Thursday, 29 June 2023

In the news

“Modern man has begun a terrible war against God and against man: a satanic war. This is why the spiritual battle with evil is part of the Christian life," Cardinal Robert Sarah

"As one disgruntled and very famous senior journalist once said to me: ‘The problem is not just that younger journalists are remarkably privileged, coming from affluent families that either already live in London or can afford to set them up in London. It’s also that they increasingly see themselves as political activists who are in media to ‘change the world’ rather than search for truth in an objective and neutral way." Matt Goodwin

"The doll has faced decades of criticism, with some suggesting that the toy’s slender proportions would render Barbie unable to walk if she was real, and that the character’s preoccupations presented her as materialistic and unintelligent. A 1992 talking doll uttered phrases such as “I love shopping”, “Will I ever have enough clothes?”, and “Math class is tough”, prompting concerns about the example being set for young girls." News story in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"Our response to Covid also encouraged our governing elites’ technocratic instinct for social engineering. Many now believe that it is reasonable to restrict liberties more widely “for the greater good”, including on net zero grounds." Allister Heath 
in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"When the Berlin Wall came down the proportion of the world in extreme poverty (as defined by the World Bank) was at 38 per cent. At the turn of the century, it was 30 per cent. Now it’s at 8.5 per cent, meaning 100,000 lifted out of poverty every single day. In the past two decades, child labour rates have fallen from 16 per cent to 10 per cent. The proportion of children who die before the age of five has halved, to 3.8 per cent." Fraser Nelson in the Daily Telegraph 22 June

Why is everyone so sensitive? What if everyone just shut up and stopped crying?

I just saw the King! In his car. Thrilling, as if a lion just crossed the road.

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

'The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.' G. K. Chesterton

Chesterton was right back in the time of Stalin. He would certainly think his sentence is even more true now in the age of Biden and Putin and he would be right.


AJP Taylor: 'Of course we do not want to see new wars in Europe. But if we enter into European alliances or European associations we make war more likely.'

A.J.P. Taylor ends his magisterial Oxford History of England 1914-45 with the words: 
'Few now sang England Arise, but England had risen all the same.' 
I still think and hope this will prove true of Brexit, despite the likelihood of a Labour Government.

A.J.P. Taylor, a left-wing socialist, was a leading opponent of England joining 'the Common Market' or EEC, the original names for the European Union. 

He said: 
"We have been most secure when we kept out of Europe. Meddling with European affairs has brought us nothing but toil and suffering. The greatest age of British economic achievement was in the nineteenth century. Then we were truly the workshop of the world. The sole principle of our foreign policy was Splendid Isolation. This was the basis for our prosperity.' He also said, 'Of course we do not want to see new wars in Europe. But if we enter into European alliances or European associations we make war more likely.'

That is true. Neville Chamberlain by giving a guarantee to Poland in 1939 intended to deter a German invasion but had precisely the opposite effect. 

Boris Johnson sent Royal Navy vessels to patrol close to the Crimean coast but this did not calm Putin down. 

Were we to stop being America's satellite and mind our own business would things be better or worse?

A stereocard from circa 1895 of Welsh hay girls in national costume, taking a rest

 

 

What were stereocards? 'The stereoscope, invented by the English physicist Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), was meant to prove that our sense of depth, when viewing objects, occurs because of the disjunction between the two eyes in binocular vision. The stereoscope relies upon the principle that each eye sees a slightly different view and that these two dissimilar pictures are united by the brain. Pictures used in stereoscopic imagery are almost identical, save for a slight difference in the amount of the view from either side (the left or right). Viewed through the stereoscope, the flat images seem to become one picture with three-dimensional depth.'

Alison Pearson in the Telegraph today is a beast but a just beast about the Duchess of Sussex



'According to the Wall Street Journal, Taylor Swift got an aide to reject an invitation to appear on Archetypes, calligraphed in Meghan’s own fair hand. Who knows, maybe Taylor, who made her first recording aged 15 and is now worth the best part of $1 billion, didn’t feel it was appropriate for her to bitch with marry-into-a-fortune Meghan about “the labels that hold women back”.

'An author, also invited to be a guest on Meghan’s podcast, said that when she arrived she was interviewed by a producer. She didn’t speak to Meghan; never even met her. Allegedly, the recording was then “edited” with the Duchess’s voice spliced in to pretend she had carried out the interview herself. How rude, how utterly lacking in class. Apparently, this experience was not unusual. Meghan would only have “conversations” with the most famous guests.


