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It’s not just Corbyn

This revolting creature is very much in the news. A former spy claims that back in the ‘80s he ran our PM-to-be as an asset of the StB, the Czech branch of the KGB.

The only thing that surprises me in this utterly plausible story is that Corbyn is supposed to have taken money for his services. One would think he’d be happy to serve his ideology free of charge.

This awful word is often confused with other, good ones, such as convictions, religion or philosophy. That potentially damaging misapprehension must be straightened out before it’s too late.

Ideology is virtual faith without God, virtual rationalism without reason and virtual morality without morals. As such, it’s always pernicious, regardless of its declared aims, slogans or institutional symbols.

While always clear on what they hate, ideologues are often hazy on what they love – and hazier still on what they’ll do if their ideology emerges victorious. That is, after they’ve sorted out their enemies, destroyed the institutions they detest and ditched the policies they dislike.

An ideologue may be a fire-eating patriot. But in deed, rather than word, he’ll remain one for only as long as his country conforms to his ideology. If not, he’ll side with his co-ideologues even if they are his country’s enemies.

If accused of treason, he’ll be righteously indignant, as Corbyn is now. He, and only he, wants what’s best for his country. If a push from the country’s enemies is needed to get it on the right track, he’ll collaborate with the enemies while remaining a patriot in his own eyes.

In that spirit Corbyn has collaborated in various ways with just about everyone seeking to subvert Britain or, more broadly, the West: the IRA; Hamas; Hezbollah; obvious Soviet fronts, such as the World Peace Organisation or the CND; Chavez and his heirs.

Reclaiming Falklands was a “Tory plot”; the killing of bin Laden was “a tragedy”; Nato is “a threat to world peace”. Thus his acting as a communist asset looks natural. He himself was – and remains – a communist, loving everything other communists love and hating everything they hate.

There’s no past tense to ‘communist’. Espousing that evil ideology in one’s mature years takes a certain temperamental predisposition, which doesn’t change with age. Communism isn’t an opinion. It’s a character trait.

That’s why I’m always suspicious of ‘ex-communists’ who see the conservative light late in life. Changing one’s hat doesn’t change one’s head.

To Corbyn’s credit, he doesn’t even pretend to be anything other than what he is. Any member of the British Communist Party would happily sign his name to every policy Corbyn proposes and will act on in the tragic, and eminently possible, event he becomes prime minister.

Lest this might be construed as an attack specifically on communism, note what I said above: all ideologies are pernicious. If they aren’t, they’re not ideologies but something else.

That’s why it’s worrying to observe typological similarities between our hard left, as exemplified by Corbyn, and hard right, people who upset me by calling themselves conservatives.

British hard right overlap with Corbyn in his hatred of Nato. He hates it because Nato’s raison d’être was collective security in the face of Russia’s communist threat. They hate it because Nato’s raison d’être is collective security in the face of Putin’s kleptofascist threat.

Like Corbyn, the pseudo-conservative hard right are driven by an ideology. Hence they, like him, support Britain’s enemies, in their case Putin’s Russia.

Corbyn loved communist Russia because it was animated by hatred of the same things he hated. The hard right love Putin’s Russia because it seems to be animated by hatred of the same things they hate.

Blinded by their ideology, they don’t realise that, though Putin may hate all the same things, he hates them for a different reason, which makes all the difference in (and for) the world.

Putin does loathe both Nato and the EU, but not because they may be internationalist threats to Britain’s national identity. He loathes them because they’re obstacles in the way of his kleptofascist ambitions, prime among which is the restoration of the Soviet empire in a different guise.

I’m astounded every time I hear hard right ideologues advocate leaving not only the EU but also Nato. The EU is a wicked, mendacious contrivance, and Britain should get out for any number of rational and moral, which is to say non-ideological, reasons.

But Nato is the only reason communist Russia didn’t overrun Europe, including Britain, in the post-war years. This doesn’t mean that Nato is pristine in every sense.

That Nato is also an instrument of American imperialism is beyond question. But then the help Britain gratefully received from America in the two world wars wasn’t offered for altruistic reasons either.

It’s just that the goals of US imperialism coincided with Britain’s interests then, as they do now. Surely those hard right ideologues don’t think Britain is now capable of defending herself on her own?

Or do they realistically think that any British government will ever be able or willing to increase the defence budget exponentially? The point is, they don’t think about anything realistically. They think about everything ideologically.

In the name of his ideology Corbyn is willing to excuse the hideous crimes committed by his co-ideologues. What’s a mountain of corpses if ‘social justice’ sits atop?

In the name of their ideology, the hard left are just as willing to excuse the hideous crimes committed in Putin’s Russia. What does it matter as long as he professes to hate all the same things they hate, be it the EU, Nato or the Muslims?

None so blind as those who won’t see. The British hard left denied the Soviet threat, and the British hard right deny Putin’s threat.

So what, they say, if Putin attacks Nato’s Baltic members. That only threatens us if we remain in Nato. If we’re out, we’re safe.

One eagerly awaits their referring to Putin’s geopolitical ambitions as “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”. Paul Valéry was right: history teaches nothing.

Some of it is sheer ignorance. For example, though the hard left correctly identify the Islamisation of Europe as an existential threat, they incorrectly see Putin as an ally.

In fact, his most trusted and sinister lieutenant is Ramzan Kadyrov, appointed by Putin to run the Muslim Chechnya – and much of Moscow’s organised crime, spilling over into the West. Kadyrov is implicated not only in the 2015 murder of the opposition politician Nemtsov, but also in the 2013 attack on the Boston Marathon.

Yet ideologues are ignorant ideologically. They don’t know because they don’t want to know.

Hence they closed their eyes on the unspeakable crimes committed by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot. The information was available, but they didn’t want it lest it might compromise their ideology. Similarly, they either deny or claim ignorance of Putin’s crimes – the kind of ideology doesn’t matter.

They should all come together under the slogan “Ideologues of all kinds unite. You have nothing to lose but your minds.”

Tom Daley, perfect mother for our time

Or is it a perfect father? With homosexual couples it’s hard to tell, although the problem isn’t insurmountable.

Richard Littlejohn pointed out the problem in his article, but he didn’t offer a solution. Being a positive man, I’m happy to suggest one.

But first a historical detour showing that the notion of a child having two fathers isn’t new. At the end of the twelfth century, 16-year-old Börte, wife of a young Mongolian chieftain Temüjin, was kidnapped by a hostile tribe. When Temüjin, soon to become Genghis Khan, recovered Börte a year or so later, she was pregnant.

Yet, ignoring biological probability, Genghis declared her son Jochi his own and promised to impale anyone who disagreed. Nonetheless, Mongolian mauvaises langues slyly called Jochi “a son of two fathers” behind his, and wisely Genghis’s, back.

