Essays in Idleness


On endangered species

Ebony is a wood that is very strong, very hard, and very black. It grows most famously in Africa, very slowly. Count me among the many neurotics who have flinched when they heard the term, not for any of its qualities, but from being told ebony is an Endangered Species. (The Diospyrus genus, if you must know.)

Information becomes vague and unreliable, whenever politics draws near. Yet the assertion is plausible. This wood is expensive, and hard to come by, like elephant tusks. Adventurers are reported to risk their lives, smuggling ebony logs from the remaining forests of Madagascar. One African country after another gets cleaned out of it, according to the activists. It is possible the activists are right. (Sometimes.)

Madagascar’s ebony is one species. There is also Gaboon Ebony, Ceylon Ebony, Mun Ebony, Macassar Ebony, &c. As the names suggest, it is also found outside Africa, in species native to its various locations, throughout the tropical mapamonde. All grow slowly. There is Wenge, in exactly the places our ebony first came from in West Africa, though it is Something Else; there was Blackwood among the ancient Egyptians; there is “Peruvian Walnut.” These latter are from species unrelated to ebony, but look much the same, and will freak out your customs inspector just as nicely.

Price, alone, keeps consumption down, to small decorative uses. I have never built a log cabin of ebony, or anything like, and I speculate that no one else has, either. Verily, I haven’t built one even of pine, but don’t tell anyone. (People might doubt my patriotism.) In the cause of truth, I will admit that I have never attempted even to do a decorative ebony inlay, though I’m not opposed to others trying it. My woodworking skills would not suffice.

But I do own a small wooden Crucifix from Egypt, inlaid with nacre (mother-of-pearl). It is mounted on a kitchen cabinet, right in my face, when I am washing the dishes. How I came by it is a memorable story, so being an Idler, I will tell it right away.

A girl named Mariam was an accountant in an old, “colonial,” Cairo hotel, wherein I was camped. A Copt, who spoke Arabic but not a word of English, or rather three or four words only, she held the stopwatch while I transmitted my handwritten “copy” through the Windsor Hotel fax machine, to a newspaper back in the West. (This was once high tech.) She was calm, patiently precise and careful, as we dealt with the vagaries of Egypt’s telephone system. She was also very beautiful. It was when I attempted conversation I learnt that two of her English words were, “No speak.” My Arabic being worse than her English, we communicated by gestures and pointing.

Impressed by the small but magnificent Cross, always on her neck, I once pointed to that, and drew from her the most radiant smile; as if to say, “Yes, I am a Christian.” This made a psychic bond.

But a time came, after a month, when I was checking out of the hotel, and moving on to the next city. I was packed; a taxi was waiting to take me to an aeroplane. I stumbled down the stairs (which, in the Windsor Hotel, wrapped around a glorious cage elevator), to the office where Mariam worked. But she wasn’t there. I had wanted to say good-bye.

Down one last flight, to the tiny foyer on the ground floor, I imagined a patter of footsteps behind me. As I got to the taxi, and finished loading, Mariam herself stepped out of the shadows. She was clutching this inlaid Coptic Crucifix; slightly larger than the one she was wearing. As ever, she said nothing, but pressed this Cross into my hands. And then she ran away.

The wood, on which the nacre is inlaid, is a thin ply of black, like ebony.

Did you know? Ebony is an Endangered Species.

Black Friday obstination

Since getting canned from my teaching gigue; and to the Great Harvest, losing a couple of my more generous benefactors; I have thought I might be a little less shy, when begging for donations this year. As gentle readers of longstanding will know, Black Friday is the one day when I beg overtly. Though I will allow readers to fill my hat at any time of their choosing.

On the cost side, too, if one is anti-blogging, one needs to be prepared for the Cancel Culture. Because I stay simple and low-tech, and do not contend for a mass audience, I am not a priority for the demons. But I’ve noticed more than one of my fellows, using the same modest software, has been “invited to find another server” recently. And I’d thought that they were fairly low-priority, too. Should I suddenly disappear, I will endeavour to re-materialize elsewhere in hyperspace, with the same name and title.

No point in protesting, if or when that happens: for the Cancel Culturati do not listen to an argument. They are absolutely ruthless.

Still, the daily cost of my Idleposting operation is small, and actually dwarfed by my living expenses which, except for “big city” rent, are also very small. And let me say that, compared to the millions in the poorest countries, being further reduced to penury and starvation, from the manipulation of the Batflu “crisis” by our fat-country progressives, I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

The theft of the Natted States election has made a huge difference all over our wee planet. Not only are they celebrating in Tehran and Peking, but the Deep State class feels more secure everywhere. They are fitting themselves out with new designer jackboots, and not only the Little Sisters of the Poor will be feeling their shiny new cleats. Antifa and BLM are just psychotic schoolchildren: the real Enemy wears Prada.