'Well, what do you expect from a woman who, during a royal tour of Australia, is said to have moaned, “I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this.” (All the poor thing got was a £32 million wedding and an ancient title to flex like a Platinum Reserve card.)


Tuesday, 27 June 2023

Lukashenko did broker peace

President Lukashenko did negotiate a peaceful outcome with Prozhhgeny, according to his account, and prevent a bloodbath. If he is telling the truth I suppose he is to be congratulated. I see no reason to think that he is not telling the truth.

I suppose Prozhhgeny is worse than President Putin. But chaos in Russia would presumably help Ukraine.

My hope is for Russia to return to being a conservative, Christian, constitutional monarchy, as little like Joe Biden's USA as possible. Lots of nice young Russians were monarchists who admired Stolypin, when I met them years ago. Alas it seems unlikely at the moment. The monarchists are the true Russia (and the true France).

Sir Lawrence Freedman is interesting on the subject here. He thinks Prigozhin could have captured Moscow.

Lastly, when his options looked bad, [Putin] chose negotiation, showing little interest in martyrdom and leaving flight as his last resort. He agreed a deal that made a nonsense of his promises to punish the mutineers.  If he was irresolute in this case then might he be so in another? If the fighting takes another turn for the worse can he really afford to reject negotiations when there is no serious hope of incorporating the claimed chunk of Ukraine into the Russian Federation? A lot of recent thinking about the likely course of the war assumed Putin’s intransigence and his ability to cope with regular setbacks so long as Russia could stay in the war. That assumption will be easier to challenge.

Putin cares about his survival, whether from Covid or coups. The unintended consequences of this war are now threatening his regime. Any suggestion that he wants to get out of the war will aggravate the image of weakness; sticking with the war regardless of losses will aggravate his actual weaknesses. 

Latest on Prigozhin

The Americans think Prigozhin's plane has flown from Rostov-on-Don and landed in Minsk. 

If so and I were he, I'd leave for Africa as fast as possible.

I somehow doubt if Lukashenko really brokered a deal. But who knows? 

As Disraeli said, no man is forgotten when it is convenient to remember him. It became convenient to remember Lukashenko and Belarus.

Lukashenko said 'Don't make a hero out of me or Putin or Prigozhin', which suggests he is disclaiming any credit. 

He also said that it was painful for him to see the events (the revolt) 'because there is only one Motherland'. 

Is there? Does it include Belarus?

The reason why Prigozhin stopped his march is that he and his men would have been killed had they continued. 

His family would have been killed too.

Monday, 26 June 2023

Quotations

"If one distorts faith in Christ by uniting it with the goals of this world, the whole meaning of Christianity will at once also be destroyed and the mind will necessarily fall prey to unbelief." Dostoyevsky

"Everything ends this way in France — everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs — everything is a pretext for a good dinner." Jean Anouilh

“To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.” Somerset Maugham. But steak and kidney pudding and lemon meringue pie are sublime.

Sunday, 25 June 2023

Mutiny


That headline in the Mail on Sunday asks a good question but the article has been taken down from the net.

I wonder why the Wagner Group's mutiny began and why it stopped. The idea a man I know posits that it was a false flag operation by the Kremlin, or that Putin let MI6 bribe Prigozhin to do what he did in order to flush out traitors or something, of course makes no sense. The events of yesterday gravely weaken Mr Putin. 

The trouble is that the mainstream media are so untrustworthy that people believe the most absurd conspiracy theories. (The mainstream media, after all, say that women have penises.)

Ben Judah says in an excellent article in the Sunday Telegraph:

'The coup marks the definitive turn of a page in Russian history. Over the next 48 hours Putin may come to some sort of uneasy truce with his one-time caterer, but the result in the long-term will be a fundamental rebalancing of power away from him. The era when he was the only thing that mattered in Russia is over. Prigozhin buried it'.

Saturday, 24 June 2023

Who was in league with Prigozhin?

 


For neo-cons it is always 1938 but they don't understand 1938 - Americans see foreign policy as overwhelmingly moralistic

It is good to be reminded that the League of Nations was set up on the assumption that the USA would be a member. The arch neo-con Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria Nuland, who has never apologised for his support for the invasion of Iraq and still thinks it a good thing, talking about his latest book back in February said this.

