Essays in Idleness

DAVID WARREN

Status quo ante

I expected to die before “Roe v. Wade” was overturned, though it seemed it must be, eventually. Though it does not touch me personally (I hope), I am still discreetly overjoyed. I say discreetly because I could not wish to boast of my “pro-life” credentials, at this moment. The anti-life forces have expressed themselves in a day and night of rage, on urban streets all over — as the court decision successfully abraded “liberal” sensibilities around the world. We have come to expect such demented behaviour whenever this happens. Closer to home, policemen in the United States may have longer shifts for some time, containing the explosions of satanic violence.

The American legal and political establishment will not buckle, however. For they know that stronger passions, though more quietly expressed, wait on the other side. Most of the electorate skitters away from commitment to either side — neither entirely in favour of, nor opposed to, the murder of unborn children. Cowardly, unmanly avoidance makes of this “a woman’s issue” — as if only female children were aborted.

That it would be connected to questions of hygiene is a small anecdote, or sign of the times.

No matter of principle was addressed by the Supreme Court’s decision; life and death does not trouble the legalistic mind. They will not rule on whether abortion is right or wrong. They simply restore the arrangements in the United States Constitution, that put the matter, as others unforeseen, in the power of the States. It confirms the need for politics, in addition to laws; and for better or worse, the American States are all democracies.

The current social convulsions were made inevitable by the original ruling, for its vacation was also inevitable. It flew in the face of established law, and mangled American jurisprudence, by creating a new regime of (arbitrary) “human rights.” Status quo ante has now been magically restored, but in a country changed even demographically by the lawlessness of fifty years.

For the Burger Court’s great imaginative try-on of 22 January 1973 — declaring the crime of abortion to be a “human right,” and a constitutional intention — will be tried again in due course. Those who care for life and liberty should be ready to defeat it.

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity

The arrest and incarceration of bureaucrats would seem, on casual examination, to be one of the unexplored great ideas whose time is always ripe. On more careful study, however, the matter is not so simple as the victims of bureaucracy might imagine.

To start with, what is a bureaucrat? and how should he (frequently, she) be distinguished from the other billions of the world’s demographic inheritance?

I have thought about this question often, and it returns to mind after almost every encounter with persons who have regular employment. That they are all bureaucrats, has crossed my mind; but occasionally I meet a person who is not. (Yesterday, it was a truly philosophical bus driver.) Usually, the non-bureaucrat is by conventional definition, unemployed, or there is some skill he is expressly paid to perform, not in every waking hour, but “sometimes.”

And, who is to say that the bureaucrat, however defined, is necessarily “good for nothing”? Before hatching any rehabilitation scheme, that would inevitably be designed and executed by bureaucrats, we must consider what would actually set him loose. My own emphasis would be on prayer; on preces privatae, and in the Mass.

Meanwhile, bureaucracy is the universal sponsor of “busy work,” as several dear to my memory indicated. This is that variety of pointless labour that appears to be done in a rush — awkwardly by habit, against an invisible deadline, to the end of no particular result. The purpose is to provide “full employment,” and it is considered virtuous for this quality alone.

For the masses require to be guided by a “work ethic,” or else they will be bored and apt to participate in a revolution. One requires busy work, as a matter of public safety.

Curiously most of the “slave economy” backwaters of modern, industrial, bureaucratic states, have the strongest work ethic, although they are the least productive regions. This ethic is the spiritual whip that keeps the labourers moving, when common sense would prescribe a siesta. They eat lots of sugars, get fat, and die young. There are franchise operations near every work plantation, dispensing carbohydrates; the staffs are also obviously dispensable. In fact, the whole economy is built around things that can be easily discarded.

One can understand why employers tire of paying these workers, to make something that, even when it is tangible, no non-bureaucrat, or person with elementary taste could wish to buy; until we realize that this employer is likely to be a bureaucrat himself (or herself, or itself, I hasten to add). And so the socialist principle of “you pretend to work and we pretend to pay you” comes to pertain also to our “capitalist” economy.

We have “human resources” departments which work by the same methods as livestock management, in the larger meat packaging firms, except, owing to bureaucratic convention, they aren’t allowed to kill or eat people; or not directly. That is a function more and more assumed by the government’s MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying) service.

