Essays in Idleness

DAVID WARREN

I’ve had enough

In the spirit of Ranting Week, up here in the High Doganate, let me quote Patrick Henry, the distinguished revolutionist from the Commonwealth of Virginia. “Give me Liberty, or give me Death,” he declared before the House of Burgesses, with Washington and Jefferson apparently in attendance. In exchange for this inflammatory rhetoric, I suppose my Loyalist ancestors would have liked to give him Death. But that was in 1775, when what we came to call the American Revolution was still at the talking stage.

A quarter of a millennium later, I think the British were right to offer the Continental Congress something like the “Dominion” status they later offered the Canadians: practical independence, without the blood and gore. But in human nature — a subject I have studied — a point comes when peaceful and undramatic solutions may be discounted. The Americans, as objects of the ministrations of the minions of the late King George III, had had enough. They had even dumped a cargo of tea into Boston Harbour, when that gummint was trying to lower tea taxes. (It just wasn’t “rep by pop.”)

Ich habe genug,” as we sing in the Bach Cantata (BWV 82) — another meaning for the same words. “I’ve had enough,” meaning, I have lived long enough, seen enough, done enough and received enough; I am content — to die in the arms of Jesus my Saviour.

The modern mind, e.g. Patrick Henry’s, could not possibly associate this attitude with a realization of Liberty, and wouldn’t devote the time to try. We have been wired, since generations before him, to imagine a conflict between the Church (i.e. Jesus), and the Rights of Man. Christ Himself knew this conflict, and first distinguished Church from State. (“Give unto Caesar.”) They needn’t be in conflict, but they are not the same thing.

Liberty of the kind Patrick Henry was shouting is, finally, the cry of the trapped animal. I leave to gentle reader’s judgement, whether the animal had trapped himself. But compare Christ: “That you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There are variants in the wording, but all make clear that His kingdom is not of this world. Gummints can offer neither truth nor freedom.

Our worldly authorities, in most jurisdictions outside South Dakota, have trapped us as animals. They have put us under control of a Public Health bureaucracy that is as laughably incompetent as it is malign. It deals with humans exclusively as bodies, and their survival as a statistical proposition; in addition to which, they lie about the statistics, and can’t count.

But we are moderns. We use the word “soul” in a purely rhetorical way, and use the rest of our Christian inheritance as trinkets for a pawn shop. These don’t fetch much, these days, when a church can only be understood as a place where viruses are transmitted.

Yet here is the mysterious wisdom of Patrick Henry. Liberty is crucial, even to the apprehension of God. Without the freedom of the truly human, we are reduced to animals. And if you trap us, we are bound to make a scene.

Monday morning rant

“Reciprocal, sterilizing mistrust.”

This is a phrase I have lifted from the recent complaint of the bishops of France, to the Vatican congregation about Summorum Pontificum. A friend has been working on the translation. Our ecclesial oldies (my observation) continue to advance, or shove, doctrinal “talking points” they have “evolved” from (still my opinion) wrong interpretations of Vatican II — towards (down the throats of) the lay and clerical faithful. Believers, in their turn, continue to hunger for the Gospel and the Mass. In particular, the young are attracted to traditional Catholicism, if they are attracted to Catholicism at all. They, and their hippie elders, exhibit mutual distrust. It is the new generation gap. Or, in the cowboy colloquial, neither has the other’s back.

But overall, few Catholics today are attracted to their religion. This becomes evident if you look at them. Over here on west-side Atlantic, we may now start at the top, with a new, nominally Catholic, “POTUS.” He favours various unambiguously anti-Catholic policies, from abortion-on-demand to making nuns pay for condoms. It would be easier to define him as a common fern, however, than as a leader of men. Something called a “Kamala” stands to replace him. (I am reminded of an Ottawa journalist, years ago, who described the first female leader of our socialist NDP as, “the houseplant from the shop of horrors.”) We might as well start at the bottom, instead.

I have encountered constant frustration when trying to explain, to self-styled “modern Catholics,” the most elementary precepts of the religion they claim to profess. They defend themselves, when they intuit that they are under attack, with one of the two known arguments all progressive moderns use. One is, “How dare you!” And the other is, “Shut up!”

Yet most being innocent, at least of education, they cannot be held responsible for their views. These originate in the mass culture, passing through its Internet stage. Currently, our tech lords conceive their task as “unifying.” This means bringing the two arguments together into a single, aggressive, silencing of discordant voices.

