Essays in Idleness


On Mother’s Day

As my well-informed, gentle readers will know, the lady who invented Mother’s Day (this second Sunday in May) also campaigned for its abolition. Anna Jarvis (1864–1948), who had framed the original proposal for a holiday, inspired after the death of her own beloved mother, was appalled when she saw what she had encouraged. A sincere Methodist, and a fierce opponent of infant mortality, she had advocated for a devout, religious holiday — but saw it turned, almost instantly, into a crass commercial event.

As it remains to this day.

We are not against motherhood, incidentally, up here in the High Doganate. Nor are we necessarily against nursing and other “healthcare” vocations — although we are quite irritated by the daily clash of pots and pans, and the rest of the urban cacophony, including the flypast of the Snowbird aeroplanes that we just endured. All these disorders promote our socialist, ludicrously expensive, and largely counterproductive, hospital system.

There are good mothers and bad; good nurses and bad; I’m sure there are even a few good doctors. To celebrate them, or any tribe as a species, is too heavy a load of codswallop for me. I would go so far as to add that there are good florists and bad, and would insinuate that there are also bad flowers — not as God made them, but as they are bred, and arranged. Praise for certain classes of people, with the possible exception of the (biologically deceased) Saints, is an “identitarian” movement, whether superficially of the Left or Right. How often crass commercialism has “evolved” from vulgar and deceitful politics.

For some years now, I have honoured Anna Jarvis by ignoring Mother’s Day.

Instead, let us address our prayers to that most Holy Virgin, and present our flowers at her shrine. And if there is a mother whom we especially prize, let us lay them at her tomb where her arms are folded, or in the living arms that once enfolded us.

Be safe, or you will be shot!

My title this morning is borrowed from an email by a dear friend. He’d ping’d along some meejah item on a firearms incident. Whatever. Perhaps we should praise the moderation of Judge Moye of Dallas County, for even though capital punishment is available in Texas, he did not order Shelley the hair salon owner to be shot. And this, although Shelley had ignored an order from the Health Gestapo to close her shop. (He is so liberal!)

Perhaps gentle reader will suspect I’m being “ironical” here. My email correspondent is one of several who forward items from across the continent about local officials, “dressed in a little authority,” over-enforcing lockdown orders when mere citizens show insufficient respect for them. Another item, that came in at the same time, showed a jogger on a California beach easily outrunning a fat, winded policeman, with background music from Chariots of Fire. I think it was the first time in my life that I cheered on a jogger.

Shelley Luther is the full name of that Texas beautician, now my latest heart-throb. I went out of my way to keystroke her release from prison by an Attorney-General — now as you might expect under criticism from various Texas Democrats and other unspeakable swamp-life.

Though a United Empire Loyalist myself, I was delighted to hear some of Shelley’s supporters singing: “Stand beside her, and guide her — Through the Night with a Light from Above.” (As I write, I am singing this to myself.)

Alas, my own beautician — who has been doing really cheap haircuts for me since my little sister gave up the practice — has not stood up to Ontario’s Health Nazis. Another of my heart-throbs (I have thousands of them), her shop in Toronto’s Chinatown is more closed than Wuhan. So is the ethnic supermarket nearby, full of tanks and flopping fish, where I’d go to pretend that I was in an Asiatic wet market.

We don’t have a world-class virology lab in Toronto, I’m sorry to say. That’s because we’re not really a world-class city, I fear. The best we could offer was a world-class loony bin, but that has been diminished since our Health Fascists started to apply euphemisms to it, and turned all the inmates into outpatients. They are the closest we still get to genuine diversity; though of course they all vote Liberal.


I was going to write about economics this morning, but got distracted somehow. I once read a paperback on this topic (along with a few hardcovers), and I’m curious about where the many trillions come from that our guvmints have been distributing as pogey.

Yairs: I vaguely remember someone named Bernanke, bailing the banks out during the financial crisis of ’08, explaining in an unguarded moment that the process is “less like borrowing and more like printing money.” Today it can all be done electronically, so they don’t have the fiendish printing costs they used to have in Weimar Germany.

From that paperback I learnt that money is only useful if you can buy stuff with it. And who would make anything to sell if, as a rude child on Edith Street once said, “you only get paid with farties.” Formerly, you could at least collect the old coins, after they had been “demonetized.” I used to have a little collection of these demonetized trinkets from Greece, Rome, Byzantium, ancient Japan and so forth, until a burglar cured me of the miserly habit of looking at them. But here in post-modernity, only the keystrokes remain, thanks to wonderful improvements in technology.

