Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Age

'It takes a long time to become young.'
Pablo Picasso

‘Sixty years! Not so very long ago I thought this a very advanced age. When I was a child I was told that Methusalah and others lived even longer, but I never imagined for a moment that I should compete in such a class. Lately, I have not felt the same impression. Sixty now seems to me to be a very reasonable age, when man may still have vigour of mind and body with knowledge and experience besides.’ Churchill on his 60th birthday, 30 November 1934, a birthday he shares with Mark Twain, Palladio, Swift and me.

'Ancient person, for whom I
All the flattering youth defy,
Long be it ere thou grow old,
Aching, shaking, crazy, cold;
But still continue as thou art,
Ancient person of my heart.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Conformists are bigots

I want to remind you that I scored 100% for open-mindedness in the Five Factors psychometric test.

 http://paulgraham.com/think.html



New census results today in England and Wales

White British people in several cities are in the minority.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show that in 2011 the white British population of Birmingham was 581,000, or 52 per cent of the city. By 2021, 43 per cent, 491,000 people.

In London, the number fell from 45 per cent, or 4.9 million people in 2011, to 37 per cent, or 4.7 million people in 2021.

Most people in England and Wales say they are not Christians for the first time. 46% do. Only 25% of people in London are Christian, 15% are Muslim, 5% are Hindu, 5% belong to other religions and about half to none.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Quotations

"Abroad is bloody."
King George VI to WH Auden

"There is a Talmudic saying," smiled Dr Frumpfausen ... "as follows. In choosing a friend, ascend a step. In choosing a wife, descend a step.

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Ribbentrop is the reason the Second World War broke out

Ribbentrop was the only member of the Travellers' Club to be hanged and was the main reason England, France and Germany went to war.

He was one of the most stupid men to have been Ambassador to the Court of St James. That's when he was elected to the club, like all ambassadors. 

He cultivated King Edward VIII, whose political views were similar to his own, and whom he thought dictated foreign policy. He even went to bed with Mrs Simpson. 

He told Hitler the abdication was caused by a Jewish-Masonic cabal.

Come to think of it,  the King may have thought the same. He told Hitler in1937 that he had been forced out because of his pro-German sympathies. 

I wonder what Mrs Simpson thought. 

In 1939, now Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop reassured Hitler that Britain would never go to war again, whatever the provocation, though it was very clear that it was probable that we would, after the annexation of Czechia and the guarantees to Poland and Romania. 

The latter was based on a deceit by the Romanian Ambassador, Viore Tilea, acting on Bob Boothby's suggestion. Tilea told the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax that Germany had issued an ultimatum to Romania - when in fact she had issued an economic ultimatum, which is very different.

Hitler, who thought Ribbentrop a “genius . . . a second Bismarck”, invaded Poland.

When war was declared on Germany on 3rd September 1939, Hitler looked at Ribbentrop and asked him, 'What do we do now?"

Goering, who did not want a war, was right: “This war is Ribbentrop's doing.”

In the summer of 1936 Austen Chamberlain, the former Tory party leader, supported by Winston Churchill, requested a secret session of Parliament to discuss German rearmament but the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, refused. He instead met Austen Chamberlain, Lord Salisbury and Churchill for two days, on 28 and 29 July, a meeting he considered a waste of time because they greatly exaggerated the extent of German rearmament.

On the second day, Baldwin said 

"Were the public to understand that Germany was arming to fight Britain? ‘We all know the German desire to move east.....And if he should move
east I should not break my heart.

"...I am not going to get this country into a war with anybody for the League of Nations or anybody else or for anything else. There is one danger, of course, which has probably been in all your minds—supposing the Russians and Germans got fighting and the French went in as the allies of Russia owing to that appalling pact they made; you would not feel you were obliged to go and help France, would you? If there is any fighting in Europe to be done, I should like to see the Bolshies and the Nazis doing it.”

How prescient Baldwin was and how unwise Britain and France were not to encourage a deal between Poland and Germany, allowing Germany to turn her attention to the USSR.

Had Baldwin still been in office during the Czechoslovakian crisis in 1938 how would he have handled it?

On the other hand, had Hitler kept his promise to Chamberlain to make no further territorial demands in Europe, Germany might still have a National Socialist government. 

