Blog

Sorry, Sir, we’ve cut off the wrong leg

In the judgment of his peers, my friend, let’s call him Boris, was one of the most brilliant neurosurgeons in Houston, Texas. That was no trivial accolade, considering that at that time, some 30 years ago, Houston was to neurosurgery what Paris is to haute cuisine or Barcelona to football.

Boris’s colleague at the hospital readily, and reverentially, admitted that my friend’s skill was much superior to his own. Dr Thomson was modest, but his income wasn’t – he made well in excess of $1,000,000 a year. Boris made $22,000.

You see, Boris was from Russia and, though a genius with a scalpel in his hand, he had no linguistic ability whatsoever. Alas, the qualification exam foreign-trained doctors had to sit in America consisted of two equal parts: medicine and language. Sitting the blasted thing year after year, Boris would sail through the first part and, with the certainty of night following day, fail the second. After a few years he gave up trying and accepted his role as surgeon’s assistant, in effect a paramedic, though his million-a-year colleagues had no reservations about letting Boris operate every now and then.

One day he showed me the examination papers, with several hundred questions designed to test the prospective doctor’s English. Until then, my impression had been that the test would merely determine the doctor’s ability to understand and be understood, and quite right too. That impression turned out to be wrong. For the test covered the kind of grammatical and stylistic subtleties that would defeat most native speakers.

I recall one example. Choose the right word: He is one of those people who [a) demand, b) demands] attention. I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ve unerringly picked the right answer, which is a). But I’ll bet my $1,000,000 against your $22,000 that you know many Englishmen who wouldn’t. Now imagine several hundred similar questions together, and you’ll probably agree that only an infinitesimal minority of even native Anglophones would pass such an exam.

You may think this is going a bit too far, and I may agree with you. You may further think that, to keep foreigners out of a highly lucrative field, the test was designed partly as a sort of protectionist tariff – and I may agree with you again. But there’s no doubt that, since a doctor’s ability to communicate with patients can be a matter of life or death, this ability must be an essential part of his qualifications.

Not to test it at all before letting a doctor anywhere near a patient isn’t just stupid; it’s mad and criminal. Now that’s where the EU comes in.

Its laws mandate free movement of labour throughout the ‘zone’, a desideratum that presumably precludes any testing of a doctor’s command of English. The EU gauleiters feel so strongly about this law that they’ll defend it to the death – though naturally not their own. They’ve already defended it to the death of the pensioner David Gray, who died after wrongly receiving an industrial dose of diamorphine (heroin, in common parlance) from a Germany-trained locum.

That’s why I grasp at the rare opportunity to congratulate a minister on a job well done. Unlike his Labour predecessors, Health Secretary Andrew Lansing is prepared to introduce sanity into the asylum. According to his proposed policy, EU-trained doctors wishing to practise in the UK will be tested on their command of English. And those of the 23,000 already practising here whose command is inadequate will be struck off.

It remains to be seen whether Mr Lansing will be able to get away with trying to be sane in an insane world; I’ll have to check on the odds at my local betting shop. But if this policy goes through, we shouldn’t stop there.

For equally deadly may be nurses who, like a foreign godfather, make you an offer you can’t understand. If you’ll forgive another personal recollection, a few years ago I was in hospital, receiving some 40 drugs at the same time. In addition to intravenous diamorphine (in the right dose), one of them was a cocaine mouthwash, brought to me by a nurse twice a day in a 50 ml tub.

One of the nurses could speak very little English and, my propensity for infantile jokes enhanced by boredom, I asked her if I should drink the mouthwash in one gulp. ‘Trink?’ she asked, obviously perplexed. ‘Trink in vun gulp? Yes, trink in vun gulp.’ Had I followed that medical advice, you wouldn’t have the dubious pleasure of my company.

Perhaps, if we let our fantasies run away with us, a time will come when not just doctors, but anyone having to communicate with people in his line of work, will be expected to do so in comprehensible English. For example, I’ve met many waiters in France who can’t speak English – but have yet to meet one who can’t speak French, and that includes those who manifestly aren’t French.

Would it be too much to ask for something similar in Britain? Yes, it would, if we let the EU have its way. So Godspeed, Mr Lansing. You may be in for a rough ride.

The politics of language is destroying the language of politics

Beware: semantic crime is on the rise. Thieves steal perfectly respectable words and reverse their meaning, while still expecting to keep their erstwhile respectability.

Take ‘liberalism’ and its cognates for example. When the word first gained currency in Britain, it was associated with the Whigs. Their programme was based on limited government, personal freedom, laissez-faire economics at home and free trade abroad. In other words, all those things many Brits today call ‘Thatcherism’.

‘So is this what that word means?’ asks the perplexed Martian student of English. Not at all. In America, liberalism means, not to cut too fine a point, socialism: replacement of individual responsibility with collective security, as much government control and as little personal liberty as is achievable without repealing the Constitution. In Britain, it means the platform of the Liberal Democratic party, which stands for roughly the same, plus the negation of Britain’s independence.

In this aspiration the Liberals go even further than the Conservatives, who used to swear by God, King and country but now tend to support multiculturalism, classlessness and European federalism. For the nineteenth-century liberal, the 10 percent of the nation’s income the government was then spending was too high. For today’s liberal, the almost 50 percent it spends now is too low. So if one wishes to use ‘liberal’ in its proper sense, and it is after all a cognate of ‘liberty’, then one must either modify it with ‘classic’ or replace it with ‘libertarian’, thus dumping the word straight into the garbage heap of lexicology.

