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Living argument against democracy

Comrade Corbyn is just five points below Mrs May in the latest polls. That means he could realistically become PM on 8 June, which would be the greatest electoral catastrophe this country has ever suffered.

That’s the beauty of one-man-one-vote franchise: vital political decisions are made by people least qualified to make them.

The polls effectively show that almost 40 per cent of Her Majesty’s subjects don’t feel like remaining Her Majesty’s subjects. They’d rather live in a communist republic, if preferably without the concentration camps.

They must believe that the government should be the country’s only economically active body. The rest of the economy must be either nationalised or put under tight state control.

They must feel that our public spending must be increased in line with taxation becoming well-nigh confiscatory.

They must be convinced that, rather than having some people who are better off than others, all must be equally poor – except for the government functionaries.

They must yearn nostalgically for the time Britain was more or less run by the unions: grease monkeys acting as éminences grises.

They must feel that we need more of the same policies that have destroyed our education and healthcare.

They must believe that, rather than admitting too many immigrants, we’re admitting too few – especially those who detest everything that makes Britain British.

They must share Corbyn’s love for the IRA and Hezbollah, along with his hatred for the Jews.

They must wish to get rid of our nuclear deterrent, leaving us at the mercy of any foreign aggressor, especially one that has nuclear weapons.

A third of the electorate must hope that jihadists will have a free hand – that’s the percentage of those who trust Corbyn to make the right decisions to keep Britain safe from terrorism. This, although he has consistently voted against every anti-terrorist measure to come up for vote, 59 of them.

They must crave to be governed by a man who proudly cites Marx and Trotsky as his inspirations – and acts accordingly.

Then again, they may not think any of those things. They very well may be too stupid or too thoroughly corrupted to be capable of any thought worthy of the name. It’s entirely possible that their swing in the polls was caused by a kneejerk reaction to something in the Tory manifesto.

Please realise the enormity of the situation: if their knee jerks in the same direction again, we may have a vicious, degenerate communist at 10 Downing Street, working studiously to destroy the country as best he can.

Whoever has decided that important decisions should be arrived at by a simple show of hands has a lot to answer for. If you take two statements, majority is always right, and majority is never right, then the second is much closer to the truth.

Surely everyone must see that there’s something wrong with a political system that unfailingly throws up vacuous nonentities at best and the likes of Corbyn at worst? Have we been so thoroughly brainwashed that we get up and salute whenever Democracy (always implicitly capitalised) is run up the pole?

The average Intelligence Quotient in Britain is under 100 and, if they measured the quotient of political knowledge and understanding, it would be way below that – all the way down to the level of mental retardation. And yet we trust the average voter to determine our present, our future, our life.

If we must, by all means do let’s have a democratic element in the government mix. But making this element predominant or, even worse, exclusive is sheer madness.

No business of more than three employees will ever establish major policies by majority decision. Yet we somehow think that a method that would fail in running a car-repair shop could succeed in running a country of 60-odd million. This isn’t just counterintuitive. It’s mad – demonstrably so.

This line of thought often runs into an ignorant and vulgar objection, along the lines of there being no reasonable alternative to this democracy run riot. Inevitably the Churchill quip is cited: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

This one-liner from the master of the genre is widely quoted not so much for its wit as for its intrinsic truth. Alas, wit can often obscure truth. Churchill came closer to the truth when suggesting that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Though both a staunch monarchist and a committed parliamentarian, Churchill clearly didn’t believe he was living a double life. To him there was no contradiction in a strong monarchy being balanced by an elected lower house, with the hereditary upper chamber making sure the balance didn’t tip too much to either side.

This is what Churchill meant by democracy – not the present free-for-all Walpurgisnacht, with the bland electing the bland. Hence it’s disingenuous to use his quote when defending a system that may well raise Corbyn to the top.

Shall we still praise democracy if people vote themselves into slavery? This is unlikely to happen on 8 June. But the very fact that it may happen is the strongest argument against what Tocqueville called ‘the tyranny of the majority”.

Ban drugs, stop terrorism

That’s the conclusion one is supposed to reach reading some experts. Instead of acknowledging the real cause of Islamic terrorism, which is Islam, they peddle spurious explanations that do nothing but obfuscate the issue.

Commentators range from medically ignorant (e.g. Peter Hitchens, who knows next to nothing about psychiatry) to quite learned (e.g. Dr Max Pemberton, who knows quite a lot). Yet both types are equally wrong.

Towards the end of his long and learned article (Potheads: is marijuana a factor in jihadi murders?) Dr Pemberton inadvertently wrote 18 words that invalidated the previous 2,000: “Of course, I am not suggesting cannabis use can turn someone into a suicide bomber or a terrorist.”

Good. So what is he suggesting? That immoderate use of cannabis may have undesirable psychiatric effects? But everybody knows this, and some of us have even observed it in our friends or, in my case, colleagues.

That one sentence appears after a protracted explanation of how smoking pot can make a person psychotic. Since 1,000 words are supposed to be worse than one picture, the article features 12 of them, all of Muslim terrorists known to be cannabis users.

Does this mean there’s a causal effect? But Dr Pemberton himself says there isn’t, albeit towards the end of the piece.

It’s just that those 18 words were written by an honest man protecting his intellectual integrity. The rest of the article came from a propagandist wishing to leave us with a virtual explanation – in the hope that we’ll then desist from probing any further to reach the real explanation: Islam.

This virtual explanation confuses cause and effect. These Muslims don’t become mass murderers because they smoke weed. Muslim recruiters choose them for such missions because they fit a certain psychological profile, one of whose features may be cannabis use.

Suppose for the sake of argument that you wished to recruit a youngster willing to blow himself up in a crowd of people. What sort of a person would you look for? An intelligent, stable, well-adjusted individual?

A bookish young teetotaller pondering the influence Avicenna and Averroes exerted on European scholasticism? A bluestocking devoting her life to investigating symbolism in poems by Hafiz and Omar Khayyam? Or an alcoholic, drug-addled dropout like Abedi? Quite.