The employers are limited to creating a theatrical impression, of death in life. “Employees” doing useless things, or radically counter-productive, are presented as free citizens and electors in a constitutional democracy under the rule of law. This was never a believable impression, even in ancient Greece. One may penetrate through it by reading Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol, or the novels of Dostoyevski.

Note, that people choose to be bureaucrats, and volunteer for the life sentence without thinking, upon graduation from the bureaucratic schools. They instantly look for a job; panicking if delayed. The job will include bureaucratic provisions for retirement, should they not require MAID service. Fear makes them take it. The only alternative would be to cultivate leisure, but this does not pay the prospective bureaucrat the equivalent of a pension.

Father’s Day

From out of the tangled past, we retrieve some holidays, and discount, or actually forget about others. Father’s Day is our example for today. It should, according to all educated Catholics, fall on March 19th. In fact, according to the usual unreliable sources (Wikipaedia, &c), even some Anglicans and Lutherans honour Saint Joseph on his day, which celebration was formally instituted at Rome (I think) about the time that they drifted away from us.

He, Joseph, is also the Patron Saint of Carpenters, as almost everyone knows, and of the Dominion of Canada, as many Canadians used to know. Also the Patron in the red-and-white national celebration of Poland, where he is rather more acknowledged. Too, he is the Patron of the Universal Church, East and West.

I am not a priest, nor the son of a priest, and should not be trusted on the conventions of the Church Calendar, but I think we are luckier than the Irish in this respect. For Saint Patrick’s, which generally falls in Lent, is not necessarily a holy day of obligation, conferring exemption from lenten customs, outside perhaps Ireland itself. But St Joseph’s is such a day of dispensation, on whatever day of the week it may fall — whether or not our holy priests have expressly declared it. Not only can we drink ale on the occasion, entirely without guilt, and eat walrus steaks or chunks of any other animal, but we needn’t colour them green with food dye.

Saint Joseph is the model for an earthly father, of a child who is not really his own, as all human children are not really one’s own. They come from their mother’s body, and are tangibly their mother’s possession, for a short time (until yanked away, by one method or another). That the father has (or had), however, a prominent place, in Christian or even pagan families, was fairly well established until recently.

In the Woke family he has no significance whatever, and mothers have none either, because there is no such thing as a woman — except among biologists, apparently. Of course, there being no women there can also be no men, so the question of fatherhood doesn’t arise.

It does nevertheless arrive, on this day, in mid-June or thereabouts, through North American commercial culture, in our present societal order. People buy things for what they naïvely accept as fathers of some sort. The current inflation may help to reduce this.

Natalya lost

More than forty years have passed since my last personal encounter with the international “jet set,” in the London (England) of the late ‘seventies. It was in the form of a ridiculously spoilt and gratuitously demanding little girl, not yet out of her teens.

I had no reason to know her. I was squatting peacefully in a modest stone workman’s cottage on a drab, once working-class street in Vauxhall, that was scheduled by the socialist borough council for replacement by glossy welfare stacks. But this building project was delayed by their bankruptcy. Meanwhile the neighbourhood was occupied by hippies. We were indeed encouraged by the (pre-Thatcher) socialist authorities to move in, for London had a “housing crisis,” and rows of empty working-class houses made for “poor optics.”

It was a simple life, with almost no modern services or appliances, in a tiny house then well into its second century of decline. Yet it was well-enough built to survive perhaps five, ten, or twenty centuries more, had the bureaucrats been persuaded to ignore it. Already, as a young man, ideologically opposed to all things glossy, I preferred “the margins” of 20th-century urban life. London was after all my Athens, my Peripatos, and for a moment I was left to explore it.

Cars, even taxis, never pulled up at the door of “65 Wilcox,” or did not until this one slightly fateful evening. The car contained trunks, suitcases, bags, unrolled clothing, hatboxes, loose feathered hats, and Natalya.

It was driven by an older, quite elegant lady whom I would have guessed was Natalya’s mother, but she identified only as a “friend of a friend,” aware of my “special situation.” (I lived rent-free.) This woman had a cultured accent, and a voice of confident authority. She presented Natalya as a daughter of the poet Robert Lowell, which she could not have been. Later I would place her as the daughter of Lady Caroline Blackwood, then the aging Lowell’s high-society mistress.