At this inauspicious site it’s piled on top of other cognates of liberty, such as ‘liberation’, as in ‘national liberation’. When applied to places like Rwanda, ‘national liberation’ means a transitional stage between colonialism and genocide. When applied to the ‘former Soviet Union’, it means, in most instances, a shift from de jure to merely de facto Russian control. When applied to Asia, it means Mao, Ho and Kim. Thus modernised, ‘liberation’ and its cousin ‘liberal’ go the way of ‘conservative’, which incidentally means Burkean Whig in America and, these days, Stalinist in Russia.

Of course, today’s Liberals aren’t descendants of the nineteenth-century Whigs. They are a splinter group of Old Labour, which in turn traces its roots back to the Luddites, Chartists and other trouble-makers of yesteryear. More important, it’s umbilically linked with certain continental doctrines, a link Labour do not mind emphasising by adopting foreign tunes like the Internationale and Bandera Rossa as their party songs, and the foreign red flag as their party banner.

New Labour, so called because the unmodified term is a historically compromised election-loser, hang on to the symbols but feign to renounce the substance, claiming they represent the middle classes rather than the unions, aka labour. In other words, Labour isn’t labour. They stake a claim to the plot owned in the past by the Liberals, who used to be Whigs but aren’t any longer.

If such specific terms have lost their meaning, we shouldn’t be unduly surprised at the confusion with more amorphous concepts, such as ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’. For instance, strident adherents of Old Labour don’t mind describing Lady Thatcher ‘as extreme right wing’. This designation is also applied retrospectively to the likes of Hitler. One infers that the political spectrum, as they see it, starts at the extreme right exemplified by Thatcher and Hitler and ends up at the extreme left represented by… well, nobody. Only the right can be extreme, never the left. In today’s parlance, ‘left wing’ is always synonymous with ‘moderate’.

But we’ve already seen that Lady Thatcher is an out-and-out Whig, even though she confusingly led the Tories. If A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C. Applying this proven logic to the task in hand, we have to assume that Hitler, Lady Thatcher’s fellow ‘right-wing extremist’, was a Whig too.

But then we look at Hitler’s economics (omnipotent government, nationalised or at least subjugated industry, wage and price controls, strict tariffs, cradle-to-grave welfare) and realise that, on top of everything else, he was a socialist. And socialists are undeniably left wing. Then we remember that Hitler’s party was called National Socialist Workers’ and ask the inevitable question: So who’s the right-wing extremist then? And what does the term mean?

Perhaps other countries can give us a clue. In America ‘extreme right wing’ usually describes Ku-Klux-Klan types. Importing the term here, we wrap Lady Thatcher in a bed sheet with slits in the hood and find the picture unrealistic, though white is definitely her colour. In Russia, right wing means communist and left wing means a Whig-Socialist mongrel. Thus, no help is forthcoming from abroad; yet again Britain has to rely on her own resources to straighten out her mess.

The first step would be to realise that all modern politics in the West is socialist to one degree or another, and socialism’s semantic mendacity starts from its very name and proceeds to its proclaimed goals. Thus, in modern political cant, ‘protecting the less fortunate’ really means expropriating the more fortunate, ‘investing in healthcare and education’ really means expanding state bureaucracies and increasing taxes, ‘investing in industry’ means crypto-nationalisation, ‘tolerance’ means intolerance, ‘diversity’ means uniformity, multiculturalism means hostility to the historically dominant culture and so forth.

The language of politics has been destroyed by the politics of language. Only the naïve among us will believe that the underlying concepts can remain intact.

 

 

 

 

 

For François and Sarko read Dave and Vince

Either François Hollande is Vince Cable in disguise or he has simply learned from Vince everything he knows about economics. Conversely, it could have been Vince who took his cues from François. Or conceivably they’ve gone to the same school, where Dave and George were their classmates.

Actually, they should all have learned from the Chinese, the ancient ones, not today’s murderous Maoist lot. Specifically, it would help them no end if they were to learn and understand the old Chinese proverb: ‘When the rich lose their money, the poor starve.’

If you add up all the punitive taxes François proposes to impose on success, they’ll amount to more than 100 percent on all income above £800,000 a year (it’s not as if the income below that threshold were to go untaxed, you understand). Such a confiscatory engine, especially when turbocharged by France’s constricting labour laws, is guaranteed to drive many successful businesses into exile – especially since Monaco, Luxembourg and Switzerland are next door. Hence thousands will lose their jobs as an immediate result of François’s love of the poor, which, upon close inspection, turns out to be nothing but hatred of the rich. He loves the poor so much, he wants to have more of them.

Envy was listed among the seven cardinal sins specifically because it’s widespread. Witness the fact that Hollande, who has for months comfortably led in the polls for the second-round winner, is now edging ahead in the first-round surveys as well. The election may not be in the bag though – Sarko has come up with policies of great substance and courage.

For his first number, he claimed that Britain’s economy features even less manufacturing than France’s (false) and is in general even worse off than France’s (alas, probably true – or was true until Dave swept all before him on his trip to Burma). True or false, a bit of rosbifs baiting always goes down well in these parts.

Then Sarko came across as a man of unshakeable resolve and moral fortitude when he explained to the nation that the Muslim fanatic who had murdered a few soldiers and Jewish children in Toulouse was wrong to have done so. That dovetailed neatly with his earlier heroism when he referred to a rioting, car-burning mob as la racaille (scum). Now if that’s not enough to guarantee electoral success in perpetuity, wait till you’ve heard this.

Sarko has found a sure-fire vote-getter in his proposed policy of – are you ready for this? – simplifying the driving test! That way he’ll solve France’s catastrophic unemployment problem by enabling young people, rather than burning cars in the streets, to drive them to offices in La Défence, where they’ll all instantly become systems analysts and fund managers.