Except, I’ve overlooked the pretty card my bank gave me, with a picture on it of the great outdoors. Once I’ve got into the grocery store (you have to line up), I just help myself to anything I want, and then tap this card on the way out. The machine makes a noise like, “jin-ping!” — and then I’m on my way.

On paint-by-numbers

At some point — but it is seldom a discrete moment in space or time — the weight of the anecdotal in science, or that of the circumstantial in law, becomes overwhelming. This is the opposite of a statistical fact, in part because there are no statistical facts. I am reminded of this whenever the “scientific” control freaks of statistics lay down some law, indifferent to the Law in nature. The difference between 999,999 and one million is, in any imaginable situation, not a difference at all. Where it is made the basis for a decision, that decision is arbitrary, and not infrequently, cruel. By contrast, such differences as those between pregnant and not pregnant, dead and not dead, are unchallengeably significant. They are in the realm of meaning.

I am reminded of this hourly or better, these days, when consulting the news. All readers of the mass media (accurately described by Trump as “fake news”) are being covered, constantly, by the vomit of statistics — few with any context, and many knowingly false. They “look scientific,” which is to say, they answer to the moron’s conception of science. In “disciplines” like economics, today, and throughout the other social sciences, the participants sleepwalk. Nobel prizes are given out for numerical sludge, presented to the purpose of selling one destructive “policy” or another, that will be imposed on real, live, particular human beings. The same is true of the “mathematical biology” that has disinformed all our public health “professionals.”

The Red Chinese Batflu, now transforming our world, is a spectacular case in point. Not only the epidemiological projections, but even the counts of dead and wounded, are taken on faith — from people who are characteristically faithless. Information on prevention and cures is hostage to the work of statisticians. “Double blind tests,” which would be absolutely immoral — wicked — on human subjects facing life or death — are demanded by our medical apes.

Let us consider Hydroxychloroquine, for one passing example. Administered promptly, it has “apparently” saved the lives of thousands, in nursing homes all over the world, and outside them. The doctors and nurses on our actual front lines are using it, on the strength of their actual experience. The dangers in its use are real, as they are in all drugs, and all food and drink for that matter; but in this case they are remarkably slight. Yet the drug has been put under a cloud by one, obviously politicized, statistical study — in which it was administered, or not administered, to patients already beyond hope of recovery. Surprise! Hydroxycholoquine didn’t work on them. The malicious idiots of the press then went to work on this, for an unambiguously political purpose.

No artist, not even the geometrically obsessed Piero della Francesca, or the over-domesticated Johannes Vermeer, ever painted by numbers. Both were fascinated by the patterns they had the genius to observe in nature, and both sought to reproduce these patterns within the structure of their paintings. Ratios have been contemplated, and applied, through the known histories of art, architecture, music, even poetry, since very ancient times. They are likewise of interest, and use, within the sciences. But these are never statistical, except where some mediocrity is trying to demonstrate some point that is irresistibly precise, by a means that is approximate. The Golden Section, the value of Pi — are true absolutely, not by the compilation of averages.

But modern, godless man, cannot cope with Absoluteness. (See here.)

Cause and effect may be masked, by many variables, but that great principle of our universe, that two and two make four, regardless of what some fool in the Vatican may proclaim, is at the root of all discovery. It makes the difference between truth and (let me try to be polite for a change:) error. We know by experience, and in moments we home in upon, what our Creator has Created. Or we babble, having dressed up as the Judge.

Rats in labcoats

Gentlemen! A word of warning! “Carrying on” (i.e. fornicating) with a married woman other than your wife (i.e. adultery) could still cost you your job! For you might be in violation of social distancing rules.

Let’s make the disapproval stronger. You will certainly be in violation, and not only of her chastity. For there are some things that can’t be done by Zoom or Skype, as even progressives will admit, until they have reconsidered the matter, as they have with the distinction between female and male.

The man I think of as the father of our lockdowns — Professor Neil Ferguson, who persuaded the world that the Batflu would kill millions, with his computer model at Imperial College London — has now discovered that the revolution eats its own. His “squeeze,” a meejah environmentalist performer — who is “committed to an open marriage” — had been “visiting” him, as it were. By doing so she was leaving one house, and entering another. Someone must have snitched. So now we have a holiday from them both.