Jeanne Jugan, who founded the Little Sisters nearly two centuries ago, to bring relief especially to the abandoned elderly, at first in France and Spain, was canonized a saint under Pope Benedict in 2009. Under his successor, your Peter’s Pence are going to make e.g. a film on Rocketman; to play the London real estate market; and to bribe criminals in Australia to bring false sex charges against the bishop who was trying to clean up Vatican finances. Perhaps I should mention that, as a backward and reactionary Catholic, I do not approve of these things.

Yet far be it from thought to suggest that gentle reader send his spare cash to me, instead. For I will continue writing whether he sends a donation, or not; whereas, my rivals might shut down if they were no longer paid.

Moreover, you may find not only Catholic orthodoxy, but a vastly richer field of sanity and genius, in the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, to say nothing of Dante and Shakespeare. By comparison, the Essays in Idleness are quite redundant. And since their author is still, inconveniently, alive, he alone is in need of ready money.

God bless you all, incidentally — richer or poorer, profligate or skint. And as ever, fear not. Things will, eventually, sort themselves out, or be sorted, by that “invisible hand” — who never restricted Himself to œconomics.

Dining out

It is Merican Thanksgiving. With any luck, no one will be reading me, today. (No one in Canada reads me, anyway.) I can say things that are irresponsible, for a change.

According to pollsters, two-in-five Mericans will be celebrating their holiday today, in gatherings of family and friends, just as if they were allowed to do so under the Merican Constitution. (Whose guarantees of freedom never mentioned public health.) Whereas, the other three-in-five will be making themselves as miserable as possible, in obedience to the Batflu authorities. Some will commit suicide, on purpose; others less intentionally with their opioids; but fewer in total than the population of, say, Appalachia. Most will observe social distancing to the end, even if they die without their medical muzzles on.

Pollsters have lately been making their numbers up, for focused political purposes, but still, I have no reason to question their 40/60 estimates. It does seem to me that, these days, 60 percent of Mericans are just like Canadians.

Traditionally, we didn’t kill ourselves so frequently up here. Partly, this was because we have a smaller population; and partly because we have socialized medicine, so our guvmint does it for us. You’d think we’d kill ourselves less frequently, owing to the distraction of trying to stay warm. But no, our death rates have been tracking Greenland’s. And Greenland tracks those of Scandihoovia and Fennoscumland.  Not enough Vitamin D.


Somehow I have wandered off my intended topic, which was outdoor dining. So let’s get back on-message.

Canada is not into outdoor dining. Too many polar bears. Well, they are into outdoor dining, but the humans only began to emulate them recently. Note that we never dine on them, or hardly ever, and would prefer that they not dine on us. Like good Canadians, we should negotiate. But it is hard to reason with a polar bear: a white supremacist if I ever saw one.

In our cities, if one can call them that, there are few polar bears, and those are usually arrested, and locked down in zoos. But Canadians never used to eat anything outside, except perhaps hot dogs. The idea of starting a café arrived from Europe, in 1963. That revolutionary Toronto courtyard was called “Lothian Mews.” It has since been demolished. One reached it through an alleyway, that made it easier to intercept polar bears.

My papa took me in there when I was a kid. It was the next best thing to leaving for Europe. I was introduced to “coffee.” In my advanced age, I would order schnitzel from the Coffee Mill — with coffee — after it relocated a few doors away. I would hang out with sophisticated friends, from Europe. That was where I used to jaw-jaw with my dear friend George Jonas, and discuss the imperfections of Canada, among other places. Since he died, I had not been in. Another reason was, it had closed, permanently.

The mistress of this joint was, like George, Hungarian. She was one Martha von Heczey. She died last year, as I just learnt, shedding a tear, for she was a magnificent woman. Her secret, in business and in life, was Never Change. Alas, now she has changed, into a dead person. Her husband, a magnificent man, walked his pet cheetah around the neighbourhood on a leash (look it up: I’m not lying). He died earlier. Circus-trained, I assumed he kept the cheetah against polar bears. But he was very tall, and large, and muscular; he could have fended for himself.

Now, fashion crazes work, for capitalism, and in the last half-century a lot of people began to eat on sidewalks. Not on the sidewalks themselves, I should explain, but on tables set along them. The Batflu Stasi are putting an end to this practice, lest any little businesses survive, but I daresay it would resume if they would go away. (Feeding them to hungry polar bears is a thought that has crossed my mind.)

Meanwhile, we must eat our schnitzels, or our turkeys for that matter, quietly inside and out of view.

Eve of whatever

“One of the marks of genuine growth in prayer is a deepening sense of confidence in God. Modern man is afflicted with anxiety, that is, with a sort of fear that has no definite object. Our attempts to pray and live a good life seem to make existence more complicated. Our efforts to respond to God often bring confusion and suffering, but they do gradually develop in us a heightened awareness of the reality of God, and of his care for us. This new sense of the presence of God is the best antidote for that formless fear and unease that we call anxiety.”

