Essays in Idleness


How to rise

Like many aging gentlefolk, home-schooling themselves through the Batflu summer, I have spent an inordinate amount of time “researching” whimsical topics on the Internet. For instance, I am now largely caught up on abbeys and cathedrals, throughout Europe. I was an architecture nut before I became an Anglican, then a Roman; and therefore obsessed with temples of all kinds; yet without any calling to faith. That came later.

I was not obsessed with the religion of the churches, but with their art. The European mediaeval (and earlier) heritage in art is not the equal of the world’s other cultural traditions, whether civil or religious. It is their decided superior. This is what called me back to the West, when I was travelling. We have not equalled Sung Dynasty pots, or a thousand other specific accomplishments, but I’m referring to a matchless whole. What we export today (via our Western conception of free trade) is, in the main, worthless. What we once exported — this cultural tradition — is now deprecated, when it is not suppressed.

My catch-up is a depressing activity. I have only been trying to learn what has happened to the physical structures; what nasty tampering has been done, to make them more “market-friendly.” Chartres, Reims, Beauvais, were already built. Notre Dame must be restored, again, after the recent fire. That psychopath of vanity, Emmanuel Macron, wants to turn it into a “starchitecture” showpiece. Our critics now confuse our wealth with our garbage.

But in the condition of splendid greatness these monuments were secondary from the start. They were expressions of faith, and means of communication, at the highest level, among the men who made them. Now they are dead museums, quite literally. In France, for instance, the greatest cathedrals were long ago appropriated by the state, and converted into tourist attractions. Christians are still allowed to pray in them, for the time being, subject to the state’s rules and regulations. As we’ve seen through the Batflu, the “right to worship” can be casually withdrawn.

Even the satanic creatures of the French Revolution could not bring themselves to level Notre Dame, although their mobs desecrated it, until they converted it into a “Temple of Reason,” under police protection. Today, only Islamists would torch it again; or perhaps Antifa, which serves the same master. Or it will burn as an accident during more riots.

What we cannot foresee, for now, is the re-animation of souls. The Spirit is still there, but ignored. To the modern mind, even at its least destructive, it is a cost-benefit analysis. What advertising will draw people to see this potentially lucrative property, and how to extract the most cash from them? What tee-shirts can we sell them? There are moments when I think, bomb it and have done; there will be better to see in Heaven.

Christ is not mocked, although the great majority of tourists do not understand that they are doing this, when they visit His Church as if it were Disneyland.

There is no such thing as “white supremacy,” except among a handful of pathetic goons, but here I am recalling French supremacy, along with Italian, Spanish, &c. What they had in common was Christian faith, operating through artists. It raised them miraculously above their normal stations. It may come again: in Africa, or China.

It cannot come to Europe unless something other than cathedrals are restored. Probably, we have to hit bottom first, but hitting bottom is not how to rise.

Meditation for Labour Day

I bring gentle reader shocking news. It is Labour Day already. In North American terms, this means that the summer is over, and we must return to work. Allow me to sound like Trump for the occasion; one reader says I always sound like Trump, and I would hate to disappoint him. The work before us is yuge, putting things back together that we have wantonly pulled apart. It was the summer of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and of the Batflu Gestapo; all perfectly unnecessary, and each founded on deceit.

The gentleman also says that I am a “Truther.” So let me also rant on behalf of the good, the true, and the beautiful. For these are things voluntarily sought, as opposed to shoved down our throats by swinish bureaucrats and violent demonstrators. (The Nuremberg Rallies were also “mostly peaceful.”)

There will be elections, here and there; we have a moral duty to cut all the radicals off their funding. Trump says, “Make America Great Again,” but when not proposing Christian sanctity instead, I say, “Mow them down to marmalade.” Start with the public health officials.

Er, I mean this “metaphorically,” of course; lest I be charged with a “political incorrectitude.” I try to be “metaphorically correct” at all times, and whenever I can, to massacre the vilest ideas.

