Friday, May 29, 2009

Disorientation

Our world has abandoned the concepts of order and routine.
To the Tourettist (or this Tourettist), order and routine are critical to the ability to function in a manner which makes the rest of society feel comfortable, a slender thread attaching the different to the mainstream. Often, the very considerable and tiring effort this involves is not understood, never mind reciprocated; the complete disproof of all the lies we tell ourselves about how liberal and understanding we are.
There is no such thing as the 24-hour society; if there were, the sun would shine 24 hours a day all over the world. The planets move so predictably that eclipses can be predicted thousands of years in advance. There is a reason why the harvest is not reaped in February; then is not its time. It says little for our civilisation if its primary accomplishment has been the ability to buy a pizza at two o' clock in the morning.
Constant dislocation and disruption of routine is a favourite tool of torturers. The modern citizen's knowledge of where he stands could be precisely defined as not knowing where he stands. He has to find a way to God through a maelstrom of madcap bullshit and chaos, of constant noise, bright light, and others' egotistical caprice.
To God, only ever just Being, the perpetual anchor, the Orientation of the Disoriented, he turns; and having found his bearings, he needs no other compass.

The Fiscal Work Order

I have never heard of such tyranny.

Has the law of Scotland completely abandoned the principle of the presumption of innocence?

William Cash

"The Conservative Party is full of hard-faced men who look as if they did very well out of the war" -

Stanley Baldwin.

Susan Boyle

While bearing Miss Boyle no ill-will, and wishing her every success, I must confess to being extremely disturbed by her rise to stardom.
The nature of the injury she received at birth makes Miss Boyle a vulnerable person. She will always be vulnerable. Nothing will ever change that, perhaps a greater constant in her life than her singing ability. I sincerely hope that she has around her a strong and very loyal group of people who do not see her as being either a cash machine or meal ticket, and who are determined to protect her from the excesses of those who might be inclined to package and sell her as a product.
Music industry executives are not well-known for the vigour with which they observe their duties of care to the people they make money from; given the nature of the life she has led so far, those responsible for the management of Susan Boyle's singing career would be best advised to remember that there is such a place as Hell.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Peace

Peace to all readers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Immigration Is Good For Growth!

The Icy Bottom Of the Human Heart

In countries relatively free of famine and violence, such crappiness is just about as low, mean and mean-spirited as you can get.

An Alternative Definition Of 'PFI'

The Biggest Problem With Democracy Is The People

A short revisitation of Brecht's poem, 'The Solution' -

"'1953 -
"After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?"


Brought to mind by an outburst of elitist disgust - at populist disgust.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Smoke Of The Reichstag Fire

It is incorrect, an appalling misuse of language, to describe the British public's reaction to the Parliamentary expenses scandal as a 'revolution'.
Although it is a classic example of the circumstances which give rise to revolutions, so far the people have exhibited enormous restraint in the face of great provocation and insult.
However, an unfortunate aspect of the times we live in is that neoliberalism, the dominant economic ideology of the past three decades, is viciously reactionary in its approach to the rights of individuals. To the neoliberal, the rights of businesses, companies and those who run them trump those of private citizens every time.
Should the Parliamentary expenses scandal lead to an outcome which the neoliberal elite considers unsatisfactory, such as the BNP making even larger than expected gains at the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, it would not be surprising if they attempted counter-revolution of a kind seen in Chile in 1973. It would not be beyond them. Nothing is beyond them.
Over the past 30 years, government has been centralised away from the people while business has been given a free hand to do what it wants. Over the past 12 years, the peoples' liberties have been taken away from them while business has been given a free hand to do what it wants. Within the last 12 months, Peter Mandelson, the most disreputable British politician of the modern era not to have been imprisoned, has been brought back to office for no apparent reason other than to ensure that public assets within the British peoples' collective ownership pass into private hands. The political and commercial elites will let nothing so inconsequential as the will of the people get in their way.
There is talk of reducing the number of MP's - this is nonsense. What is needed now is precisely the opposite; an increase in the number of MP's. A higher number of MP's increases the likelihood of not Independent but independently-minded Members of Parliament coming to office. A reduction in numbers would not make government more efficient or our parliamentarians less venal - but it would increase the power of the parties significantly.
As would proportional representation, always and ever nothing but gang warfare perpetrated by political parties upon an unsuspecting British people. If you think PR's the answer to our problems, you'll think that the committed 'globalist' Vince Cable would make an outstanding Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The smoke of the Reichstag fire hangs over us at the moment. While we must always live in hope we must always be alive to danger. These are dangerous times; and if I were Nick Griffin, I'd be watching my back even more closely than usual.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Predictions Coming True

The Parliamentary expenses scandal means, of course, that the biggest prediction of them all, that 2009 is the year when everything will change for the better, is cooking along quite nicely, thank you very much.
Oh, there will be pitfalls and stumbles along the way. Yet consider this.
The theology of self-regulation has been shown to have failed in financial services; it has now also been shown to have failed in politics. The credibility of all regimes of self-regulation, one of the principal pillars of neoliberal dogma, has collapsed like a Philistine temple from a push of Samson's shoulder.
The good times are over. The great times might yet be upon us.
There is always hope.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Competence

The entire Parliamentary expenses scandal is not a crisis of government. It is instead a crisis of the individual competence of those honourable Members who were trusted with a flexible and very generous expenses system and who could do nothing but abuse it. There is something very fitting in this.
The neoliberal economic cult to which all 'mainstream' British political parties adhere thrives on the questioning of individuals' competence. 'Can't you do your job?' is a demeaning insult heard in workplaces up and down the land by workers, suffering constant disorientation by working within frameworks of policies and practices which change from day to day, of whom too much is asked by too greedy employers or their too ambitious stooges. The flexible job market, more properly called the low waged and insecure job market, is neoliberalism's triumph, individual workers for ever at the mercy of rich and powerful corporations with carte blanche to use their owners' funds to lobby for what they want, everything they do always justified by a like-minded, small-minded right wing media.
Individual hypercompetence is a myth as surely as the myth of individual hyperincompetence. Just as aggressive feminism created the myths of univeral female hypercompetence and universal male hyperincompetence, so too aggressive neoliberalism has created the myth of the universally incompetent native British worker, so lazy, slovenly, ill-educated, stupid, and quarrelsome that any migrant is better, just better in every way, than they are. This is a lie; it has always been a lie; it will always be a lie.
The greed of Britain's fascist business class for more, whether it be more money, more access to even more and more nubile young women, or more stuff, has been built on the attempted emotional destruction of a generation of British workers. With some, they have succeeded. And for this, they might yet pay.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Resignation Of Michael Martin

May the Labour Party in the west of Scotland be damned, all its edifices pulled down, and salt sown where they stood.

A Definition Of The Word 'Powerlessness'

A feeling felt by those who must do, but who cannot get it done.

Pride

It's amazing just how much insight and wisdom you can gain from the mere act of taking your clothes off in public.
How was it Lily Allen put it? -
"I'll take my clothes off and it will be shameless,
'Cuz everyone knows that's how you get famous..."

Memo To The Guardian - Go Forth And Multiply

Not very ecumenical, I know, but I need lectures on the Catholic Church from Muslim women who look as if they're aged about 22 like I need a new rectum.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Change Of Pace

For the forseeable future, blogging will be Monday to Thursday.

