Wednesday 25 August 2021

One rule for the right, another for the left

The left dislike rules which are traditional but enforce the rules they constantly invent ruthlessly. 

Friday 20 August 2021

The collaborators in Afghanistan are routed

"I give you one statistic. 91 percent of the men in Afghanistan, 86 percent of the women, listen to at least three radio stations a day. In terms of their discourse, in terms of their sophistication of knowledge of the world, I think that I would dare say, they're much more sophisticated than rural Americans with college degrees and the bulk of Europeans -- because the world matters to them. And what is their predominant concern? Abandonment. Afghans have become deeply internationalist."

From a TED talk given in 2005 by Ashraf Ghani, the president who fled Afghanistan this week rather then stay and fight. 

But there was no point in fighting. His very corrupt government was composed of self-interested people collaborating with the American occupiers and supported by the minority of people who preferred American rule to the Taliban. 

Wednesday 18 August 2021

What a falling off is here

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” Sigmund Freud.

Not all children.

Debbie: Freud obviously never spent a Sunday afternoon in Pizza Express.

Me: He met only middle class children. Many children are dull little people alas though at puberty the dull ones get infinitely worse. Thank God I am no longer surrounded by 17 years olds as I was at 17.

Monday 16 August 2021

What was meant to be the point of the last 20 years in Afghanistan?

“Hey man . . . The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese Army, they're not. They're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There's going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan."

Joe Biden, July 8, 2021

"This is not Vietnam. The government is not collapsing."

“The future will be determined by the people of Afghanistan, not by somebody sitting behind the desk, dreaming.”

President Ghani, who fled Afghanistan for Uzbekistan yesterday, made these remarks in an interview with the BBC on 22 February 2021.

Sunday 15 August 2021

The fall of Kabul is deja vu all over again

Life feels real as you grown older because it acquires texture - the more it seems like a book or film the more it seems real.

This is particularly true when you feel your life experience starts suddenly to be part of history. 

The fall of Kabul seems very like the fall of Saigon. 

I remember the fall of Saigon, therefore I exist.

The attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad a year and a half ago by Iranian backed militia made everyone over 55 remember the fate of Jimmy Carter, especially Donald Trump. He ordered the murder of General Soleimani after having rejected the idea days before.

The only two good things that Old Man Biden has done since becoming American president are continuing his predecessor's Chinese and Afghan policies. 

The struggle between Christianity and Political Correctness in Romania

"We sincerely hope that the pages of this book will provide an infusion of courage and a testimony in favor of an even more intense and constant confession of traditional values for all those who, 30 years after the dissipation of the moral darkness of communism, (still) resist totalitarianism contemporary neo-communists, disguised as preachers of political correctness; in preachers of humanist-secular tolerance, who, in fact, diligently spread the discourse of hatred and propose the abolition of natural differences between people all the way down the lowest level of complete homogeneity; in preachers of the demolition of the values of Christian civilization and in preachers of the neo-Marxist gender fluid ideology, which establishes idolatry and the supremacy of group rights and triggers the class struggle between the sexes."
This is a paragraph from the introduction by Orthodox Bishop Ignatie of Husi to a recent biography of a priest who had been persecuted by Communists. The Bishop 
was asked to remove this paragraph from his introduction as a condition of publication. 


Marcus Aurelius:

The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables:

What Is Love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.”

Nicholas Sparks:

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected.

Friday 13 August 2021

BBC lies, damned lies and statistics about climate change

This very beautiful photograph is of one of a series of fires in California in connection with which a college lecturer has been held by police. The lecturer teaches criminal justice and specialises in cults and deviant behaviour.

A BBC insider says that the BBC internal briefing to editors on covering climate change was reminiscent of ‘a campaigning organisation' and if you click on this link you will see that he is right.

Please click here to see how fallacious the BBC coverage of the putative link between the climate and recent wildfires is.

Wildfires happen each year in Greece and Turkey but it seems that they have been decreasing around the Mediterranean since 1985. 

Thursday 12 August 2021

Why the world has gone mad - it's social media wot done it

A recent paper shows that the words 

“racist or sexist increasing in usage between 2010 and 2019 by 638% and 403% in The New York Times or 514% and 141% respectively in The Washington Post....The usage of words denoting racism, homophobia, transphobia or sexism were at or near, up to [2014], all-time highs. These results suggest that the trend of increasing prevalence of prejudice related words in media discourse precedes the political emergence of Donald Trump — although Trump’s presidency and subsequent reactions to it may have exacerbated these trends.”

I learnt this from Ed West in Unherd who says:
"The paper, like Zach Goldberg’s work in similar areas, points to a seismic shift in American liberal opinion from about 2013, a change in worldview almost without precedent; even during the 1960s and 70s public opinion changed quite slowly in western countries, and in Britain the basic premises of the sexual revolution weren’t accepted by the majority until well into the 1990s.

