King Clovis, meet the Duke of Westminster

ClovisHugh Grosvenor has just become the seventh Duke of Westminster, after his father, the sixth Duke, died the other day. The title comes with an estate worth over £9 billion, for the family owns more or less the whole centre of London.

Predictably there’s an outcry in the press, shrill in The Guardian, slightly muted in The Mail, about the unfairness of it all. Isn’t it awful that young Hugh gets the whole thing, while his two elder sisters will have to live off miserable trust funds. The papers don’t specify the numerical expression of this misery, but something tells me the two women are unlikely to be found at the end of the breadline in any near future.

But that’s not the point that excites our progressive pundits. They can’t get their heads around the ancient law of primogeniture, with its feudal roots. Anything ancient has by definition been superseded and therefore must be dumped into the dustbin of history, to use a phrase originated by Trotsky and favoured by our Labour politicians.

One would be tempted to wonder how they feel about Magna Carta, which was as feudal as they come, but that temptation must be avoided. Watching grown-ups sound like retarded children isn’t a good sight.

Primogeniture is based on Salic Law that’s old and therefore ipso facto reprehensible to our progress touts. It goes back to 500 AD, when it was introduced by the Frankish king Clovis. That same chap had a few years earlier baptised France under the influence of his wife Clothilde, who must have regarded her exclusion from succession under Salic Law as rank ingratitude.

In 1066 the Normans brought primogeniture to England at the end of their lances. That makes it almost 1,000 years old, which is enough to give our progressive hacks’ faces the puce colour that foretells apoplexy.

When progressive French revolutionaries began to exterminate the titled and propertied classes, Salic Law caused heated debates, typically settled by the guillotine. “Where is it written?!?” screamed the revolutionaries. “It’s written,” replied Joseph de Maistre, one of history’s greatest constitutional minds, “in the hearts of Frenchmen.”

(I shamelessly purloin this phrase when arguing that a written constitution, unless it’s written in the hearts, is like a prenuptial agreement stipulating the frequency of sex: if you have to write it down, you might as well not bother. My American and French friends are aghast.)

The basic principle of all types of primogeniture is the same: the eldest son inherits the lot. Like most ancient laws surviving to this day, it’s wise. In fact, ancient laws survive to this day specifically because they’re wise.

It’s obvious that inheritance through all siblings regardless of sex will eventually reduce the family to powerless penury. With no primogeniture existing, as it didn’t exist, for example, in Russia, big estates were fractured to a point where they could no longer generate a living.

Thus in Leo Tolstoy’s will his estate was equally divided among his wife and nine surviving children. That was about four hundred acres each – another generation, and there would not have been enough left to feed a family. Mercifully, the Bolsheviks preempted that problem by confiscating the lot in 1918.

This isn’t just a facetious remark but a comment on a causal relationship. For the absence of primogeniture was one of the factors contributing to the Bolshevik mayhem. It shifted power away from the aristocracy and landed gentry and to the nascent, loud-mouthed middle classes weaned on the egalitarian ideas of the Enlightenment. When they began acting up, no other class had enough power left to stop them.

That property, especially landed property, confers power is indisputable. When power passes away from those who have a vested interest in the country’s physical plant to those who are mainly interested in expressing themselves and venting their resentments, a disaster befalls. This may or may not be sanguinary, but it’ll always be calamitous.

Primogeniture isn’t only about royal or aristocratic succession. It’s also vitally important to the group living off the land and feeding us all: farmers.

One doesn’t have to be an agriculturalist to realise that large plots are more viable than small ones. A farmer tilling hundreds of acres will achieve economies of scale, which is essential in an enterprise with traditionally minuscule profit margins. Small farms are beautifully pastoral, but they can’t feed the billions inhabiting the Earth.

None of this matters to our progressives. They hate primogeniture not because it doesn’t make sense but because it provides a link with the past, the traditional object of loathing for modern progress junkies.

Hatred of the past is a defining feature of modern anomie. As far as today’s lot is concerned, the dial is zeroed in every generation, and nothing achieved by those who created our civilisation is of any value. Neither indeed is the civilisation itself.

Instead of looking with reverence and filial piety at laws that have been around for millennia, they sputter venom at anything that created rather than destroyed. They’re like a snake eating its own tail, except that this lot will end up devouring the whole body.


Decades of feminism have come down to this?

KnickersThat obscene show called the Rio Olympics is upon us, marred even further by the travesty of athletes representing their countries.

Instead they ought to represent, and be sponsored by, major pharmaceutical companies. One can see, say, the Pfizer eight, their eyes driven out of orbits by their sponsor’s fine products, outpacing Glaxo, whose research team didn’t get the cocktail just right.