That is assuming that Bolshevik Russia had not attacked Germany, as Victor Suvorov and recently two other historians have suggested was Stalin's plan, and defeated Hitler.

How interesting the might have beens of history are.

Adults make children and children make adults

People grow up when they get married. It is probably better to get married when you are young because then you grow up. And then what else matures people? I have met very few people who have fully matured who do not have children. I think there is a reason for that, a real technical reason. You are not mature until someone else matters more than you — period. Maybe that will be your wife or your husband, but probably not. They might matter as much as you, and maybe that is the right amount. But when you have children, they matter more than you, unless there is something seriously wrong with you. Very few parents, if push came to shove, would not die for their children. As soon as someone else matters more than you do in some fundamental sense, you have taken another step toward a true, mature responsibility. I do not see that you can do that without necessity, and there is nothing that screams necessity more than an infant. Jordan Peterson

The reason to distrust experts, especially historians

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Schopenhauer

If you knew how quickly people forget the dead, you wouldn't care about fame. This thought was a revelation to me.

It came to me when I read this.

'If you knew how quickly people forget the dead… you would stop living to impress people.' Christopher Walken.

On the other hand, Horace's fame has not diminished though he went through a dip in the dark ages. "I have made me a monument more lasting than bronze."

Dr Johnson said 'Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy didn't last.' But Shandy did and does. I knew I would love it but when I tried it I didn't finish the first chapter, which was odd as I adored The Sentimental Journey.


Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy

"Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence." Orwell

Generalisations are always valuable

"An idea is always a generalisation, and generalisation is a property of thinking. To generalise means to think." Hegel

Were Wilde alive today, and not in gaol for child sex offences, whenever he uttered one of his beautiful aphorisms it would be met with, 'Oscar, you can't generalise'. And all the other aphorists would meet the same response from the dreary spirit of our pseudo-scientific, egalitarian-puritanical age.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Stop following the crowd... they are lost.

"Stop following the crowd... they are lost." Anonymous meme.

“Earlier this week, actor Marlon Brando met with Jewish leaders to apologise for comments he made on Larry King Live — among them, that ‘Hollywood is run by Jews.’ The Jewish leaders accepted the actor’s apology and announced that Brando is now free to work again.” The late Canadian comedian Norm Macdonald made this joke in 1996, on the US comedy programme 'Saturday Night Live'.

'Do you believe transgender women are women?' Differences of opinion by country

 


Monday, 21 November 2022

Quotations

"Voting is the adult version of writing a letter to Santa." Klarn Mxyzptlk

"It is not a healthy female mind that sees her unborn child as the enemy." Gina Cross

"What music is more enchanting than the voices of young people, when you can't hear what they say?" Logan Pearsall Smith. When one envies the young just remember how lacking their conversation is - at least this is true of young men - clever women of 24 know a huge amount.

"anyone else think it’s super weird when people are quick to reject god and shun believers but at the same time are like “I believe in the power of the universe, trust the universe to guide you you” like what. who exactly do you think “the universe” is? and how is believing in an all-knowing, all-powerful “universe” functionally any different than believing in god?" Seen on Facebook



Hunting and killing black men for sport - did it happen?

Rumours say there were real manhunts in South America in the 19th century but it has never been proven. Big game hunters hunting and killing black men. I read this in an Edwardian travel book when I was a boy.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Sunny morning

St Antim's statue stands outside the monastery he built 1713-15.




On January 22, 1941, during the 3 days the Iron Guard seized power, the monks of Antim armed themselves and, using explosives, blew up a synagogue on Antim Street. The numerous Jewish inhabitants of the neighborhood hid in terror. In 1982 the monastery was moved 250 yards on wheels to allow the building of the Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism which is 1 inch longer than the Champs Elysee and leads to the biggest building in Europe.



Monday, 14 November 2022

Happy Thanksgiving Day to the American cousins

 (First posted 2015.)

To my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving I wish them a happy occasion and remind them of a joke of Garrison Keillor, whom I love. 

"My ancestors were puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at that time."
I am not sure what Thanksgiving is about but it is about puritans landing in America. G.K. Chesterton said,
"The English might very well establish another Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the happy fact that the Pilgrim Fathers left England."

Puritanism runs through American culture like Southend through a stick of Southend rock. 