The Tablet

I do not read this apparently controversial publication; yet it seems to me that the constant criticism levelled at it by some traditional Catholics, for example by their description of it as 'The Bitter Pill', is directly contrary to Our Lord's command to love each other as He loved us.
If we can't live in peace with each other without juvenile name-calling and factionalism worthy of Communists, then it shouldn't really surprise us if Satan laughs and the world remains rank and rotten with evil. Smells, bells, chanting monks and now unspoken languages with irregular verbs do not a people of God make. They're very useful tools; but they were not used at The Last Supper, while The Word is The Word is The Word, The Word that needs no camps, no factions, no wealthy patrons - and no leader-writers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Father Norman Weslin

Father Norman Weslin could be a model of those who keep working into their old age for the benefit of Man, and not for the health of the state.
It might be imagined that he has had little reason to acquaint himself with the libel laws, unlike some of our peoples' tribunes.
No, at the age of 82 he has been arrested, cuffed and carried away for leading a demonstration against Barack Obama at Notre Dame. The full video of the incident is quite horribly distressing, yet it is worthwhile sticking with it to the end - it seems that part of his 'offence' was carrying a Cross across the campus of a Catholic university.
When this becomes an arrestable offence, the game's a bogey. No matter how good its football team is, Notre Dame should be closed immediately. It no longer has any reason to exist.
Hopefully Obama looks at these images and sees a resonance between the action of the officers in South Bend and those who cuffed and carried away Martin Luther King. He, Obama, has become to the pro-life movement what George Wallace was to civil rights, the South Bend cops his Bull Connors; hope he likes what he sees.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Return Of Primitive Capitalism

If out of town business parks are nothing but the 21st century equivalent of 'the castles of feudal overlords, always living in fear of mobs of torch-bearing, pitchfork-wielding peasants arriving on their doorsteps', then out of town shopping centres are the 21st century equivalent of the trading posts that used to be seen on the American frontier; places where primitive peoples, desperate to enjoy industrial culture's fruits, would come to be sucked into the trade system.
Never having been industrial, the Indians at least had the excuse that they were getting guns and whisky, both quite useful items in their own way; having been deindustralised, we seem to go to them for lampshades and sportswear.
The House of Commons expenses scandal shows that good old fashioned baronial greed is alive and well, with the achievement of position and rank still apparently considered to be the best route to personal enrichment.
And under the headline 'Wanted: crooks' labour for free', the Scottish edition of today's 'Sunday Times' reports,
"Scotland's business leaders have called for criminals to be used as free labour by recession-hit firms as an alternative to 'soft' community sentences.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have urged the government to offer non-violent offenders to firms, claiming it would boost industry and reduce re-offending".
In their capacities as private citizens and taxpayers, the IoD and CBI's members are, of course, entitled to hold whatever views they like about the criminal justice system, however ignorant and ill-informed those views might be; but corporately, they have no business even commenting upon it, so they should just shut up about it. Their opinions are unnecessary and unwelcome. They are out of line, and nobody in Scottish politics has got the guts to tell them to get to Hell away from matters that are none of their concern. Business and justice do not mix.
The IoD and CBI's member firms seem to feel that the reintroduction of slavery (for to all intents and purposes that is what they are proposing) is in their members' interest. Having become subsidy junkies as a result of the cheap labour subsidy provided by Eastern European migrants, they cannot cope with now having to pay real wage costs; so they want to use prisoners as slaves instead. The idea that their members might have to make do with lower profits, or even, God forbid, go out of business, does not seem to occur to them.
One is sure they will get a sympathetic hearing from the soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government'; after all, one of their heroes, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, was all in favour of rich Scots enslaving poorer ones.
For their own good, you understand.
Bring on the Kommerzkampf. It is long overdue.

Just Fancy That!

"Sunday nights just aren't going to be the same, my lord, the end of The South Bank Show just another cheap dislocation inflicted on a people being disconnected from their own culture and disoriented into an ersatz global one; I look forward to reading your memoirs. For what you've achieved for the arts in the United Kingdom, you should make your last show about yourself." -
"...a fitting end to 'The South Bank Show' might be an edition in which (Lord Bragg) interviews himself about the risk that his departure represents the end of serious television at ITV, and potentially at other addresses as well' -
'Remote Controller', 'Private Eye' No. 1236, 15 - 28 May 2009.
As 'Private Eye' itself would say - just fancy that!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sadness, Only Sadness

I do wish certain English Catholics would get round to reading, or re-reading, the life of St. Edmund Campion, rather than invoking the spirit of La Grande Terreur in regard to a matter which, when all is said is done, does nothing but betray the fallen nature of Man; a fact now so well-established one would have thought it would not require further iteration.
Their heritage is martyrdom for The Faith Of Our Fathers; not my fathers, actually, but theirs. It was their fathers who kept their faith 'in spite of dungeon, fire and sword'; not mine, but theirs. The life of Maximilien Robespierre, an over-opinionated provincial lawyer probably being worked from the back by the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (a type this writer knows quite well), has nothing to teach them.
What they might not realise is that by invoking les tricoteuses, they're putting themselves firmly in the camp of the same viciousness that murdered St. Edmund. In his book 'The French Revolution', the late, great Christopher Hibbert recounted the fate of a courtier once more grand than France's much libelled queen -
"Another noblewoman who was guillotined at this time was the aged widow of Marechal the Duc de Noailles, Marie Antoinette's 'Madame L' Etiquette', whose senile eccentricity it had become to write long letters to the Virgin Mary on the subject of prudence and protocol in Heaven. They were answered by her confessor who signed himself Mary but who, on one occasion, committed on Her behalf some solecism which led the Duchess to comment 'But then one ought not to expect too much of Her. She was after all a bourgeoise from Nazareth. It was through marriage that she became a connection of the House of David. Her husband, Joseph, would have known better.'
The old, demented Duchess was arrested in July with her daughter-in-law, the Duchesse d' Ayen, and her grand-daughter, the Vicomtesse de Noailles. They were taken to the guillotine watched by the Abbe Carichon who took advantage of a blinding rainstorm which slowed down the carts to give them absolution... -
'There was a large circle of spectators (wrote the Abbe), most of them laughing, ''There she is! There's the Marshal's wife who used to have a grand carriage. Now she's in a cart just like the others..."
I now found myself facing the steps to the scaffold against which a tall, old white-haired man was leaning. He was to be beheaded first. He had a kindly face...Near him was a pious-looking lady whom I did not know; Mme de Noailles was immediately opposite me. She was dressed in black and sitting on a block of stone with wide staring eyes...
When all is ready the old man goes up the steps. The chief executioner takes him by the left arm, the big assistant by the right and the other by the legs. They lay him quickly on his face and his head is cut off and thrown, together with his body, into a great tumbril, where all the bodies swim in blood. And so it goes on. What a dreadful shambles it is! The Duchess is the third to go up. They have to make an opening in the top of her dress to uncover her neck...'
The Abbe Carichon's account of his ministry over, Hibbert continues,
'Robespierre witnessed none of the victims perish. He had once expressed the opinion that public executions coarsened and brutalised the character of the people. But he made no move to stop them'.
An appalling snob she might have been, but in later life Madame L' Etiquette probably never hurt anyone. Just like the 'tall, old white-haired man' with a kindly face whose name is lost to us, she was put to death because of what, not who, she was; just like Edmund Campion; just like the other great English saints of the so-called 'Reformation', itself nothing more than a Tudor-era English national creation myth of astonishingly durable power; and just like our brothers and sisters currently being martyred in Kerala and Orissa, provinces of a nuclear power in which children live on the streets.
To see that era of history, of all eras, used to make any point is cheap; and any point that is made by its use is automatically cheapened by it. Very sad.