Prof Ferguson, famed “mathematical biologist,” could, to my mind, have been classified as an infectious disease in his own right. The curious may find that he has been behind a succession of wildly exaggerated epidemiological prognostications: from Mad Cow, to Swine Flu, Ebola, Zika, Dengue, the last SARS. Check them out. I don’t mean a little on the high side, but consistently orders of magnitude over the top. He has cost British and foreign taxpayers many, many millions thereby, but would have cost much more had any previous government taken his advice more seriously. For he habitually recommends nationwide lockdowns.

At last they have listened! (Yes, that was sarcasm.) His thoughts on “global warming” are of a piece: simply close everything down.

But while incredibly influential, Prof Ferguson was never unique. Since January, my respect for epidemiologists may have dropped lower than my respect for leftwing journalists. If gentle reader is aware of one who ever failed to increase the sum of human misery, he may reach me by email.

Dr Fauci, on this side of Lake Atlantic, has my attention again since I learnt that he was instrumental within the Obama administration, in directing huge American grants to the Batflu incubator at Wuhan in Red China. That he now denies our pandemic could possibly have spread from there, thus strikes me as uninteresting. President Obama was the genius who shut down potentially lethal American “gain-of-function” research, which was then redoubled in China with American help.

It is hard to find this stuff in Google, because it is being actively censored. This is another feature of the progressive rhetorical approach. My Idleposts themselves would be banned, I suspect, if anyone ever read them. This is my principal advantage: so long as no one hears us, we have free speech. And my pleasure lately is to be the sort of paranoid schizophrenic dog, who was trained to smell out rats, in labcoats.

On celebrating “identity”

My interest in Mexican history is like the Mexican interest in Mexican history: very tame. That third federal republic, and its predecessors, has many interesting and even noble features. Mexico was once, more than the Natted States, a great world power — the original seat of the almighty dollar, and globalist trade — generations before the English-speaking were a credible presence on this continent. She was also a cultural superpower. To this day she is what remains of the still-beating heart of Catholicism in the Americas, and the papist who does not rise to the cry ¡Viva Cristo Rey! must be brain dead. For even under the oppression of the sick and perverted secular tyranny that impoverished Mexico, that heart throbbed.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the First Battle of Puebla on the 5th of May, 1862, when a smaller Mexican force under the possibly brilliant General Zaragoza whipped an awkward French squad, that was a long way from home. It ignores the Second Battle of Puebla, when the French returned and pulverized the Mexicans. I should like to get into the history of the destruction of Mexico by secular progressives, some other day. We are being torn apart ourselves, now, by their triumphs. Satan invariably wins in those conflicts, but never for keeps.

As a cultural event, however, among Mexican exiles in places like California, that First Battle of Puebla was an occasion to remember, starting the next year. In Mexico itself it faded, but up here in the North of North America it has become Mexican Ethnic Day, when we like to drink lots of tequila. It became very popular thanks to beer and licker advertising campaigns in the 1980s, and as this year’s Batflu scenario is an indoor affair, the focus is on tequila-drinking while socially-spaced. Perhaps gentle reader has already obtained his bottle, in the time he has saved from having his church closed down. I understand the supply chain for this beverage is robust.

In the view of P. G. Wodehouse (not a Mexican), “It’s a funny old world.” Or it was Margaret Thatcher who said that (not a Mexican, either): I’ve never checked it out. Thanks to a globalized crass commercialism, I see that the holiday is finally catching on in Mexico itself; the way the celebration of Saint Patrick’s with green food dye has caught on in Ireland. I like fake things to look fake, so as not to spread confusion.

The self-celebration of an ethnicity has always been, as it were, authentically false. When, for instance, “Canada Day” replaced “Dominion Day” it was, arguably, a welcome acknowledgement that a genuine commemoration was being replaced by an expression of our vacuous national pride. Our fair Dominion need no longer be desecrated, for it was now entirely in the past. The kids as well as their elders could paint red maples all over their faces, and feel giddy good about themselves, while hopping up and down. Any deeper patriotism could be warned, to hide.

In the Old World, celebrations were directed away from the people, chiefly towards God. Historical events were commemorated for themselves, not as a reflection of “our niceness.” Ladies, gentlemen, or the civilized, generally, did not self-celebrate. That was for savages and barbarians, or so we assumed. This was unfair, however, for savages and barbarians have more dignity than that.