Now, as someone who has to dodge utterly incompetent French drivers several months a year, I’d suggest that the driving test ought to be toughened, rather than simplified. Yet I’m painfully aware that what I think doesn’t matter as I’m not qualified to vote in France. We’ll find out in a few days how those who are so qualified will respond to this lynchpin of Sarko’s campaign.

You don’t have to be overly perceptive to detect a note of irony in my comments on the French elections. This stylistic device comes naturally to those who feel rather detached from what’s going on in a foreign country. However, when equally grotesque spectacles are on view in one’s own land, irony gives place to rage.

Our pseudo-Tories Dave and George have declared war on those who obey the law and claim those tax deductions that the law allows. Here Dave and George, along with their accomplices Nick and Vince, remind me of Andy Tucker, the conman who stars in many of O. Henry’s stories. ‘Andy,’ and I quote from memory, ‘regarded every dollar in another man’s pocket as a personal insult if he couldn’t regard it as his loot.’

Every pound in our pockets is an insult to our rulers because it represents a reduction in their power over us. God forbid we accumulate enough of those pounds not to depend on Dave’s largesse, a munificence that can only be repaid by a stampede at the polling stations. The more we depend on our spivocrats, the less we’re likely to notice their fundamental incompetence and immorality.

Their policy on pensions and charitable contributions springs from the same Tuckerian convictions. People these days tend to retire early and die late, which means that a reasonable pension fund may keep them out of the state’s clutches for a couple of decades. That’s why raids on pension funds have to be a top priority for our spivocrats, and for Tony Blair such a raid was his first undertaking in government. Tony chose taxation as his assault weapon, Dave proposes a cap on tax-free contributions – six of one, half a dozen of the other.

As to charities, they take it upon themselves to provide for the ill and poor, thereby reducing the need for the state to perform that function. Hence they reduce the state’s power, an urge that has to be nipped in the bud if our spivocrats are to fulfil their innermost cravings. Hence, their current proposed policy of capping charitable contributions.

We are supposed to give our money to the state, not to the poor. The state will deduct what it needs for its own upkeep, which is the lion’s share, and then will use the leftovers to buy votes. What could be fairer than that?

Spivocrats of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your power. Perhaps François and Sarko do belong in the same government as Dave and Vince. Theirs is a kinship that’s deeper than any ties of nationhood.

 

 

 

 

When IQ clashes with PC, reason is the loser

Say ‘chairman’ rather than ‘chair’, and you’ll be accused of being politically incorrect. Politically – not factually, linguistically, morally, aesthetically or otherwise. This stands to reason: everything in modern life has become politicised, thus denying the very reason in the name of which modernity was shoved down people’s throats in the first place.

Modern political divisions preclude rational debate; serious argument isn’t a tool on the table – the choice is between shrill propaganda and vile abuse. The moment today’s big-enders detect a little-ender on the other side, they won’t listen to arguments – they’ll just scream and flap their wings or, alternatively, toot their own horn. As in any war, truth doesn’t matter; only victory does.

Take IQ, for example. Its enthusiastic supporters claim it measures intelligence. It does nothing of the sort. It measures potential for intelligence, the same difference as between musicality and musicianship. Those endowed with a fine musical sense may never become musicians and, as Yuja Wang proves, those who do become musicians may have no musical sense whatsoever. Thus someone with a modest IQ of 110 (the average IQ of an American college graduate is 115), such as William Stockley, can become a Nobel prize winner in physics; someone with a frightfully low IQ of 86, such as Andy Warhol, can become a famous artist; and someone with a genius IQ of 187, such as Bobby Fischer, may be a dysfunctional moron away from the chess board.

Yet IQ testing may under some circumstance be a useful tool, particularly in determining someone’s suitability for a job where it’s essential to be able to solve practical problems quickly. In a sane world we’d decide where IQ is applicable and where it isn’t, what it tells about a person and what it doesn’t – and leave it at that.  

In our mad world, however, equality has become such a political shibboleth for the post-Christian classes that they’ll deny obvious facts in its name. Whoever dares to mention the easily provable empirical fact that different groups, be that class or race, have different median IQ scores will be instantly accused of racism, fascism, elitism or any other ism that’s the faddish bogeyman at the time. That happened, for example, to Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, authors of the bestselling 1994 book The Bell Curve, who were subjected to the kind of savage salvos that were never aimed by the same people at, say, Castro or Arafat.

The accusers are undoubtedly entitled to their own opinions, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts. And these show that a) median IQ scores do differ from one group to the next and b) they are the most reliable predictor of practical success in almost any occupation (except perhaps, on current evidence, public service).

For example, in spite of being discriminated against, the Malayan Chinese are heavily overrepresented in professional and managerial positions. All sorts of spurious explanations are offered for this, but never the real one: the median IQ of the Chinese is a hugely significant 16 points higher than that of the ethnic Malays. In the US, the descending scale of median IQ scores goes from the Asians (refuting the spurious Eurocentricity argument against IQ tests) to the Jews to the other whites to the blacks, and this happens to correspond to the relative scale of these groups’ practical success in life – as measured by education, median income, family stability, propensity for crime and many other indicators.

No matter. Actual reality is no longer allowed to interfere with the virtual, PC kind. If the facts don’t support the egalitarian bias, then so much the worse for the facts – and for whomever as much as mentions them. As Albert Einstein put it, ‘If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.’

Material success is the real desideratum of the modern world, but political correctness – that is, imposing virtual standards on the real world – matters too. The first serves the all-important body, the second strokes what used to be called the soul, and now is called whatever psychobabble is in vogue. The two clash on the issue of IQ, with our materialists parlaying their high scores into practical success, while bleating all along the way that IQ scores mean nothing. They do mean something. But not very much.

