Essays in Idleness


Should slavery be restored?

“Democracy is not possible without slavery,” a Japanese lady once explained to me. I think what she meant, at the time, was that democracy simply isn’t possible, at least under modern conditions. But this Hifumi (“one-two-three” in Japanese), always meant more or less than I could follow.

Our discussion included reflections upon modern “time-saving” devices. Here I use the scare quotes because these technological gadgets don’t really save time; they waste it being set up, and endlessly repaired. The ancient “oppressed” housewife, or her slave(s) for that matter, just did things directly, before intricate human was replaced by crude mechanical energy.

Would machines (“appliances”) count as slaves in Hifumi’s worldview? And did they make “democracy” possible once again?

“No,” she insisted. They are like Pharaoh’s slaves: too numerous, and impractical to feed.

Rather (I think) she was arguing for the restoration of social hierarchy, in which a portion of the population are electors, but a much larger portion don’t count. This has nothing to do with race, incidentally: we could have black masters and white slaves, rather as BLM now propose. But: “Race gets in the way of clear thinking.” Hifumi found racism despicable.

Under inquisition, this Japanese theoretician turned her attention to Greece. She proved well-informed about Greek, especially Attic, democratic arrangements.

Gentle reader will recall that, under those arrangements, only free native adult males voted — but directly, not only on leadership (when it was not chosen by lot), but on various good things, such as naval measures, and who should be ostracized this year. (Imagine Trump being re-elected, but simultaneously exiled for the next decade.) Foreigners, even if free, were excluded for multiple generations, and it would go without saying that women and slaves were excluded from decision-making of any kind.

“But you call yourself a feminist,” I reminded her, once.

Hifumi replied, “I am. I’m sure I could control any man’s vote.” She was implacably opposed to the secret ballot.

So why slaves?

Her answer was not entirely mundane. True, they would be useful for domestic tasks, but truer, “at least two-thirds” of the population naturally belong to the slave or serf class. They have no use for freedom, and if it were granted, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Tell them to take responsibility for anything, and they are likely to run away. You could tell them to wear bat-masks and they would all just obey. (Well okay, I added that last bit.)

It was an interesting point-of-view. I’ve lost track of Hifumi. Last thing I heard she was being run out of Hong Kong, for giving her opinion of the Chinese, and I was curious when she would be run out of Tokyo. That was more than twenty years ago. You couldn’t have an honest discussion, even then.

Bat-mask protocols

The difference between a million and a billion is not generally understood, except sometimes in Britain, where the arithmetically sophisticated may still say, “a thousand million.” But even they would lack the patience to count. Trillions sail over everyone’s head, like distant comets. I can myself barely distinguish between hundreds and thousands, and must be careful how many zeroes I put on my rent cheque. Let me not criticize those who get it wrong. Too, they should take care when voting. Never vote for a man who promises trillions, unless you are sure that he can afford it. He should own at least one international bank, and a few large trading companies. Maybe at least half of a big city. Otherwise, it is likely to be you, who will be left on the hook for his debts.

The same holds for the micro scale. Few, including scientists, or more commonly, scienticists, can conceive of something that is very, very small. He resorts to math. But the same trouble he might have with decimals, follows him over the decimal-place dot — especially if he is a public health expert. He can’t actually conceive of the numbers he is using. He might try an analogy. This can sometimes be useful, not only to explain a concept to others, but more urgently, to explain it to oneself.

Let us take a virus, for example. It is very small. Could it get through the mesh of a cloth face mask?

Suppose gentle reader is afflicted by mosquitoes at his cottage. Could he keep them out by putting a chain-link fence across the gate to his property? No? What if the chain-link fence is very tall? Still no? Could he even keep out his neighbour’s pet ferret? As ferret-owners among my readers will confirm, only while the animal is in one of his deep sleeps.

Make the mesh finer. Wakeful ferrets may still go under, over, or around. Make it as fine as chicken wire. The mosquitoes still pass right through. Will it stop even one? Guess the answer.

At her cottage, my little sister has something that looks like a badminton racket. It has a battery in the handle. If this is working, when the switch is turned on, one may wave it through a cloud of mosquitoes, in a most satisfying way. Snap snap snap! For it is death on mosquitoes. True, it is just a portable mesh, but the electricity makes all the difference.