A terrorist’s unwinding habits would only matter if he were indeed a loner acting entirely of his own accord. If it could be shown that a significant proportion of such criminals smoked cannabis, then this information would be of interest.

But murderers like Abedi aren’t independently acting individuals. They are part of a worldwide conspiratorial network using them as delivery systems, or personified bombs if you’d rather.

Their function is no different from that of a suitcase hiding an airliner bomb or a rifle firing at a crowd. That’s why Dr Pemberton’s learned discourse is as irrelevant as he himself tacitly acknowledges.

It’s also possible that aspiring suicide bombers start taking drugs to overcome fear, which has to be dreadful. A well-balanced individual won’t blow himself up if he doesn’t have to – lust for life will prove too strong. For him to go on a suicide mission he has to be appropriately stimulated, and chemicals provide a useful boost to Muslim brainwashing.

Drugs have been used as such stimulants since time immemorial, to serve causes good or bad. For example, a pill called ‘West Coast Turnaround’ improves the efficiency of long-distance transportation in the United States by allegedly enabling a driver to go coast to coast and then immediately turn around and go all the way back.

A similar concoction (probably crystal meth, which has since acquired much street cred) kept Falklands pilots flying more numerous sorties than was prudent, which wasn’t the first time in history that the martial utility of drugs came into play.

Remember, for instance, the Viking berserks who gave rise to a good English word by munching magic mushrooms before battle, the Saracens who went on cannabis-inspired suicide missions behind the Crusaders’ lines, or the Soviet soldiers in penalty battalions who under the influence of pure ethanol would charge tanks with bayonets.

But none of those people did what they did because they used drugs. They used drugs to remove inhibitions, to make it easier for them to do what they wanted or had to do.

Ascribing suicide bombings to drugs betokens a deliberate refusal to face the real reasons, because doing so would eventually lead to taking intelligent, courageous action – or at least reaching intelligent, courageous conclusions. Our culture of multi-culti probity makes this impossible.

Dr Pemberton presents scientific, and Peter Hitchens emotive, arguments against legalising marijuana, and I for one agree with them – but not in this context. Ban cannabis or any other poison, and this won’t eliminate the poison of Islamic propaganda flooding the brains of young Muslims.

Not recognising this is disingenuous and not particularly clever. Worse still, it does untold harm to the cause of anti-terrorism. Correct action can only result from correct thought, which linking terrorism with drugs isn’t. Far from it.

Sure enough, it’s a Muslim

Yesterday, when the suicide bomber’s identity hadn’t yet been confirmed, I got it in one. Yet I can’t feel smug about my prescience: everybody knew it.

Salman Abedi was indeed a Muslim, British, a fanatic ManU supporter. Unfortunately, the football club wasn’t the only thing he was a fanatic supporter of.

The question is how this evil man found himself in a position to perpetrate his evil deed. This started with his father, a Libyan refugee who, having found Col. Gaddafi insufficiently Muslim, emigrated to Manchester where he sired two sons.

Then in 2011 he went back to fight Gaddafi on the side of those he considered adequately devout. Later these men got to be known as the Islamic State. Meanwhile his offspring were growing up in the part of Manchester known to the police as the IS recruiting grounds.

Salman Abedi demonstrably and his brother probably were indeed recruited, a mission whose success is testified to by the bomb that sprayed nails, nuts and bolts at a crowd of youngsters.

What has already acquired a slang name ‘dockyard confetti’ was sprayed over a crowd attending a concert by some pop singer called Ariana Grande, which The Mail finds significant: “The grim answer may lie in the fact that with her revealing stage outfits, her stockings, pink bunny ears and unabashed sexual confidence, 23-year-old Miss Grande is a symbol of everything Islamists hate.”

By the sound of her, Miss Grande is a symbol of everything I hate too. Yet I don’t strap explosives to my body to affirm my aesthetic preferences.

The paper makes the carnage sound almost like a form of musical criticism, whereas in fact it’s obvious that Abedi simply chose the biggest crowd he could find on that day. If a string quartet could attract a similar turnout, he would have struck at the Bridgewater Hall.

The papers are also filled with expressions of outrage, sorrow and condolences, all perfectly appropriate. Much less so are laments that a free society can do nothing to prevent such crimes.

These are accompanied by calculations supposed to prove the point. There are 3,500 known jihadists in Britain. At least 400 of them are battle-hardened veterans of Middle Eastern wars. These are known jihadists, not all of them.

By how much should we multiply this number to arrive at the real one? Every survey shows that at least 20 per cent of British Muslims sympathise with Islamic terrorism. That’s a million possible jihadists.

Do you know how many of them are under constant surveillance? Just seven. And you know why? Because it takes at least 20 officers to keep an eye on just one suspect round the clock. Multiply 20 by 3,500 or even 400 (never mind a million), and the sheer impossibility of this task becomes evident.

And surely we can’t act against those people preventively? That would be a violation of their civil liberties. Can’t have that.

Yes we can, and I can explain why in just four words: WE. ARE. AT. WAR.

No country in history has ever applied the same civil-liberties standards at wartime as at peacetime. Britain certainly hasn’t, as all those thousands of German refugees interred on the Isle of Man for the duration of the Second World War could testify.

Some of them were Jews already tortured in Nazi camps, yet Churchill’s order was unequivocal: “Collar the lot.” The country was at war.

As we are now – with one salient difference. When bombs were delivered by Luftwaffe pilots, everyone knew there was a war on. When bombs are delivered by ManU fans, this is presented as some sort of unavoidable force majeure, like a hurricane.

Islam has been at war with the West for 1,400 years. Even as the Hundred Years’ War didn’t feature a hundred years of continuous fighting, Islam’s war on us has had periods of flaring up and quieting down. But it has never stopped.

Islam is at one of its impassioned peaks now, which is partly something for which we have Messrs Bush and Blair to thank. But this mea culpa doesn’t change the fact that Islam is waging war on the West generally and Britain specifically.