Crimes Against Humanity

Permitting old men to enlist, their desire to do so notwithstanding.
My condolences to Major Hutchison's survivors. Hopefully the US Army performed a psychological evaluation upon him which did not indicate the presence of a bereavement fuelled death wish.

Your Right To Know

"(Heather) Brooke is UK project director of the Open Society Institute's Justice Initiative's anti-corruption survey, primarily monitoring the accountability of three large public-sector projects: London 2012 Olympics; NHS Programme for IT; oil extraction industry."
As it happens, I have a lot of time for George Soros, probably more than most; indeed, I would go far as to suggest that he deserves an honorary knighthood for the favour he did us all by helping get sterling kicked out the ERM. This single act expelled inflation from the system for nearly 20 years, and more than anything else laid the foundations for the now vanishing prosperity we enjoyed thereafter. It is a pity that the pride of Britain's political class makes the award of such a justified honour impossible. You can say anything you like about them, but you must never beat them at their own game; nor by their own rules.
In addition, his theory of reflexivity is both simple to understand, and seems to work. That means it's probably right.
However, the Popperian 'Open Society' he believes in is not The Civilisation of Truth and Love. To his credit, he puts his money where his mouth is, which at the very least indicates sincerity. But Open Society is an agenda; and unless they say otherwise, it's one that those who take his money and work in his institutes must be assumed to share.

A Glaswegian Critique Of 'Angels And Demons'

Tam honks, man.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Magdalene Sisters

For some time, I entertained the suspicion that one consequence of society's secularisation has been that the type of women who would once have become Magdalene Sisters now pursue careers as human resources managers instead.
I was wrong in this; the religious who ran the Magdalene Asylums excelled at making life difficult for people, while those human resources managers who try it on aren't really very good at it at all. You can't make life more difficult for people than by exposing them to the risk of the type of medical murder called 'assisted suicide' - you'll die for your own good, and whether you want to or not. That's really making life difficult for people; turning occasions of healing into occasions of fear, with the old, the sick, and the weak, fearful of being put to death because a business school trained hospital administrator thinks they're a drain on resources, failing to seek attention they need and dying anyway.
From now on, for services to making other peoples' lives difficult, Polly Toynbee, Margo MacDonald, and now Joan Bakewell, who for some reason thinks she's the 'Voice of Older People', and all those women of a certain age whose antics have helped make our age so uncertain and who wish to discuss 'assisted suicide', shall be described as The Magdalene Sisters. O wad some pow'r the gift tae gie us, ladies...it's the nickname that won't go away...

A Short Thought On The British National Party's Chances At The Forthcoming Elections To The European Parliament

As far as the BNP goes, to my mind the concept of body, blood, soul and divinity beats the BNP's 'blood and soil' nationalism every time.
For blood and soil always ends up soiled. And bloody.
If the British political class contained serious people, it would have neutralised the BNP by taking it on on its own terms (a course of action I suggested, oh, only three years ago now), instead of shielding their faces from it and wishing it away before the cheeseboard comes out. If you ignore a party, you ignore the people; you ignore the people for long enough, they'll start ignoring you. This is precisely what's happening today.
If people of goodwill are serious about stopping the BNP, then, well, I would suggest a course of action that for many would be radical and innovative - they can pray that God's grace will shine on us, and that people will see it for what it is; just another bunch of post-Christian racial nationalists who've dosed out on Dungeons and Dragons and the theories of Vacher de Lapouge. As the commentors on 'Stormfront' with screen names like 'Scourge of Valhalla' might say, By Goomgroth's Jimjads! Prayer? What's that? Who thought that up?
If Margaret Beckett, Theresa May and Menzies Campbell, the three amigos that the mainstream parties rolled out onto 'Question Time' last night like a trio of undead tailors' dummies, are in any way representative of the calibre of the British political class, prayer is our best defence.
There's a very real 'Return Of The King' vibe in the culture right now - the orcs and trolls marching across the Pelennor Fields, banging their drums as they approach the gates of Minas Tirith. They did not win then; they shall not win now. There is always hope.

I Knew The Name Was Familiar

"I believe that the Bill is phoney. It does not stand up to close examination. It is perfectly acceptable intellectually and morally to be opposed to abortion, to believe that it should be illegal and to take the view, which I do not share, that it is murder...
I cannot understand how the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) can have just plucked out of the air the time of 18 weeks. If he believes that abortion is murder, surely it is murder at 16 weeks, 14 weeks or 12 weeks. What is worse is that the limit of 18 weeks will do grave damage to those parents who have conceived a grossly disabled child in the past, wish to have further children, and know that there is a one in four chance that that child might also be grossly disabled...
The House will be aware that tests can only just be carried out at 18 weeks. Those tests take many weeks before conclusion can be drawn and then, if need be, a traumatic and difficult decision must be made by the parents to arrange an abortion. Under the Bill, many decent, reasonable, caring people will find that they are unable to have an abortion...
All hon. Members must have had constituents come to their advice bureaux or surgeries with disabled children. They, like me, will have noted how much those parents have aged. Somebody who looks 65 tells one that he or she is only 40. They perhaps bring with them other normal children, and those normal children are not being properly cared for because, quite rightly and naturally, the parents have to devote every waking hour to that grossly disabled child. The parents fear what will happen to the child if they die early, in their 50s. This becomes a trauma for them, a nightmare, which they get out of perspective, but I can understand that...
Like the hon. Member for Mossley Hill, I am not in favour of abortion. All I am in favour of, as a Conservative, is freedom of choice for people to be able to decide. It is a traumatic decision for the parents to have an abortion—not just for the mother, but for the father as well. It does not help if politicians interfere and tell those parents whether they should go ahead with that abortion. It is up to the parents to decide whether they wish to have a grossly disabled child. I could never dream of advising them one way or the other. My wife and I are not sufficiently capable as parents to have a disabled child. To be totally honest, I could not cope with it. I have terrific admiration, as does my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster, for those people who are able to cope—but the decision must be theirs, not ours..
Another element of the Bill worries me. If passed, the Bill would be the worst piece of class legislation that the House has put on the statute book for many a long day. My affluent, middle-class, and, I hope, by and large intelligent, constituents would have no difficulty in arranging an abortion, either privately or elsewhere. Most of those abortions, except in the case of the disabled, would be well before the 18-week limit, so they could take a very relaxed view.

All hon. Members have had come to their surgeries 15 or 16-year-old girls with a low IQ. They are not aware of what contraception is; they are pregnant, lost and confused. Often the girl does not realise for several months that she is pregnant. She is scared, frightened to speak to her parents and frightened to go to her doctor, so it is many weeks before she faces the crisis. That will be the little girl who will suffer from the Bill, not my affluent constituents. We will then go back to the bad old days, briefly mentioned by the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon), of back-street abortions.