Advisors to Chamberlain are very clear that whatever else was true, the number one factor in his mind was the fact that he couldn't count on the United States and not count on the United States to come join the war against Germany, but merely to be a reliable supplier of goods during the war, as it was during World War I. And as it would later become after the Lend-Lease and other programs of the late thirties and early forties. But during that period when the Neutrality Acts were in place, the United States would not have been able to help, according to congressional legislation, would not have been able to help if there were a war. And so a tremendous missed opportunity came in 1938 when Hitler really was taking an extreme gamble in trying to take over Czechoslovakia. If France and Britain had supported the Czechs, the Czechs might well have succeeded in fending off the German invasion and Hitler, it might, well at that point have been overthrown. His military was gearing up to overthrow him if he invaded, and the French and the British defeated Germany. It's interesting to think about that today because of course today Ukraine is sort of in the position of Czechoslovakia, but lo and behold, this time they are fighting and they're fighting with the support of allies and look what's happening to Russia. Something similar could have happened in 1938, and the world would've looked like a very different place.


For neo-cons it is always 1938 (Paul Gottfried) but it is interesting that Chamberlain told the US ambassador Joe Kennedy, father of John, that 'America and the Jews were responsible for the war'. This is in contrast to Kagan's view that American neutrality prevented war in 1938.

To me it seems that it was impossible to contain Germany if the Soviet Union was outside the European system - and it had to be because Poland and Czechoslovakia did not want Bolshevik troops on their territory. 

I think the two priorities for British policy should have been to avoid war between France and Germany, in which Britain would have had to get involved to prevent a German victory, and to avoid war with Japan. In this respect our fatal error was to let our alliance with Japan lapse under strong American pressure. 

We need not have got involved in a war between the Soviet Union and Germany if the Polish question could have been resolved. Instead the British guarantees to Romania and Poland encouraged Poland not to find a modus vivendi with Germany along the lines of the proposals Germany suggested in late 1938 (extraterritorial railway and road across Polish corridor and the free city of Danzig returning to Germany).

The truth is that in 1938 and 1939 everyone, to use a rugby expression, fumbled the ball. And so they did in Ukraine after the Biden administration took power.

Robert Kagan's reading of 1938 is the one that is regarded as true and this tells us much about American policy to Ukraine under Biden. Of course this policy has led to Russia's terrible and unjustifiable invasion.

Of course on Friday night the Russian army was drunk

When I heard the first news of the 1991 attempted coup I knew that the coup leaders were all drunk. I was proven right. This coup took place on Friday evening when the army was drunk.

The Romanian revolution took place on television.  The Russian revolution is taking place on social media: vk.com Twitter and Telegram. This thread is the best thing I've seen.

Vk.com widely read in Russia relays uncensored information.

Friday, 23 June 2023

Today is the anniversary of the coronation of King George V of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India.



This lovely picture conveys a sublime sense of hierarchy with peers in ermine and coronets, no TV cameras, no gospel singers, no princess in trousers, no priestesses and bishopesses.




In Kenneth Rose's biography George V emerges as one of the great comic characters in English literature. 

The story of looking round the first plastics factory and then saying to the Queen 'And it's all made from milk, isn't that right, Melchett?' 'Yes, sir'. I told my father that and he said crossly that the original plastics did involve some milk. 

George V said he told Sir Samuel Hoare, when he came to resign after the Hoare-Laval pact to give most of Ethiopia to Mussolini became public, "It only goes to show 'No more coals to Newcastle, no more whores to Paris' and do you know what the fellow didn't even smile."

He said of homosexuals, ‘I thought people like that shot themselves'. David Cannadine who taught me about the monarchy under Queen Victoria, thought this showed he abhorred homosexuals. i think it shows his innocence (though he was not innocent about women before he married).


I am not sure that Rose mentioned it but, like his father, George V was  tatooed.
 In 1881, visiting a port in Japan as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, the had a blue and red dragon tattooed on his arm. 


Tuesday, 20 June 2023

I changed my mind. I don't think the House of Commons has proven that Boris Johnson intentionally or recklessly misled it about the (disgraceful) parties

I changed my mind after reading the speech of his then Parliamentary Private Secretary Lisa Nici who was with him all day when the Sue Gray's report was published. The clever men like Daniel, Lord Finkelstein thought her speech was a joke but she made, I thought, good points.