Britain is ruled by laws, but none of them supersedes the law of self-preservation. Islam is at war with us, which means we’re at war with Islam. Not with terrorists, extremists or – as Peter Hitchens believes – alienated loners on marijuana. We’re at war with Islam, just like 77 years ago we were at war not with German pilots but with Germany.

Once we’ve acknowledged this fact, made even more factual by Abedi, legal objections to curtailing the jihadists’ civil liberties somehow begin to vanish, while specific measures begin to suggest themselves.

The 3,000 known jihadists (of whom Abedi was one) mustn’t be allowed to roam our streets. How they’re removed is a technical matter best left to experts. It could be internment, deportation, imprisonment, electronic tagging as a minimum. Personally, I wouldn’t even object to tactics perfected by the SAS. Whatever works.

The jihadist recruiters shouldn’t be allowed to poison young minds in Britain. Since they mostly operate through mosques, action must be taken against those.

Any of the 1,750 (!) mosques in which a single jihadist word has ever been uttered must be summarily shut down and ideally razed. Any imam or mullah who has ever uttered such a word must be treated as a traitor (if British) or as an enemy alien (if not).

The practice of Sharia law in Britain must be banned, along with such visible manifestations of Islam as the hijab. All Muslim immigration must be summarily stopped. Anyone who has taken part in Middle Eastern fighting must be barred from entry into Britain, regardless of the passport he carries.

If a terrorist act is committed, all members of the terrorist’s family must be regarded as culpable and dealt with appropriately. If a terrorist can be traced back to a foreign country, it must be punished: economically, diplomatically and, if needed, militarily.

In short, all Muslims must be treated as potential enemies.

Such blanket measures would have collateral damage but, as the French say, à la guerre comme à la guerre. The Germans suffered indiscriminately because their ruling ideology was at war with Britain. Muslims must suffer indiscriminately too, because their ruling ideology is at war with Britain.

So which of these or similar measures will be taken to ensure the safety of HM’s subjects? In broad strokes, none. Instead our leaders will compete with one another in delivering stern speeches with references to the spirit of the Blitz.

But during the Blitz the British didn’t just display indomitable spirit. They also bombed Berlin.

Massacre, Manchester, Muslims

The third element of this alliteration hasn’t yet been confirmed. But, taking a wild stab in the dark, one may suggest that no confirmation is necessary.

The Islamic modus operandi is unmistakable: a suicide bomber detonating an explosive device in the middle of a crowd. Fifty-nine injured, 22 dead. So far.

Only pious adherents of what our presidents and prime ministers idiotically call a religion of peace indulge in such peccadillos these days. Because their religion of peace orders them to do so.

Over 300 verses in the Koran explicitly call for murdering infidels, specifically Christians and Jews. That’s sheer ingratitude if you ask me. For it’s from their religions that Mohammed purloined various scraps he then stitched together into his patchwork quilt of a cult.

The explosions in Manchester provide a nice accompaniment to the worldwide cheers for the great deal the White House wheeler-dealer has signed in Saudi Arabia. He then went on to Israel and told the Israelis and the Palestinian murderers to do their own deal, of the peace variety. Splendid idea. Why didn’t they think of it?

This was done with all the appropriate props from central casting, including a yarmulke and a deeply spiritual expression sported at the Wailing Wall. I’m sure most Israelis – and most of us – would rather the president dispensed with the histrionics and instead stopped supplying billions’ worth of arms to the Muslims.

Iran is the current bogeyman, as if the Koran is worshipped by the Shiites only, as if only Iran trains, arms, finances and encourages murderers. Everybody, even including the cosmically ignorant president, knows that the Saudis are responsible for supporting global terrorism at least as much as the Iranians.

It was no accident that most of the chaps who flew those planes into the World Trade Centre were Saudis. They were after all sponsored by an organisation created and run by a Saudi, Osama bin Laden.

Nor is it a well-kept secret that many of the hundreds of Saudi princes are directly involved – so many that it’s almost certain that the Saudi government at least acquiesces in terrorism, more likely directly runs it.

Mr Trump is gloating. He has sold billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to a country that’s guaranteed to transfer millions of dollars’ worth of them to terrorists. But that part of the deal is no big deal – as long as the Saudis pretend they don’t support terrorism and we pretend we believe them.

As Mr Trump would no doubt say in his inimitably elegant manner, “Money talks, bulls**t walks.” He has lived his whole life by these wise words, so he isn’t going to do an about-face at age 70.

When the president returns to Washington, he’ll get a media equivalent of a Roman triumph, with headlines instead of rolling chariots and ratings instead of laurel wreaths. No doubt he’ll continue to extoll the virtues of the Arabs as opposed to the Iranians. No doubt he’ll have neither the brains nor the courage to put the blame for mass murder where it belongs: the Koran and the appalling cult using it as its scripture.

Expect more lying litanies about murderers being alienated loners high on drugs and low on the self-preservation instinct. They may shout “Allahu Akbar!”, but they don’t really mean it the way it sounds.

One wonders if the same criminal drivel will be spouted when a nuclear device goes off in the middle of a Western city, as it certainly will sooner or later. Will Islam still remain a religion of peace if a few orders of magnitude are added to the number of victims?

Possibly. Probably. Definitely. The stupidity and cowardice of our leaders neatly dovetail with our own totemistic cult, that of political correctness. All religions and all cultures are equally respectable, aren’t they? They have their culture, we have ours, who’s to say ours is better?

Our cultures are indeed different. The followers of ours flock to pop concerts. The followers of theirs blow themselves up together with a gaggle of teenagers at a pop concert. Ours is lamentable, theirs is criminal: big difference.

Since moral equivalence is a voguish buzz phrase, one could suggest that selling arms to Muslims of any kind is morally equivalent to selling arms to Hitler during the big war. But few of our rulers are capable of realising this. And none of those few perspicacious individuals has the courage to do anything about it.

I hope Mr Trump’s pride in his business acumen is in no way diminished by the sight of those mangled bodies. A few more irrefutable statements along the lines of peace good, war bad – and Bob’s your uncle. The slate is wiped clean of blood.

