Goebbels didn’t say it, but the thought rings a modern bell

Misquoted and misattributed (by David Starkey among others, tut-tut), the line “when I hear the word ‘culture’, I reach for my gun” is gaining mass appeal these days.

To set the record straight, neither Goebbels nor Goering ever uttered it, though the aphorism does have a Nazi provenance. It comes from the play Schlageter written by the Nazi poet laureate Hanns Johs, whose artistic attainment was rewarded with the rank of SS-Gruppenführer. The original line ran “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning!” (“When I hear of culture… I release the safety catch of my Browning!”)

By now the word ‘culture’ has been so inflated that it has finally burst, losing its meaning and breaking up into little fragments. Every possible modifier is these days attached to the poor lost word, such as ‘pop’, ‘counter-’, ‘alternative’, ‘mass’, ‘drug’ or even, in the naughtier contexts, ‘Greek’ or ‘French’. When a word can mean anything it means nothing, and ‘culture’ is another proof of this.

But for my purposes it’s sufficient that we stick to the original sense of the word. It was first used by Cicero in the phrase cultura animi – cultivation of the soul, a commendable destination that can be reached by many different roads.

To put a more Western, which is to say Christian, spin on it, we all have souls, and they’re all teleological, that is reaching for the same ideal and absolute end. When culture was thus understood, it was inherently inclusive. For all our distinctions of class and status, in this one sense we’re all in the same boat, and it’s sailing to the same harbour.

That is exactly how culture was at the time when the word began to gain wide currency, in the XVIII and XIX centuries. This doesn’t of course mean that culture in those days was monolithic, devoid of any sub-divisions. It wasn’t. Rather culture then resembled a building, which has high and low floors but they’re all parts of the same structure.

Music, being the quintessential Western art, provides a good illustration of this symbiotic relationship among various cultural tiers. Practically every great Western composer, from Byrd to Bartok, loved, collected and widely used simple folk motifs – unlocking their potential, moving them from the ground floor to the penthouse, but never looking down on them from the height of his genius.

Opera, that most synthetic of musical genres, was from its very inception equally accessible to every social and cultural level because in a way it appealed to the entire high-low spectrum of taste. In Vienna and Prague, the aristocrats would take their seats in the boxes, the bourgeois in the stalls and the lower classes up in ‘paradise’ – but they’d all listen to Don Giovanni or Figaro with equal intensity and then applaud with equal gusto.

This is a far cry from our supposedly egalitarian time. The Christian foundation of the cultural structure has been blown up, the building collapsed, and its inhabitants have all gone their separate ways. They no longer belong together, and they tend not to treat one another in the spirit of equanimity. Instead they take a detached look at one another’s taste and realise they don’t like it very much.

These days people of cultivated musical tastes are revolted by pop excretions and disgusted by their perpetrators. Lovers of pop ‘music’, on the other hand, despise real music for being elitist, effete, posh and generally undemocratic. This animosity is no longer just intellectual but visceral, physiological.

To illustrate, a few years ago I argued with a group of very nice middle-class girls in their twenties, who insisted on playing pop cacophony in the office. The argument was somewhat one-sided, for, as their institutional superior, I could insist that they turn the CD player off whenever I entered the room. But, my innate didacticism getting the better of me, I once made them listen to a chorale from a Bach cantata.

That this experience didn’t produce an instant conversion was predictable. But what surprised even old cynical me was that the girls clearly experienced acute physical discomfort. One of them even had to take her chiselled features and preppie clothes out of the room after the first few bars. They didn’t just dislike the music – they resented it.

This hints at a rift in society that is far wider and deeper than the split between ‘right’ and ‘left’ politics. In fact the political rift is largely a result of the cultural fissure between those still trying to hang on to the remnants of Christendom and those loathing and trying to destroy its every legacy.

No more gentle village songs (in fact, by and large no more villages) with their simple but memorable tunes and lyrics. Instead we have the hateful, nihilistic, anomic words screeched unmusically to the accompaniment of incoherent noise. Most of this so-called music is based on three chords, but even this primitive kindergarten fare is drowned in mind-numbing electronic din.

Rather than cultivating the listener’s soul, this obscenity appeals to the basest instincts and sensibilities, and we all have them. But our traditional civilisation was there to mitigate the worst and bring out the best in us. What passes for civilisation today does exactly the opposite – and does it deliberately.

Never before in history did low culture spring solely from hatred, never before did it bypass people’s minds and souls, appealing instead to their gonads. This being the case, purveyors of pop ‘music’ target mostly youngsters, whose gonads are at the strongest, and minds and souls at the weakest, they’ll ever be.

The purveyors can then bawl their hatred of bourgeois culture all the way to the bourgeois bank. Women’s tennis aside, I can’t think of any other field where those bereft of the basic tools of their trade can become millionaires at an early age. Closely related industries, such as drugs and pornography, also do well in and around pop.

Whenever a child is corrupted sexually, we’re up in arms, and with good reason. Stamping a child’s soul into dog’s droppings, on the other hand, doesn’t raise even the mildest of objections. Yet I submit that, for usually being irreversible, it’s the latter that does far greater damage.

Pop music is a battering ram driven at the heart of what used to be the greatest civilisation in history. The wall has been breached, and the vandals are launching their final assault.











‘The righteous considereth the cause of the women…’

Admittedly, Proverbs 29: 7 talks about the poor, not the women. But we all know that the outdated Bible should be modernised to agree with our infinitely more progressive times.

Anyway, it’s January, which means that the first Grand Slam on the tennis tour, the Australian Open, is upon us. It also means that my unwavering commitment to political correctness is reeling from yet another blow. Or is it?

