Essays in Idleness

DAVID WARREN

The good stabbing

What do you do, when a man with a knife approaches you, while you are conducting an online Mass in Sydney, Australia?

This problem in modern etiquette confronted the Assyrian bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, while delivering his homily in church, Monday. Quick to respond, he flashed a Crucifix at the young Muslim, directly. This, presumably, caused a defect in his spring-loaded blade. The assailant nevertheless managed to repeatedly stab the bishop, a younger priest, and several parishioners who came forward to help them; but thanks, perhaps, to the divine intervention, no one was killed.

In hospital later, the bishop (who is known to TikTok audiences) announced that he was recovering, and not in danger. He forgave both his attacker and the persons behind the attack. This was the correct Christian response, leaving the police to deal with the administrative details.

It was also a rather clever approach to the publicity issue. Forgiveness really irritates the radical Muslim. He will assume the Christian is trying to trick him into apostasy. (Sometimes it works.)

I was asked recently if I could offer any hope at all, for the future of our degraded Western civilization. Of course there is hope; most obviously in the number of Muslim immigrants, from Persia and other “Islamist” regimes especially, who are converting to Christianity. As apostasy is generally punishable by death in Muslim countries, their emigration “changes the equation.”

They often become more serious Christians than the average we supply, and we should expect many future saints among them.

Dead babies

While I am riffing on political topics: I notice that Biden and Demoncrats have recovered in the polls, and I would not put it past Canadian electors to make Injustin revive. The secret to winning elections is to tell the best lies, not only about current events, but about the whole human condition. No one really believes or likes politicians; but they believe or like the lies.

“Republicans” and “Conservatives” work with the liberals on a common progressive agenda, less the odd obvious scam (but plus a few others). The Right, like the Left, depends on enthusiastic supporters who are young and naïve, and older ones who are world-weary.

I think that Trump, for instance, is an opportunist whose conservatism is performative, and that he is deeply crass and vulgar. But in the Abraham Accords and other foreign policy he showed a clew, and in his partial, elementary grasp of economics he leads by a few miles. Too, Trump is “a character” with impressive stamina, traces of wit, and a capacity for jolliness, who came late to prostitution; whereas Biden was cynical and senile approximately from birth. The winner won’t be selected by voting, however.

The pollsters have discovered that Americans on all sides only care about abortion. Should it be legal, illegal, or should we grant fifteen weeks of “grace”? Now, with Roe v. Wade retired, politicians can no longer hide behind their skirts, and must either have a sincere opinion, or tell an easily exposed whopper. This is sad for them, but especially for Republicans, who were stringing the pro-childbirth faction along. The majority are unquestionably in favour of convenience in all of their moral choices, and therefore of child-murder on demand.

This, and the Democrats superiority in cheating, assure Biden of another term. For not even I would vote for a Republican, unless he made clear that he was willing to lose on the abortion issue. The Trumpestuous, however, will not risk losing, intentionally.

Acrasia

The word, from Greek, means “acting against one’s better judgement,” and is (I suspect) at the root of our problems with “intention.” More painfully, acrasia is in the background of all “planning” schemes — and thus in all activities of our secular governments. They are all “crazy,” as Christians know, from original sin, but a Greek pagan might recognize it as ἀκρασία.

A Platonist, of course, would argue that this acrasia does not exist; that we would all do what was best if we knew what that was. And this presumably includes bureaucracies, which are typically staffed by human agents. Alas, we don’t, and they can’t, form better judgements. Plato’s Socrates was perfectly aware that “wrong happens.”

The Christian conception is complementary with the Aristotelian conception, instead. Thomist, Catholic, Christian thought is prior, in the sense that it explains the problem from the beginning; but both Christ and Aristotle are against brutishness in its many forms — from the weak-willed to the headstrong. Indeed, in the Nicomachian Ethics, Aristotle senses a divine agency, acting negatively in self-restraint, and positively in virtue.

I was contemplating this subject in macabre detail this week, as one of my correspondents accused me (as he had before) of “war-mongering.” I tend to confess to this vice, rather than indulge in disgusting “virtue signalling.” Of course we are publicly against war, and some of us are even privately opposed. But the serious question is: How can war be avoided?

Paradoxically, as the clever sort of humans, including statesmen, have always known, war is avoided by warlike acts. That is what made Trump and Reagan and Nixon so successful as pacifists, and the other recent presidents such failures; it is why Switzerland has been able to stay war-free for so long. Not only must we build a military that no one could wish to tangle with, and keep it constantly exercising, but we must be clear whose “side” we are on. That’s what inspires enemies to stop teasing.

It constitutes “better judgement.”

The long war

“When you’re in love the whole world is Jewish,” according to the title of a comedy album that my father brought home, in the early ‘sixties. No one in my family was Jewish, but as I recall, the album, recorded at some live performance in New York, was funny in a politely vulgar way. Today, it might cause a disturbance on campus, but most things do. Back then, it let middle-class goys (goyim?) feast upon echt Jewishness. It was part of a broad historical movement, as it were, in which Jews became an acceptable, indeed popular, North American minority, and were sentimentally favoured over their persecutors. They were peacefully assimilated, as they had been in the good old Weimar Republic, on the eve of brownshirt assaults, and Kristallnacht.

Bourgeois America hasn’t changed, and neither did bourgeois Germany. Our middle class remains well-meaning, and spineless, simply stepping aside, now that the devil is loose again. Sentimental niceness is a happy, witless, worthless indulgence. What happens to Jews today at Harvard and elsewhere has become “none of our business.”

