Essays in Idleness

DAVID WARREN

“Emergency”

Readers of the webpapers and other news hounds will know that Canada’s prime minister, the contemptible Justin Trudeau, has declared a State of Emergency in whatever parts of Canada he may choose from day to day, and to confiscate the bank accounts of people he dislikes. He will not, however, call out the military, perhaps from the fear that they would not take his orders. Our veterans have been siding with the truckers; and quite a few police have already demurred. Indeed, Liberal Party backbenchers in Ottawa are defecting, and one hopes that Mr Trudeau’s political career will end in the humiliation he has begged for. But for the moment, he can count on Canada’s “silent majority” of the unthinkingly obedient and easily scared. That is what the Batflu was, after all, probably designed to exploit, by the Red Chinese who invented it.

It is a special, bespoke-tailored emergency, so that Trudeau may settle scores with truckers who are honking their horns right outside his offices in the Parliament buildings. A more scientific solution would have been to go to his secret RCMP cottage, and camp there indefinitely.

At the back of every sad, defeated, timid mind is a fear that might be expressed in this way: “What if ‘they’ discover a new version of the pandemic, and it turns out to be even more awful? If we are not all locked down and wearing facemasks, &c, we are ALL going to DIE!”

Surveys show that the vast majority of Democrat and Liberal voters entertain wildly exaggerated estimates of Batflu transmission, and casualties. Though yes, if you are more than eighty years old, and dying from something else, even Omicron constitutes an additional threat.

“Pandemics” have been afflicting us since time out of mind; they are not answerable to human wishes. Every attempt to make them answer, through the centuries, has caused an increase of death and suffering; the Batflu is nothing new. “Public health” cannot honestly claim a net positive influence upon medical wellbeing. Through their natural tyranny and propensity to lying, governments spread suffering far beyond any disease.

Little truths

I have spent too much time on the Internet, lately. This is due to the truckers’ Freedom Convoy, and being “locked down” by slippery winter, physical unfitness, the Batflu and medical regulations. In turn I probably bore those readers whom I do not actually annoy, with my kicking against the pricks. Yet there is so much more to say, both gently and harshly.

My mind is in Ottawa, and all other places in Canada and abroad where people are struggling to get their lives back — now, before they die. These people are overwhelmingly the self-employed, and workers in small businesses: such as truck drivers, who bought their own rigs. They have consistently been made to pay in many ways for government lockdown measures, and are generally despised by the “laptop class,” who cannot lose their jobs, and work from home.

Few people in the Big City (which includes Toronto and Ottawa) have ever met a trucker, or would think of chatting with him. They may patronize small “boutique” operations, for conspicuous consumption. But Amazon drivers deliver their regular goods, and their services, too, are mostly dialled up.

True, the Batflu has sometimes interfered with their holiday bookings, so I must add, boo hoo.

A Rasmussen report on public opinion recently showed that in America, three-quarters of Democrats supported vaccine mandates, more than half thought those who refuse should be fined, and almost half would give them gaol sentences. Nearly a third thought the “vaccine hesitant” should have their children taken away. As Californicators, and the inhabitants of most urban constituencies, seldom have children, this can be received with rolling eyeballs. For luckily, there are Republicans in the more rural places, whose votes are sometimes counted.

Ottawa (outside “the Valley”) offers a caricature of this point of view. I recall my days as a columnist, published in the Ottawa Citizen. (Eventually, I was deleted.) To walk downtown was to invite verbal assaults by those who recognized my mug in the paper. Some were actually friendly, and said hiya. But I was often called a fascist, or something else obscene, by people who didn’t notice I was human. “Are you David Warren?” the grim inquiry would come. I tried to counter it with some jest. (“It depends: do you like David Warren?”) This might cause my assailant great pain. (Humour is violence, as every Leftist knows.) But it was tiresome for both of us.

One may check election results from the middle of that town, to learn that a large majority of its inhabitants vote Liberal, in the manner of zombies. One thinks of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The Ottawa authorities, beginning with the police, have summoned Children’s Aid to help them punish the invasive truckers. It is an organization designed to capture children from traditionalist homes, and expose them to woke brainwashing in isolation. A large portion of the truckers brought their families, including children not wearing masks. Indeed, the city was disturbed to find “bouncy castles” had been set up, and to witness the spectacle of kids playing on them, and producing decorative art. Worse, they were flagrantly laughing, and running about. Their parents, and other adults, were seen hugging each other, and confessing to happiness, for the first time in two years. For Ottawa, this is a grave scandal.