Being made ill

The daily count of deaths from the Red Chinese Batflu is among the prized, scare-mongering features of our mass media. I am among those who consider these numbers to be significantly overstated, for a reason that Nikolai Gogol would understand. Each corpse is worth cash to some public authority, usually from a higher authority; and as always, finally from the taxpayers. Each also saves money for government programmes, that can be reallocated to the purchase of new votes. As the corpse providers from this virus are very old, and suffering from other life-threatening conditions, in almost every case, this statistical inflation is easy to perform. Death certificates are issued for any who died with “Covid-19,” whether or not they died from it, and more are then added of those who were never tested. Anything respiratory will do. It’s all judgement calls — on which side of the bread is buttered.

Compare if you will the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 and 1969. I was just reading a memoir, from down that memory hole. The death toll was actually higher then, than ours is now, and from within a smaller population; the victims included children and the young. Yet there were no interruptions in economic life; no public emergency theatricals; and at the height of the second wave of that scourge, we had events like Woodstock. (Those were the days, my friend.)

A neat way to correct for all our “judgement calls” might be to look at overall death rates, and see if they have risen or fallen. It is too early to get a clear view, but soon it may be too late, for vested interests will have tampered with them. All my life I have been learning to trust statistics, less — especially from those who dress in labcoats and affect that earnest look. Sometimes an exception must be considered, however. An unpredictable minority may be honest; some others might get numbers right by mistake.

But in judging the “impact” of our pandemic, my standard of comparison is the iatrogenic toll. That is, the aggregate dead from medical errors (which are of many different kinds). The number per year in USA is estimated by their respected National Academy of Medicine (who have no motive for overestimating) at well over 200,000. Their definitions are narrow; the truth could be that the doctors (and their assistants) kill off twice that. One may add another four times for abortions, which takes us to a million at least. These are all people who might have lived, had they been spared medical attention. Except the abortions, few are intentionally murdered, of course. And balancing this, I admit, lives are also saved, even in the ICUs.

So currently we are at about one-twentieth of the iatrogenic toll.

My own suspicion is that the ratio, of those killed to those saved by medical intervention, has remained fairly constant over the years, since distant antiquity. I would include witch-doctoring and the like, were I researching figures. As a general rule, I think pseudo-scientific arrogance cancels gains from technical innovations, unless we count soap and water as high-tech.

The numbers are confused by the medicalization of modern life, with its many layers of unintended consequences. People do get sick, and even die, in the state of nature; but the pre-modern means of coping with this were better. They were not made sick by constant suggestion; they had nothing like the modern states of depression, with their terrible fallout in suicide, hypochondria, and addictions.

I was not surprised to learn, years ago, that during the Saskatchewan doctors’ strike of 1962 (against the imposition of “socialized” medicine), the death rate actually fell. I will not be surprised when I learn that it did so during this pandemic, too — wherever medical treatment was denied for any other illness than the Batflu.

“Listen to the science,” the unctuous have said. I think we might live longer if we didn’t.

Sharp words

My Chief Michigan Birding Correspondent, who reports the arrival of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks this morning, at his black oil sunflower feeder — a week or more in advance of their usual appearance — also mentions that I have used sharp words in my Idleposts several times recently. A submarine sailor in one of his own past lives, he admits to having thrown off colourful language himself, “especially when overly fatigued by the stupidity of the overall situation.” But perhaps I have been taking the news too seriously.

Naturally, I consult the housefinches on my balconata, who must themselves be well informed, as they persist in maintaining six feet of distance from me, whether I’m proposing to feed them or not. Alas, none of them confess to having read my Idleposts lately, or having an opinion, on anything, really. Others have commented this last week — but these not housefinches but Australians. Canada’s only surviving reactionary poet (now that the other one has migrated to the States) took the contrary view, and cited the comportment of Saint Michael, when debating with the Great Serpent. (His attitude towards e.g. Justin Trudeau is less sympathetic than mine. I did not think that was possible.)

My own view is that one should try always to use the mot juste, and if that happens to be, for instance, “bullshit,” then so it goes. But my Michigander is right. One should not take the news too seriously. More often one should inquire of a grosbeak, or grosbec as the French more elegantly call them, not for his political views, but to hear his song, which has been likened to that of a robin who has taken singing lessons. I, to be honest, have never heard a grosbeak swear. On the other hand, I’ve never met a grosbeak in a submarine.

Many of these grosbeaks wear blackface, incidentally. But none is so low as, say, the Governor of Virginia.