But everyone has got tired of the drugs issue and, if truth be told, of the Games in general. Fatigue had set in before the first steroid junkie crossed the finish line.

There are more serious issues to concentrate on, such as did she or didn’t she? Did the BBC presenter Helen Skelton wear knickers under her skimpy dress, or did she not? Certain camera angles suggested she didn’t, and I won’t try to scandalise you with a description of what the lens espied.

Nothing, not even Michael Phelps winning Olympic golds, has generated as much excitement as Helen’s knickers or the absence thereof. Did she or didn’t she? The columnist Katie Hopkins, whose heart is generally in the right place and whose writing is usually entertaining, doesn’t think it matters:

“Who cares if she’s wearing knickers, no knickers, or her knickers on her head? She’s doing a brilliant job and making Rio vaguely watchable.” One wonders why stage such tasteless extravaganzas if the only thing that makes them even vaguely watchable is a pretty girl who disdains underwear.

Miss Hopkins seems to believe that the only possible alternative to the knickerless wonder is the tall, masculine lesbian Clare Balding, who used to present Olympics in the past. As a hypothetical possibility, she also suggests that few of us would prefer watching a burqa-clad Muslim woman who, for all we know, might very well be a man.

However, I’d suggest that there’s something in between a knickerless girl and a Muslim wearing a burqa or Clare Balding, who looks like she might be wearing a jockstrap. That intermediate stage would include good-looking women (my favourite kind) wearing clothes that offend neither the occasion nor decency.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not waxing prudish, and some of the best moments of my life have been spent in the company of knickerless women. I’m simply satisfied that my lifelong observation has been vindicated yet again: all perverse modern campaigns, especially those countenanced by the state, produce the opposite results to those intended.

A war on drugs increases drug use. A war on poverty makes more people poor. An attempt to redistribute wealth destroys it. An overhaul of education promotes ignorance. And the feminists’ frantic efforts to masculinise women only lead to social disasters and, what’s worse, aesthetic catastrophes.

Women have always flaunted their bodies, much to the delight of those of us who have an eye for certain feminine attractions. Just read the descriptions of ballroom dresses at, say, the court of Louis XIV of France or Alexander I of Russia and you’ll find they left little to the imagination.

Even in Victorian England women didn’t cover themselves head to toe at parties, balls or wherever semi-nudity was appropriate. Their secondary, though not yet primary, sexual characteristics were there for all to admire when the occasion allowed it.

During the first half of the twentieth century, with the male population drastically reduced, women were massively drawn into the workforce, with mixed results. Juggling a job and children, for example, was hard, and one of those balls often hit the floor. When that was children, they often grew up brutalised and ignorant, with dire social consequences.

But, this side of Hollywood, women were typically still trying to get ahead on the basis of their competence, not bountiful exposed flesh. As a rule, their colleagues had to wait until the Christmas party to catch sight of the sales manager’s shoulders and upper breasts.

However, feminism reaching hysterical pitch turned out to be the kind of action that produces an equal and opposite reaction. Women, who were supposed to be men’s equals in every respect, started to rely more on their primordial wiles to advance their careers.

Party clothes began to be worn to work, and women started popping every which way out of their work dresses, often worn with no other garments underneath. I remember, for example, working with a pretty girl who was an ardent, vociferous feminist.

In spite of her heartfelt convictions, whenever she needed a special favour she’d bend over my desk, advertising the absence of a bra under her low-cut blouse. “Please, Alex,” she’d pout, “do it for me”. (I’m man enough to admit I always did.)

Whenever I’m abroad, I watch morning news on Sky. Amazingly, all female guests there whose locomotion isn’t assisted by a Zimmer frame inevitably wear décolleté dresses or blouses – at eight in the morning.

Ladies, this was evening dress in the days when you didn’t claim being equal, or even identical, to men. Don’t you realise that every square inch of flesh you expose vindicates the prejudices of antediluvian fossils like me?

There’s a time and place for everything, especially bad taste and vulgarity. These, I’d suggest, are defining characteristics of our time. And few things are more vulgar than feminism dialectically coexisting with exhibitionism.







Western Putinism: an attempt at clinical diagnosis

PeterHitchensUntil now I’ve always maintained that Westerners extolling the virtues of KGB kleptofascism, otherwise known as Putin’s Russia, are either fools or knaves.

However, Putinistas’ recent offerings have made me realise that a third possibility exists: many are deluded or, in the medical parlance, bonkers. This clinical condition has its own aetiology and symptoms.

First compare these two contradictory, indeed mutually exclusive, statements.