However, diver Daley and their [sic] spouse have added a new twist to this ancient story of two fathers to one child. “They,” as the press has announced, “are expecting a child.”

Diver Daley describes themself as their husband’s wife, which suggests that they has cast themself in the permanent role of mother. That betokens gender pigeonholing out of tune with our progressive times.

The whole point of homomarriage is freedom of choice, isn’t it? The previous 5,000 years of recorded history were troglodyte in their staunch denial of this basic human right.

However, after a campaign heroically led by that quintessential Tory Dave Cameron, homomarriage was finally legalised in 2013. Since then freedom of choice has made giant strides.

Now any person of any age can choose any sex – sorry, I mean gender – from the list of 11 options. And whatever choice they makes (I hope this is proper grammar, but one can never be sure), they is then entitled to marry any other person, whatever their choice of gender.

Diver Daley’s insistence on describing themself as a wife betokens a retreat into gender stereotyping, which is akin to admitting defeat. It also deprives both spouses of a chance to experience motherhood and fatherhood at the same time – and how many of you have had such an exciting opportunity?

So here’s a simple solution: diver Daley could be the child’s mother on the odd days of the week and their spouse on the even ones. And on Sunday the roles could be assigned by a coin toss.

The spouse whose turn it is to play mummy can wear a dress, lingerie and high heels, switching to man’s clothes the next day. (If you’ve heard the prison joke with the line “So do you want to be mummy or do you want to be daddy?”, I hope you’ll keep it to yourself. Nobody wants to hear such smut.)

The child may be slightly confused, but the upside will be their early exposure to true progress and the redemptive value of free choice. By the time they grows up, they may be in a position to choose not only their gender but also their species.

At this point one could abandon levity for gravity. One could talk about the perverse nature of modernity. One could even try to explain its roots, such as the abandonment of Judaeo-Christian morality and replacing it with the only possible alternative, in the West at any rate: no morality at all.

At a weak moment one could even talk about the essentially destructive desiderata of modernity, hell-bent on trying to knock out every cornerstone of Christendom, such as religion itself and its social expression, the family.

The possibilities are endless, and I’ve taken advantage of them on many occasions. But what strikes me now is the ghostly, phantom nature of modernity.

It’s as if in a few short years we’ve moved into a virtual world inhabited by virtual people and animated by virtual ideas.

In the past, ideas, good or bad, reflected life. At present, life is forced to reflect ideas, invariably bad. It’s as if virtual reality has been slapped together to conform to anything clever creatures think up, and stupid  creatures clamour for.

Now Littlejohn usually displays the kind of common sense that has become most uncommon. Here too he says “Please don’t pretend the two dads are the new normal” and insists that children are better off when raised by a man and a woman.

Yet at the same time he makes misguided concessions to virtual reality, belying his common or any other sense. In one sentence he preempts a charge of homophobia and commits a factual error:

“I supported civil partnerships long before it was fashionable and I’d rather children were fostered by loving gay couples than condemned to rot in state-run institutions, where they face a better-than-average chance of being abused.”

The first part of the sentence evokes the image of a textbook anti-Semite claiming “Some of my best friends are Jewish”. Fine, Richard, you’ve established your progressive credentials – while forgetting that actions have consequences.

One inevitable consequence of legalising what until the past few decades was considered a mortal sin is an entry ticket into virtual reality. That, irrespective of the form such legalisation takes. Recognising civil homopartnerships removes a logical objection to recognising homomarriages – just as recognising female priests defangs any subsequent objections to female bishops.

The second part of Littlejohn’s sentence defies many things, including facts. First, one may disagree that “loving gay couples” are better for children than state-run institutions where they may be abused.

That’s certainly a possibility, but does Littlejohn preclude abuse by “loving gay couples”? Moreover, one can argue that being raised by two homosexuals ipso facto constitutes abuse, whose psychological damage hasn’t yet had the time to be properly assessed.

Be that as it may, this situation doesn’t apply to this particular loving couple. Even accepting Littlejohn’s assertion on faith, it would only matter if diver Daley’s child were adopted. But it’s not.

As the ultrasound images of the foetus prove, the proud future parents commissioned a surrogate mother, to be impregnated by some natural or unnatural method. Without this, the baby wouldn’t exist and thus wouldn’t run the risk of falling into the clutches of “state-run institutions”.

Anyway, congratulations to the happy parents, with commiserations to their future baby – and bitter tears shed for actual, sane reality now lost.

Can someone make sense on Brexit? Please?

One distinguishing feature of today’s politics is its puerile intellectual content.

If you wish to contest this observation, consider how the Brexit debates are conducted on both sides. Or if you wish to narrow the sample down, look at Boris Johnson’s speech.

Mr Johnson set out to reconcile the irreconcilable: leaving and remaining. The two aren’t just semantic opposites – they’re mutually exclusive existentially.

Just imagine a woman telling her husband at a party that she didn’t really want to come in the first place because his friends are all drunken louts and their wives are all sluts, and now that everyone is well and truly pissed it’s time to go home before somebody pukes on her dress.

At this point they either leave or, if the husband puts his foot down, stay. What they can’t do is find an accommodation between the two options. It’s an either… or proposition, not both… and.

Yet Mr Johnson, with his supposedly gigantic intellect, tried to put forth an argument that defied Euclid and vindicated Lobachevsky. Parallel lines can converge. It’s possible to get out and still stay in.

Typical of politicians, including those blessed with a gigantic intellect, he said many things that go without saying and didn’t say things that must be said.

Falling in the former category is Mr Johnson’s Solomonic assurance that we don’t need to be so bolshie as to renounce all EU regulations wholesale. If some of them benefit us post-Brexit, he explained, we can keep them – provided it’s our decision and not the EU’s.

Does this mean that, if the EU mandates that one must have an umbrella when going out on a rainy day, we’ll comply because it’s a jolly good idea? We won’t get drenched just to spite the EU? Good to know.

Thanks, Boris, for making this clear: some of our regulations will inevitably coincide with the EU’s. And, if a political body issues thousands of regulations, dozens of them will make sense on statistical probability. Now tell us something we don’t know.

Then he spun out the economic argument in favour of leaving, which always gets my dander up. We won’t become more insular as a result of Brexit, promised Mr Johnson. Quite the opposite: Britain will “go global”.

Considering the retaliatory measures threatened by the EU, which amount to trade war, we’ll pretty much have to, won’t we? Otherwise we’ll have no one to trade with.

The EU mendaciously describes itself as a free-trade zone, whereas in fact it’s a protectionist bloc. It’s as if we’d slap tariffs on all foreign trade, while having none on trade between Somerset and Gloucestershire, and then boast that this proves our commitment to free trade.