A lady friend who was somehow born and raised in that town often says (now from a safe distance), it is “the city that fun forgot.”

But the truck “occupation” is a spot of good news. For however the demonstration ends, people who live in the Big City will have had a glimpse of human life; of its friendliness, humour, and good nature.

Big lies

At the moment, the Big Lie of Satan appears to be diffused, mostly by the Batflu, and should it recede, by the (imaginary) imperatives of global warming. A large number of big lies (and a galaxy of lesser fibs) is needed to assure the devil that the public (which includes Catholics) is mesmerized. Our progressive political and medical authorities may be relied upon to keep these lies in circulation, and to replace each one as it begins to deflate. This is because their power and wealth depend on it.

For example, the vaccine imposture is tottering, and will need more than exaggeration to survive. We were told that “the vaccine” (in fact, several multi-billion dollar commercial investments) would prevent Batflu infections in individuals, and slow their spread through the general population. Shortly after these vaccines were introduced, however, their more intelligent sponsors clarified, that neither of these claims were true. Pathological liars, such as successful politicians, nevertheless continued to confuse the masses.

The vaccines were said to be safe, and as a precaution, information about their sometimes lethal effects was methodically censored. Injection might not prevent disease, according to the latest propaganda, but it will make it milder; fewer will need to be hospitalized. The public was warned not to ask for those medications which might work against the Batflu, but were out of patent, available as generics, and therefore could not fabulously enrich the pharmaceutical companies. Hideously expensive, newly-formulated experimental drugs were soon introduced, with ad-agency fanfare.

At last, the disgust of a substantial minority (and perhaps now a majority) has put vaccine “mandates” in jeopardy. (The word is intentionally misused.) This would have been a pioneering act: to use electronic means to track and control the entire population (as is currently done in urban Red China). But the Western public will not readily submit to enslavement, and a more subtle approach must be tried.

These are among the grander lies, told repetitively in “the mainstream media” and underwritten by the sort of governments I despise. There are many more, and I have not yet got to the face-mask fiasco. This is a bigger lie than most realize; the mania for making schoolchildren wear them gives the game away. For the young have little risk from the virus, and are being orally diapered only to advance Satan’s scheme to ruin childhood. Daily mask-wearing also plays a part in the mental illnesses and suicidal tendencies that afflict lockdown victims, from children to elders incarcerated (without visitors) in nursing “homes.” Cruelty is enabled as a medical protocol.

Anyone with an approximate idea of the diameter of a “SARS CoV-2” virus will understand that the mesh on their face-mask is ludicrously wider, unless the mask has been woven and sutured to the face to prevent the customer from breathing. This is the main exhibit of Batflu theatre, and is the symbol of rule by the (pretend) doctors of “The Science.” If there was one plausible study that showed any real benefit from these Batflu masks, governments would have publicized it exhaustively.

The same comment may be made for “social distancing” and various other impositions. The purpose is unambigously political — it is a play for tyrannical power — and only public health “experts” who are tame and over-paid can be trusted with the messaging.

Reconstructing Ottawa

The Ottawa police chief is an embarrassment, but he seems to validly represent the more tight-assed ratepayers, who have objected to the honking of the big trucks; and the ratepayers are an embarrassment, too. (I’ve tried to warn my readers against the perils of democracy.) The chief cop’s theatrical effort to impound some fraction of the Freedom Convoy’s fuel supply, to demolish their food kitchens, and hand out tickets for things like not having licences on their garbage-collecting carts, is now on display. The nominal mayor of Ottawa, who apparently serves under the police chief, is another thoroughgoing jackass.

I once worked out of Ottawa myself; it is our national capital, I was told. And it is where I acquired my notion of the profound corruption that is brought to that town by the Liberal Party — who dominate its bureaucracies whether they are in or out of power. The arrogance, of the gliberal hot-shots, as well as their extravagant waste and incompetence, has left marks on all the Ottawa institutions, and a good place to begin a clean-up would be by “cancelling” the civil service. (They could be taught to load trucks, instead.)

Too, we should defund the municipal police, or more precisely, replace them. A new police force might possibly be funded just by selling off the spiffy vehicles of the old force (after the cost of repainting them), and their dapper “Zomo” riot gear might fetch a pretty penny in the costume shops.

