a small handful of co-conspirators. In fact, it is hard to keep a secret between two people, unless one of them is dead.

I wouldn’t bother to allege a conspiracy, like “Q-anon” or whomever. I rank them with card sharks and other masters of prestidigitation. I could easily believe that most of our leaders are pædophiles. But they stretch my credulity to snapping when they say that these clowns could organize anything.

No: for the authorship of what looks so much like a conspiracy, I cannot credit any human being; least of all Joe Biden. He is just “riding the tiger,” as the Chinese proverb has it. The rider himself is afraid, to dismount. Even Lenin was inordinately dependent, on lady luck.

I believe in the Devil. He’s the only agent capable of pulling a big conspiracy off. Indeed, it is our loss of belief in the Devil, that makes us believe in human conspiracies. Atheism only gets us half way there; it is disbelief, in the Devil, that gets us the rest of the way to the Finland Station.

And yet, as one of my best-informed correspondents told me, yesterday:

“One, everything God permits is a gift, even if difficult to recognize as such.

“Two, history is the war of the world against the Church, death versus life.

“Three, the Church is going to get very small, perhaps very close to invisible. But there will be friends and the truth always has a future.”

One last harrumph for Trumph

Perhaps I haven’t tried hard enough, to make my peace with Immanuel Kant, and a few others who were trying to restore human dignity in a world descending into “transhumanism” (the latest term for what comes after “humanism”) — back during “The Enlightenment,” there. I should at least acknowledge they were trying, to tack back onto the side of God; to aim for a safe port, as it were. Even while conceding “godless” to the default position.

Humans cannot be reduced to objects, as Kant proclaimed. Or, more exactly, they should not be. Still, as I approach the man, I slip on a patch of black ice, named David Hume.

A large part of the power tussle everywhere, might be captioned, “The victory of transhumanism.”

Or, to put it in more preposterous form: “The Final Solution of HR.”

For departments of human resources state the transhumanist position baldly. They declare that humans are resources, like oil and gas, or pork bellies. Or, robots. Humans can be used — or discarded — by a cost-benefit analysis. If a human can do something cheaper than a robot, then very well, we’ll continue to pay him. But if the robot can do it cheaper, then the human has to go.

There is a practical problem, getting rid of him, but they have a plan for that in Human Resources.

Trump, who won’t be president next week, struck me as human. He made mistakes. He had embarrassing emotions. He was instinctual, to a fault. He was also biased: pro-human, even fanatical at times. Well fair enough, he reached his sell-by date. (At birth?)

Though perhaps not in the best repair, Biden struck me as more of a robot. He has computer glitches. But he is easy to program. And has a cool, progressive team behind him. He is bringing in technocrats from all over, including quite a few from Big Tech. They cannot make mistakes, because they are the mistake, embodied.

We may come to think of Mister Trump, as the last human being to occupy the White House.

The machine seems undefeatable, today, because it is global. The well-trained progressive in any country — Communist China, for instance — can understand that progress requires organization; that it doesn’t just happen by itself. There must be centralization, for technocracy to work. We can’t just leave people to make their own decisions, for that would be messy. If we did, we might get another Trump. A good organization will make that quite impossible.

That transhumanism is essentially violent — not generally, but specifically towards the humans — is easily demonstrable, but hardly understood.

Consider a little city, like Minneapolis, and what’s left of its downtown; of all the little businesses burnt out, up and down its “opportunity zone.” The George Floyd riots, whatever else one can say about them, were a profitable real estate investment. There is now a strip of very cheap properties, to be bought up by multinational investors. They get mortgages at close to zero percent. And they buy at this distress sale from people who are wildly overdrawn, on credit cards, at 16 percent or more.

This is progress. Regardless of their politics, the humans have all lost. The transhuman abstraction has won.

Today’s little piece of Minnesota insight came from Catherine Austin Fitts. A credible senior bureaucrat in the old days, she was nevertheless one who saw the “housing bubble” swelling, and knew that it must pop. She continues to think and analyze things — even now that she has been “cancelled.” Big Tech has surmised that she is crazy-tunes now (human, all too human). It was time to shut her communicating down. People mustn’t be exposed to the shocking things she lays out — about who benefits, how and why; about who will be the designated losers. But no one can see anything anyway, while they are rolling their eyeballs. On top of everything else, she turns out to be a believing Christian. Case closed; as closed as a church, in Canada.