It is only 21 years since the Abortion Act was introduced, but I am sure that everybody can recall the horror of back-street abortions. We are all realistic enough to know that abortions will still take place, whether legal or illegal, so it is important that they are done in modern clinics where there is good hygiene, good follow-up services and a sensitive attitude. A return to back-street abortions will mean a return to deaths and trauma, and the people who will suffer are those whom the House should most want to protect. The vulnerable, the not very intelligent and the inadequate will be driven to the backstreet abortionists, who will be laughing all the way to the bank. That would be a bad example to set.

Like me, many of my hon. Friends would be happy for the limit to be reduced to 24 weeks. Medical science has advanced immeasurably during the past 20 years so that today it is perfectly possible for a child to be born at 24 weeks. I also believe that abortions on grounds of disability need not be performed after 24 weeks, as tests for disability can be carried out earlier. What should those of us who hold that view do? I suggest that they should not support the Bill, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister suggested at the Dispatch Box yesterday."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Little Miracle

Yesterday, I was given the grace to be able to witness a minor miracle; not a big one in the grand scheme of things, but big enough to realise that the words 'Give us this day our daily bread' have meaning.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, rich in mercy, abounding in love. Blessed be the name of The Lord.

'A Thousand Years From Now'



This is Peter Brooke's cartoon in today's 'Times'.
Mr. Brooke might have the kind of issues with The Holy Father that I have with his ultimate boss, a serial divorcee whose principal contributions to the global culture have been Fox News and the Page 3 girl, holding the rank and title of Knight Commander of The Order of St. Gregory the Great. On the other hand, the award of such distinctions is the privilege of heads much cooler than mine - if Bismarck could be made a Knight of The Order of Christ for ending the Kulturkampf, one could only wonder what Keith might be up for if he ever cleans up News Corporation's act.
Being no great art critic, I don't see anything particularly brave or funny in Mr. Brooke's latest effort, if only because it's not clear what point he's trying to make. Is he criticising the Pope? Israel? The Israelis? What?
So what? A thousand years from now, it's not going to matter. The Catholic Church will still be around and going strong, and people might just not give a toss for the art of Peter Brooke. 'Peter Brooke?', they might ask each other. 'Who was he again?'
First up was Stephen Pollard, now it's a guy called David Cesarani; if I were a cynic who didn't know better, I'd almost be sure there was a whiff of shakedown on the breeze. So what? A thousand years from now, it's not going to matter.
An hereditary mediacrat (in the maternal line) sliming Glaswegians, possibly from a position of ignorance? Who cares? A thousand years from now, it's not going to matter.
If you read nothing else today, please read the now late Fr. Stanley Jaki's marvellous essay, 'A Thousand Years From Now', to see why.
Hat tip, PJ Mulvey.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deo Gratias

Prayers answered.

Catholic Torture Defenders Of America

You have to wonder at Mark Shea's patience with these guys.
Catholics of any state who seek to excuse or justify torture performed in its name and for its worldly purposes must be asked whether they love that state more than their Triune God, The Blessed Virgin Mother, His Gospels, His Scriptures, His Angels, His Martyrs and His Saints. As stark and lacking in nuance as it might be, it's the only thing I can think of that might shake some of these people out of their waking sleep.
'Angels and Demons' is coming out soon, featuring Ewan McGregor, the most talented French Horn player I have ever seen, in the role of an Irish priest - with his imitation of Alec Guinness in mind, I'm looking forward to seeing if he plays it like Barry Fitzgerald. One of the great conceits of guys like Dan Brown is the need they feel to make their characters as elitist as possible, which is presumably why his symbologist protagonist Robert Langdon is a professor at Harvard and not the Hank Knickerbocker Professor of Humanities at Tuscaloosa Community College (if such an institution exists, no disrespect is intended).
Yet one wonders how conflicted the Catholic Torture Defenders of America would feel if Brown gave Langdon a scenario that involved symbology contained in the American flag? Would their outrage be as vocal, and their anger as deep, as it is when he writes nonsense on stilts about Copernicus and Mary Magdalene? If it would be, then one would have to diagnose a case of disordered priorities. And the same, of course, applies not just to Old Glory, but to any other flag.

Hope Springs Eternal

Just about the only edifying aspect of the Parliamentary expenses scandal to have emerged thus far has been the news that Kenneth Clarke has been caught up in it. I sense that the photograph attached to that link rather captures something of the spirit of the man.
Mr. Clarke is a fat old reactionary whose disdain for the treason laws should have made him a figure of public suspicion many years ago. He has been an agitator for pan-Europeanism par excellence, and is perhaps the paradigm of a Thatcher era Tory appointed to the board of a public company on an enormous salary when their CV might suggest little relevant commercial experience.
It is hopefully not the case that he is one of those good old fashioned Tories who cling to the belief that free trade and a flexible labour market are good for thee, but not for me.
Mr. Clarke seems to have benefited from a Jesuitical interpretation of the laws concerning the payment of council tax, a burden which has increased enormously in recent years for those deemed liable to pay it, of a type which would give Jesuits a bad name. Mr. Clarke has produced a typically rumbustious defence; after all, he is a 'bruiser', a 'big beast', perhaps even the type of difficult old man who thinks that They Ask The Tough Questions To Which They Expect Straight Answers.
There is an object lesson in humility to be learned here; Ask Not The Tough Questions To Which You Expect Straight Answers, Or Ye Shall Have Tough Questions To Which Straight Answers Are Expected Asked Of You.
Denis MacShane, the Europhile Labour MP for Rotherham who might be just about the only Member of Parliament ever to have their constituency's problems highlighted in public by Dolly Parton, has today published eneuretic commentaries in both the 'Guardian' and 'The Daily Telegraph' telling people not to vote for the British National Party at the elections to the European Parliament to be held in June. My membership of UKIP having lapsed unrenewed, holding no brief for the BNP and really now being more interested in gaining eternal life in the next world rather than in the crap that goes on in this one, I'm probably not going to vote in them at all - indeed, I'm coming round to the belief that Voters Anonymous, an organisation dedicated to helping those addicted to democracy overcome their demons, would be a marvellous idea.
Yet if the BNP flourishes in June, it will be for one reason only - they offer policies that differ from the mono-ideology served up as stale fare by both the envy gang and the greedy gang. Unmandated pan-Europeanism is the starter, main course and dessert on both their menus. If UPE ends up in the toilet as a result of this, well and good. It has been an insult to the people.
It might even flush Kenneth Clarke's political career, long past its sell-by date, away with it. We live in hope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Holy Father In The Holy Land

Didn't see this on the BBC last night.
I wouldn't have gentle Ben's job for all the money in the world. Pray for him; I will breathe a bit more easily when he's back home.

