Saturday 23 May 2020


'Economics are the method: the object is to change the soul'. Margaret Thatcher talking to the Sunday Times on 1 May 1981

'The profound thing that Cardinal Manning said to me was this: all human conflict is ultimately theological.' Belloc

'All philosophy is disguised psychology.' Nietzsche

'Politics, as opposed to science, does not reward the correction of
mistakes, given that correcting a mistake also entails admitting to

having made one. Worse, the bigger the mistake, the greater the
political urgency of defending it at all costs. Boris and co are therefore obliged to keep justifying the lockdown, which means continuing to
exaggerate the contagion’s risk to life. (Case in point: in Sunday’s address to the nation, the PM reiterated Professor Pantsdown’s forecast of 500,000 fatalities, although that modelling has been much discredited. In obeisance to this official Blitzy version of events, the British public is now doomed to act out an elaborate theatre of medical paranoia, because to relax social distancing is also to suggest that maybe much social distancing was dumb to begin with. I am steeped in dread. I foresee months, if not years, of inane gesturing.' Lionel Shriver in last week's Spectator

'The taverns are fair full of gadabouts making merry this eve. And though I may press my face against the window like an urchin at a confectioner’s, I am tempted not by the sweetmeats within.' A dram in exchange for the pox is an ill bargain indeed. Samuel Pepys during the Great Plague, 1665

'Dreaming when Dawn’s Left Hand was in the Sky,
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
“Awake, my Little ones, and fill the cup
Before Life’s Liquor in its Cup be dry.”

'And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted—“Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”'
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


  1. The basis of all civilised life is the observance of contracts.

  2. 'Economics are the method: the object is to change the soul'

    Rather chilling.

    1. "The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks.... And therefore I raise my glass to you, writers, the engineers of the human soul"

      Joseph Stalin, "Speech at home of Maxim Gorky", 26 October 1932