One unequivocally positive outcome of the Gaza conflict

Now that the Gaza ceasefire seems to be holding up, post-mortems are the order of the day (no pun intended).

The Israelis credibly claim they’ve achieved their military objectives: destroying the tunnels out of which terrorists crawl like deadly rats, wiping out rocket launchers, killing high-ranking murderers and in general teaching Hamas a lesson that may take some time to unlearn.

Hamas, on the other hand, claims a moral victory, meaning a PR one (morality is these days measured in mass appeal).

True enough, the world’s media performed a neat trick of closing the vicious circle. First they saturated their pages and TV transmissions with pictures of dead or crippled Palestinians. Then they asked the survivors how they felt about it, all that slaughter of the innocents.

Basking in the limelight, the survivors would deliver the requisite amount of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. The media expressed all the sympathy they could muster on such short notice, leaving their audience in no doubt who was the villain of the show.

The media were the ones who not so much fought as staged the PR war. They were the ones in control of its outcome.

All that unfolded with technically accomplished pretence at even-handedness. Yes, went the histrionic lament, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli towns wasn’t nice. Also ill-advised were all those shrieks about annihilating Israel and everyone in it.

But such minor indiscretions paled in comparison with Israel’s ‘disproportionate response’, which became a universal catchphrase.

The Israelis shouldn’t have responded to violence with greater violence, killing 30 Palestinians for every dead Israeli. They should have grinned and borne the rockets raining on their heads, wrote Peter Hitchens.

That way they would have had a decent shot at winning the PR war, otherwise won by Hamas. Admittedly the victory would have been Pyrrhic, for many Israelis would have been buried under the rubble of their houses.

But we all know that geopolitical success is also measured in PR sound bytes. All those Israeli women and children would have died in good cause, while their Palestinian counterparts died in bad cause: a nation fighting back against terror.

I’m unsure which side has emerged the winner. Only one result of the conflict calls for an unreserved cheer: Baroness Warsi, the first and only Muslim cabinet member, has resigned from the government post she should never have occupied in the first place.

Ostensibly the cause for this action was her disagreement with Dave’s policy on the conflict, which she regarded as insufficiently pro-Palestinian. Specifically, she accused Dave of having stopped just short of branding Israel a criminal state, which by inference has no right to exist.

Actually, it’s Baroness Warsi who has no right to exist – not as Sayeeda Warsi, but as a Baroness.

She ascended to nobility largely because of her political ineptitude. In 2005 Sayeeda Warsi, as she then was, stood for an eminently winnable Tory seat of Dewsbury. However, she managed to lose the election, thus denying the Conservative parliamentary party the benefit of her unique qualifications.

Said qualifications nowadays consist of a few boxes an aspiring candidate has to tick. Empirical observation compels one to admit mournfully that the list contains no boxes for ability to govern, integrity, intelligence, oratorical skills or experience.

It does contain the boxes that Sayeeda ticked better than anyone else. Woman – tick. Muslim – tick, or rather two ticks. Working class – tick. Heavy regional accent, as opposed to the Etonian cadences of so many on Dave’s front bench – tick. Under 40 – tick.

As a lifelong champion of diversity, I welcome such selection criteria applied to those on whose our lives depend. However, as a lifelong champion of sanity, I have to hope that a member of our government should also have a few other qualities.

Moreover, given the choice, those other qualities should take precedence over the aforementioned talents that Sayeeda possesses in such unequalled abundance.

Dave obviously doesn’t share this unfashionable view. He wanted Sayeeda’s talents in his government, what with its gaping vacancy for a young, working-class Muslim woman with a multi-culti accent.

Ideally Sayeeda should also have been a lesbian and a cripple, but you can’t have everything in this life. Let’s face it: what she did have was already more than Dave could get from anyone else.

There was an annoying obstacle in the way to Sayeeda’s elevation though: Britain being a parliamentary democracy, only a member of Parliament can ascend to the cabinet, and Sayeeda had lost the only election in which she had stood.

Mercifully, the constitution doesn’t specify which House of Parliament the prospective minister should serve in. Many a prime minister has taken advantage of this loophole, so Dave knew exactly what to do.

Thus Sayeeda became a life peer. Thus she became a member of the House of Lords. Thus she became Co-Chairman of the Tory Party. Thus she helped Dave in his tireless efforts to run the party into the ground, reducing its membership to a third of its recent size.

That accomplished, Baroness Warsi was prudently moved on to a post specially created for her, that of  Senior Minister of State, one in which Dave hoped her potential for doing harm would be curtailed.

Now she’s gone, amid rumours she’s about to defect to Labour. If true, this will be the greatest service she’ll ever have done the Conservative Party. The Tories’ loss will be their gain.