The truckers have been polishing the streets, removing even cigarette butts and gum wrappers. They have been guarding the Terry Fox statue on Parliament Hill, and could be asked to mind all the other defunct worthies, and prominent slaveholders. (There weren’t any up here, as slavery was outlawed in Upper Canada from the start of the Loyalist settlement, but we can pretend.) Sir John A. Macdonald, our hard-drinking and politically incorrigible founding prime minister, may need special protection, now that his effigy has been “disappeared” from his home town of Kingston, Ont.

Voluntary truckers have been shovelling the snow off our war monuments, including our tomb of the unknown soldier. (In their enthusiasm, they were accused of dancing.) And they have been feeding the hungry downmarket types of the inner city, with hot dogs and other good things.

Like all modern towns, Ottawa is mostly vile and ugly, but unlike the worst, it has several exceptional buildings and fairly attractive (if over-planned) public spaces. By inviting the truckers to do the work city employees weren’t doing, the entire spillover urban region might be turned around, or at least tarted up. We should appoint a delegation of truckers to take over the National Capital Commission, and make some better choices for the National Gallery of Art.

For we haven’t seen genuine public spirit here in (central) Canada for a long time. We mustn’t overlook such a wonderful opportunity.

The Queen

Today is the “Platinum Jubilee” of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II — some seventy years on the Canadian throne (as also incidentally on that of the United Kingdom, Australia, Tuvalu, and other countries). She is the first Britannic Monarch to achieve this. We should pause from all trivial events, and unnecessary thoughts, to celebrate this unprecedented anniversary. Her subjects are blessed, and have for so long been blessed, with a fine and adequate ruler. She has seen them through an incomparable ring of years and changes.

Not every nation of the British heritage deserves such a monarch, and indeed many have broken the royal connexion in displays of tawdry narcissism. Members of her own family have also failed her, and the governments over which she has presided have been a constant source of embarrassment. Yet Her Majesty, and the late beloved Prince Philip, have borne all these modern indignities with grace and extraordinary patience.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour:
Long may she reign!

Solidarność

My heart was lifted by the sight of the ladies, from a Polish deli and bakery in my neighbourhood, delivering a van-load of sausages and much else to the truckers on the front line in Ottawa. It was one of many “meaningful gestures,” that could be traced on the informal Internet, even though news that strays “off-narrative” is ignored by the state-owned CBC. For the moment, before the government (which has huge malice, but very little competence) has the time to re-organize itself, much can be done; and as I suggested the “freedom” trucks, and the beautiful farm tractors, are now appearing at border stations and at Queen’s Park — on the streets of provincial capitals, such as Toronto.

But maybe, like the Polish communist government on which they model themselves (down to the ripely absurd answers to simple factual questions in Parliament), they won’t be able to “get their act together.” Justin Trudeau will go the way of the late General Wojciech Jaruzelski, into the shadows of opprobrium. Things like the police “crackdown” that Ottawa currently threatens, or the open theft of “Go-Fund-Me” donations for the truckers, or the range of very evil lies and smears spread by Liberal Party functionaries, will cease to be aggravating and become a silly joke, should they ever be remembered.

Non-violent civil resistance is the road behind and the road ahead. Like Solidarność and the various slave uprisings of history, good strategy will win through. For what we must teach we must also learn about ourselves: to rise to the responsible government we so easily abandoned. For we only became slaves when we allowed it to happen.

Peace must be dared

I have a correspondent, near Ottawa of all places, who has the delightful habit of transcribing passages he has found in great authors. These he forwards, unsolicited, for my edification. They are never glib, “throwaway quotes,” such as might appear on commercial greeting cards. This gentleman, who prizes his anonymity, has put me in his debt many times, and yet he credits me for putting him in mine. If there is a principal gift, sent back and forth between us, it is the bottomless Christian religion, in literature and art. An example was ping’d into my inbox this morning:

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won where the way leads to the Cross.”

We are confronted with an injunction that is candidly naïve: by a pacifist, unusually willing to suffer the consequences of his beliefs. Indeed, he came from a family with a facility for being executed by Hitler’s flunkeys, more often than not for some plausible reason. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was famously a public opponent of Nazi eugenics, and genocides. He had a curious history as a plant within the Abwehr (military intelligence), which I won’t get into. He was hanged as the Nazi regime was releasing its grip on history (9 April 1945), and is taken for a Protestant saint and martyr. His very return to death-defying service in Germany, during the war, from safe exile in the United States, illustrates the quotation above.