Perhaps we should be wearing electrified face-masks against the (Red Chinese) Batflu, but I see another problem. Not everyone likes to have his face electrified. Indeed, it would be hard to design an effective mask. The space suit and the oxygen tanks are the expensive parts. But designing a cheap one out of cloth, that people can afford to buy, is a much simpler proposition.

I carry one around, in the back pocket of my trousers. It has served me for several weeks now. A kindly friend gave it to me. I take it out whenever I must enter a store, or other place that might have people in it. In obedience to the latest nanny-state law, I put it on. This is to keep everybody happy. I realize it is useless against a virus, but I’m trying to avoid getting beaten up. That, I think, is the only thing it’s good for.

Standing tall

The Great Pyramid of Giza was, by reputation, and probably by intention, the tallest building in the world, back when it was completed around 2560 BC. Oldest of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, it stood about five hundred feet high, when its smooth limestone casing stones were still in place — taller than the much later Lighthouse of Alexandria. But unlike the latter, the Pyramid is still there, and may be attracting tourists until the Islamists finally blow it up. (They’ve been promising to do this for decades.) If gentle reader is somehow able to visit, eluding Batflu restrictions, he may be as impressed as I was, some twenty years ago. I can attest that it is big.

Until 1311 AD, it retained the height distinction, according to the Wicked Paedia. Then it was supplanted by Lincoln Cathedral, in England. But when Lincoln’s central spire collapsed, shortly after the accession of Edward VI, it was (like Charles I) considerably shortened; and the spire was never restored. I believe the Rouen Cathedral, in Normandy, thus overtook it; but maybe it was Cologne. I haven’t checked; my understanding is that the mediaeval plan for Cologne wasn’t completed until the 19th century. I think the Lutherans set out to top its height, at Ulm. However, there were many similarly tall Gothic spires, across Europe.

Had the spire of Lincoln not fallen, however, it might have retained the title of tallest until the Eiffel Tower was erected, in 1887. Since, the engineers have been busy, and the Burj Khalifa now stands a half mile high, at Dubai. Modern narcissism will soon exceed that.

The tallest elsewhere in Asia was once the 7th-century pagoda of Hwangnyongsa, in Korea. It was less that half the height of the Giza pyramid, and a good hundred feet shorter than the Alexandria lighthouse. Only the foundations remain; but give it points for having been constructed entirely of wood, without nails, in nine majestic tiers. (Today, some dozens of office towers in Seoul have doubled it, or better.)

For a thousand years, Hagia Sophia at Constantinople was the largest church in Christendom (in volume, though not in height); until converted to a mosque by the Infidel Turk, upon his conquest of old Byzantium in 1453.

He has done it again. Recep Erdogan, the unspeakable tyrant and savage, gave the order to have its Christian icons once again covered, just a few days ago. It will no longer be the secular “museum,” that was by far modern Turkey’s most popular tourist destination. We can hope the more monied and jet-setting Christians will still be let in to gape, upwards into its magnificent vault, in the intervals between Mussulman prayers.

Monuments and wonders of this world all come down, eventually — those of noble construction and high art equally with the monuments to greed, envy, shallow pride, and high finance. We must not take their conquest or destruction to heart, but instead build new and better.

Thoughts on identity

I think we should all aspire to be gentlemen; except those of us who aspire to be ladies. It is not my business if someone should aspire to be something else, though I must say it gets confusing. It becomes actually disordering, the more he insists upon it.

What if there were some third category, of persons still to be identified as human? (As opposed to another, less elevated species.) He might aspire to be “working class,” or whatever; a class in which I’m inclined to place both wage-paying employers, and wage-paid employees; “salarymen” of all kinds. For whether the servants or slaves of money, in avarice and venality they are all much alike. But I have met gentlemen and ladies from this class, and others among the salt of the earth, earning their livings in lazy or unimaginative ways. So long as they are polite, I would let them be.

Some, however, are of the outré sort, whom I call “leftists.” I include in this category everyone who is beyond the pale. (By which I don’t mean An Pháil, because the plurality aren’t Irish.) Let us judge them as the London police used to do, back in the day when they were unarmed: taking note only of the tone of their voices, the looks on their faces, and the way they are dressed.

Generally, the policeman will have little to do with a lady, unless she is inconvenienced, or asks for directions. (Women are notoriously weak on space and time; but I’ve met some exceptions.) On the other hand, a man who has failed to be a gentleman will, and should, engage his attention. I would not arrest or beat him, however, simply for his demeanour; rather, for an ungentlemanly act. Only criminals need to be escorted to a gaol, when they are indiscreet about it. Or leftists, which is pretty much the same thing.