Everyone knows that Sayeeda’s grievance over Gaza was only a pretext. Her real reason for throwing a wobbly was that she didn’t get the Foreign Office in the recent reshuffle.

Nevertheless Boris Johnson, the Tories’ heir apparent, has supported Sayeeda, choosing to accept that the pretext for her departure was actually the reason.

He too feels that the Israeli military response was ‘disproportionate’: “I think it is ugly and it is tragic and I don’t think it will do Israel any good in the long run.”

Of course not. The only thing that’ll benefit Israel in the long run is abject surrender. Rather than losing a few citizens, she should assuage Boris’s and Sayeeda’s keen sense of proportion by losing a few million.

What Boris’s erstwhile journalistic colleagues aren’t reporting is that many denizens of Gaza are more honest than they are. They know that, rather than being ‘disproportionate’, Israel has displayed improbable restraint.

Consider the fact that during the on-going Afghan operation, the ratio of militant to civilian casualties is as low as 1:4 – something rarely seen in modern war, with its impersonal air raids.

Yet the Israelis, who uniquely warn civilians of impending strikes, have managed to achieve a miraculous ratio of 1:1, never seen anywhere before.

The blame for most of the remarkably few civilian casualties suffered by the Palestinians is squarely in Hamas’s court, and the Gazans know it.

They resent being used as a human shield, they hate seeing Hamas rocket launchers and command centres sited at, in or under their residences, schools and hospitals.

One such hospital is Al-Shifa, which has suffered several Israeli strikes. Secreted in its basement are Hamas command centres and caches of weapons, which is why the hospital and its surroundings have been hit hard.

When Hamas’s Press Secretary Abu-Zuhri arrived to offer his condolences, the locals, who knew what was what, beat him within an inch of his life. At the same time Hamas issued a ban on foreign journalists reporting the human-shield tactics.

Some journalists manage to get around Hamas, but the locals aren’t so lucky. On 29 July Izz ad-Din al-Qassam thugs massacred a demonstration of Beit Hanoun residents protesting against the use of their bodies in lieu of AA defences.

Ten dead, dozens wounded. Thirty more executed as ‘collaborators’ for the same crime. Hamas’s response to peaceful demonstrations may indeed be judged as disproportionate, among other things.

Yet neither Sayeeda nor Boris nor Miliband nor Clegg nor their likeminded spivs direct their flaming consciences at the true perpetrators of war crimes in the area: Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis and other terrorist organisations.

The spivs’ sense of proportion is in working order, which is more than one can say for their moral perspective. These are the people who govern us, ladies and gentlemen.











Islamic crusade, masked as ‘tolerance’

The Times refuses to rest on its laurels.

Having set seemingly impossible standards of ignorance and dishonesty, the paper still strives to exceed them, as demonstrated by two articles run a couple of days ago.

One of them supports Rowan Williams’s assertion that Muslims make an invaluable contribution to British life, and he didn’t just mean those corner shops open at all hours.

A few years ago the Archdruid found a gap between performing shamanistic dances around Stonehenge and discharging his archiepiscopal duties to welcome the unavoidability of Sharia law in Britain.

This time he implicitly extolled the value of having 1,400 mosques in Britain, most preaching hatred for our civilisation. Ours, he explained, is an ‘argumentative democracy’.

Presumably this means we like to argue, and Muslims give us something to argue about. Or, in the Archdruid’s convoluted words, “It’s really important that we respect and try to understand diversity of conscience and belief and conviction in our environment. These are not just about what makes us British, they’re about what makes us human.”

I’ve commented before that the former Archbishop of Canterbury is a man of rather modest intellectual gifts. But here he outdid himself.

Williams must have been taught at the seminary that Britain is constitutionally and historically a Christian commonwealth. That’s a great part of “what makes us British”, while a priest has to believe it’s also much of “what makes us human”.

This doesn’t mean we should persecute those whose beliefs are different – we aren’t Muslims after all. Nor does it mean that we should be incurious about other cultures or creeds.

But elevating ‘diversity of conscience’ to the acme of virtue is guaranteed to debauch the historical core of our society, turning it into an aggregate of atomised, anomic individuals spinning out of control into a vast spiritual vacuum.

The other article is the editorial in the same issue, enlarging on the same subject.

The store is set early: “It is no business of the state to take a position on the content of religious faith… The limited role of government is to defend religious liberty and the freedom of worship and association.”

Obviously The Times either doesn’t know or chooses to ignore the easily verifiable fact that we have an established religion, and it’s neither Islam nor Druidism.

That’s why one of the titles borne by our head of state is ‘Defender of the faith’. The definite article should have tipped The Times that our government’s constitutional duty goes beyond just defending ‘religious liberty’.