In my inadequate understanding, the quotation becomes flawed as it drifts from the personal, and Christ-like, to the political, and Caesar-like. We approach God, even as a legion, in single file, as it were. Faults like our selfishness should be confessed singly, case-by-case; rather than by class, or collectively. Bonhoeffer himself was sometimes, even admirably, confused, between his nation which was incapable of sin, and its many citizens who behaved abominably.

They were not “collectively guilty” of the monstrous crimes of the Nazi regime. Convicting them thus makes us feel so comfortable, but is of null effect.

A man can be a pacifist. But only a tyrant and demagogue can be a pacifist, on behalf of his whole nation. He leads his people to an involuntary fate, just as he would lead them into a destructive war. He may be called, by his sycophants, “a man of peace,” but he is the opposite.

For peace is not merely the avoidance of war, or we would have it already. It exists only within the mystery of persons. It is not the product of any clever programme of diplomacy, public or private, but rather the acceptance of sacrifice — of a holy sacrifice.

Honk! Honk!

Ottawans should be aware that they may buy on the Internet horns that provide the same volume and timbre of sound that a giant truck rig can produce, when it is advising lesser vehicles to get out of its way. And there are enterprising foreign companies that can supply louder.

The rule is: honk for ten minutes, every half hour.

There is a special alarm to be used when trucks are backing up, and this could be imitated, too. I haven’t seen such a thing advertised, for popular use, however; so will save the idea for some day when I need a few million dollars. No doubt there are government subsidies that will pay my “research and development” costs, if I hire staff who are exclusively Diverse, Inclusive, and Equilateral.

Hell, we could do the front horns immediately, in Parkdale, except they would be drowned out by other vehicular and industrial noise in the district, to which Parkdelians have become accustomed.

When I was in hospital last year, I realized that only the nurses could not hear the multiple alarm buzzers sounding constantly through the corridors, and in all wards. The nurses had “tuned out” this very painful noise, to the extent of complete indifference to it. Only their patients were dreadfully exposed, at all hours of the day, through the time until they had also adapted. At night, when many had passed out from exhaustion, and ceased calling for a nurse, there was relative peace. The nurses had to wake their customers on purpose.

Loss of brain function is completely silent, though.

I sympathize with the auditors of truck horns, through the middle of Ottawa, many of whom are people I have met, and some were sensitive musicians and choristers. It must be torture for them, as it is for most who are subjected to the modern, progressive world; and if the clamour continues for more than two years I can imagine that it might become more irritating than the Batflu restrictions. This is what I imagine, but, in reality, the majority will get used to it, and only a small fringe minority with unacceptable views will express displeasure.

They must learn to stop worrying, and love the Honk!

Dissolution

“Two weeks to flatten the curve,” would be a good motto, for the truckers who now occupy Ottawa. This could be reviewed after two or three years. Meanwhile, there are provincial capitals to occupy.

A beloved priest, who describes himself as a “romantic distributist and promoter of localism,” has been romantically distributing an inspiring essay by the theology professor, Douglas Farrow of McGill, on Substack. It is an elegant tribute to truckers and the freedom convoy. Shockingly, the much-denounced Father Farrow does not seem to be an enthusiast for same-sex marriage, either. Someone must have read his book, Nation of Bastards, which I hereby recommend.

He, he, and I are among the “small fringe minority with unacceptable views,” up here in the True North Strong and Free. But when you add a professor of ancient languages I know, with numerous children, and some Sikhs I watched on YouTube in Vancouver, waving “Fuck Jagmeet” signs, you may see that the Liberal majority is crumbling.

Of course, the Mayor of Ottawa, a Liberal shill, began telling the protesters to, “Go home, you’ve made your point!” as they were arriving. The CBC, and the other Official broadcasting networks, filled their newscasts with rumours that truck drivers had displayed ill breeding in Ottawa food courts and malls, and had “desecrated” the Terry Fox statue on Parliament Hill, by leaning a cardboard anti-mandate placard against it. Oh my, oh my! They were also flying the Canadian flag upside down, my God! One star commentator on CBC speculated that the Russians had instigated the whole thing.

In Parliament, and in the remote location where the Trudeau boy was holed up with his family, we heard more of these CBC-quality responses. Our ruling class is turning up the lies and the sleaze and the hoaxes, to seize the high ground, in their usual way. But the polls suggest a change in Canadian public opinion: from the world’s most complacent, compliant, and brain-dead citizenry, to lockdown opponents.