Before Jesus Christ became a superstar, intelligence testing, had it existed, would have been dismissed as a quaint irrelevance. The ability to get ahead in life was then not regarded as the indicator of human worth. It went without saying that some groups of people tended to be more intelligent, on average, than others – and it was regarded as foolhardy to think that any single representative of any group could be automatically presumed to be intelligent or stupid. But none of this mattered. Because it came from a sphere that was infinitely higher, the true equality shared by all towered over the transient inequality of worldly success.

The bogus equality of the modern world, however, has to presuppose parity where none exists: practical ability. Deception is the only way out of this conundrum: as empirical evidence destroys this presupposition everywhere we look, the evidence must either be falsified or, better still, hushed up. In this the modern world displays more ruthless consistency than Christendom ever did in opposing, say, the heliocentric theory.

A note to the PC purveyors: some facts have nothing to do with politics. They are just facts. Take them for what they’re worth, however little or great their worth is. For denying facts is neither amusing, nor grown-up nor clever. Ever had your own IQ checked?

So attack on free speech is a sign of tolerance

Boris Johnson is a long-standing champion of sexual tolerance – at least that’s what he seems to expect from his poor wife. This time he has shifted his innermost convictions into the public arena by banning from London buses a Christian campaign aimed at reforming homosexuals.

‘London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance,’ he said. I agree. London is so tolerant it could be twinned with Sodom – or alternatively with our neighbourhood French villages called Orgy and Anus (I’m not joking, they are both next door to us).

True to his word, the good mayor found nothing wrong with the blatant propaganda of homosexuality launched earlier by Stonewall, the charity devoted to promoting homosexual agendas, such as same-sex marriage. The thrust of their campaign was the probably correct message that homosexuality is innate and therefore irreversible.

In response, Christian groups created a campaign typified by the ad saying ‘Some people are gay. Get over it.’ That’s where Mr Johnson drew the line on his tolerance.

‘It is clearly offensive,’ he thundered, ‘to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.’

Our erudite mayor is a writer, but he’s clearly not a reader. For anyone who actually read the ad would know it says nothing of the sort. Any reasonably educated person will be aware that homosexuality isn’t a disease. It is, however, an aberration.

Now before I’m tarred and feathered as yet another manifestation of the prevailing tolerance, I hasten to add that I use the word ‘aberration’ strictly in its dictionary definition: ‘a departure from what is normal or desirable’. Since only about one percent of us are that way inclined, homosexuality is obviously a departure from the norm. Surely, 99 percent are in a better position than one percent to judge what is normal? And, indulging in a bit of reductio ad absurdum, reversing that proportion would spell the end of the human race, which is clearly undesirable. So the dictionary definition applies in its entirety.

It may well be true that a propensity for homosexual, which is to say aberrant, behaviour is innate. And it’s indisputable that people ought not to be reproached, much less punished, for the way they are born. They can however be legitimately asked not to act on their aberrant tendencies. A kleptomaniac only becomes reproachable when he actually steals. A man who’s violent by nature is on safe grounds until he commits a violent act. We aren’t responsible for where we begin in life. But we are responsible for where we finish.

The campaign that offended the Mayor enunciates the traditional Christian attitude to homosexuality. Rather than regarding homosexuality as a disease from which one could be cured, Christianity regards it as a sin from which one should abstain. It’s only in this sense that a homosexual can ‘get over it’.

Abstaining from sex for moral reasons is tantamount to heroism, and most people can’t be expected to be heroes. That’s why I don’t think homosexuality should be banned, or homosexuals in any way abused. But Christianity would be remiss in its mission if it didn’t call on them to adhere to the absolute moral standards stipulated by the founding religion of our civilisation.

And all of us, Christians or otherwise, ought to be wary of the systematic campaign to destroy everything our civilisation stands for. It’s not only our religion but also our constitution, our aesthetic sense, our education and our general morality that are being smashed by the battering ram of PC modernity.

That propaganda of homosexuality can be used in this capacity is beyond question. Witness the fact that the first European country that liberalised homosexuality was Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1934 – neither the time nor the place known for an all-consuming love of Western civilisation. In parallel, the Bolsheviks, who were almost as tolerant as Mayor Johnson, abolished marriage, and Lenin’s mistress Inessa Armand likened sex to drinking a glass of water. The Bolsheviks were aware of the destructive potential of sexual licentiousness in all its forms, and they were out to destroy.

Boris Johnson doesn’t want to destroy. He just wants to be re-elected – as a Conservative (!) candidate. To establish his conservative credentials, he is flaunting his moral relativism, what he calls intolerance of intolerance. In doing so he denies the right of free speech to a constructive campaign asking homosexuals to reform and suggesting it’s possible – while affording this freedom to a campaign that’s utterly deterministic and destructive, in effect if not in intent.

I’m willing to accept for the sake of argument (and only for its sake) that, rather than simply indulging in full-time electioneering, Mr Johnson really does disagree with the sentiment expressed in the ‘Get over it’ campaign. But that’s no reason to ban it. For freedom of speech to mean anything at all, it ought to cover the freedom to say things we don’t like. After all, allowing only those statements that please us involves no hardship at all.

Judging by his action, Boris Johnson is rather vague on our constitutional liberties, Western moral and intellectual tradition, and the boundaries of his remit as a politician. His response to what the ads actually say also betokens a need for a remedial reading class. An ideal future candidate for Prime Minister, I dare say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Europe is even more enterprising than I thought

Yesterday I wrote about Eastern European criminals having a field day in Western Europe. I also commented on a certain bias in their provenance: there seems to be less crime among immigrants from Catholic countries than among those who come from Orthodox lands, such as Russia, Rumania or Serbia.