At present, the Googlies are doing a better job of co-opting governments, than vice versa, but as the latter retain their monopoly on serious, military power, I assume that gummint will be taking over Big Tech fairly soon. (I’d put my money on a low-tech sledgehammer, over a high-tech algorithm, any day.) Thanks to innovations such as Red China’s extremely successful “social credit” system, that enforces round-the-clock conformity at every street corner and inside every home, universal idiocy can then be obtained. “Conservatives” will look back on the tech lords fondly.

Now, what is the connexion between these two things — the collapse of civilization into the black hole of “cancel culture,” and the intellectual, spiritual, and physical decline of the Roman Catholic Church?

Having created what we still call Western Civ, the Church should be at the heart of resistance to its destruction. But it isn’t at the heart of anything at the moment.

O Lord, please insert spines where required.

Creative fatalism

Although it is expensive to know one, a lawyer can make an entertaining pet, and in an age like this, he may have one hundred and one household uses. Delectable, are many of the phrases he derives from the law. Among my favourites is, “an abundance of caution.” I close my eyes, and wonder at what a large family of cautions would look like; or a political rally where all are holding their cautions aloft; or a subway platform at rush hour, with all the countless cautions waiting for their train.

Left to myself, I do not think I could produce an abundance of cautions. Perhaps when I was younger. By now I am settled into an incautious old age, and thanks to the Batflu lockdowns, &c, do one thing after another without the advice of a lawyer, to say nothing of the company of one.

This is my retirement savings plan. A penny saved is a penny earned, and so cutting out the expense of lawyers makes a rich pension indeed. Out of an abundance of caution, however, I try to maintain myself without positive money. This is my strategy to avoid being sued.

But in the world outside of the High Doganate, the cautious prevail. I think of a friend always counting his change. As only “debit cards” may now be accepted, he can throw caution to the wind. In our brave new world of electronic transactions, even gold is reduced from “hard” to “soft.”

This is not as new as might appear. Years ago (many) I had a job for which I was partially paid into a gold account in Hong Kong. This was to dodge taxes in another Asiatic jurisdiction. Too, I liked the idea of gold, which does not badly rust like so many other metals, or tarnish like silver coins, in sometimes unsightly ways. However, being some kind of “economic journalist” then, I knew how to access statistical tables.

It turned out that there were ten times as many troy ounces of nominal gold, stored away in the world’s safest places, than there was solid gold to be found — on the same planet. Ninety percent of this gold was paper, then, and would be electrons today, on some leftist creep’s fickle server.

I was mildly scandalized. My gold was as whimsical as my Mighty Dollars. It was underwritten not by something in real shiny bars, stacked in Fort Knox, but by the public imagination. Several billion people, “liquid” or not, agreed not to ask too many questions; wisely, perhaps, or they would all go mad. That the whole of the international economy was the equivalent of a monstrous pyramid scheme, was something they would rather not know.

My curiosity on this account was matched by many other idle interests. These have continued through the years. For instance, I was once curious about a cancer, which was treated in various excruciating ways, such as by chemotherapy. One might read pages and pages about it, in impenetrable jargon; which I’m sure people do when they think they might have it.

But having done all this, I discovered, one’s prospects of survival were approximately the same as if one hadn’t. Surely, prayer would have been less intrusive upon one’s weak and failing body. And it would also be cheaper.

Or, why give up smoking if you’re dying anyway? Or drinking, if your liver is shot? Or do anything that makes you unhappy, when you have little time left to enjoy?

“Wellness” doesn’t read the New England Journal of Medicine. Why should you?

I’m trying to avoid mentioning the Batflu again, but that isn’t easy. Rather, I will recommend “creative fatalism.” This is slightly different from “moronic fatalism,” such as I observed among construction crews back in that Third World — before “an abundance of caution” was imposed on them. (I was for giving them Darwin Awards, instead.) They would no more wear helmets than safety belts, on their bamboo scaffolding up in the sky. Their attitude was, “if it’s not my day, it’s not my day.”

Similarly, the bus drivers hanging out over the road to starboard. This was to make room for Buddha to drive. I doubted their doctrinal reasoning, for if it were Buddha driving, he ignored speed limits, and steered recklessly. (I preferred the Zen attitude that was, if you meet Buddha in the street, punch him.)