I was told, in effect, to take in this stray. I say, “told,” for I wasn’t asked for my opinion. One of the advantages of private property is that it (often) gives the owner the power to ban or evict people. But I now had an aristocratic tenant, with abject habits of dependency (in her cloud of marijuana), and expensive tastes. Had I realized that this little girl was probably an heir to the Guinness fortune in Ireland, the story could have been made more interesting, but at the time, I was not so corrupt.

As it happened, a writer also came to stay with me (let’s leave his name out, he is still alive), who needed just one evening to seduce my bored young charge. Then, in another flash, both of them were unaccountably gone — leaving me with the task of disposing of several outlandish headpieces.

Some weeks passed, before Natalya turned up in the tabloids. She was now a spread in the Evening Standard, for she had died while taking a heroine overdose in a (grade II listed) Kensington flat. She was news because of her relations, as I was then more systematically informed.

Recommending treason

Undeserved pride is a formidable killer. It begins with the family vendetta, which has particular traditions in every culture we have known, East and West. But sometimes this pride is partially deserved, as when the family member lives and works within the creative family enterprise, contributing his modest part to the achievement of the whole. Taking pride in this, can be reasonable.

Pride in a city, or a town or district, or even the district within a town, can take on something of this contributory pride; if the person who is part of this more abstract “family” is actually contributing. Or at least, not getting in the way.

In nationalism, or what I call chauvinism, we go “full pride,” as we also do in the Church, congratulating ourselves upon being Catholics (or with whatever denomination we are badged). Here, it is unlikely that any individual brings honour to his nation or religion, or can make any other “mystical” ownership claim. You were born into it, or perhaps were assimilated; it existed before you and will exist after.

These things simply are, and at the large scale one cannot build or demolish, except with a regiment of soldiers, and luck. But the credit goes to the revolutionary act, whether of creation or destruction, beyond the power of any single assailant. Yet whether positive or negative, it tends towards evil. For God is, and will be, the author of every holy thing to happen beyond our human compass.

The present almost universal belief in tech scientism denies this inextinguishable fact. We wish to take credit, alone or among some team of scienticists, for making the world better in some way. But we cannot even know what makes the world better, in the long run; or what makes it worse. Such questions are “above our pay grade,” as a certain contemptible president liked to say.

But pride invested in one’s part of “research,” “development,” “technology,” and the rest of the bureaucracy of supposed “science,” is innocent compared to the claims of nationalism. For, national pride demands a war.

This is perhaps best expressed by the missiles flung (by both sides) into Ukrainian neighbourhoods. The recipients must concede the rule of the missile-hurling aggressor of the moment. Should they surrender, they might still be killed, for pride takes enthusiasm in killing. It does not turn itself promptly off.

Of course, the argument for a peaceful nationalism has been made, many times since the world began. I love my country, and can thus appreciate that you love yours; as a passive thing, when presented in stills. We — your nation and mine — are allies at the deepest level, and flourish there. Trade, which is to say voluntary trade within fairly free markets, is how we choose to deal with each other.

Yet, trade, too, is finally captured by the national bureaucracies, who compete for power in a numerical game; and politicians make trade into a semblance of war.

Pride commands the acts of cruelty, leading to torture and murder, that are rhetorically suggested by our national leaders. By the rules of democracy, every voter buys in. The person who will not participate in the mental illness at the surface of public life, is quickly labelled as a “traitor” or “apostate.” For pride is ever looking for traitors.

The beauty of a world in confusion

That the world is in a state of confusion, in any event to the perception of men (a term that still includes women and trans), can almost go without saying. The recent Batflu epidemic came as redundant proof.

“Follow the science,” as we were repeatedly told by those who had embraced the ideology of scientism, as if this would provide a rational or even comprehensive understanding of what was going on. But the Batflu defied every strategy to defeat it, along with every dictatorial proposal for limitation. You could not get it right.