"This is a form of runaway progressivism, driven by status anxiety, and it is usually attributed to social media and the iPhone, which encourages clickbait and dopamine-producing culture war content."
Exactly - status anxiety - being modern thinking means you are well educated and well travelled. You have class.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

France is a civilised country (for now)

To repeat myself, in 1990 a French cardiologist said a small amount of red wine a day was good the heart. When asked what he meant by a small amount he replied, "Oh, no more than a bottle or so".

Why do fewer Frenchmen die young than Scots, despite the French fondness for saturated fats in the form of cheese and cream and many other forms? 

I think it has to do with religion, which is the basis for culture, as much as nutrition, but that's only a guess.

Fried Mars bars and vomiting in Sauchiehall St after too much to drink don't help, but that's Scottish culture and somehow linked to the heresy of Calvinism.

The details need working out but I don't have time.

The Taliban are winning without an air force or American equipment because they have support among Afghans

Harold Macmillan, first Earl of Stockton, said in the 1980s 

"The first rule of politics is do not invade Afghanistan."

I quoted Marxist journalist Alexander Cockburn in my penultimate post. Writing about the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in January 1980 in Village Voice he described Afghanistan as 
"an unspeakable country filled with unspeakable people, sheepshaggers and smugglers ... I yield to none in my sympathy to those prostrate beneath the Russian jackboot, but if ever a country deserved rape it's Afghanistan." 

Tuesday 10 August 2021

An American spy in Bucharest in 1945

Veteran foreign correspondent Charles Glass in the (often annoying and silly) London Review of Books reviews this month The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson

The review begins with an idea from the Marxist Alexander Cockburn, son of Claud and brother of Patrick.
Alexander Cockburn​ blamed Ian Fleming for the creation of the CIA. Without Fleming, Cockburn wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the first James Bond novel, ‘the Cold War would have ended in the early 1960s. We would have had no Vietnam, no Nixon, no Reagan and no Star Wars.’
Ian Fleming, working for M16, wrote a 70 page report explaining to Americans how to set up a secret service. 

I suspected in the 1980s and do now that the Cold War was unnecessary.

In 1991, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduced the End of the Cold War Bill to dismantle the CIA as no longer needed as the Cold War was over, but it failed.

Bureaucracies always find reasons to continue and expand their work, however little they have to do. It's Parkinson's Fourth Law. 

Nato is another obvious example. 

Now a cold war with China will provide more work for the spies, though the history of espionage through the ages is one of almost complete ineffectiveness. 

Monday 9 August 2021

More quotations for today

'I am a British Gaullist. It's extraordinary that this combination of strong defence, national independence, patriotism and a strong welfare state is not more common in politics as it appeals to so many people.'
Peter Hitchens talking to Nigel Farage.

Nay more, he actually drove away from the city the multitudes which streamed in there for no useful purpose, not because he feared they might become imitators of his form of government and learn useful lessons in virtue, as Thucydides says, but rather that they might not become in any wise teachers of evil. For along with strange people, strange doctrines must come in; and novel doctrines bring novel decisions, from which there must arise many feelings and resolutions which destroy the harmony of the existing political order. Therefore he thought it more necessary to keep bad manners and customs from invading and filling the city than it was to keep out infectious diseases.
Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus 27.3-4 (trans. Bernadotte Perrin)

In France, a Rwandan immigrant charged with burning the cathedral in Nantes has now been arrested for the murder of a Catholic priest. But please, let's get back to discussing how horrible Viktor Orban is for refusing migration to Hungary.

Saturday 7 August 2021

Xi is making the mistake Stalin made

Xi is making the mistake Stalin made from 1945 to 1948 of alerting the West to his intentions. Had Stalin been canny he'd have waited till Truman withdrew the American troops from Western Europe before imposing Communism on Eastern Europe.

From a James Forsyth article in the Spectator in April:
'Had China waited another ten years, we would have been unable to react. Our dependence would have been too great. There would have been no opportunity to get out. By moving early, they’ve given us a chance.’ One cabinet minister agrees with this analysis:

The man who wasn't there

The unlikely story of John Stonehouse recedes into the past, where fact and fiction are hard to distinguish. 

The difference is that, as Pudd'nhead Wilson said in a book I always meant to read, that “truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction is obliged to stick to probability, and truth ain't".

I am posting this to link to Craig Brown's review of John Stonehouse's daughter's biography of him, not because of Stonehouse's extraordinary story, though it is something you should certainly read if you don't know it, but because Mr Brown is one of the two or three best writers we have in England. 

'His supporters being thin on the ground, he invited me to meet him in the House of Commons. As we walked along the corridors of Westminster, he greeted passing colleagues with an ostentatiously chummy ‘Hello, Bill’ and ‘How are you, Jim?’ In return, they kept staring straight ahead and said nothing. It was like being with a ghost only I could see or hear. To them, he was the spectre at the feast, the MP who had pursued the common middle-aged fantasy of living another life in another place as someone else. And now the vanishing man had come back to haunt them.

‘We deliberated long and hard about whether or not to keep using our arborist because of his extremely right-wing political views'

This anthology of readers' letters to the New York Times arguing the reasons why they fire servants who openly support Donald Trump is very funny indeed. 