As a self-declared champion of equality, I must believe in equal pay for equal work with religious fervour. My daily prayer therefore includes the words ‘…send us this day our daily bread and make sure everyone, regardless of their trespasses, or verily their gender, gets an equal slice…’

In the sinful misapprehension that ‘gender’ is only a grammatical category, I used to say ‘sex’ instead, but, following a Damascene experience, it has been revealed to me that this in itself constitutes a trespass. So gender it is.

Also Satan, in his serpentine way, tempted me in the past to insist on the notion that, in proper usage, a singular antecedent, such as ‘everyone’, ought to be followed by an equally singular personal pronoun ‘his’. ‘Man embraces woman,’ I used to say in my wickedness before I saw the PC light. But Our Father of Political Correctness pointed out the error of my ways, and I’ve since replaced the wicked ‘his’ with the saintly ‘their’.

Hence, every tennis player should receive equal pay for their equal work [sick]. But never mind the wording – to my everlasting horror I’ve received yet another confirmation that this commandment is null and void at Grand Slam events.

That is, the equal pay bit still applies: a man or a woman who loses their first round gets the same amount: $27,600AUS, about £18,000. So far so good, my brethren and sistern in the God of PC.

But, unless my sums are hopelessly awry, the second part of the mantra, ‘equal work’, has gone to hell. Judge for yourself.

In the first round of the 2013 Australian Open, the women played a combined 149 sets. Of these, 27 sets – a whopping 18 percent, brethren and sistern! – ended with a one-sided score of either 6-0 or 6-1. Such routs seldom last more than 20 minutes apiece.

The men, on the other hand, played 235 sets, of which only nine percent ended at 6-0 or 6-1. That means, and I’m being generous in the spirit of PC charity, the men worked at least twice as many hours. Thus their pay was less than half that of the women, and verily I say unto you, brethren and sistern, fair it is not.

If only this were the end of injustice! But my, now indignant, eye couldn’t help noticing that women routinely double-faulted on break points, at least twice per set. Their counterparts of the male gender do so about once every other season, only to repent and beg their coaches for forgiveness. To a tennis player, this is God giving us the sign that the men spend infinitely more time working on their serves and, by inference, their other strokes also.

They also, unless I miss the point, work much harder in the gym and on the running track. Every male competitor’s body is lean and rippling with muscles. By most unfortunate contrast, half the women ripple with fat. Obviously, they have better things to do, and to eat, during the pre-season, and not all desserts they consume are just.

Add all this up, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to suggest that a racquet-wielding woman is paid three times as much for their work than a man is for theirs. There must be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in PC heaven.

Except that there isn’t, and for a good reason. For, as we know, women constitute a minority. Well, they really don’t if one wishes to insist on arithmetical rectitude. But that doesn’t matter, for ‘minority’ isn’t so much a matter of maths as one of faith. If Our Lord of PC says women are a minority, then so, by Jove, they are.

Moreover, they are an oppressed minority, and have been for at least 5,000 years that we know of. Actually, any PC coreligionist of mine will be certain that said oppression goes back even further. But, in the absence of reliable records, we have to settle on 5,000 years, still an irredeemably long time.

Actually, this outrage can indeed be redeemed – by making appropriate restitution. By compensating our sistern in the way to which our American brethren refer as ‘affirmative action.’ And the organisers of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments have taken it upon themselves to correct more than five millennia of egregious oppression.

Hence, women getting paid three times as much is an injustice not done but repaired. Our Lord of Political Correctness is athirst, but His thirst has been partly quenched. Halleluiah!







Robbers of cops

‘Police officers and staff deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe,’ declared Home Secretary Teresa May.

In the next moment she cut the starting salary of a constable by 17 percent to £19,000 a year. Judging by her pronouncement, she doesn’t believe policemen play a particularly ‘vital role’ or ‘deserve’ even their current modest pay.

One can understand how Teresa feels. Why pay over the odds when neither she nor anybody she knows really needs policemen. Those concrete barriers around the Houses of Parliament and SAS sharpshooters on every roof take care of their safety quite nicely, thank you very much. And being whisked around London in a bullet-proof limousine with bodyguards in attendance gives one a nice safe feeling. Who needs cops?

Well, the rest of us do. We depend on policemen to keep at bay murderers, burglars and muggers. And we do think HMG should pay more to those who every day risk their lives to protect us than it pays in benefits to the likeliest murderers, burglars and muggers.

But you see, we don’t really matter. What matters is that our spivocrats are seen to be sorting out the fiscal mess of their own making. Not that they intend to balance the books for real, God forbid.

That would involve big cuts in social spending, a measure that would alienate the growing pool of voters from which most murderers, burglars and muggers are drawn. On a personal level, this might send all those Daves, Nicks and Teresas on a lecture tour before their time, which is to say after the next election, and this must be avoided at all costs.

I know this sounds harsh and vindictive. However, if our ministers didn’t think exclusively in those terms, they’d know that savings should be made everywhere but in the police and armed forces. They’d realise that protecting Her Majesty’s subjects from external and internal threats is mainly, some will say almost exclusively, what Her Majesty’s government is for.

It’s not as if we were short of areas in which cuts could, indeed must, be made. The most obvious one is the welfare budget, whose principal purpose, on available evidence, seems to be breeding, enlarging and perpetuating an underclass of little Mowglis, who then graduate to become murderers, burglars and muggers. You know, the kind of chaps policemen protect us from.

But it’s not just the social spending. What about all those parasitic quangos, sinecures and consultancies involved in spinning out the wool HMG then pulls over our eyes? Can’t get them for £19,000 a year. That much a month would be closer to the mark.

And how about all those diversity experts, optimisers of facilitation and facilitators of optimisation? The administrative staff of the NHS, which is growing like a late-stage malignant tumour just as the frontline medical services are shrinking? Or administrators of our non-education? Toss most of them out on their ear, and not only our finances but also the quality of our ambient air will be greatly improved.