Statement 1: “I have no illusions about Mr Putin’s Russia. It is a sinister tyranny where those who challenge the president’s power or expose his wrongdoing suffer very nasty fates.”

Statement 2: “Mr Putin’s Russia [is] now astonishingly the most conservative, patriotic and Christian country left in Europe.”

It’s clear that these sentences couldn’t have come from the same sane person. “A sinister tyranny” can’t be “the most conservative and Christian country”, although it could be patriotic – especially if the term is used broadly, also to include jingoism.

It could conceivably be the same person if the two sentences were years apart. One could imagine that the author first had one opinion of Putin’s Russia, but then, upon mature deliberation, changed it later.

Yet we’re discussing not a man’s intellectual development but a patient’s clinical symptoms. For the two statements were indeed uttered by the same man, Peter Hitchens. And rather than being years apart, they came in the same short article.

Having diagnosed a delusional disorder, let’s consider its aetiology. One observes that, like many such sufferers, nutters in the medical parlance, the patient makes sense on most other subjects.

In fact, this clinical picture is widespread among conservatives: they’re driven mad by modernity with its totalitarian glossocratic urge to punish anyone going against the PC grain.

My book How the West Was Lost shows that I too have been exposed to the same triggers that produce delusions in so many others. In fact, I argue that all modern governments are at least latently totalitarian – with the latency disappearing fast.

But at least I don’t maniacally search for virtue in a kleptofascist regime resulting from history’s unique blend of secret police and organised crime, one the patient himself describes as “a sinister tyranny”.

One can sympathise with this condition. Conservative people are so called because they wish to preserve everything lovable in the West. One can understand how we can be driven to despair (round the bend, in the medical parlance) watching everything we love being wantonly destroyed.

It’s also understandable that some should seek a model the West could follow to get back to normality. Alas, many are deluded into believing that such a model can be found in a regime that has murdered, among many others, hundreds of journalists.

The clinical picture becomes complete when the patient adds delirium to delusions by trying to explain his mania:

“You have no need to guard your tongue as you did in the communist days, when a poem could get you executed and a joke could send you to an Arctic labour camp for 20 years. I saw all that filth end, in person, and rejoiced to see it go…”

Unlike Hitchens, I grew up “in the communist days” of the 1960s. Though my friends and I constantly swapped anti-Soviet jokes, no one was sent “to an Arctic labour camp for 20 years”. Actually, the maximum prison term in the USSR at the time was 15 years. The one up from that was execution, and no one suffered it at the time for telling jokes or indeed writing a poem.

A situation he describes did exist under Stalin, but, for chronological reasons, the patient couldn’t have seen it “in person”. He worryingly seems to think he did, but then we’ve already diagnosed a delusional disorder.

This is not to vindicate Brezhnev’s Russia – it was indeed filth, a softened version of the worst tyranny ever. But, while some writers and dissidents were imprisoned then, they weren’t murdered en masse as they are in Putin’s Russia.

And Christian? It’s as true as it’s upsetting that the West is no longer Christian. But it’s sheer madness to think Russia is.

Putin has whipped up a chauvinistic imperial psychosis, to replace the discarded communist ideology. Russian imperialism has traditionally had a Third Rome theocratic dimension, and this has been incorporated into Putinism, next to money laundering.

The church, whose whole hierarchy, including the patriarch (‘Agent Mikhailov’ in KGB reports), is made up of lifelong KGB agents, plays along. Under its indoctrination, many people are using Christian noises to fill the deafening vacuum of their lives.

But church attendance in Russia is lower even than in England. And many of those church-goers espouse heretical creeds like Seventh Day Adventism or Pentecostalism, which sane persons wouldn’t readily describe as exactly Christian.

Russian conservatism the patient blabbers about is only found among a few intellectuals whose websites Putin has blocked. Among the governing elite (85 per cent of which are KGB officers) it survives only as conservative estimates of their purloined wealth laundered through tax havens. Putin’s personal wealth is thus conservatively estimated at $40 billion, whereas the more liberal, and probably truer, estimates are three times as high.

There we have it: the symptoms and the aetiology, but alas no cure. I’d suggest the patient should avoid this subject altogether, lest he might harm himself as much as his deranged musings are harming others.





No, sir, neither all men nor all children are created equal

ThomasJeffersonTo be fair, Thomas Jefferson may have put this idea into words, but he didn’t invent the ‘thinking’ behind it. He simply inhaled the Enlightenment Zeitgeist and caught the acrid aroma of equality.

Actually, this isn’t so much an idea as an ideology, and the difference is telling. Divine revelation apart, an idea must be founded on evidence, analysis or both. An ideology, on the other hand, is founded on nothing but base emotions.