Having demanded that we all refrain from troubling our little heads about theology, the paper then plunges into the troubled waters of Islamic apologetics. It quotes approvingly a Sunni imam who argues that the inferior status of women has no basis in the Koran.

Being neither a Muslim nor an Islamic scholar, I’m ready to acknowledge my misapprehensions on that score. I must have been led astray by some Koran verses, such as:

“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” 2:223

“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them.” 4:34

“A male shall inherit twice as much as a female.” 4:11

“[Forbidden to you are] married women, except those whom you own as slaves.” 4:24

“You may marry two or three or four women whom you choose.” 4:3

Interpreted from the height of Islamic scholarship, these and other such verses obviously establish equality of the sexes in every sense. I hope you’ll forgive my prior misjudgement. So silly of me.

“There are ugly currents in European society,” continues the editorial, “that depict Islam as a homogeneous force and Muslims as a threat.”

I’m not sure currents can depict anything, but then I’m not guided by The Times style manual. That aside, the anthropomorphised currents that “depict Islam as a homogeneous force” aren’t just ugly but ignorant – of the hysterical hatred between the Sunni and Shi’ite branches of Islam.

Having started immediately after Mohammed’s death, this heterogeneity is claiming thousands of lives even as we speak.

As to the currents depicting “Muslims as a threat”, I must admit I myself have been known to drift with those. My only excuse is some knowledge of history, a burden evidently not shared by The Times.

The briefest of looks at some of the world’s flashpoints over the last 20 years will show that most of those involved Muslims (and, incidentally, had nothing to do with Israel, which some ‘currents’ ‘depict’ as the sole reason for Islamic radicalism).

Specifically one could mention the conflicts between Bosnian Muslims and Christians, Côte d’Ivoire Muslims and Christians, Cyprus Muslims and Christians, East Timor Muslims and Christians, Indonesian Muslims and Christians in Ambon island, Kashmir Muslims and Hindus, Kosovo Muslims and Christians, Macedonian Muslims and Christians, Nigeria Muslims and both Christians and Animists, Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq and throughout the Islamic world, Muslims and Christians in the Philippines, Chechen Muslims and Russians, Azeri Muslims and Armenian Christians, Sri Lanka Tamils and Buddhists, Thailand’s Muslims and Buddhists in the Pattani province, Muslim Bengalis and Buddhists in Bangladesh, Muslims and Protestant, Chaldean Catholic and Assyrian Orthodox Christians in Kurdistan.

The impression is hard to avoid that Islam sooner or later finds itself at war with any neighbours it happens to have, a tendency that, until The Times editorial, I mistakenly regarded as threatening.

Then the ‘ugly currents’ are hit on the head (if they can depict, they must have heads) with the full weight of authority. The Times co-opts to its cause that great expert on religion Thomas Jefferson, who said “that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion…”

Suffering from a gap in his education, The Times writer doesn’t understand the reason for Jefferson’s remark, its true meaning and the context in which it was made. I’ll be happy to fill this gap.

Jefferson was a deist whose hatred of Christianity was only matched by his cordial loathing of England. His views on religion were greatly informed by Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration, ostensibly preaching equanimity towards all creeds, except naturally Trinitarian Christianity.

Both Locke and the American Founders, including Jefferson, welcomed any kind of religious sectarianism because they correctly saw it as a way of removing an annoying religious check on the excesses of modernity.  

The organic states of Christendom saw their duty in protecting not only the citizens’ property but also their spiritual health, which in those days was tantamount to guarding Christianity from heresy. Locke and the Founders viscerally hated the traditional order, and they correctly identified Protestant sectarianism as an effective weapon to use against it – divide and conquer.

In other words, tolerance, in the Lockean and Jeffersonian sense, means its exact semantic opposite: intolerance to Christianity and, by inference, to the previous centuries of Western civilisation.

This is a sentiment The Times clearly shares, embellishing it with a nice tint of ignorance: “There must be no religious test for… public office.”

But there is such a test, lamentable though some of us may think it is. The 1701 Act of Settlement prohibits a Catholic from becoming head of England’s established religion – and hence from holding the office of monarch.

But facts shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with a good story. And promoting the destructive power of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ is the best story of all.

A war to end all civilisation

A hundred years ago the West talked itself into suicide.

All sorts of geopolitical, national and economic reasons have been put forth as an explanation, and an argument could be made for each one.

Prussian militarism was to blame, as was French revanchism, Habsburg stubbornness, Russian yearning for the Straits, British fear of Germany’s ascendancy.

Yet all those were pretexts, not the reason, for the suicide. The sides were simply trying to post-rationalise the intuitive craving they all shared: to finish off Western civilisation once and for all.

Since the craving was metaphysical, the tools used by both sides to push millions into clouds of noxious gas weren’t physical but verbal.