Should everyone, regardless of sex (illiterate people say “gender”), aspire to be white? Here I disagree with the cosmetic merchants. I have noticed, all my life so far as I remember, a nearly universal tendency to lighten the skin. (One thinks for instance of Joe Biden, flattering the younger Barack Obama on the lightness of his negritude.) Though contrarily, there are people who seem too white already, and may be looking for a suntan (more likely to turn their colour towards red). But I find dark-skinned people especially attractive; and I delight, too, in various other forms of physiognomic variety. I enjoy the beautiful, but also the grotesque.

So here, as in sex, I am the partisan of nature. Let the ladies, especially, eschew the cosmeticians, except for the little points of emphasis on which I am happy to allow them to indulge. Let people be, unselfconsciously, as they are. Or wear shoe polish over it, for all I care. (I draw the line at Justin Trudeau’s loud socks.)

Everyone is a racist, some sagacious person said; but among the polite, the racism should always be affectionate. For otherwise, it might become crass, and ill-tempered.

Nationality is quite a different issue. The issue is citizenship, and thus has nothing to do with race. This is something that binds us, across manifold divisions, that may include even language, as in Canada.

Need we pledge our allegiance to just one flag? As a monarchist, I’d prefer more diverse heraldic insignia, along with more sublime emblems of affiliation and hierarchy, but there you go. (Republics are so boring.) Each nation has its little eccentricities, for the citizens of other nations, whenever possible, to pretend to ignore. Of course, none of these should be aggressive; or worse, threatening. That’s why we have defensive alliances. But the individual “national” should be no trouble at all, provided that he is a gentleman or lady.

Lately, I have added the vexed matter of “transsexualism,” to my list of popular vexations (which include skateboarding, and basketball). Often I class the “trans” with other people who are unnecessarily assertive about their sex: such as “heterosexuals,” or “homosexuals.” Traditionally, it was not acceptable for anyone to make a “sexual preference” into a demand; for anything, really. This is an ungentlemanly and unladylike thing to do, like wearing a gas mask. Please give the civilized an opportunity to ignore you.

And please, give more consideration to the attributes with which you were born. None were in our power to decide. We are all God’s children, I am told; and should learn to behave, according to assignment. “A place for everyone, and everyone in his place,” as our polite ancestors instinctively understood.

And when we misbehave, let us forgive each other; even and especially, those we need to hang.

Progressive woke & profitable

Among the strange things uttered in these Idleposts, are my reservations about “economic liberalism.” Much of this seems the stranger, because much of the argument is uttered off-post. It is in rambling emails with, for instance, old capitalist friends, who are much “cooler” about present social trends. Yet they are outraged by my slights against holy free trade, and “concerned” that Orange Man Bad is jeopardizing global trade deals. They are “progressive” by instinct, celebrate technology, and are eager to inform me that we’ve never had it so good. Until recently, they have argued that medical conditions have improved since the Dark Ages. For the moment, perhaps, they are less sure.

They are nice people, willing to tolerate any Church of Nice, or even a Church of Nasty if there are business opportunities, such as vast new markets in Araby or China. Without reading Locke they imagine that we should tolerate tolerance, except for people who are in their way; and tolerate intolerance, too. The important thing is “evolution” — not necessarily in the strict Darwinian sense, but in the spirit with which the artful Clinton (the one with the male member) welcomed Red China into the WTO. For, according to the theory, once they get used to making cartloads of money, they’ll buy into “democracy” and all that. They’d never jeopardize global trade.

And well, it worked, as far as making the Maoists rich. By discarding our “value judgements,” real changes are possible in the world. That they are “unexpected” is something we must live with, in the “creative destruction” of our debt-leveraged investments.

Details are the things that often bother me. Abortions and “euthanasia” may seem old debates. That a whole industry is created selling the body parts of the aborted babies, strikes me as, at the minimum, in poor taste. But then, so does selling disabling opiates to “losers,” who missed out on the last plant relocation; or even promoting an addiction to lottery tickets, as a way to tax the poor.

On the other hand, that Black Lives Matter is comfortable with the genocide of black babies in Planned Parenthood clinics, points to a convergence of views. (It’s an “intersectional” thing.) Margaret Sanger was the ultimate liberal, and her commitment to a Nazi-style eugenics programme against inconvenient minorities remains unvisited by the cool. Better to take down the statues of Washington and Lincoln: whose notions of “progress” are now out-of-date.