Forever Saigon

Forty-five years since the fall of Saigon, seventy-five since the fall of Berlin, six hundred and forty since the death of Catherine of Siena — the anniversaries have been falling thick and fast this week. For an Idleblogger it has been an embarras de richesses. The first two of those events fill my head with the images of so many long dead, and perpetually beloved; and too, with so much business unfinished, that will never be finished in this world. One thing follows another, downhill, as we recall each catastrophe, and with it the miracle that some of us have lived.

An article in the New-York Post (here) brings one historical event back into view, with a bitterness I haven’t yet overcome. It is only an aside on an old photo-caption, which like so many others from the Vietnam War was, shall we say, inaccurate. Taken for a symbol, it has passed into our electronic folk memory, as one of innumerable lies it contains. I wasn’t there, of course, but I had visited that country, and once, too briefly, lived in Saigon. The (very consequential) deceit, dishonesty, and faithlessness of “the mainstream media” was among the lessons I took from my apprenticeship. My ludicrous ambition, to “correct it” some day, will never be fulfilled. But to the link: my praise to one writer who did his homework. Let me be grand and say, the truth has set him free.

It will soon be fifty years since I first attended the “Five O’Clock Follies” at “MAC-V,” where the best hamburger in South-east Asia could be obtained for the price of a chocolate bar. This press conference format — bluster and counter-bluster — has not changed in all this time. Everything in that vast sprawling compound of military administration was sprayed, swept, and polished; I always entered with wide eyes. There, and in bars along Tu-Do Street (the old rue Catinat, once an exquisite ribbon from the Cathedral down lines of fragrant tamarinds), was where I first fell in with “real professional journalists,” practising their trade.

Those I met were, by and large, pathological liars, and extremely vain. They were also coarsely disrespectful, much like our journalists today: rudely cynical and sarcastic. The only serious exceptions I came to know were a couple of religious weirdos — one a Lutheran ex-pastor from West Germany, the other a reject from a Catholic seminary in southern France. They, like me, had strayed into the field, from a misplaced sense of adventure.

At all levels, and on all sides, I was witnessing a freak show — there and wherever I wandered outside the Unreal City. I owned a reliable Nikkormat camera, that would sometimes earn me much-needed cash, but was quite unsuccessful as a print journalist. My earnest despatches, sent to newspapers on spec, were routinely “spiked” — not, I think, because I was so young (they didn’t know that), but because I kept, often unknowingly, writing things that contradicted what the New York Times and CBS were reporting.

Not only was I learning that the “mainstream” was all lies, but too, that it invariably followed an agenda. The self-appointed purpose of the press was to sabotage the American war effort. (That of the life-or-death desperate Viets was, at best, ignored.)

But then, I was deceitful, too. I was pretending to be over 18 when I was still only 17, in order to get a press pass.

War zones can be grim, but they can also be the happiest and most uplifting places, and I have the fondest memories of people, especially brave GIs, who were caught up in that one. Seldom will there ever be a seriously difficult human situation to which one of the humans does not rise, and that includes the Mekong Delta. I have names to visit on that monument in Washington, DC. Indefensibly, I also have names that I have forgotten.

I lived with friends, for a time, in a magnificently decaying French colonial mansion, out Tan Binh way, almost to the Tan Son Nhut air base; my bedroom directly above a little arms cache. (I was the lowest-ranking member of the household.) It had been overrun during the Tet Offensive, and was therefore surrounded, above one storey of garden wall, with two storeys of barbed wire. Very loud C&W music could be heard from a USO juke box next door. In the evenings, from the flat roof, one could smoke ganja and watch the Phantom jets light up rice fields around the city with their flares, for the pilots were curious about Viet Cong movements.

One day I had the honour of being picked up in a jeep, by military police, on the suspicion that I was AWOL from the army. I finally agreed to show my passport, with the lion and unicorn gilded on the front. That farce, and many others, including thrilling rides in helicopters upcountry (at the expense of the American taxpayer), and nearly-free misordered stuff at the Cholon “PX,” was my vantage into an extremely populous bureaucracy that, with resources beyond imagining, was assiduously losing the war.

But I was very young, and by nature and upbringing an anti-communist; more broadly, against murder and massacre, as young idealists sometimes are. I never fell for the anti-war bullshit. I had indeed arrived in Saigon, gung-ho for the Yankees; and left, still believing that they should change their minds, and win.

