Saturday night thought

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at quarter past nine.”

The quote, and its variants, have been attributed to Faulkner, Maugham, and whichever hack comes to mind as the esprit du jour. I expect it will be traced to a little-read passage in the table talk of Virgil.

My own (wormlike) witlessness can be attributed to the hard fact that, I am often busy at nine-fifteen. Or perhaps there was some other reason why, at whatever time, I found myself staring at a blank page, or glancing down my handlist of a thousand topics, or at titles inscribed on a thousand book spines, without anything genial coming to mind. So it has been today, gentle reader — who, were he desperate for David Warren Thought, could have consulted the Catholic Thing (here).

But at this late hour a promising question arrives, from a remote place in the Canadas:

“Mr Warren, I have been trying to articulate a definition of Toryism for myself. Newman called it loyalty to persons; Enoch Powell said it is the belief that power is immanent in institutions; Walter Bagehot said that it constitutes enjoyment (i.e. of institutions and traditions); and Samuel Johnson (the original Idler) said a Tory is one who adheres to the ancient constitution and to the Apostolic Church. You in turn have called it the political expression of a religious view of life; without faith it becomes conservatism; without memory it becomes progressive conservatism. Could you furnish me with another definition of Toryism, your own?”

What is there to add?

Having thought on this while reheating a portion of mushroom pizza, for my supper up here in the High Doganate, I have decided to reply:

“Put not your faith in Toryism, but in Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”