In every thing that fell out of the Batflu, and the summer riots for that matter, innumerable little guys were wiped out; and a very few big guys — pretty much Democrats to a man — marched around the Monopoly Board. A horrible human mess was created, while they were getting more fabulously rich.

But that’s where transhumanism comes in: to clean up. It is the Devil’s own HR department. For the problem of messy humans can be solved, by contraception and abortions, euthanasia and suicides.

Excuses, excuses

“The goat ate my homework.” I remember this, from high school. I was trying to make the conventional excuse, that the dog had eaten my homework, but wanted something more plausible. For dogs, according to my information, did not often eat paper. Goats, alternatively, often did.

I’d been reading Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World — a book so good it must be banned by the commies before every boy has read it — where an unwanted goat is slipped aboard Slocum’s little sloop, the Spray. This was done by a well-intentioned American at St Helena, in the South Atlantic. Mr Slocum was stuck with this animal, along with a big bag of the Royal Mail, to Ascension, his next British-ruled island.

Now, our marine literature contains many proofs, to the effect that goats make poor sailors. I used to share an office with a very amusing photograph of a goat leaping an improbable distance ashore, from a dhow landing somewhere in the Persian Gulf. They (the goats) may be sure of their footing on high mountain precipices, but on a ship the deck keeps moving, and they don’t like that.

Slocum neglected to tie his goat to the mast. He confesses as much. Once inside the cabin, and feeling peckish, the goat began eating Slocum’s navigation charts. This was the more inconvenient, because one was the map for a difficult upcoming landfall.

Alas, I was born too late to give him my recipe for meemee saag (a delicious Punjabi goat stew); and anyway it requires a lot of spinach, and spinach does not grow in the South Atlantic. Too, Slocum, though not a vegetarian, had a moral objection to eating his shipmates. He thought this carried a scent of cannibalism.

What happened to the goat, after it was offloaded on Ascension (it took the lead in disembarking), history does not tell.

The need for some variation upon “the dog ate my homework,” was felt in Rome recently, as the blog, Rorate Caeli, pointed out. The Vatican’s update was “computer coding error.” This to explain the suspicious transfer of millions of dollars to suspicious recipients, in Australia.

We are all at sea with the Vatican, these days. Often, we feel like the goat.

As a nice Catholic boy, I could not wish to say anything uncharitable towards them. But I’m reminded of what Thomas More said, in a polemic against Martin Luther. It was about some production of a dog, that he esteemed more highly. But I mustn’t quote it in a family Idlepost.

How to make a scene

An acquaintance, and former friend, says that I’ve been mixing with “controversial” people. By this I think he means, others in need of cancelling, as the revolution proceeds. It is true: I am partial to intelligent people, although also to my saltier Parkdale neighbours, fewer of whom smoke pipes. I hang out disproportionately with the perfesser types, even though I hate universities; but then, so do they. Every one wears socks and shoes, and some wear ties, on the Zoom cameras. A couple of lawyers, too, and miscellaneous other vocations; but what we have in common is, that we’re all more-or-less reactionaries, or what is just as good, capable of coping with views we disagree with, without melting down. (A John-Stuart-Mill liberal counts as a deep reactionary, today.)

But, you should meet their wives.

For none of my buddies is married to a feminist, or anything close. Rather, it seems, they all coincidentally married anti-feminists; and all, by whatever chance, learned, impressively independent women. These ladies are of a tribe who contemptuously refuse office jobs. They’re too busy as the principals of their little home schools. They are producing the sort of offspring that Leftists dream of putting in re-education camps with the Uighers; but some are already old enough to bear arms. Nevertheless, gentle and peaceful and very well-behaved, until they are threatened.

It is true, there is something weird about these women. They all strike me as unusually beautiful, and seem to grow younger after each new child. Too, they dress conservatively, not like the models in lingerie ads. Perhaps Margaret Atwood could write a novel about them.

I love to see Mother Hen at work, training her little chicks by example.