The quotation is taken, not quite randomly, from my “spiritual director,” the late Father Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory. He died just in time to miss the full Batflu farce, though not before expressing his contempt for it. His books I still have, and thus his voice from Saturday mornings, in the wee “conference room” where we met, is easy for me to reconstruct.

The book from which I quoted is, incidentally, On the Lord’s Appearing: An Essay on Prayer and Tradition (1997). He wrote a few others, each of which I recommend. He has the virtue of a reliably serious writer: each work seems to be his best, while one is reading it. Widely recognized as a contemporary Catholic authority, he had trouble getting the last couple of these books published, for Catholic authority had gone out of style, and the few surviving publishers had instead gone into “hip.” This is, I think, the first irretrievable step in betrayal. Regardless, one could rely on Father Robinson to be not hip.

But to his point, on an aspect of the Faith, founded in his broad and attentive reading of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; in Philip Neri and John Henry Newman; and in his own life of responsibility and prayer. At its heart, his religion was “mystical”; but as that word is usually misused today, and badly misunderstood, he was carefully specific.

We are entering into the mysteries in the act of prayer. At first, often, they are taken to be some sort of shopping list. It is, “Lord, I want this and that,” until we grow, often by slow stages, into Lord I want nothing. It is the Christian, mystical paradox, that he who asks for nothing gets everything in return. But mind: this is only one way of putting it.

The season of Thanksgiving is formally for the harvest; for our family drawn together in its receipt. The old and the new, the work and its fruits in our leisure, may not be celebrated as a religious festival in all households. Yet this does not make it irreligious. It is part of antiquity: was the “pre-religion” into which each of us was born. The instinct to Thanksgiving was implanted in us, long before we could give it a name.

It is like our own name: something we couldn’t, and didn’t, give to ourselves. It is like everything important that identifies us, and goes to making us real: not a choice, but a given. “Given,” as in a gift.

We needn’t be anxious for what we already have.

Building back baffled

The reduction of Charity to Niceness has done wonders, to eviscerate the Church from within, and her cowardly response to e.g. the Batflu “crisis” has accelerated her retreat, from existence. I could laugh, though only malignantly, at the ruinously expensive reconstruction of parish churches in obedience to the last set of instructions from the Public Health Stasi. But now the faithful are told, by the nominally “conservative” guvmint in Ontario for instance, to close down the Mass entirely again — leaving the suckers only with the bills.

Yet there is some backwash. In the churches, as in the society at large, my sense is even Canadians have had nearly enough. My evidence is as ever anecdotal, and drawn almost entirely from the Internet under present Lockdown conditions, but I’ve noticed hints of rebellion here and there.

Those correspondents who feed me “database” observations (I have some good ones) find the reason for it. The authorities are ignoring even the information they have about the Batflu; such as church congregations are far less likely to spread infections than supermarket shoppers; or that muzzles and social distancing are counter-productive; or that massive testing and contact-tracing, tell them nothing useful. (The real questions are, who gets sick, how sick, and why. But the answers are often politically incorrect.)

The politicians’ house-pet epidemiologists are themselves transformed into sleazy politicians by the need to keep up appearances.

“But we have to do something!”

As one medical correspondent writes, her car may need oil. She will have to “do something.” But if what she does is to pour in corn syrup, her engine won’t work any better.

If there is one thing to know about a sleazy politician, it is that he cannot admit to a mistake; especially a catastrophic one. It is the one area where he will stand his ground. He must double down on what has been exhaustively proven not to work; he must pour in more corn syrup. He can’t afford not to, if he is to survive in politics, on which his personal wealth depends. It follows that he has a vested interest in a low-information society.

Or put this another way. “Common sense” is something with which all sane humans were naturally endowed, though most lose it. The absence of it voids the whole mind. But it does resurface, in the most unlikely places, like old socks. You don’t even have to be looking for them.

The replacement, in our public theology, of Charity with Niceness — part of the de-Christianizing process — has, for the moment, rendered Canadians febrile in the least creative way. But I do not think it is possible to survive a low-information diet for a prolonged period. Paradoxically, the “progressive” effort to coat all our surfaces with lies, blisters and cracks. At some point, people notice that they can’t breathe, and then you need a more aggressive dictatorship, to stop them breathing altogether. We’ll see how it goes.

Yankees can be a more feisty lot, even today. Consider a new administration under the Biden zombie. While the man himself may have trouble remembering his wife’s name, a flood of major appointments is now coming through his handlers. They seek to reanimate the Deep State, and quickly re-attach any tentacles that may have been severed by the Trump regime. In a country where almost half the electorate is convinced (correctly, I believe) that The Election was stolen, this is a promise of disaster.