Purveyors of an ideology may post-rationalise it for public consumption. But there’s no ratio to it. In fact, the more an ideology contradicts reason, the more attractive it becomes to those unable to draw inferences from facts, which is to say to the majority.

An ideology requires no proof. It may prove disastrous, but many will still clutch the straw saving them from having to think for themselves and refuse to emulate lemmings on a march to the abyss.

Conversely, an idea is that pudding whose proof is in the eating. Since we’re fallible, our take on facts may be wrong, our thinking faulty and the resulting idea spurious. When that proves to be the case, an honest thinker abandons the idea and thinks again.

This brings us to Mrs May and her commendable decision to overturn the 1998 ban on grammar schools introduced by Tony Blair, the most revolting personage ever to inhabit 10 Downing Street.

England’s secondary education, until 1965 the envy of the world, has since become its laughingstock. Way back then, state schools were divided into two broad categories: secondary modern and grammar.

The former, while teaching some academic basics, mainly prepared pupils for careers in trades. The latter, covering about 25 per cent of all children, was a fast track to university. Academically, most grammar schools matched most public schools, and many of our prominent figures, including Mrs May herself, went through them.

Then the egalitarian ideology kicked in, proclaiming that all children were equally able. Some, alas, were less privileged than others. Hence eliminating grammar schools would open paths for the underprivileged to fulfil their untapped academic potential.

In 1965 Education Secretary Anthony Crosland set out to destroy what he called “every f***ing grammar school”. He must have been aware that by doing so he’d be destroying education in any meaningful sense, but that made no difference.

That was exactly the end for which his progressive loins ached. Education didn’t have to be good. It just had to be equal, which in practice meant equally abysmal for anyone not blessed with parents able to pay for private schooling.

As a side effect, this consigned to eternal misery the very poor in whose name the socialists acted. The bootstraps of free grammar schools by which the clever poor could pick themselves up were cut.

Another side effect was replacing aptitude with money as the ticket to good education. Since most comprehensive schools were dreadful, those parents who didn’t want their offspring to grow up illiterate had to cough up for private schooling.

Now free of serious competition, public schools vindicated economic wisdom by raising their fees, which these days may be as high as £40,000 a year, well too rich for most parents’ blood. Ability to learn was thereby replaced with ability to pay, and meritocracy with plutocracy.

Results of the first half-century of comprehensive ‘education’ are appalling. A survey of teenagers aged 16 to 19 in 23 developed countries placed British youngsters at 23 in literacy and 22 in numeracy, which doesn’t exactly redeem the underlying ideology.

During that period Tony ‘Anthony’ Blair introduced a total ban on new grammar schools, spreading coarse salt on the academic field to make sure nothing would ever grow again.

It’s this ban that Mrs May is proposing to overturn, giving me a rare opportunity to say something nice about a politician, and our parliamentarians a chance to reaffirm their frenzied commitment to destructive ideology.

Labour and LibDems are joining forces with a few Tories (!) to block this “retrograde” legislation in the Lords. Like all ideologues, they don’t care how daft their rationale sounds.

The dafter, the better is the essence of glossocracy. Forcing people to accept manifestly unsound statements is proof of power, and that lot realise this as well as their Bolshevik predecessors did.

Thus LibDem leader Tim Farron: “A new generation of grammar schools would help a very small number of the richest children while ignoring the needs of millions more children…”

But grammar schools are free – what do riches have to do with anything? ‘The richest children’ are more likely to go to public schools anyway.

Labour education spokesman Angela Rayner: “Selection belongs in the dustbin of history and has no place in modern society.”

Dustbin of history, eh? It’s comforting to hear our parliamentarians quote Trotsky, before acting on his ideas.

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith wouldn’t be outdone: “Grammar schools entrench disadvantage – they don’t overturn it.” But they do, Owen, demonstrably so. However, when ideology speaks, facts and reason fall silent.

I do hope Mrs May has the political nous to push this excellent legislation through. She may get into my good books yet.


Black lives do matter – but not to other blacks

BlackLivesMatterThe other day, parts of London and other major cities were paralysed by mobs expressing solidarity with the plight of American blacks who, according to the rabble rousers, are being wantonly slaughtered by trigger-happy white cops.

Heathrow airport was cut off by riotous crowds organised by the Socialist Workers Party, which is what the Communist Party calls itself these days. Communists in general have a most touching concern for human lives, except those 150 million or so they themselves have taken in different parts of the world.

