Essays in Idleness


Health nazis

Canadians, and Dutch people apparently, have been told to stop drinking alcohol. This does not mean, “cut down, you’re drinking too much,” as your dreary aunt might tell you, but cut it out entirely and immediately, as Big Sister says. The health bureaucracies in both countries — the  ones that brought us the Batflu lockdowns and facial diapers — have now published their “recommendations.” In the time until they have drafted legislation, they “recommend” that, if we drink at all, we must limit ourselves to two units per week, consisting of 12 ounces of 5% beer or 5 ounces of 12% wine; or whatever that is in the communist measurement system. We had already been told to avoid tobacco; and I see posters in the subway advising us not to assault transit workers and other government officials.

The late Auberon Waugh once suggested that, “it is time for all of us decent, reasonable, moderate types to rise up and kill these people” — after some milder suggestions by the English bureaucracy. (This is not the first time I have recalled this quote; the last time I got a warning from the RCMP, when tight-assed newspaper readers cloyed their switchboard.)

Perhaps we could get this extermination funded under the new “Medical Assistance In Dying” programme.

In my own recent encounters with the provincial faux-nursing agencies (I call them “health nazis” for short), I was particularly advised never to drink alcohol, eat anything containing sugar, or salt, or fat, or anything else that had been previously discerned as edible by human beings; and to spend my day doing rehab exercises. So I’m a little ahead of the kerb, on state regulations, in which I find only one advantage: that it makes me appreciate, indeed crave, these substances which I once took for granted. My own recipe for long life and happiness remains: to ignore the prigs, puritans, and killjoys; and die only when instructed to do so, by God.

One should try to observe universal moral laws, rather than fussy rules imposed by the local health nazis. One could philosophically and scientifically dispute the use of statistical premises on which governments and Big Pharma pretend to operate, as well as their assumption that everything is an emergency; their advice is all tyranny and bare-faced, self-interested lies. But such journalism is probably unnecessary, for in the near future, God will sort it out.

Death of a straight shooter

The news this week, or at least the news I noticed, included the sudden death of Cardinal Pell; an excellent Australian exemplar of Christian “white martyrdom.” (Look it up.) He was one of the few living bishops of the Church in whom I could repose complete confidence. Like many before him, he was imprisoned on false charges, and in a black moment of Australian history he was denied even a memorial this week, on the ground that his many imaginative non-victims might suffer hurt feelings. They, of course, would have preferred to see him executed; and indeed his impeccable honesty had made him violent political enemies among the perverse and corrupt, in the state of Victoria as around the Vatican. Now, may he rest in peace.

I had just read the late Cardinal’s magnificent piece of journalism, published in this week’s Spectator. He condemned the moral toxicity and incoherence of the Vatican’s planned “Synod on Synodality.” The official booklet presenting this, by a bureaucracy sworn to papal obedience, is “full of Marxist jargon,” is “hostile to the apostolic tradition,” and “ignores such fundamental Christian tenets as belief in divine judgment, heaven and hell.” It is such a rare thing, when a major prelate under the present Franciscan regime in the Church, tells the truth.

Fr Gerald Murray, writing in today’s Catholic Thing, surveys the late Cardinal’s worth, and frequently heroic deeds. I don’t do links (any more); go read that instead of this.

The year has not started well, and I choose silence for the moment, neglecting to take on the many phantasms that have been insinuated into the Church, and around the world, from the desire not to be too dark at our funerals. For George Pell, like Papa Ratzinger, would remind us that God is ultimately in charge. We must endure these minor privations, with Christian fortitude, until Our Lord shall come again. They, our examples, were not wimps. And now they are in a better position to pray for us.

Dear friends

“Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history, so that by your faith, his name will continue to resound.”

This snippet was of course from the late Pope Benedict XVI, and comes to me courtesy of the new Musk Twitter, where it has been put in a decorative panel and re-posted by several nostalgic Catholics. I have tried to edit it, slightly, by cutting short the concluding cliché, but otherwise can find no objection. “B-16” was not only gentle, in his otherworldly way, but marvellously eloquent, as will be discovered in any attempt to read him more comprehensively than in a single, isolated tweet. On the other hand, I have yet to find a single passage in his works, which I would judge to be contemptible. (This puts him slightly ahead of Shakespeare.)