This, to my mind, was the best evidence that the virus was not designed in a Red Chinese laboratory. Had it been so, we could have guessed that its course through the world would not be so whimsically accidental, and both death and survival more predictable within it. Instead, it has acted as spontaneously as a natural virus, and as indifferently to the human will; it is a typical natural disaster.

Note, I do not say it did not come out of the labs at Wuhan. Instead, it was not designed in there. It was designed by the usual principles, powers, and rulers of darkness, that constantly work through humans, animals, and inanimate objects, and would be rendered powerless without them. So long as we occupy this world, they are there.

Nor should we be inspired to reform, by these rulers, since it is not in our power to influence dark spirits. They may do what they wish intentionally to spite us. We have a rather limited ability to merely interact with them, so that, for instance, by stopping them from doing something inconvenient and annoying, they simply switch their attention habitually to another.

The world will always be full of problems, but there is variation in their kind. As one problem is solved, inevitably, several others will be created by the solution, &c. When we are exceedingly clever, we will discover that we have played into the Enemy’s hands.

I am radically opposed to technology (it goes without saying), but also against politics and social reform. These oppressive disciplines have been invented by do-gooders, seeking the perfection of the world. They are, characteristically, in league with devils.

But examined more thoughtfully, the world is already perfect in its kind. Human lives can be made individually more gracious — by contrivance of the specific individuals themselves — but there is no general improvement they can have anything to do with.

Fools: they just formulate problems, that can’t be solved.

The shooter’s guide

There is gun violence in our schools, but it isn’t prompt enough. I gather this from news reports originating in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas; especially from the latter, where the (late) Accused, one Salvador Ramos, age eighteen, had twelve minutes of leisure to shoot randomly outside the school building, without being bothered. He then entered the Robb Elementary School, uncontested; to spend an hour with the children and their teachers — still firing rounds, now into them.

I understand that he murdered 22 in all, including, constructively, himself, for he eventually attracted the attention of another gunman, in the fullness of time. A couple dozen more were maimed or otherwise injured. But the interceding gunman, who had experience with “Border Patrol,” finally blew the Accused away; whereas local officers, who had already congregated outside for more than an hour, were trying to make up their minds, whether to storm the building. While they idled, a number of still-living children, trapped inside, begged to be rescued, on their cellphones.

“Safety is our highest priority,” we often hear in public propaganda. The safety of police officers was the absolute priority in this case.

The best thing to do, when you find a stranger (or even a familiar) shooting children (whether your own, or others’) is to gun him down, promptly. I know this will not look like the most charitable reaction, and that we live in times and places that are governed by shallow appearances. But, in the greater scheme of things, it will usually be the only merciful course. Preparing our citizens to act in emergencies, cultivating the capacity to do so, and the courage to act in defiance of cowardly instinct, is further required.

New laws, administering “gun control,” depend on appearances instead, on a concept like “niceness,” and on the emotionalism and low intelligence in society at large. “Guns cause violence and fewer guns will mean less violence” is reasoning on the moron level.

It is a scandal when such people are allowed to vote.

An open mind on nukes

We have, at present — while less than I would expect — much higgledy-piggledy “concern” about the prospects of a nuclear war. The Russian rape of Ukraine has escalated to conflict with NATO, of the sort which might become formalized in “total war.” This would naturally involve both tactical and strategic (intercontinental) missiles, which — for all the flaws in Russian technology — may work in some instances.

NATO members are accused of risking war by resisting Moscow’s decision to start one. Already the ex-Soviet “weapons of mass destruction” have been put on alert. Our (I am taking sides here) attempts to arm the Ukrainians for self-defence against the Russian invader must inevitably cross various red lines, and satisfy most definitions of aggressive acts. At what point do the goons in the Kremlin lose their patience? Can we even guess when they might snap, and go for Armageddon? But should we be cowardly ninnies instead?

“Tsar Vladimir” Putin’s ego is on the line, and he has already achieved a reputation as an ignominious loser — and will, even with his own people, should he keep stoking his psychotic rage. He faces an enthusiastically sanctioning and censorious West. Russia will be reduced to starvation, though Eastern Slavs are, by reputation, indifferent to this. Putin may discern that nukes are his only way out, and resolve to play the hero, with them. For like most politicians, East and West, Mr Putin is in possession of an inferior mind, which has not matured in the way humans can mature (with effort).