Are we going to be better off by reducing our trade with the EU while acquiring greater liberty to pursue it elsewhere? Possibly. Possibly not. I don’t really know and neither does anybody else, including our pundit cum foreign secretary.

The difference between him and me is that I don’t really care. Or rather I do, but not in the context of this discussion.

The moment this debate is dragged into economics, it stops being intelligent and becomes ideological. Because no one can really predict the economic consequences of Brexit, the door is open wide enough to drive an ideological juggernaut through.

I remember the pathetic arguments in the run-up to the referendum, with one side arguing that Brexit would cost each family £457 a year, with the other side countering that, contrary to those malicious miscalculations, every family would be £429 better off.

The precise numerals were supposed to add weight to the argument, succeeding only in derailing the train of sound thought. Irrelevant if true, would have been the proper response. Go on crunching numbers if such is your wont, as long as we understand that this has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

What Mr Johnson should have said, but didn’t, is that Brexit isn’t a cheese that can be either hard or soft. At issue isn’t relative wealth and poverty but absolute sovereignty.

On this there can be no compromise and no reconciliation. Either Britain regains her sovereignty or she becomes a province in a single European state bossed by the likes of my friend Junk (as Jean-Claude Juncker insists I call him).

The other day Junk had one too many, as he does every day, and denied any intention to create such a state. Nothing is further from our mind, declared Junk, blurring his words ever so slightly.

He has to be right on that. Single European state? Perish the thought. All Junk and his jolly friends want is a single currency, single set of laws, single army, single foreign and economic policy, single immigration rules and – above all – a single president. But a single state? Never.

The only thing that emerges with crystal clarity out of this exchange is that Boris wants to be a future Prime Minister of Britain and Junk doesn’t want to be just a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Worthy ambitions, both, but again neither has anything to do with anything.

What Mr Johnson should have said, but didn’t, is that of course we care about the economic well-being of the British people. But 17 million Britons didn’t vote for Brexit because they wanted to become rich. They did so because they wanted to become free.

So by all means, let’s talk about trade, free or otherwise or anything in between, but only after the only relevant aspect of Brexit has been settled: sovereignty.

This, according to the will of the British people, must be regained, and the only way to do so is to leave the EU effective immediately. Not in two years. Not even in a year. Now.

That done, do let’s have friendly and, one hopes, productive talks about trade, regulations, immigration or the relative merits of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. But first things first.

One tell-tale sign of an intellect, especially a gigantic one, is the ability to strip a seemingly complex issue down to its core and express this in clear terms. The ability to spin out waffle that obfuscates without elucidating doesn’t quite qualify.

“Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear”

Environmental activist Darrell Waterford obviously never heard this song from The Threepenny Opera. Or else he wasn’t paying attention to the first line of the lyrics.

Unencumbered by the information conveyed therein, the young Greenpeacer expressed his love of all living things by hugging a great white shark in the Indian Ocean.

If he expected reciprocity, none ensued. Perhaps the shark didn’t fancy him or simply objected to getting physical on first date. It’s also possible that she had kept abreast of the #MeToo campaign against unsolicited hugs.

One way or another, the shark emphasised her absence of consent by tearing off the young man’s right arm. Mercifully, even though he lost a lot of blood Darrell survived. But he won’t hug anyone else in a hurry.

Somewhere in a far recess of my character lurks the objectionable chap who can’t contain his schadenfreude. After all, just as a man trying to hug an unwilling woman should expect a slap in the face, a man trying to hug a feral creature should expect a sanguinary response.

Modern obsession with nature sits side by side with other affronts to our civilisation, such as socialism in any of its variants, Islam and other Eastern religions (when practised in the West), unvarnished materialism, Ayn Rand and so forth.

Our attitude to nature used to follow Genesis 1:27-30. Only man is created in the image of God. Everything else is there merely to serve man.

Theologians would argue that, by incarnating in a physical, human shape, God sanctified nature and matter in general. But that doesn’t change the ascending pecking order: nature is only sacred because man is; man is only sacred because God is.

This simple understanding was blown to pieces by the first shots fired in the French Revolution. Man was no longer seen as created in anyone’s image. He was simply a more complex part of nature than, say, a slug. A few decades later Darwin explained how that worked, to the satisfaction of the newly dumbed-down masses.

His contemporary scientists acknowledged that nature is rationally knowable because it functions according to rational laws. Yet somehow they then committed the logical solecism of denying that the existence of rational laws presupposes the existence of a rational law-giver.

So fine, there’s no God. But where did the rational laws come from? What’s the source of that ratio?

Sooner or later the moderns were inexorably driven to the conclusion that it was nature itself that possesses reason. They thereby left the domain of logical solecism and entered one of sheer lunacy.

Deifying nature was of course old hat. When some religious feeling was still extant, Spinosa, while denying the existence of a personal God, postulated the identity of God and nature. Later this blend of heresy cum philosophy was called pantheism.

When the very notion of any kind of divinity became infra dig, pantheism developed into romantic, secular adoration of nature. This led to a gradual disappearance of the line separating man from beast.

If all parts of nature partook in some universal reason divorced from God and therefore man, then animals are also sapient, albeit less so than we are. In that case it’s only logical to assign to them human characteristics including natural rights.

This anthropomorphism run riot is progressive, in the same sense in which a disease can be progressive. By now it has progressed to a point where vegetarianism, which used to be regarded as a psychological quirk, is believed to occupy a high moral plateau.

Interestingly, this and other forms of hysterical secular sentimentalism have strictly urban origins. Those who are in day-to-day contact with nature, farmers and peasants, even if they aren’t familiar with Genesis 1:27-30, treat animals in exactly its spirit.

I remember my Italian landlord, a farmer who did agriturismo as a side line. One day Sergio proudly took Penelope and me through his farm.

He led us to a fat cow and outlined with his finger where different cuts of beef came from: “This is filetto di manzo, this is bistecca alla fiorentina…” Sergio then picked up a cute little rabbit by its ears and explained with a gentle smile: “Al forno con patate.” How many youngsters would wince at such heartless utilitarianism?

These days every perversion has to find a political expression. Hence we no longer just love animals: we see them as political entities endowed with rights, even in the absence of attendant responsibilities.

And in 2001 ‘philosopher’ Peter Singer even allowed that humans and animals can have “mutually satisfying” sexual relations because “we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes.” Therefore such sex “ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.” Good news for some shepherds, bad news for poor Mrs Singer.

So, even without intending to go all the way, why not hug a shark as a protest against shark fin soup? Why not reaffirm one’s commitment to shark rights?

Ask Darrell.

 

Manny mollifies Muslims

Amazing how a spate of terrorist acts can promote a desire for national cohesion.