Forget abortion, it could be argued. In Chinese Turkestan an industry has been founded among the Muslim (current) slaves. Many are lucky, and have jobs assembling products for multinationals in China and abroad. They may be sterilized, and cheated of the fruits of their labour, but they are allowed to live.

Unlike those marked with the right characteristics — who are healthy and at a physical peak, in their late twenties. These may be selected to supply organs, that are needed by older wealthy people in China, and also in a neighbourhood near you. Our best estimates are 25,000 per year at the moment, “donating” organs that may fetch half a million dollars each. These are extracted while the “donors” are still alive, by state-of-the-art surgical methods, to keep those innards fresh and clean. Multiple organs can be extracted from each. Their hair can even make wigs for the fashionable.

Gentle reader is invited to look into this.

Who says there isn’t a market for Uygher body parts? Or those of dissident Christians, for that matter. Who says there aren’t markets for slaves, and haven’t always been where slavery was permitted? Such as West Africa when Western traders came to deal, until the Royal Navy put an end to the export part of the business? But you can still buy Sudanese slaves in Jeddah.

My point is, sometimes capitalism should be restrained. Call me a “social conservative,” for I entertain moral qualms, as opposed to searching for moral equivalents. For in my judgement there are absolutes, and I say this in defiance of all progressive thinking, present and past.

That the capitalists are now queueing to pay off BLM doesn’t surprise me. They could damage the market for Nike shoes. It’s not just that they are panty-wet cowards. At a deeper level, they have sold out their souls. They are naturally sympathetic to the Peking politburo, for instance, and given the opportunity, to organ-harvesting, because that’s where the profits are. If the price is right, they will pay any extortionist’s fee into the bargain. They’re for cutting through red tape, and making the deal. For if they don’t make it, someone else will.

Unless, they are willing to forego business, and risk becoming “losers” themselves. But meanwhile, public attitudes change, and they are perfectly adaptable. In the words of a Canadian folk singer: “God damn them all.”

Apocalyptic aside

“The devil will seem to win in the last days,” said a certain Sister Amadeus to one of my gentle readers, a long time ago. This is a reasonable inference upon the Christian teaching, which does — really, truly — contain an apocalyptic element. (An “element” is irreducible, at least in abstract algebra.)

We have been many times before apparently at the end of days, but not actually there; which is why the Christian must keep his spiritual bags packed, but also continue drinking tea. The world is full of tricks and misapprehensions. The cleverest often get it most wrong, and it is a point of principle, up here in the High Doganate, to distrust the worldly. To reduce the Revelation to a political tussle would be, for instance, quite certainly too clever.

Yet what is not an apocalypse, could still be pretty bad. I have noticed the tenor of reports, lately, from both sides. The expectation of catastrophe is common to them; indeed, the demonic Left is trying to achieve it. All of their efforts are bent on destruction; whereas, only some of the efforts are indisputably evil on the other side. But this was so in 1789, and 1917. We needn’t be surprised.

Appearances are deceptive, but not always so. That the Devil has rolled up “the media, academia, the bureaucracy, most of the armed services, charitable foundations, most of the corporations, and most of the metaphysical speculations that pass for religion,” can be demonstrated, according to my correspondent.

“Good point,” as my cool-headed son would say.

But in the end, both French revolutionists and Bolsheviks were defeated; and eventually even the Batflu successors of Mao, will be disarmed; after another hundred million casualties, or with luck, a lesser count. The moral stench of them lingers to the present day, but it is mixed by now with so many other effluents from the discharge of post-Catholic modernity, that the streams are sometimes hard to distinguish. The great majority of those processed through our “education” systems espouse “Marxism” in some form, today, but the kids are hardly Bolshevik. Their ideology is so diluted by ignorance and stupidity, that they may freely drink the Kool-Aid. (“A rainbow of flavours,” as their advertisements boast.) For the moment, it doesn’t kill them; it just makes them mentally ill.

The good news, even down here in the stew of the news, is that a “backlash” is coming. It takes some time to gather force, but I see many signs that it is growing. People tire of being ordered about by malicious clowns; and one by one, decent people detach themselves from the Movement.

