Immanuel Kant but PC can

If you still have doubts that the world has gone mad, this will dispel them. The American firm Wilder Publication has seen fit to attach the following disclaimer to the title page of Kant’s three Critiques in one volume:

“This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.”

What a relief; I’m wiping my brow even as we speak. It’s good to see that someone cares about the spiritual wellbeing of our children so much.

Today’s children, and I bet you didn’t know this, are falling over themselves to get their hands on a copy of The Critique of Pure Reason – and as to Practical Reason, why, there’s a veritable stampede under way.

My impression was that they read nothing but text messages with the vowels left out for the sake of brevity. I’m happy to see I was wrong: apparently their young souls weaned on Twitter are reaching out, categorically if not imperatively, for moral philosophy refracted through the Kantian critical method.

In that they are far ahead of, say, Leo Tolstoy who – as a young man, not a child – ruefully admitted in his diary: “I read Kant and understood next to nothing…” That’s progress for you – today’s tots have no such problems.

True enough, once their spiritual thirst has been slaked, their impressionable minds can be corrupted by such Kantian aphorisms as “The yellow Indians do have a meagre talent. The Negroes are far below them, and at the lowest point are a part of the American people.” Especially those who work for Wilder Publications, the old Prussian would have added had that firm existed at the time – but we must refrain from such unfair remarks.

We must, however, be united in our desire to protect our young from Kant’s subversive tirades. Why, if he uttered them today, Kant would find himself in a prison cell faster than you can say ‘incitement to racial hatred’.

In the same spirit we must hail the removal of Huckleberry Finn from most school libraries in America. All American literature may have come out of that book, as Hemingway believed, but we know better.

After all, that objectionable scribble features a central character named Nigger Jim. In a country where a government official has to apologise publicly for using the word ‘niggardly’, there’s no room for such offensive stuff.

Of course, rather than removing Huck Finn from their libraries, US educators could have edited the text slightly. They could have re-Christened Jim as, say, “the socioeconomically disadvantaged Afro-American victim of racial oppression James.”

No doubt they considered this option and rejected it on the grounds of compromised readability. Getting rid of an American classic was much easier.

Personally, the idea of bringing great works of literature and philosophy up to date appeals to me. For example, Kant’s entreaty sapere aude (dare to be wise) could acquire a new lease on life if modified to read “sapere Audi” (dare to drive expensive cars in London traffic).

As to Kant’s views on matters amorous, they wouldn’t pass muster in any modern class on sex education, which makes them downright dangerous.

For Kant that whole area was purely an academic construct, for he remained a virgin until his old age, when his disciples insisted he should experience some hanky-panky. The old man was left unimpressed: “So many hectic movements and nothing more.”

It was no doubt from such truncated experience that Kant objected to what he spiffily called ‘objectification’, using another person merely for pleasure (the German word is even longer and therefore weightier).

Sex, he wrote, ought to be allowed only when serving a higher purpose, such as marriage. “Taken by itself,” he opined, “sexual love is a degradation of human nature”.

How wonderful that today’s children know better. They’ve been taught that the only purpose of sex is sex, because that’s what people like, and whatever people like is cool. The very same Hemingway did say “if it feels good, it’s moral,” proving that he wasn’t entirely reactionary.

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that our innocent creatures, trained as they are from their pre-pubescent years in the more inventive ballistic possibilities of eroticism, must be protected from such antediluvian nonsense.

It has to be said that Kant wasn’t all bad. Specifically, our children should be invited to share his idea that it wasn’t God who created man but more or less vice versa. “God is not a creature outside me, but only my thought,” he wrote – and Richard Dawkins couldn’t have put it better.

Also, Kant’s views on the French Revolution are consonant with those of modern educators. “This revolution finds in the heart of all observers the kind of sympathy that borders on enthusiasm.” Obviously Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France wasn’t on Kant’s reading list – and neither should it be on our children’s.

Protecting children from what was bad in Kant while encouraging them to absorb what’s good, mainly agnosticism, is the way to go. Of course withdrawal is also possible, followed by a soul-warming bonfire. The Critiques would keep the flame going nicely, with the president of Wilder Publications on hand to stoke the fire.

I hope he’ll emigrate to England at some point. We need bright chaps like him to give our ‘educators’ a helping PC hand in guiding children through the perilous undercurrents of Kant. Those few children who know how to read, that is.











Nick Clegg lives in a glass house and he has just thrown a stone

I admire such refreshing courage so much, I’d vote for Nick – provided I could lose whatever intellectual and moral sense God gave me.

Nigel Farage and his deputy, Nick declared, rarely vote in the European Parliament, and even when they’re there, they “don’t stand up for British interests”.

Of course Nick himself has missed four out of five votes in the Commons, as Mr Farage countered immediately.