Captain Cook

In years past, I would rely on a date book, to remind me of important public events. I had one, for instance, fifty years ago, in which the 200th anniversary of the Botany Bay landing was pre-printed. It wouldn’t have been necessary to consult it, however, for the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Australia was then prominent in the news. It was, undoubtedly, a glorious anniversary, of which all Australians — note that I wrote, “all” — could be proud. I recall feeling almost antipodean myself that day, for I had been blessed with Australian acquaintance from a very early age; and have been ever since. I could fill pages with memoir of impressive characters I have met from that “far south.”

To a Canadian, that island continent is also a special place for the heart, coloured pink on our old classroom maps of the world: our brothers and our sisters of the Britannic realm.

Captain Cook himself, the first European to look upon Australia’s east coast, with what I must guess was “a wild surmise,” remains by any standard a hero. His feats as navigator — as explorer, surveyor, and cartographer — are in several ways unmatched and unrepeatable in the history of the world.

Australia was only a part of his discoveries and researches, and in Canada’s Newfoundland he also deserves his monument. I have stood upon that hill, over the city of Corner Brook, amid the Blomidon Mountains, and viewed at dusk that water passage, with its string of holy outports, to our own Bay of Islands. It was Captain Cook who accurately surveyed the entrance to the Saint Lawrence, thus speeding General Wolfe to Quebec. Captain Cook stands there in statue, with his quadrant, and likewise stands in statue on our opposite frontier, upon that island named for his protégé, George Vancouver. His noble Whitby collier, the HMS Endeavour, sailed right around the world, and her crew endured terrible privations, to achieve what they did.

Yesterday was the 250th anniversary. Two more generations have now flit by, and as I learn from Australian correspondents, it is not just the Batflu that has tamped celebrations. The Marxist filth are a virus in Australia as they are everywhere else — we saw their work recently in the incarceration of the obviously innocent Father Pell. Wherever great accomplishments of men would be commemorated, for the inspiration of the young and free, these vicious and ignorant “antifa” creatures will be there instead, in their ghoulish costumage, spreading their moral stench. Nihilists, they condemn events upon which their own existence still depends.

It is our duty as civilized men and women to confront these “post-modern” savages, and drive them off, until once more they can be ignored and, except by the devil, forgotten.


For my birthday this morning, the asteroid “(52768) 1998 OR2” is waving “Hiya!” as he whips by my native planet, from the close distance of four million miles, at a speed of nearly 17,000 knots. He is only a mile or two wide, but NASA tells us that’s good enough for an extinction event, and so we’re not to play chicken with him. I, however, am sick of being told what to do by officious, control-freak science types. They name these things as if they were diseases, and even on a red-letter day like today, are no fun at all.

The asteroid himself would appear to be tumbling in his habitually cheerful way, as he essays his closest approach to the Sun and, I assume, adjusts his make-up slightly. (Is he wearing black-face?) Wanting a better view, I have consulted Internet astronomy sites, but he is hard to resolve amid the fundraising pop-ups and subscription offers.

Of course he never asked, and probably didn’t expect to be treated with august formality on the one hand, or even a sporting levity on the other, by an Earth-based space agency, in this age of crass commercialism. Best to ignore us, and go shooting along. As his orbit approximately intersects with ours, he will have more opportunities to test our responses. On this pass, hills and ridges at one of his ends make it look like he is wearing a Batflu mask. But while he is classified as a PHO (“potentially hazardous object”) he is not anti-social, and is just waving d’accord, and then, adieu, adieu, adieu.

Salut, mon petit astéroïde!

He will return in 2079, I gather, when I will be enjoying my 126th solar revolution, unless I have moved. By some Australian calculation he will pass within one million miles next time. We will still need a telescope to see him. Frankly, I’d prefer an asteroid that can be seen with the naked eye, and pull up some tide. But then I am a thrill-seeker; today I plan to attempt another walk, if I can make it, right across Parkdale.

Isaiah says

Given that they have been wildly wrong in each of their predictions about the course of the Red Chinese Batflu, I have no confidence whatever in expert predictions. It is a mystery to me why anyone has, in epidemiology or any area I have observed over the years. About the only thing I would predict with confidence is: “We will fail to predict the future.” The closest we can ever do is to predict what won’t happen, from elementary common sense. When the number of variables is tiny, this may give us some hint. Or we may guess what always happens, because it is a law of nature. If, unaided by any sort of prop, you step off the parapet of a tall building, you will plunge to the ground. This is not a statistical probability: it is 100 percent.