The remark in question appealed to me as an answer when I was asking the “internal rhetorical” question, “Why don’t we just give up?” — on the Church and Public Life in general, or on human biological existence specifically, as formal environmentalism finally demands. The official “green” answer is Canada’s, for instance (or at least Justin Trudeau’s) to our catastrophically overfunded health care system: it is Medical Assistance In Dying. If you are no longer in a position to pay taxes, the state will graciously see you off. Papa Ratzinger’s recommendation was (and is) the exact opposite. It is, so to say, “pro-life.”

Curiously, it is the only answer, that is fully rational, as opposed to an hypothetical answer, i.e. one based on a theory. Any other would be compatible with the condition of entropy, that is “rationally” (but falsely) said to describe the universe. We were all born to die, according to this limited view of physics. That we were born at all makes a first contradiction. That there is something instead of nothing takes this reasoning back to the first conceivable moment.

We are stuck with life, and very probably with eternal life, according to my information. It is a profound nudge to realize that we should make something of it, and that this is possible so long as life exists, i.e. always.

Towards Epiphany

Like many of my readers, I imagine, my mind has wandered this last week of the Christmas festival with the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, travelling away, to eternity. He was the closest we had, in our time, to a universal pastor, a reliable shepherd of souls. His teachings as Pope, but more completely as a Christian man, harmonized with the most ancient music.

He did not have or use a preachy voice, such as we endure from the present incumbent, who has dangerously confused Catholicism with some experimental form of revolutionary politics — founded in the heretical “liberation theology” of a generation ago. He had rather a philosophical voice, and made his commentary from the crossroad of faith and reason, expounding that strange and miraculous historical triad — the intermingling of the Hebrew Scriptural inheritance, with the vivid fact of Greek reason, with the coalescence of Roman law. All the three strands were woven together in actual human history, and came to maturity as complement to the revelation of Jesus Christ, as BC intersected with AD.

No marlinspike ropework will ever unravel this complex miracle that occurred in the West; no multicultural scheme can replace it with alternative cultural markers; it is the mystery of Catholic Truth. We are not proceeding towards some future, man-made Utopia, but with the rudiments of this organizing truth already laid down as our guide.

Papa Ratzinger — as learned a man as the ages produce — could explain this heritage to those capable of listening, in clear, calm, penetrating language. He has left a broad, astounding record in his published books. His earthly testament of faith and reason has not disappeared; it is open before us.

Papa Ratzinger

The “Pope Emeritus,” ill, aged, and feeble, has now died. This closes the year as it closes his era: for this pope remained the living symbol of continuity through the years of his retirement. By some, he will be remembered as alive.

Papa Ratzinger faced a Church, and a Catholic congregation, many parts of which showed “signs of age,” and had fallen into desuetude and disability. This was true even when he wrote, more than fifty years ago, that in future the Church would be contracted. He had no illusions about the reality, in which the media, artificial intelligence and technology, had displaced the Fathers as interpreters of the Word. Notwithstanding, he took on “the overriding priority” with which Christ had endowed the papacy, from its beginnings. He brought strength and direction to the faithful — remaining and reclaimed — who turned to him as they turned to Christ, whose love could not be hidden by encroaching human blindness.

He died on the nineteenth anniversary of my own reception into the Catholic Church; for I am among those reclaimed by hope. Papa Ratzinger had been, through most of my adult life, a singular hero. I had long before his elevation come to regard him as our best mind in Christendom. I read all of his writings as they appeared, and subscribed to Communio. I was elated — staggered — when he was elected to replace Saint John Paul II.

The Italian prime minister, Mrs Giorgia Meloni, who often ignores the rules of political theatre, is the one world leader who used the future tense in remarks on the departed pontiff:

“He will continue to speak to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual depth of his Magisterium.”

Beginning again

Saint Stephen’s Feast has not changed much over the years. On the day after Christmas, we begin to celebrate our martyrs. From all over the world, we read that Christians are persecuted; especially in those countries most fashionable to the Left. In North America the prejudice is more genteel than murderous — it belongs to the self-styled “smart people” — although the enemies of Christ have grown more restive.

The “spirit of Christmas” is more and more under attack, and among the Woke, the definitions of prejudice have tended to invert victims and executioners. In America itself, among other declines, the custom of singing Christmas carols, hymns and other choral music, has died out in the cities. The spirit against Christmas is growing, the spirit of statism and disbelief now predominates.

I just listened to a lecture from a self-declared “conservative,” who thinks we should “continue” to celebrate the good feelings of the winter “festive season,” while pitching away all of the embarrassing, sentimental religious paraphernalia. Commercialization alone should survive, he seemed to propose; the reasons for it should be discarded; and persons not participating in the business of accumulating wealth should be subtly punished, to put them in the new spirit.