We assume a nuclear war would be a Bad Thing, and I admit there would be many inconveniences, including massive explosions and radiation fallout. For even with Russian oversights — the low standard of their upkeep and repairs — five thousand or so missiles have been pointed at us for a long time. We must expect to lose a few cities. The complete and permanent annihilation of Russia would not really compensate for this.

But perhaps it is just what the West — and more broadly, human civilization — needs. It would, as the leftists used to argue, cure us of our decadence, and there are many advantages an environmentalist might espy. The landscape around Chernobyl is now a more attractive wildlife preserve than it was when cluttered with generators and power lines. “Nuclear winter” may even be the remedy for “global warming.”

True, I might myself be among the victims, but I must not let this errant fact interfere with my objective judgement. On the planetary scale, there would be miscellaneous survivors, and we could anticipate the usual “baby boom,” that accompanies major wars. For the consequences have been much exaggerated by the media’s nervous Nellies, who predict the loss of life will be total. Yet from what we can know, thanks to science, there is doubt it would much exceed 90 percent. Tough, to be sure; but hardly an extinction.

The misery of life

The chief “cause” of the misery in life, is the refusal to face death, with equanimity.

Now, everyone knows that death must be faced, sooner or later; and a surprisingly large minority remain happy, even during their periods of trial and pain. I am not inclined to doubt those people, for I have met several whom I found quite “real.” In other cases, such as, unfortunately, in mine, equanimity in the face of death is a pose, merely.

I worry: that this pose may slip, when it is put to the test. And if (God help me), I should live through the test, my panic and shrieking and hysteria would prove most embarrassing. Better to face death than to have to face that.

Death is fearsome, to some and perhaps to any in a moment of disequilibrium; but it is also exciting. My father, for instance, told me several times, at long intervals, that he looked forward to death. All his “reading” (of books, and being) had confirmed the existence of an afterlife, and he wondered about what went on there. He did not speculate, but heard speculations; he was not religious, but by nature not irreligious either. He was simply open to a new experience, and instinctively welcoming. I have found this quality to be rare.

For papa was a happy man, who never expressed regrets, even in prospect for the apparent loss of his past, that might accompany biological retirement. He was not given to nostalgia, and did not collect things, except as he found them useful. In fact this healthy attitude seems to have flourished in his family, for his brothers and sisters are (or were) also quite cheerful in the face of death. Much in their lives we would generally account as miserable, but it did not touch them.

Papa went to his death benignly smiling, his curiosity about events around him undiminished by dysfunctions of his brain, and whatever drugs the doctors were putting into him during his concluding pneumonia. He had a remarkable mind, but had trained himself to do without anything that was taken away.

Except, he had an explosive temper, and his way of restoring happiness and contentment was to let it erupt. (His contemporaries did not realize that he could not hold a grudge; this is how he launched grudges into interstellar space.)

As he explained: misery is a choice.

National distancing

While, judging from the configuration of his tables and chairs, Vladimir Putin is an adept practitioner of “social distancing,” he seems unable to extend the practice to politics and diplomacy. The catastrophe in Ukraine would, for instance, never have occurred had he ordered his military to keep at least six feet (two metres) away from the Ukrainian border; and also not to project shells and missiles over it.

This last is an important detail. I myself like to keep some social distance from my neighbours — here in Parkdale — but have made it my strict policy never to hurl rocks or other trajectiles at them, or at their pets; even when they tempt me.

National distancing is a concept perhaps as venerable as social distancing, and as useful to public health and longevity. Its modern rules, norms, and standards were established in the two treaties of Westphalia, that concluded the Thirty Years’ War; but instinctively the more civilized peoples understood the principle beforehand.

Where a comprehensible sovereignty exists, it is not for the powers within one nation to interfere with those in another. Instead, they must content themselves with squawking, and expressions of disgust. For, “mind your own business” is a workable rule of thumb for individuals and nations alike.

It is a problem when nations grow large and aggressive: usually by failing to observe the proprieties of national distancing over time. Russia, the successor regime to the Soviet Union, which succeeded the Tsars, and so forth to the Mongols, has been one of the most disagreeable transgressors over the last millennia or more, and little countries have had need to form alliances against it.