She told the House that those advising Mr Johnson at the time “at no point advised him that there were parties, they advised him again and again that no rules were broken, and that guidance was followed at all times”.

“The sad thing is is that many people who gave that advice are still working in and around No 10 and Whitehall, but we don’t know who they are because they are not a high-profile politician."

Srdja Trifkovic: "The Ukrainian campaign is Russia's struggle to retain its status as a great pow­er".

"The Ukrainian campaign is not just the fight to retain strategic depth along Russia’s vulnerable southwestern flank; it is also the struggle to retain its status as a great pow­er. The Biden administration is now more than ready for reckless escalation, a deadly game of chicken with nuclear stakes. The future is dark."
Srdja Trifkovic, in Chronicles.

I agree with the first and third sentences but not with the second.  

Had America sent troops to Ukraine before Russia invaded I wonder what would have happened.

Monday, 19 June 2023

Andrew Bacevitch: 'The chief impact of the Ukraine War has been to expose Russian weakness'. Obviously he is right. There is therefore no need to fear Russia.


"Like George W. Bush in 2003, Putin last year initiated an unnecessary war expecting a cheap and decisive victory to follow. Like Bush, he miscalculated, egregiously.

"Viewed through the lens of geopolitics, the chief impact of the Ukraine War has been to expose Russian weakness. The Russian military’s abysmal performance affirms that Europe—should it choose to do so—is fully capable of defending itself from a conventional attack coming from the east. An invading army that can’t make it to Kyiv won’t come anywhere close to seizing Warsaw or Berlin."

Andrew Bacevitch obviously is right. He wrote this arguing against a neo-con article by George Weigel in an article called Learning the Wrong Lessons form Ukraine

He is also right that the Iraq war is a better parallel with the Ukrainian war than Chamberlain in 1938.

Unfortunately, in my view, he still thinks that the conventional view of 1938 is 'canonical'.

How revolutions happen and will Putin survive?

'This seems the almost invariable pattern, whether in the fall of far-flung empires or in revolutions within single states. No one expected a French Revolution that would bring Louis XVI to the guillotine. No one expected an upper-class rebellion in Palermo in 1848 to turn the whole of Europe upside down. Who thought the suicide of a street trader in Tunisia in 2010 could do the same to the Arab world? The German empire collapsed in 1918 only months after it had nearly won the First World War. Despite emerging victorious from the Second World War, the French and British empires began unravelling just as Paris and London were planning new colonial partnerships.'
Robert Tombs in the Daily Telegraph on June 11 on how revolutions happen.

He wonders how long Putin will last - the truth is that he might last till he dies in his bed or might not. Historians cannot know any more than anyone else.

Dr Tombs imagines Putin losing power, while China, Japan, Turkey and others take over Asian possessions conquered by Russia in the 19th century.
'The Russian people’s best chance of a brighter future would be as a post-imperial democratic nation-state, rejecting the imperial ambitions of Putin and his like.'

In other words a future like Kemal Ataturk's Turkey, exactly when this is in danger of being subsumed by Erdogan's neo-Ottomanism. 

How long will the American empire last is a bigger and more important question.

From the Times obituary of Silvio Berlusconi

When David Cameron arrived at one of his first EU summits after becoming British prime minister in 2010, his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi sidled up to him and offered the following advice: “Take a mistress in Brussels. It’s the only way to get through these damn things.”

 

By his own account he made more than 2,500 court appearances over a 20-year period at a legal cost of €200 million.

 

"I will take questions from the guys, but from the girls I want telephone numbers."

Sunday, 18 June 2023

Symptoms of a declining civilisation

The single most far reaching thing Communists did in Eastern Europe was to destroy the elites. In Great Britain the traditional elites are being killed with kindness. Kindness to marginalised or poor people. 

The result is that the elite that rules the country in twenty years time will be very unlike the one that has emerged organically over generations and centuries.