At large, Christianity continues to be (by far) the most persecuted religious faith, very obviously by many Muslims, but also by Hindu nationalists, Communists, animists, and believers in scientism. The Christians meanwhile retain their near monopoly on forgiveness, such that where it fails there is usually media coverage. It is not that Christians are made of better stuff than the various tribes of the unchurched; they are certainly not more, nor less, human. Rather, they have received the gift of a higher religion.

With forgiveness comes the possibility of innocence and joy; childlike qualities that can perhaps be shared only by those who love children. It is missing from those who, on principle, don’t have children. Our leading politicians tend to be childless, as well as post-Christian in their attitudes. The contraceptive culture embodies their commitment to sterility. For them, the unwelcome task is to train other people’s children. They do this grimly, and selflessly, through progressive education systems, built around the denial of God. The children of the faithful are legally rounded up, and submitted to their grooming.

We may have to use physical force, to keep our children out of these schools; and prepare them to eschew anti-Christian universities.

For in the Christian religion we must take the consequences. Martyrdom has always been necessary, and should be embraced.

Christmas advice

My general advice, to those who seek it at Christmas (around here), is to master benignity. I, for one, will not destructively criticize those I believe to be benign. Perhaps I could try to be benign myself, through the time left to me on this Earth, by not offering to “name and shame” the many who are not. But I find this task exhausting.

It is a Canadian tradition, to advise people to remain warm, or to try to become warm, given our unsympathetic winter environment. As few of us seem to have empathetic landlords, either, it is a purely adventitious wish, like “climate change.” I mentioned being cold to one of my dearest friends, in email this morning. He replied that he is both cold and bald. This may have raised the temperature by a fraction of a toque, or one degree on the white man’s thermometer. If it has, we are on a roll.

We have other faults, my friend and I, chiefly medical.

As you probably know, the chief cause of death in the modern world is “instruction from a doctor.” He will either tell you to die, directly, or recommend some exercise or pharmaceuticals that will kill you. Or he will practice “open-heart operations,” and other ruthless surgical “procedures” — counting on patients to be nearly comatose, & thus unable to resist.

Well, both of us have been living dangerously. I believe we both took instructions from doctors, more than once in the past year. Paul (to give him a name) was told to perish repeatedly. That he is still alive, 359 days later, is a reason to thank God (who doesn’t obey the doctors).

It is now Christmas, I declare. A very merry Christmas to my several other readers!


Local news is no longer available for Toronto, now that the Liberal Party has bought the “legacy” media with our tax money, and must, we presume, give permission for reporting. We get only happy-face news, except from sources abroad. Or perhaps I am exaggerating, from the fact that the two most sensational local news items reached me (a resident in Toronto) through informants reading the New-York Post, and the London Daily Mail, respectively. Indeed, now that the events have become common knowledge, even in Toronto, there is some discreet reporting in local rags.

There was the killing of six at a “condo” meeting in the suburbs — the sort of thing one must expect given contemporary housing arrangements. And then there was a “homeless” man, beaten and knifed to death by a gang of eight girls, mostly thirteen and fourteen years of age. He had refused to surrender the bottle of liquor he was nursing against the overnight cold.

According to police, all eight of these girls, who had met on “social media,” were easily arrested near the scene of the crime. For Canada has very accommodating laws for under-aged criminals, and none need to fear any serious punishment. I learnt this myself when I had a few thousand dollars stolen from my flat, several years ago, by an intruder I could easily identify. The thief would be forgiven for a “first offence,” as he had been on all his previous first offences. Also, it was just a “property crime,” for which our courts are habitually lenient. The same apparently applies to murders — though I’ve just found out.

This is the new, progressive, post-Christian city, in which a plurality of my fellow citizens actually vote for the Liberals, whom they consider to be the moderate party, rather than for the Conservatives, who sometimes make incomprehensible distinctions between right and wrong. It will end in tears, I suppose, and the occasional old-fashioned gunshot, but mostly knifings.

The news & the weather

“A mix of sun and clouds,” I was told this morning, when I consulted the weather channel. A little bit of rain or snow, if the skies should precipitate at all. Temperatures will accord with the season. The sun will, likewise, rise and set at the accustomed hours; ditto the moon. The planets, and the stars, are in the positions predicted by the astronomical almanac, and all is (hard-) right with the world. They may, however, have moved, slightly, over the next million years.

I used to keep the weather records for Georgetown, Ontario when I was a schoolboy (on behalf of an older and more experienced schoolboy, who had gone off to college); so perhaps my habit of looking at the weather can be explained. As well, my sceptical view of predictions, should they extend for a week into the future.