There was no rational reason for the First World War. It was to words that the masses responded, not to any fundamental need. Any geopolitical problem could have been swept under the carpet if the consequences of solving it by violence had been weighed in the balance.

Words, however, can’t be dismissed so easily. Their power is irrational and therefore has to be absolute to be anything. And nothing promotes absolute power as effectively as a war can, the bloodier, the better.

The Great War was the first major conflict ever fought for words, though regrettably not only with words. So millions had to die, taking what was left of the West with them.

Neither side was averse to particularising its claims. They were both fighting to save civilisation in a broad sense, while making the world safe not just for democracy (the marasmatic President Wilson was welcome to that one) but also for true faith, world commerce, family, security, children, church and prosperity.

Almost instantly the war acquired a character that went beyond any national grievances or economic interests. It wasn’t nationalism but internationalism that reigned supreme: the nations were united in their inner imperative.

The world was replete with proposals for unifying the control of global raw materials in a single body that could also administer international taxes aimed at levelling inequalities among nations. The air was dense with phrases like ‘World Organisation’, ‘The United States of the Earth’, ‘The Confederation of the World’, ‘A World Union of Free Peoples’ and, finally, ‘The League of Nations’.

Both sides described themselves as defenders of international law. The British especially depicted the war as a holy crusade for the law of nations. Not to be outdone, the French organised a Committee for the Defence of International Law.

The Germans were at first taken aback by this sudden outburst of affection for global legality, but they quickly recovered. Belgium, according to them, wasn’t neutral in the international-law sense of the word. It was conducting secret military negotiations with the British aimed against Germany.

The Brits weren’t squeaky-clean either. They were systematically violating the trading rights of neutrals on the high seas. Thus Germany was really fighting for the freedom of the seas and the rights of smaller nations to engage in peaceful trade without being harassed by the dastardly Royal Navy.

The Entente wouldn’t allow Germany to get away with the claim of defending the small and weak. It was the Allies who were after liberating the oppressed nations, by which they no longer simply meant Alsace and Lorraine.

This time they also meant the oppressed minorities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Polish minority in Germany (not to be confused with the German minority in Poland, whose plight was a casus belli for Germany’s next war). That most of Poland was a minority in the Russian Empire could be overlooked for as long as the Russians played ball on the right side.

Funny you should mention oppressed minorities, replied the Germans who hated to be outdone by anybody, especially the Brits. It was they, the Germans, who were fighting to liberate the small nations of the world. More specifically, such small nations as India, Ireland, Egypt and the entire African continent.

But never mind liberating nations. Both sides had broader aims: they were out to save civilisation.

A week after the war began the London Evening Standard was already carrying headlines screaming ‘Civilisation at Issue’. France was fighting a ‘Guerre contre les barbares’, while Germany was battling for her Kultur.

Germany, the nation of composers and philosophers, had established a spiritual ascendancy over the world thanks to her industry, fecundity, wisdom and morality. She was now waging war against the degenerate Latins, barbaric Russians and mercantile British in whose assessment Napoleon would have been correct had he not been French.

While the British were usurers (a role they were to cede to the Jews before long), the Germans were epic heirs to Arminius and Alaric. The British were unable to see beyond their utilitarian noses, as demonstrated by their ‘philosophers’. The Germans had the sagacity to penetrate the meaning of life, as proved by their thinkers. The war was fought for heroic, self-sacrificing Bildung and against the pecuniary British.

Speak for yourself, sale Boche, objected the French. The war was waged by a good race against a bad one. The Gauls of France and Belgium were fighting the Hun, and never mind Bildung.

This argument secretly appealed to the Germans who had been beaten to the racial message that time but decided to store it for future use.

Race more or less equalled God, as far as the French were concerned. While both sides claimed that God was on their side, La Croix made the case with a forthrightness not normally associated with the French: ‘The story of France is the story of God. Long live Christ who loves the Franks.’

La Guerre Sainte’, echoed L’Echo de Paris, and La Croix agreed in principle but wanted to expand: yes, it was ‘a war of Catholic France against Protestant Germany’. But it was more than just that. It was a ‘duel between the Germans and the Latins and the Slavs’, a contest of ‘public morals and international law’.

Hold on a minute, the British begged to differ. The French, while on the side of the angels in this one, couldn’t claim exclusive possession of God.

The Bishop of Hereford explained this succinctly: ‘Such a heavy price to pay for our progress towards the realisation of the Christianity of Christ, but duty calls, and the price must be paid for the good of those who are to follow us… Amidst all the burden of gloom and sorrow which this dreadful war lays upon us we can at least thank God that it brings that better day a long step nearer for the generations in front of us.’

Which generations went on to lose, conservatively, 300 million in assorted wars and purges, not to mention their faith. But then, to be fair, the bishop had no way of knowing this.