Or, dare one say it, our illustrious civil service that has learned how to cut out the middleman, otherwise known as Parliament, and deal with the EU direct? Or, and I’m waiting for the skies to open and lightning to smite me, what about whole government departments?

Such as, for example, the Ministry for Equalities, now in the tender care of my flavour of the month Jo Swinson (I commented on her inane pronouncements two days ago). This 32-year-old pulls down £94,142 in salary alone and, I’m guessing here, at least another 20 grand in personal expenses.

The guess isn’t completely uneducated. Jo may know a square root of sod-all about government, but she doesn’t half know how to charge expenses. When she became an MP, roughly at the same age she acquired her first trainer bra, Jo quickly learned how to make the taxpayer shell out for a few meticulously listed items, to wit:

A £1.75 chopping board, a ‘food saver’ for £1.50 and a £2.50 sieve, all from Tesco.

A bottle of Mr Sheen cleaner costing 78p and a £1.19 window cleaner, from Asda.

A £16 lavatory roll holder, along with a £14.10 invoice to have a spare key cut for her cleaner.

Also submitted were receipts for items ranging from a packet of dusters for 29p to a television costing £544.90 (that was a few years ago, so we’re talking a wall-size flat-screen here).

Assuming that our PC (as in Politically Correct) Miss Swinson’s attention to detail hasn’t blunted in recent years, she is costing the taxpayer as much as at least six new PCs (as in Police Constable). Which kind of PC do you think serves us better?

Now, the number of policemen under the age of 26 has already fallen by almost half in the last two years. The cut in their salaries is sure to make the fall even more precipitous – this at a time when crime and social unrest are both steeply on the rise.

So next time you’re in trouble, don’t even think about calling the cops. Call a diversity consultant or an equalities minister. You know, the kind of people we couldn’t do without.

That bloody speech

Everybody’s talking about Dave’s epoch-making oration on Europe, which he originally planned to deliver on 22 January.

He’s now going to speak next Friday because Angela and François told him to. So what was that about a more independent stance vis-à-vis the EU?

The whole thing about winning concessions from the EU is mendacious on so many levels that one would need to write a book just to list them. The very premises from which Dave proceeds render impossible even a remote approximation of sound thinking or indeed veracity.

If Dave honestly thinks that the EU will accept a longer lead to keep Britain on, that’s even worse than simply lying. For even to harbour such a hope spells a tragic misunderstanding of what the EU is, what it’s for and what brought it about in the first place. Yes, of course, for purely tactical reasons Angela and François may agree to take a step backwards, but only in the confident hope of then making giant forward strides.

The EU came into being as a result of acute personality disorders suffered by France and Germany. Ever since 1870, when Prussia served notice of the new balance of power in Europe, the French have been paranoid about the Germans. But, as we know, even paranoiacs can have real enemies, and Germany did her best to stoke up France’s psychosis.

The Franco-Prussian war was initiated by France, by the way, or specifically by Napoleon III who sought to outdo his uncle in martial grandeur. Prussia’s victory and the subsequent unification of Germany imbued France with eternal fear of the new country’s military – and above all economic – might. This explains France’s unremittingly aggressive policy towards Germany in the early 20th century, something that the testosterone-rich Germans were only too willing to reciprocate.

Every subsequent catastrophe of the 20th century, from the First World War to the Second, from the Bolshevik revolution in Russia to the Nazi revolution in Germany, was either a direct result of the Franco-German enmity or at least its highly predictable indirect consequence.

But after the Second World War, both Germany and France found themselves at the margins of world power. The meaningful shots were either fired or at least called by the USA and the USSR, and the fragile self-confidence of the two erstwhile enemies suffered serious attrition.

Essentially, the Germans no longer wanted to be Germans, but the French did. Neither were in good mental health.

Quite rightly horrified by the cannibalistic beast having sprung out of their collective breast, the Germans opted to channel all that ferocity into making toasters and fridges. The French, who had for all intents and purposes belonged to the Third Reich during the war, realised their chances in any economic battle against the newly vegetarian Germany were even slimmer than in a military confrontation. France’s hopes of regaining a respectable place among the great powers were going the way of the Maginot Line, made irrelevant by the outflanking Boches.

The interests of the two countries began to converge: the Germans were hoping that the French would give them a course in anger management; the French wanted to ride Germany’s economic coattails, what with their own clothes threadbare.

The more ruthless and unprincipled Franco-German politicians then got together and mapped a strategy for either tricking or forcing other countries into a union dominated by Germany and France. The blueprint they followed was provided by the 19th-century Zollverein, initiated by Prussia as a mere customs union and then gradually used to bring most German principalities under her sway.

The interest of other countries, including Britain, never even came into it. They were swept aside by Germany’s desire to redeem herself morally, France’s urge to redeem herself economically, and both seeking to regain worldwide status.

In every substantive sense, both countries had lost the war, and their people yearned to reclaim some self-respect. Or rather such impulses were exploited by politicians who themselves were driven only by a manic quest for pan-European totalitarianism with a human face (preferably without bloodshed and concentration camps).

Any totalitarian setup depends on staying totalitarian to stay alive. One tiny push against it, and those dominoes may start tumbling one by one. How totalitarian power is projected is immaterial compared to the dire necessity of indeed projecting it.

In expanding its own totalitarian power, the EU has relied on bribery, blackmail and an endless stream of lies. The euro is a child of all these commendable stratagems: it enabled the EU to pour oceans of Monopoly money into the members’ coffers, thus bribing them into ultimately ruinous spending; the EU then blackmailed the members into accepting the bribes even after their pernicious effects became evident; and the EU lied through its teeth every step of the way.

The EU represents a triumph of moral, historical, political, social and economic evil. Such triumphs are always short-lived, but their consequences aren’t. Europe has never really recovered from the first big war a century ago, and it’ll never recover from the evil of the EU. At best, the disease can be kept in check, its symptoms mitigated.