That was merely an empirical observation unsupported by hard statistical data. Still, it’s good to see some new support for one’s empirical observations.

This morning Serbian police have arrested three men suspected of having launched an armed raid on a Zurich museum in 2008. The news item didn’t specify which museum, but presumably it was the Museum of Modern art, for the bandits got away with canvases by Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and Cézanne. It was Cézanne’s painting The Boy in a Red Waistcoat, worth about $130 million, that was discovered in the suspects’ possession.

This points at my oversight: I left art theft out of my list of crimes routinely perpetrated by Eastern Europeans in the West. Now holding up museums can take pride of place among cash-point crimes, pimping, money laundering, protection rackets, drugs and other areas in which post-communists specialise. Next time I’ll research my stuff more diligently. Meanwhile, I’d like to touch upon an adjacent area, one that can’t really be labelled as criminal.

However, Michel Platini, UEFA President, has referred to Ukrainian hoteliers as ‘bandits and crooks’. What caused the ire of the erstwhile midfielder is the tendency of said hoteliers to turn their businesses into scalping operations. Seems like foreign fans, flying over to cheer their teams at this summer’s European Championship, jointly hosted by Poland, are going to have to pay more than they expected for their accommodation.

‘You can’t change from €40 to 100 and then up to 500 just like that from one day to the other, this just is not done,’ railed Platini. Of course it isn’t. We wouldn’t even dream of doing something like that during the Olympics. Charge higher prices at a time of high demand? Never. This isn’t the British way. Of course some of us are renting out our flats in August at 10 times their rent the rest of the year – but hey, that’s private enterprise. Nothing wrong about that at all.

Some of the Ukrainian hotels are refusing to honour the prices stipulated in the contracts already signed, and that’s clearly borderline criminal. But what about the rest of their opportunism?

I’d like to suggest that our veneration of free markets, while generally laudable, should not be applied indiscriminately in every case. If something is right legally, but clearly wrong morally, and if our morality is chiselled in stone while our laws are changeable, then perhaps some laws need changing. Free enterprise is good and property rights are fundamental, but neither should be a suicide pact.

If our laws allow foreign chisellers to use their ill-gotten fortunes to buy up venerable British institutions, such as newspapers, bookshop chains or football teams, then the laws are unjust. Where do you stop anyway? What if tomorrow a foreign Mafioso decides to buy Knightsbridge and move his paramilitary guards into every house there? Should we stand on the principles of free enterprise and allow it? That hypothetical example, incidentally, isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, for some of London’s loveliest streets have already suffered a similar fate.

The Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister promised to do something about the scalping job ‘within the next 30 days’, suggesting that perhaps his government’s commitment to property rights is marginally less rigorous than ours – though extorting in taxes half of what people earn hardly betokens religious respect for private property.

I don’t know whether Mr Kolesnikov will be as good as his word. One way or the other, even as I advocate a tax revolt against our spivocratic state, so do I think that British fans should stay at home and watch the matches on television. Their accommodation won’t cost them anything extra, their food will be better, their booze cheaper, and they will be less likely to get mugged. The downside is that they’ll miss the sight of Ukrainian girls who are – and I claim this on personal experience – the most beautiful in the world. Or perhaps it’s not such a downside at all, for, along with gorgeous women, the Ukraine also boasts the highest insidence of syphilis in Europe.

Meanwhile, we should all contemplate the grey areas of life, where crime is a business and business is a crime. Regardless of what the law says.

Rape is a heinous crime – except when it isn’t rape

Two young footballers, Ched Evans who plays for Wales and Clayton McDonald of Port Vale, are on trial for rape.

They viciously attacked a young woman jogging through the park, dragged her into the bushes and… And that’s not at all what happened.

The young lady was staggering through the streets of Rhyl, North Wales, after a night on the town. She had drunk a lot of wine, followed by vodka and Sambuka. Exactly how much of each she didn’t remember, but obviously enough not to remember. She had her blouse undone, her bra showing, and her walk was describing a number of geometrical shapes, of which a straight line wasn’t one.

When asked politely, she got into a taxi with McDonald, who then took her to a Premier Inn (and one would think a wealthy footballer could have sprung for something nicer), where he and Evans had with her what they claimed was consensual sex.

But the prosecutor would have none of that. According to him, the girl was in no fit state to say ‘yes’: the 19-year-old was ‘very drunk, stumbling, slurring and had a vacant expression on her face’. If she was in no fit state to say ‘yes’, then she conceivably was in no fit state to say ‘no’ either. It was thus left to the judgment of two young and, truth be told, not particularly subtle men to estimate whether the degree of her inebriation fell within the range where a little fun could be had without risking years in prison. According to them, they judged right. According to the prosecution, they didn’t.

I have an idea: every young man on the make should be issued a breathalyser (on the taxpayer, of course) to be carried at all times and administered to any girl he tries to woo – before he tries to woo her. ‘Do you mind breathing into this tube, Miss, er, whatever you name is…?’ That would be wholly consistent with the modern view of romance.

But you haven’t heard the most awful part yet: the two men had gone out that night specifically for the purpose of having sex! They, says the prosecutor, ‘were on the lookout for any suitable girl and she had literally stumbled across their path.’ It’s good to see that for once the word ‘literally’ wasn’t misused. The same can’t be said for the prosecutor’s pathos. After all, I haven’t met many men who in their youth didn’t go out specifically to pick up girls, and those few I have known weren’t that way inclined.