Some Thoughts On The Career Of Lord Bragg Of Wigton

You might not agree with with his politics, but Melvyn Bragg is nothing if not a civilised man; I would go so far as to place him on the waiting list for 'National Treasure' status.
When faced with the cretinism and moronism of those right-wing economists who brainlessly bray that the arts should find their own place in the 'market' and should thus be unsubsidised, taking the arts, you know, civilisation and stuff, to the people through the ratings-mad medium of commercial television, an environment where airtime is triaged for no purpose more elevated than the maximisation of advertising revenue, was always going to be a thankless task; to pull it off for 30 years is heroic. He could teach Coca-Cola lessons in brand marketing.
Sure, he was doing what he loved, and was probably very well-paid to do it - to which one answers 'And?' The fact that The South Bank Show survived for so long is the ultimate, though sadly less than civilised, two-fingered salute to those who say that the arts are elitist and should find their place in the market. You try getting a million viewers for an arts show appearing for 30 years in a portable graveyard slot on Sunday night commercial television. He did it. With more support from the network to which he has displayed astonishing loyalty, that figure could have been multiplied by a factor of five.
In a broadcasting culture that labels everyone from David Dimbleby to Frankie Boyle as 'broadcasters', Melvyn Bragg stands head and shoulders above the rest; for the simple reason he would make each the subject of a programme. Really just about the only offence he could be accused of is caring about culture, and spreading the news that it's there. The cancellation of his show might one day appear as a footnote in a history textbook, providing yet another example of just how Western civilisation came to cause its own collapse; if so, well, there'll always be another gameshow to put on. Sunday nights just aren't going to be the same, my lord, the end of The South Bank Show just another cheap dislocation inflicted on a people being disconnected from their own culture and disoriented into an ersatz global one; I look forward to reading your memoirs. For what you've achieved for the arts in the United Kingdom, you should make your last show about yourself.

The Desire To Stamp On Someone's Face

Beware the Scot who says that prison life is easy.

What the hell does he want? Rock-breaking?

The treadmill?

There Are No Expenses In The Civilisation Of Truth And Love

It would only be appropriate for those Conservative Members of Parliament who charge the cost of cleaning their moats to the taxpayer to wear top hats and frock coats, and to carry riding crops with which to thrash anyone impertinent enough to question their right to do what they want, when they want, where they want, to whomsoever they want; they are the backdraft from The Great Wormhole That Has Opened And Cast Us Back In Time 200 Years.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Random Thoughts For Disordered Times

Does Nepal have a national bird?
Like the Dolly bird?
And if it's done without 'lawful authority or reasonable excuse', isn't wielding a kukri in public a contravention of Section 1(1) of The Prevention of Crime Act 1953?
Those campaigning for retired Gurkhas to be given the right to settle in the UK have missed the most open of goals. There are those who insist that the Gurkhas 'knew the deal' when they signed up. Fair's fair, one thinks, every man, including a Nepalese peasant, must be bound to his contracts and all that; although I do once recall seeing a documentary on the Gurkhas' basic training, some of which was dedicated to teaching some recruits how to use a knife and fork. It's all a delightfully 19th Century scenario from start to finish.
Until one remembers that after 7/7, Tony Blair told the Muslim extremists, invited with open arms into the nation the Gurkhas have loyally defended, that 'the rules of the game have changed'. After that statement, it must be assumed that any rule anywhere governing anything must be capable of being changed; and to my knowledge, no retired Gurkha is currently banged up in Belmarsh on suspicion of conspiring to cause explosions.
The Parliamentary expenses scandal is becoming tedious; although Hazel Blears has some supporters, they are few and far between. What word could the public use to describe the actions of a Communities Secretary who might have been making dubious expenses claims? I know; she's been Gemeinschafting us.
It seems that the Tories might be just as bad. It is perhaps not shocking to learn that those who advocate personal thrift and the free market for others might not believe in that sort of crap for themselves. Personally, I have not listened to a word that Francis Maude has said since he turned up on TV, without a tie, an impossible solecism in the eyes of the stubbornly provincial lower middle classes, and declared that 'we are all immigrants'.
Say what you like about privatisation - but if there is such a thing as a market in water, shouldn't domestic water consumers be able to have one set of taps for each provider in the market on their bathroom sinks? Why can folk only have one set of taps? That doesn't sound like a market - it sounds like a set of serial monopolies.
And if water is a commodity that can be bought and sold, can someone show me the factories where it's made? Or the mines it's been dug out of?
Just a thought.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Creation Theory

Much to my regret, I find the modern tendency, now common among the more pompous kinds of elected officials and amoral conehead scientists, to mess about with God's creation, and its extremely subtle mechanics, to be both very weird and largely over my head.
Case in point - having gone to the vigil Mass last night, this morning I found myself watching a TV show called 'The Big Questions'. Hosted by Nicky Campbell, it was discussing surrogacy.
The practice of surrogacy seems to have been synthesised for no purpose more elevated than to give underemployed philosophers something to talk about. One guest, a surrogate (I suppose that the correct noun should be 'surrogator', but that sounds too much like a cross between a killer robot and an item of garden equipment) who has carried seven babies for other women indicated that although she loved being pregnant, she didn't want children of her own. Very weird. Does*Not*Compute.
Another guest, a surrogacy charity wallah, indicated that she became involved in surrogacy after learning that she was infertile. The natural sympathy one felt for her was, however, marred by the face she pulled when she made a comment about children in care who might be available for adoption having difficulties.
At that moment, a perspective on the issue of surrogacy came to mind - that it is one of the most selfish acts that any human being can ever perform, for it is not undertaken out of a desire to love and rear a child; if that were the case, wee Jimmy from the children's home, all two stone of cleft palate and lazy eyes of soiled small humanity, would do quite nicely. No, instead it is performed out of a desire to love and rear your child. It's not about the child - it's all about you.
In this worldview, a child is really no different from any other item of stuff, whether it be your Alfa Romeo or your toiletbrush - although it's the type of product you always buy bespoke rather than off the shelf and shopsoiled, it's just another piece of bric-a-brac we're tempted to acquire as a result of our fixation with stuff.
The very term 'surrogacy' is one of those neat wee euphemisms that turn up from time to time to do nothing but give a human face to horribly un-natural practices, like describing the murder of children in their mothers' wombs as 'reproductive health'. It would be more honest to describe surrogacy as 'industrial child production', for that's what it is; it is a process by which wealthy people manufacture children, presumably in the same spirit as that in which they collect antiques - they can cost a bit to acquire, but they look nice around the house.
Whether through surrogacy, cloning, abortion or 'assisted suicide', this obscene messing about with God's creation is going to come back and bite us Big Time unless it is stops now. The God Of Mercy is also The God Of Justice - and I know which of His faces I want to see.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Brief Reflection On Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Two days ago, a dangerous and subversive thought bubbled to the front of my mind while listening to Lord Steel of Aikwood reboot into his default mode of rotund elder statesmanship when discussing nuclear submarines on 'Question Time'.
The number of people who have ever actually been killed by nuclear weapons is the tiniest fraction of those who have been killed as a result of Lord Steel's Abortion Act of 1967. Accordingly, The Abortion Act of 1967 ought to be considered the only weapon of mass destruction ever used on the British people.
Of course, the value of that analysis depends on what one considers to be a weapon of mass destruction. It also depends on what one considers to be life; the kind of question to which one can't really expect answers from ambitious young MP's, no matter how much confidence they might have in the value of their doggedly juvenile opinions.
Abortion involves the infliction of violent death, so it's perfectly natural to believe that a child being murdered in this way feels pain; yet one wonders if they also feel horror. One thinks of the horror Tolkien gave to the Dwarves trapped in the Mines of Moria - 'We cannot get out...They are coming...' - and one wonders if a child whose environment is being invaded so that they can be murdered feels something similar.
One also wonders if Lord Steel has ever quietly reflected on the law with which his name will be forever linked, and said, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Anyone have any idea what the body count's standing at these days? To my shame, I stopped noticing when it was about three million. I guess Stalin was right about statistics.