That does not mean the backlash wins, however; or even that, if it won, it would lead us to a better place. I, at least, am too world-weary to embrace a smiley-face optimism. But as I’ve been writing, in the cause of Hope — Truth, Goodness, and Beauty will survive. In the end these prevail, on Earth as in Heaven, even when it appears that all is badly lost.


It is a sign of age, I fear, but I seem to be the last person to lament the declining quality of our Anarchists. Those of more than a century ago were rugged individualists, to a fault. With one well-placed bomb, they could do what takes the contemporary anarchist a cumbersome bureaucratic organization. They were men of action; and some of the women, too. No one could confuse them with party hacks. You could not coerce them into a party line.

When I was younger and, perhaps, more spunky, I used to read Proudhon and Kropotkin. These were all very well, but the systemizing tendency had infected both. Utopianism also muddled their thinking. Without going back to Zeno of Cilium, let me just say that the posterior tradition in recommending anarchy was more subtle and arch. (Read the Antigone, for instance. Today it’s just the brand name for a Givenchy bag.) Anarchy was an inheritance from Greece and even Rome. It could never have been reduced to an election manifesto.

It is interesting that the first English use of the term, anarchisme, dates back to Henry VIII. Those resisting his Divorce and Reformation were taken to be anarchists. Nobly they defended the ancient liturgical order, in such spontaneous actions as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Prominent anarchists of our modern age have, at their best (or worst, depending on one’s point-of-view), had dodgy ideological affiliations, but a real appreciation for economy of means. One thinks of e.g. Gavrilo Princip, the ingenious Serbian, able to ignite a Great War with a few gunshots, and bring down the Austro-Hungarian Empire almost as an aside. Or a certain Osama bin Laden, able to drag a superpower into pointless foreign wars, with very limited means. I do not approve of either gentleman, please note, but their efficiency was astounding.

On the other hand, there was the case of “Sir Herbert Read, the Anarchist.” Or his Canadian disciple, George Woodcock, the polite traveller and essayist. Anarchists who could take tea with the Queen.

All great artists tend to be anarchists. They also tend to be extremely rightwing. Verily, leftwing anarchists need to be watched closely — even though they are usually talentless, and watching them is boring. That is what the police are for.

I like to put in a good word for Trump, if only to induce apoplexy in my more style-conscious readers. The high point of his campaign for the Natted States Presidency, back in ’16, was, to my mind, when he performed an exquisitely tasteless attack on the late John McCain, respected Vietnam hero. I thought, “Ah, there is a man.” In one stroke, he altered the voting intentions of ten million souls — albeit randomly. But he made his reputation as an anarchist, and in the four years since, he has confirmed his implicit promise.

It is complained, by the Nevertrumpers out there, that he runs a chaotic government, in defiance of “the way things are done” in the District of Columbia. For instance, he wakes of a morning, and decides to shut down the economy, just when it is going fairly well; then of another, tells his whole cabinet to delete a few thousand economic regulations, without specifying any, or giving tedious hints. This is heroic. Annoyed with statue-topplers, he announces ten-year gaol terms. Having endured years of abuse from his adversaries, he rises bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, to fling a few more tweets at them. He should be giving exercise tips to that drudge, Biden.

As I (tried to) explain to several of my “liberal” friends, back in the day when he wasn’t president yet, he is a Constructive Anarchist. I haven’t yet decided what that means, but it is positive. The last one we had in the English-speaking West was Winston Churchill. Just the man you need when you find yourself in a swamp, and the alligators have begun to disturb you.

Lives matter

Your death is only something that happens in the lives of others. This, according to Sherlock Holmes, but I am remembering it over a breach in time. As I recall, it led to an argument against suicide, by way of a neat leap into the supernatural. You “take your life,” but from whom?

My distant memory of this, came recently, when I was told that an old friend had killed himself. He swam out to sea from a beach in Thailand, my informant explained; and kept swimming.

Once upon a time he was a good Catholic boy, indeed lovable and inspiring in both his humility and his courage; reliably honest and conscientious. He left no note. The possibility that my informant got it wrong, I still entertain. That it was suicide, was something he assumed; but so did some coroner.

There are no more events in this Rob’s earthly life, but he continues to be an event in mine. My happy memories are dimmed, even “cancelled”; yet they could be revived. I know of many other puzzling deaths, on which the worst construction is placed — the poet, Randall Jarrell; the philosopher, Jean Daniélou SJ — who died leaving questions. Not all were suicides. Some died by accident, in unedifying circumstances.