A few hundred murders, and suddenly the French are dismayed that most of their 6,000,000 Muslims live in ghettos. They only ever venture out to join rallies under the slogan of “Nique la France!” (f*** France) or else have some fun with explosives and AKs.

After three generations of de facto apartheid, this is their principal way of interacting with their fellow Frenchmen. But Manny, his self-confidence expertly nurtured by his foster mother Brigitte, won’t take it lying down. He’ll take it standing up – on a rostrum, making speeches.

His buzz neologism is ‘structuration’ of Islam, meaning weaving it into France’s social fabric in such a way that Muslims talk to their infidel neighbours rather than shoot them.

A fairly tall order, one would think, but 56 per cent of the French disagree. In a rare outburst of collective Stockholm syndrome, they think that Islam is perfectly compatible with the values of French society.

Two years ago exactly the same proportion thought otherwise, but we should never underestimate the mind-shaping potential of a few AK bursts. Muslims become more compatible with French values in direct proportion to the number of rounds they fire at French people.

Manny resembles JFK in believing that his youthful energy can overcome any obstacle. No job too big or too small (to mess up, in JFK’s case).

So how does Manny plan to succeed where every one of his predecessors has failed, not to mention every other president or prime minister in what used to be Christendom? They’ve all tried, only to come a cropper.

Surely Manny must have a plan hatched by his active brain egged on by his foster mother Brigitte? And so he does:

“My goal is to rediscover what lies at the heart of laïcité, the possibility of being able to believe as not to believe, in order to preserve national cohesion and the possibility of having free consciousness.”

That sounds like a fact-finding mission rather than a plan for action. What exactly are you planning to do, Manny?

Er… we’ll fight fundamentalism by integrating Islamic religious practice into French life. Splendid, Manny. But how do you propose to do that?

You’ll know after I’ve done it, was Manny’s reply to the people most of whom voted for him. Those who worship at the altar of democracy may find this response by an elected official rather unsatisfactory.

The Interior Ministry was slightly more forthcoming. The plan is for the state to start training imams and funding their mosques, thereby hoping to “reduce the influence of the Arab countries, which prevent French Islam from returning to modernity”.

In other words, it’ll now be the state’s task to teach imams how to be imams and Muslims how to be Muslims. All I can say is good luck, Manny.

This is a thorny path with many natural obstacles along the way. One such is the word ‘return’ in the Interior Ministry’s quote. The verb means going back to an earlier point. Therein lies the trouble.

Islam can’t ‘return’ to modernity for the simple reason that it has never been there. Modernity promotes, in theory at least, free discussion, something that hasn’t existed in Islam for at least 800 years even in a severely abbreviated form.

Forty generations of imams, caliphs and emirs have realised that an invitation to discuss is an invitation to doubt, which isn’t something their patchwork quilt of a religion can withstand.

What’s there to discuss anyway? We’ve got the Koran which is immutable and true in every letter. So, if the Koran tells us in 300-odd verses to kill or at least shun infidels, mainly Christians and Jews, then that’s what we’ll do. And if someone doesn’t agree, he’s an apostate who must be stoned to death.

That’s what being a good Muslim means. The only way for him to become a good Frenchman is to become a bad Muslim or no Muslim at all, with all the social or even physical risks such a metamorphosis may entail.

Then again, how does this desire to incorporate Islamic worship into secular life tally with France’s much-vaunted laïcité, the bedrock of French life since 1905? Such complete separation of religion from state affairs seems to preclude the state from assuming the role of a nationalised Mullah. (Having said that, the Eiffel tower does have the makings of a natural minaret.)

If I were a French Catholic, I’d be up in arms. And what am I, chopped foie? What’s sauce for l’oie is sauce for le jars. Fair is fair.

So how about incorporating Christianity into French life? How about the state funding seminaries and churches? So that each priest has one parish, rather than 30 or even 40, as is widespread in la France profonde? How about preventing churches from going to rack and ruin?

I’d be curious how Manny would answer such questions. I suppose that depends on how uncharacteristically honest he wants to be. If our hypothetical French Catholic posed such questions, Manny would probably say something noncommittal.

But speaking to his foster mother Brigitte in private, he’d tell the truth. If Christians want Christianity to be ‘structurated’ into French life, they should blow up a few buses and shoot up a few crowds. Learn from the Muslims, chaps. That’s what comparative religion is all about.

P.S. I’m still awaiting applications for membership in the Charles Martel Society for Multiculturalism, of which I’m the founder, president and so far sole member.

“There was no Russian Revolution”

I often have Peter Hitchens in my crosshairs. I wouldn’t bother if his musings about Russia were just ignorant: popular education isn’t my task. However, I consider it my duty to counter Putin’s propaganda, for, if unchallenged, it can do harm to Britain.

Putin’s propaganda is what Hitchens, well, propagates unfailingly. Whether he does this wittingly or unwittingly is a biographical fact of interest only to his friends and family. It’s the upshot that matters.

His latest opus explains the Russian Revolution in 300 words or less. Now brevity may be the soul of wit, but not in Hitchens’s hands – certainly not when he touches upon this subject.

But do let’s allow the master to speak for himself: “Germany, funnelling gold through the sinister middleman Parvus Helphand, financed and organised the Bolshevik putsch in Russia which has ever since been wrongly called the Russian Revolution. They even arranged for the maniac Vladimir Lenin to travel to Russia.”

This passage may strike you as factually correct. And so it is, textually. However, when propaganda is spun out by an expert, it’s often not the text but subtext that carries the burden of message.

Russian chauvinists obsessed with imperial aspirations always struggle with the need to explain the Bolshevik takeover and the cannibalistic regime it produced. After all, no other major nation in history, not even Nazi Germany, has ever managed to convert the whole country into a giant concentration camp, murdering 60 million in the process.

Yet Russian imperialism isn’t just any old land grab. It’s messianic: Russia is the Third Rome, whose noble mission is to spread wide her moral purity and unrivalled spirituality.

Such a claim requires substantiation, which, alas, has always been wanting, and especially after 1917. Thus the Russian Revolution must be not just explained, but explained away.

If the Russians are so saintly, spiritual and kind-hearted, an inquisitive audience might ask, then how come they [a long list of Bolshevik monstrosities]. Anyone still with a stake in preaching Holy Russia has only one option.

He must object that the Russians had nothing to do with the long list of Bolshevik monstrosities, nor indeed with the Russian Revolution. It was shoved down their throats by aliens who somehow landed from an unidentified planet to do their dirty deed.

The two groups usually put forth as candidates for this role are the Germans and, especially mellifluous to the Russian ear, the Jews. That makes Parvus a godsend: he blends the two in his own person. That’s why he’s a pet scapegoat of Russian chauvinists, especially those who, like Solzhenitsyn, like blaming Jews.