The genuine popularity of “Trumpism” — not just the man but the swamp-draining tasks he (often inelegantly) promoted — bodes for the future. (Note I did not write, “bodes well.”) It suggests that a larger reckoning is coming than the one Americans have just been through. Having had a taste of the benefits that the Deep State had been denying, we might expect their next backwash to be Trumpism squared.

But Niceness and Charity are not communicating jugs. Such genuine Charity as our old, vaguely Christian society supported, will need to be regrown, as the Niceness jug empties onto the ground. The “progressive” campaign was to damage or, if possible, eliminate what was left of the Church. It doesn’t refill on its own, however, once they have smashed the vessel.

Our re-Christianization, or return to civilization — if that happens — will depend not on a vacated Niceness, but on something more muscular: namely, the Divine. Nor will it occur within any discrete electoral cycle. I would expect it to be, eventually, as continuous as our descent into barbarism has been.

But slower.

Chronicles of hyperventilation

No one gets much bothered if you express disbelief in God, or attempt to blaspheme Jesus. No one, at least up here in the Frigid North, minds if you advocate for abortion, or killing off granny. (It is called “euthanasia.”) But hooo, God have mercy on you — or the Cancel Culture, if He won’t — should you stop worshipping the Batflu. For even to the Commies, some things are holy, after all. (A woman’s right to have her “pre-born” child butchered, for instance; or the little boy’s right, under peer pressure, to be surgically altered into a poor resemblance of … whatever he imagines.)

My latest reminder was during a rare encounter with another human, under our latest Lockdown protocols. We met — involuntarily on both sides, I am sure — in an elevator. It was a rare moment, too, when I was wearing a Batflu Muzzle; in order to avoid eviction from the High Doganate. My error was to say something light, but not entirely respectful, towards the Red Chinese Virus. Not lethally obstreperous, mind. It was on a level with criticism of the weather, which is still permitted in Toronto, about eight months of the year.

My elevator companion went, … I believe “apeshit” is the apt descriptive term. How dare I take the foremost medical crisis in the history of the universe as a joking matter? Was I unaware of “the science” behind him? (It’s quite a smell.)

Happily for me, there are only so many floors in my building, so his attempt at a comprehensive update was overcome by finitude.

I have, truth to tell, given up trying to respond helpfully to psychotic persons. I just pray that the elevator will reach my floor, before they get violent.

My second encounter of the day was much milder. (It is almost noon.) This was while I was trying to put the garbage out, having forgotten my muzzle. I was politely told of my omission, and quickly apprised of my fellow-tenant’s views on the seriousness of the situation. Sensing his own overkill, he added, more whimsically, “That’s my opinion, and I’m always right.”

“Well, I have the opposite opinion, and I’m always wrong.”

If YouBoob hasn’t taken it down yet, I think Dr Roger Hodkinson did a good job of expressing my opinion, in five minutes or less, to an electronic confab in Edmonton or somewhere. (See here.) While he is far better qualified to have an opinion, than anyone who is an authority in the meejah, I notice the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is now trying to disown him. They don’t have a reason, but no one advancing the Batflu hysteria ever does.

“Believe, brother, believe!” … Or they will deal with you.

A threesome

A young friend, who must work for a living, was caught out of town on a job, attending to someone’s “emergency”; when he received an important, if garbled, message. It was about his wife. She — coincidentally, also young — was in hospital. He decided that he must go to her, right away. His customer, whose emergency was only in her head, could wait.

Now, if one doesn’t own a car, it is nearly impossible to get around Ontario. Merely getting to his work assignment, not that far out of Toronto, had been a nightmare. No bus. Once there, he was stranded. I won’t go into this, however. It might make me angry.

Luckily for my friend, he had another friend, too, who was unafraid of our roving Batflu gestapo. He was picked up in an hour, and driven right downtown, to the hospital’s very door. After passing through multiple layers of front-desk bureaucracy, he was finally able to learn what had happened to his wife, and as a bonus, what room she was in. (Sharp eyes, that young man.) Uninterested in getting permission to visit, he walked off.

Someone seemed to be calling him back, but he couldn’t hear, because the elevator door was closing.

It was as he had suspected. The baby had arrived, a little early; their first. His wife was holding him in her arms as he broke into the maternity suite. And she had the most serene, the most beatific smile, as she raised one arm to greet him, and invite him to draw near. Then kissed him, and pulled him nearer, into this tight little triangle: man, woman, child.

And what she said he will not forget, should he live to be one hundred. They were just two words, that could excite any grammarian. They were:

“We three.”

I emphasized the youth of this couple — twenty, and nineteen, respectively, I think — for a reason. Also I will mention that they were properly married, even before the child was conceived. I only learnt of them, thanks to this Idleblog; apparently, some young Catholics know how to read. (Home-schooled, of course.) And there may be others.

The world, as gentle reader may have noticed, is going to hell.