One, for instance, was shopping by necessity in a “big box” store. She found that all the cashiers had been replaced by machines. By the Helpful Person attending them, the new regime was explained. She asked if they’d fired all the cashiers, and he — lying with a smile — said no. There was no effect on employment, he recited. So she left the Helpful Person with her basket of goods, and walked out the door, back to the family SUV, after mentioning that she would never return. Her husband, with the children, walked out meekly behind her.

For Mother Hen knows you make a scene, only for the sake of entertainment. Much better to just dump the goods, and exit. The police still can’t force you to buy stuff. Only the gummint can do that; and then, only on the days when the gummint can find you.

Unfortunately it has been shutting down all the little family stores, in honour of the Red Chinese Batflu. And it is winter, and so, hard to grow things this far north. But the family has a plan, for “back to the land,” and it is well advanced. Classical scholarship goads them on.

A majority still complain that the gummint hasn’t locked them down harder. The polls show this, and the meejah are constantly on the case. But as these people have few children, the cities may soon clear. This will solve a lot of environmental problems.

There has been some moaning about Big Tech, gratuitously closing “social media” accounts. They think it is their duty to silence Trump supporters and the like, or at least to taunt them. But they make the need for an alternative infrastructure wonderfully apparent, instead. And no one much suffers by cutting out them.

Moreover, thanks to such as Amazon and company, the cashiers already will have lost their jobs. All the warehouses will have been mechanized. Their discarded staff will have nowhere else to look for paid employment. This will solve the problem of union wages, which slows agricultural renewal.

Things are looking up.

Five feet of fury

On the topic of transformations, my own “evolution,” into a “backward racist redneck freak from Jesusland” (thanks to whoever said this first), continues passim. An old pro in the art of being abrogated, I’ve been on some sort of “no fly” list for æons now, and from a recurrence of jackhammers in Castle Maynard (the building in which the High Doganate is housed), I suspect the NKVD is everywhere. As the author of a prize essay on, “The Use and Abuse of Paranoia,” a long time ago, I have learnt to turn my persecution mania to advantage, and as I write, have hatched a scheme to fetch more milk for my tea — and tea bags, if necessary — even under Batflu conditions.

Let me take this moment to honour Kathy Shaidle, my fellow Canadian Catholic paranoid — now beyond the reach of the cancel culture. She died of ovarian cancer on Sunday. She is going back to a family plot in her native (and despised) Hamilton, Ontario; and under a stone that she had inscribed with her motto. It is, “GET OFF MY LAWN!”

I met Kathy around September 11th, 2001, when I was still a “mainstream” in the birdcage liners, but “reaching out” to the new world of bloggers, of whom most of my fellow journalists had not yet heard. That was also about the time Kathy was transforming, from an “anarcho-peacenik,” into a “Relapse” — to Christian faith, Western Civ, and cultural antideconstruction.

We were defenders, in those days, of “Bushitler” and other unpopular causes; until less popular came along. Another of her self-descriptions was, “Five Feet of Fury.” A graduate, too, of Lupus Erythematosus, she was a very merry little person, with a delightfully sharp, can-opening tongue. By now, among the legends of our Arctic Right, she was rounded up with Ezra (“The Rebel”) Levant, Kate (“Small Dead Animals”) McMillan, and Mark (“Global Content Provider”) Steyn, in pioneering lawsuits by Canada’s Human Rights Gestapo.

From my own encounters with Press Councils and the like, and being successively driven out of seventeen newspapers, I could appreciate the suspects’ patience. For, “the process is the punishment” in each case; and soon as one suit is disposed of, another one sails in from Left Field.

God bless and keep Kathy. I’m sure He has already been told that she is politically incorrect, and independently minded. Also, both funny and sincere. I’m just trying to imagine her, dressed as a little angel.

A world of promise

“By our age, all of our thrills are vicarious,” said Dic Doyle, editor of the Globe & Mail (a once-respected Toronto daily). Or, Mop & Pail, to its inmates. This was more than half-a-century ago.

Mr Doyle was then not quite fifty, himself; but speaking to me, then barely sixteen. For I was once a copy boy at the Mop, and a very successful one. They’d leave me in charge of the telegraph room when dear old Vern was having trouble with a bottle. They’d let me read out-of-town papers, on behalf of the Exchange Editor. I’d even reported a Rochdale drug-bust story, that found its way onto the front page. (It was just over two inches in length; but I got a five-dollar bonus because it contained a fatality.)