A minor quibble: he wasn’t named Parvus Helphand, as Hitchens calls him. His name was Alexander Helphand, and ‘Parvus’ was his nom de révolution. Therefore he was Parvus or Helphand or Alexander ‘Parvus’ Helphand, but not Parvus Helphand.

However, he undeniably did the things Hitchens mentions. As an international financier, Parvus had wide connections, reaching all the way to the German General Staff. He used those to mediate the transfer of German gold into Bolshevik coffers and of Lenin to Russia.

The Germans jumped at the chance to knock one adversary out of the war and, in Churchill’s apt description, “transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia”. Yet this doesn’t mean that what the Bolsheviks then perpetrated wasn’t a Russian revolution.

With equal justification Hitchens might say the American Revolution was in fact French. France, after all, played a similar role then as Germany did 141 years later.

For the financier Parvus read the playwright Beaumarchais. The author of Figaro acted as the middle man in the transfer of arms from France to the insurgents. Without those supplies, the Continental Army would have been routed.

Not only that, but French generals, such as Rochambeau and Lafayette, actually led insurgent armies in battle. So shall we refer to that event as the French, rather than American, Revolution? Or perhaps, since that name is already taken, Gallic Revolution?

Of course not. That would be an asinine oversimplification of a complex and multifarious historical process. The Revolution came out of the whole history of the colonies, and it was indeed American – this, though France’s help was much more critical than Germany’s help to Lenin.

For, by April, when Lenin rode that notorious sealed train to Russia, the country’s statehood had already been two months since crushed by a revolution in which the Bolsheviks had had no part.

Nor did they foresee it. A few months earlier Lenin had written “we, old men, won’t see the decisive battles of the coming revolution”. It was the February Revolution that made him seek a way back to Russia – enter the German General Staff.

Hitchens has his own take on that event: “Russia (as almost everyone forgets) was a democracy at the time. Lenin crushed that freedom with German-financed bayonets.”

I’m grateful for that ‘almost’. He graciously allows that some of us are privy to a few particles of Hitchens’s own gnostic knowledge. But democracy? Freedom?

If that’s how Hitchens sees the February-October interregnum, he should really read up on it. I’d be pleased to recommend a reading list.

Then he’d learn that, though Russia had a technically democratic Provisional Government at the time, it was no more a democracy then than, say, Iraq was after 2003.

Russia’s weak, ineffectual but legal state had been smashed to pieces, and the country sank into a blood-soaked chaos. The socialist Soviets formed a kind of duopoly with the government, but neither had any real power. The Red Guards, who later unseated the Provisional Government, came together then, and they went on a rampage.

Expropriations began immediately, with most factories nationalised and effectively put out of business. Those who worked there went on strikes, but to no avail.

The paralysed countryside stopped producing – or at least delivering food to the cities. Since the tsar’s government had introduced a wartime prohibition, the peasants chose the more profitable option of converting their grain into moonshine.

The cities starved, and they were overrun by gangs – especially since the Provisional Government had opened the doors of prisons. A bacchanal of murder, rape and robbery descended, and ransacking the cities were gangs of criminals, Red Guards, soldiers and sailors (the soldiers didn’t want to go to the front and the sailors couldn’t – the German navy had sealed the Baltic ports).

There was no law enforcement left: policemen were being shot out of hand, and those who survived were in hiding. Famine started, accompanied by murderous epidemics, and upper-class ladies were swapping diamonds for some flour. Bread was in short supply, but blood flowed freely.

Such were the eight months of “freedom and democracy” that Lenin “crushed with German-financed bayonets”. German gold didn’t buy the bayonets: they came free and willing. It did buy more propaganda than the Bolsheviks were already spewing out. That certainly helped – but not as much as Russian chauvinists like to claim.

The Revolution was a larger-scale version of what Pushkin described as the “Russian riot, senseless and merciless”, and what Lenin channelled to serve his evil ends. Not to see this takes profound ignorance of history in general and especially Russian history, along with the urge to blame anyone other than the Russians.

Or else it takes a wilful attempt to preach Putin’s official line. “The German government,” continues Hitchens, “cared nothing for the fate of the Russian people, whom they casually condemned to 70 years of state-sponsored murder and oppression.”

This portrays the Russians as innocent victims, who only unleashed an orgy of violence because the Germans had told them so. But I’m particularly interested in the numeral.

Let’s see, 70 years after 1917 gets us to 1987, the cut-off point beyond which murder and oppression vanished. The Soviet Union still had four years left, but it magically stopped being murderous and oppressive.

But what’s a couple of years here and there among friends? What Hitchens really means is that there has been no murder and oppression since 2000, when Putin came to power.

Never mind hundreds of dissenting journalists and politicians murdered, imprisoned or maimed by Putin’s stormtroopers. Quashed freedom of speech. Tens of thousands killed in aggressive wars. Massive theft of Russia’s national resources, with the proceeds laundered through Western banks by Putin’s gang.

Putin is the shining light leading Russia to the democracy, saintliness and spirituality she so tragically lost through no fault of her own because of the ghastly Germans. QED.

Hitchens is at pains to disclaim regularly that he isn’t paid by any Russian institution. Possibly. But one wonders how different his writing would be if he were.

The other side of the socialist coin

Contrary to the popular misapprehension, opposites never converge. If they appear to do so, they’re only misconstrued to be opposites.

Thus the fundamental opposite of secular socialist collectivism isn’t really secular dog-eat-dog capitalism. It’s Christianity, with its accent on free will and therefore on the freedom of the sovereign individual.

That’s why secular modernists, whatever they call themselves, and whether they glorify capitalists or shoot them, are united in their rejection, nay hatred, of whatever little of Christianity is left in our civilisation. They’re modern first and anything else a distant second.

The history of the West shows that only the Judaeo-Christian way of life can counterbalance the destructive, and self-destructive, power of either capitalism or socialism – or any conceivable combination thereof.

Remove Christianity from capitalism, and sooner or later it’ll converge with some kind of socialism, be it national, international, democratic, moderate or fascist. The convergence first manifests itself culturally and spiritually, by systematically empowering the state and eventually fusing it with big corporations. And then capitalism can become a snake devouring even its own economic tail.

Step by step, capitalists are squeezed out of capitalism, replaced by corporatists indistinguishable in their mentality and modus operandi from state officials. Witness the ease with which today’s politicians effortlessly become corporate executives and vice versa.

Socialists the world over insist that their creed is the ultimate Marx-given truth, regrettably perverted by the Soviets and just about everyone else who has ever tried it in earnest. Similarly, the apostles of spiritually denatured capitalism blame its social and cultural failures on the insufficient doctrinal purity of its practitioners.

