Monday 6 January 2020

We are not living through an era of change but a change of era

"Pope Francis said recently that we are not living through an era of change but a change of era. This Conservative victory is an important part of defining what the features of the new era are. The previous consensus was defined by four shared assumptions; that the nation state, democracy, the working class and conservatism would matter less. The dominant forces were the educated middle-class, globalisation, written constitutions and liberalism. Blair and Cameron expressed this perfectly."

Lord Glasman, Labour peer and founder of Blue Labour, who voted Leave in 2016

"How different the world before 1914 was. It is a punctuation point as stark as the Fall of the Roman Empire. Before: curves, Degas, detail, shadow, mystery. Afterwards: eye-searing light, straight lines, Otto Dix, unconcealed power and no mystery at all. Power needs no mystery. On the contrary, it is keen to be recognised as what it is, straight away."

Peter Hitchens

"Brothers and sisters, Christendom no longer exists!" 

Pope Francis, December 21, 2019

"A Church that is not pointed toward God is a Church collapsing, already in the throes of death. The spire of the cathedral of Paris has fallen: and this is no coincidence! Notre-Dame of Paris symbolizes the whole West, buckling and crumbling after turning away from God. It symbolizes the great temptation of Western Christians: no longer turned toward God, turning inward upon themselves, they are perishing."

Cardinal Robert Sarah, 
May 25th 2019 at a conference in Paris


  1. 'The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.'

    Werner Herzog

    “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”
    Michael Kinsley

    "Every new Beginning comes from some other beginning's End"
    Seneca the Younger

    ‘By his interminable hate-filled tracts, he added boredom to the long list of Nazi atrocities.’

    The British Nuremberg prosecutor Hartley Shawcross said of the Nazi ‘thinker’ Alfred Rosenberg

    1. I agree with these except the last. I haven't read Rosenberg except for dipping into his diaries that were dull. I am told his long book is dull and of no interest.

    2. I walk a great deal and recommend doing so very highly. I just had a two mile walk from a meeting to my office.

  2. In 2000, four rural officials discovered that Wang and his wife, surnamed Li, were concealing an illegal pregnancy in the village home of her father. At the time, family planning laws allowed rural couples to have a second child if their first was a daughter. Wang and Li already had two daughters but did not terminate the pregnancy as Wang hoped for a son.

    The officials planned to bring Wang and Li back to Suixi and arrange for Li to have an abortion. But during the journey, Wang attacked them with a metal hammer, killing three of them. He then absconded from justice for 17 years, changing his name to avoid detection for the murders.

    Wang Changsheng, of Suixi County in the eastern province of Anhui, was put to death on Dec. 4.

  3. “Those who lack humour are without judgement and should be trusted with nothing.”

    Clive James, “Exploring the Medium”

    Even after the Industrial Revolution and all that followed, one still can trace family wealth in Europe back to the fifteenth century. In a fascinating recent study, Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Mocetti look at the distribution of wealth among families in Florence in the fifteenth century and today. They find an extraordinary persistence: if you live in Florence today and your ancestors were rich in the fifteenth century, you’re likely to be rich, too.

    Mobility: Real and Perceived
    Alberto Alesina, Stefanie Stantcheva

    “We live in an age of dogmatism, which has only to continue in the way it is going, to bring us to a new dark age of enlightenment: what may save us is conversation.”

    Michael Oakeshott
    Notebooks, 1922-86 (2014, Imprint Academic)

    Actually, does anyone still eat dates? Lined up in their narrow little box like cockroaches waiting for the resurrection. Awful bloody things.

    Rod Liddle
    25 Dec 2019

  4. While a restive working class might provide fertile ground for po­litical upheavals, any fundamental transformation of Western politics will necessarily be led by increasing numbers of the “elite” who defect from the dominant policy consensus and rethink their allegiance to establishment paradigms. Conventional narratives, including many that are critical of the status quo, paint the elite as a unified block aligned with neoliberalism. But the neoliberal economy has created a profound fracture within the elite, the significance of which is just beginning to be felt.

    The socioeconomic divide that will determine the future of poli­tics, particularly in the United States, is not between the top 30 per­cent or 10 percent and the rest, nor even between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes­sional labor.

    While the top 5 or 10 percent may not deserve public sympathy, their underperformance relative to the top 0.1 percent will be more politically significant than the hol­lowing out of the working or lower-middle classes. Unlike the work­ing class, the professional managerial class is still capable of, and re­quired for, wielding political power.

    The Real Class War
    by Julius Krein

    1. The socioeconomic divide that will determine the future of poli­tics

      'The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes­sional labor.'

      What do you think?

  5. What is remarkable about today’s oligarchy is not its ruthlessness but
    its pettiness and purposelessness. An all-consuming megalomania might
    at least produce some great art as a side-effect. But this collec­tion
    of mediocrities cannot even do that. Their political
    activities—whether pushing for a slightly lower tax rate or throwing
    money at a self-serving brand of faux progressivism—are too
    small-minded to be anything other than embarrassing. This class has no
    idea what to do with its wealth, much less the power that results from
    it. It can only withdraw and extract, socially and economically, while
    the political justifications for its existence melt away.

    Ultimately, the question that will determine the future of American
    politics is whether the rest of the elite will consent to their
    contin­ued proletarianization only to further enrich this pathetic
    oli­garchy. If they do, future historians of American collapse will
    find something truly exceptional: capitalism without competence and
    feu­dalism with­out nobility.

    The Real Class War by Julius Krein
    American Affairs, Volume III, Number 4 (Winter 2019): 153–72.

  6. Soleimani was killed for being a terrorist by the Government that armed and funded the various al-Qaeda terrorist factions in Syria that he was fighting.

    Rob Slane

  7. The state of Texas contains 0.46% of the world’s total land area.
    If everyone in the world moved to Texas, the population density would be 29,219 people per square mile. This is 8% below the population density of Brooklyn, New York (31,887 people per square mile).
    Macau has the highest population density of all nations in the world at 55,301 people per square mile.

    1. If only I had visited Macau while it was shabby and Portuguese. Goa too has been ruined.

  8. A groundbreaking study has discovered that after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and Food Stamps—the poorest 20% of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the U.S. “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest.