Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Monday, 28 September 2020

Mothers of large families (who claim to common sense)

I absolutely love Amy Coney Barrett for being a mother of 7 and Mrs Von Der Leyen too (useless in most other respects though she is). The latter is a Protestant, by the way. Jacob Rees-Mogg gets an honourable mention for 6, though Boris Johnson's 6 are slightly less honourable. But a demon came to me and reminded me of Hilaire Belloc's The Tiger.


The tiger, on the other hand,
Is kittenish and mild,
And makes a pretty playfellow
For any little child.
And mothers of large families
(Who claim to common sense)
Will find a tiger well repays
The trouble and expense.




‘Ballot harvesting fraud’ involving Somali refugees in Minnesota

The BBC, which cannot hide its desire for Donald Trump to leave office, and the Guardian tell us every time that President Trump talks about ballot fraud that these accusations are unsupported by any evidence, even though it is impossible to prove a negative. 

Anyway it's not true. 

Today very grave evidence of fraud is revealed. I wonder if the press will give it much importance.

'A ballot-harvesting racket in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis district — where paid workers illegally gather absentee ballots from elderly Somali immigrants — appears to have been busted by undercover news organization Project Veritas.'

Bărăţia Church

Until tonight I never saw beauty in my parish church, the Baratia church. Actually, it was founded two centuries before any other church in the town in 1314, for use by Catholics travelling from Vienna or Hungary to Constantinople, but the present building is only 1840s.




Saturday, 26 September 2020

England is no longer a civilised place to live

Charles Moore's diary in this week's Spectator about a report by the National Trust told me something important. I knew since I got the chance to live in Romania that I wanted to spend my whole life here, but reading him I decide that I also want not to live in England.

It may be behind a paywall but click and see. I'll quote three paragraphs to give you the flavour.

'The National Trust has brought out its ‘Interim Report’, with the clumsy title ‘Addressing our histories of colonialism and historic slavery’. Such use of the word ‘histories’, as opposed to ‘history’, is an alert that a woke view is coming your way. Like ‘diversity’ and ‘multiple narratives’ (also deployed in the report), it suggests plurality but imposes uniformity.

'...It ends with a ‘Gazetteer’ of the houses which ‘meet key criteria relating to slavery and colonialism’. These are incoherent. They range from ‘wealth connected to the proceeds of slavery’, through ‘expansion and settlement into countries resulting in the displacement or injury of people, or the creation of unequal economic benefits’, to ‘objects seized in battle’ in colonial territories. The first would usually be possible to ascertain. The second is tendentious and undoubtedly passes judgment on the past. The third — well, should the NT blush if it has a Zulu spear from Rorke’s Drift?


'...One of the report’s editors is Professor Corinne Fowler, director of the Colonial Countryside project at Leicester university, and author of Green Unpleasant Land: Creative Responses to Rural Britain’s Colonial Histories. She retweets things like ‘Rural racism means POC [People of Colour] don’t feel safe in there. The countryside is one of the last bastions of Empire’ and ‘Amid a global reckoning over the history of slavery one institution has remained silent: the British monarchy’. So we know what she wants the report to ‘find’. It contains no dissent.'

Denazification never stops



Berlin city council has issued its staff with a 44 page booklet of guidelines on “diversity-sensitive” language. It says that “foreigners” should now be referred to as “inhabitants without German citizenship”, and that “illegal immigrants” as “undocumented migrants”. 
Instead of “people with a migrant background” “people with an international history” should be used. The German term for fare-dodging on public transport, “schwarz fahren” (“riding black”) is forbidden.

Autumn morning

 






Saturday, 19 September 2020

Interesting etymology


'Dandy first made its appearance on the Scottish border and in the 1780’s became current in British slang. Its origin (most probably, dialectal) remains a mystery—a common thing with such words. Etymologists have grudgingly resigned themselves to the idea that dandy goes back to the pet name of Andrew. How Andrew became Dandy is also unclear (by attracting d from the middle?). But this is not our problem. Pet names behave erratically. Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Beth make sense, but Bill (= Will) for William? Peggy for Margaret? In any case, Dandy is a recorded short name for Andrew (and incidentally, for Alexander). Trying to discover why Andrew was chosen to represent London overdressed young men (assuming that such a thing happened several hundred years ago) would be a waste of time. This mythic character is a member of the club to which Sam Hill, Smart Aleck, and Jack Sprat (a.k.a. Jack Prat).' belong; its whereabouts are lost. (Anatoly Liberman, a Russian etymologist, on the OED blog.)

Interesting. He could have mentioned Polly, affectionate form of Mary, Sally (Sarah), Lotty (Charlotte), Jack (John), Harry (Henry), Dick (Richard) and Ned (Edward).


Sam Hill apparently is an Americanism and means the Devil. Jack Sprat apparently means someone short. I only know him from the nursery rhyme. 'Jack Sprat would eat no fat' - presumably he was slim as well as short.

We could go on forever. Joe, I discovered recently, is American slang for coffee and it is because of one Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the US Navy, who banned the consumption of alcohol in the American navy during the First World War.

This morning's quotations

"I give my mind the liberty to follow the first wise or foolish idea that presents itself, just as in the avenue de Foy our dissolute youths follow close on the heels of some strumpet, then leave her to pursue another, attacking all of them and attaching themselves to none. My thoughts are my strumpets."
Denis Diderot

"Nevertheless, she was painfully shy in public and is credited with inventing the phrase “gender inequality” because she could not bring herself to say the word “sex” in public."
The Times obituary for Ruth Ginsberg, the American Supreme Court judge who died today.

"I'm the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives—they don't want them playing with me. I'm like the escaped slave—I bring news of freedom." 
Bill Maher

"We have forgotten how to respond to the poetry of life. The hollow, tinkling facade of life put up by noisy and trivial people stands between us and our deepest wealth." 
Llewellyn Powys, 1913.

“In the shortest time horizon I’m most worried about civil war.”
Tim Kendall, former Facebook executive, speaking in Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma'


Thursday, 17 September 2020

English tribunal rules belief in “male and female created he them” is "incompatible with human dignity"

Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale's axiom in Rex v. Taylor (1676) that "Christianity is parcel of the laws of England" was taken as a binding precedent by later judges, but was declared by the House of Lords in 1917 to be 'mere rhetoric'. 

Lord Hale's dictum was the very opposite of the view of an employment tribunal sitting in Birmingham, which late last year ruled against a Christian doctor called David Mackereth, who had lost his job after "he refused to call a transgender woman 'she'".

This was reported at the time but the News Letter, the leading newspaper in Northern Ireland, accidentally came across and published on Tuesday a striking sentence from the judgment.

Paragraph 197 of the ruling handed down by judge David Alan Perry states that
“... belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals.”
Genesis 1.27 says (KJV): 
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Trump's diplomatic triumph goes unnoticed by the press

I am no huge fan of Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Corey Kushner, who is a Democrat who urges on Trump not to use the BLM violence as a political card for fear of losing some black votes. I don't like how he reportedly sneers at Trump voters or how precarious his finances were until a fund in which the Qataris own 9% bought his debt laden skyscraper. I am no fan of the Gulf monarchies, am critical of Netanyahu and don't see Iran as any threat to the West, but President Trump and his son in law have pulled off a great diplomatic coup. And the media almost ignore it. 

This morning's quotations

"Paradoxical as it may appear, it is probably true that a successful free society will always in a large measure be a tradition-bound society.” F.A. Hayek.


"The only palliative to the stuffiness of the present is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.” C.S. Lewis


“The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play.” Oswald Spengler


"It has been left to the very latest modernists to proclaim an erotic religion which at once exalts lust and forbids fertility." G. K. Chesterton

"A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought." Dorothy L Sayers, Gaudy Night

Friday, 11 September 2020

So farewell then, Diana Rigg


Diana Rigg, I was in love with you when I was four. Now you are dead aged 82. 

Dead I accept, but 82?

Timothy Stanley, much too young to remember The Avengers when it was first broadcast, said this.

By sad coincidence, I happen to be watching Diana Rigg’s colour season of the Avengers, and what a delight it is! It seems to be set not in the 1960s but the 1930s - vintage cars, no tower blocks - although Mrs Peel’s furnishings have that wonderful “everything will be plastic and orange in the future” feel. I love the future as seen in the Sixties because it was so hopeful and vivid; it’s turned out to be quite ugly.
Observations: the show's all about class. Like Doctor Who, Steed and Emma are Edwardian adventurers. In one episode they have the chance to meet Harold Wilson and turn it down: “Did you vote for him? No. Neither did I.” That said, it’s joked several times that Steed has no title. Nor does he have a proper job; the bowler hat is a sign of being demobbed, not a city banker. Thus they fall into the camp of upper-middle rather than aristocratic. The filming is crisp - England never looked lovelier - the guest stars are brilliant, the dialogue witty. It can be dark one minute (Murdersville), high camp the next (Epic). I’d say watch Hidden Tiger and the Superlative Seven, the latter is a smashing pastiche of Agatha Christie and looks really quite expensive. One downside is that The Joker isn’t as good as the Cathy Gale episode it was a remake of. Gale was far cold.

If the Avengers is all about class it's only because England still was in the 1960s, even though most people thought class had ceased to matter. I wonder how much has changed.

I almost never watch videos and instead waste my time reading about politics, but I just watched in memoriam an episode of The Avengers, called The Joker - a great example of the old haunted house genre. I was enthralled and scared.

Another seminal figure from the 1960s, Enoch Powell, said the life of nations, like the life of man, is lived in the imagination. Diana Rigg played a big part in creating mine and that of every boy who watched the programme. 

Perhaps she gave me my penchant for upper and upper middle class brunettes with plummy voices but she formed our ideas about women generally. I always took it for granted that women should be courageous, combative tomboys and very feminine too.

Back when I was 4 or 5 the world I was growing up in seemed awful, dreary and utterly without romance, very unlike the world of old films, but watching The Avengers I see the old traditional, hierarchical, stylish England was still there. And so it still is, despite progressive reforms.

I didn't know the word meretricious when I was five, but I understood the idea and knew it applied to the world I saw on television: the world of Harold Wilson, Juke Box Jury and Simon Dee, once the most famous man in the country, then remembered only for having been forgotten. 

Something I posted on Facebook four years ago

I always wondered if the Cold War was necessary. The arms race was not. And I now tend to think, with hindsight, that UK and France should not have gone to war with Germany in 1939. That's in the past. But now is there any point in the UK being in NATO?

Things I read recently

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

Mark Twain

When a tremendous misfortune falls upon a man, it becomes clear how much strength and good was in him. When fate crushes a people, it reveals its inner greatness or smallness. Only the utmost danger unmistakably shows the historical rank of a nation.
Oswald Spengler


Finally, there arises the monstrous symbol and vessel of the completely emancipated intellect, the world-city, the centre in which the course of a world-history ends by winding itself up. A handful of gigantic places in each Civilization disfranchises and disvalues the entire motherland of its own Culture under the contemptuous name of "the provinces." The "provinces" are now everything whatsoever — land, town, and city — except these two or three points. There are no longer noblesse and bourgeoisie, freemen and slaves, Hellenes and Barbarians, believers and unbelievers, but only cosmopolitans and provincials. All other contrasts pale before this one, which dominates all events, all habits of life, all views of the world.
Oswald Spengler

It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”
Mike Lofgren, former Republican U.S. Congressional aide.


I'd really like to just get this civilizational collapse over and done with.

Disappearing Europe

Lockdowns did not cause a baby boom. Covid-19 had the opposite effect, as couples were wary of the future and of going into hospital.

The population of the EU countries is 446 million.

The United Nations had predicted that the number of people in the EU countries would fall to 365 million by 2100, but a new study, published in The Lancet, predicts it will be 308 million by 2100, with the fertility rate, meaning the number of children born per woman on average — will drop to 1.41.

Births in Ukraine have fallen by 40% since 2014. 12.7 births per 1000 people were recorded in 1990 and 7.4 last year.

It's partly a riposte to the revolution of 2014 but it's part of a general trend.

In 2000, Latvia’s population stood at 2.4 million. At the start of this month it was 1.9 million. 

From an article on Latvia in Politico in 2018:

No other country has had a more precipitous fall in population — 18.2 percent according to U.N. statistics. Only Latvia’s similarly fast-shriveling neighbor, Lithuania, with a 17.5 percent decrease, and Georgia, with a 17.2 percent drop, come close.

Russia also saw a precipitous decline in its birthrate after the end of Communism, except from 2013 to 2015 when the number of births outnumbered deaths.

From the Wall St Journal on June 8:

The number of live births in Russia fell for a fourth consecutive year in 2019, down by just over 400,000 births from 2016, according to official data, with the fertility rate standing at 1.5 births for each woman—far short of the 1.7 births per woman Mr. Putin is aiming for by 2024.
Europe is dying. Europeans are not having enough children. Nowhere is this more marked than in the former Soviet Union and its satellites. 

Emigration to the West makes matters very much worse. Free movement in the EU has drained Eastern European EU member states.


Thursday, 10 September 2020

Joe Biden is a pathological liar

Bloomberg, hardly a pro-Trump source, has published a shocking list of lies by Joe Biden, who is credited with being decent and nice.

Biden lies routinely and pointlessly. His first presidential campaign, in 1988, went off the rails because his speeches included plagiarized passages. He didn’t just steal turns of phrase from the British politician Neil Kinnock; he stole his autobiography, pretending that his family too had worked coal mines and that he too had been the first of his name to get a college degree “in a thousand generations.”

Biden has been on notice for a long time, then, about the dangers of this kind of embellishment. Still, he can’t help himself. During this year’s campaign, he had to retract a story he had repeatedly told about being arrested “on the streets of Soweto” while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. Mandela supposedly thanked him for his trouble. It never happened. His revised story is that for a while he wasn’t allowed to leave an airport since he refused to go through a door for whites.