The most effective strategy is to recover, in our own souls, the idleness of labour; the notion of Homo Ludens, of all good work as play. The best jobs are not done exclusively for money, which, like anything that becomes “virtual,” will not be worth anything, soon. The best work is done wilfully, as an end in itself. It is to make things that are the opposite of “virtual,” including, every day, the example of good living.

Humility is the great weapon against the arrogance that would impose “employment” on other people; that compels them, under the threat of arrest or starvation, to do what they don’t want to do, or to do what they believe to be evil. Simply avoid these tyrants, until they catch up with you. Get as far away from them as you can, in your own vocation.

Inscribed into a Gothic joist, I saw somewhere in Olde England (in what was once the hall of a mediaeval farmhouse), a carpenter’s declaration. This was: “In the work of my hands I am closest to God.” That work was being undone by death-watch beetles, but this only gave another generation of workmen an opportunity to work with their hands, and in their archaeological skills to be closer to the same Maker.

A little-known fact is that all honest work is liturgical. This includes such jobs as cleaning toilets. I once watched the son of a gloriously old man, still living independently, alone in his modest residential cell, go to work on his porcelain. His son, scrubbing the thunder box, looked like he was enjoying himself. By the time he stopped for tea, it was gleaming. This younger man also worked daytime, as a lawyer. (Perhaps he enjoyed that, too.) In his own phrase, he liked to “live like a marine” — so far as that was possible with nearly a dozen children. I daresay he had changed a few diapers, too. This is holy work.

At the other extreme, we have union members, such as public schoolteachers. Note that these unions have been diminished since their conception in ancient guilds. They strike today only for more money, which indicates a hate crime. They hate their jobs. They think that if there is the slightest danger they should walk off them. But it is precisely where there is danger that work is most rewarding. Mow them down, I say.

In the highest sense, our work should be idle. As the Shakers said, “Hands to work and minds to God.” They were wonderfully unboastful people who, by their craftsmanship, speak still to our time.

The cost of compliance

The present danger — the Red Chinese Wuhan Laboratory Batflu — is visible everywhere thanks to state-mandated muzzles or batmasks. We are now in the sixth month of “fifteen days to flatten the curve,” and I’ve noticed that these filthy mouth-pieces have become another urban environmental blight, on a scale even worse than the sidewalk basketball bouncers I recently decried. I spotted four discarded Batflu-spreaders on the sidewalk during a walk of less than one city block yesterday, to a deadbeat “supermarket” to fetch milk for my tea.

I’m sure these cloth garottes are choking our Blanding’s Turtles — already considered endangered by our provincial bureaucracy because less than one in a thousand of their eggs ever hatch, and then the adults try to cross country roads. Call up a picture of one on the Internet, and gentle reader will see that they are all apparently wearing yellow batmasks on their chins, in compliance with guvmint regulations. For if they took them off, they would risk being confused with another turtle species that might not be Protected.

But while my affection for Blanding’s Turtles, and empathy in light of their persecution by Ontario motorists, is of long standing — a friend proposes that we found a Blanding Lives Movement — I am even more concerned about the fate of our children. The Batflu has been discouragement enough, to those who may never reach maturity, but the spectacular success of the Nanny State effort to keep them socially atomized and in muzzles, portends innumerable (fake) “pandemics” to come. For what faceless time-server, “dressed in a little authority,” can resist an opportunity to treat the general population as if they were retarded children? Especially now, that the general population has shown it will comply?

According to an item that somehow slipped into the New York Times, only a tiny fraction of the much-publicized Batflu deaths were attributed to the Batflu alone, on death certificates sampled from across the Natted States. By this focus, the “pandemic” toll is reduced from the official number of 187,777 (I just checked this morning), to about 9,200. Of course, the commie and never-Trumper meejah have gone splenetic to “cancel” this interesting fact. It is as bad as the French study which showed that your one-in-ten-thousand chance of dying with the Batflu in that country is cut a further five times if you happen to smoke.  Or the Hydroxychloroquine scandal, in which Mister Trump suggested (correctly) that a simple anti-malaria drug, already mass-produced and dirt cheap because long out of patent, can cut it by a few times more.