Manchester victims of yet another Muslim atrocity, RIP.

With Alpha, there’s no omega

The Alpha Course is making inroads into the heart of Western Christianity, the Catholic Church. This reminds us that, though the Church can resist any outside pressure, it’s vulnerable to heretical subversion.

That should worry not only Christians but also those I call Christianists: unbelievers who nonetheless acknowledge the irreplaceable utility of the Church as a social adhesive.

I have problems with that point of view. As atheists (or agnostics: a distinction without a difference), they have to believe that Christian doctrine is false. In that case, it’s both illogical and ahistorical to believe that a successful society can be built on that foundation.

Christianity is only useful if it is, or at least is commonly believed to be, true. Otherwise any social edifice using a falsehood as its foundation will be very rickety indeed. The whole structure will come down soon enough, and I shan’t bore you with a litany of historical examples testifying to that effect.

Yet that’s a different argument. For even those who see Christianity as merely a social or cultural institution have a vested interest in its continuing good health.

Contrary to a widespread belief, I don’t think rampant atheism threatens Christianity all that much. It doubtless causes numerical attrition, but as the first 12 apostles show, the truth isn’t a numbers game.

Atheism gnaws at the periphery of the faith without jeopardising its doctrinal core. This can only suffer serious damage from heresies – such as the Alpha Course. Now what makes it heretical?

Most people assume that a heresy puts forth a wrong proposition, or at least one that contradicts the orthodoxy altogether. That’s not quite true. In fact, most heresies aren’t wrong in their main belief.

Where they err is in trying to assign an unduly universal significance to that one idea, passing a part for the whole. This inevitably puts too much weight at one end of the seesaw, destroying the balance.

For example, it’s not wrong to assert that Christ is God, as Docetism did, and neither is it wrong to say he is a man, as Arianism did. It’s heretical, however, to deny the balance of the two, the dialectical yes-no-yes synthesis without which Christendom would not have come about.

Proposing a partial thesis as the essence of absolute truth makes any synthesis impossible. There is nothing to synthesise. The ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ aren’t resolved, they only tear each other apart. The balance no longer works, and religion is divided into mutually exclusive aspects.

The business of heretical, sectarian reason is choosing the fragments it finds attractive. On the other hand, the business of orthodox, catholic reason has always consisted in preserving all the pieces in their wholeness.

This is what the Alpha Course doesn’t do, and our antennae should start twitching before we even get down to the specifics. As is often the case, the style says practically all.

The original Alpha-men wrote: “We believe it is possible to learn about the Christian faith and have a lot of fun at the same time.” This is sheer vulgarity, a sin not mentioned among the cardinal seven, but potentially just as deadly.

Did the apostles have fun learning Christianity? Or teaching it? Not unless they suffered from extreme forms of masochism: they were scourged, stoned, imprisoned, chained, humiliated, and eventually all but one were martyred. Some fun.

Vulgarity naturally segues from form into content. Faith, teaches the Course, is a man’s decision. You decide to have it, and presto! – the Holy Spirit descends. And there I was, thinking it’s God who chooses a man, not vice versa.

One almost doesn’t have to delve any deeper, but do let’s look at a few other things. The Course is charismatic, which by itself makes it not only heretical but downright pagan. It encourages laughing uncontrollably, shaking, dancing, gyrating, screaming incoherently and speaking in tongues.

This glossolalial gloom is supposed to communicate the descent of the Holy Spirit, which hypostasis the Course grossly overemphasises to the detriment of the other two. “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?” is the principal question the Course is supposed to answer.

Why, by adlibbing an epileptic fit of course, there’s no other way. That’s how one feels the presence of the Spirit. But, if Christ is to be believed, it’s the truth that makes one free, not the feeling.

And the Course is rather sketchy on the subject of the truth. Specifically, while talking about love as being inherent to God, the Alpha-men say next to nothing about God’s wrath and last judgement.

Please, sir, what did Jesus mean when he said: “I came not to send peace, but a sword”? No answer.

They’re particularly weak on the nature of sin, which they define as doing something wrong. Original sin passes by them altogether, leaving the pupil wondering why Christ had to die in the first place. To teach his followers not to live what the Course calls “messed-up lives”?

The Course displays every classic feature of a heresy. It’s fragmentary, in that the Trinitarian God is mentioned only in passing, with an undue emphasis placed on the Holy Spirit alone. It’s unsound on doctrine, making it possible for a pupil to leave the Course without any clear understanding of God, Christ, the Cross, judgement and sin. And it’s ecumenical in the vulgar, PR sense – trying to put bums on pews, not to find common doctrinal ground for various confessions.

One expects that sort of thing from Protestantism, which by its very nature encourages sectarianism – witness its current 30,000 denominations. But the Catholic Church was supposed to be the last bastion of orthodoxy, in the West at least.

Well, if it is, the walls are beginning to crumble. Alpha leads to only one omega: destruction.

Labour certain to win on 8 June

Theresa May’s manifesto has caused gasps of delight in the conservative press, such as it is these days. The air is thick with adjectives like ‘honest’, ‘cautious yet bold’, ‘grown up’, ‘moral’ and even ‘Christian’.

Yet if our pundits took the trouble to get to the bottom of their enthusiasm, they’d realise that it’s mostly caused by the ABC of politics: Anything But Corbyn.

To some extent I share this apophatic approach to politics. I too have my eyes clouded with red mist whenever I picture Comrade Corbyn at 10 Downing Street.

However, I retain enough eyesight to see that Mrs May’s manifesto is pure Labour, albeit not of the strident variety favoured by Comrade Corbyn. Mayism isn’t Maoism – but neither is it conservatism.

Stripped of its sloganeering designed to purloin and pervert Christian morality, socialism is all about increasing state control over the individual. All types of socialism share this desideratum, and they only differ in the methods they choose to achieve it.

Mrs May is in the mainstream of non-violent European socialism, charting a course separate from sanguinary totalitarianism. But her course is parallel rather than perpendicular to Comrade Corbyn’s.