The prevailing view, is that death doesn’t matter, except as a misfortune to be avoided. We should remember the happy times for themselves. But if death doesn’t matter, then life doesn’t matter. It is reduced to fragments; like a beetle, crushed. The whole person, when he “ceased to exist,” ceased ever to have existed. He was a biological epiphenomenon. His story was that of a bad novelist.

Whereas, Catholics (for instance) pray for “a good death.” On the concept itself, we are invited to meditate. Unlike those who adopt the prevailing view, we do not long for “closure.” That is a deletion; a suicide of mind. In thinking on this, we revisit a fissure that dates from the Reformation. Catholics continue to pray for the dead. Protestants were taught that this is a vanity: the fate of the dead is out of our hands. Think deeply on this, and light is cast upon the Catholic doctrine of “transubstantiation”; the difference between a little wafer being the body and blood of Christ, or being instead just a symbol.

A reason to believe that Rob — who in his time saved at least one human life, from a beach — never intended to kill himself, is that he understood the Catholic teaching. He came from a fine Catholic home; received a fine education at Notre Dame. He was not a “symbolist.” He had also endured much worse than the bad luck that had been recently afflicting him (involving a betrayal).

But who am I to guess the content of another human soul? Perhaps, he was medically depressed; and if so, he was probably inclined to hide it. Who knows, who knows? Perhaps he never committed the sin of Selbstmord (the candid German term), but was in effect murdered by psychotropic drugs? Perhaps he had “simply” lost his faith: in which case his lost faith also cost him his life. Perhaps it was an unexpected ocean current, that dragged him out of sight. I cannot know the answer, yet can know that the answer is important.

What we can do is pray. In the Catholic view, this makes a difference.

On making noise

Both in Communist China, and here in Canada, the Catholic Church is under tight control by a government that does not understand or like it. While in Canada we do not yet have to read homilies in praise of Justin Trudeau, sing hymns to celebrate his shoe polish, or watch when unheralded contractors come, to demolish our churches and monuments anyway — the Batflu regulations are much the same. Our statues are under unpredictable threat, and we must tolerate spray paint on Our Lady, &c.

But so far, the exponents of our Cultural Revolution are satisfied if we just keep the chapels bolted, and stained glass politely boarded where it could accommodate graffitoes. If we open a church for an hour or two, we promise to be discreet about it; to rope off pews and wear state-mandated batmasks. The regulations were not designed to prevent us from singing the Mass; only from singing anything.

In Quebec, the state pioneers stricter measures, against people who display a religious affiliation in their apparel, but generally the authorities can count on our docility. Our own bishops help to enforce their strictures.

None of the above can count as sarcastic, so long as sarcasm requires hyperbole.

In both cases — the Red Chinese, and that of the People’s Republic of Canada — we are assured that religion may be practised in the privacy of our own silent hearts. If we recognize the powers of our provincial and national overlords, meekly submit to their micromanaging instructions, and pay our taxes obediently on time, it is possible that their SWAT teams will not visit us at all. Individually, the secret Catholic may be left alone.

Okay, now I am beginning to get sarcastic. And, oh dear, I have used the term, “okay,” which according to the latest ukaz from the revolutionary mobs, is now racist — along with many, formerly innocuous, common words and phrases. When dealing with the insane, and psychotic, no term can remain innocuous, for long. Their paranoia is, like the Batflu, contagious. (Perhaps I should be wearing a mask against it.)

There’s some “pushback” (racist?) in the Natted States, according to rumour; but no sign of any here. Even friends advise to be careful what I say, and one who now disavows my acquaintance, recommended that I “just shut up.”

But as there is nothing that a faithful Catholic can say, that will not contradict the demons, I think that we are under a special obligation to speak up.

Malign fiesta

I do not suppose it makes any practical difference what I have to say about a public health problem that invades the lives of billions; nor that readers will take me for a reliable epidemiologist when I say that the worst danger of that Batflu has now passed. (Infection rates spike, but the power of the virus to torture and kill has relented. The death rates continue downward.)

Nevertheless, I think there is some value in stating, even restating, the obvious — when what is obvious is in conflict with sensational reports, and the aggressive distortions of mass media, profiting from panic.