I had written a long memo to Mr Doyle, which I naughtily cc’d to a Mr Davey — some thirteen pages as I recall — arguing for the already-discarded system of journalistic apprenticeships. It opposed the Mop‘s fresh newsroom policy, of hiring only graduates of “J-schools.” I expected to be fired for having any opinion, but no, Mr Doyle said my memo was well-written. Too, that he would be vicariously thrilled, to watch my career advancing.

Upon learning that I had lined up a job at the Bangkok World, he said, “Ah, youthful enterprise! I was going to suggest the Chatham Daily News.”

By now, Doyle has been dead for nearly eighteen years. Gentle reader will guess he was one of my heroes. He could match me in education: we had both completed Grade Ten. The last chief editor of the Mop who was capable of loyalties — he would not have a word said against Christ, or the Queen — he promised to hire me back when I had acquired some experience.

He was, as ever, as good as his word. But I declined his kind offer of a desk job, more than a decade later, after chatting with several potential colleagues. I observed that they were all commies.

“Ah, you noticed. In the old days we used to have a token Marxist on the editorial horseshoe. These days we just have a token journalist.”

Doyle was now approaching retirement.

I am afflicted with these distant memories, in Toronto again, under lockdown. My mind often flies down pneumatic tubes of nostalgia. It is illegal for me to visit, or be visited by, another human being. After my son dropped by to fix my computer, recently, a neighbour — one of nature’s more enthusiastic snitchers — promised that if she suspected I had another visitor in my flat, she would call the police. A diligent researcher, she told me that the fine could be “up to $100,000,” plus “up to one year in gaol.”

Rather than argue, I quietly smiled. I was reflecting that it would also be illegal to tie her up with a telephone cord, and slide her off the balcony.

A lot of things are illegal today: after all, Canada is no longer a free country. We still have newspapers, however, which are unlike Pravda, because Pravda didn’t carry supermarket flyers. Whoever that token journalist was, at the Mop & Pail, circa 1982, I daresay he has expired.

But no one yet has tried to stop me from reading all day, and for the moment these Idleposts seem to be still appearing.

Upstream & down

Among students of our Canadian rivers, there is (or was) a scientific consensus that the waters they contain run generally downhill. Crawfish and some other creatures may resist this tendency, but among scientists, “downward wettening” prevailed. And as we are informed, every day in our meejah, we must “follow the science.” As a sometime canoeist in earlier life, I know I did.

Thanks to such discoveries of modern science, we spoke confidently of things that were “upstream” and “downstream,” not only at the frontiers of riparian studies, but also by analogy in many other fields. That, for instance, politics are downstream of culture, was something I seemed to admit, Saturday; although the discerning reader may have noticed that I attributed this view to Breitbart and Gramsci. Myself, I’m not sure anything is downstream from anything any more, in the popular mind; and antiquated concepts such as “up” and “down” may be associated with white supremacy. One might be thrown off Facebook and Twitter, although in my case, as I am not on them, they will have to come for something else.

For really, we are now in the post-scientific age, where our worship of science has become selective. Indeed, from what I can make out, our “science” is only acceptable if it has been made up. Evidence-based researches are quickly banned as “fascist” and “racist.”

Hence, questions about which way the rivers are running. And even the theological authorities in the Vatican, who believe that two plus two may equal five, challenge other things formerly taken for granted. They are on the verge of discovering what are now commonplaces in “secular” society, for instance that men and women are purely cultural constructions, and that if God exists, or used to, He made at least 57 other sexes.

Up here in the High Doganate, however, where we are notoriously reactionary, post-science is rejected. We (let me use the “royal”) still hold that water wanders, of its own accord, from the higher to the lower locations. Obstinately, we affirm “upstream” and “downstream,” even in analogies.

Whereas, the world now holds, and is willing to enforce, that rivers run uphill. Even Breitbart and Gramsci may be dismissed as passé, for politics are now located upstream from culture. The “dictatorship of relativism,” as Pope Benedict called it, which previously agreed to the cultural priority, now seems hopelessly dated. The dictatorship now determines what culture should be.