Were we to keep a printout of the daily averages for the past century or so, and consult it each morning, we could beat the official forecast, perhaps six times in ten. What the weather will be like in the next hundred years is, however, beyond our faculties for prognostication. The most junior weatherman should know that.

There has been nothing to add on the “global warming” fraud since this blog began. Indeed, I began noticing it was a fraud, as a paid hack journalist, years before. Persons who identify atmospheric carbon and nitrogen fertilizers as pollutants, when they are beneficial to such things as plants and animals, have tested our patience through the years. At their unreasonable demand, some billions upon billions of dollars of economic wastage and mindless neuroticism has been paid out. (The Batflu “pandemic” is another aspect of this collective madness, which is the ceaseless contrivance of our progressive politicians.)

Unfortunately, hysterias cannot be defeated by argument. Pain alone seems to work, and then, only a gradual restoration of sanity can be expected: not the quick changes that we see in the weather, or in the annals of genuine scientific discovery. But it is well to free the mind from hysterias, if one has a mind that desires to be free.

Vitai lampada

To my mind (as ever), the soccer victories of Moroccan Islam over Spain and Portugal, were balanced by the English win on the cricket field of Multan, Pakistan (clinching their test series). One should observe these sporting events with reserve, as I was taught to do as a child (in Pakistan). We win on some occasions; we lose on most of the others; or in cricket, it is often a draw. In the past, along with cucumber sandwiches, one greeted the marvellous stroke (of friend or foe, equally) with gentle and not too prolonged applause.

Demonstrations afterward were, unquestionably, barbaric.

Among the younger souls, participating in the match, the object was to “play up, play up, and play the game.” This was an irreducible aspect of joy, perhaps hard to explain to a modern. The phrase presented the view of Sir Henry Newbolt that (so far as I could make out) wars should be fought in the spirit of the cricket pitch — rather than sport conducted in the spirit of war.

Oh yes, and there was terrible carnage and gore, death and frightful disharmonies — but we must not let this take our mind off the game.

This stirring poet and government advisor (died 1938), working from a line out of Lucretius (celebrating “the torch of life”), wrote various further lines that my Canadian mother was able to recite, while riding a tonga in Lahore. An Anglo-Indian lady, riding in another tonga in the opposite direction, once answered her, apparently with a quip from the same poet. My memory can no longer supply what it was, however; for this happened in ancient times. (I think it was 1959.)

The Muslims are perhaps recalling the year 711 AD, as they triumphantly cavort through the immigrant slums of Europe. This too passed anciently, even before the invention of cricket.

Taking sides

From whom should the citizen take advice? From someone who wants him dead, or from someone who thinks he is endowed with everlasting life?

This is the primary political choice for the modern, emancipated, democratic woman (or man, or trans person), expressed with my winning simplicity. The first team consists of pagan environmentalists, the second of Christians and other subscribers to the philosophia perennis.

Note that the position of God, which we assign in this latter, is favourable to us. But He cannot be favourable to the modern heathen, who believes He is dead, or never existed. (There are also various semi-religious godless, who subscribe to the muddy grey, avoiding both black and white by neurosis. I think the word for them is, “agnostics.” I would perhaps take them aboard my yacht, were they drowning in her vicinity.)

But returning to my initial question, would you rather trust someone whose ideal is to kill you; or instead, someone who is characteristically pro-life?

This is a puzzle I have been dealing with for more than half a century, since an aspiring hack journalist or whatever. For I’ve been “pro-life” actually longer than I’ve been Christian. Indeed, I called myself an “atheist” when I spoke up for Humanae Vitae, in a 1968 high school debate, which made me as unpopular then among the Pepsi generation as it would now.

Paul R. Erlich has been around all this time, and since publishing his book, The Population Bomb (in 1968), he has been a prominent player on the pro-death team. He would perhaps complain that he hasn’t proposed to murder anyone. He may get impatient, but would rather the great mass of us die off naturally. The world would then become a better place.

“Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive / Officiously to keep alive …” was how (my adored) Arthur Hugh Clough satirized this position, in his “Modern Decalogue.” This was a gentleman of the pro-life camp, who perfectly understood the views of our bourgeoisie — their murderousness and their sentimentality — almost two centuries ago. One may see that he was already using the word “modern” with distaste.