The trial is continuing, and the brief news item from which I’ve picked up the facts of the case couldn’t have provided every detail. It’s possible that the two ball-kickers really are midnight (or in this instance 4 am) monsters unfit for civilised society. It’s also possible that the defence will prove its case, using as evidence that the young lady wasn’t only an habitual drunk but also a cocaine and cannabis user.

In the former case, the defendants will be put away for a long time, and good job too. In the latter case, they’ll go free. In either case, we should ponder the issues involved.

Judging by what I see in London, and I live in a decent neighbourhood, and especially what I’ve seen in places like Chester, it’s impossible to pick up a sober girl on a Friday night: none of them is sober. Considering that the youngsters who pursue them are also seldom teetotal, the only way to prevent cases such as the one ongoing is to issue a blank ban on casual sex or even attempts to have it. That’s hardly realistic, nor is the expectation that a youngster full of sap will pass up an opportunity of an easy score with a girl who, though drunk, seems willing. Let me tell you, I wouldn’t be the one to cast the first stone.

This of course isn’t an isolated case. The definition of rape has become open-ended beyond the boundaries of elementary common sense. A few years ago, for example, a young lawyer and his colleague checked into a hotel room after a party, undressed, got into bed and indulged in an hour of vigorous foreplay. It was only at the point of no return that the woman said ‘no’, and there was no return. Consequently, the lawyer spent a year in prison, and, if you think justice was done, you’re off my Christmas card list.

Not being a conspiracy theorist, I wouldn’t want to say that our courts, in cahoots with the ‘liberal’ media, are waging a deliberate campaign to alienate the sexes by sentimentalising rape and expanding its definition. But the temptation to say so is strong. Women are being brainwashed to believe that rape is the worst thing that can happen to them. Real rape is indeed a violent, vile crime. But the worst thing? How about being crippled for life? Losing an eye? Having every bone broken? Being slashed up? Killed? Let’s keep it in perspective, shall we?

What we are witnessing today is the shockwaves of the feminist explosion a few decades ago, when Freudian claptrap was fused with revolutionary afflatus to claim that ‘every man is a rapist’ (Germaine Greer, ring your office). Even every man having sex with his wife was supposed to be acting out his rape fantasies, which eventually led to the criminalisation of ‘marital rape’.

In the past, the Decalogue told us to steer clear of other men’s wives. Now, to be on the safe side, perhaps we should give a wide berth to our own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save Eastern Europe and win a valuable prize

As someone who grew up in Eastern Europe, I follow that part of the world rather attentively. But as someone who has gone native in England, I’m mostly interested in the effect Eastern Europe has on us.

And here one has to observe that the old adage of being careful about what one wishes for applies to that region, though not completely. Sure enough, Westerners wanted communist countries to stop being communist, if only to save millions from arbitrary abuse. The abuse was mostly understood in terms of all those homicidal peccadilloes for which communists are so justly famous.

So the communists have been kicked out (many of them upstairs, to the highest echelons of government, but that’s another story). Now what? Well, now we begin to realise that propensity for mass violence wasn’t the only, or perhaps even the most, endearing – or enduring – feature of communism. Its lasting legacy can be found not only in the millions of nameless graves, but also in the hundreds of millions of ruined souls. For getting rid of communism didn’t get rid of its criminality. It merely privatised it.

Wave upon wave of crime, organised or individual, engulfed the region in the aftermath of communism – and then the EU obligingly opened the floodgates at our own borders. Fetid streams rushed in, and the smell isn’t pleasant.

Almost every day one reads stories about Eastern European gangs cutting a swathe through the West. Seldom do the stories go beyond reportage: they tell readers what happened, where and when – but not why or really how.

For example, we read a few days ago about a gang of Estonian bandits taking budget flights all over Western Europe, holding up jewellery shops at gun point as they went. A good read, that, but one would like to know more about the logistics. For example, where did they get those guns? As even budget airlines frown upon passengers packing firearms, the weapons had to be acquired locally.

Now imagine for the sake of argument that you and your friends decided to complement your income by knocking off the odd commercial establishment. Where would you go for your kit? Let’s say a friendly South London publican could conceivably refer you to an underground gun dealer. But would you know where to go in Paris or Rome? I know those cities well, and I wouldn’t. Yet those semiliterate Estonian bandits did. That means they had access to the spider’s web of criminal infrastructure woven all over Europe – and if you have another explanation, I’d like to hear it.

Then one reads that 92 percent of all cash-point crime in England is monopolised by Rumanians. Such a bias of one ethnic group towards one kind of crime in one country points at the existence of a vast, and technically savvy, organisation – especially since Rumanians in other countries pursue different areas of specialisation, such as pimping, which they, along with Hungarian Gypsies, more or less control in Amsterdam. In other countries pimping, along with drugs, is the chosen pursuit of the Serbs, Bosnians, Kosovars and other fragments of the imploded Yugoslavia. And they all love protection rackets, mostly targeting their straight countrymen.

Before crime was first privatised and then renationalised in Russia, Russian immigrants in the USA had also gone in for such traditional small-time pursuits, and they still do. But now that the Russian state has itself become a giant criminal concern, Russians residing in Western Europe in general, and in London especially, seldom demean themselves by indulging in petty shakedowns. They are into money laundering on a scale never before seen in history, an activity that turns them into instant A-listers in London, provided they have enough cash to launder.

But what about religion, now encouraged in Eastern Europe and indeed hailed as a moral saviour? A few observations are in order, the first dealing with the very term ‘religion’. Well, there’s no such thing, generically. There are only specific confessions, each with its own social and moral ethos in deed, if not in scriptural word. And different confessions in Eastern Europe hold moral sway to different degrees.