Now I can only guess why Nigel is a bit laid-back when it comes to casting his vote within a body that has no moral, intellectual, historical and – I’d suggest – legal right to exist.

Why Nick misses voting in a body that has all those rights galore I know for sure. He likes to play tennis (badly) at my club, where he’s often seen on weekday afternoons.

But this is neither here nor there. What I find fascinating is that Nick obviously sees himself – and his comic-book party – as a tireless fighter for British interests.

Frankly, I don’t know what he’d be doing differently if his aim were to destroy this country as a sovereign nation. As you know, the LibDems under Nick’s industrious leadership are dedicated to the noble task of turning Britain into a province (or rather several separate provinces) of the EU.

To wit: time after time, in between hitting inept tennis shots, Nick expresses a longing for joining the euro, this at a time when even a reasonably informed child knows that such a move would destroy the British economy instantly and probably irrevocably. Nick obviously thinks such a development would be in British interests, yet some may beg to differ.

But then Nick does say odd things at times, which is painful to see in a fellow tennis player. For example, he says he’s proud of his Russian ancestry, hoping his audience would be unfamiliar with the nature of his Russian lineage.

In fact it derives from the family of Moura Budberg, née Zakrevsky, who immediately after the Bolshevik revolution acted as the honey in numerous traps set by the OGPU to blackmail foreign visitors and keep an eye on Soviet dignitaries.

Practising the world’s oldest profession within the ranks of the world’s most diabolical organisation, Clegg’s ancestor had affairs with the British envoy Bruce Lockhart, the writers Maxim Gorky and H.G. Wells, and God knows who else.

I’m sure Nick knows all this and, if pressed, he’d agree that there isn’t much to be proud of. It’s just that his internationalist heart demands a claim to an international family background.

He isn’t proud of descending from the family of a secret-police whore. He’s proud of being an internationalist.

Nigel Farage is proud of other things. That’s why he treats the European Parliament with the contempt it deserves. “Our objective as MEPs is not to keep voting endlessly for more EU legislation and to take power away from Westminster,” he told the BBC.

Nigel Farage isn’t an MEP because he believes in European federalism. He’s an MEP because he wants to undermine the EU from inside. He’s Britain’s scout behind enemy lines, which is doubtless how he sees himself.

That explains why his voting record is only 50 percent. By contrast, Nick treats the British Parliament with the contempt it doesn’t deserve. That’s why his voting record in Westminster is a mere 22 percent. So whose scout is he, and how does he think the lines are drawn?

When the two go head to head in their televised debate, Nigel will wipe the floor with Nick. If he doesn’t, I’ll never buy him a pint.





With friends like America…

Another day, another interview with Israel National Radio, another penetrating question that goes right to the core of the matter: “How does Russia’s aggression against the Ukraine affect the world in general and America’s allies in particular?”

Since the interview kicked off at an ungodly hour of 5.30 am, my thinking was as sluggish as my voice was hoarse. Some afterthoughts are therefore in order, for the problem is vast.

Many nations count on America to defend them from bullies, yet America’s record in that area is at best mixed (which is not to say that ours is much better).

When President Wilson dragged the USA into the First World War, his aim was not just to defeat the Central European powers but – more important – to rid Europe of all traditional empires, including the British and the Russian with which America was ostensibly allied.

Wilson correctly surmised that their collapse would herald the advent of a new order spearheaded by America. That’s why he (and, to be fair, our own Lloyd George) welcomed both Russian revolutions of 1917, including the Bolshevik one.

Both countries offered only a token support to the White armies fighting to protect some semblance of civilisation in Russia. With the prescience we’ve learned to expect from our leaders, the dynamic duo reassured their electorates that, “Bolsheviks would not wish to maintain an army, as their creed is fundamentally anti-militarist.” Ergo, “There must be no attempt to conquer Bolshevik Russia by force of arms.”

This, even though the Whites, unlike the Bolsheviks, were prepared to honour Russia’s obligations and keep their troops fighting for the Allies. The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, signed a separate peace with Germany, which was bound to cost the Allies numerous lives.

Not to worry. To the Wilsons and Lloyd Georges of this world, the war against Germany didn’t matter as much as the war for the world. For what Henry Luce described as ‘the American century’ to kick in, old empires had to go.

The British Empire managed to hang on by the skin of its teeth, but that unfortunate situation was corrected in the Second World War. Roosevelt clearly saw his mission in not just defeating the Axis powers, but also in ridding the world of the last bastion of traditional civilisation.

In that, Roosevelt’s desiderata overlapped with Stalin’s, but obviously not with Churchill’s. That’s why he objected to the terms on which America’s aid was offered during the Battle of Britain.

That victory was won at the expense of not only British lives but also Britain’s post-war economic prospects. Churchill knew this was coming: Britain, unlike Russia, had to pay for everything in cash, and IOUs (the last of which was paid off only in 2006) were accepted only grudgingly.

To keep up the payments, Britain had to sell all her overseas holdings and all her gold reserves. It was clear to Churchill that, even if the war were won, the Empire would be lost.

On 7 December, 1940, he wrote to Roosevelt, pleading that the brutally unsentimental terms on which American aid was being proffered would consign Britain to a position in which “after the victory was won with our blood and sweat, and civilisation saved, and the time gained for the United States to be fully armed against all eventualities, we should stand stripped to the bone. Such a course would not be in the moral or economic interests of either of our countries.” Roosevelt acknowledged receipt and promptly collected Britain’s last £50 million in gold.

After the war the Americans continued this pattern of treating their friends in an unfriendly manner. In 1956 the CIA-controlled Radio Free Europe issued a call to arms for Hungarian patriots fed up with Soviet domination. They promptly rose up in full expectation of American help, which never came.

Soviet tanks rolled in and massacred Hungarian youngsters, while Americans were busy saving the fascist regime of Nasser in Egypt from the British-French-Israeli invasion force.

One would think that others would heed the lesson, but Cuban anticommunist émigrés didn’t. Aghast at watching their country raped by Castro’s thugs, they joined an armed force being trained, equipped and financed by the CIA.

On 16 April, 1961, Brigade 2506 landed at Playa Girón on Bahía de Cochinos (the Bay of Pigs). Their chances of getting rid of the communists were odds-on. After all, the air support promised by the Kennedy administration would offset Castro’s numerical superiority and his tanks.

Yet again, however, the US administration got cold feet. In an act of egregious betrayal the promised air support was withdrawn at the last moment, and the Cuban freedom fighters were butchered on the beach.

Moving right along, apart from issuing a few empty threats, Americans didn’t bat an eyelid when Soviet tanks turned the Prague Spring into a long winter. Nor did they do anything to defend their staunch ally, the Shah of Iran, in 1979 when he was being ousted by the chaps who’re now plotting to bring the world to the brink of a nuclear disaster. And so forth, ad infinitum.

This is the context in which Putin’s aggression against the Ukraine ought to be viewed. Obama, Cameron et al have responded with the traditional weapons at their disposal: meaningless phrases and empty threats.

Dave went so far as to promise a boycott of the Sochi Paralympics – I bet that’ll make Putin break into a cold sweat. Obama and Kerry threatened to reduce the G8 to its former G7. They didn’t express any willingness to make up any subsequent deficit in gas that would ensue if Putin chose to turn off the tap on his supply pipe.

The deficit would be huge. France gets 14% of her gas from Russia, Italy 27%, Germany 36%, Austria 49%, Greece 76%, while the three Baltic republics plus Finland rely on Russia for 100% of their gas supply. Not to bore you with too many numerals I’ve left all other EU members out, but the point is made, don’t you think?

The whole situation sends a message to America’s allies, such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and – above all – Israel: Be afraid. Be very afraid, especially if you aren’t prepared to go it alone when the going gets tough.

My interviewer Tamar Yonah doesn’t seem to be afraid. On the contrary, she seems to believe that now Obama has shown his true colours, Israel will no longer feel obliged to follow America’s diktats.

Since under Obama’s sage guidance those diktats range from appeasement to virtual surrender to suicide, such courage is good news – provided Israel is strong enough to handle single-handedly such threats as Iran’s nuclear programme.

I pray she is; I fear she isn’t. One way or the other, Israel knows that Obama’s America isn’t necessarily a friend to be trusted.

Peter Hitchens’s love affair with Putin continues

The kind of affair I mean isn’t the coupling of bodies but the meeting of minds. When both minds are perverse, they run the risk of an awful affliction, a sort of mental AIDS (Acquired Intellectual Deficiency Syndrome).

Peter first went down on his knee in 2012, when he praised Col. Putin as the ‘strong leader’ he wished we had. In today’s Mail article, Peter, God bless his cotton socks, screams his love for Vladimir yet again.

Col. Putin, he says, is at odds with the West because he feels unloved. By us, that is. This is an injustice Peter has set out to correct, sticking out for his bit of rough.

Vladimir, according to his swain Peter, is like a murderer who, according to his lawyer, only killed because his Mummy was a whore, he never knew his Daddy and the flat-screen TV set in his room was only a 19-inch.

Thus the object of Peter’s affection is only raping the Ukraine the way he previously raped Chechnia, Georgia and his own people because “We have been rubbing Russia up the wrong way for nearly 25 years.”

Had we been rubbing Russia up the right way, Col. Putin wouldn’t be murdering everyone he dislikes, including, incidentally, dozens of Peter’s Russian colleagues. He wouldn’t have blown up blocks of flats in his own country to provoke aggression against Chechnia. He wouldn’t have turned Russia into a giant crime syndicate. And he wouldn’t have waged nuclear war in London by using polonium to murder Litvinenko.