But not all of it is going.

Death of an atheist

My mama turns one hundred today. She would miss the celebration, as her descendants will miss it, owing to the latest Batflu lockdown; but then, she also missed the last seven. This is because she died in 2013. It is one of the inconveniences of the human condition, viewed strictly from a worldly point of view; but being a worldling myself, I often regret it.

I have no idea, I can have no idea, where she is now. I pray that it is in a better place, notwithstanding her sometimes fiery atheism. This held up through the years of painful illness: a stoicism that sometimes broke down in tears, or toyed with sentimentality, but never forgot the quarrel she had with God.

As a young apprentice nurse, raised as an over-literalist Protestant, she had prayed earnestly, desperately, for a sweet little boy. He was tortured by a hideous, and then untreatable, spinal disease, where she was in training at Halifax. In the end he died, and mama was outraged. She’d prayed and prayed and prayed, and then this happened. She felt conned. She was going to get even with God, by never praying to Him again. She would deny that He existed. That would show Him.

A choirgirl, too, with a magnificent mezzo-soprano voice, she got through bouts of horror (“old age is not for cissies”), by singing hymns from childhood, in her geriatric cell; and repeating the Lord’s Prayer. This is because, although a stubborn “Scotch” atheist, she did actually believe in God, as I would sometimes force her to admit. It was just that she was really mad at Him.

A young priest, whom I stuck on her, spent hours — many hours, sometimes in the middle of the night — not trying to convert her, exactly, but praying over her as she had prayed over the broken-spine boy. Until nearly the end, she had the power to send him away, but never did; even though he was Catholic (a serious error, where my mama came from).

But if you are the loving God, you can handle people being angry with you. Or so I have reasoned. You look around them, as well as through, and find any goodness they were trying to hide. And mama had much, that was hard to hide: although she could be secretive about it.

Moreover, You, if you are God, spot the little things that humans often miss, in their hurry, such as sincerity and candour. For unbridled sincerity and candour can sometimes resemble faith, to the point of being it. You see where, as the result of poor theological instruction, the “impenitent” has slipped off the rails. Yet, contrary to human-all-too-human superstition, You aren’t actually out to get them.

Hell is very real, and why people insist on going there is hard to understand. But Purgatory, in my own reckless speculation, is very large. It might not be easy to save some people, from any human or even churchly point of view, but I wouldn’t underestimate God’s ability to beat the odds and obstacles.

Meanwhile, from my privileged position, I remember a mother who was eminently worth saving. I could tell many anecdotes to confirm this, but these belong to receding time and place. We are beyond that now, and the extraordinary virtues that were manifest in this world, must now be seen in light of the immortal. They were as real as she was. And reality itself has the virtue, that, it cannot be deleted.

Locked & loaded

[Fearing this Idlepost was too mild, I added a few sentences to jag it up a bit.]


It would be unfair, as well as disrespectful, to describe political parties like the Democrats in the Natted States, or the Liberals up here in our Fair Dominion, as coalitions of the mentally ill with the mentally retarded, under the management of ruthless criminals. And gentle reader should know, that I am never unfair.

Notwithstanding, I am increasingly annoyed, to see what both of these triumphalist parties take for granted, as they look forward to the future they will impose on the rest of us. The trillions they will vomit, into soi-disant “climate change,” and soi-disant “equity,” and perpetual soi-disant public health “crises,” are a discouragement to the sane. That each bundle of their crackhead schemes is not merely useless, but counter-productive to their stated goals, is a point I have often made in passing.

These parties depend entirely on the urban vote; inflated by corruption. As we saw once again in The Election to the south, they are trounced elsewhere. As evidence, the Democrats felt so protective of the zombie vote, that they even ran a zombie as their presidential candidate.

Each “issue” is not based only on a fraud, but something much darker. For each was advanced as the groundwork for tyranny, from the start. Moreover, each is no longer “talking points” for some deranged, radical clique, but all have spread through urban society as a cancer. None of their premisses may be challenged, no matter how obviously ludicrous; for the advocates cling to them as to religious dogmas. (Leaving us with only our guns and our Bibles.)

Tomorrow, my part of Ontario (most of it) goes back under “lockdown.” This is because the previous lockdowns had no effect at all. We can already know that this one won’t work, either, although it will spread poverty and ruin through millions of lives; while creating new sinkholes for public money.

The more serious victims are, overwhelmingly, not Democrat or Liberal voters. They are those who are by nature independent, keep small shops, take risks on their own savings. These are the “family types” being squeezed and trampled and put out of business by Big Bureaucracy and Big Tech. The “progressive” types, employed by large organizations, can work from their designer homes, and order in their ice cream, because they continue to be well paid, for jobs that are truly inessential. That’s why, politically, the lockdowns “work”: for they are aimed at people these inessentials sneer at; whom they call “deplorables,” “racists,” and “chumps”; those within and without the cities, who harvest and distribute the resources, and provide the myriad services, that make urban life physically possible — come rain, shine, or Batflu.