From today's Sunday Telegraph. 
'In 2022, 68 per cent of places at Oxford and 72.5 per cent at Cambridge were awarded to state-school pupils – up from 57 per cent and 61 per cent in 2013 (93 per cent of children in England and Wales are state-educated). Last summer, every place for law at Edinburgh University was awarded to students from deprived areas or disadvantaged schools: of 400 applicants living in the country’s poorest postcodes, 168 won a place, while the 555 hopefuls applying from the wealthiest 60 per cent of areas failed to score a single one.

'“There’s so much pressure to be able to say, ‘This year we’ve admitted 70 per cent from state schools rather than 55,’” says David Abulafia, historian and life fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. This criteria “is not useful if it results in people who are less capable and less well-qualified being admitted, rather than people who are real high-fliers.”'

Most of the news from the West is deeply, deeply depressing these days but this depressed me much more than anything I read in a year. That is saying very much indeed.

Saturday, 17 June 2023

Kissinger: 'I think the offer to put Ukraine into NATO was a grave mistake and led to this war. But its scale, and its nature, is a Russian peculiarity, and we were absolutely right to resist it.’

'I think the offer to put Ukraine into NATO was a grave mistake and led to this war. But its scale, and its nature, is a Russian peculiarity, and we were absolutely right to resist it.’

Henry Kissinger.   

I agree.

The media is constantly manipulating you

Unfortunately you have to know the basics about what is happening but, once you know the bare main points of the daily news, avoid the media as much as you can. 

The alternative sources of information are usually equally unreliable, so you can't win.

The Saudi leader MBS invaded Yemen expecting the war to be over in two weeks.

It has lasted many years and led to over 320,000 deaths, mostly of civilians, according to the UN 

The comparison with Putin’s mistake in invading Ukraine is inescapable.

Why do America and England support the Saudi invaders? Discuss.

Thankfully, China is making peace between the Saudi monarchy and Iran. 

When did you read an article that spoke favourably of Chinese foreign policy or said the belt and roads programme had brought any good to the poor world?

Do you know why sanctions are in place against Syria or why Hillary Clinton said regime change there would be her top priority once she became president? If so, please tell me.

Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary wanted it too.

Do you realise you are constantly being manipulated by the media?


Boris is not a conservative and the pandemic was not a pandemic

I don't have time to blog but very briefly, yes of course the BBC and Remainer establishment were gunning for Boris. 

This has nothing to do with whether he lied to the Commons or recklessly misled it. It is clear he did. 

He allowed parties at No 10 Downing St while preventing the Queen's subjects from seeing their dying relatives in hospital. 

The Queen had to sit alone at her husband's funeral. A party had taken place at No 10 Downing St the night before.

So he has to go and he will not come back. 

He will shirk a fight he could have if he contested a by-election, just as he shirked the Tory leadership election after Gove stood against him in 2016. 

He has no intention of another political career since it would mean hard work and bring him more defeat.

He boasted he believed in having his cake and eating it but birthday parties contributed to his come-uppance.

The best thing I saw recently about the whole Partygate and pandemic fiasco was this.


The thread is here.

Boris was Hillary Clinton in drag. He was a neo-con. He modelled himself on Churchill when the world needed a Stanley Baldwin, a man who dedicated himself to avoiding war with Hitler. 

Boris's legacy was, despite Theresa May's catastrophic mess, achieving a reasonable Brexit. That his only legacy but it is a very great deal indeed, if you think it is.

Boris can't be blamed for the lockdowns. The public,  scared by the media, demanded them. 

Still, Brexit apart, his legacy was very dreadful.

It was especially dreadful in two respects: encouraging Zelensky  not to continue to negotiate with Putin and climate totalitarianism.

In one respect he was not a Churchillian. Churchill told the cabinet in January 1955 that Keep England White would be a good election slogan, whereas Boris loved mass immigration and wanted millions of Chinese to come to England from Hong Kong.

Thursday, 15 June 2023

A cardinal who writes love poems?

Speculation about who will be the next pope is an exercise in futility, but the first 2 paragraphs of this article by Damian Thompson about a Portuguese cardinal are very startling. 

His poems depict emotional pain in cryptic language. In ‘The Last Day of Summer,’ unable to ‘choose attention or choose forgetfulness’, he recalls ‘your impatient and inconceivable eyes/ here with me now/ as I dance alone/ in the empty city’.


Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Quotations

“Please be aware that this book was published in the 1920s and may contain language, themes, or characterisations which you may find outdated.” 
Penguin Books will publish this warning with all P.G. Wodehouse books. 