Friday, May 08, 2009

An Occasion For Healing

In 2005, I was in the audience for the recording of a short lived talking heads panel show produced by BBC Scotland called 'The Last Word, with Nicky Campbell'; a kind of shortbread, fair trade version of 'Question Time'.
One of the panellists was Ian Rankin; although I cannot recall the context in which he made the remark, I remember him saying how the thought of a jealous and less successful author making an untrue allegation of him being a 'kiddie rapist' occasionally preyed on his mind.
Being garrulous to the point of logorrhoea and opinionated to the point of obnoxiousness, I am fairly sure I have written things that have got me on to a few folks' hit lists; finding out that MI5 might not actually keep a file on me would be something of a disappointment.
Yet my stat meter tells me that within the past 24 hours, this blog's content has been read in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Poland and Turkey. I found that actually seeing I had been read in Vanuatu to be a bit weird; nothing against Vanuatu, nothing like that, but leading what might seem to be a dull and placid life centred in a particular time and place, and very definitely in a particular way of thinking, it's hard to see what someone living on a Pacific atoll might find interesting about thoughts from the west of Scotland.
Without doubt, as a tool for the dissemination of ideas the Internet sits next only to the printing press in its potential; yet just as Chesterton, I think it was, wrote that the downside of the printing press was the explosion of dud philosophy that appeared in its wake, so too does the Internet have a downside. It is to be found in the outcome of Operation Algebra.
It is, of course, people who do bad things, and not the tools they use to inflict harm; no home would ever get built without carpenters using hammers, yet in the wrong hands there are few more lethal weapons. Just as the Internet is potentially one of the greatest tools ever created by Man for the spreading of The Word, people of faith have to acknowledge that great evil operates in it as well. We cannot shy away from this, as much as we would sincerely like to. The greatest problem that I have with the mainstream Catholic press is what seems to me its unrealistic fetish for the presentation of good news. The Glasgow 'Daily Record' is apparently in deep trouble - to which one can only say 'good'. On Saturday 11th April 2009, Easter Saturday, it devoted its first few pages to the life and career of Peter Manuel, hanged, oh, only 51 years ago now, with a whopping great picture of a noose on the front page. What with Scots running the risk of being killed in one or other of two different wars currently being fought, the country in the grip of what might yet become the worst economic crisis for a century and the government in a kind of slow motion meltdown worthy of Edward Gibbon, it must have been a slow news day.
In the corporate media mindset, evil is good - evil sells. The more evil, the better, so that Knight Commanders Of The Order Of St. Gregory The Great can sup from their rivers of gold. Yet just as most media report nothing that is good, the mainstream Catholic media seems to report that nothing that is bad. I bought 'The Catholic Herald' last weekend; henceforth it shall be known in this space as 'The Daily Telegraph At Prayer', because that's all it seems to be. What is doubly alarming about the MCM, particularly in the UK, is its apparent division into separate liturgical camps. a division which is becoming sectarian; I don't know if they don't do sectarianism in Vanuatu, but that most certainly is something they could learn from the west of Scotland.
To focus on either good or evil to the exclusion of the other is to deny reality. There are certain declamations which when heard send the blogger into narcoleptic hibernation; one such expression is 'I work for a living'. What do you think I do, sit scratching my backside all day long? Another is 'I live in the real world'. To which one replies, 'Er, no, chief, you probably don't'.
The real world is that of The Word. For the past 200 years, many of us have been trying to live without The Word. For the most part, our efforts have resulted in catastrophic failure, producing only such bitter fruits as ideology, genocide, and the slavery of living from paycheck to paycheck. One day, we'll all look back on this period in history and laugh.
Yet the crimes exposed by Operation Algebra are very much more sinister than the run of mill stuff, because they are crimes of human nature, those of imperfect Man blighted by Original Sin; and as yesterday's convictions show, the oldest crimes can always be committed with the newest tools, with Satan Twittering away in the background with his Bluetooth in his ear, 'Ave Satani' playing on his iPod.
Now, there will no doubt be those implacably opposed to The Word and Christianity (a rather dumb long run strategy) who might read this and, instantaneously rebooting to a tired debating tactic called 'getting your retaliation in first', say, 'Oh, no, Fatso's mouthing off about God and Jesus again; what does he have to say about sexual abuse scandals in The Catholic Church? Huh? Huh? What does he have to say? Huh?' Here it is, then, in words of black and white, without too many syllables - the scandals are a cause of great shame and sorrow. They resulted from the evil and sinful actions of men who abused trust wrongly placed in them because of what, not who, they were. To make matters worse, this was often compounded by massive failures of hierarchical leadership that were almost anti-pastoral in character, fear of dirty laundry perhaps getting in the way of saving souls (and by the way, that faintly acrid aroma in your nostrils is the smell of the boat of whatever hopes I might once have had of ever getting a gig in the mainstream Catholic media getting burned - who cares?).
Yet The Church itself will always survive scandals; for The Word is perfect, and His Church is eternal. For its image to be battered and some of its ministers to commit grievous sins is entirely to be expected; that's life. Anyone who thinks that priests cannot sin should start reading history pronto. Yet The Word survives. It will always survive; it is the only true message of hope that the world has ever received.
Perhaps that is the message that can be drawn from the horrible evils exposed by Operation Algebra. Now that civil process is complete and the guilty have been convicted, perhaps thoughts can turn to prayer for their repentance, and for the recalibration of their disordered appetites and inclinations through the power of Grace. After all, who is Christianity for, if not for men such as these?
One would hope not to be thought patronising for suggesting this, but perhaps one might also pray that their victims' families receive healing of the horrible ordeal inflicted on their loved ones; and yes, that in time they might come to forgive those who have done them injury. The Word is the world's source of hope, and forgiveness, and Grace, and Blessings, and Eternal Life; not really the kind of words you'll find in 'The Daily Record'.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Debts Of Honour

Yet is has a few others, without photogenic spokespersons prodding the national conscience for settlement.
It owes a debt of honour to those in its workforce, the folks who pay the tax from which the state pension now payable at 65 is actually paid, to ensure that they also receive the state pension at 65. Many of them have no interest at all in the economic policies that got us into a mess, yet all must work so they can eat; to demand that five more years' labour be wrung from them in order to clean up a mess they didn't make is grossly unfair.
It owes a debt of honour to those who have lost their jobs due to the Banking Clan's monomaniac greed to ensure that the country's very weak and unsatisfactory laws on the disqualification of company directors are reformed root and branch; and that the British banking industry will remain fearful of regulation for all eternity.
It owes a debt of honour to those postal workers whose pension fund is now in deficit as a result of their trustees being permitted to take a 'contribution holiday' to ensure that the deficit is now made good. If Fred Goodwin the banker enjoys 'sanctity of contract', so too does Joe Bloggs the postman.
Unless, of course, it's one law for some, and one for another; perish the thought.