As good as Evelyn Waugh. 

At first I found it very scary too, but then remembered Americans were always like this.
‘We deliberated long and hard about whether or not to keep using our arborist because of his extremely right-wing political views. He is an excellent arborist. We never checked his social media to check on his beliefs…however, his work truck is covered in multiple, ostentatious bumper stickers advertising his views to the world and to his clients. We decided that because he insisted on making his extremism part of his public professional identity…he himself had made his beliefs an issue. We felt justified in quietly dropping him.’

'Underneath feminism is the rotten leftist creed that all evils originate with the West'

You remember the widespread assaults on New Year's Eve 2015/6 which shocked Europe, but did not shock my Syrian Christian women friends and probably did not shock many in the Middle East. The German press carefully suppressed the story and the much maligned Breitbart London was the news source that broke it, as Melanie Phillips pointed out in The Times on 8 January, 2016.

This was by an Israeli writer 'focussed on radical Islam' called Daniel Greenfield, in Frontpage
'Underneath feminism is the rotten leftist creed that all evils originate with the West. It is as impossible for a mainstream feminist in good standing with the political sisterhood to acknowledge what truly happened in Cologne and commiserate with the victims as it was for a Communist to admit that there was no food because a centralized bureaucracy of senile Socialist civil servants is not the best way to run an economy......

Two Marxist biologists stopped us from knowing that Darwin was a Social Darwinist

Looking back at my education at Cambridge I notice how many of the ideas I took in were far left. Not just far left lecturers like Eric Foner or Jay Winter, but in books by Communists like John Berger, for example. 

My very clever history master at school, Dr Alan White, who is a genius, taught us that social Darwinism was based on a fallacy, according to Darwin's ideas evolution took place with glacial slowness and so could not be applied to politics or be a call for political action.

Not true at all. Dr White was misled, as was everyone, by influential far left historians.

I quote from an article I read some months ago.
'Also inconvenient for modern tastes is Darwin’s attempt in Descent of Man to shed light on “the differences between the so-called races of man.” “The civilized races of man,” he wrote, “will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Darwin

Is liberalism as bad as socialism or worse?

This sentence is from what, on the whole, is a fairly reasonable article in the Daily Telegraph about how children from normal backgrounds in England and America have fewer opportunities than a generation or two ago, by Adrian Woodridge, who writes in the Economist as 'Bagehot'.

"There is clearly something wrong with a system that means that more than 30% of places at Oxbridge go to students who attend private schools that cater for just 7% of the population, and that America’s thirty-eight elite colleges have more students from the top 1% of the population than from the bottom 60%."

In this sentence, Adrian Wooldridge is completely wrong. 

Societies are always hierarchical, even - or rather especially - Communist ones.

Sir Robert Peel was right

Sir Robert Peel said in 1838,

“By Conservative principles, I mean … the maintenance, defence and continuance of those laws, those institutions, that society, and those habits and manners, which have contributed to and mould and form the character of Englishmen.”

These are my principles and apply mutatis mutandis to the people of every European country. Most conservatives want to change the national character for what they imagine is the better.

Please remember that, adjusted for 'age structure', 2020 in the saw FEWER deaths in the UK than every year before 2009

To repeat myself, once you take into account the fact that the British population is getting older and standardise the figures by age, 2020 in the United Kingdom saw FEWER deaths than 2008 and every year prior to it.

I suspect the figures for other rich countries are similar, but I do not know how to check this.

I do know that Sweden saw a lower increase in deaths during 2020 than most of Europe, despite not having a lockdown. The figures for Iceland of course tell the same story, as do what seem to be the real figures for Belarus, as opposed to the government's lies.

Thursday 5 August 2021

Political ideology has become a religion and religion has turned into political ideology

I realised quite a few years ago that left-wing ideology was a religion. There seemed no other way to make sense of it.

The same was true of the anti-discrimination ideology.

I wasn't the first, of course, but I had the insight a couple of years or more before I read the idea anywhere, though I read about politics voraciously. 

Now I think anyone with eyes to see can see it. Left-wing politics has become a religion and religion has been turned into left-wing politics.

Back in the 1960s, people thought religion was on the way out altogether. By the late 1970s, it looked like it would continue to linger on. 

In the 1980s, some aphorist said hypochondria was the only religious enthusiasm of our times. 

It was funny, like most jokes, because it was partly true. 

Sunday 1 August 2021

Making our flesh creep

'Then what can you want to do now?' said the old lady, gaining courage. 'I wants to make your flesh creep', replied the boy. ('The Pickwick Papers')
Here is the story in the Daily Mail on Friday.
A doomsday new Covid variant that could kill up to one in three people is a 'realistic possibility', according to the Government's top scientists.

Documents published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) today warned a future strain could be as deadly as MERS — which has a case fatality rate of 35 per cent — could be on the way.
I don't feel like commenting. I just want to record it.

Oh wait, I shall comment. The word 'could' is doing a very great deal of work here, as it does all the time in news stories. 

Best to read about what has happened, not what will happen. You save a lot of time that way.