Where does this leave Dave and his non-starter of a speech? He either doesn’t understand or pretends not to understand that the true desiderata of the EU are not economic but political, springing not from rational thought but from a variety of psychoses, insane powerlust prime among them.

Neither he nor, to be fair, anyone else has ever come up with a single intelligent argument in favour of the EU, and especially Britain’s belonging to it. All one hears is stupid, ignorant noises, such as about the EU, rather than NATO, having been the guarantor of peace in Europe. Or that the EU makes Europe more prosperous, a claim for which there’s no empirical evidence, as opposed to the plainly visible mountain of evidence against. Or that trading with Europe would be impossible without belonging to a single European state. Or that no European country can prosper outside the EU – and Dave even has the effrontery to offer Norway and Switzerland as proofs, whereas they prove exactly the opposite.

Any courageous statesman wouldn’t even mention a referendum, for ours isn’t a plebiscitary democracy. Instead he would use his position to launch a campaign for immediate withdrawal from this morally corrupt concoction. That would be merely reversing a constitutional outrage for which there has never been either political consensus or plausible justification.

Alternatively, a statesman lacking the courage of his convictions would offer an immediate in/out referendum – and use the power of his office to campaign for the out vote, which would be the easiest campaign in history. He would thus pass the buck to the people, while ensuring the right result anyhow.

Alas, Dave isn’t a statesman but a PR flak with spivocratic tendencies. Next Friday he’ll prove this by talking much and saying next to nothing. At best, he’ll declare slightly better terms of surrender than Germany managed at Versailles in 1918 or France at Compiègne in 1940.

We need the Black Prince and Henry V. What we have is Neville Chamberlain with a touch of Bernie Madoff.





















As a lifelong member of the PC community, I’m confused

Can you see sparks flying? Are you deafened by ear-splitting bangs? These are coming from mutually exclusive pieties clashing all over the place.

Having devoted my life to promoting political correctness (well, merely the second half of my life, but only because the term didn’t exist in the first half), I find myself in a quandary. 

Just look at this. Mayor Boris Johnson is to offer London as the site for the 2018 World Gay Games, presumably to be called Homolympics.

Far be it from me to suggest there’s anything wrong with extending a welcoming hand to those whose lifestyle, though different from mine, is just as valid and commendable – morally, socially and above all politically. The PC community to which I proudly belong regards everything and everyone as equal in every respect.

However, it’s precisely our hitherto unshakeable belief in even-handed  equality that’s being shattered by the very idea of Gay Games. I, for one, am shocked at the implications of holding such an event. What does it actually mean? Let’s consider the possibilities, even the purely theoretical ones.

Possibility 1: The Games will involve sports in which only homosexuals can ever participate. Other than adding a whole new meaning to ‘relay baton’, one hesitates to think what these might be.

Women’s tennis? No, that’s not it – there have been some notable heteros even among Wimbledon winners (immediately springing to mind is Chris Evert and… er, Chris Evert).

Beach volleyball? Admittedly, the homoerotic potential of this sport has been popularised by the film Top Gun, and to make sure nobody missed the point the female lead was played by a self-outed lesbian. But this is too marginal a sport to act as a fulcrum for a worldwide extravaganza. No, this possibility has to be discarded.

Possibility 2: Homosexuals have to compete in a separate event because their physical abilities are fundamentally inferior, similar to women’s in relation to men’s. This raises such horrendous subtexts that any member of the PC community should recoil in horror.

Repeat after me: WE! ARE! ALL! EQUAL! This is the principle to live by, and in this instance it has ample empirical support.

On the women’s side, the vile discriminatory proposition is refuted by a long and honourable roll of female Wimbledon champions, other than Chris Evert and… well, Chris Evert. (I’m not suggesting there have been no other straights among them, only that I can’t think of them offhand.) On the male side, a few homosexual boxers have held world titles in even the heavier weight classes. And one didn’t see Justin Fashanu pull out of too many tackles. So this possibility bites the dust as well.

Possibility 3: Homosexuals must be segregated, as they can’t be allowed to mix with heterosexuals. Yes, I know this is outrageous, but I’m running out of possibilities here, even purely hypothetical ones.

To make such separation even remotely valid, other sporting events would have to exclude homosexuals. Yet no attempt to hold an Heterolympics has ever been made, nor ever will be. Anything like that wouldn’t just fly in the face of equality, but would indeed smash it to a pulp.

This is precisely what vexes such a strong champion of political correctness as me. Surely it’s discriminatory to limit a sporting event to those practising a particular lifestyle (that’s what homosexuality is, isn’t it?)? Isn’t it akin to having whites-only or, for that matter, blacks-only restaurants or swimming pools?

Of course it is. And I can prove this by simply inviting you to imagine the furore that would ensue if Boris Johnson announced that London is bidding for the 2018 World Straight Games. Why, Boris would be tarred and feathered faster than you can say ‘bigoted homophobe’ – and quite right too. Then why doesn’t it work both ways? I’m baffled.

In Boris’s view, ‘there should be no limit to London’s legacy ambitions’. Whatever that means, obviously one such limit ought to be imposed by our rejection of discrimination in all its forms. Otherwise the PC community, to which I belong so proudly, will be offended, and it offends easily.

Yet Jo Swinson, the equalities minister, went against her mandate by making me even more mystified: ‘I have always been a passionate supporter of sport being open to everyone and I am wholeheartedly behind the bid…’

But that’s precisely our problem: the Gay Games won’t be ‘open to everyone’; they’ll only be open to homosexuals. Then again, one doesn’t expect a barely post-pubescent girl, and a politician to boot, to think before she talks.

And is she suggesting that regular sporting events, such as Wimbledon, are at present not open to homosexuals? If so, she should by all means produce the supporting evidence, of the kind that would refute tonnes of contradictory evidence available.