For example, in Russia, whose peasants were so praised for their saintly piety by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, it took said peasants roughly minutes in 1917 to begin looting churches and murdering priests in all sorts of imaginative ways. Nothing like that happened in Catholic Poland when her turn came. And if the Orthodox church in Russia has been – and is being – led by career KGB agents, the Polish church never succumbed to satanic politics to the same extent.

I could perhaps venture an explanation, but it would quickly overflow a short article. Empirical observation, however, suggests that the most vigorous criminal activity by Eastern Europeans in the West is associated with countries whose religious background is either Orthodox (Russia, the Ukraine, Rumania, Serbia), Protestant (Estonia, East Germany) or Muslim (Bosnia, Kosovo). One seldom hears of Croatian gangs, and the Croats, though Catholic, share their language and much of their culture with the Serbs and Bosnians. And the Poles are mostly known in England as plumbers, not money launderers.

It’s too early to tell what kind of social jetsam will be washed ashore in England by the murky wave of criminality rushing in from Eastern Europe. Our home-grown variety of thugs never succeeded in destroying our cultural and social mores – we have our government to thank for that. But the effect of imported crime is already noticeable, and it’s likely to get worse. After all, the EU tells us we can’t discriminate in deciding who can cross our borders.

There’s no question that the demise of communism has improved life in the Eastern half of Europe. What it’s doing to life in the Western half is open to debate.

The EU defence is the new EU defence

What is it about the EU that makes brilliant people say dim things? Don’t answer that, I already know. And I know that you know.

Yesterday I had lunch in the company of an exceptional man. One of France’s top diplomats, he is long since retired. But, at 89, he still publishes an excellent book every other year (on subjects ranging from religion to diplomacy), never misses a worthwhile production on the Paris stage or a decent concert on its platform, talks not just soundly but profoundly on every subject (and in most languages) under the sun, drives himself all over the country. In short, a remarkable man. And then the subject of the EU came up.

I’ve always noticed that the EU is a deeply emotional issue for its advocates, and one can’t argue against love. We like for something; we love in spite of everything. It would be pointless to tell an intelligent woman that her son is a good-for-nothing layabout who does drugs, drinks to excess and has a criminal record. She knows all that. Yet she loves him anyway.

Now imagine her trying to defend her son by rational arguments. Drugs? Well, what’s a bit of crack among friends? Everybody does it. Drink to excess? Define excess. Johnny is a big lad, he can handle it. GBH? The other bloke asked for it. The loving mother won’t make her wayward son look better. She’ll just make herself look less intelligent.

That’s what happens to EU junkies, and some of them, like my luncheon companion, are good and sage people. Still, instead of admitting to irrational love, they have to put their intelligence on hold and try to defend that abomination with ratiocination. And, clever people that they are, some of their arguments are quite creative.

Since I can’t help getting drawn into debates on this issue, I come out of each one feeling that now I’ve heard everything. It’s thanks to the EU that we haven’t had a major war since 1945, that we’ve freed Eastern Europe, reached an unprecedented level of prosperity and cultural harmonisation – you name it. But I’m always surprised next time – these chaps invariably think of something I haven’t heard yet. 

Defence, as an extension of foreign policy, was my interlocutor’s professional interest, and it’s this area that he chose as the battlefield for his attack on Britain’s most lamentable shilly-shallying.

First came a warning shot: ‘Why is it that Britain is always in and out, as far as the EU is concerned? Never in all the way.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘we’re still a democracy, technically speaking. And our leaders, regardless of their own feelings, fear the political consequences of doing something 75 percent of the people hate.’

That argument waved aside as an irrelevance, the first specific thrust was launched. ‘But we need a European army to defend ourselves. Without pooling our defence, each of us will be helpless on our own.’ ‘But we’ve already done so, Monsieur,’ I suggested. ‘That’s what NATO is for.’

It would take Stendhal’s pen at its most poignant to describe the look of contempt on the old diplomat’s face. ‘NATO? But it’s run by Americans! We don’t want to serve under American command!’ For him, enough said. For me, not quite. ‘Would you rather serve under German command?’ ‘Yes I would.’

‘But in your lifetime, Monsieur, Germany occupied France and America liberated it. With our help. And without America’s nuclear umbrella, France would have become a Soviet colony, like Rumania.’

‘That doesn’t mean we should rely on America for our defence.’ For once we agreed on something. ‘I absolutely agree with you. We should rely on our own resources. But perhaps we should expand such resources first,’ I suggested, to which he replied, ‘What do you mean?’

Now I’m one of those dysfunctional people who can’t remember their own phone number but manage to keep all sorts of statistics in their heads. ‘Let’s see. America spends 4.8 percent of her GDP on defence. We spend 2.7 percent, you 2.3 percent, and Germany 1.3 percent. In absolute numbers, the US spends $1,630 billion a year and Germany 42.2 billion. And that’s in 2011. This year the defence spending will be further slashed everywhere, and if socialist parties take over in France and Germany, you chaps will be relying on social workers to defend you. Or, more probably, the USA. As ever.’

‘We still must have a European army.’ The argument was becoming circular, and I meekly tried to make it linear again. ‘So you’re in favour of a single European state then? ‘Absolutely not!’ Few eurocrats will own up to harbouring such desires, though they all have them.

‘Right,’ I said. ‘You’re in favour of a single army. Are you also in favour of a joint economic policy? Unified taxation? Single currency? Unified legal system and law enforcement? Single foreign policy? Single parliament? Single executive branch?’ Having received an enthusiastic nod to each of those questions, I asked, ‘So which part of a single state have I left out?’ After that, expertly prodded by our hostess, we switched the conversation to matters cultural and religious, and there we had no disagreements.