Far be it from me to suggest that they should abandon the cities, and stop deliveries to the urban cores. And yet, innumerable environmental problems could be solved thereby — from excess consumption, to excess leftwing voters — by the simple expedient of cutting the cities off.

Conspirators, ho!

Like most people, I am capable of biting into a juicy conspiracy theory (without losing teeth). Take reality, for instance. Viewed as a theory, it is pretty wild. The constituents of reality fit together in a way that is rather too neat, and often sadly predictable. Purveyors of outrageous phantasies, such as Q Anon, and the Proud Boys, have been drawing people in with their suspiciously plausible assertions, such as two plus two make four. While they haven’t tried anything as wild as White Supremacy, there are other groups that earnestly believe in that, such as Black Lives Matter, and Antifa. (“Just an idea,” as the Biden man said.) They think arithmetic is part of the conspiracy.

Do two plus two always make four? Not in theology, according to a progressive Jesuit member of the pope’s inner circle. (Fr Spadaro didn’t give any examples, however.)

It gets worse. According to some crazy people, the world is full of “bad actors,” including some who are prepared to lie, cheat, and steal. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Well I did, and believe I have evidence. Verily, with my conspiratorial mind, I entertain the notion that some of them may be cooperating with others.

As an old-fashioned, indeed very backward Christian, I’ve bought into the theories of one Jesus of Nazareth. I think some people are demonically possessed. Not everyone, of course: but surely everyone on the Left. (And quite a few on the Right, too.)

In addition to the Nazarene’s, I have dabbled in the theories of John Stuart Mill. These are extremely radical. Perhaps anticipating Twitter and Facebook, he held that when something is felt to be wrong, the best way to correct it is with open discussion. Moreover, that when this is suppressed, or routinely censored, society as a whole is made (more) stupid; or “idiotized” in my preferred expression. Now, there’s a real conspiracy theory for you.

But once again, I must admit to subscribing. My only excuse is that I was raised not only to believe in logic, but to imagine that logical propositions can be demonstrated — “objectively,” as it were. I actually drove myself through Mill’s big fat beuk, System of Logic (Ratiocinative & Inductive, &c) — when I was an innocent youff. I’m still flinching from the experience. I’m afraid that it has marked me for life.

Call me a White Supremacist. You wouldn’t be the first. Also a Proud Boy, for when physically attacked, I might be inclined to defend myself. That makes me, I think, a Fascist, too. A Racist, of course, but that seems redundant. (There I go off on logic, again.) All my friends of other races must be just for show.

A minor parting thought, inspired by Mr Mill. It is about The Election, and the aftermath of it.

The Democrats still haven’t conceded the presidential election of 2016. Why should Trump concede 2020?

Being a White Supremacist, a Proud Boy, and a Fascist, I would recommend putting his fraud allegations before the courts, and “we’ll see what the law says.” (Fine Scottish expression, that; but needs the brogue.) …

Rather than just declare a “President Elect” in the Pravda, and demand that all charges be dismissed without a hearing, while open discussion is closed down. But that’s just me.

On hand tools

Had I my druthers — O cowering world! — there would be almost no place in our towns or cities, for any sort of powered machinery. Different it might be in the country, although I’m not yet sold on a tractor, to replace the family bullock, and will avoid the topic of combine harvesters. Drilling and mining have, I think, been improved by the techies, from the miners’ point of view. I allow exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions.

There are other details I will overlook for now.

But almost everything now being done by jackhammers and the like, was formerly done with hand tools. Indeed, with a wink to some lady in Oregon, whose house was burnt out, soon after her husband died, and for whom sundry other things have been going wrongish: you can do anything with hand tools. She sends me links to videos by craftsmen, showing just how things are done, or were done in the olden times, going back to before the masons did the Pyramids. How to lay in a good stone foundation, for instance.

From what I can see, this lady is a match for any forest fire, with what I take for a burning Catholic faith. (The pun was intended.) Note that the power source for hand tools is hands, and the like. Ultimately, they are the source of computer chips, too, but something should be said for direct living. A burning Catholic faith may reveal that.

The sound, for example, of a mason’s clinking as he dresses his stone, is a delightfully musical sound; and for another, the soft notes of chisels in wood. Even handsaws and hatchets, one can usually sleep through, though not well while they are working next one’s head. Yet they are not only the acoustic properties that cause me to prefer craft work to the heavy industrial. For the craftsman works more slowly, and thus contemplatively. Too, his efficiencies are nearly impossible to quantify, and the products of his work can’t be sold in volume.