My own subscription to the division of that incomparably bloated state into eighty-five constituent ethnic pieces, plus a dozen or so nominally Russian-speaking ones, plus whatever can be melted out of Siberia, I have placed on the record. It strikes me that the former Jewish Autonomous Oblast, somewhere near the Amur River in the wilderness beyond the Chinese province of Heilungkiang, would make an appropriate successor state to the “Rossiyan” federation. Stalin’s administrative creation was a wasteland and Gulag for imprisoning Jews, but he never sent that many, and surely they have all got away by now, leaving space to put Stalinists.

The same principle might work in the United States, which even when it had a Civil War, conducted it on too large a scale. The controversy about the country’s abortion laws could surely benefit from distancing, and if the country were divided into at least fifty fully sovereign states, I daresay the violent rages would smooth over. Let New York continue to be ruled by savages, and California by worse; but let South Dakota promise not to invade them. Let Florida be freed of Disneyland.

Indeed, that was the original scheme of the American Constitution: a (growing) number of quite independent states, gathered in one practical alliance against the meddlesome nations of Europe. Each could have its own laws on, say, abortion.

Leaking sensations

The wartime saying, “Loose lips sink ships,” has apparently been reversed in the present generation, where the ships sink, first. Indiscreet talk, from politicians and the press corps, follows in due course. Much has been made, persistently, in the mass-market news, of these “leaking” stories.

In the chief one this past week, a Supreme Court clerk, or other irresponsible person, took it upon himself to publish the draft of a decision overturning Roe v. Wade. This would begin to erase it from the American consciousness a few dozen news cycles earlier, and allow us to spin from violence and pointless rioting to mere persiflage more quickly.

Meanwhile, the American “intelligence community” (a purposeful contradiction of terms) boasts that it helped the Ukrainians locate, and therefore sink, the Moskva into the depths of the Black Sea; and also to pick off a dozen or so of the Russian generals, in land warring.

This was bound to annoy the Russian invaders very much, for they had already tired of American interference in their military stunts. And as some journalists “believe” that Putin is a madman, they expect him to retaliate with nuclear weapons. Then, because the other governments of the world are ruled by madmen, too (except for the several Fennoscandiyan nations which are ruled by madwomen), we’ll be flinging the missiles back and forth, until everyone is incinerated.

It is not so serious a fate as we might imagine, however; for the planet has recovered from numerous such extinction events; one every few million years. Who knows that another should not be welcomed, if we are to evolve a truly intelligent species? I have sometimes wondered if the evolutionary progression, thus far, is laughably incomplete.

And anyway, what does it matter? The current environment will likely succumb to global warming, according to the most impassioned climate prognosticators. Many of these self-appointed experts give, at best, ten years to our sporting life, before our sun-baked retirement.

Limiting our consideration to historical time, or to what has actually been recorded with dates (i.e. not the full geological record, which is vague and irrelevant), these ten lost years represent a tiny fraction — less than one percent — of the whole duration. We are excitable indeed, if we allow ourselves to become upset about such a relatively minor loss — especially as the great majority of the human race (persons ever born) are dead already; and many of those who happen to be still alive are quite old.

The barking of NATO

Pope Francis has given us of his opinion that the “barking of NATO at the door of Russia” may have led to the invasion of Ukraine — which he otherwise disapproves as being too violent. Other countries, by which we usually read the United States, were the ultimate cause of the conflagration, as we understand they are in all contemporary wars in the Middle East, Africa, &c. Perhaps the Far East too, for if Red China finds the time is ripe to physically molest Taiwan, an American provocation will be mentioned at the heart of it. For we can assume that such an explanation will be coming from Beijing, just as canine barking was first condemned in Moscow.

Nevertheless, he advises his Russian Orthodox rank equivalent to avoid transmigration. Patriarch Kirill “cannot turn himself into Putin’s altar boy,” our Holy Father said, with his latest diminution of altar boys.

It is hard to remain on the same page of this strange Argentine hymn book. It takes for granted much that, through the years, anti-Western and anti-Christian, Communist propaganda, told us all to take for granted.