In this case, they are half-right: blacks are indeed being wantonly slaughtered – but not by white cops. True enough, white US policemen kill on average about 200 blacks a year. In most cases this is self-defence, for stubborn facts show that a white policemen is 18.5 times less likely to kill a black man than to be killed by him.

And yes, some of the killings, very few, are unjustified, as they’re bound to be in a country where blacks account for 85 per cent of all violent crimes. Many of those are committed with guns, and a policeman would have to be inhuman not to have his finger tight on the trigger when approaching a black suspect. Sometimes tight fingers twitch too fast or at a wrong time, and a tragedy occurs.

Now communists aren’t good at putting things in perspective, but we must be. And the perspective shows that blacks are indeed being slaughtered in America – by other blacks. Over the past 35 years, an estimated 324,000 blacks have been killed in the US by people of the same skin pigmentation.

One doesn’t see too many protesters with placards saying ‘Blacks, stop killing one another’. Black lives matter, but not that much. Actually, not at all.

Nor did black lives matter during the genocides in Burundi and Rwanda, when close to 1.5 million Tutsis were slaughtered by Hutus and vice versa. Typologically the same mob was then too busy protesting against black South Africans not having quite the same rights as the whites. It’s that perspective thing again.

The rioters favour melodramatic gestures, such as chaining themselves together and blocking approach roads to Heathrow and Birmingham airports, or lying across tram tracks in the centre of Nottingham. They know in advance that no one will drive a car or a tram over them – at times one is sorry we’re too civilised for our own good.

Some of the road blocks prevented ambulances from getting patients to hospitals, but the statistical probability is that most of those patients were white. Their lives don’t matter to the crazed leftie mob. Neither do black lives or those any other colour. Theirs is the kind of action that is the aim in itself.

Just as the only real purpose of mass murder is the murder of masses, the only real purpose of such disruptive action is to act disruptively. These people cherish every opportunity to thumb their noses at society, ideally hurt it, bring it to a standstill or, as in this case, prevent normal people from going on holiday or to work.

They never really defend a cause, especially when the cause is as clearly indefensible as this one. They’re venting their pent-up resentment against society and hatred of, well, everything.

Some just come for the ride: an opportunity to create mayhem is too good to miss. Some come because of peer pressure, but then they themselves have chosen their peer group. None of them really cares about the declared cause or has thought it through. The slogan on their placards is a pretext, not the reason.

They detest everything they describe as the establishment, refusing to accept that they themselves are it. Iconoclasm lives on long after all icons have been smashed.

No, my enraged friends, black lives don’t matter, not as such. Human lives matter, whatever the colour of the bodies within which they unfold. And it’s the likes of you who are responsible for making our lives at best unpleasant and at worst endangered.

A few of the demonstrators were arrested, and I wonder what the charge will be, if they’re indeed charged. Probably public disturbance, one would think. I’d charge them with the more serious crime: unlawful arrest and kidnapping. They did, after all, hold hundreds of thousands to ransom.

Those Norwegians are up to no good

Norwegian MuslimsThe moment I heard about the knife attack just behind the British Museum, and before the attacker’s identity was revealed, I sensed that somehow Norwegians were involved.

Sitting on huge oil reserves, those smug Norsemen aren’t satisfied with being the world’s sixth richest country. They also want to commit acts of terrorism all over the world, and specifically in Russell Square.

Then the knife-wielding murderer chose as his target a middle-aged American woman. This must have reflected the pressure Norwegians feel from the US, the world’s ninth richest country, but closing in fast.

The picture was clear in my mind, and when the police did reveal that the murderer was a Norwegian national, I toasted my soothsaying powers. The slight snag was that the killer wasn’t, shall we say, a typical Norseman.

He turned out to be Zakaria Bulhan, a Muslim Norwegian national of Somali origin. This redeemed Norwegians in my eyes, but only partly.

For, the police explained, there’s no evidence that Bulhan was “radicalised” or “motivated by terrorism”. There was evidence, however, that he was “mentally ill”. Hence he must have been motivated by his Norwegian identity. And mental illness is pandemic in Scandinavia. Just look at their suicide rate.

My facetiousness apart, we’ve heard roughly the same official mantra after just about every Muslim atrocity. God forbid we’d make a connection between Islam and terrorism. Let Norway carry the can instead.

Now I’d suggest that the urge to stab people at random is ipso facto fairly radical, unlikely to be motivated by moderation. Nor is a stabber likely to be a well-balanced individual. There exists, however, a gap between some emotional instability, which is widespread, and mental illness, which is relatively rare.

The former doesn’t override the ability to tell right from wrong; the latter may. Our police are clearly under orders to make a blanket claim of mental illness for all Muslim murderers. But what’s the truth of the matter?