Some of the “rules of economics” are like that. If you spend more, you have less. At some point you go into debt, no matter how much you had to start with. Even Charles Dickens understood this, though like any sentimental progressive, he didn’t like it. There are consequences to going into debt, which will grow the larger the debt is. From this, we enter politics, where we may try to abrogate such rules. All schemes of deficit financing end badly, though it is often possible for one administration to pass onto the next. Eventually, however, someone has to pay, even when the politicians succeed in transferring the load onto another generation. We can’t predict how the disaster will occur, only that it will. By the study of human nature, we can reasonably expect that those consequences will be worse than we foresaw.

Happily, pandemics may be better or worse. The one we have now has, in defiance of very grave epidemiological predictions, proved better so far. Only a couple hundred thousand have died. We can’t know, and we should know we can’t know the future, from the history of pandemics. For instance, serological tests “prove” that the asymptotic are the overwhelming majority of those infected. But maybe they will show real symptoms later. Millions, including many young, will start dropping dead from strokes. Or perhaps they won’t. We’ll see.

We’ll see what happens in the summer, then in the fall. For now, pandemic deaths are falling sharply, and we attribute this to our lockdown. That the rise, crest, and decline of these deaths has followed roughly the same statistical pattern, whether there was a lockdown or not, is interesting. Not having tried such an act of tyranny before, we can have nothing to compare with that lockdown. Still we can say that the virus is indifferent to our measures, and speculate that future waves will not consult our wishes, either.

For all our medical hubris, we are more or less defenceless. A vaccine or some therapeutics may reduce the toll slightly, during a wave, as it does with conventional influenzas each year, but we’ve never had much luck with vaccines against coronaviruses, and are at sea on much physiology. Some die, others live, because individual immune responses are widely variable; we haven’t learnt much except in our imaginations. When we learn more against the last Sars we may know more about the next one, but again, maybe not.

This is what we can say about the future of the Batflu: that we don’t know, and can’t. It may disappear tomorrow. It may grow suddenly much worse. It may seem to disappear, then return.

But whatever it does, if we don’t get back to work, we will starve. We are already watching “supply chains” break down, including some for food, here in North America. I flinch to think of Africa, where conditions for famine are already well advanced, including locust swarms — now also crossing the Middle East. Everywhere, arrangements to merely slow (not end) the Batflu seriously hinder the response to famine.

Fear has been abetted, much of it for obvious political purposes by those who actually want to wreck the economy because they think it is the only way to defeat Trump, or stealth-legislate their political agendas. This derangement is acute in politicians, not only Left but Right, who get a kind of erotic thrill from their newfound powers, which they long to keep. It is reinforced by the arrogance of specialized “medical experts.”

It will be interesting now to see whether this psychic “pandemic” can be tamed: whether people, long cowed by their Nanny States, will find the courage to resist the latest micromanagement. This is where the battiness of progressive ideology most tells, after generations of leftwing infiltration and agitprop — a holdover from the 20th century. Again, we will see what happens. If we are lucky, under pressure of events, “progressiveness” might even become a target, and “wokeness” might be eliminated entirely. All trends are reversible, as I like to say. If we are unlucky, the human race will suffer instead. Courage is among the unpredictables.

As recent popes have said, we must choose: to be on the side of life, or on the side of death. This controversy has been with us for some time.

As Isaiah said: “Choose life!”

Lent is over

Jesus Christ did not hold press conferences. We can see now why He did not. Can you imagine what the hacks would have reported, had Our Lord been engaging with their malice daily? As things stand, we get little hints from the Gospels, of what the hacks of that age were doing with His more paradoxical and parabolic statements.

I was thinking this when reading reports of a Trump press conference. The Natted States President spoke unguardedly about the health advantages of sunlight, heat, and bleach. The hacks reported this as something like, “Trump recommends injecting Lysol and drinking Clorox.”

Were I Trump, I would have doubled down in a Tweet, declaring that, “For sure, if you pump enough Lysol into your veins, and chug a pint or two of bleach, you will NOT get the Chinese Batflu. You will also qualify for a Darwin Award.”

I would then say that Dr Fauci had confirmed this.

When the virus first hit us, we knew so little about it, that in retrospect we can justify almost any fool thing. The idea of closing down whatever the politicians thought “inessential” seemed plausible at the time. By now we know enough to say that our forty-day lockdown was a catastrophic mistake. It was not just economic suicide. Deaths were almost certainly increased by it, overall.