A window-sasher I once knew, was inspired to a fine sarcasm when an adept of “the art of the deal” tried to get four windows for the price of three. As Ruskin said, there is no fair competition where the only criterion is money. Justice demands that the good craftsman flourish, and the bad one starve, until he finds a trade better suited to his gormlessness.

How do I reconcile my opposition to modern construction techniques with my enthusiasm for freedom? I don’t have to. Nor will I listen to glib arguments about modern “life expectancy.” Being a proponent of quality, over quantity, I care more about how the life is lived, than whether it can be made interminable. Still, a joyous, well-employed craftsman is likely to outlive a neurotic wastrel with ulcers.

But as another girl I once quite liked was apt to say, “Who’s counting?” She was annoyed by gift-giving in the spirit of bookkeeping, with frequent auditing of what one owes, or is owed. “Communism is only possible among friends,” my exiled Czech companions used to say, who vied to clear the bar bill ahead of each other.

The free man does what he does voluntarily. He does not need a bureaucracy to “guide” him when, for a much smaller outlay, he has already in his possession a Bible and some poetry.

As an old friend, now early-retired from guvmint, said to his still diligent colleagues: “Take all your statistical analyses, and stick them up your ass.”

Hand tools require intelligent, and practised, organization for the job. Mass enterprise requires organizers even for the organizers of the organizers. The tyranny implicit, when it is not explicit, in most aspects of modern life, while obsessively advanced by commies and “liberals,” is not something to celebrate, rather something to throw off — Trumpestuously, I would say.

From a world now being again “reset” by the very rich and progressive, it is necessary to detach ourselves.

My instinct is that this can be done, with hand tools.


ADDITIONAL. — My Chief Texas Correspondent, who is agnostic on questions of technology, but seems to share my preference for quiet, and is no fan of the disposable, links something to the effect that cars today cannot be repaired. When they stop working you just throw them away, like defunct televisions and computers. However he touts “artificial intelligence” for prospector oilfield drilling. Whereas, I recommend bamboo poles, inserted in the ancient Oriental manner.

But this does not address the car-repair problem.

My favourite car, from my Asiatic days, was a rusting Land Rover, designed to be not only fixable by hand, but fixable under exotically bad conditions, and with very simple tools, which it carried. It could run, if necessary, on banana oil, when caught miles away from any conceivable petrol pump. There was no air conditioner, but you could drive it with the windscreen hinged down. Or up, during the monsoon season, when torrential rain presented the greater irritant. 

Moan moan moan

Twenty-twenty has not been one of the better years, in my retrospective survey over the few decades I have been a worldling; and yet it may look good in years to come. With the defeat of Trump, by the tireless combination of the dark state and media, the small hope for improvements has been muffled. Henceforth, not only in the Natted States, the abridgement of our freedoms will resume. Too, under the guidance of the worst pope in many centuries, the Catholic Church will continue to contract, along with other bulwarks against the power of sleazy politicians. And yet we cannot know the future, for better or worse; and things we could not possibly have anticipated will disturb every trend.

The only certainty is that we will die, and the only imperative is, finally, to prepare for it. For eternity stretches beyond our days. To be immersed in the politics of this world, even defensively against overbearing politicians, is to be wrapped in a kind of never-ending Batflu, in which our actions are constrained by a constantly growing “public health” gestapo.

My Loyalist ancestors, who, on this continent, first fought for the Continental Army, then fled, had a saying I will come to in a moment. My worthy ancestor, Stetson Holmes, nominally on the winning side, saw how his victorious neighbours were persecuting his defeated neighbours, with tar and feathers at the end of the “Revolutionary War.” He took his family north from Massachusetts, at first to the independent Republic of Vermont. And then, when that merged with the new Union, by cart across the state of Maine, and by fishing boat up the coast to Halifax; then Cape Breton. With his sons, he once again pioneered, at Holmville (later spelt “Homeville” by casual bureaucratic edict). A little Scotch, already, themselves, with the generations they married with the Gaelic exiles, who had fled the Clearances in the Highlands and Islands, to become crofters in the free New World. And in time we come to the economic and spiritual destruction of the society they formed — homogenized by pogey into the new Nanny State.

The saying began as a Loyalist cri de cœur: “Better one tyrant three thousand miles away, than three thousand tyrants one mile away.”

I was raised, on my mother’s side but also on my father’s, with a deep distrust of “The Peeple,” which has evolved in my own case into a general suspicion of “democracy.” The best the State can offer, in my view, is to honour its old, rather British commitment, to stay out of my life. Unfortunately, this requires its determination not only to recognize one’s freedom and autonomy, and the dignity of the small; but also to enforce this.

Freedom of speech, for instance, depends on the State’s willingness not merely to disapprove, but to actively oppose things like “cancel culture.” Those trying to shut you up should themselves be subject to arrest by the police, and cracked skulls when they get pushy about it.