Never mind God or, in the case of the Germans, the Gods of their Valhalla. As a British musical promoter explained, this was really a war between different types of music:

‘The hour has come to put aside and to veil with crepe the scores of the men who have crystallised in so unmistakable a manner the spirit of the modern Huns… . The future belongs to the young hero who will have the courage to exclude from his library all the works of Handel, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Brahms and Richard Strauss…, who will draw from the depths of his own being tone pictures of all that is beautiful in the wonderful poetry of Great Britain, and find the vigorous rhythms that will tell of the dauntless spirit of those who go to death singing “Tipperary”.’

The gentleman was right. His future and our present indeed belong to the young hero who has courageously excluded Handel and Brahms, while including, with equal courage, Sex Pistols and Band Aid. The impresario also displayed enviable insight: the underlying aims of the war weren’t geopolitical but cultural.

Amidst such inane clutter, our civilisation was shot up at Verdun, gassed at Ypres, bayoneted at the Somme. Only the Golem of modernity rose up from the corpse-strewn physical fields – the metaphysical victim hasn’t, probably won’t, come back from the dead.

Civilisations resemble a young suicide who pretends he wants to hang himself because Jane doesn’t love him. However, the real impulse lies deeper: he has no God and therefore no love for life God created.

The West no longer wanted to live because it no longer possessed an inner reason to do so. Hence it killed itself, and we today shouldn’t just mourn the 17 million lives brutally taken 100 years ago. We must also shed a tear for a world lost.


 P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is coming out this autumn. You can pre-order from 







French monarchists and English republicans

French tabloids are screaming in 60-point type that Prince Jean of France has got married.

This must be big news, for otherwise popular magazines wouldn’t give it such prominence. The French then, 225 years after their revolution, are still keenly interested in the Bourbons, and I don’t mean the whiskies.

Perfectly synchronised with this outburst of latent French monarchism is an article in our own Sunday Times, in which Philip Collins bemoans his Christian – sorry, he’d probably prefer ‘first’ – name.

Apparently he was named after the Duke of Edinburgh, and Collins finds this accident of birth hard to reconcile with the hatred of monarchy he feels in his republican heart.

There’s a paradox there somewhere: England after all is a monarchy and France is a republic. Yet republican sentiments are festering in our country, whereas the French follow royal news the way the English follow Kim Kardashian.

Why do people living in republics of long standing still seem nostalgic for the monarchies of yesteryear?

And why do so many European countries still keep their kings and queens even though they don’t seem to serve any practical purpose – and despite the resentment for monarchy dripping off silly pundits’ pens?

Perhaps people sense that modern republics are all ideological contrivances lacking any historical, as opposed to merely legal, claim to legitimacy.

Such a claim can only be based on continuity, something traceable so far back that it can’t be pinpointed to any one event or to any political idea.

St Paul wrote that all power is from God, on which Joseph de Maistre, a French monarchist who never lived in France and a constitutional scholar who despised written constitutions, made an interesting comment.

Because monarchies are organic, he wrote, their origins go so far back that we might as well assume they derive from God. They can’t be reliably attributed to any other source.

Aware of this continuity, the people of organic European realms have preserved their monarchies (with minor hiatuses here and there), even though they may have divested them of executive power.

However, they understand intuitively that dispensing with even the seemingly powerless monarchs would represent an irreplaceable loss.

As all those countries are now enthusiastically secular and ideologically democratic, few people there would be able to identify what it is that they’d be reluctant to lose. If pressed, they’re likely to refer obliquely to ‘tradition’, without fully realising what that means.

Many would resent the thought that monarchies link their secular present with their Christian past, yet this is precisely what monarchies do. They are Christendom’s envoys to modernity, and even those who’d throw up their arms in horror at this suggestion will still hear vague, intuitive echoes in their souls.

Royal families remind them of the origin of their own families – kings and queens are their link to the past they ostensibly no longer cherish and to God in whom they ostensibly no longer believe.

This is whence they derive their sense of organic continuity, something they desperately, if often unwittingly, crave – and something that’s denied to nations where monarchies no longer exist or have never existed.

They may not know exactly what they’re missing, but rest assured that deep down they realise they’re missing something vital, something they won’t get from any secular creed.

Moving from psychology to politics, one can’t help noticing that conservatism sits uneasily with republicanism.

Ultimately, a conservative has to decide what it is that he’d like to conserve. In the West, only one answer to this question would brook no easy refutation: the legacy of our civilisation, which historical honesty demands we call by its traditional name of Christendom.

Today’s secular conservatives all talk about small government, which they correctly believe is superior to a giant, omnipotent state. In this they display sound instincts but poor logic.

For, while a small central state is an essential feature of a Christian monarchy, it goes against the grain of a modern republic. Like the Church, traditional monarchies were based on the principle of subsidiarity, the devolution of power to the lowest sensible level.