A friend of mine, a brilliant satirist, complained the other day that his genre is moribund because no satirist can outdo our self-mocking reality these days. All one can do is come up with purely rational suggestions, such as amalgamating the World Gay Games and Paralympics. I for one would pay good money to watch the homosexual cripple jump, wouldn’t you?

For the record, in this bid London faces competition from Amsterdam, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Limerick. I’m especially intrigued by the last bidder, for all sorts of poetic possibilities would suggest themselves by way of slogans (such as, ‘A gay heavyweight from Khartoum//Took a lesbian champ to his room,// And they argued a lot// About who would do what// And how and with which and to whom’).

So my money is on Limerick, but the others shouldn’t be discouraged. Go for it, chaps, and may the best men lose.





Sex with children and public nudity – that’s freedom for you

Our government called for a ‘brainstorm’ on limiting state intrusion into private lives. The brains involved in the storm all belonged to civil servants, academics and civil-servant academics, which explains the jetsam the storm has carried ashore.

For Number 10 to initiate such an enquiry in the first place is akin to Myra Hindley asking Fred and Rosemary West to explore ways of improving childcare. Mr and Mrs West would have been happy to oblige, but somehow one doubts that they would have approached the task in good faith and with the right mindset. The brainstormers didn’t either.

‘As we take steps to reshape the British state for the 21st century, we will take further steps to limit its scope and extend our freedoms,’ declared Dave and Nick in their inimitable style. Over to you, Fred and Rose.

My advice wasn’t solicited but, had it been, I would have offered a few steps guaranteed to take HMG to its professed destination. Let’s see:

Cut the size of the public sector, and consequently of our tax burden, by half. Abolish all but the essential half-dozen government departments (free countries don’t have ministers for equalities, culture, media, sport or women). Eliminate at least half of our domestic regulations on business, and all such regulations emanating from Brussels. Leave the EU with immediate effect and transfer all power back to our ancient parliament accountable to the British people only… Well, you catch the drift.

Now, as Americans might say, I may be dumb but I ain’t stupid. I don’t think for a second that any such measures would have been adopted by our freedom-seekers at Number 10 and adjacent properties. But I bet my house against your pint that in the brainstorming free-for-all these proposals never even came up.

At the risk of sounding cynical, one has to suggest that both the commissioners of the enquiry and its participants have a vested interest in an ever-increasing size, and therefore power, of the state. Yet the only way to limit state nannying is to deprive it of the requisite power. Anything short of that falls into the realm of PR trickery, not statesmanship.

The froth produced by the brainstorming waves provides ample empirical vindication for this general observation. The two principal proposals involved reducing the age of consent from 16 to 14 and allowing public nudity everywhere. This reminds us that ‘liberty’ and ‘libertine’ are cognates, which is one reminder we could have done without.

‘Libertarian’ is another cognate, and those of this persuasion support the first measure because the existing age limit is routinely flouted, with 40 percent of children having sex by the age of 15. One may suggest that exactly the same argument could be applied to laws against murder, rape and theft. After all, making such activities illegal clearly doesn’t eliminate them.

The International Child and Youth Care Network laments that an age of consent of 16 criminalises about half of the teenage population. Yes, and speeding laws criminalise just about every driver. So should we all be allowed to drive at 150 mph on the M25?

Rumour has it that Dave rejected this proposal out of hand, good family man that he is. But apparently LibDems, the party that in its ideal world would deliver every right of Englishmen into the hands of an unaccountable foreign body, are broadly in favour. One can understand this: Nick has to justify somehow the ‘Lib’ element of his party’s name. Otherwise it sounds too much like a misnomer – almost like ‘Conservative’ in the name of his Coalition partner.

Go the whole hog, Nick. Why stop at 14? Why not fight the next election on the slogan ‘Eight’s too late!’ That’s what liberalism (another cognate of liberty) is all about, isn’t it?

Publicly though, Nick too has rejected the measure, for once toeing the line of Coalition discipline. But the second proposal, that of allowing people to roam the streets buck naked, struck a chord with both partners. No immediate action will ensue, but by the sound of it they both thought the idea has merit.

The idea, however, negates a custom of rather long standing, the one that involves wearing at least minimal clothes in public. This goes back to the events described in Genesis 3: 7: ‘And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.’

In common with other scriptural injunctions, this one has shaped the secular domain as well, informing since time immemorial our notions of decency, morality and propriety – irrespective of our faith.

That our present government is the most atheistic one in British history is fairly obvious, as is their desire to stamp out religion as a social force. But equally obvious is their urge to uproot the last vestiges of traditional morality even in the secular realm – all in the name of freedom, of course.

Same-sex marriage, female bishops, tax laws penalising marriage, a growing welfare state making fathers redundant – these are all separate battles in the same war on Western civility. And it’s our government that’s in the vanguard.

In their mind’s eye Dave and Nick see a cherished version of Shangri-la, an urban jungle populated by post-moral creatures, their bodies and minds equally bare. They know that only in such an environment would their political success be perpetuated.

If this is freedom, I’ll take tyranny any day, and twice on Sundays.

















Is Barack Hussein in cahoots with Rumpy-Pumpy?

According to the president of the European Council Van Rompuy, to whom our press affectionately refers as Rumpy-Pumpy, things are going swimmingly for the EU. Every problem has been left behind, pan-European bliss is just round the corner.

I’d sacrifice my bus pass to watch Rumpy-Pumpy enlarge on this assessment in a bar somewhere at the outskirts of Athens or Madrid. One suspects that going over the top at the Somme would have offered greater chances of survival.

But neither Rumpy nor his accomplice José-Manuel is likely to find himself in such lowly surroundings. And in the rarefied stratosphere where the jolly friends do normally soar, their mendacious drivel is taken at face value.