Pleasures of ischaemia

During my last twenty years as an imaginary sailor, through which the High Doganate has been my port of call, the world has grown increasingly unfriendly. When I moved in, to begin with, after I had been exiled from my old home and family, and impoverished at the command of the state, it seemed that the world had changed, perhaps not for the better. But I could argue that only my circumstances had been transformed. Now, with the expansion of powerful new gizmos (“social media” is just one example of what they are capable of doing) it seems that the spirit of this planet has also … “evolved,” as they say.

Privacy has been or is being progressively deleted, and human freedom has been therefore cancelled, to accommodate these new inventions — about which no one may complain, for they have proved very popular in the marketplace. In a similar way, silence was deleted by the imposition of previous innovations. The world at first remained potentially free, but became intolerably noisy. Then, as consumers acquired the new products, from motor cars to motor boats to motor aeroplanes, freedom had to live with the abandonment of peace.

Things seem different now. The conformity of death, or of the simplest and most primitive living creatures, is now promoted as our two remaining options by the woke-environmentalist generation of our worldly masters. “Saving the planet,” we are compelled to agree with them, will require us to stop eating, and moving about. The authorities may also close our bank accounts. All are placed under medical supervision.

My own situation is complicated — enhanced — by my medical condition, since indulging in a heart attack and stroke last year. The doctors left me (involuntarily, I suppose) forgetful of names, and staggering like a Parkdale inebriate. This dizziness, in the time since the surgical operation, could have been regarded as a nuisance, for the constant inclination it gives me to fall on my face. Indeed, twenty-two months of “that old vertigo in his head” (Swift’s description) sometimes seems quite enough.

But that is where my calling as an imaginary yachtsman comes in.

You see, I live in a flat which is about thirty feet in length, by nineteen in width. By interpreting this as the deck of a catamaran yacht, I am able to appreciate the action of current and waves. Also, through the door to my balcony, the winds, summer heat, and winter cold, can be admitted. I have re-imagined a life in which, for instance, I am able to escape the Liberal Party of Canada simply by sailing away.

Readers should be advised that I’m an old-fashioned sailor: please do not send any navigational devices nor other gizmos to me as a gift. Indeed, the wonderfully efficient format of the double canoe with platform between is an ancient Polynesian innovation, not a modern one; rather more clever than our cumbersome galleons. They sailed by the stars and by the subtleties they observed at each of the sea’s locations. And they flourished in a great region that was temperate by nature, on little islands in the gentle breeze, avoiding extremes of north and south entirely. What use could they have for our modern gizmos, who already knew what they needed to know?

For note, the next best thing to imaginary sailors, is real ones.

Cut them out

One gathers, from the prattle in the meejah and so forth, that persons who do not embrace the latest fashions in progressive attitudes must, in fact, be lax in their adherence to Democracy. Especially, their views on science are repellant. They think it should consist only of things that can be repetitively demonstrated, and that empirical theories mean nothing until so tested. They doubt that abstract “social questions” actually exist. Many are mired in religious beliefs and practices, long after science has abandoned them. They are like a primitive tribe, disposed to “march for freedom,” and to act in other uncooperative ways. In this and other matters they are intransigent, some even after they have been enrolled for re-education in modern universities — though a majority can be cured of their independent thinking by this means, or at least rendered silent.

Still, they may continue to harbour resentments against Democracy, or even object to having their property seized by force and compound taxes, to fund liberal causes and popular wars. They are, in a word, or four if I might use so many, Enemies of the People.

While the settled habit of modernity is to develop various methods for punishing these (enemies-of-the-) people, or new ways to exhibit zero tolerance to those threatening to express their provocative opinions, I think perhaps the older principles of John Locke, in his Epistola de Tolerantia, might be worth another try. We might begin by agreeing with the famous English philosopher that Jews and Catholics are beyond the pale, and merit only active repression. But what to do with the many who remain outside Synagogue and Church, who may, as far as we know, not be openly defying our self-appointed authorities?

I think the smoother plan would be to cut them out. Make them ineligible for any of the services of the welfare state, including the provision of taxes. Prevent them from enjoying the many benefits of our regulatory systems. Leave them to choke in the fumes of their gasoline cars, and to eat red meats and other toxic foods, riddled with sugars and fats. Let them take only such vaccines as they want to pay for, voluntarily. Let them read, dance, sing, and participate in their other secretive cultural activities, without the supervision of progressive censors.

Perhaps we should even let inoffensive Jews and Catholics be punished with the softness of Tolerantia; that is, if they can prove that they have never voted, or will not vote again. For after all, our cradle-to-grave administration of Democratic control and guidance should be available only to those who have earned it.