The puritans, even more than the Pharisees, get a rather unfair press. I, for one, shall be sorry when the USA loses its Protestant religiosity which is what makes the country what it is. But even if Americans cease to be religious they will still be puritans, albeit, as they are now, debauched puritans. 

Political correctness is all about puritanism. One of the most attractive things about Orthodox countries, like Romania, is that they do not have puritans. It is Protestant countries like England and America that are bedevilled with them, like wasps in summer. 


On the other hand puritans are much better at book-keeping and probity in general than other faiths. It is no coincidence that Orthodox countries score above Catholic and Protestant ones in every index of corruption. 

Calvinism and puritanism flourish even after belief in God dies. When the left likes homosexuality and sexual freedom it does so for puritan reasons, not cavalier ones. 

Mr. Obama today likened the Syrian refugees whom he wants his country to accept to the pilgrim fathers.  He has a point. Muslims are puritans as well, of course, Calvinists plus polygamy, so maybe Muslim immigrants in America will fit in. I am sure that, unlike the original puritans, the Muslims will not displace the natives. They may, however, cause quite a few changes.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Joseph de Maistre: War is the habitual state of mankind

"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."

I remember my supervisor Robert Tombs looking askance when I said I was attracted by Joseph de Maistre. I was right. He also said civilisation rests on the hangman, a statement of the obvious that the 189th century considered shocking. (I am not in favour on balance of hanging, but civilisation rests on the state's monopoly of lethal force.)

Friday, 11 November 2022

For readers who despair at the way the Western world is going, two things to remember

Nothing is inevitable until it happens. And the unexpected always happens. (AJP Taylor and Disraeli).

Thursday, 10 November 2022

US election is a piece of luck for the Republicans

The US election result is very good for Republicans and bad for Democrats. Biden can't win against Desantis, would have beaten Trump. Democrats must ditch Biden, but will they? 'Dr' Biden should tell him.

What are your favourite words?

Mine include dusk, oblivion and sepulchre. Melancholy choices and melancholy is another very beautiful word. I like the rather pompous words magniloquence, subliminal and serendipity.

I learnt just now that one John Koenig in his 'The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows' created the word vellichor and said that it meant the strange wistfulness of second hand bookshops "which are somehow infused with the passage of time". I don't consider it a word. Rather American to imagine one can create words, but Shakespeare invented lots and Sir Thomas Browne coined the words electricity, computer, hallucination, pathology, follicle, hallucination, illustrative, participating, ruminating, selection, transgressive, undulation, and variegation.

Scherzando Lucus-Box suggested berserk, filigree and verdigris.

Colin Cavendish-Jones suggested: marmoreal, pellucid, corybant, petrichor, sunset, lollygag, crimson, greengage, woebegone, glacial, liminal, iridescent, epiphany, defenestrate, patrician, snollygoster, sockdolager, absquatulate, footling, hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

Not many Anglo-Saxon words except dusk and greengage.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

The world we have lost.



Please watch this fascinating film clip of British children in 1901. How much character each has. How many of them died in the Great War?

As my friend the late Hugo Lindsay said, no sentient being thinks things were on the whole better in the Edwardian era than now, but how much we have lost.

This intense longing for our lost home, the definition of nostalgia, is why I am a conservative. Nothing to do with economics or enthusiasm for Nato.

To quote another dead friend, the poetess (the word she preferred) Eva Weggelaar who died in her twenties: 'I want to go back to the real world but it no longer exists'.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Augustin Trébuchon died at a quarter to 11 on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918

I remember my brilliant history master Dr Alan White speculating on the last man who died in the First World War just so that the armistice came at 11 o'clock on 11 November and not an hour or two sooner.

The last man who was killed on the Western Front in November 1918, we now know, but didn't when I was at school, was Augustin Trébuchon. 

This is his sad story. He was sent into battle after the armistice with the Germans had been signed. The French army, ashamed, recorded the date of his death as November 10.

The Germans had asked for an armistice on 9 November but it came into effect on 11 November. I should like to know why. Was Dr White right?

The decline of the West

“If we look at crime in Paris today, we cannot fail to see that at least half of the crime comes from people who are foreigners, either illegal immigrants or those who are waiting for a residence permit.” President Macron last week. Not long ago this is the sort of remark that got people like Marine Le Pen prosecuted.