Actually, if pressed, Rumpy-Pumpy would own up to at least one gnawing problem with the EU: Britain. Not its political leadership, God forbid – these lads know which side their bread is buttered. But since Britain still plays at being a democracy, even those sterling characters sometimes have to make subversive noises about ‘changing our relationship’ or even an in/out referendum.

Well, perhaps not an in/out one and certainly not in the near future. In fact, Dave is about to promise to hold some sort of referendum in 2018, which shows enviable optimism on his chances in 2015. This is akin to a 90-year-old applying for a 25-year mortgage, but Rumpy is still worried.

Because he knows the EU’s demise will probably be accelerated, and its finances certainly damaged, by Britain’s exit, he has to scream that it’s Britain that won’t survive. Dave and Nick add their falsettos to turn the screams into a chorus, and the resulting noise is loud enough to be heard across the Atlantic.

Barack Hussein himself and his Politburo add their own notes to the choir. The ideology of socialism they’ve devoted their lives to spreading includes a single world government as a necessary constituent. This is understandable: as people tend to flee from socialism, a situation must be created where they’ll have nowhere to run.

The latest discordant noise joining the cacophony comes from Philip Gordon, US Assistant Secretary for European affairs. Capitalising on his advanced degree in socialism, Dr Gordon expressed his opposition to an EU referendum in Britain. ‘Referendums,’ he explained, ‘have often turned countries inward’.

The last national referendum Britain had, in 1975, the one on the maliciously misnamed Common Market, actually turned the country very much outwards, but ‘Flash’ Gordon probably feels that, as a politician, he has to reflect his nation’s refreshing ignorance of foreign affairs. Nor is it unimaginable that he is himself ignorant: this quality is widespread in the US foreign-policy establishment.

As is the intellectual power typified by Gordon’s explanation of his strong feelings: ‘We have a growing relationship with the EU as an institution, which has an increasing voice in the world, and we want to see a strong British voice in that EU. That is in America’s interests. We welcome an outward-looking EU with Britain in it.’

I won’t repeat what I wrote a few days ago about America’s seemingly paradoxical affection for European federalism. But to maintain that the EU’s voice in the world is increasing makes one suspect that Flash and Rumpy use the same speech writer, a bit like Biden and Kinnock. Unless of course Flash means the growing volume of the heart-rending SOS screams one hears throughout Europe.

I for one am moved to see that Obama and his henchmen feel America’s interests are so closely intertwined with ours. As they are busily perpetrating upon their country the same disasters that have already befallen the EU, they clearly want to halve their problems by sharing them. These are nothing short of catastrophic.

American production is no longer self-sustaining. Her trade balance is hugely negative, and the only way she can sustain her unaffordable standard of living is by selling off her assets and getting further in hock.

Her $16-trillion-plus debt now stands at 73 percent of annual GDP, not counting internal debts, such as the Social Security trust fund. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt is on course to reach 93 percent within 10 years and nearly 200 percent in 25 years. Only Weimar-style hyperinflation would then be able to manage the debt, but the treatment would be even worse than the disease.

The trust fund from which Social Security benefits are paid will be exhausted in less than 25 years, long before the youngest employees retire. Even before that, the fund will fall about 25 percent short of being able to pay the benefits already promised. This means higher taxes for everybody, and one can’t help noticing that Americans don’t like taxation even with representation.

The same goes for public-sector pension funds. There the shortfall between the necessary and actual savings is estimated at close to $4 trillion.

And in less than 25 years Medicare and Medicaid are projected to be consuming more than 40 percent of federal income – this even without Obama’s cherished quasi-nationalisation of medicine.

Given such troublesome times, it’s touching that US politicians can find the energy or inclination to meddle in our internal affairs with their usual crudeness. Then again, politicians in general and US politicians in particular have often relied on foreign tensions to act as a lightning rod for domestic problems.

This stratagem worked for Roosevelt after it became clear that his domestic policies had made the Great Depression greater. FDR’s fellow socialist Obama is clearly hoping it’ll work for him too.

Perhaps we ought to ask him, in no uncertain terms, to keep the likes of Flash on a shorter lead. Britain isn’t quite a 51st state yet, and neither do we want to become part of a European Leviathan. As to what is and what isn’t in American interests, Barack should seek a better-qualified counsel on this issue. His Flash is bust.

Multiculturalism isn’t just vindaloo

Though of all Western countries only the USA has ‘pursuit of happiness’ chiselled in stone, most modern people would see it as a worthy lapidary goal.

Few stop to think that this desideratum, if left unqualified, is fundamentally nihilistic. Few would remember that, before Jesus Christ became a superstar, it had been assumed that people should seek to attain not happiness but virtue.

There was little disagreement on what virtue was, and none at all on its being distinct from vice. ‘Happiness’, on the other hand, makes no distinction between good and sinful, which automatically elevates tolerance to the status of not just the highest virtue, but the only one.

After all, one man’s happiness may be another man’s misery. For example, putting powerful speakers into a car boot, opening it and then driving around town with ‘music’ blaring at top blast may be the driver’s way of pursuing happiness. Few others would be equally happy. Even if we were to narrow the notion of happiness down to seeking money, the same applies: we can all think of numerous situations where one man’s fiscal happiness spells another man’s destitution (Bernie Madoff, ring your office).

Divesting happiness from virtue and vice deprives its pursuit of any moral aspect. This is as close to a reasonable definition of nihilism as one can get.

‘Anything goes’ is a necessary corollary to nihilism; it would wither on the vine without it. Thus tolerance and an open mind have to be definitely the most important, and arguably the only, virtues in a society devoted to happiness über alles. The coin is two-sided: modern tolerance of vice has to be offset by intolerance of any traditional virtue.

This is supposed to be our new morality, but in fact it’s neither moral nor particularly new. Back in the 5th century BC, Herodotus insisted on the importance of ‘respecting other people’s ancient customs’. A few pages later in the same book, he wrote: ‘Burying people alive is an ancient Persian custom.’