Why Scotland Is Still One Of The Greatest Countries In The World

Oh, calamity!
Just where is the Europhile, soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government', and its most sartorially idiosyncratic supporter Christopher 'Knickerbocker' Harvie, in the face of this assault on the national dress, this new suppression of the tartan; the sort of stuff which, if done by the English, they'd turn into a grievance to be lamented in folk music for centuries?
If they know about this, they sure seem to have kept quiet about it. There are no nations in Heaven; maybe something of an injunction against being overly attached to the ones we have on Earth. Those who tout nations and nationhood are only ever interested in their own vision of what such entities should be; this makes them dangerous, for nations are fundamentally exclusive. There is no 'we' in either 'nation' or 'country'.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that an independent Scotland, founded according to the principles of Scottish civic nationalism as currently practiced, would not be as wayward and dangerous as every other nation founded on the basis that its citizens are somehow different to all the peoples of the world. The very fact that the Scottish National Party took for itself the title of 'The Scottish Government', a title to which it has no title by law and thus by the rule of law, shows that they think they alone are the guardians of 'Scottishness'. It epitomised everything that was bad and wrong about tinpot nationalism, showed that Scottish civic nationalism is as bad, wrong and tinpot as every other tinpot nationalism; and failing to comment upon the suppression of the national dress by a body they say they will try to get us into as soon as possible shows just how flawed they are.
And if that weren't enough cause for joy, Scotland still throws up guys like Mark McCracken. Such men do not seem to exist anywhere else but here; indeed, if they did not exist they would have to be invented. What's not to love about this place?

Apologetics

The Bibles Of Bagram

There appears to be something of a dissonance between the thoughts of Brian Whittaker and Chuck Baldwin.
I can't see how they can both be right.

Distinguished Beardies And Professional Europhiles For The Civilisation Of Truth And Love

Wholesome and insightful thoughts from Timothy Garton Ash, slightly mangled by his confusion of something called 'the social market economy' with The Civilisation Of Truth and Love.
It is only by abandoning the use of the word 'economy' and all the ideas that flow from it that the type of society he seems to wish for can be built. And yes; by praying for it to come into being as well, because it is incapable of being built by men on their own.
The Civilisation Of Truth And Love bears the same relationship to such synthetic constructs as 'the social market economy' as a Renaissance fresco has to a botched DIY plastering job; and as another distinguished beardie put it, 'that is an encouraging thought'.

Quote Of The Day

In a post entitled, 'Goldman Sachs shares are up 125% since Obama's inauguration', Dennis writes,
"Probably doesn't mean anything. I mean, who would buy the shares of a company just because it's the shadow government?"
Who indeed?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hope In The Time Of Slavery

Bad news, chaps; the United Kingdom's public finances are in such a perilously poor condition that we might all have to work until we're 70. A think tank with a senior fellow called Ray has said so, so it must be true.
The idea that modern man is part of something called an 'economy', an entity he neither voted himself into and can never vote himself out of, is one of the great curtains currently separating man from his God. Man has free will to believe in God and in His Word - God, not Ray, has said so; yet if Keynes was correct, and '(p)ractical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences (blognote - the remuneration committee of Royal Dutch Shell seems to be a good example of the breed), are usually the slaves of some defunct economist', then there is no free will in economics; it not only makes slaves of those practical men whose attempts to intellectualise the simple acts of posting a letter and catching a train produce mindbending paradoxes and absurdities, it also makes slaves of the rest of us. It is Satanic.
On the whole, remarkably little good can be said about the Pharaohs, yet in one crucial respect they trounced modern British Prime Ministers hands down; the Pharaohs never patronised their slaves by telling them their slavery would result in their own prosperity, nor try to tell them they were all in it together. In our politics, such honesty would be refreshing.
In our times, Cosa Nostra and Mara Salvatrucha are considerably more honest than either the Labour and Conservative Parties; all four are gangs, but at least the former do not bother issuing manifestos before setting out to get what they want. If Parliament ever tries to pass a law increasing the retirement age for men to 70 without prior and explicit manifesto commitments from either the envy gang or the greed gang, it might soon find itself having to relocate from Westminster to an out of town business park in the suburbs of Milton Keynes; for what are out of town business parks other than the castles of feudal overlords, always living in fear of mobs of torch-bearing, pitchfork-weilding peasants arriving on their doorsteps, updated for the 21st century?
Ideology is another slavery. This poor young woman seems desperately in need of prayers - Laban Tall explains why. If this is the attitude to human life that feminism breeds in feminists, it needs a Berlin Wall moment as a matter of urgency. It is just another '-ism', just another Ptolemaic slavery imposed by the ruthless and self-seeking on the weak; always for their own glorification, often for their gain.
One could go on and on and on. But it would be pointless.
Neither economics nor ideology, nor Hitler nor Stalin, could ever kill hope. Oh sure, the economists can chant their dull litanies about the balance of payments being down 2.78% and unemployment being up 0.6% from now until the breaking of the world for all that it matters; the advent of The Civilisation Of Truth And Love will result in them being acutely under-employed, and they will have to divide their labour in other ways.
But just as they cannot rationalise hope, neither can they scar or kill it. As St. Pio of Pietrelcina said 'Pray, hope and don't worry'; one can think of few better suggestions for weathering a downturn.
Work to 70? Some hope.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Angels And Demons

When one thinks of Ford and Fonda, one thinks of 'My Darling Clementine', or 'Mister Roberts'.

When one thinks of Hanks and Howard, one thinks of 'Splash'.

Need one really say more?

The Key Is In The Title

In an article which will have some libertarians howling naked in the moonlight, George Monbiot exposes what I am sure is only just the tip of the very large iceberg of nastiness currently turning the United Kingdom into a fascist state.
Yet perhaps because the answer is staring him in the face, he doesn't ask the bigger questions.
Peter Mandelson's department has gone from being 'The Department of Trade and Industry' to 'The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform'. Monbiot has a touching faith in democracy; he thinks it's bad that BERR has a higher proportion of unelected ministers than other departments. This is to miss the bigger picture.
In an Orwellian world such as ours, the ordinary meanings of words are transformed into their opposites. 'Business' becomes 'Corporatism'. 'Enterprise' becomes 'Monopoly'. And 'Regulatory Reform' becomes 'Abolition of Regulation'.
Once one understands that, the easier it is to understand the nature of the crappy game Mandelson seems to be playing; and understanding it, and seeing through it, oddly makes it easier to live with.