This is not the current view of the public at large. The great majority only go with the flow, and half-believe the vicious lies by which their behaviour is modified. It is like “Covid Compliance” — like everyone wearing these bat-muzzles, that have long been known to have no effect whatever against the spread of a virus, but to be actually detrimental to health when worn for extended periods. (Or the more spiritual bat-muzzles, that make us watch what we are saying.) The guvmint says, “Wear them!” — and even those who know better, do, for fear not so much of the police, but of their tarring neighbours.

“Patriots” and “Loyalists” were two of a Yankee kind. Both fought for freedom, and now that a couple of centuries have passed, they are retrospective allies against the modern world.

Against that, all we can be is stroppy; and all we can be for the foreseeable future. But all is never lost, so long as we are able to remember that our Kingdom is not of this world.

Cohabiting with elephants

There is an elephant in the room, according to an overused cliché, for something so big that no one can see it, because nothing else is visible. (Fish, it is sometimes argued, don’t believe in the existence of water.) Those blinded by its scale think the problem may just be oversized ear flaps, or over-hard tusks; over-heavy feet; or an over-swishing trunk or tail. Those eccentrics who suggest there is an elephant in the room, are dismissed for exaggerating. Or more effectively, their point is both conceded, and ignored.

In this case they are exaggerating, for the elephant has been mistaken for a donkey. If the people who live with it took off their blindfolds, they’d have better zoological judgement. But what if their eyes were sewn shut? Or what if their judgement is clouded because, they are themselves the donkey, and the problem is strictly relative? In the donkey’s view, too many animals in the room are not donkeys. Time to get into a rage, and kick them out.

But returning to our original analysis, the big problem was the elephant, Mr Donald Trump. For people don’t really have their eyes sewn shut; they just see what they want to see. And they see, clearly, that he is very large, in the mental room they are trying to occupy. Everything they want, he is in the way.

Let’s take a longer view of this, however. It’s not just the elephant. The people who live between New York and Los Angeles, except those in the other big urban tumours, are elephantine by nature. They sent the Trump monster to Washington, to trample as much of the “deep state” as possible. They aren’t inclined to apologize for this. Verily, their enthusiasm for the monster is confirmed wherever he holds a rally. The Batflu donkeys are unable to shut it down. “Fact-checking,” that the crowd was only thirty thousand when he said it was thirty-five, does not help shrink it.

They think they have him pinned by the zombie vote. But so long as he lives, he is not a butterfly. I am, of course, again referring to The Election, as I have been, obnoxiously, in many Idleposts lately. In my view — which enjoys a monopoly at this website — it was fraudulent, bigly. Or is, because the whole thing isn’t over, and won’t be until, right or wrong, the results are certified, and the Electoral College meets. If it is over, then. Unfortunately, the urban zombies have been misinformed. Elections in the Natted States, as elsewhere, are not decided by mass media. And in lawful jurisdictions, irregularities are investigated first.

But the fraudulence of The Election, indicated by the number of red flags thrown up — apparent to an easy consensus of boring, conventional fraud perfessionals — does not come down to anecdotes. I can’t speak to which ones are true; I wasn’t personally there, at the hundreds of locations, like so many journalists who imply that they were. The allegations are numerous, and run only one way. But in my view, the fraudulence was deeper. It is indicated by another consensus: the overwhelming agreement of mass media — who are Left in an unsubtle way — that there is nothing to see here. They have asked the operatives of the Democratic Party, with whom they are allied, if there were any irregularities; and their friends said, No.

Happily, this overwhelming consensus is undermining itself. It is feeding the quickly growing desire for alternative sources of information. Were I a Big Tech executive — and I assure gentle reader I am not — I would worry that my efforts to monopolize the conversation were highly counter-productive.

For if, as I believe to the point of know, a majority of Mericans have policy views much closer to Mr Trump’s than to Mr Biden’s, those views will surface, Trump or no Trump. Moreover, making these people more angry will not make them more calm.


FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH. I’d intended to greet the day, as if it were a statutory holiday, the way I try to greet all other days. But it seems that I went ahead and wrote another Idlepost, in defiance of my own lazy intentions. Well, it’s too late now, and I am already being criticized.

On the subject of Intention, I have been reading Elizabeth Anscombe’s beuk on this topic, and getting less from it than I had hoped. This is because Mrs Geach (she was married to another of my philosophical heroes) writes with such precision, that I find it a disadvantage as a reader, to be old and mentally feeble.

To answer several who were themselves confused by my use of this word “intention,” the other day:

When a Catholic “prays for your intentions,” he is not praying that you will get what you want; unless they are good intentions, in the eyes of God. If your intentions are deranged, he prays that God will fix them. I learnt this the hard way some years ago, when a Catholic told me he was praying for my intentions. What he meant was, I now realize, he was praying that I would stop being an ass.

Today, I find myself, not for the first time, praying for our pope’s intentions.