But not in the High Doganate, my little bubble of backwardness. We (meaning, I) do not paddle upstream, from politics, to culture, to religion — taking this last as a kind of afterthought. Rather, I shoot the rapids, downward, in my little barque without sails.

This was the ancestral order of precedence. Religion came first, in all previous cultures; and is still originative, even now when it takes satanic forms. But God is, or was, the first spring. By the time we’ve passed through culture, down to politics, a lot of mud has accumulated.

Where is Reason, in this diagram? Curiously, I also locate it at the top. Indeed, because it is a universal (in my quaint way of thinking), I am capable of using “faith” and “reason” almost interchangeably. For a clean faith in God is like a clean faith in Arithmetic; and I am fanatic, in my belief that two plus two make four. Too, that murder is always wrong, &c. These are things that, in my retrograde view, simply utter from the spring.

Not that I would insist upon them. For I see that many, perhaps most of the worldlings around me have, thanks to politics and the culture, gone batshit insane. And it doesn’t make sense to argue with them.

The week in review

There are two principal political parties in modern America (in which I include up here). In the Natted States, the population is divided roughly equally between those of “progressive” and “regressive” habits of mind; in the Canadas, the former have come to dominate.

The tipping point was reached much earlier up here, and the new “metapower” (Foucault’s term) was seized, politically, from within the Liberal Party. The strategy was to disenfranchise the “conservative” half of the electorate, by undermining all national institutions, and hosing down Canada’s previous identity. I’d count, say, 1982, as the point of no return. That identity was replaced, definitively, under a revised Trudeau constitution, with a new “multicultural” identity, in which citizens were themselves redefined, from free persons whose rights were inalienable, to interchangeable clients of an omnipotent State, which could dispense rights whenever it was in the mood — and withdraw them whenever the mood changed; however frequently.

This is the Democrat strategy in the larger, and still less amenable, country next door. As Andrew Breitbart and Antonio Gramsci might agree, this is an essentially cultural process. Politics are visible at the tip of the iceberg, but “progress” requires a more thorough “cleansing,” of old cultural norms. The cancer metastasized more from Hollywood, than from Washington DC. The takeover of the Democratic Party as the vanguard “agent of change” was only part of the institutional takeover of America. As important was the takeover of the mass media, and even corporate boardrooms. Those who weren’t “progressive” would now be “cancelled”: must cease to be.

All cultural change has a religious dimension. The Democrat representatives of the “powers and principalities” mentioned by Saint Paul, are characteristically godless, themselves. But they depend on a massive, core constituency of low-information, low-intelligence, easily manipulated urban voters.

Those who can still see the stars at night tend to remain in the ancient, God-fearing default. In the cities, where the masses may not grasp that milk comes from cows, let alone that someone must milk them, the belief that the economy is based on government cheques is more common. That is the god of the populous cities, and for most city-dwellers, not voting for their “godless god” of progress, seems a kind of heresy.

The idea that such heretics should be deprived of their freedom, starting with freedom of speech, does not appeal to the “rural” voter, including people like me — a “country hick” type who paradoxically lives in the city. The idea that laws and constitutions should be flexible, to accommodate the latest schemes of a progressive technocratic élite, doesn’t flourish among us country bumpkins. But to the efficiency experts in the city, what is our problem?

For the city folk are tolerant. It wouldn’t be a problem if the bumpkin constituency would just stop trying to express itself; if people who voted Trump would keep it to themselves, and stop wearing red baseball caps. (They should wear Batflu muzzles instead.) But they won’t cut it out. They exhibit appallingly bad taste, and that is why they must be suppressed. “Unity” requires “diversity” — i.e. strict conformity, and unwavering obedience to ideological commands.

The means used were hardly legitimate, in the old-fashioned sense of consistently legal, but these Democrats now control all the levers of national political power in America. Moreover, election rules have been, and will be, systematically “reformed,” to remove the risk that they will ever be defeated again. They now have the votes in Congress to alter whatever they please.

While I have long been opposed to mobs — an urban phenomenon — I can understand the frustration of some Republican voters. Even kittens object, to being sewn into pillowcases, and may not appreciate the argument that they are being dipped in the river for their own good. Perhaps that is why, somewhat feline myself, I am less outraged than most city folk when they are accused of using their claws.