Let me suggest there are precautions one should take, like not making out with Typhoid Mary. Please don’t accuse me of imprudence. But there are risks one should be willing to take, in light of the fact that we’ll all die anyway, and you can’t take anything with you to Heaven. Not even your stamp collection. Not even your collection of Vatican stamps.

The consensus v. the consensual

Don’t tell God anything is impossible. Gentle reader and writer have, and can have, no idea about such things. But we can have a hold on what is possible, or likely, under earthly conditions on an average day. One might call that “knowledge”; or “science,” as some do. Example:

We are no more likely to be rid of the Internet, than of nuclear weapons, in our future. I cannot write about the unforeseeable, because it is unforeseeable. But within my limited purview, I might speculate on how these two nightmares might be moderated. I don’t think either can be made less dangerous. The best one can hope is for some growing appreciation of how much damage they can do, when used gratuitously.

Having no degree in either field, I try not to write what will be contradicted by an expert. On the other hand, “expert” has become a murky concept. Once we had to distinguish only between demonstrated credible experts, and villains. Common sense could usually tell them apart. But with the growth of our “sophistication,” the category of villainy has been much expanded. We have a category of institutionally credentialled experts who aren’t exactly liars, but more like what Harry G. Frankfurt defined as “bullshitters.” They struggle to remain plausible, but are using their expertise to advance interested views. And, having such motives — in opposition to the plain pursuit of truth — they seek publicity, and angle to obtain it.

As Dr Frankfurt hinted, in his short philosophical treatise on this topic (On Bullshit, 2005), these can be, and usually are, more trouble than old-fashioned liars. For a real liar knows he is lying, and can be caught out. By comparison, the modern media expert avoids what is strictly checkable, not only to protect himself, but from indifference for truth. He is, according to me, the intellectual descendant of the mediæval Nominalists, adumbrating words, not realities. While less intelligent than his predecessors, he carries on the tradition of saying that something is true because he says so.

“Consensus science” is of this nature. In it, truth can be negotiated, or imposed. While the weather next Saturday will be known to the living, a prediction for much later in the century has no meaning. From the number of variables in play, I can tell you with certainty, that woke “climatologists” are talking bosh; and every signature on their consensus I may add to my list of persons to ignore. This is elementary stuff: and I do try to stick to what is elementary, and foreseeable.

The success rate, for elaborate predictions, remains, at this point in our history, zero-point-zero. But it is becoming so also for the present, and past. The Batflu, here, is current primary example. Owing to obvious manipulation, we cannot know much about its effects. In rough terms, we can know that they are exaggerated, because almost every expert has a vested interest in getting the numbers up, and those who disagree will be punished. The same is true for all the popular remedies, including such nonsense as mangle-wearing, and obsessive social distancing. No legitimate research lies behind either, so we must assume the purposes for various lockdown orders are not actually the Batflu.

It has spread everywhere, by now, and the fact that almost nothing can be done about that, can be put to the advantage of our social engineers. By pretending that they can control it, they have their excuse for controlling us.

But we can’t know about the past of this epidemic, either. By concealing or confusing the origin of the virus, Red Chinese rulers were acting in their own interest; yet also in the interest of the Western expert class. In this field, as in so many others, origins are vital to the facts going forward. They must cultivate vagueness, even on cause and effect of vaccines. For how can they control people, who know, fairly clearly, what is going on?

Be afraid, be very afraid, is all that they will tell us, for the foreseeable future.

Convenience

Back in the day, when I was trying to build a wee publishing empire, that would offer a few lordly voices to talented people who might otherwise become servants of mediocrity and glibness — nearly two score years ago — I found to my surprise there was enthusiasm for it. But too, opposition from the most surprising quarters. For instance, commercial publishers were instinctively repelled. They weren’t just the (leftwing) “arts councils” that blocked us, whenever opportunity called. Ad agencies were also scandalized.

I once received a memorable, hectoring lecture from an otherwise friendly ad executive, giving me a lift home from a party we had both attended. As I hint, I rather liked this guy, and his decisive, “tough as nails” approach to messy issues. He was not, like other advertising people, an incurable “suck-up.” He would explain, without hogwash, why it was in his customer’s interest to buy something; what the benefits were, and what the drawbacks of a false frugality. But he would also candidly qualify what he said in his sales pitches. He didn’t ask, “What is truth?” — but characteristically told it. Moreover he showed the other qualities of a good and decent salesman. He would not take it personally if he didn’t make the sale. He’d continue to be helpful.