Of course, we will never know the true death tolls, even approximately, because they are impossible to collect. Doctors are notorious for filling out death certificates “subjectively” (I’ve heard too much about this over time), and one of their motives is, understandably, to avoid oversight. A Batflu death will not be reviewed or challenged. So I also doubt the certificates that only mention “Covid XIX” are reliable either.

“Unassisted” Batflu deaths might be as high as 9,200 (one-in-thirty-five-thousand); we just can’t know. We do know that the overwhelming majority of those who die after testing positive (or are assumed to have been positive) are quite old, and afflicted by (usually multiple) co-morbidities. They are the same sort, and in roughly the same numbers, as are carried away by old-fashioned, conventional flus (for which vaccines are also nearly useless). They were “the walking dead” already, in the phrase of another rudely candid bloguiste. Young, healthy people die from it almost never; so that when one is said to do so, a coroner should be summoned.

However, this is an intensely politicized issue, in which the Left, and related sleaze, are very deeply invested. The chance that we will be told anything resembling the truth, through “mainstream” meejah, is practically zero. On the other hand, the chance of one “pandemic” after another is a near certainty — until the general public learns why arbitrary instructions from Nanny State should be, consistently, treated with contempt.


Let us make a small point, in few words. I should like to resist, in my ineffectual way, what has now emerged from that long, narrow, mental asylum, that stretches down the west coast of the Natted States. The legislators of California have convened a task force to examine the possibility of paying “reparations” to black people, in view of the fact that some of their distant ancestors were slaves in other states. Judging from their voting propensities, coastal Californians are always eager to pay huge sums for new government welfare programmes, or at least compel others to do so.

I have no opinion on the idea of reparations, in itself. My view is, you cannot argue with the insane. My one comment is that the programme needn’t be proposed, because it has been tried already. Conceived in the 1950s, market-ready by the ’60s, it was merchandized under the brand name, “Great Society.” It persists today, as a correspondent notes, with such gifts from the state as free cell phones, rent subsidy, food stamps, Electronic Benefit Transfers, supplemental nutrition (“WIC”), free school breakfast and lunch, free healthcare, utility subsidy, … and so on. All were designed to buy off the poor, and specifically to secure the Democrat Party’s near total command of the black vote, and by extension, others willing to queue. “Reparations” were not demanded openly, but the notion of these people as victims of history was never advanced subtly.

Free money, to all who agree that the world is unfair, is a suicidal fiscal policy. But my objection is to the moral disorder, in which it places each recipient. His freedom, including that vital freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, is abridged; his income depends on his willingness to play victim. The lolly breaks down that nexus of personal responsibility, family, and near community, that is the recipient’s only hope to escape what might really be bad historical circumstances, making him instead a bureaucratic “client.” It is profoundly corrupting, and the evidence that it has corrupted may be easily found, in such events as the destruction of black fatherhood. While they were too shy to do this before, the introduction of explicitly racial criteria is the “new thing” in the progressives’ repertoire.

That looting, firebombing, and other property destruction — along with incidental murders and other mayhem — is now being defended by progressives as “reparations,” should come as no surprise. Sadly, this attitude cannot be confined to seaside California, where the San Andreas Fault might cure it in less than an hour. Madness acts as a virus, contagious in crowds, and superspreaders are now dispersed around the world. The virus will burn out eventually — it requires infinite electronic money — but the social fallout is already immense.

I am encouraged to see, however, that in the course of nature, black people themselves are becoming the “first responders.” There is evidence that a quickly growing segment among “African Americans,” and other racial minorities, have tired of being used by white hustlers, and would prefer to solve problems that the hustlers have compounded by their own constructive acts. For the “victimhood” pose is not only morally egregious, but boring, and having waves of college-educated young white simpletons as your political patrons makes the situation plain.

Florentine aside

Rules are for the little people, in art as in life. Those who have the power, whether by genius or strength, only obeyed them when they were little. Breaking rules was a coming-of-age. When a Nancy Pelosi, or a Justin Trudeau, act openly above the law, in a way that no little person could dream of, we (that small minority who notice) accuse them of hypocrisy.