That’s why the fundamental political institutions of Christendom were all patterned after the family, the most fundamental institution of all.

This kernel of our polity was protected from central power by a thick shell of familial organisations: local government, magistrate, guild, parish, village commune, township and so forth.

The king had precious little power over those, and Louis XIV’s famous pronouncement “L’état, c’est moi” was a lament, not a boast. That most absolute of monarchs knew that he could lord it over his loftiest courtiers more easily than over the lowest peasants.

This reflected the triumph of res privata over res publica: Christianity privatised the spirit, thereby stressing, among other things, the supremacy of the individual over the state.

The modern revolutionary republic – and all modern republics are revolutionary to some extent – destroyed subsidiarity, as it had set out to do. That’s why a modern president or prime minister boasts power unimaginable to a Christian king.

As its name suggests, res publica presupposes universal participation in public affairs. Hence American Founders, such as Adams, were illogical in the horror they felt at observing their cherished republic being undermined by a centralised democracy.

Saying that centralisation undermines a republic is like saying that pregnancy undermines sex. Such inability to discern a clear-cut causal relationship is most unfortunate.

A republic has to become either a democracy or an oligarchy or, as our modern republics prove, both. Sooner or later it has to empower ever greater numbers to take part in governance.

But great numbers can’t govern, if for no other than purely practical reasons. They have to transfer their sovereignty to those who govern in their name and, once relinquished, the sovereignty is no longer reclaimable.

That’s why it’s wrong to say, along with Plato and Aristotle, that democracy is mob rule. The mob (‘We, the People’) never rules, not for long at any rate.

Sooner or later that function will be usurped by a small group presumably governing in the mob’s name, but in fact increasingly pursuing its own interests – hanging on to power being the primary, and eventually the only, one.

Republicanism and democracy, its natural extension, represent an aggressive denial of political tradition based on the founding tenets of our civilisation.

Such nihilism can’t go unpunished, and all our crises, be it social, cultural or economic, are directly attributable to it. That’s why, before proudly declaring his republicanism, Philip Collins would be well-advised to think about it more deeply.

Assuming he can, which is an unsafe assumption about our ‘opinion formers’. 


 P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, coming out this autumn, makes this argument without journalistic shortcuts. You can pre-order from 








Compared to Col. Putin, Dr Goebbels was an amateur

No tyrannies, including totalitarian ones, rely wholly on violent coercion.

Violence is merely a default stratagem, used to deal with those in the population who won’t have their brains washed as thoroughly as the tyrants would like.

Such diehards may number in hundreds of thousands, as they did in revolutionary France; in millions, as they did in Soviet Russia; or in thousands, as they did in Nazi Germany.

These numbers are testimony to the propagandists’ success: the fewer people need to be coerced, the greater the brainwashing mastery.

Hence my hat’s off to Putin and his Goebbelses: their efforts lack the passionate drama of a Nuremberg rally, but overall they deliver better results.

The Russians are buying into the claims of Putin’s propaganda – and the more madcap the claims, the more readily they are accepted.

Being an inveterate sceptic, I find it easy to disbelieve Putin’s approval ratings, which top those of Obama, Cameron and Hollande combined.

Putin’s electoral majority is also easy to dismiss – after all, as his role model Stalin once remarked, it’s not how the votes are cast but how they’re counted that matters.

Yet here I am, looking at the kind of data that have to be taken seriously. Levada-Centre, Russia’s independent polling organisation, has run a large survey in Moscow, Petersburg and four other major cities.

The respondents were asked just one question: “Have you heard about the crash of the Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine and, if yes, what do you think caused it?”

Now, Flight MH-17 was brought down by a SAM fired from a Russian BUK system deployed on the territory controlled by Putin’s proxy troops.

Whether the chap who actually pushed the button was wearing a uniform with or without Russian insignia is immaterial. Putin controls the ‘separatists’ as tightly as he controls the Russian army proper.

Such are the facts, as they are known to everyone outside Putin’s immediate reach. Within that span, however, a different story is told. The ‘separatists’, you see, have no BUK systems in their possession.

Never mind the incontrovertible evidence to the opposite, such as radio intercepts, satellite intelligence and photographs showing BUKs in position days before the incident (the last one I’ve seen was in Le Figaro).

Never mind the interviews in which ‘separatist’ chieftains admitted to having such SAMs and actually firing one on the Malaysian airliner, albeit by mistake.

If the ‘separatists’ had no SAMs, they had no means of defending their skies against Malaysian airliners flying at 30,000 feet. They may have reported destroying several Ukrainian military aircraft at the same altitude, but presumably this had been done with catapults.

So why did the ill-fated plane crash? We do know it did, no argument there.