This Batflu became — more than any previous epidemic — a political issue, instantaneously. This is evident in the way it was spread, quite intentionally, by the Communist Party of China. (They shut down everything in Wuhan, except flights to Europe and America.) In all countries with democratic institutions, the disease became the centre of political attention, and unprecedented lockdowns were ordered. Likewise, unprecedented schemes of surveillance have significantly changed the relation between governments and governed, entirely for the worse. By means of current technology, the former will be able to perpetuate these changes, leaving those who wish to recover old liberties nowhere to hide.

Moreover, this is done with public support. “The peeple” are easy to manipulate, once they have been frightened. The great majority of men, now and through the past, never cared about freedom. It has always been a minority concern, “for the intellectuals.” The “silent majority” will take their freedom, but only after their comfort and safety have been assured. The right to choose among consumer products is enough for them.

There are revolutions, such as the “cultural revolution” that is now being attempted by the Left, but these never last. Either they are extinguished, under the wet blanket of public apathy, where law and order are able to prevail, or the revolutionists succeed in installing a truly monstrous regime. Only thus, can they prolong their evil. Two generations of the Left-indoctrinated — half-educated university grads and students — favour a doctrinal dictatorship. Their powers grow as they age. Those still young are full of malign energy.

The riots that have been engendered in cities around the world, are a natural consequence of the lockdowns. The anger and suffering directly caused by them, even more than by the Batflu, have been exploited, almost brilliantly, by the force now organized by the platitude, “Black Lives Matter.” This was the “sales pitch” that animated huge numbers of coddled children to revolt, in the globe’s least racist societies — including those who haven’t even demonstrated, yet. They are prepared to believe things that are ridiculous, and they demand radical action on a massive scale.

None of this has anything to do with “Trump,” or any other demonized politician “of the right,” with dreams of restoring the status quo ante. By an agreement among the media and progressive elites, any appeal to “mom and apple pie” is now condemned as dark, very dark. Such appeals are only heard in the boondocks, by the hicks who do the “essential labour,” while being actively disenfranchised, by the fundamentally inessential who “work from home.”

Our whole world is now demographically urban. Not small cities, limited by their finite hinterlands, as of old, but vast inescapable world-trading conurbations. Those dwelling within are artificially isolated from the facts of nature, and from the fact of nature’s God. They become confused even about their own comfort and safety, and eagerly appease disruptive agents. The politicians use their tax money to buy radicals off.

I do not think any of these background conditions will change, short of disaster. And I do not think disaster is something to hope for. Rather, the very scale of our “problem” is, paradoxically, the best reason to hope — that we might retrieve such truth and justice as this world can afford.

For in the last analysis, we can turn to God. Our “problem” is very clearly “in his court,” and the God that we have worshipped through the centuries is not complacent. As Christians know, He showed this by His judicially murdered Son. Our light still shines in His Resurrection.

The rockin’ chronicles

Perhaps there is a “culture clash,” between the hippies and me. I am thinking of Mr Neil Young at the moment, but he could stand in for the rest. Mr Donald Trump used his song, “Keep on rockin’ in the free world,” at his (Mr Trump’s) patriotic rally last night, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The commies were slashing the tires of trucks on the road leading in, to prevent the audience from getting to the show by Mount Rushmore; but from what I could see, enough made it through. They also couldn’t stop the jets flying over. It was “summer of love” in suits, with firecrackers. (Many waited in their seats for hours, while the temperature topped out at 125 degrees of F.) … Mr Young wasn’t there.

But look what they did to his song. They played it. And not for the first time at a Trump rally. You see, the campaign paid for the privilege. Mr Young was happy to take the money, through his agents. Now he is Twittering his Rage that the Trumpistas actually used what they paid for.

Mr Young is a Canadian citizen, incidentally; and also a Natted States citizen, since January, when the authorities there finally agreed to overlook his drug offences. He does like to have things both ways. He even sounds like a girl. But Mr Trump loves him, even if they are differently politicked, according to a response from the other side. Do we care? Of course not.

I wish they could choose some other music at these Trumpfests. Something more Baroque. Handel would be nice. Or some Samuel Barber, and some N’Orlins jazz. At seventy-four, I don’t think Mr Young is old enough.

But meanwhile, I favour good old-fashioned contractual law. (I wish it applied to everything it used to, such as marriage, for instance.) I’m gung-ho for property rights. I’d even grant them to millionaires.

The hippies only understand money, unfortunately. They’re not up to principles. Things like, “One nation under God,” tend to go over their heads. Or even, “God bless America.”