Morning after morning after

According to an (even) older Czech friend: “When you live long enough you see some strange things.” According to his wife, it is the current theme of his observations, back home in Zlin. The world, I have observed myself, is generally quite strange, except in moments when it becomes stranger. At such times, the most one can do is resist “change” — by staying monotonously sane, oneself. And yes, this is ineffective.

There are people older and wiser than I. One of them is Dennis Prager, whom I have long read with respect. On “a lifelong quest to understand human nature and human behaviour,” he wrote a column I seriously recommend, about what he has learnt recently, culminating in the Batflu. (Here.)

It is ostensibly about the “Good German.” It is extensively about the many, many millions, through history, who quietly accepted life under the Gestapo, or its parallel in many other countries. Why did these “silent majorities” put up with often monstrous deeds? Why didn’t they at least “protest”? How could they just stand by?

Why, let me add, after evil regimes collapsed, did they say, “We didn’t know” — what was happening to their former Jewish neighbours, or others who had been rounded up? Why even bother saying “we didn’t know,” when they couldn’t not have known, but had just been keeping their heads down.

Years ago, when the Czech friend mentioned above (then a refugee to Canada) was working in my Idler magazine, we had that discussion. Another staff member — smart, but glib and Canadian — was condemning Czechs and others for failing to resist the Communists. Why didn’t they make a stand? Why did most of them quietly submit to tyranny, and play along with all the lies and the mendacity of the tyrants?

It was a wild exchange. Suddenly my Czech, who like so many had risked his life to escape to the West, became angry. I had never seen him angry, before. He said nothing intemperate, but the veins on his neck were bulging. He had, for the moment, had enough of this smug young “conservative intellectual.” But he only said that, if his questioner had any experience of the circumstances, he wouldn’t say things so asinine and fatuous.

Really, one cannot say more. And today, Dennis Prager writes of the ease with which North Americans have accepted censorship, cancel culture, and leftwing intimidation, when they actually have the overwhelming power of numbers, and could easily win the battle they are losing. For an easy life, they play along. Rather than resist, they quickly adapt to the “politically correct,” and cheerfully utter the latest false platitudes. The more cynical advance themselves by playing along actively. They join the hyenas.

Prager finds himself defending the much-maligned “Good Germans” — who did not choose to let the Gestapo make examples of them, at a time when their lives were cheap.

For me, it was a little revelation to learn how Channel Islanders had behaved under Nazi occupation. I realized that all the grandstanding about British bravery under Churchill was sludge. Had the whole of the British Isles been occupied during World War Two, the British would have acted like the Vichy French. A few, to be sure, would have fought underground (as in France); but the great majority would have collaborated, in their various degrees of enthusiasm. Instead of a Churchill to salute, they would have had a Quisling.

It is pointless to misrepresent human nature.

We have saints and heroes. They have made a difference, “bigly,” at times. Even to losing causes, they have brought glory. I attribute them to God.

Those who attribute sanctity and heroism to Man, will continue to populate our swamps.

Antiantifa in action

A (gentle?) reader writes to allege that I am responsible for the Trumpestuous mob that invaded the Capitol building in Washington, yesterday. Let me make a full and frank confession. Yes, bored from the Batflu lockdown, I contrived to overthrow the Natted States Gummint. (A correspondent in West Texas tells me this is the correct spelling, not “guvmint” as I was using before.) My intention was to install Mister Trump as Generalissimo, and remove the “President Elect” to an old people’s home. (I’d do the job myself, but prefer to delegate.)

I had a press release ready for the Merican meejah, explaining how to spell generalissimo, and specifying that it is an Italian term, with a Latin superlative suffix; not Spanish, as they appear to believe. It mentioned as an afterthought that all Batflu restrictions were now lifted; and that any television host who moaned about this would be burnt at the stake, with Dr Fauci.

Truth to tell, I’m getting somewhat old and feeble myself, and a bit rusty at arranging coups d’état. I’m afraid my Washington operation didn’t come off quite as I planned, and that the Congress seems to have proceeded with the certification of the votes of the Electoral College, anyway. They should have realized this was quite pointless, now that they’d been overthrown. Note to self: have them all arrested.