Putin’s propaganda answers this question with its customary élan: it’s the bloody Ukies what done it. The Ukrainian fascist government in the employ of the CIA, the EU and the Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy.

Why would they do such a thing when they desperately need all the international support they can get? Trust you to ask such a naïve question.

The Ukies committed this vile act in order to incriminate Putin, thereby besmirching his sterling reputation earned in the ranks of that great international charity known as the KGB.

To say that this version of the events stretches credulity would be a gross understatement. No one whose brain isn’t addled by the abrasive detergent used by Putin’s brainwashers would believe a single word of it.

So how did the survey go? Here are its statistically significant results:

“The airliner was shot down by a Ukrainian SAM” – 46%

“It was shot down by a Ukrainian Air Force fighter” – 36%

“It was shot down by the separatists” – 3%

“It was shot down by the Russians” – 1%

The remaining respondents cited such causes as pilot error, technical malfunction and so on. In other words, 82% of the Russian population buy Putin’s lies wholesale, against a mere four per cent rejecting them, with a few not quite sure.

I don’t know if you’ve ever studied the techniques of mass propaganda or, better still, been exposed to them. I’ve done both, and let me tell you: no other fascist propagandist has ever achieved the same hit rate – and no non-fascist propagandist has ever attempted to achieve it.

Such giant coups are impossible even to contemplate in the absence of a total, not to say totalitarian, state control over the flow of information – a reliable hallmark of any fascism, including its klepto- variety.

Sure enough, all Russian mass media are crushed under Putin’s thumb. All TV channels and mainstream papers are spewing nothing but lies, and even the Internet is tightly controlled. Anti-Putin sites, such as Grani (Facets) and Yezhednevnyi Jurnal (Daily Journal) have been blocked. And a diktat was issued two days ago that even blogs the size of mine must comply with government regulations.

Such is the context of Dave’s call to ‘rethink’ Nato’s relationship with Russia.

The verb ‘rethink’ implies some prior thinking. This is as much of a lie as Putin’s propaganda, the difference being that 82% of us aren’t going to believe it.

No thinking has ever gone into formulating the West’s policy towards post-communist Russia, at least none meriting the lofty word ‘thought’.

Our governing spivs gobbled up the perestroika propaganda with the same alacrity as the Russians are now swallowing Putin’s lies.

Suddenly an opportunity presented itself to get fat on the peace dividend, to stop spending billions on maintaining a creditable military presence. Who needs armies if we no longer have enemies? And the money can be more profitable spent on bribing the underclass into voting right.

The whole world loves us, liberal democracy has won a decisive victory. History has ended, declared Francis Fukayama, that most toxic of the neocon fools and knaves.

The world reeled under the influence of the triumphalist spirit, ignoring naysayers like me, who were begging the West from the word glasnost to be prudent at least, sage ideally.

After the inebriation comes the hangover. Suddenly Dave and other spivs have discovered that the leopard still proudly sports his spots. What do you know, seems like the Russians regard Nato as an ‘adversary’.

Forget intelligence services doing their job. Anyone who has read the Russian press over the last 20 years could have told Dave the same thing all along, before those 298 poor people suffered a horrible death.

Negligent myopia in domestic policy can destroy the country’s economy, morality and social fabric. When applied to foreign policy, it can destroy the world. A useful thing to remember exactly 100 years after August 1914.

Democracy worship is to blame

Plato taught that ‘forms’, which is to say substantial ideas, are more real than anything perceived by the senses.

It may be argued at a moment of levity that Christ came into the world partly to correct Plato by showing how the physical and metaphysical can be one.

Be that as it may, if Plato were able to look at today’s politics, he’d have to revise both his terminology and the underlying notions.

Forms have now shed substance and hence any link to reality – they are phantoms, delusions, make-believe.

Democracy is one such, but this isn’t the place to debate its intrinsic qualities. What bothers me is the status it has acquired in modern times, that of moral superiority to any other political arrangement.

Democracy is a method of government, better than some, worse than others. Both its pluses and minuses have been incessantly pondered since Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, and these are still open to discussion.

What is to me beyond dispute is that democracy – as it has evolved – has no claim to being the most moral, just or effective way of organising public affairs.

Yet we in the West today have lost the ability to look beyond the outer shell of politics to see what kernel of substance hides underneath. We worship the form and not so much ignore the substance as forget that such a thing exists.

Hence we equate the democratic shell with the substance of freedom, justice and political virtue, maintaining that those lovely things hadn’t existed before people were empowered to cast their votes for the likes of Hitler, Allende, Putin, Lukashenko, Obama or Tony-Dave.

A dispassionate look at history will show, however, that everything of spiritual, cultural and moral value – including just political institutions – had been created in the West long before the advent of the Enlightenment and its political cutting edge, one-man-one-vote democracy.