This starts with her style, which, as Georges-Louis Buffon said, is the man himself (or the woman herself, as it happens). She grossly overuses the phrase ‘ordinary working people’, which is the mainstream socialist for ‘the proletariat’.

The underlying assumption is that, say, a factory foreman working seven-hour shifts and then trotting ‘down the pub’ belongs to that saintly group, as distinct from a lawyer, a doctor or a businessman routinely putting in 90-hour weeks.

A businessman may actually build the factory in which the aforementioned foreman works, and yet to Mrs May it’s the latter and not the former who deserves special consideration. This is good demagoguery but bad economics. And it has nothing to do with conservatism.

Her proposed tax-and-spend policies are a case in point.

When the state begins to impose wage and price controls, tyranny wafts through the air. One doesn’t have to possess the olfactory sense of a wine taster to smell socialism in Mrs May’s planned cap on energy bills, especially when a rise in the national living wage is part of the bouquet.

Her decision to put off the elimination of the deficit until 2025 means she doesn’t even consider the remote possibility that this may ever be accomplished. In political terms, eight years from now means never.

Moreover, a balanced budget has to be achieved incrementally. If Mrs May were serious about this, she’d announce a massive reduction in public spending – now. Yet she’s announcing something quite different: a massive increase in spending, specifically in the number of billions thrown into the bottomless pit of the NHS.

At the same time she scraps her predecessor’s pledge not to increase income tax, VAT and national insurance ‘contributions’. Scrapping the pledge to reduce taxes means a guarantee to increase them, which is a Labour-punitive, not Conservative-sensible, measure: as Arthur Laffer explained, higher tax rates spell lower, not higher, public revenues.

All this comes under the umbrella of her economic philosophy: “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets.” Like most general statements, this may mean any number of things, from reasonable to appalling. It depends on how much ‘trammelling’ Mrs May envisages, and what kind.

A free market is an arena for a game with winners and losers. However, a civilised society shouldn’t allow people to lose too badly: even an out-and-out loser deserves a shelter and a bowl of soup simply because he’s created in the image and likeness of God (Mrs May is a vicar’s daughter after all).

Whether or not this goal is best achieved through the state’s good offices is debatable. I’d prefer to see private charities taking up the slack, although recent experience shows that the bigger such charities are, the more they operate like the state: serving not so much their supposed beneficiaries as themselves.

Still, people shouldn’t die of hunger, cold or neglect. If it takes some minimum ‘trammelling’ to achieve that, we ought to accept it stoically.

Also, the market game, like any other, should be played by the rules. This requires the presence of a referee, and only the state can play that role. Hence I wouldn’t object to ‘trammelling’ that precludes cartels, monopolies and price fixing. Because these take ‘free’ out of ‘market’ and thus hurt the consumer, such ‘trammelling’ would benefit markets the same way as pollarding benefits trees.

However, Mrs May’s proposed policies show that her take on trammelling involves the state acting in the capacity of active player, not merely referee. This goes against the amply proven conservative principle first enunciated by Edmund Burke: “the moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted.”

This type of subversion is pure Labour, and it’s certain to have adverse consequences not only internally but also in our Brexit negotiations. For Mrs May seems likely to increase corporate tax as part of her trammelling exercise.

This is exactly the opposite of what she should be doing if she really means to leave the EU on beneficial terms, or indeed at all.

It’s not only the inner logic of that wicked contrivance but indeed its stated intent that Britain should be punished for her temerity pour encourager les autres, as Jean-Claude Junk would say, now he has no use for English.

Yet Britain isn’t a schoolboy meekly accepting six of the best. We can fight back by counteracting any trade restrictions to be imposed by Junk and his jolly friends.

The best weapon at our disposal is to make doing business with and in Britain cheaper and easier. That surely means reducing rather than increasing corporate taxes, along with the number and severity of regulations.

When one gets down to it, Mrs May’s manifesto appears to be a cynical attempt to appeal to traditional Labour voters, ensuring thereby a large and lasting Tory majority.

Alas, the only thing that really appeals to traditional Labour voters is traditional Labour policies – and, even more important, traditional Labour philosophies.

This is what Mrs May has served up, thereby guaranteeing a Labour victory on 8 June. That this particular branch of the Labour Party paints itself blue rather than red is a purely chromatic difference.

The business of government

At various times in history, different professions have been regarded as the best preparation for government. Philosophers, theologians, warriors, priests, artists, intellectuals, lawyers have all been mentioned in that context.

Some of those prep professions still have their champions, although one doesn’t meet many Poles who fancy a concert pianist as their PM (Ignacy Paderewski held that post in 1919).

However, many American fans of President Trump swear that nothing prepares a man for a top political job better than a business career. They may have a point, though not in the sense they mean it.

Like Trump, modern governments finance their projects with other people’s money. If it works out, the government benefits, although not necessarily the other people. If not, the debts are written off – or indefinitely rescheduled, which amounts to the same thing.

The business equivalent is called bankruptcy or, in the US, protection under Chapter 11. That wipes the debt slate clean by letting creditors have whatever the businessman can afford to pay them. Ten cents to a dollar is seen as a victory for the creditor, 20 as a triumph.

If a businessman has kept enough of his borrowed loot for himself, he has no fear of lawsuits: a regiment of lawyers at his disposal can tie up a plaintiff in knots for years.

Modern governments don’t have to repay their debts, although they do have to service them, which they accomplish by borrowing or printing more money. That’s why they don’t mind spending more than they earn and running up debts in the trillions.

One has to admit that some respectable figures in the history of American business haven’t relied on the model so crudely outlined here. For example, unlike Trump, Henry Ford never boasted of his agility in using bankruptcy laws. And Bill Gates hasn’t been involved in thousands of lawsuits.

But then people like them are traditional businessmen, creators of products that make people’s lives more comfortable. They display their shrewdness by making products cheaper and better, not by playing Chapter 11 with Ignacy Paderewski’s virtuosity.