That exchange in no way diminished my respect for my luncheon companion. I only wish I have the same lucidity of speech and clarity of thought when I reach his age, which I probably won’t. He does have an irrational blank spot in his thinking, but hey – we’re all allowed one.

It’s not ‘elitism’ but the LSE that ‘leads to tyranny’

Trenton Oldfield disrupted the Boat Race in the name of equality. Elitism, according to him, leads to tyranny, of which the Boat Race is a toxic symbol.

Many distinguished commentators have pointed out correctly that an attempt to eliminate elites is tantamount to promoting mediocrity or, to use Tocqueville’s phrase, ‘the tyranny of the majority’. Others have stressed the incongruity of someone who attended first a private school and then an illustrious (and expensive) university striking a blow against elitism.

The first group made the mistake of dignifying with rational analysis something that has no serious content whatsoever: Oldfield acted not from rational thought but from intuitive hatred. The second group misses if not the whole point then some of it. For Oldfield isn’t an incongruous revolutionary; he’s a consistent traditionalist.

That is, he acted in the fine tradition of his Fabian alma mater. That tradition has little to do with intellectual attainment, and it’s only by accident that anything good has ever come out of that institution. Such accidents are statistically unavoidable: bring together a few hundred scholars, make them rack their brains on this or that subject for 100 years or so, and they’re occasionally bound to stumble upon something worthwhile. Throw in, for the sake of public relations and tactical subterfuge, some token real thinkers, such as Michael Oakeshott or Kenneth Minogue, and the odd flash of brilliance will break out of the morass.

But this isn’t the reason the LSE was founded by Sydney and Beatrice Webb, the early admirers and lifetime followers of Lenin. Their passion was the same as Lenin’s: the destruction of traditional Western civilisation. Their strategy also came from Lenin, who always stressed that a frontal assault against traditional institutions must be synchronised with a concerted effort at exploiting, and thereby undermining, them from within. Whenever his less subtle comrades, such as Trotsky, called for an all-out ‘permanent’ revolution, Lenin mocked what he called their ‘infantile disorder of leftism.’ Trotsky never learned his lesson and had to be further educated with an ice axe. The LSE is alive and well: it was a better student.

Fabianism has become such standard fare that its proponents don’t even bother to conceal their intentions any longer. They no doubt feel that the century-old patina of subversion has conferred respectability on their pursuits. Thus, announcing one of their conferences in 2010, the LSE emphasised its ‘shared focus of concern for analytical liberal political philosophers and theorists working within the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory.’

Don’t you just love the academic jargon? The purpose of the tongue is to conceal our thoughts; Talleyrand must have been right about that. But, unlike their LSE colleagues, the Frankfurters themselves, such as Marcuse and Adorno, explained their ‘liberal’ strategy in a forthright language even we can understand:

1. The creation of racism offences.

2. Continual change to create confusion

3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children

4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority

5. Huge immigration to destroy identity

6. The promotion of excessive drinking

7. Emptying of churches

8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime

9. Dependency on the state or state benefits

10. Control and dumbing down of media

11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family

This blueprint for exploding traditional society from within is indeed the ‘shared focus’ of the Frankfurt School, the LSE and most of our other academic institutions, and you can decide for yourself how successful they’ve been. Though not stated as an explicit objective, real academic life has to be destroyed as well: students must be prevented at all costs from learning to think properly. The curricula of our countless humanities departments serve this aim admirably.

One wonders what the pupils of Plato’s Academy or Aristotle’s Lyceum would make of some of the degree courses available at Western universities. For example, you can take a course in ‘The Lesbian Phallus’ at the Occidental College, LA (Critical Theory, Social Justice Dept.). Queen’s, Belfast, offers ‘How to Train in the Jedi Way’. Not to be outdone, Georgetown University counters with ‘Philosophy and Star Trek’. You can pursue ‘Harry Potter Studies’ at Durham or ‘The Life and Times of Robin Hood’ at the type-cast Nottingham University. Alfred University, NYC, can contribute to your intellectual growth by offering ‘Maple Syrup Making’, and Glasgow proudly lists a post-graduate course on ‘The History of Lace Knitting in Shetland’.

The LSE adds to this list its indispensable course on ‘Contemporary Urbanism’, and it’s in this discipline that Oldfield took his master’s degree. He was taught the value of urban diversity, and the methods of promoting it. Of course by now we know the trick that has served the LSE and Frankfurters so well over the years: in reality their buzz words mean precisely the opposite of the dictionary definitions.

‘War’ is one such word. Thus ‘war on poverty’ promotes poverty, ‘war on drugs’ leads to more drug use, ‘war on terrorism’ will result in the blowing up of public transport and so forth. Another similar word is ‘process’ – it reverses the meaning of its modifier, with, for example, a ‘peace process’ or a ‘negotiations process’ inevitably leading to armed conflict, and a ‘liberation process’ guaranteeing enslavement.

‘Diversity’ falls into the same category. Anyone who uses this word in the LSE sense really worships not diversity but uniformity – he would love nothing more than rolling all individuals into a heaving, impersonal mass of dehumanised humanity, where everyone is equal and no one is free – that is, everyone other than the diversity monger himself who can stand on his voluminous academic qualifications to look down upon the equal unwashed.

This is the kind of academic discipline in which one can these days get an advanced degree from one of our venerable universities. I do think that, rather than being punished, Oldfield should be awarded a doctorate honoris causa. He does the LSE proud.