Both refuse to accept that all such problems spring from congenital defects, not transient contagions. Then again, by ousting Christianity the West has lost not only a unifying morality but also the very reason in the name of which modernity was inaugurated.

Only this can explain the continuing influence of Ayn Rand (d. 1982), whose fusion of what I call totalitarian economism (viewing life mainly from the economic perspective), soulless rationalism, political libertarianism and hysterical atheism has claimed an army of followers.

Rand was the archangel of crude materialism, the nexus at which all strands of modernity converge. While feeble in her intellectual constructs and, for a bestselling novelist, an astonishingly incompetent writer, she was a natural fisher of souls, claiming many disciples who instantly fell under her spell.

For example, Rand exerted a formative influence on Alan Greenspan, the Virgin to her Gabriel, who in his position of Federal Reserve boss was one of the principal architects of the 2008 crisis. Even today this objectionable woman still claims apostles, most no doubt attracted by her fanatical championing of free enterprise über alles.

Few are repelled by Rand’s strident tone or the way in which she fuses the values of cutthroat capitalism with fascistic philosophy and aesthetics. At the centre of all her musings stands the fiscally virile superman, towering over a godless world made in his image.

This is couched in the literary equivalent of Nazi and Soviet paintings depicting, respectively, a muscle-bound chap sporting swastika insignia or a muscle-bound chap raising high the hammer and sickle. Replace those attributes with a balance sheet, keeping every other detail intact, and Rand’s clumsily painted picture will be complete.

To reinforce the parallel, whenever Rand delivered herself of views on religion, she matched the hateful rhetoric of her Satanic contemporaries, such as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler.

Nor did she defer to them in the hysterical pitch of her effluvia, except that she chose as the object of such outpourings the übermensch defined in economic terms, rather than those of race or class.

While mocking religion, Rand slapped together her own philosophy she called ‘objectivism’. This was supposed to be the antithesis to ‘subjectivism’, a contrast much favoured by the communists who are house-trained to claim exclusive access to ‘objective’ truth.

This new philosophy is neither new nor has anything to do with philosophy. It’s Enlightenment positivism liberally laced with utilitarianism and stripped to its materialist core.

By way of an alternative to Christendom, humanists suggest a dispassionate calculation of self-interest based on reason. In a way it’s a revival of Platonic ethics: people, if properly taught, can learn to tell right from wrong simply by using rational thinking.

Everyone is supposed to be intelligent enough to be moral enough. Hence selfishness must be moderated only inasmuch as it doesn’t pay, not because the Church says so.

Private vices are no longer seen as inhibitors of public virtue. Like in arithmetic, where two minuses multiplied produce a plus, in social life too tossing a mass of private vices into the crucible of the new order is supposed to smelt them into one overriding collective virtue.

That’s the basic premise of Rand’s objectivism. She despised altruism in any form, be it public welfare, private charity or simple compassion. Amazingly, she found a moral content in the old adage of every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.

The fallacy Rand sold to the public was that the sum total of naked self-interests could by itself produce public good. Hers was the politico-economic answer to alchemy: the gold of goodness could be extracted from the pig iron of crude or even wicked pursuits.

Alas, we’ve found the hard way that simply adding millions of private self-interests together doesn’t produce public virtue. It produces instead a frantic traffic in buying and selling with no red lights (except those found in the district known for such fixtures) and with morality as the burnt-out cars by the roadside.

All this is easy enough to understand because it’s easy enough to observe. What I find incomprehensible is that Rand’s acolytes see themselves as conservatives. I can understand their calling themselves libertarian: most libertarians I’ve met seek liberation not just from the state, but also from any religious, cultural or intellectual authority.

But conservative? Whatever these chaps seek to conserve, it’s certainly not the two millennia of our civilisation. One can begin to understand Rand’s enduring popularity in the US, a country founded on Enlightenment principles, where conservatism is seen as a full synonym of economic libertarianism.

However, one would think that British conservatives would dismiss Rand’s strident utilitarianism with contempt. Alas, British conservatism is going the way of all flesh, with its place taken by various US hand-me-downs, such as neoconservatism or libertarianism.

Rand too is gaining popularity, with a group led by Razi Ginzberg setting up the Ayn Rand Centre. “She portrays… man as he ought to be,” explains this sorely misguided young man.

That would be true if we agreed that man ought to be a deracinated barbarian with no cultural or religious roots, who rejects everything our civilisation has produced except material progress, an animal so focused on the pursuit of fiscal happiness that he doesn’t care how many bodies he stamps on or steps over en route.

Mr Ginzberg would do well to remember that people with his kind of surname were in his grandparents’ generation exterminated en masse by goal-oriented savages similarly unconstrained by any tethers of Judaeo-Christian morality.

That’s what you get, Mr Ginsberg, when you reduce humanity to humanism. With no identifiable end, only the means are left – and they justify nothing. For, when man becomes a Homo economicus, he stops being a Homo sapiens. He loses his reason, morality and ultimately his humanity.

Is the Chairman Catholic?

Chairman Xi Jinping, soon to be beatified in the Catholic Church

Whenever a Church dignitary is about to pontificate (as it were) on matters political or economic, I wince before the first word is even uttered. And when I realise that he plans to elucidate such issues in the light of Catholic doctrine, the wince becomes a grimace of pain.

The other day Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, turned pain into agony. His Excellency praised Communist China for being “extraordinary” in “best implementing the social doctrine of the Church.”

This statement betokens cosmic ignorance not only of quotidian matters, which is par for the course, but even of the aforementioned social doctrine, which isn’t.

The bishop believes the communist butchers amply justify such accolades: “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs”. What they do have is a “positive national conscience”.

I don’t know how widely he has travelled in China, but I do know that I haven’t travelled there at all. Hence I shan’t dispute the claim about shanty towns, although I doubt it on general principle. But His Excellency is absolutely right about drugs.

When Mao took over in 1949, there were 70 million junkies in China. Mao recognised that as a problem and threatened to execute anyone taking drugs. With communists, such promises never remain empty for long.

After whole armies of addicts were shot, the rest were miraculously cured, thus giving the lie to the claim that addiction is a disease. No legitimate disease I can think of, such as cancer, arthritis or emphysema, can be cured by a threat. A cancer patient can’t decide to stop having his condition, but a drug addict apparently can.

Thankful as we should all be to Mao for clarifying this sticking point and dealing with this pandemic problem, some of us, though evidently not the bishop, may object to his methods.

Sticklers for theological fine points may even doubt that mass executions conform to Catholic social teaching. They can, however, undeniably go a long way towards shaping a “positive national conscience”, especially if used widely and indiscriminately.

The bishop also admires China because there “the economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States…”

Yes, it’s indeed awful when the economy dominates politics. There’s only one thing worse than that: it’s when politics dominates the economy – as is the case in all communist countries, China included.