Epiphany

[Brought forward from 2015, for some reason.]

*

There is a gentleman I know, from around here, who reads this Idleblog “sometimes,” and is nominally Catholic; although he’d be first to admit that he is what I call a “cradle case.” That is to say: baptized in a Catholic church, and spiritually abandoned thereafter. I love this guy, because he has honesty, candour, native humility, and a few other virtues that church-going Catholics often lack. So it was in character that he asked, the other day:

“What is Epiphany? Something must have happened that day. What the hell happened on Epiphany?”

“The arrival of the Magi. You know: ‘We Three Kings’ …”

This seemed a good starting point, and I was puzzling where to take it from there, when stopped short by the next question.

“What three kings?”

Let me put this succinctly. For a couple of generations, our Church of Kumbayah, which does not feel much need to catechize, unless people really insist — and then passes the job to volunteers, often themselves in serious confusion — has been depending upon the anti-Christian mass media to provide “the narrative,” or “backstory.”… And guess what?

My friend did, however, recognize the tune of the carol — a miracle, given the quality of my singing voice. That much was left, in anno MMXV: the tune of an Episcopal deacon, from the 1850s in downstate New York. My friend had probably heard it in a shopping mall.

There is much more to the Epiphany than “the narrative,” which is itself rather more involved than the carol attempts to express. But it is nevertheless a beginning. It is a path towards understanding the manifestation of Christ — to the world, not only of His fellow Jews, but of the Gentiles. Indeed, this Feast was once, and may well become again, the crown of the Christmas season. For those who still allow Christ into Christmas, it takes the “birth narrative” of Jesus and magnifies it.

Much of what the Devil was doing, when he was overseeing Catholic liturgical reform in the 1950s through 1970s, consisted merely of jumbling the calendar and texts, as much as he could get away with. Lax, crass, and inadequate translations, often purposeful mistranslations, were sent out in multiple languages: a kind of Pentecost in reverse. The profound gestures, profound music, profound artistic and architectural expressions of Holy Church, were replaced by cheap and nasty. Note the timeline: for this process did not start with Vatican II, as many “traditionalists” wrongly believe.

The destruction of the Epiphany Octave, for instance, was done under Pope Pius XII in 1955. This made possible the later reduction of the Epiphany itself to an apparent afterthought, that might be celebrated on its original date (as it had been through many, many centuries), or might soon be flipped to one Sunday or another. With the anchor of this Great Feast thus lifted, the big ship could then collide with every other ship in the harbour, damaging all, and sending a few to the bottom.

To say the Devil (and I don’t mean Bugnini; I mean the Devil) did not know what he was doing is a waste of words. He knew exactly what he was doing.

It is a source of excruciating pain to faithful Catholics today — especially those who survived the previous desecrations — to discover that the heroic efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to restore the magnitude and serenity of Catholic liturgy and teaching, are being methodically undermined by their successor. Our resistance is now to false moral doctrine being “tweeted” from Rome, but this depends on a deeper falsehood of which our incumbents are hardly the cause. Rather they are symptoms: priests formed through weak seminaries in the glib spirit of the Novus Ordo; priests now bishops who often don’t know any better; who have become vague about whom they are serving, and are urgently in need of Christ’s help and our own very earnest prayers.

For the Catholic moral order extends from the Catholic mystical order, and it is that mystical order that is embodied in the Mass — unambiguously at the centre of Catholic life, day by day and century after century. The Mass is the means by which we take Our Lord into ourselves. “How to live, what to do” follows from that mystical installation. The homilies take their cue from the words and movements of the Mass; and surely not vice versa.

The Epiphany, and the ancient Epiphanytide (the latter half of the Christmas season), is essential to this proper ordering of things, in the procession from Christmas to Easter — a harmonic procession now rudely interrupted by an egress into so-called “Ordinary Time.”

In the Eastern as well as the Western Church, the 6th of January is an assembly of all the strands by which Christ is recognized — made manifest, seen, known — even before He has begun His public ministry. It is, as the Greeks have it, the Theophany — a word which connoted in ancient times the manifestation of the god to the worshipper. Indeed, in the Christian view, all such manifestations, and the very idea of them, must prefigure the central manifestation of Christ in universal history; unless they are plainly demonic.