Today’s champions of multiculturalism would be well-advised to ponder this. Would they be prepared to accept not only couscous, but also female castration? Not only tandoori, but also suttee? If, as one suspects, most would answer no, they should then decide whether true multiculturalism, accepting all cultures as equally valid in their entirety, is either possible or indeed desirable.

Witness the Indian guru Asaram Bapu who yesterday added his rupee’s worth to the rape case currently drawing international attention. Six youngsters dragged the student Jyoti Singh Pandey and her boyfriend into a bus, where they proceeded to rape her and beat them both. The poor girl later died, and her friend suffered horrendous injuries.

The saintly man’s comment? According to him, Jyoti Singh Pandey was ‘as guilty as her rapists’. She wasn’t sufficiently kind to the murderous thugs and didn’t ask them nicely enough not to abuse her. Presumably, she also wore a revealing sari, inflaming the poor youngsters’ desire to rape and murder. The holy man refrained from specifying the guilt of the girl’s boyfriend. Were his trousers perchance too short?

One is beginning to feel that a lifetime of meditation may just fail to shape a personality in the same way as even the occasional prayer would. And then, at the risk of transgressing against modernity’s sole virtue of multi-culti tolerance, one wonders if the odd bit of intolerance, nay unequivocal rejection, may at times be acceptable.

Fair enough, both the crime and the cleric’s comments on it have caused an outrage in India, with crowds claiming that the country should review its whole culture, specifically its position on the role of women in society. Thousands are out in the streets, brandishing deeply felt but badly spelt posters. (‘Publically hang the rapists!’ – an ‘A’ for the sentiment, an ‘F’ for the orthography.)

But still, it’s hard to think offhand of a minister in any mainstream Christian confession anywhere in the West who’d be capable of making a similar statement. Nor is it easier to think that even such a sadistic rape in, say, Geneva or Bologna, would make thousands of people blame the vicious crime on the general failings of Western civilisation. That such an accusation can be made credibly in the second most populous country on earth should bring our commitment to multiculturalism into focus.

At an unguarded moment one may even suggest that other cultures, especially the more exotic ones, aren’t just different from ours but are indeed inferior to it. Therefore any attempt to toss them all into the same cauldron and boil them down into a single entity can result in one thing only: annihilating Western culture and replacing it with boldfaced, unapologetic nihilism.

All Western countries are making such giant strides towards this worthy end that one may get the impression this is the true goal of their governments, media and ‘educators’. Considering such a possibility, I can only repeat the same tearful plea as an American baseball fan directed at Joe ‘Shoeless’ Jackson, the player accused of fixing the 1919 World Series:

‘Please say it ain’t so, Joe!’







Personally, I blame Kant for all this

The last three centuries have witnessed numerous attempts to replace Judaeo-Christian morality with an equally effective secular code based on rational thought. The same centuries have also witnessed a comprehensive failure of every such attempt.

Immanuel Kant was neither the first nor the last thinker who postulated that, as a rational moral agent, man doesn’t need God to come up with a valid moral code. It’s just that he was a more powerful thinker than the others, and so his failure looks even more spectacular. The greater the height from which one tumbles, the more shattering the fall.

Kant proved beyond any doubt what all those Greeks had shown before him: that, though philosophy can ponder morality from every possible angle, it can’t create it. There’s so much more than reason that shapes human behaviour that rationalism is inevitably found wanting.

Kant and other philosophers dedicated their lives to finding an intellectual justification for their loss of faith. In common with other intelligent men, at some point they began to mistake their ratiocination for reality. They thus convinced themselves, and unfortunately many others, that the Judaeo-Christian code could drop its adjective and thrive as a mere noun.

That was akin to believing that an apple tree will continue to bear fruit after it has been sawn off its roots. Kant was willing to admit that the apples would be slightly different, but he was certain that they’d still have a similar taste and texture. Yet all we got was a pile of rotting wood.

In a way, Kant and his fellow rationalists could be forgiven their mistake. They lived at a time when the fundamental moral tenets of Judaeo-Christianity looked eternally indestructible. Provided we were deft enough, we could separate morality from religion without any adverse effects – like a conjurer whipping the tablecloth off the table without disturbing the cups and saucers. Christianity was the cloth Kant yanked out, morality the cups, and they all ended up as shards of china on the floor.

Resulting modernity has since proved its ability to create widely spread riches beyond those Kant or Smith could even imagine. Yet, with the removal of Christianity as the social and moral focus, material wealth grew in parallel with spiritual poverty. Then, like a snake biting its tail, spiritual and moral poverty turned around and began to destroy material wealth. This, and only this, is the nature of our present economic crisis.

Even worse, when stripped bare of its moral and spiritual shrouds, reason begins to look pathetic in its nudity. Christianity prevented reason from overreaching itself by teaching that many things are, and many others ought to be, beyond reason’s reach. This institutionalised self-restraint prevented us from looking excessively stupid.

Conversely, when we set out to prove that reason is omnipotent, we only succeed in proving it’s impotent. ‘When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything,’ said Chesterton, and he has been proved right.

Conveniently untethered and fashionably open, the modern mind can conceive of inanities that in the past would have been regarded as telltale signs of madness. Who in his right mind would, for example, have argued in favour of two men getting married? Who could have thought that one day the state would discourage hard work and reward indolence? Who would have ever thought that talentless, subversive morons would earn millions for perpetrating unspeakable obscenities on music and other arts?

No one would have come to the conclusion that such things are desirable because they would never even have been discussed. Informed by a teacher infinitely more trustworthy than any philosopher, people just knew that some things were wrong simply because… well, because they were wrong, and that was that.

If someone like Prof. Peter Singer had made his favourite argument in favour of, say, bestiality, he would have been locked up without any prior debate. ‘But it’s victimless!’ he’d scream, ‘We’re all animals and we can love one another!’ ‘Chimpanzees are practically human!’ ‘Why deny us and our pets such pleasure!?’ The only sound he’d have heard in return would have been that of leather thongs being buckled up on his straightjacket. 