World domination is the political aim of all communist regimes, but their means may differ. Comrades Stalin and Mao preferred military conquest involving nuclear weapons if necessary. Xi Jinping relies on the carrot of economic expansion, keeping the military stick behind his back for the time being. His politics still dominates the economy, but in a subtler way.

If His Excellence doesn’t know much about such things, as he obviously doesn’t, only two reasonable options exist. One, he should learn; two, he should shut up. Mouthing bilge isn’t a reasonable option.

What else? Oh yes, the Paris Climate Accord, which the US has left, but China is upholding. “In that,” declared the prelate, “it is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.”

First, equating a dubious project based on little scientific evidence with morality is definitely ridiculous and, in a Catholic priest, possibly even heretical. But leaving this aside, one wonders how deeply His Excellence has studied this subject.

Even though the US, led by that notorious Antichrist Trump, has thumbed its nose at the Paris Accord, it has been steadily reducing its CO2 outputs. On the other hand China, led by the saintly Xi, is far and away the worst polluter in the world, responsible for about a third of all CO2 emissions – and fast increasing their volume.

Sure enough, the communists do support the Accord verbally. But don’t actions speak louder than words? Or perhaps the good bishop is more Augustinian than Thomist in that he believes in predestination impervious to good works.

What is proselytism if not teaching truth to the uninitiated? In that spirit, the bishop spruced up his message with a dollop of didacticism: “What people don’t realise is that the central value in China is work, work, work. There’s no other way, fundamentally it is like St Paul said: he who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.”

Well, at least His Excellence is familiar with scriptural sources, if nothing else. If he also knew something about China, other than what communist propagandists told him, he’d know that the reverse of the Pauline adage doesn’t work there.

Millions of people who “work, work, work” don’t eat, eat, eat. A small bowl of rice, possibly with some fish heads, is still the mainstay of daily diet for many hard workers there. The situation has improved slightly from Mao’s time, but it’s still abysmal.

And, if the bishop had studied the history of communism, he’d know that St Paul’s quote was mockingly used in Russia by overseers of hard-labour camps, where millions died of starvation. Even though I doubt the Chinese butchers refer to Scripture much, I’m sure they often convey the same idea in the same spirit.

I’d welcome a chance to query the good bishop on such points of Catholic social teaching as subsidiarity and the right to life.

The former involves devolving power to the lowest sensible level. Ecclesiastically, this means empowering parish priests to do their work without much meddling from the Vatican. Politically, this means the small non-intrusive state.

Christianity in China is pretty much underground, so ecclesiastical subsidiarity doesn’t apply. And politically, China’s omnipotent central state ruling by diktat has little to do with subsidiarity.

I’d also ask how China’s one-child policy, only now being slightly relaxed, fits into the Catholic concept of right to life – especially since it involves mandatory culling of millions of foetuses, mostly female.

All told, perhaps it’s premature to nominate Xi for beatification, with the subsequent canonisation fast-tracked. But Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo may disagree.

EU talks Turkey

Erdogan and another future EU member

The EU is woven out of a tissue of lies, but they aren’t the same kind of lies.

Some are plain silly, such as that the EU, formed in 1992, has kept peace in Europe since 1945. Even assuming that this organisation can miraculously have a pacifying effect retroactively, this is a lie on many levels.

First, as denizens of Yugoslavia (remember it?) will testify, there has been no pan-European peace. What the Euro liars mean is that Germany hasn’t invaded France since 1945. Then why don’t they say so?

And why don’t they admit that the EU has nothing to do with such restraint? Post-war Germany has been deprived of any wherewithal to attack anybody, much less France that possesses a nuclear deterrent.

Any threat of post-war invasion came from the Soviet Union (aka Russia), and that was prevented not by the might of the EU, formed in 1992, but again by a nuclear deterrent, this time provided by NATO, formed in 1949.

Some other lies are perfidious, such as the one about the purely economic objectives pursued by the EU. In fact, as Jean Monnet and other founders were saying back in the ‘40s, when the EU was merely a twinkle in their eye, their aim was to form a single European state. This was to be achieved by a series of incremental steps, each sold to the credulous public as merely economic.

There are many other lies as well, such as that Germany doesn’t play a leading role in the EU. Yet one lie stands out as the most disgusting. The EU, claim its champions, picks up where the Holy Roman Empire left off.

Since most EU functionaries have gone to good schools, they can’t be so ignorant as to believe this nonsense. They must count on their audiences’ ignorance, and not without reason.

Medieval Europe was indeed united – in Christendom. Nationality implied no deep divisions then, as it does now. Italy, Germany and France, for example, can each justifiably claim Thomas Aquinas as their own. And the ethnically German Albertus Magnus, St Thomas’s teacher, spent most of his life in France.

Europe at the time had a single currency in precious metals, and educated Europeans conversed in a single language, Latin. But they were ultimately united in neither their money nor their language. They were united in Christ.

It was Christianity that made ethnic divisions trivial. Europeans perceived themselves as brothers at a level that transcended all others. They were united by what today’s barbarians call ‘values’.

The EU is also united by its ‘values’: powerlust, soulless materialism, socialist utopia of a single world government. These came to the fore during the Enlightenment, which etymologically derives from Lucifer, the original enlightener whose name means just that.

The EU thus doesn’t just deny the traditions of Christendom; it makes a mockery of them. Thus its claim of being heir to the medieval glory of Europe is a cynical lie.

To prove this point, Junk (as Jean-Claude Juncker is known to his friends) and Dusk (Donald Tusk), heads respectively of the European Commission and the European Council, will meet Turkey’s dictator Erdoğan to discuss Turkey’s admission to the EU.

The meeting will take place on 26 March in the Bulgarian city of Varna. Bulgaria is an excellent choice of venue, considering that back in 1876 the Turks massacred thousands of Bulgarians in the name of Allah.

Bulgaria must have been chosen in preference to other places capable of laying claim to the honour. Austria, for example, could qualify, for it was at the gates of Vienna in 1683 that the Polish king Jan Sobieski managed to defeat the Ottoman hordes, thereby saving Europe from being overrun.

One country that heaved a sigh of relief must have been Hungary, where the brutal Ottoman occupation had decimated the Christian population and destroyed medieval Hungary, along with thousands of lives. So Hungary too could be a suitable meeting place.

But my personal favourite would be Armenia, where fond memories of the Turks are of more recent provenance. For in 1915, the Ottomans, inspired by the Young Turks, founders of the modern Turkish state, systematically massacred 1.5 million Armenians – with Allah smiling benevolently from high above.

So, if the EU is brought together by shared ‘values’, exactly which of them does Turkey share? How can a Muslim country ruled by a brutal dictatorial regime, and having only five per cent of her territory in Europe, even remotely be described as European?