Greetings to my Natted States readers, by the way, on this Fourth of July. And thanks — for housing Mr Young in Los Angeles these last fifty-something years. (There seem to be a lot of Canadian hippies in that town.) Though if I were you, I would have kept him moving on to Mexico.

Cue, the “Adagio for strings.”

Blue skies

It depends what you mean by an “activist,” gentle reader. I would hope that all Catholics (and uncatholic Christians, too) were activists, as each was called to be, in the Sacrament of Baptism. Each was fortified for his fight — it can be quite a rumble — against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. It would be a sad, distressing thing were any declared Christian to become instead a wuss, and desert us. He should see the battle through. For like old age, being a Christian is not for cissies.

Yet I am reliably informed that many are under-instructed, and even among those of adequate education, there are some hard cases — of Christians who have, apparently, given up on the holy cause. If not to say, betrayed it.

There are other kinds of activists, too, as I might read in the papers, were there any plausible papers left to read. They are militant supporters of the other side, and very fiends, in my view. Let me exempt some members of the Monarchist League, and others I find usually harmless. (I don’t think the Monarchist League has been taken over by the commies yet.) But an activist who imagines that any other cause could be, while nice enough in itself, unsubsidiary to The Faith, would be an unreliable ally.

That all “allies” are unreliable, is a point worth pointing on the fly. A friend is a friend, and will prove it to you, with his life should it come to that.

Having allies is just a tactical matter. They come and go. They will consult their own passing interests, and remain by your side only for as long as those interests coincide with yours. Don’t count on them. I’ve known men actually to marry their allies! (Big mistake.) Or form other partnerships.

Being a stiff, grizzled, unimaginative northerner, I am almost allergic to people who address me as, “My friend.” Perhaps had I spent more time in the Mediterranean I’d be more tolerant of this. But I found it too deep and salty, and too many of the fish had venomous spines.

It is almost amusing, but not quite, to see men treat allies as if they were friends, right up to the moment when they abandon each other. Believe me, I speak from personal experience. There is plenty to be had, for the World is like that.

Which leaves us with the Flesh, and the Devil. Neither are friends.

How to defeat leftists

The opinions expressed in these Idleposts may be freely disputed, as they are freely expressed; I will even change them if I come to think they’re wrong. The threats I sometimes receive — as anyone not a leftist thug is now receiving — are and should be casually ignored. Or, “honey-badgered” when they are repeated. My papa taught me to “stand my ground,” and I hope gentle reader will not call me a Lutheran when “here I stand” is my theatrical response.

At the moment the people I would characterize as “leftist filth” (or sometimes, “Gadarene swine”) are in the full bluster of intimidation, and those they confront are in cowardly retreat. Whether from the Left, or arguably from the Right (a label assigned to socialists long-since defeated), political ideologues and fanatics are “progressing,” along with their criminal friends. They now feel no further need to argue. Rather they wish to legislate, from the streets.

They were fuelled, from the beginning, by the Big Lie. It is buttressed in a cloud of lesser lies. It comes as no surprise to me, that almost every leftward cause célèbre turns out to be a hoax. George Orwell gave as good an account of this, as any soi-disant “conservative.” At his best, he was not criticizing specific acts of communist subversion, but a habit of mind, common to the ungodly.

What is this Big Lie? To my mind, it is the godlessness itself. It is the denial of God, and by extension therefore, of all the truths that follow from this acknowledgement. The “reasoning” of atheism is, by necessity, a series of negations. Eventually, everything must be deleted, to what can only be a nihilistic end. The “progress” is inevitably from the caterwaul of lies, to the general censorship, and physical silencing, of all who might resist. It ends in the self-destruction even of the nihilist State, after the innumerable casualties it has caused. Only then does the bloodletting cease.

The “cancel culture” of our current Left reveals a transition. It now overlooks every constructive proposal it once entertained, in passing. Its new singular demand is to shut up all the voices — even those that might be expressed by statues; and including any of its own that it now finds too mild. Its slogans alone may be tolerated, under ruthless supervision. It seeks power for the sake of power: it demands that the subjected fall on their knees.

My suggested response to its enfeebled victims would be, to “grow some.” Rather than attempt compromise with the latest demand, we should reverse it sharply. For each outrage with which we are presented, let us withdraw some concession granted in the past. At best, perhaps, this could be a frank policy, although I see some merit in letting it gradually sink in.

Roll back the history of “progressive reform,” patiently and thoroughly, until the Left is pleading for the status quo.