Our lovelorn hero draws some interesting parallels. How is it, he complains, that we’re on good terms with China but not with Russia? That’s an easy question to answer and, if Peter’s burning love for Putin weren’t making him babble sweet nothings, he’d see it for himself.

First, ever since the so-called ‘collapse of the Soviet Union’ the West has been more than on good terms with Russia. It has been bending over backwards to accommodate her. Billions have been pumped into the country, with most of them settling in the private accounts of international gangsters, i.e. Col. Putin’s friends and proxies.

This vindicated the observation that foreign aid is the transfer of funds from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries, but then the late Lord Bauer was able to think straight – he wasn’t in ‘lurv’.

The West has been mollycoddling Russia, and specifically Col. Putin, with nothing short of spineless obsequiousness. Yet in every conflict in which the West is involved it invariably finds Russia on the opposite side.

Putin’s Russia has been arming, either openly or secretly, every disgusting regime you can think of. When this is done secretly, Col. Putin deals with every whistleblower in his customary manner. Thus the Kommersant reporter Ivan Safronov was defenestrated in 2007 for exposing Russia’s secret supplies of arms to Iran and Syria. And you don’t think all of Iran’s nuclear know-how came from France, do you?

True, China is no friend of ours either, but at least, over the last couple of decades she has been behaving in a reasonably friendly manner, mainly by eagerly turning herself into the West’s source of cheap labour. It may all come to grief later, and I fear it will, but the West’s dealings with China are based not on love but on a cold-blooded calculation of costs and benefits.

Vodka apart, the only thing Russia supplies to the West is the stuff that comes out of the ground, and it’s a wasting asset. In anticipation of the time when the asset has been wasted, Russia has been using her oil revenues to arm herself to the teeth.

Not only is Russia the dominant military force in Europe, but it’s clearly on the way to being able to match up to NATO globally, especially in view of the West’s demob-happy disarmament.

If Peter’s parallel with China is spurious, the one he draws between Scotland and the Ukraine is frankly ignorant. “Imagine how you would feel if Russia’s Foreign Minister turned up at SNP rallies in Edinburgh, backing Scottish independence,” he invites.

There’s a salient difference here, Peter. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, and has been for 300 years. The Ukraine, on the other hand, became an independent country in 1991 and wishes to stay that way. Unless this escaped Peter’s attention, she’s no longer part of the Soviet Union.

True, there’s little in the Ukraine’s history to suggest she can stay independent for ever. It’s also true that she joined the Russian Empire voluntarily 360 years ago, for fear of suffering the same atrocities at Poland’s hands as she herself had perpetrated on the Jews (Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s record of anti-Semitic massacres stood unchallenged until Hitler).

But the Ukraine has earned her chance at least to try – God knows she has suffered enough at Russia’s hands, mainly courtesy of Col. Putin’s sponsoring organization.

Now that we’re in the business of parallels, I’d like to indulge in one that works much better. Imagine how you’d feel if it were 1968, the same 23 years since the collapse of Nazi Germany as have elapsed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Imagine further that Germany’s government is made up of either career criminals or former SS and SD officers led by an Obersturmbannführer (an equivalent of Putin’s KGB rank).

This government openly refuses to atone for Hitler’s crimes, trying to rehabilitate Hitler and portray him as mainly a stern but effective manager (as Putin’s government is doing with Stalin).

Germany’s leader is publicly proud of his SS past (as Putin is proud of his KGB career: “There’s no such thing as ex-KGB. This is for life.”). He regards the defeat of Nazi Germany as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century” (as Putin regards the collapse of the Soviet Union).

Under his tutelage Germany is committed to rebuilding the Third Reich by either bribing or forcing its former parts to rejoin Germany (as Putin is doing with the former Soviet republics). Even as we speak, it’s launching yet another aggressive war (as Putin is doing in the Ukraine).

Lest the West protest too vociferously, Germany, already the world’s second greatest nuclear power, is rebuilding her military muscle to its erstwhile strength (as Putin is doing in Russia).

So how would you feel? More to the point, how would Peter feel? One suspects that he’d scream bloody murder, demanding that the West unite to repel the evil, by force of arms if necessary.

But Russia wasn’t Nazi; she was communist as Peter himself was as a young but already mature adult. So he’s upset that the West is trying – feebly, it has to be said – to “detach Ukraine from Russia and draw her into the EU orbit, knowing very well that this would infuriate Moscow”.

Infuriate Moscow? Can’t do that, perish the thought.

Peter, Peter, Peter, such a sensible lad on most other issues. Apparently, to paraphrase his love interest, “there’s no such thing as” ex-communist. Once in, never out. No doubt, when the Ukraine is first raped and then murdered, Peter will dance on her grave, his arm tenderly embracing Col. Putin’s waist.