When everything is valid, nothing is. As modern man holds nothing sacred, he’ll avidly destroy even everything profane. And he’ll feel good doing it, for he’ll believe he’s acting in the name of progress.

Little will he realise that he’s reverting to the pre-civilised times of hairy couples first rolling on the grass in the spirit of unbridled joy and then busting each other’s heads with stone axes.

What’s being destroyed before our eyes isn’t just a religion. It’s our basic humanity. I hope we’ll all realise this as we watch the first couple of men walk down the aisle, possibly followed by a man and his dog.







Dave has missed his true calling

Dave’s new moral crusade makes one ponder what might have been. He should have become a priest, not a politician.

By now he could be the Archbishop of Canterbury, a capable lad like him. After all, Dave possesses all the necessary qualifications: lukewarm faith, if any; lowly intellect; cavalier attitude to church tradition; support for female bishops; even stronger support for same-sex marriage; lifelong commitment to secular ‘relevance’.

All he’d have to do to make a perfect Archbish would be to don a silly white gown and shuffle around Stonehenge at summer solstice, and surely Dave could do that. Then he’d be in a perfect position to enlarge upon morality, every statement striking home with the power of a wrecking ball. In his present position, however, such jeremiads sound frankly pathetic.

In fact all politicians sound stupid whenever they invoke morals to support their purely pragmatic and usually self-serving goals. In this instance, Dave yearns to squeeze a few extra tax pennies out of us.

It’s not that this would serve any practical purpose, such as reducing the national debt. By now Dave’s advisors must have done the sums and told him this wasn’t going to happen: raising taxes doesn’t automatically mean higher revenues, and in fact it usually means the opposite.

No, Dave wants everyone to pay higher taxes to make it easier for him to court those millions of voters who’ve never worked a day in their lives, nor paid a penny in tax. The relationship is symbiotic: the welfare state over which Dave now presides creates more freeloaders; they in turn vote in spivs who promise more welfare. Job done.

Unfortunately for Dave, some mechanisms still exist that enable both individuals and corporations to pay a little less tax. As far as Dave is concerned, all such loopholes should be closed, even if that would mean cessation of most commercial activity. Ideally, he’d like corporations to pay tax as a proportion of their gross receipts, not net profit.

What could be simpler? Widget Ltd. has sales of £1 billion, pays £210 million in tax, then uses the rest to pay its staff, maintain its premises, renovate, invest, expand and so forth. What, they had to spend £1.2 billion to make £1 billion, and so operated at a loss? Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it?

Alas, Britain still being, technically speaking, a parliamentary democracy, such simplicity would require a show of hands at Westminster. Some of those hands would be irredeemably bloody-minded, either out of principle or, more likely, for purely political reasons.

So never mind the law, feel the morals. By taking advantage of legal loopholes, companies like Starbucks and Amazon have, according to Dave, demonstrated their lack of ‘moral scruples’.

But I don’t wish to steal Dave’s thunder. I think the Demosthenes of Downing Street, his depth of thought only matched by his elegance of style, should be allowed to speak for himself:

“Because some people say to me, ‘Well, it’s all within the law; you’re obeying the law, it’s okay”. Well, actually there are lots of things that are within the law [that] we don’t do because actually we have some moral scruples about them and I think we need this debate about tax too.

“I’m not asking people to pay massive rates of tax. We’ve got a low top rate of income tax now; we’ve got a low rate of corporation tax now; we are a fair tax country. But I think it’s fair then to say to business, you know, we’re playing fair by you; you’ve got to play fair by us.”

Peeling away Dave’s barely literate lingo, we arrive, I think, at a kernel of meaning. It’s true that the moral standards revealed in Exodus and St Matthew are higher than those imposed by secular laws. When the two are at odds, God’s laws should take precedence.

But not being a Biblical scholar of Dave’s obvious attainment I can’t recall where in Scripture it says that companies should pay corporate tax even if they show an operating loss – as Starbucks has done in 14 out of the 15 years it has been active in Britain. Moreover, I suspect that God left such vital details out when speaking either to Moses or to the multitudes.

So what moral law is Dave invoking when threatening to make ‘damn sure’ that foreign companies bringing employment to the UK will be squeezed dry? It has to be ‘I am the State thy Lord, and thou shalt have no Gods before me.’ Somehow this law seems to lack the universal appeal of the older, now obsolete, commandments.

Also, Britain could be regarded as ‘a fair tax country’ only by those who think that Robin Hood was fair when robbing the rich to give to the poor. Bleeding people white is guaranteed to reduce the number of the rich while increasing, at a faster rate, the number of the poor. It’s one of those economic paradoxes, Dave, that upon closer inspection turn out not to be paradoxical at all.

The corporate tax in the UK is 21 percent. Add to this Britain’s prohibitively high rents, transport, fuel and building costs, its minimum wage (about three times higher than in the USA), payroll taxes, insurance, finance cost, the cost of compliance with countless asinine regulations (most of them imposed, at a frightening rate, by the EU), and you’ll see why about 24,000 businesses fail in Britain every year.

On the positive side, the Dave and George economy show is a guarantee that their worst fear, that outside the EU Britain would become like Norway and Switzerland, won’t be realised.

Dave doesn’t think “it’s right to aim for a status like Norway or Switzerland”. I’d choose something like Zimbabwe or Timor to scare children at night. That would be really terrifying. Conversely, becoming like Dave’s two bogeymen would mean we’d have the highest quality of life in the world. No danger of that, not with the likes of  Dave in charge.

But not to worry. After the next election Dave will have plenty of time on his hands to produce a treatise on his favourite subject, morality. May I suggest the title? What’s Good for Me Is Good Morally.