The political path of the Enlightenment was signposted by four revolutions: English in the 17th century, American and French in the 18th, Russian in the 20th. Three of them culminated in regicide, that symbolic rite of passage to ‘enlightened’ modernity.

In all four instances the putatively oppressive reigns of Charles I, George III, Louis XVI and Nicholas II were replaced by infinitely more oppressive revolutionary Leviathans. In due course they either devoured or at least, as in the case of America, horrified their very midwives.

Thus John Adams, America’s second president, wrote in 1806: “I once thought our Constitution was a quasi or mixed government, but they had made it… a democracy.”

This, by his correct if belated judgement, had a disastrous effect not only on America but on the whole world. In 1811 Adams rued, “Did not the American Revolution produce the French Revolution? And did not the French Revolution produce all the calamities and desolation of the human race and the whole globe ever since?”

Since Adams had no benefit of our hindsight, he couldn’t fully admire the handiwork of post-Enlightenment modernity, with its concerted effort to wipe out every vestige of Christendom and replace it with either its opposite or, typically, its perversion.

Two calamitous wars (one of which was presumably fought ‘to make the world free for democracy’), two satanic regimes spawning dozens of similar ones, concentration camps, democide and genocide, hundreds of millions dead, tortured and starved to death – these are the sights that John Adams was spared.

He didn’t even witness the devastation of the Civil War, the second act of the American Enlightenment drama, in which the country suffered greater casualties than in all her other wars combined.

All of these were a direct result of modernity’s assault on Christendom, meaning Western civilisation. Unchecked democracy – whatever its theoretical value – has in practice been used as the political tip of modernity’s battering ram.

Now bereft of the traditional Western substance, the world looked at the available political options and cringed. It was faced with two Enlightenment offshoots: either nihillistic totalitarianism, a small elite ruling with no regard for law, or philistine democracy, a small elite ruling within some rapidly weakening but still partly extant restraints.

Both spelled destruction, but in the first instance it was instant, akin to that produced by an explosion, while in the second it was deferred, like that caused by slow if ever-accelerating erosion.

The West sighed and opted for the second, lesser evil. To assuage its sense of guilt over that submission to the vice slowly crushing its civilisation, the West then decided to let democracy mongers have a free rhetorical run.

Even intelligent Westerners began to pretend they believed the propaganda of democracy as the sole redemptive creed of modernity. The less intelligent ones, those constituting an overwhelming majority actually liked what they heard: they, Tom, Dick and Harry, had been blessed with the epiphany denied to the previous 100 generations of Western polity.

Quite apart from lethal long-term damage, the resulting totemistic worship of democracy as the political panacea for the whole world creates a vast potential for immediate disasters. 

It leaves an opening for wicked regimes to pull a fast one by hiding behind a camouflage of democratic cardboard cutouts that cater to the foreign observers’ wishful thinking.

Such Potemkin villages don’t have to be real or even realistic – those seeking a democracy fix will get just as high on a placebo.

Thus, taking their cue from the ‘people’s democracies’ of yesteryear, numerous Third World tyrannies have learned that if they scream ‘democracy’ with histrionic conviction the West will pay them in coin – and if they don’t, the payment may come in the shape of drones and bombing raids.

The current troubles in the Middle East are a prime example of a theoretical folly leading to practical catastrophes. For it was in the name of democracy that American and British spivs unseated the unsavoury regimes that alone could maintain stability in the region.

“I’m afraid the bitter truth is Iraq and Libya were better off under the tyrants toppled by an arrogant and naive West,” writes Stephen Glover in The Mail. Those of us who knew this was the case since before the US-led coalition flexed its martial muscle in 2003, ask the inevitable but futile question:

Where was Stephen and his colleagues on the right, left and centre then? The answer is, castigating the bestial nature of Saddam, Gaddafi and Mubarak, appearing so much nastier in the light of goodness shone by Democracy (capitalisation implied).

Looking at a foreign regime, we’ve lost the ability to ask “Is it good?”. Instead we ask “Is it democratic?” and, if the answer is yes, we heave a sigh of relief.

Thus we leave ourselves open to disinformation blows raining on us from every direction. We – well, some of us – extol Putin’s kleptofascist clique because it was brought to power by seemingly free elections.

On similar grounds we accept that the frankly bolshevik nastiness of Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus is offset by the quasi-democratic elections that brought him to power – or that Putin’s puppet Yanukovych boasted the kind of legitimacy that’s denied to the people who overthrew him last year.

Democracy worship is a lazy man’s answer to sound political thought. That such people make up the bulk of the electorate is another powerful argument against our democracy-run-riot.



P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, coming out this autumn, makes this argument without journalistic shortcuts. You can pre-order from