Enter Parmjit Singh, Bulhan’s next-door neighbour, who has known the murderer for seven years and is willing to talk. And what do you know? Turns out the youth was “a devout Muslim”. Moreover, his ‘mental illness’ has turned out to be both a red herring and, to mix zoological metaphors, a scapegoat.

“They said he had mental health issues but that was not the boy I knew,” said Mr Singh. “The news of his mental illness is completely new, we never heard that. Honestly, I think his mental health problems are a scapegoat.”

So why did that knife see the light of day? “He wasn’t working, he was hanging around with Somalian boys and I think they had possible links to serious ISIS people – not directly, but they see all this stuff and are inspired by it.”

All that stuff Mr Singh was referring to is jihadist literature of which Bulhan was rather fond, if heaps of it found in his house are any indication.

“I think boys have put pressure on him to go there and do something,” explained Mr Singh. “He was very impressionable growing up”.

Well, this just about gets Norwegians off the hook, as far as I’m concerned. And puts us all firmly on it.

Our police diligently pursue anyone guilty of looking at child porn (the only sexual perversion singled out for opprobrium), while being completely lackadaisical about ‘all this stuff’ that incites ‘impressionable’ young Muslims to murder.

Without in any way justifying that sort of voyeurism, one could still suggest that jihadist literature presents the greater danger. The experience of the last 1,400 years shows that many young Muslims are impressionable enough to heed the murderous message and do what the founder of their creed did with so much gusto.

Any sensible government would realise that its main, not to say only, legitimate function is to protect its people. This is one duty about which there can be no ‘yes, but…’ And there’s only one possible answer to the question of how far a government should go in pursuit of this objective: as far as it takes. Whatever works.

Mass internment and deportation may be necessary if other measures fail. These may include tagging all Muslims, shutting down every mosque or community centre in which one jihadist word has ever been uttered, stopping Muslim immigration, dispersing Muslim ghettos inundating our cities, withdrawing citizenship from any Muslim disseminating jihadists literature, punishing those who read it, prohibiting such Muslim symbols as the burqa, outlawing any practice of Sharia law – you name it. Whatever works.

Above all, the point must be communicated in no uncertain terms that our enemies aren’t jihadists, extremists, Islamic fundamentalists or even Norwegians. It’s Islam that’s waging war on us, and we must fight back.

The operating words there are ‘sensible government’. Alas, our government isn’t sensible, it’s modern. Its metaphysical premises won’t allow it to take physical measures along the lines I mentioned. To paraphrase the old saying, what would Mrs Merkel say?

So let’s brace ourselves for more ‘impressionable’ youths, all mentally ill and non-radicalised Muslims, with hatred in their hearts and weapons in their hands. Let’s follow Hollande’s advice and learn to live with terrorism. And die by it.

One can’t demonise a demon

PutinTVYesterday I wrote to a friend that Putin’s Russia has a unique ability to dumb down even otherwise intelligent conservatives. When this subject comes up, their intelligence vanishes, closely followed by their moral judgement.

It’s not that they reach conclusions different from mine. The trouble is that they reach them on the basis of crepuscular inferences drawn from the well of staggering ignorance.

Since even erudite men are ignorant on some subjects, there’s no shame in not knowing much about Putin’s Russia. There is, however, shame in enunciating strong opinions regardless.

No sooner had I finished my e-mail than I saw an article on Putin in the on-line magazine The Imaginative Conservative. It was as if the author had set out to vindicate every observation above.

Usually this website is quite worthy. But mention Putin, and The Imaginative Conservative instantly becomes neither.

The author Joseph Pearce tries to strike a balance summed up in his last sentence: “[Putin] is not a saint and none but a fool would seek to canonise him, but nor is he a tyrant and none but fools should seek to demonise him.” Fools? Pretty strong stuff from a man who decries demonisation.

However, showing demons for what they are is a moral and intellectual duty of a conservative, imaginative or otherwise. No balance between good and evil can exist, and being unable to tell one from the other is a failure of both intellect and morality.

“Putin… believes that big problems require the intervention of big government,” concedes Pearce. “As such, he has much in common with Barack Obama…” Yes, all Western politicians are more or less statist. Yet what makes this parallel inane is that, unlike Putin, they operate within the law.

Dirigisme unchecked by legal constraints is called tyranny, and Pearce either doesn’t realise this or doesn’t know that Russia is ranked somewhere near Zimbabwe in the rule of law category. That makes him either daft or ignorant.