Trump is a different breed. He creates things like casinos for American mafiosi, golf courses for Russian ones and monuments to bad taste in Manhattan. His talent is talking others into chancy investments, and he doesn’t really care if the money comes from the KGB or the Salvation Army. That requires a wholly different set of qualities from those boasted by Messrs Ford and Gates.

Trump is discovering that at the moment, and also finding out that, certain similarities mentioned above notwithstanding, his type of business is different from government.

Trump’s career has been signposted by six bankruptcies, for him a source of pride. There have also been 3,500 lawsuits. Though in his line of work this is considered par for the course, he has fought more lawsuits than the next six biggest property developers combined.

Trump emerged at the other end relatively unscathed, avoiding not only the minimum security facility in Danbury, Connecticut (his colleagues’ frequent choice for prolonged holidays), but even excessive opprobrium. Large amounts of money seem to have redemptive value.

By applying his business experience to his new job, Trump effectively became a lame-duck president from his first days in office, probably the first man to boast that distinction.

In his iffy property empire all his charges worked for him. Now the situation has been reversed: in theory at least he works for his charges, not the other way around.

To make sure this arrangement isn’t merely theoretical, his charges can keep him in check through many institutions over which Trump has little or no control. For example, he can’t fire any of the 435 congressmen or 100 senators, much less the people who elected them.

He can fire heads of federal agencies but only at the risk of backfire if the execution was performed for spurious or corrupt reasons. He can wheel and deal with any foreign leaders he pleases, but only up to a point and not unaccountably.

Trump is also discovering that more rigorous moral standards are applied to his present job than to his previous one. It’s no longer enough for him to stay a whisker within the law or at least not to get caught when overstepping that line. A president is held down to higher standards than those demanded by criminal courts.

By sacking FBI head James Comey, Trump may have broken the law that proscribes obstruction of justice. Comey was leading an investigation into the questionable links between Trump’s campaign and Putin.

As a result of that investigation, Trump has had to part company with three of his closest associates, including National Security Advisor Gen. Flynn who lied about those contacts. According to Comey, Trump asked him not to proceed any further with Flynn because he’s “a good guy”.

That he may be, but someone who tries to sabotage a federal investigation is generally seen as not so good in the US. Comey has documented that request in a memo, though Trump denies all.

Then there’s the business of Trump divulging classified information to the KGB thug Lavrov, Foreign Minister to the KGB thug Putin, with whom Trump has had many profitable dealings.

As president, Trump can legally declassify any material, which he hastily pointed out. Matter closed, or rather it would have been in Trump’s previous (and concurrent) career. But here those higher standards kick in, and Trump is found wanting.

As a matter of courtesy, if not national security, he should have cleared his garrulous generosity with the intelligence agencies involved. Alas, Trump’s self-confidence is as boundless as is his affection for his friend Vlad.

Yet Vlad is certainly not America’s friend, which everybody but Trump and his advisors know. It’s unhealthy when a president’s interests diverge from his country’s.

Vlad’s response to the ensuing scandal amused me no end. “We can see that political schizophrenia is developing in the United States,” he said.

“We’re prepared to submit to the US Congress and Senate the transcript of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump. Of course only if the US administration wants it.”

Don’t know if the US administration wants it, but I certainly do. Even though I don’t read much fiction these days, this would be a masterpiece worthy of the Booker Prize, if not the Nobel.

The information carelessly, if not criminally, divulged concerns IS plans to blow up an American airliner with a bomb hidden in a computer notebook. Since the IS is in bed with Iran, which is Vlad’s client state, one struggles to accept Trump’s explanation that his generosity was proffered for “humanitarian reasons”.

Moreover, the information had come from an Israeli undercover agent, who has now been for all intents and purposes blown. But that doesn’t matter: Trump has dealt with Putin before, and he knows he can deal with him now.

In the past, those dealings were immoral, for Trump has financed some of his deals with Putin’s purloined and laundered cash. Now they may well be criminal – whatever the letter of the law says.

Trump’s fans claim that only left-wingers want to take him down. Well, I’m no left-winger, but I’m scared of what this illiterate chancer can do to the West his country supposedly leads.

He has already done us a great favour by keeping Hillary out of the White House. To preserve this legacy, he should go before he’s impeached. President Pence, anyone?

Alexander Pope was right

As the master of the English language said, a little learning is indeed a dangerous thing – specifically in the area of the English language. That observation was true then, and it’s even truer now.

These days every little bit of learning comes wrapped in ideology. An article by Oliver Kamm, the self-appointed language guru, is a case in point.

Having written many subversive articles on vocabulary and grammar, he has now turned his attention to phonetics. Ollie’s chief premise is Panglossian: anything people say and any way they say it is wonderful.

First he treats us to the profound observation that, objectively speaking, there’s no such thing as a more or less beautiful language. The judgement that, say, Italian, sounds better than, say, Dutch is subjective because all aesthetic judgements are.

This betrays ignorance of many disciplines, from aesthetics proper to physiology. A simple experiment could show that things aren’t quite so simple as they appear to young Ollie.

Lead someone who has never heard any classical music to the piano and play the basic triad first, then just put your fingers on the keyboard at random. The subject will unerringly say that the first is more beautiful than the second.

Repeat the experiment with any number of people, and the result will be the same. This hints at some objective criteria of beauty that are physiological and innate rather than cultural and acquired.

Having applied egalitarian principles to various languages, Ollie then narrows his focus specifically to English dialects. Here he leavens his notion of aesthetics with that of class struggle, with disastrous results.

Some people base their judgement of phonetic beauty or ugliness on “social connotations”, which Ollie thinks is wrong. Even as all languages are equally beautiful, so are all dialects.

“The word paint in cockney is the same sound as the word pint pronounced by a toff,” he writes, betraying his class-warrior’s mindset. For one doesn’t have to be a ‘toff’ to enunciate the difference between a pint of beer and a pot of paint.

One simply has to be sufficiently educated not to make what phoneticians call ‘relevant mistakes’, those that distort the meaning of a word. In any case, a cockney’s ‘paint’ doesn’t sound exactly the same as ‘pint’, but then Ollie’s tin ear is the aural reflection of his mind.