But on their own small, toothy scale, they are doing what a great original artist does. They are being transformative. The only difference is that the great artist — a Fra Angelico — lacks the criminal tendencies, and is utterly sincere. He craves no pelf. Too, he is being creative, in partnership with God. He is bringing something new and living, true and beautiful into the world. Whereas, Pelosi and Trudeau are just helping themselves to the groceries.

Connoisseurs of rightwing media will know to what events I refer. I find them tedious to relate. From ignoring their own Batflu regulations, to siphoning millions from the tax troughs, it is all one continuity of habit. You have the power to do it, and no one to stop you. Discretion is unnecessary, if you pose as a progressive; the choral yapping of your meejah lapdogs protects you.

The elected politician who does not leave office rich, earns only the contempt of his colleagues. The one who was rich to start, and leaves office ruined, wins no sympathy. On the contrary, he will be hated by the whole political class, and their hysterical poodles. Trump may end like this: his sincerity dooms him.

Do my political examples show bias? Of course. The authors of the Nanny State have always been the principal beneficiaries of it. All socialist systems are built around an élite, a master class. There was a time, very brief, when a Christian could be a socialist, in the foolish belief that it would establish some kind of monastic equality.

But as my old Czech drinking buddies knew, “Communism is only possible among friends.” They picked up each other’s bar tabs voluntarily, without paperwork. Whereas, dirigisme in politics is not only the opposite of freedom; it produces monopolies of wealth in which the masters can bathe. It makes the little people littler, and more interchangeable; it makes the big ever less accountable. As history will bear me out, this has been true in one hundred percent of cases, and will remain true while the world wags.

My party political bias is transparent, however. It is also transient. The Left is always lunging for control, with a shopping list of policies to impose. But this is true of all politicians; every one is a socialist at heart.

The only break comes when one of them is genuinely Christian, and thus discerns an interest higher than himself. He may prophesize civic glory, oppose trash in culture and art, denounce corruption and despotic rule. He will champion the poor, against their actual oppressors. And he will go down in history as Savonarola.

We are not fragile

I had intended to take the whole month of August off — from any participation in the meejah, of which my Idleposts are an example. A couple of my friends do this, devoting the thirty-one days of the eighth month to re-sanitization. “September will be work. Get ready for the crazy. It’s an annual cycle. We toggle between the usual nonsense, and right up the wall. Set August to ‘off’.”

They disconnect themselves from all periodical input, especially electronic. I would myself avoid print generally, except books published before I was born. (Anything since, I count as “too recent.”)

But I kept putting “off” off. Suddenly it was August 31st, only one week prior to North American “Labour Day.” Perhaps I would declare seven days’ rest, a bit late. Gentle reader might, if curious, look through the approximately 1,500 Idleposts I have left up, though none were written before I was born. (Some of the worst have been deleted.)

Too, I invite him to meditate, on the theme, “We are not fragile.” Over-informed readers may catch the reference. I first used it, as a headline, over an advertisement I wrote in 1988, during Canada’s “free trade election.” I gathered more signatures on it, and more impressive, than the “Liberal” culture marms did on theirs, for their ad declaring that the Mulroney government’s Free Trade Bill would eviscerate the Canadian culture and economy. My thought was, if it could, it should; that what’s truly not worth having is not worth having. But let us proceed on the possibility that, even in a slightly more competitive environment, we could hold our own. That we might even flourish. For, “We are not fragile” — not afraid to be alive, not pathetically inferior.

(Perhaps I was wrong.)

This morning, turning the meejah back on, I was made aware of an assertion by the Pope in Rome. He was affirming that the Batflu was good for the Environment; that it enabled the old thing to take a rest. We all need a rest sometimes, I suppose; the pope most urgently.

But Catholic idleness is a different thing from not getting up in the morning. Since God made the world, in anticipation of man, He probably designed it to be durable. The evidence I’ve seen, suggests it is robust.

So on behalf of the Environment, I would like to reply: “We are not fragile.”