"The minds of different generations are as impenetrable one by the other as are the monads of Leibniz." 
Andre Maurois

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

Populists

The electoral system rather than the guile of the establishment prevents a figure like Mrs Meloni or Nigel Farage coming to power in England - but populists have ruled Scotland for sixteen years. 

I used to think proporțional representation would be undemocratic and mean the bipartisan consensus never changing - but in the age of populists it might make politics more democratic, by which I mean more populist. 

Sherelle Jacobs in today's Daily Telegraph

"Not only does the ruling class not have the solutions, it is also oblivious to the problems. This country has been pretty much stagnant for 15 years (in Scotland, business investment has been flat since 1998). And yet the Westminster bubble is convinced that the problem is not one of systemic decay but popular psychosis, embodied by Brexit and collapsing faith in institutions and a new mania for fake news."
A very good point.

Nevertheless, she points ouț, the populists, by which she means the Brexiteers and SNP, have failed badly in the UK.

Yes and no. Brexit did happen. The SNP have ruled Scotland since 2007 and the Conservative Party has been in power since 2010 and are not populists, unfortunately perhaps. 

Both parties are in trouble now though.

Monday, 12 June 2023

Ave et vale, Silvio Berlusconi!

From the Daily Telegraph obituary of Silvio Berlusconi 

"Though Berlusconi undoubtedly went into politics to save his financial skin, he succeeded brilliantly in capturing the public mood. His charismatic, swashbuckling personality seemed to tap into something deep in the Italian psyche.

"As one Italian journalist observed: “He has the values shared with a majority of Italian men. He likes women and likes talking about women, likes sexual jokes. He believes in the idea of the gentlemen in one place and ladies somewhere else, and the gentlemen have to be free to talk about the pleasures of life. Then he likes everything the Italians like: television, luxury, and especially the family – he has had two.”

The strange death of Conservative England

"One prominent MP, in a philosophical mood, told me that Boris’s behaviour is a comment on the age of ego: when religion and ideology are dead, the self fills the vacuum."

Timothy Stanley today in the Daily Telegraph


"... Brexit (and later Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss) was so divisive that it was unrealistic for the Conservatives to build their electoral future around the very groups that were likely to abandon them in droves after Britain exited the EU -the graduate class, the middle-class professionals, the young Millennials and the even younger Zoomers from Gen-Z who have spent the last decade doubling down on their social liberalism and trending toward Labour. Just spend five minutes online and you’ll see instantly what I mean. For these voters Brexit was never just a political issue - it was existential, a profound psychological and political shock which violated their very core identity, their sense of self. "

Matt Goodwin in May on the English local election results

Sunday, 11 June 2023

The Globe Theatre in London has posted this warning on its website

“Content guidance: The play contains language of violence, ableism, misogyny and racism, and scenes of a sexual nature.”

Ableism.

It's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Seen today or recently

 


Saturday, 10 June 2023

Robert Tombs explodes liberal myths about the Benin bronzes

A really mastery article by my former supervisor Dr Robert Tombs, a great Tory historian, about the Benin bronzes. As usual everything you read about this in the media was utterly misleading. It was ever thus. But why does that handsome young don now look old?


To describe it, as a ‘trade dispute’ leading to the ‘sack’ and ‘looting’ of Benin by a British force is, as some readers will know, rather economical with the truth. The expedition was a response to the massacre of a peaceful diplomatic mission and a large number of African porters. The ‘trade dispute’ was an act of aggression against neighbouring peoples by the Oba (king) of Benin. Benin itself was a violent, slave-holding and slave–raiding society. When the punitive expedition reached Benin, it found hundreds of dead and dying slaves, some beheaded, crucified or disembowelled. The expedition’s shocking sketches and photographs exist. The British expedition (mainly African soldiers) ended the Oba’s mass human sacrifices and liberated many slaves.

As was then legal, the expedition’s commanders seized the Oba’s personal treasures – carved ivory tusks as well as the famous bronzes – to defray its costs, and doubtless to weaken the Oba’s cultic power. Some bronzes, many of them busts of royal ancestors, were covered in the blood of sacrificed slaves.

Quotations

"Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket." Victor Hugo

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" 
Robert Browning

“Over the past 150 years food has become … not food,” Chris van Tulleken in his forthcoming book Ultra-Processed People.

