Philosophy: faster, please

A correspondent tells me I’ve been writing too much about Canada. I can see what he means. He is writing from the Natted States Merica. The centre of my world (at present) is Parkdale. Beyond this there is Greater Parkdale, then America (which includes the NSM), then Christendom (I’m not sure what this includes any more), then The Human World and then, to be as inclusive as possible, The Creation, in which we find God and Man. Others, I see, write from other places.

Well, we’re having an election up here. These happen every four years or so, at the Dominion level. Politicians have been tampering with the intervals, trying to make them regular, like in the Natted States. Their tampering has added considerably to the chaos.

Elections make politicians anxious, which is why I suppose they want fewer of them. In Britain, just now, the political class has decided that, as there is a very big question that must be answered, they mustn’t have an election. That would be undemocratic. Democracy (for them) means that the people mustn’t get in the way of the politicians, especially during a crisis, after the politicians have made a hideously embarrassing botch of … everything.

I’m with them in their view of The People. I’m with The People in my view of them.

But getting back to this question of location. I can’t see how Parkdale is not the centre of the universe. My Chief Texas Correspondent says it is instead Montgomery County, and I can see his point, too. I would concede that the world has multiple centres, were it not that I’d appear to be conceding to the Dictatorship of Relativism, and I try to avoid that. So I’ll stick with Parkdale. Indeed, I could narrow this to the High Doganate, which has a population of one. I can find everything that’s wrong in Christendom within this space, and all its moral flaws within its single inhabitant. C’est la vie.

However, as other people are involved in this mess, which seems to extend beyond the horizon, my attempts at inclusiveness may continue.

Another correspondent — and this one from Canada — asks how he should vote. My advice was to figure it out for himself. Either don’t vote, if you are a man of principle (or I should mention women, since they are now armed with the vote, too). Or if you are more pragmatic, vote Conservative to get the Liberals out of power. For surely the argument that the Conservatives have no principles is a nugatory point, if you have none either.

I have come to find it almost irritating when (self-styled) conservatives talk about their principles, as if they had their own set. There can be, by my count, only one set of political principles. These can only be multiplied when all the rest are false. If we are going to discuss political principles, then we are going to discuss political philosophy (or “science,” in the old sense), and for starters, get thee to Plato and Aristotle. Then advance, slowly by reason, to the Scholastics — and eventually to the moderns, if you have the stomach for them. All the questions raised in politics have been seriously discussed already, in such quarters as these.

The principles are not local, although their application can be — and must necessarily be, under present conditions of space and time. It is only in that sense that “all politics are local.”

On the Canadian election, incidentally, this time I’m inclined to be pragmatic.