Liberal Elitism

What's the difference between Richard McBrien and David Aaronovitch?
None that I can tell. Both proceed on the glib and arrogant assumption that only their beliefs are reasonable, and that anyone who disagrees with them must accordingly be either stupid or mad.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Finishing Up The Spring Clean

While capable of being very witty and entertaining, John Zmirak can be too pessimistic.
A quick reflection from popular culture on the life and career of Henry VIII - 'What I am not given, I shall take!': Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna), 'The Godfather: Part III'.
Just as mean spirited British atheists aim to be the scourge and torment of the dying, Scottish civic nationalists aspire to be the scourge of the sick. The idea that the hospitalised sick and their visitors should be charged the price of a cup of tea is the type of trash that only a sick civilisation conditioned to worship money as its god, as Scotland does, could produce. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, they sure reformed the hell out of us.
Just as there is no voting in Heaven, there is no lobbying in Hell.
I am troubed as to whether asking the question 'Can a country be reborn?' can be considered blasphemy. Countries are not born, but coagulate. Once dead, they cannot be resurrected; every attempt to do so results in violence. Even asking the question seems to infuse the nation state with an almost divine aura which it most certainly does not deserve.
A brother might seem to be in need of prayers for healing. Catastrophic mid-life crises can affect anyone. One can only hope he ends this folly.
Just as one can only hope this story is true.
Neil Clark has posted a piece of criticism with which it is hard to disagree.
It is difficult to imagine Australia ever turning into the Prussia of the Pacific.
Having written extensively, indeed almost exclusively, about immigration at some points in the past, the nature of the changes I have undergone over the last three years have been making me rethink many past positions.
And then one reads Austen Ivereigh calling for an amnesty for illegals; one does not switch back to default immediately, but it's definitely two steps forward, one step back. Mr. Ivereigh has a history of litigiousness, so one should be careful what one says - but I am gravely disturbed about the Catholic Church being identified with any policy or group that could be said to condone lawbreaking, or seek reward for it.
David Lindsay has posted an admirable analysis of Baroness Thatcher and her career, with which one fully agrees.
The Church in Kerala faces the double whammy of Hindu nationalism; and Marxism. According to Private Eye, Issue 1235, Mass intentions made in the West are outsourced to India for performance. In the past, one would have seen this as being offensive; now, it invokes nothing but shame. That our poor persecuted brothers and sisters in India make the effort to pray for us - for us, of all unworthy people - makes one realise how little one has ever done for them. That's going to change. My late and much beloved maiden great aunt was a huge supporter of the Indian missions; and that was not forgotten, for her funeral was concelebrated by an Indian priest who happened to be staying in St. Peter's, Partick, in January 2007. Hopefully that good and faithful servant is now getting her reward for a long lifetime's simple devotion; may the souls she helped bring to Christ and who are now suffering persecution and martyrdom enjoy the same rest.
Yesterday was Vocations Sunday; another worthy cause to support.
Lastly, the ever kind and gracious PJ Mulvey has been on fire recently. Patrick's analysis of just what ails Mexico is bang on the money. It should not be forgotten that the martyrmaker Plutarco Calles was advised by the Polish shadow man Joseph Retinger - an historical figure crying out for a no holds barred biography.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spring Cleaning

As Shea says, sin makes you stupid.
I think I have remarked before that one of the Iraqi expedition's more profound consequences is that it will become very much more difficult for the United Kingdom to go to war ever again. When I was a neoconservative, I might have thought this a bad thing - now I don't. The life of the lowliest private soldier is infinitely more precious than all the world's wealth.
At all times and under all circumstances, Adam Smith's reputation must be maintained. Got that?
From its first flush of hope to its long flush down the toilet of history, New Labour has always been doomed. It paid more attention to the views and aspirations of well-born bright young things called Hilary and Georgia, rather than those of pensioners called Alf and Doris. It was a party for hippy chicks, not chippy hicks.
Oner day, I might be sufficently widely read to let stuff like this bother me.
Unmandated pan-Europeanism - a form of intellectual brain death suffered by people who used to be big wheels in small countries. The author's bacon seems well and truly smoked; when reading it, I got a vision of Christopher Lee as Saruman in 'The Two Towers', declaiming 'Our victory...is at hand!'
I'm afraid the whole Notre Dame scandal thing left me a bit cold. Pat Buchanan is asking the wrong question. Any institution which is not the Catholic Church can never be 'Catholic'. If they could be, we would not have Catholic schools whose alumnae seem to suffer catastrophic rates of lapsation and apostasy. As soon as the people who run the institutions stop paying attention to Catholicism, the 'Catholic' bit quickly disappears. This is not rocket science. If it weren't as sick as his comment about his daughter being 'punished with a baby', the idea of a 'Catholic' institution giving Stupor Mundi an honorary degree would be laughable. As The Great Georgetown Cover Up showed, The Name Of Our Lord has to go when he's around. This was a very much more shocking incident than Notre Dame, and, as you'd expect from a British media in love with this President because of the colour of his skin and not the content of his character, one that has been grossly under-reported over here. This was Stupor Mundi Mau-Mau-ing Our Lord, 'You be the job counselor. You be the "neighborhood organizer' becoming 'You be the saviour. You be the redeemer'. This guy is unwholesome.
Guy Dammann holds a unique place amongst 'Guardian' columnists - he is almost always interesting and thought-provoking.
There will be some libertarians who would view the recent re-organisation of English local government as being one small, short step away from them being implanted with computer chips so that the volume of air they can breath can be rationed by a bureaucrat.
If I thought it would make the slightest impact, I would point this guy in the direction of The Civilisation of Truth and Love.
Advocates of 'assisted suicide' seem to feel that death becomes them. This writer shows that silence would be equally becoming.
Commentaries like this one might one day be studied at universities; as part of a course entitled 'Cack Talked By Elitist Liberals 101'. One would have to think that a far more worthy effort than securing the vote for prisoners would be trying to get them to vote once they get out.
Comrade Tito shot a bear today! Our comrades in Tractor Factory Number 42 in Novosibirsk have exceeded their production quota! Comrade Mandelson has once again declared that 'Globalism has been good for everyone!' And those who 'comment' upon his declarations are nothing but a mob of reactionary running dogs and tango dancers!
Sadly, this posting was not an April Fool. Such news is the stuff of which revolutions are made.
Have Britain's young people been stupefied; or stupidified;? I can't decide.
Define irony; Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister 30 years ago tomorrow. The United Kingdom had endured several years of economic hardship caused by militant trade unionism, including, at one point, a three day working week. The ideological revolution she set in motion has resulted in - possibly a three day working week.
'Coveting' - a why not to guide.
As if the Irish didn't have enough on their plates to deal with, they will also have to suffer the attentions of British accountants through absolutely no fault of their own. Save them, O Lord, from the wrath of the beancounters!
Mean spirited and nasty British atheists - the scourge and torment of the dying.
Yet another really nasty piece of evil perpetrated by man upon his fellow man in the West of Scotland.
Why do the secularists and atheists reject the idea that a wafer can't save you from death, but a very thin piece of rubber can? Does not compute.
I might be doing him a great dis-service, but Kenneth Baker always gave me the creeps. He still does.
Pride - kills you every time.
The criticism levelled at Tony Blair by Charles Moore, a fellow convert to Catholicism, would carry very much greater weight if he were not such a slavish devotee of the determinedly un-Christian doctrines of Thatcherism, even to the extent of becoming Baroness Thatcher's official Maggieographer. This was Mr. Moore's second turn round the block on this subject; one wonders just how well our converts are being catechised.
Scottish civic nationalism has revealed itself as just another ideology to which nothing is sacred. It is gratifying to see that its wilder indulgences are not being tolerated.
Given that he has been already been prosecuted, condemned, reprieved and acquitted, the question of whether John Demjanjuk is now just being persecuted is a troubling one.
The spirit of Pavlik Morozov walks the Earth.
And on that cheerful note, I might get this exercise finished tomorrow.