Public opinion is transient. Watch it dissolve!

Vive le Canada libre

To line the streets in this weather is rather impressive. (Below zero, both Fahrenheit and Centigrade, along almost all of the convoy route, with bone-chilling breeze.) I am thinking not only of Canada’s truckers, who have given us all a rare moment of pride and patriotism; but also of the people waving along the streets and overpasses, to thank them and to cheer them on. The secret is in the numbers: we keep each other warm.

It is not only gigantic delivery trucks, but also the myriad “support vehicles” among them. Early this morning, for instance, I was watching an informal broadcast from Kingston, Ontario — where I used to live. After row upon row of the truckers, who had parked for the night at the edge of town, the camera moved in upon a little SUV, with nurses. They had been fired by the jackasses in our “public health” bureaucracies, for refusing vaccinations (that would be, for them, both dangerous and unnecessary). This after two years of heroic front-line work in our hospitals. God bless them.

Like the rest in this protest, they are available along the route to attend to those who may need them. (Repairs for the vehicles is everywhere done free; coffee and doughnuts are plentiful.) Many different vocations are here represented, and all have in common a commitment to the good of their unknown neighbours. This is seldom shared by the “laptop people” who construct the lockdown rules for their own convenience. It is a reminder of the importance of “essential workers” — and that they cannot be identified by government agents and census-takers. For they are called to their stations, spontaneously, by Christ.

“Lockdowns,” as one demonstrator shouted, “are for prisoners!” It is important, not only that governments be shifted out of power, but that the leading figures in them should be humiliated. Only thus can we be reasonably sure that arbitrary methods will not be tried again — at least through the coming generation, in our formerly free country. No more involuntary lockdowns, no more useless facial diapers; less political stench and garbage.

We should not be puzzled that the Batflu disease has clustered more densely wherever “public health” has been most intrusive. All realms have suffered, from the Red Chinese virus, but places like Japan, Sweden, Florida, Texas, have escaped the worst. God did not create a world in which tyrants would be rewarded.

Convoys

A reminder that not all Canadians are woke Marxists, or bourgeois Trudeauphiles, is currently being supplied by truck convoys. Owing to the Liberal control of Canada’s prostitute “mainstream” media (which accepts government subsidies), news of the convoys is largely suppressed; but thanks to “social media,” it is getting around. It is on an enormous scale — miles of brutally big transport trucks in convoys across the Prairies; multiple additional convoys from Nova Scotia to Windsor — converging on Ottawa. They express displeasure at government Batflu vaccine “mandates” (requirements), and face-covering impositions, &c. New border-crossing vaccine regulations are a particularly vicious attack on the livelihoods of truck drivers, but the protests represent all opponents of arbitrary government.

It will be amusing (whether or not nice) to see what results when tens of thousands of these carbon-fed monster lorries simultaneously deliver their message. This weekend the roadblocks in Ottawa will be tested. The answer from Trudeau and company is to demonize the drivers, with childish hashtags and rude slang. The word “vermin” is being dredged once again out of the old Nazi playbook, by the sewer rats.

In both Trudeau’s Canada and Biden’s America, owing to malicious incompetence in Batflu management, the supermarkets are emptying from supply-chain interruptions, and there is accelerating inflation. The political consequence of this should be known, and could have been anticipated, were it not for the severe intellectual limitations of our ruling class.

Paradoxically, while Trump’s “warp speed” vaccines were an unprecedented success (if it does not end in a paradoxical infection boomerang), and there have been impressive advances in Batflu detection and treatment, the people who could most benefit (old and worker types) have been insulted and alienated. Up here in the High Doganate, we actually took the free vaccines (and got mild Omicron anyway). But many did not, who came to distrust the government propaganda, while being pushed around.

“Vaxxed” or “unvaxxed,” I’m anti-mandate.

What a surprise this has been for governments! People who are fed too much arrogance and bullshit, eventually throw it up. But if they are left to decide what is good for them by themselves, they will generally grasp the obvious. They will also make mistakes, but nothing on the scale of the credentialled experts.

