Wednesday 17 November 2021

Things I read recently

Aldous Huxley in 1946 predicted exactly how we live now.

"There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old. Government by clubs and firing squads, by artificial famine, mass imprisonment and mass deportation, is not merely inhumane (nobody cares much about that nowadays); it is demonstrably inefficient

"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is the truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr Churchill calls an ‘iron curtain’ between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals."

Joseph de Maistre:

"Unhappily, history proves that war is, in a certain sense, the habitual state of mankind, which is to say that human blood must flow without interruption somewhere or other on the globe, and that for every nation, peace is only a respite." 

Some places apparently have peace. I was about to mention Scandinavia but I forgot about 1940 and the current wave of bombings in Sweden. I was about to mention the USA but then thought much better of it.

Auguste Rodin:

“I invent nothing, I rediscover.”

The historian Eammon Duffy is talking about Catholicism but it applies generally.

“Faithfulness to that tradition is not a matter of uncritical obedience to authority; it is a shared labour of learning, in which we work together to draw new and surprising growth from the old soil.... [Tradition is] the trace of a complex shared life, rather than a clear-cut compendium of answers.” 

The historian Niall Ferguson, in an interview with Lex Fridman:

“I've thought a lot about Elon Musk’s argument that we might be in a simulation… There is a simulation: it's called LITERATURE, and we just have to decide whether or not to enter it.” 

Jack Trotter, in Chronicles: 

"African Americans tend to regard the pro-life movement as a Republican thing, and thus linked to a culture of white supremacy. When they see pro-life marches or rallies on television, they observe white evangelical and Catholic faces, but very few black ones."

Tribalism (my political tribe right or wrong) is the rule not just in the USA but generally. 

Radovan Karadzic, speaking at a Green Party meeting in the late 1980s:
"Bolshevism is bad, but nationalism is even worse."
He said this while he was a psychologist and poet, after he had been a chicken farmer and sent to prison for embezzlement, before he became President of the Republika Srpska and a war criminal. He left his practice as a psychotherapist to go into politics, leaving at least one patient angry about not having finished his therapy. Was he an opportunist acting parts, the last part being the bearded peddler of alternative medicines, a role he played very successfully during his long absence from sight? 


  1. Huxley was a brilliant man. Truly insightful into where politics intersects with psychology. Sadly, it seems many took his ideas not as warnings but manuals.

    1. More prescient than Orwell but Orwell was really writing about 1948, not 1984.

  2. Christopher Meyer@SirSocks
    In all the fury over Article 16 one thing is forgotten. The UK should never have accepted in the first place the avoidance of a hard border as our problem. It was always the EU’s-to protect the Single Market. We should have said: it’s your problem, you sort it. We don’t want one.
    1:19 PM · Nov 13, 2021

  3. Q: What's the difference between a conspiracy theory and the

    A: About 6 months.

  4. IN a certain city there lived a physician who sold yellow paint. This was of so singular a virtue that whoso was bedaubed with it from head to heel was set free from the dangers of life, and the bondage of sin, and the fear of death for ever. So the physician said in his prospectus; and so said all the citizens in the city; and there was nothing more urgent in men’s hearts than to be properly painted themselves, and nothing they took more delight in than to see others painted. There was in the same city a young man of a very good family but of a somewhat reckless life, who had reached the age of manhood, and would have nothing to say to the paint: “To-morrow was soon enough,” said he; and when the morrow came he would still put it off. She might have continued to do until his death; only, he had a friend of about his own age and much of his own manners; and this youth, taking a walk in the public street, with not one fleck of paint upon his body, was suddenly run down by a water-cart and cut off in the heyday of his nakedness. This shook the other to the soul; so that I never beheld a man more earnest to be painted; and on the very same evening, in the presence of all his family, to appropriate music, and himself weeping aloud, he received three complete coats and a touch of varnish on the top. The physician (who was himself affected even to tears) protested he had never done a job so thorough.

    Some two months afterwards, the young man was carried on a stretcher to the physician’s house.

    “What is the meaning of this?” he cried, as soon as the door was opened. “I was to be set free from all the dangers of life; and here have I been run down by that self-same water-cart, and my leg is broken.”

    “Dear me!” said the physician. “This is very sad. But I perceive I must explain to you the action of my paint. A broken bone is a mighty small affair at the worst of it; and it belongs to a class of accident to which my paint is quite inapplicable. Sin, my dear young friend, sin is the sole calamity that a wise man should apprehend; it is against sin that I have fitted you out; and when you come to be tempted, you will give me news of my paint.”

    “Oh!” said the young man, “I did not understand that, and it seems rather disappointing. But I have no doubt all is for the best; and in the meanwhile, I shall be obliged to you if you will set my leg.”

    “That is none of my business,” said the physician; “but if your bearers will carry you round the corner to the surgeon’s, I feel sure he will afford relief.”

  5. Some three years later, the young man came running to the physician’s house in a great perturbation. “What is the meaning of this?” he cried. “Here was I to be set free from the bondage of sin; and I have just committed forgery, arson and murder.”

    “Dear me,” said the physician. “This is very serious. Off with your clothes at once.” And as soon as the young man had stripped, he examined him from head to foot. “No,” he cried with great relief, “there is not a flake broken. Cheer up, my young friend, your paint is as good as new.”

    “Good God!” cried the young man, “and what then can be the use of it?”

    “Why,” said the physician, “I perceive I must explain to you the nature of the action of my paint. It does not exactly prevent sin; it extenuates instead the painful consequences. It is not so much for this world, as for the next; it is not against life; in short, it is against death that I have fitted you out. And when you come to die, you will give me news of my paint.”

    “Oh!” cried the young man, “I had not understood that, and it seems a little disappointing. But there is no doubt all is for the best: and in the meanwhile, I shall be obliged if you will help me to undo the evil I have brought on innocent persons.”

    “That is none of my business,” said the physician; “but if you will go round the corner to the police office, I feel sure it will afford you relief to give yourself up.”

    Six weeks later, the physician was called to the town gaol.

    “What is the meaning of this?” cried the young man. “Here am I literally crusted with your paint; and I have broken my leg, and committed all the crimes in the calendar, and must be hanged to- morrow; and am in the meanwhile in a fear so extreme that I lack words to picture it.”

    “Dear me,” said the physician. “This is really amazing. Well, well; perhaps, if you had not been painted, you would have been more frightened still.”

    By Robert Louis Stevenson
    VII. - The Yellow Paint.

  6. I am a white Roman Catholic at 61 YO. My experience with american blacks with a couple exceptions has been universally bad. I have zero experience with either white or black evangelicals. But, most blacks don't care about abortion. In fact, they are happy for it to be there and funded my govt. They don't care about PP or Margaret Sanger's eugenics. All they care about is getting their handouts and sticking it to white-y.