He goes on to explain why the social significance of accents is “a destructive myth. Some people who speak less-favoured dialects (say, Norfolk or Geordie) are embarrassed by their speech. They shouldn’t be… We should celebrate linguistic diversity rather than imagine our arbitrary tastes are established truths.”

It has to be said that the linguistic diversity of English is staggering. These rather small islands boast 50 major dialects and God only knows how many minor ones.

Moreover, some rural accents are so different from urban ones that people living in cities may have trouble understanding country folk from five miles away. For example, my wife, who grew up in Exeter, remembers a farmer from whom her family bought apples. Neither she nor her brother could understand a word he was saying, though the amiable intonation was unmistakable.

This diversity springs from England’s political and social history. However, the social and cultural significance of phonetic variants has changed over the centuries.

For example, when Dr Johnson came to London from Lichfield, he spoke with a Staffordshire accent, which he kept until death. Clearly he was under no social pressure to change his pronunciation to agree with some received standard.

Yet the situation changed in the very next century, when modernity vanquished decisively. One of its distinguishing features is a tendency towards political centralisation followed by general uniformity.

Hence regional accents became not just a geographical differentiator but also a social and cultural one. The Received Pronunciation reflected the upper middle class speech cultivated at public schools. The aristocrats added a few touches of their own, but these were minor. As were the phonetic differences separating the alumni of Eton from those of, say, Rugby.

In Victorian times, the regions became as marginalised phonetically as they were politically. The language of the cultural elite became the standard. Any deviation therefrom began to act as a social and economic brake.

Thus Shaw’s Edwardian girl Eliza Doolittle had to take elocution lessons because her cockney accent prevented her from getting a job at a flower shop. GBS’s art imitated life: people all over the country were getting rid of their iffy accents. Received Pronunciation became a social hoist.

How one feels about that development depends on how one feels about modernity. Political centralisation run riot is ultimately a factor of tyranny, and the same argument can be plausibly made about phonetics. Modernity destroys traditional, organic diversity in everything, certainly language.

However, we must deal with things as they are, not how they used to be. We may deplore our centralised society, but we can’t deny it exists. Moreover, political centralisation, its begetter, not only isn’t abating but is getting stronger, imposing uniformity of every other kind.

Given these conditions, lamentable as they may be, most educated Englishmen speak the same way regardless of where they come from. Most doesn’t mean all, and in fact one of the most educated men I know speaks with a Yorkshire accent. But by and large dialectal speech betrays a deficit of culture and education.

Modernity welcomes this: it abhors and tries to expunge not only tradition but also culture. Thus what used to be a celebration of genuine linguistic diversity has become yet another battering ram of modernity – precisely the politically correct flummery Ollie claims it isn’t.

If Dr Johnson came from Lichfield today, he wouldn’t speak with a Staffordshire accent – cultured people tend not to these days.

The neo-diversity Ollie defends isn’t traditional and therefore organic but ideological and therefore artificial. To the likes of him not only all accents are supposed to be equal, but also all tastes, all opinions, all judgements. No absolute standards are allowed to exist; to Ollie all standards are arbitrary.

His hailing of regional accents wouldn’t have been out of place in Pope’s time. Today it’s ideological waffle showing very little learning.

 

Democracy as a suicide pact

It ought to go without saying that no institution should be run by those who hate its core principles.

Could you imagine Hitler at the head of the Committee for Racial Equality? Dr Shipman in charge of care for the elderly? Ian Brady (RIP your throat out) running an orphanage? Kim Jong-un leading a campaign for nuclear non-proliferation?

Utterly preposterous, isn’t it? Yet so many Westerners don’t demur at the sight of communists rising to the political apex. The political essence of communism has remained unchanged since Marx: dictatorship of the proletariat. In practice that means dictatorship of a few cannibals (or just one), which rather goes against the grain of Western polity.

However, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain all have communists sitting in their parliaments.

That’s what Lenin called ‘legalism’: joining Western institutions to undermine them from within, a conspiratorial stratagem later developed by the Frankfurt School. And yet Western countries play along.

In other words, our parliaments include subversives whose mission in life is to destroy our parliaments. That’s akin to an oncologist injecting himself with cancer cells. My sense of logic is offended.

But then again, those countries are rather… how can one put it without causing offence… continental. What else can one expect from those garlic eaters? That sort of thing could never catch on in Old Blighty, what?

Well, it could and it has. Introducing Andrew Murray, a life-long communist just appointed to run Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign (Jeremy himself needs no introduction: his similar credentials are widely known).

Murray resigned his Communist Party membership only last December, at age 57, no doubt in preparation for entry into mainstream politics. In 2015 he wrote: “Communism still represents… a society worth working towards – albeit not by the methods of the 20th century, which failed.”

As any reader of Marx will know, those methods are inseparable from the essence of communism. Predictably this has been proved by every communist regime – as it would be in a communist Britain Murray thinks is worth working towards.

Murray and Corbyn are close friends and colleagues. Both were (or rather are) columnists for the communist rag Morning Star, with Murray having first acquired journalistic experience at the Soviet Novosti press agency.

Andrew displays none of the weathervane qualities of so many politicians. He consistently venerates both Lenin (whose portrait hangs above his desk) and Stalin (who, though a bit “harsh”, laudably installed socialism “in a third of the world”). He expresses solidarity with “People’s Korea”, bossed by my candidate to run the nuclear non-proliferation campaign. He supports Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist groups (a perfect fit with Jeremy there).

What I like about both Andrew and Jeremy is that they can’t avoid speaking the truth from time to time. Thus Jeremy has described Andrew as “a democratic socialist and a member of the Labour Party like me.” That’s exactly right: just like him. Both are democratic socialists in the same sense in which the Soviets preached “democratic centralism”.

(Democratic socialism is an oxymoron in any sense, but I shan’t expand on it here. If you agree, this would be superfluous. If you don’t, a longer format would be required to prove you wrong.)