Springing to mind is Göring, who once said, in response to a Gestapo inquiry about his second-in-command Field-Marshal Milch, a suspected Jew: “At my headquarters I decide who’s a Jew and who isn’t.” Junk could paraphrase by saying: “In the EU I decide who’s European and who isn’t.”

Hence Junk could draw into the union such impeccably European countries as Saudi Arabia and Iran. They too could be seen as sharing EU ‘values’, the real ones, that is.

The EU is trying to undo the cataclysmic damage caused by an influx of Muslim migrants travelling to Europe through Turkey. The EU is paying Turkey billions every year to stem the flow, and perhaps even reroute some of it back where it came from. Clearly, EU membership is part of the payment for that service.

This misses a vital point. The arrival of a hundred thousand more Syrians here or there would damage Europe severely, but arguably not quite yet beyond recognition. The potential arrival of millions of Muslim Turks, however, would have exactly that effect.

Turkey is a country of 76 million. How many of them will prefer Burgundy or Bavaria to Anatolia? I don’t know. More important, neither do Junk and Angie.

The latter in particular should ponder the disruptive social and cultural (not to mention criminal) effect made by the half a million Turks already living in Germany. What if a modest 10 per cent of Turkey’s population decide to settle in Europe, which they’ll be entitled to do? Or shall we consider a perfectly realistic 20 per cent? Fifteen million Muslims?

Europe will become many things, but one thing it definitely won’t remain is European. And it’s not that Junk, Dusk, Manny and Angie don’t realise this. It’s just that they don’t care.

This kind of talking Turkey emphasises the true values unifying the EU. Its leaders would happily destroy Europe for the sake of preserving the European Union. One just hopes we’ll eventually break free of this wicked contrivance.

Transgender child of God

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. voted last Saturday to stop using “gendered pronouns” for God.

To “remove all obstacles” for “transgender” participation in worship, the Book of Common Prayer will be bowdler…, sorry, I mean revised to excise all gender-specific references, replacing them with words “drawn from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition…”

This brings to mind Hilaire Belloc’s 1938 book The Great Heresies. There Belloc analysed the greatest heretical threats in the history of Christianity. Specifically, he focused on the Arians, Muslims, Albigensians – and Protestants.

Now even some enemies of Protestantism may deny that it’s a heresy. But even friends of Protestantism can’t deny its potential for encouraging heresy. And even ardent exponents of Protestantism can’t deny its sectarian factionalism – this is borne out by the existence of over 30,000 Protestant sects.

The upshot of it is that one can’t talk about the Protestant Church. The term would presuppose the unity of doctrine and dogma, which is nowhere in evidence. At best, one may talk about Protestant churches – at worst, only about Protestant sects.

The Anglican Church, specifically its High end, has always clung to its ecclesiastical roots in Catholicism. Its communicants describe themselves as Anglo-Catholics.

Considering that some of my best friends are High Anglican priests, I shan’t attack this claim too fiercely. In its structure and liturgy, High Anglicanism has indeed kept one foot in the Western ecclesiastical tradition. But the other foot is buried in Protestantism all the way up to its ankle.

Hence even the Anglican Church can’t resist the heretical temptation of keeping up with secular perversions. This explains its female priesthood and episcopate, tasteless and tone-deaf rewritings of scriptural texts, using pop music at liturgy, Holy Communion administered by laymen (alas, this is practised even in some Catholic churches), increasingly lax stand on homosexuality and homosexual marriage – and general kowtowing to the more objectionable demands of modernity.

Since the US Episcopalian Church is in communion with the Church of England, it’s hardly surprising that it treads the same path to perdition, but at a brisker pace reflecting the dynamic, can-do American personality.

Thus it outdoes the C of E in stepping towards, and in this case over, the line beyond which heresy lies. For, in its nauseating attempt to mollycoddle champions of non-binary sexes (11 of them by last count), those DC chaps effectively deny the Incarnation.

Thereby they openly admit they aren’t Christians. That rather disqualifies them from holding their positions, regardless of how upstanding they are in other respects.

It’s possible to be a good person without being a Christian, but it’s impossible to be a good Christian without being a Christian. And the definition of a Christian surely has to include belief in Jesus, the Son of God in whom the second person of the Trinity assumed a human form to redeem our sins by agonising death on the Cross.

The second person of the Trinity incarnated as a man, disdaining female and non-binary possibilities. Denying this obvious fact is tantamount to denying that the physical Incarnation ever took place.

This takes us into the area of Docetism, one of the earliest heresies, identified as such at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. (Docetism insists that Jesus’s human form was a mere illusion, a phantom, which is what the word means in Greek.)

Refusing to describe Jesus as the Son of God or refer to him as He is therefore either Docetism or atheism – take your pick.

In Christian theology, Jesus isn’t only the Son of God, but also God the Son, of the same essence as God the Father. Thus countless references to God as a Father are justified not only theologically but also logically. He was a father twice over, and denying this is perfectly fine – as long as the denier doesn’t call himself a Christian.

The statement issued by the diocese identifies Jesus as the third person of the Trinity, which is staggering ignorance on the part of those who are supposed to have studied and preached Christian doctrine for years. Given that, one shouldn’t be surprised at their equal ignorance in identifying the mission of churches: “Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond.”

They do need to respond, but not by going with the secular flow. The proper response would be identifying various sex anomalies as mortal sins and opening a path to repentance and redemption. ‘Transgender’ persons must be welcomed into the church, but on the church’s terms, not their own.

Anyway, those DC chaps aren’t just ignorant and heretical. They’re also stupid in that they can’t see obvious logical incongruities.

To wit, they don’t mind ‘gender-specific’ pronouns when they’re female. As a lifelong champion of egalitarianism, I have to protest. Fair is fair: if Jesus isn’t a he, then none of the Marys, including the Virgin, is a she.

It’s hard for me to penetrate the mind of a non-binary person, but logically it (they? – one can get terribly confused with those things) should be equally offended by masculine and feminine pronouns. Even-handedness in taking offence has to be one of those inalienable rights.

In trying to be all-inclusive, the DC diocese will only succeed in being all-exclusive. Perhaps their objective is to re-enact the Exodus of Jews from Egypt and, if so, I’m sure their triumph will be as soaring as that of their British co-communicants.

British Anglicans are fleeing churches, secure in the knowledge that there’s no pharaoh in pursuit, nor any sea to cross. In general, churches that try to attract Christians by being less Christian only succeed in having less of a turnout come Sunday morning.

They could do worse than heed the words of the great Jesuit Matteo Ricci (d. 1610): “Simus, ut sumus, aut non simus” (We shall remain as we are or we shall not remain at all).