Quotations

"Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac." George Orwell, who based the Ministry of Truth in 1984 on the BBC in which he worked during the war.

“The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” Winston Churchill, quoted by Andrew Bacevich

"It suffices for an intransigent minority –a certain type of intransigent minorities –to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer would be under the impression that the choices and preferences are those of the majority."
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game

“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

"Your worst sin is that you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing." Fyodor Dostoevsky

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

“He who is a friend to himself is a friend to all mankind.” Seneca

"All man's problems are caused by his not being able to sit quietly alone in a room." Pascal

"You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday." Swift

"In 20 years, Russia will be the only country that is recognisably European." Ann Coulter in 2017. In fact, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova have far fewer non-whites than Russia. So does Romania and most of Eastern Europe, though this will not be so in 2037. Muslims in Russia numbered 14 million or roughly 10% of the total population, a much higher proportion than in Western countries, but many of them are white, like the Tartars, Russia's second biggest ethnic minority. Ethnic Russians are 72% of Russia's population but many of the 28% are Slavs and Caucasians.

“I think that either Europe reverts back to being Christian or it will be Muslim. It seems to me that what actually has no future is the “culture of nothingness,” which appears to be vastly predominant among the people of Europe, rich in means and poor in truth: a content-free and limitless freedom, a scepticism boasted of as if it were an intellectual accomplishment." Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, who died in 2015.



"A storyteller is the one who keeps the memories of a people alive. They are the guardians of our history and the weavers of our future.” Jim Henson

"A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short." Schopenhauer

"The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.” Cicero

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Caitlin Johnstone's blog


She's very left-wing. It is hard to distinguish the left and right now. (It is also hard to distinguish the pseudo or centre left from the pseudo or centre right, but then it always was.)

Monday, 5 June 2023

Clubland too is Woke! Oh no!

The chairwoman (sic) of the Athenaeum. London clubs are meant to be exclusive not inclusive, crusty not forward looking. 

Another thing. If single sex marriage is now permitted in England why not single sex clubs?




A lot of Europeans died because of sanctions


 

Sunday, 4 June 2023

Quotations

“Never be haughty to the humble or humble to the haughty.”
Jefferson Davis

True. A pleasant change from quotations from Franklin or Lincoln. Davis was a very much better man than either of them, because unlike theirs his army fought in self-defence. Unlike them too he was acting within the law.

"A woman should dress to attract attention. To attract the most attention, a woman should either be nude or wearing something as expensive as getting her nude is going to be."
P.J. O'Rourke

An anonymous comment left on a Rod Dreher thread five years ago


I’ve had a strange few years after leaving academics and the life of a professor. After a life on the far left, I’ve become, somehow, very conservative, disillusioned with 'progress' and 'justice.'
More to the point, I’ve felt pulled in the direction of Catholicism. Which is inappropriate, because I still don’t believe and I’m not sure that I ever will. Yet I attend mass semi-regularly, quiet in the back. I can’t stop reading the texts and histories of Christianity. I’ve asked several times whether I can convert and just be the atheist Catholic in the parish. Why? I don’t understand it myself.
And after this latest scandal, I feel double the pull, as if there’s a war on and I’m drawn to go and enlist. Whether I believe or not, I feel as though Catholicism must be saved, as though its continued critical mass (no pun intended) is the last, invisible, unacknowledged line of defense against something historic and terrible—and people who are willing to stand up against the current culture and who continue to believe in the anachronistic notion of integrity must go and man the pews and hold territory, hold the line, for everyone.
I’m rather confused myself, I suppose. I’m told it’s not quite appropriate that I try to convert to Catholicism as an atheist. And because I still believe in integrity, even if I don’t always perfectly practice it, I can’t bring myself to lie just to join.
But the pull is strong and getting stronger the more damage is done. And I’ll continue to attend mass to occupy space, to be some part of an important reality that can’t be allowed to fade.
What happens to the world if the worse things get, the more good people flee or simply concede, rather than fight? Nothing good, I think. My kids have to live in this world and in this country. It needs to not be a world or a country in which the values of Christianity have been, according to common wisdom, entirely discredited as nonsense that only the superstitious and repressed believe in any longer.
Meanwhile, I find myself trying very hard to believe, pushing hard on the “In” door while others are pushing to get out.