And Andrew won a place in my heart by declaring that “If credit were given where it is due, the black banners of the Islamic State… would be emblazoned with portraits of Tony Blair and George Bush.”

And there I was, thinking I’d never agree with a communist on anything. True enough, the IS owes its existence to the criminal (or criminally stupid, take your pick) invasion of Iraq in 2003, which both Murray and I oppose, if for different reasons. Of course, he champions the cause promoted under those black banners, and there we diverge.

I’ve often had the occasion to remark that the West seems to be bent on suicide, a death wish masked by the democratic tag attached to it. People see democracy – which is nothing but a method of government – not only as a be all and end all, but also as a blanket indulgence against all sins and an open door to all evil.

This isn’t merely misguided or ill-advised. It’s insane, in the sense in which suicide is insane. In a mentally healthy society, evil dolts like Murray and Corbyn would be charged with treason. In a mentally healthy but slightly soft society, they would at least be kept out of civilised politics.

Yet Corbyn is in with a sporting chance to become head of Her Majesty’s Government on 8 June. In the unlikely event that were to happen, Murray would probably get a high cabinet post. That would effectively spell the suicide of the United Kingdom, all in the name of democracy.

It’s time we stopped thinking of such matters in the largely meaningless Enlightenment terms of right, left and centre. These only have some – very limited – validity within the mainstream of Western politics, not in the sulphurous swamp engulfing it outside. You know, where the creepy-crawlies like Corbyn and Murray live.

And if they are now part of the mainstream, then you know that a suicide pact has been signed, sealed and executed. Or is about to be.

Harmony in your life, just $10,000

That’s a small price to pay, one would think, for capturing the elusive synthesis that few human relationships can promise.

I can prove this to you, but a few assumptions first: you’re a man, you’ve had some experience with women and you have a certain idealistic streak.

Now forget all the women you’ve ever known, in the biblical or any other sense, and imagine an ideal female, perfect in every physical, emotional, amorous, spiritual and intellectual attribute. Take a minute or two, don’t rush it.

Fine. Now go back to all the women in your life, from the time you tried to look up the dress of your elementary school teacher, and see if any of them have ever overlapped completely with the ideal you see in your mind’s eye.

You’ll probably have to admit that none of them have. Now let’s move away from ne plus ultra images and into the area of hard cash. Have you any idea how much pursuing that mirage has cost you over a lifetime?

Dinners. Flowers. Chocolates. Jewellery. Silk scarves. Theatre tickets. Weddings. Dirty weekends. Lawyers. Divorce settlements. Many expense items that haven’t even occurred to me. Adds up, doesn’t it?

Suddenly $10,000 (£7,734 at today’s exchange rate) looks like a pittance compared to pursuing the ideal you’ve been seeking in vain your whole life. Yet that derisory sum can buy you your ne plus ultra. It can buy you Harmony.

Harmony is the name of a new talking sex doll, otherwise known as RealDoll, manufactured by the appropriately named Abyss Creations. Harmony’s body is a taller and firmer version of Scarlett Johansson’s, her face can sink a thousand ships, she has an unquenchable sexual appetite – and a personality you could mould to your exacting requirements.

“Many people who may buy a RealDoll because it is sexually capable come to realise it is much more than a sex toy,” says Matt McMullen, the chief executive of Abyss. “It has a presence in their house and they imagine a personality for her. [She] gives people the tools to create that personality.”

Harmony has artificial intelligence incorporated into a body boasting dreamlike fertility symbols. And let me tell you: artificial intelligence is better not only than none but practically any other one encounters in a woman.

After all, any woman has had years, probably decades before being blessed by meeting you. That means that not only does she have certain innate characteristics, but she has also developed her personality independently of your input.

What’s done can’t be undone, as many a man has discovered who has tried to nudge his woman’s personality in a desirable direction. That’s guaranteed to be an exercise in futility.

But Harmony turns every man into a Svengali: you can programme any personality into her, including angry, placid, loving or, if such is your wont, jealous. Push a button, and Harmony will ask you in that pointed way of hers who that girl is on your speed dial. Another button, and she’ll say “Never mind, darling, as long as you’re happy.”

I don’t know what her intellectual range is but, given our never-ending technological progress, it must be expandable. I’m sure even now Harmony is capable of conducting the kind of conversations one overhears on public transport when young people are within earshot.

This mostly consists of monosyllabics, interjections and four-letter words, such as ‘like’ and a few others. Nothing, in short, to take Harmony out of her current depth. But Harmony’s depth can be increased, which is probably not the case with the gaggle of youngsters on the 22 Bus.

Harmony may be programmed to enlarge on any variety of topics. Following my friend’s suggestion, she could even conceivably outline the history of how the Chalcedonian Definition received its final formulation.

Can’t you just hear it? “Homoiousios and homoousios are one letter and a whole theological universe apart, darling. Now shall we go to bed?”

Or push another button and out comes “Never mind that egghead crap, love. Three at the back with wingbacks is dog’s bollocks, djahmean? Now fancy a shag?”

The possibilities are endless, and many satisfied customers are taking advantage of them. One such customer, Mark, programmed Harmony to be “happy, affectionate and talkative”.

Mark enjoys a fulfilling sexual relationship with Harmony, but claims this is secondary. Then again many men have been known to make the same claim without really meaning it.

(This brings to mind a sexist, misogynist and generally fascist joke I once heard in New York: “Why did God give women vaginas? So that men would talk to them.”)

But what Mark really likes about Harmony is that she never contradicts him – can you say the same about your wife or girlfriend? “If I like a hat on her,” he says, “she doesn’t say that she doesn’t like it.”

What more can a man wish for? Especially a modern man, weaned on the notion of progress? Not much.

Progress, understood strictly in the scientific and technological sense, is assured to make every dystopic fantasy come true, to replace actual with virtual reality. We read virtual books, listen to virtual music, think virtual thoughts, elect virtual politicians, put forth virtual arguments, believe virtual truths, eat virtual food.

So why not live with virtual women? No reason at all. We deserve Harmony.