In lovely blueness

This poem, of Friedrich Hölderlin’s, arrested me as a youff (I think I was fifteen), and though I cannot yet begin to understand, it has haunted me through the years. It is of course in German, so my claim not to understand it can be accepted as very plausible. The music of it cannot be explained, even as music, but the poem begins:

In lieblicher Bläue blühet mit dem metallenen Dache der Kirchthurm. …

Or rather, the piece begins, for it was written in what is called “prose,” and taken from the period of Hölderlin’s madness. Perhaps even Germans can make little sense of what follows. But as far as we have got (in Michael Hamburger’s translation), “In lovely blueness with its metal roof the steeple blossoms. …”

Already we must ask, is this “metal roof” not the sky, in sheets of tin, as we soon learn the steeple too is ringing, through gates that have opened, which he likens to trees of wood. And the man who looks upon this, as from a still-life, does he resemble these? For he manifests himself as the ground of the sky, and is God not his measure? Is he not part of the Heavenly beauty?

But I have simplified, and have begun to impose a narrative that will not be found in the original. In fact the poem itself is “doubtful,” having been adapted from an account in the novel Phaeton, by Wilhelm Waiblinger (1825). Hamburger printed it last, at the end of his magnificent book of translations, with a footnote speculating that Waiblinger, who had access to Hölderlin’s late manuscripts, was excerpting from what had been written in Pindaric verse. And is now lost, like many writings. But I am no German scholar, and cannot process this.

I can, however, “process” the description, or depiction, line by line, of what seems to be the light of heaven, falling first on the scene outside the poet’s window, and then on characters as the poem glides on. They are tragic characters, but the dead are alive, and those who are living have died. A mirror, in the lovely blueness, is looked into and reflects a man, in its metal; we see his divine stillness and simplicity. That is how the comparison is made; how the man becomes an object in the poem.

Well, far more could be said (though the piece extends only through three pages). But the power, which I would call “beyond anxiety,” seems to have attempted and to have successfully embodied a religious mystery. Hölderlin does this as we have felt it in music — in moments beyond the anxiety of a melody, a tune. He lifts us, in a divine way, to a home that perhaps only in madness can assimilate our worldliness, falling away.

Out of wedlock

This is a misleading phrase, for it implies that matrimony once existed. It did, I think, in the case of my parents, and sundry other adults in that generation and before, but truth to tell, their definition of marriage was already in conflict with “progressive values.”

Of course, we still have “family law,” as a kind of place-holder to deal with pseudo-marital arrangements, and in the way “dignity” now exists as a fanciful legal aspiration. We must act to prevent ourselves from sliding too visibly into the icky; but as our slovenly, amoral conception of ickiness now takes command, we cannot possibly stay dry.

“But everyone knows what you mean by marriage!” may be quickly dismissed. The assumption is that there was a clear definition in the past, that could (theoretically) be revived. But “the past is a foreign country,” as L. P. Hartley wrote in a popular cliché; “they do things differently there.” Thinking back only to my own youth, I realize what is irretrievable.

A lady correspondent (once the art director of the Idler) has forwarded a Twitter Essay on this topic by Rafael de Arízaga. Apparently, a systematic Catholic thinker, he begins by considering Catholic dating. He says that dating “sucks” (to say nothing of “dating discourse”) because we no longer observe gender rôles. In other words, we no longer have men and women. By the end of his first paragraph we can see the whole argument anticipated.

If we replaced “gender” with the word “sex,” some light might filter in.

That marriage happens, statistically, less than it once did, and is taken less seriously when it happens, is easy to see, just as we might remember that it was formerly the judicial bedrock to which our, and other, civilizations were anchored. “One man and one woman till death” is a form of communication, that becomes inter-generational upon maturing. Husband and wife come to define each other — as father, mother, and the other relations that progressive American courts are now ripping down.

More than this is to be “re-invented,” or discarded. Arízaga mentions paternity, maternity, filiation, fraternity, widowhood, consanguinity among the relations into which the law intruded, by way of hinting how we should behave in our stations. Young unmarried men (and more recently, women) have long been watched as a danger to social order. Getting them to regular convents and nunneries, before they could express themselves in appallingly original ways, was once a societal imperative.

But for many, “Freedom” is just another word, for the destruction of such institutions, and sub-institutions, going back before Roman times. Freedom, for the liberal of mind, exists purely in negation.

Consider: “Simple fornication is contrary to the love of our neighbour, because it is opposed to the good of the child to be born.” St Thomas Aquinas makes this point (at Iª–IIae, q. 90, a. 2), and a mildly intelligent person should grasp what he means by it, and how far it will extend.

In love, we build. In building, we must think things through. Fornication, or marriage?