Pontius, as I will call him, was explaining to me why my Idler magazine could never serve a larger market, and why it was certain to fail, even if I struggled heroically for a few years. He, personally, enjoyed the magazine, but that was the kiss of death. All in all, it wasn’t worth doing. He would offer to help, but really, that would be like peddling drugs to a minor. Rather than lead me astray, he said, “Cut your losses.” I had real potential in real publishing, he suggested, and so, it was time for me to “suck up.”

This was advice meant kindly. He was acting in loco parentis to what he perceived to be an orphan boy. He could be my Lord Chesterfield: “the Machiavelli of the minors.” He could point to my path of least resistance. He used the word, “convenience,” brashly.

Had I listened to him, I might have saved myself about half-a-million dollars. Had I ever found a generous investor, I might have cost him a few millions more. In fact, I briefly did, and had he not had some genius for spotting tax deductions, I would have cost him.

While I never met Pontius again (I had met him before), I remember him so vividly, that I hear his echo in the words of other men. A ruthless man, on the surface, yet with a heart of silver, if one were onside. A reliably honest advisor, to those who would be his friends.

The Church, I reflected, was from her beginning, a very bad business proposition; and becoming her “client” (getting baptized) was not a very sensible career move.

To relax my analogy somewhat, there are fools who are drawn to music and art. In this world, most become miserable failures, unrecognized while struggling on the cusp of penury, or below. But a tiny few strike it rich. Paradoxically, great success need not involve compromise. One hits the Zeitgeist at a sweet point, and Bob’s your uncle. (I had an uncle named Bob.) Luck is the great bestower of riches in this world; you have it or you don’t. And while it may be true that some are good at surfing it, there are waves in the ocean you will not survive.

Returning to Pontius, he had an answer to this: a formula for success in business. It was in his word, “convenience.” The market is, consciously and unconsciously, searching at every moment for the easy way out. This pertains even to buying groceries. No one has made a fortune by launching a chain of Inconvenience Stores. Bear that in mind if you want to make a million.

The next morning after my ride with Pontius, when I went into the workplace, I assigned myself first thing a calligraphy task. I composed yet another motto to hang on the wall of the Idler office:

“Always forsake the easy way out.”

Wealth & power

Hypocrisy is often dismissed as a humdrum moral vice; rather as pæderasty, or buggery, or commissioning abortions: things considered very grave in the past, but now quite acceptable among progressive persons. One feels almost cruel, or envious, to criticize the adept hypocrite. How dare we try to withdraw the air in which he lives and breathes? “Zero tolerance” is directed at more serious vices, such as having wrong opinions, or voting Republican.

As Paul Valéry said, “Power without abuse loses its charm,” and when, for instance, a governor who proclaims crippling Batflu restrictions is seen ignoring them, he is outraged. His critics are his opponents, he reasons; they really ought to be investigated first!

A milder, general criticism is sometimes made, about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. How is it that prominent environmentalists burn so much jet fuel in their travels from one conference to another, at the world’s most lavish resorts? Shouldn’t they go about in sackcloth and ashes, as they tell us to do?

This is to misunderstand their hypocrisy. We assume they are motivated by greed, and the love of pleasure, the way we would be. But why must it be piled on so thick? Many a jetsetter hardly uses the jacuzzis. He takes a quick shower, because he has another aeroplane to catch.

Yes, most people are attracted to the sumptuous, but in a fine and private way. They rarely encourage the paparazzi, or wish to be watched over their fences and walls. They hire security, to scare trespassers away. Servants, up to a point, must be endured, but in the past they could be ignored, the way we ignore appliances. I may not have a toaster, but I do have a stove, and could swear that it is staring at me. But it was manufactured in the 1960s, so I needn’t fear it has an Internet connexion. And besides, if it did, it wouldn’t be reporting to the tabloids, but to technical staff. We try to ignore them, at least so long as we can pretend they are equivalent to our maids and butlers.

It is hard for a modern to understand wealth; especially as it is so often distributed among the lowest classes, who rose to prominence through politics or business. In the past we understood why the prince lived well. He was born to that station. He needed the wealth, and to be seen flaunting it, as a mark of his power. His subjects might not take him seriously if he didn’t have a palace. They might laugh at him.