The “mainstream” governing parties in the USA and Canada wish to present themselves as reasonable. They take a middle position between Hamas murderers, rapists, and kidnappers, and Israeli Jews trying to defend themselves. While the Israeli Defence Forces go to unprecedented lengths, suffering unnecessary casualties to spare “Palestinian” (Arab) civilians, Hamas does whatever is in its power to maximize the carnage. The more civilians they can present as victims, the more the publicity machines of the Left are fed. Israeli ceasefire offers are consistently rejected. Hamas is in its element.

Hamas and the PLO have used the time they have been in power to brainwash the Arab youth, through viciously propagandist schooling systems, helped along by UNRWA and foreign aid. Under their control, huge majorities of Arab children have been raised to the cause of Jew-killing, and the old fantasy of a “two-state solution” has been replaced by: “From the river to the sea.”

This is what happens when the bourgeois, sentimental, cowardly representatives of the West make diplomatic accommodations with Satanic organizations, such as Hamas, the PLO, Hezbollah, Houthis, the Syrian regime, the Iranian Ayatollahs, ISIS and various other “Islamists.” We give the possibility of peace away. By our concessions, we have made them into spokesmen for Islam; and they have spoken: “Death to America,” and “Death to the Jews.”

By now, every one of these organizations ought to be extinct, as we made the Nazis extinct, together with their Sturmabteilung and other terrorist bureaucracies … vanished, exterminated. That took more than a decade to achieve (from Hitler’s initial democratic victory). But after many, many decades, “Islamism” remains, and note: we are being defeated by it.

Hateful anti-hatists

Granted, it is hard to get anything right; and when in addition to oneself, one has assumed responsibility for the behaviour of some hundreds of millions of others, or even a few thousand, the certainty of failure must be quite discouraging. Yet, I feel no compassion for these political leaders — very much including those “on my side” — and will not sponge them with soothing, sympathetic wetness.

When the State tells me that it is wrong to kill, or even to maim or torture, immigrants, I am willing to “grant the State a pass”; for there have been laws against such violence from the beginning of (human) time. But when the State tells me that I mustn’t hate immigrants, it has gone too far. Indeed, as a connoisseur of hatreds, I despise various immigrant groups particularly, and probably hate many white cis-Canadians even more. These are prejudices to which I am entitled.

The question whether I have a right to hurt animals is more complicated, and potentially very boring. But I remain within culinary conventions by eating only animals and vegetable matter. I hate some vegetables even more than I hate the immigrants, though seldom does it rise to the murderous level.

The nursing of selective, as well as general, hatreds, is an important human right. Hatreds have been, as those acquainted with art and literature may know, a fine creative goad. … “Some of the greatest poetry and paintings,” &c. … And it can never be prevented, because the more practised hatists go about their despications, subtly. One might easily miss what they are secretly gnashing about.

But those who would persecute hatists refuse to be subtle. They want legislation. They are so damned obvious. Categorically, let us persecute them!

Dispensing fault

It is rare that a catastrophe — an actual catastrophe with deaths and serious inconveniences — happens as “an act of God.” I learned this as a young hack journalist from a brilliant insurance adjuster, who had spent his life tracing effects from causes, and I began noticing it while reading the newspapers right away. The really big catastrophes are (not invariably, but quite usually) the result of human “interference” in the natural order of things. This especially includes politicians’ attempts to amend natural laws, by legislation.

From “climate change,” to the “woke” generation that is now proceeding through therapy to neurosis, catastrophes cannot be understood without such concepts as fraud, lies, swindles, treachery, and the other forms of criminal deceit, often at unimagined scale.

Passing events such as the Batflu, which resulted according to prestigious medical authorities in millions of deaths, are difficult to research and understand, because from the start they were designed to be opaque to research and understanding. Evil is impenetrable in itself. Nothing — absolutely nothing — that came from those authorities can be trusted as wholesomely correct. Paradoxically, much of the “misinformation” they most stridently condemned, turned out to be true. Note, that in “public medicine,” the end will inevitably be used to justify the means.

But there is no direct proof that the virus came from the Wuhan biological weapons lab, doing contract work with money from the American medical establishment, any more than there is evidence for the existence of Satan. Neither is there conclusive evidence that the reader got out of bed this morning. All the transient evidence can be wiped away.

More largely, not all, but most of the routine problems that the citizens of the world must suffer — the unpleasant shortages and unpleasant surpluses — are the creation of politicians for political ends, and more often were intended, than unintended, consequences. No one who claims to be “solving” anything should escape punishment.

Indolent piece

About forty years ago, I was planning to celebrate, this year, the fortieth anniversary of a “little magazine,” called The Idler. The plans made by these humans, especially by me, don’t work out as we expect them to, however — although dates forty years in the future may be calculated reliably. For that’s barely two “enneadecaeteris” cycles, or less than half of a Callippic period, as Greek astronomers calculated them, before the Christian era (see Ptolemy’s Almagest).

As we live today in a multicultural multiverse, I should mention that Babylonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Mayans, and some others were aware of these calendric cycles, in which, if one is patient, the lunar and solar dates come eventually to coincide; but as usual the Greeks “branded” them. They were anticipating capitalism, and perhaps, making an exhibition of their white privilege.

Back to the Idler. It perished thirty years ago, thus cancelling its fortieth anniversary party in advance, as well as centennial and bicentennial celebrations. But as a small number of persons seem mildly interested in what it was (and it was, after all, part of the prehistory of the Borborygmatic Society) … The Hub paid me to write this memoir.