It was only two or three weeks before the Charlie Hebdo massacre that charges against her were dropped for saying about Muslim areas in France

It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies. It is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation anyhow and it weighs on people.
Now her words are more politically correct, and Macron, who has always been keen on immigration and accepting refugees, wants to seem less so.

Neil Kinnock: “Christ, what a way to spend my forties”

'Neil Kinnock looked back on his nine years as [Labour] leader with a shudder. “Christ, what a way to spend my forties,” he said.'

I expect William Hague feels something similar.

'How do you achieve happiness? Achieve your childhood ambition.' 

I came across this remark attributed to Freud and often quoted it. In fact it is not from him and I start to doubt it's true.

My childhood ambition was to be an MP, Prime Minister and then made an earl. I'd never have been elected to anything, but achieving childhood ambitions do not necessarily make you happy. 

A friend of mine at college, who became a solicitor at Clifford Chance, was the only person in my Cambridge generation to become an MP. He is much more intelligent than most politicians but was not made a minister, tried to commit suicide and then was deselected after being cautioned by the police for allegedly hitting his girlfriend. Last thing I heard of him he was done for drinking under the influence.

Being Prime Minister didn't make John Major very happy, I'd guess. Theresa May, who was motivated only by vanity, must have enjoyed it in many ways but by God it must have been very painful - and much more painful for the now forgotten meteor Miss Truss.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Aris Roussinos in Unherd yesterday

'Who can doubt that if a nuclear exchange began, we would find out on Twitter — the shared countdown, the snarky memes — or that many would spend their final minutes composing the perfect final tweet, the one last dunk on their enemies or expression of tribal allegiance?'

Actors and actresses

"You don’t know who’s the man who’s making things he wants you to see. Destroy your television sets now. You must listen to no orders. That’s all I can tell you from this point in humanity. Believe me." Rick Mayall

It's a bit like the riddle 'All Cretans are liars'. He is ordering us not to listen to orders. He may be right, though.

Hyperinflation could result in “global societal collapse and civil or international strife”.

Elliott Management, the hedge fund founded by Wall Street billionaire Paul Singer, said in a letter to clients reported in the Financial Times, that the world economy faces an “extremely challenging” outlook and hyperinflation could result in “global societal collapse and civil or international strife”. It said central banks have been “dishonest” in deflecting blame for the price surge from their prolonged use of very cheap money.

And is it true? 

Friday, 4 November 2022

Hope springs eternal in my breast.

I hope very much that the German Chancellor, who is paying a visit to Peking, and the about to be Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu can broker a peace between Russia and the Ukraine.

I don't expect it though. I expect the war to continue, because no-one wants a peace. For that the Anglo-Americans are to blame, not France or Germany. 

American writer Julie Powell was pleased that "anti-vaxxers/maskers are dying in legions" of Covid and thought it a "real shame" that Justice Kavanaugh didn't die of it. May she rest in peace.

 


I suspect she is typical of many American Democrats and others in her hatred of anti-vaxxers/maskers. 

I honestly don't understand why the  centre left liked lockdowns and conservatives didn't.  I can't see any reason why politics has anything to do with it. But it was so.

The American centre left is very unpleasant indeed, very dangerous and dominates Europe and the world, even when a Republican is in the White House. 

On the other hand, the American centre right gave the world George W. Bush. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

"Non, je ne regrette rien" - well that's the plan

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Epictetus. 

The same goes for things I did and did not do.

Remorse, as Prince Andrew says in War and Peace, is the greatest evil in life.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

The UK is being invaded, like Greece, Italy, Spain and the USA

The BBC, Sky News, the Times are all outraged at the British Home Secretary trying to turn away Albanian criminals from England's greenish and pleasant land.

The Times this morning:

'Senior Conservative MPs have warned that Suella Braverman risks fuelling support for far-right extremists after she described the Channel migrant crisis as an invasion.

I am as open-minded as get out

Did I tell you I scored 100% for open mindedness in the 5 Factors psychometric tests?


A friend of mine said to me once, "You seem to me to be a very open minded person, but I think that's something about yourself you don't like.'

Seen on social media

Feminist: I'll use my mother's surname.

Me: You mean your grandfather's.