The homage of the Magi comes into this, but also the Wedding at Cana, signally in the Eastern rite. All the events of Christ’s birth, childhood, and youth, are reflected in this Feast. That is why it could take precedence in the early Church over the Feast of the Nativity itself, which celebrates the birth only, nine months after the Annunciation. That Annunciation was also more important to the earliest Christians; and the significance of the birth was to be found more in the lowness or modesty of it; as, too, in the shocking nature of its announcement, by an Angel in a shepherds’ field. Not to “the wise,” perhaps visited in dreams; not to the intellectuals, did the Angel come; but to the lowly shepherds, who trusted in what they could see before them. (See the Church Fathers on this, usefully arranged in the Catena Aurea of Thomas Aquinas.)

One might even say that the Twelve Days of Christmas lead to, are the preparation for, this Feast of the Epiphany. The light has extended day by day: from the manger, to the shepherds, to the kings from afar; to the first miracle in the wine; and through everything that leads to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and the Coming Again.

All of this needs to be recovered, in its wholeness, its harmony and completeness, within the passage of our seasons. It is a huge task, building and rebuilding Christendom; but, “Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.” And so we must start again today, from out of the darkness by the starry light, in the company of Three Kings — bearing, with them, back into the Church, the finest gifts we are capable of presenting.

Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem.

The future of pugnacity

I make a subtle distinction between an argument and a brawl. Each has its place. Subtlety is needed, for sometimes, as in the Natted States just now, it is a fine balance. On both party political sides, there is an argument, that is on the edge of an internal brawl. Between the two parties, it is a brawl, but with hints of an argument, still.

By comparison, up here in the Canadas, where arguments and brawls are long overdue, there is instead what I have sometimes called, “the long sleep of the just.” (This is among my most sarcastic expressions.)

It is hard to decide on the degree of pugnacity that is called for, in any given situation. I use a mental scale, that runs from a dispute over small change from a grocery bill (in which weapons of mass destruction are almost never appropriate), to World War (wherein all bets are off). In the view of Eternity, however, immortal nastiness will sometimes peak at the supermarket cashpoint, whereas World Wars may be started with the best of intentions.

Note that I am not currently parading as a moral judgementalist. We try to stay cool, calm, and collected, in the ivory tower of the High Doganate; though it’s a close-run thing. Sometimes our only denizen is in contrary minds.

Those of my gentle readers who painfully follow the news, will notice that we celebrate Twelfth Night this year with fightin’ talk from the near abroad. To the Demwits, the fight is only over Trump, and whether he will leave office “peacefully.” Their raft of policy proposals is, by and large, concealed. To the Republicants, Trump is a flag pole, and Liberty is on the fly.

Were I to say more I would expose myself as approximately 100 percent on the Republican side — even though I am a Monarchist. This is because the Democrats have come to represent everything I despise in public life. Whereas, I only find around 80 percent of Republican policies despicable — and those the less representative ones.

That the election result was fraudulent, I take as proven on several planes. Democrats tend to be godless people, and the evidence accumulates that they are casual about committing crimes. There is more hesitation on the other side. Moreover, it would be uncharitable to my Merican friends, to suggest that the majority of their countrymen would even dream of voting for Biden.

But, “Who won the vote?” strikes me as an uninteresting question. If a majority did actually vote for Biden, America were lost, so why argue? Rather, it is time for a brawl — not to spend more precious hours in the rats’ maze of “democracy.”

I didn’t think the Patriots had a casus belli in 1776 (I descend from Loyalists, after all). It seems more plausible today, when everything that (limousine liberal) Thomas Jefferson could throw at (His Majesty) King George III, seems mild compared to the way Democrats now rule. I’ve been tempted to write an updated “Declaration of Independence,” but would demand five cents a word.

Meanwhile, a fight that is ultimately related. If today is indeed Twelfth Night — and I know it is, for I am capable of counting to twelve — tomorrow must be the Feast of the Epiphany. As opposed to: the nearest Sunday, by some vacuous clerical “reform” from 1969. It is the very belief that ancient traditions can be altered by a committee vote, that I think should be a casus belli for all of us.