Pearce has produced a book on Solzhenitsyn in exile, and he tries to squeeze the issue into the confines of his chosen subject. Hence he insists on Putin’s virtue because the KGB colonel put on a show of friendship with Solzhenitsyn and included three of his works in the school curriculum.

Allow me to explain why. Solzhenitsyn, for all his admirable qualities, was a Slavophile jingoist and a believer in Holy Russia’s mission to save the decadent West.

Without doubting that the West is in need of salvation, one may still question Russia’s suitability for the role of the saviour. However, this happens to be the message Putin too hoisted up his flagpole when he realised that Russia would fall apart without some ideology.

Since his predecessors had discarded communism, replacing it with a quest for self-enrichment, the only remaining option was traditional Russian chauvinism with a fideistic dimension. The rallying cry of third Rome was supposed to make the Russians forget that they are third world.

This is where Solzhenitsyn and Putin converged. The writer who had shown the evil of the KGB’s rape of Russia began to hail one of the proud rapists (“There’s no such thing as ex-KGB,” Putin once said truthfully, “this is for life.”)

Having dug a hole for himself, Pearce keeps on digging: “Asked by the German newspaper Der Spiegel how he could have such a friendly relationship with Putin, a former KGB officer, Solzhenitsyn responded that Putin’s work was in foreign intelligence and that, therefore, he was not a KGB investigator spying on Russian dissidents…”

This is either a lie or ignorance. In fact, Putin began his KGB career in the Second Chief Directorate, whose function was precisely ‘spying on Russian dissidents’. It was only later that he was transferred to foreign intelligence.

Nor does foreign spying exculpate membership in a criminal organisation, a principle established at Nuremberg. For example, Walter Schellenberg, head of the SS intelligence service, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment – and the SS didn’t murder nearly as many people as Putin’s sponsoring organisation.

Pearce approvingly quotes Solzhenitsyn as saying that “George Bush Sr. was not much criticized for being the ex-head of the CIA.” I’ve heard of moral equivalence, but this is obscene: the CIA didn’t murder millions of Americans, while the KGB murdered millions of Russians. Solzhenitsyn went bonkers late in life, as this statement proves. Is Pearce mad too?

He then sticks another feather into Putin’s KGB hat: “He has taken on many of the worst oligarchs, has restored the Russian economy to a position of relative health…”

This again is either a lie or ignorance. Putin hasn’t “taken on many of the worst oligarchs”. He’s the worst oligarch himself, who has surrounded himself with cronies he has turned into oligarchs too, by encouraging them to steal the country blind.

The oligarchs he has slapped down were those who, like Khodorkovky and Berezovsky, dabbled in unauthorised politics. Those who toe the political line have elevated money laundering to the top of Russia’s commercial activity, turning Putin himself into one of the world’s richest men – presiding over one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Only a liar or an ignoramus can talk about the ‘relative health’ of the Russian economy. According to the information issued by the ruling junta itself, 15.9 per cent of the population subsist below the poverty line, more than in such economic powerhouses as Albania, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. And the poverty line in Russia is drawn at a monthly income of less than £100 – with a cost of living comparable to ours.

Pearce graciously allows that “None of this justifies or excuses acts of imperialism on Russia’s borders”. At least he doesn’t say, along with so many of his likeminded colleagues, that Russia claims nothing that doesn’t belong to her by right.

However, it’s disingenuous not to mention that Russia shares borders with several NATO members, meaning that such ‘acts of imperialism’ can trigger a world war. Perhaps ‘criminal brinkmanship’ would have been a more accurate description.

Putin has wiped out free press and had at least 250 journalists murdered (the latest one last week), along with such political opponents as Nemtsov and Litvinenko. Committed in London, the latter crime was the first ever act of nuclear terrorism.

Really, there’s no need to demonise demons. They do a good job of it themselves.






Is the Pope Catholic?

FrancisLesbosSometimes one wonders, and the pontiff’s recent remarks on Islam make one wonder about his Catholic credentials even more. His PC credentials, however, are beyond doubt.

His Holiness certainly eschews the inductive method of Catholic thought, whereby a general conclusion is drawn on the basis of particular facts. And the facts are in the public domain, impossible for any sentient person not to know.

Just about every terrorist act over the last 15 years has been committed by Muslims screaming ‘Allahu akbar!’. In one month of November, 2014, the BBC counted 664 attacks producing 5,042 deaths.

Muslims were responsible for 450 out of 452 suicide attacks launched in 2015. And the atrocities Muslims committed this year are still fresh enough in our memory not to need a mention.

Professional researchers would find such facts statistically significant, and professional analysts wouldn’t take long to discern a causal relationship between Islam and terrorism. Why, even a rank amateur, provided his mental faculties are intact, wouldn’t find the task unduly difficult.