Gentle reader will find evidence around the Internet. I cannot be bothered to fetch it for him.

Had we instead, from the start, instructed everyone to behave as if they were Swedish (Canadians can be quite good at this), the Batflu would have spread in roughly the same way. We should indeed have closed our borders (permanently, to Red China, for this was one Sars-lab accident too many), and maybe indoor chess tournaments. But not baseball, if it were played in the open air.

I don’t deny that the Xi Jinping Batflu can be a real killer: as bad as one of the worst flu seasons (when added to the flu). But trying to defeat it in the Red Chinese manner, by locking everyone up in their cells, is possibly more stupid than it is evil. It creates a secondary disaster significantly greater than the (unavoidable) primary one. We now experience it, as we try to reopen.

A traumatized population now crawls out of its confinement. Their immune systems were compromised during their captivity, in the absence of sunlight, exercise, and fresh air. (I, at least, had Dettol.) Their exposure to the virus was only delayed. Nature’s voluble prison keepers now wait to pounce, as the caseload once again rises. I recommend badass responses to them.

Thank God, sumer is icumen in. As so often, God is our only friend. Welcome the sun, the air, the fields, streams, and beaches.

Oh, and prepare yourself. You are going to have to get back to work when your pogey runs out.

On testing

We need much more testing, as we reopen Western economies. While I cannot see the point of much more testing for Batflu infection, now that it is known to be and to have been at large through the general population, and critical cases announce themselves in hospital emergency rooms, there is an argument for the serological tests that give us a better view of Batflu epidemiology, including fresh insights into its nature and methods of proliferation. We may learn things like, does it kill one in a thousand, or one in ten thousand? This may help us prepare for a resurgence in the fall, or at any other time(s) in the future. In the absence of any immediate prospect of a safe or effective vaccine (we still haven’t got one for the last coronavirus, after many years), it may prove a boon to therapeutic researchers.

At worst, no harm can come from obsessive testing of these two kinds, except for the extravagant expense that we are now used to. Both may give those returning to work some peace of mind, and at a time of panic, this may help to restore some sobriety. But neither will much enlighten us on the origins of the pandemic, which will require the sort of “humint” (human intelligence) spycraft at which the Red Chinese have proved themselves far more adept. Too, we face Communist success in distributing malicious disinformation. (The “Wuhan wet market” story displayed their cynical brilliance). They do this with ease through our progressive media.

Pro-Chinese Communist agents of influence dominate more than our “fake news,” however, where the crudeness and stupidity of our journalists is too obvious. They have infiltrated other institutions tirelessly, and have the money to buy off many who, without this corruption, would know better. The kind of blackmail the Communists can exert against everyone from powerful businessmen with Chinese investments to protect, to prominent scholars and diplomats bought into the globalist fairy tales, down even to sponsored basketball players — ranges from the overt to the exquisite.

By comparison, Communist Russian efforts during the Cold War were modest, and often embarrassingly clumsy. The Soviets lacked such a galaxy of agents. Owing to inferior propaganda, they could not dominate our news cycles as flunkeys of the CCP have learned how to do. They were amateurs when it came to exploiting the pathological “white guilt,” that continues to be an object of the Red Chinese. The latter have become real professionals at seeding infective memes. They are able to spread allegations of “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “paranoia,” against the very people who see their threat most clearly, and make the plainest distinctions between the victimized Chinese people and the monstrous dictatorship that controls them.

The scale of technological theft is also known to be vast. The Red Chinese laugh at fussy Western concepts, such as “property rights.” Their economy, like the much less successful Soviet Russian economy before it, suffers from the domestic oppression of inventors and entrepreneurs, by the suspicious hand of socialist bureaucracy. The state needs to steal its most useful ideas from abroad. The vast network of PRC students and professors on Western campuses is only one dimension of this.

It thus strikes me that, in the course of disengaging from both the Xi Jinping Batflu and the Xi Jinping State, we need a testing programme. We should examine not only Chinese recently settled in the West, but many of our own in an objective, scientific way. This would hardly be racist, for all those sympathizing with Taiwan, or with freedom fighters in Hong Kong, &c, would be welcome to stay.

Only those from China or other foreign citizens (WHO and UN staff, &c) who test positive for allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party would be sent home. Those who test positive but can’t be extradited could be quarantined, indefinitely. As with any lethal and destructive disease, our intention should be to eradicate it.