But I was cured of this influence, very early; for as a little boy in Lahore, Pakistan, when my father seemed mortally ill, and my mama without any income, I was presented with a big bag of Smarties by some mysterious American visitors. Generous souls, they had taken upon themselves to rescue us; and their belief that I would share the Smarties with my (sweet) little sister was a touching indication of their guilelessness.

The result was that I became a convinced Neoconservative at the age of five or six, though it would take a few years longer to become a full Reactionary.

The variation of my own political opinions (and some of my religious affectations, too) from that of the current pope might be presented in this way. As I argue, paradoxically in his defence, he makes enough sense that I can see he is wrong. But then, I’m sure the evolution of his views began in a comparable way, with irrefutable facts, like Smarties.

In my evolved view, the West is, or was by its settled, historical habit, Christian and formatively Catholic. Even those who, through the centuries, abandoned the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and tried to throw her off, are still tied to her by nearly invisible strands. We have been trying to leave for three or four centuries, longer in some places, but note that transmigration is not easily achieved.

Our habitual subscription to demonstrable truth and political freedom (rather like Americans) comes with this. One might almost say it involves the capacity to call certain alternative points-of-view, “nonsense,” or something worse. For this is among many concepts that cannot be translated into the tongues of foreign pagans, without the risk of converting them into (Catholic) Christians.

Divisions on a ground

One of my best-kept secrets is an ambition to found an independent state of Circassia, in the north-west Caucasus, along the north-east shore of the Black Sea. This ambition first occurred to me at the age of nine, or perhaps slightly later. I had read, or had read to me, Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” and in my childish confusion, had mistaken the Abyssinian maid (playing on her dulcimer, singing of Mount Abora). I had her confused with a Circassian maiden, taken from another literary source. My geography was vague, especially then, and my race-consciousness was deficient.

Circassian maidens, I had learnt, were the most beautiful in earthly creation (except for Abyssinian maidens?) and while I later encountered only one of them (briefly, in Israel), in her presence I came to believe everything I’d been told.

There was no point in visiting Circassia, however, in the hope of meeting her sisters, as her nation had ceased to be. Her people had been massacred, deported, dispersed, by Russian invaders in the 18th and 19th centuries. This had concluded with the uncommonly brutal “Circassian genocide,” about 1864. It was one of very many barbaric and savage Russian massacres, by which the territories they conquered were depopulated.

It will also make the establishment of my Circassian republic (or better, khanate, or kingdom) more difficult — for the descendants of the one or two millions who once lived there, and spoke the Circassian dialects (from Adyghe in the west, to Kabardian in the east), are reduced to the few interbred with Russians, &c.

Nevertheless, there is a fine territory — green cedarn hills and fertile ground — between Ukraine and the independent state of Georgia (after Georgian “Abhkasia” has been recovered from Vladimir Putin’s military monkeys). For the Russians seem only to have murdered 90 percent of the inhabitants of Circassia, missing a few strays.

I should think the people of both Ukraine and the Caucasus could sleep easier if Russian access to the Black Sea was permanently withdrawn.

Estonian women are also extraordinarily beautiful, and many have survived Russian incursions to the present day. They are among the speakers of the Finnic languages, and my projects include the recovery of Karelia (which Stalin took), and the Kola peninsula (home for the peaceful Lapps). But this is not to forget the land immediately north of (Old Slavonic) Novgorod, centred on “Sankt-Petersburg” since 1703, by the architectural enterprise of Tsar Peter the Great. It is in many respects a gracious city, and I wouldn’t want harm to come to it.

But the surrounding countryside was occupied by Ingrians — another Finnic-speaking people — before another Russian genocide. The re-establishment of an Ingrian nation (or call it, Izhorian, if you prefer) would add another to the attractive collection of wee Baltic states. My proposed Free State of Königsberg (replacing the Kaliningrad oblast) would shoo Russia away from its last ice-free winter port.

I believe Winston Churchill said, at the end of World War II, that he loved Germanies so well that he wanted as many as possible. I have something of the same sentiment today: there can’t be enough ex-Russian states for me. To be practical, I count some eighty-five states into which Mother Russia could dissolve, plus whatever we find under the ice in Siberia.