Our misunderstandings come from attributing to unthinking hypocrisy, what is perfectly calculated. For the truth is, human nature never changes, and wealth continues to express power. Hypocrisy, itself, is a signal of high station. I continue to enjoy the excuse of a Canadian Liberal politician, who was “called out” for obscene self-indulgence at the taxpayer’s expense, by a Parliamentary committee. He angrily rejoined, “I am entitled to my entitlements.” Like a Nancy Pelosi showing off the extravagant contents of her refrigerators, he was duly re-elected. Impressing the peasantry is an essential task.

Why don’t “conservatives” understand? The answer is, they are also moderns, and often have the same “born yesterday” quality they attribute to the “liberals.” They don’t understand, for instance, that it is their wealth and fame that entitles the Hollywood stars to mouth off, whether or not they know anything. You’d think we’d get that.

Wealth is a means to display power, much more than vice versa, but as power leads to amassing more wealth, hooo. It is a natural phenomenon, like the water cycle. The pretence of using one’s power to advance the public weal, is no different now than it was in the 15th century; or in the 10th, &c. And there were satirists then, too.

Plutarch on envy & hatred

Today, I thought as I was rising (under lockdown conditions), I should be reading Plutarch. Gentle reader may know this author, born into the middle of the first century, chiefly through Shakespeare, born fifteen centuries later. For Plutarch’s voluminous Parallel Lives is primary source material for Shakespeare’s plays set in antiquity, and necessary background for his broader views on history, on public life and politics, civic virtue, and on ethics in a more contemplative sense. But Plutarch was also central to Rabelais, Montaigne, and many other leading figures of the Renaissance and later. Successive translations of Plutarch have been formative within all European literatures. My own reprint of Philemon Holland’s into English (he was the translator-general to the Elizabethan age) is an irreplaceable treasure: accurate in a way our breathless contemporary translations have ceased to be.

The Plutarch I have loved most, from my own formation in grade school, is the Plutarch of the Moralia — that sprawling collection of the miscellaneous essays plausibly attributed to him. So many survived the “fall of Rome” because they remained current in the unfallen Eastern Rome of Byzantium, in Plutarch’s famously transparent, accessible Greek. He was known at least vaguely to our own Middle Ages in the West, and wherever he could be read, was beloved. This was so in his own lifetime, too. More even than the Orwell-like clarity of his language, it was his spirit that was so attractive, so warmly companionable; his genius in expressing a learned and uncontentious authority. Where, for instance, he finds malice in his biographical subjects, he neither condemns nor excuses.

Plutarch draws us in, simultaneously: to the world of mind, and the world of action. This is why he can seem so recent, still. The reader is confident that he is telling the truth about events, in a way blind, like justice. He is chaste, in the non-ribald sense. His freedom from pomposity never strays into the opposite vice, of excessive familiarity. To his contemporaries, exactly as to us, he was the reliable advisor, above party or faction.

Paradoxically, most great writers, in all languages I think, are bad at second languages. Though resident in the city of Rome in his prime, and its, he was a poor Latinist, and rather part of the élite ghetto of Greek-speakers there; but “urbane, cosmopolitan.” He considered himself a Roman, and acquired the citizenship. He apparently thought as a Roman, even in youthful travels to Egypt and perhaps beyond. Returned and retired to his native Chaeronea, a mere village in Boeotia, he is a proud local patriot, and a patriotic Roman; a citizen of the world.

Coming only decades after Christ, he is still pre-Christian pagan in his knowledge. He represents the best of that classical civilization: the very humanity that was finally able to receive Christ. In moments, he seems almost a pagan Augustine in his morally-passionate, unexcitable calm, his immortal kindliness and peaceful, settled courage — in his immovable common sense.

He knows the human condition, and reading, this morning, “over his shoulder” again, I find him truly informative on envy and hatred. If he hates, he hates the former much more than the latter.

For envy undermines all amity of feeling; is the great destroyer of brotherly love. It invades the heart of the self-righteous, whereas our pure prejudicial hatreds are shared with the mindless brute beasts. One might thus say that they are innocent, by comparison. But Envy seeks mischief, and can never be assuaged.

For any one, at any time, Christian or non-Christian, this is an important thing to know; to be on one’s guard against envy building in one’s own soul. It easily masks itself as virtue. We would rather detract from and subvert the accomplishments of others, than benefit ourselves. It is a “hate crime” that worms beyond any hate crime, and there are moments when it is governing the world.

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.