Even in the case of a story that garners Biden enormous and deserved sympathy — the loss of his wife and young daughter in a 1972 car accident — he edits the truth, and not in an innocent way. For many years he presented them as victims of a drunk driver. There was no evidence that the other driver was drunk; he wasn’t even at fault. That driver’s daughter wrote to Biden in 2001 to ask him to stop denigrating her late father, and he wrote a conciliatory note back. In 2007, during Biden’s second presidential campaign, he told the false story again. He apologized for it in 2009.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Things I read recently

'There are eras in which you can only move forward by going in the opposite direction.'
Mircea Eliade 

'Post-historical man is an insatiable tourist - history is his entertainment and the world is his museum.'
Shaida Drury

'Silence is the element in which great thing fashion themselves.' 
Thomas Carlyle

'Embedding the idea of original sin in a nation, is the best possible way to breed self-doubt — it suggests you can do little by way of good, because you were rotten from the start.' Douglas Murray

'I find that note-taking gets in the way. I have great faith in memory, and its natural sorting process. The fact is that when you’ve finished a trip, you’re completely swimming in recollections, so much so that I find it hard to think. It’s all so much and all so vivid, but then in no time at all, a few days, a few weeks, most of the detail starts to fall away.

'It seems to me that anything you remember after a fortnight or a month is pretty-much the stuff you need. If you’ve forgotten a whole village then there’s a reason for that. Your mind is telling you that you don’t need to take notes about this village because you’re going to forget that you’ve ever been there. I limit my note-taking to details that I think will be significant.'
Bill Bryson


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

"We are in the midst of an ongoing uprising over centuries of racial neglect and oppression."

 

"We are in the midst of an ongoing uprising over centuries of racial neglect and oppression."

These are the words of U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who was born in Somalia on 1982, given asylum in the U.S. in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. She is much criticised by conservatives in the US because she criticises Israel a lot. Unfairly, she is accused of being an anti-Jewish racist. What is much more interesting and remarkable is how she criticises her adoptive country.


She reminds me of Kamala Harris, the Democratic Vice-presidential candidate, who is the daughter of left-wing immigrants who had recently settled in the USA when she was born. She has spent much of her career denouncing racism too.

This seems ungrateful of the two women, but it is an article of faith in the USA that once you become an American citizen you are considered as American as if your forefathers (foreparents) came over on the Mayflower or slaughtered Indians under Andrew Jackson. To think otherwise would open up far too many painful questions.

Complaining about racial injustice is how Americans make a political career nowadays on the left. As the great Lord Salisbury said in 1882,

A party whose mission is to live entirely upon the discovery of grievances are apt to manufacture the element upon which they subsist.

Whatever the reasons, immigrants to rich countries and their children are often taught to feel victimised rather than patriotic. This is because of the prevailing ideology. 

But we must be grateful to Ilhan Omar, because she is right. An uprising is going on around the world against white oppression. Black Lives Matter is part of it and Islamist terrorism, ISIS and Al Qaeda are connected to it too. 

It's an anti-colonial uprising after colonies ceased to exist, an uprising to rewrite the past because it is the past people care about, not the future. But it will make the future, and at the moment the future looks very uninviting.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Horatian

Sitting in Cismigiu listening to a violinist this morning after a long walk felt Horatian and that put a question into my head. 

Wikipedia answered it.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. Born: 8 December 65 BC, Venosa, ItalyDied: 27 November 8 BC, Rome, Italy
When I studied and was bored by Horace in the Sixth Form I knew that one read him at school but only understood and enjoyed him at forty. I haven't read poetry alas alas since I reached that milestone but I just looked up his dates on Wikipedia and find the greatest poet to sing of middle age was months younger than I am now when he died. This was bad. 

I long ago accepted that I had outlived Byron and recently realised I was older than Hitler, whose CV was much more interesting than mine, ever was

I also recollected Sellars and Yeatman's question: 

"Has it occurred to you that the Romans counted backwards? Be honest."

Correction

I posted yesterday what two of my readers sent me and which I judged very important. It was this.


CDC this week very quietly updated the COVID-19 numbers. Only 9,210 Americans died from COVID-19 alone. 

It turns out that the first sentence is perhaps slightly misleading, because the CDC figures have for a long time stated that only a small number of deaths had only Covid-19 on the death certificate. However it is true that the CDC had just put on its site this information that 9,210 Americans died from COVID-19 alone. 

These sentences started on Facebook and were repeated on Twitter. President Trump retweeted the tweet that was true but slightly misleading and his retweet was removed by Twitter.

People who don't take much interest in the news (95% of the world) will just assume that Donald Trump was spreading false information, which he wasn't really, or that those in charge of things want to suppress the truth (which they don't, really).

It's impossible even for fair minded people who dislike him not to feel sorry for Donald Trump when he receives press like this in USA Today.