The Pope is neither a researcher nor an analyst, and his mental faculties are very much in doubt if his take on the situation is anything to go by. “It’s not right to identify Islam with violence,” pronounced His Holiness, “It’s not right and it’s not true.”

If it’s true, it’s right, and the truth is there for all to see. Yet none so blind as those that will not see, as the saying goes. So, if Islam isn’t responsible, who is?

“I believe that in every religion there is always a little fundamentalist group,” explained the Pope. That’s God’s own truth, but this particular God’s own truth is irrelevant to the argument – unless His Holiness can demonstrate that, say, fundamentalist Lutherans also murder thousands by acts of terror.

The Pope can’t do that, but he can lump his fellow Catholics together with Muslim suicide bombers. “If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence… this man who kills his girlfriend, another who kills his mother-in-law… and these are baptised Catholics.”

But we aren’t speaking of violence, Your Holiness. We are speaking of terrorism, which is violence specifically committed in pursuit of political goals, in this case the clearly enunciated Islamic goal of establishing a worldwide Muslim caliphate. Surely any halfway intelligent person should see the difference?

Propensity for violence isn’t uniquely Muslim but universally human. It derives from the concept the Pope may be familiar with, that of Original Sin. But Muslims more or less hold exclusive rights to modern terrorism, which they perpetrate in the name of Allah.

Saying that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam is either a lie or ignorance or an ignorant lie. It’s like saying that neither the Koran nor indeed Muhammad has anything to do with Islam.

After Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina, he wrote down (or rather dictated) 300-odd verses explicitly calling for Allah-inspired terrorism against infidels. And he practised what he preached, killing, for example, hundreds of Jews with his own sabre. Muslim terrorists are thus acting in the spirit of their scripture, and they often choose throat-slitting and decapitation in imitation of their creed’s founder.

It’s true that not all Muslims slit throats, cut heads off or blow themselves up in public places. By the same token, not all Germans were Nazis and not all Soviets were communists. Would His Holiness suggest that the crimes the Nazis and the Soviets committed had nothing to do with Nazism and communism?

Speaking of imams, the Pope said, “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.” Of course they are, Your Holiness. The kind of peace Tacitus was referring to when he wrote: “Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.”

The Pope wouldn’t need a translation but, for those who do, this means “To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”




He didn’t know the half of it

DostoevskySpeaking through one of the eponymous Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky uttered words to the effect of “without God everything is permitted”.

Yet even Dostoyevsky wasn’t prophetic enough to foresee everything that the future, our godless present, would bring. In fact, our reality has outpaced the most macabre prophecies or indeed fantasies of the past, making whole literary genres obsolete.

Political satire is one of them. For example, Swift must have thought he was grotesquely exaggerating when, in A Modest Proposal, he advocated eating babies as a solution to Irish famines. Yet the Dean’s wild hyperbole became a grim reality 200 years later, when the regime for which most Russians are now nostalgic, was starving the Ukraine (and much of Russia) to death, and babies were widely used for food.

Or take dystopian fantasies. The works of Messrs Huxley, Orwell, Zamyatin, Bradbury et al today read like reportage. Conversely, none of them could have fathomed our quotidian reality.

How about the state paying for men to get pregnant? Preposterous, the writers would have protested. Fantasy, they would have said, must have some bearing on reality to produce the desired effect.

To those gentlemen a person capable of childbirth was a woman, the female of the Homo sapiens species, complete with XX chromosomes and all the appropriate body fixtures. Their creative minds wouldn’t have stretched to breaking the link between childbirth and womanhood. To us, however, some links are more honourable in the breach than in the observance.

Enter our dear NHS, with its, or rather our, wallet open wide. It’s not enough that our dystopian state uses our tax money to indulge psychotic freaks obsessed with changing their sex – and the sums involved aren’t trivial: about £30,000 for a mad woman wishing to become a man, half that for the other way around (sewing on must be harder than cutting off).

Now we’re supposed to pay for those ‘men’ to have IVF treatments, so, if they choose to keep their uteri, they can experience the joys of motherhood as fathers. In fact, according to Dr James ‘Frankenstein’ Barrett, three of his patients are about to give birth, those who used to be women wishing to become men and are now men wishing to procreate like women.

The good doctor is proud of his achievement, for the usual procedure merely involves freezing a freakish creature’s eggs before the operation and then implanting the embryo into the equally disturbed woman living with the mad ex-woman pretending to be a man. But a pregnant man is really something to be proud of, the acme of modern medical science.

I’d be curious to be a fly on the wall when the resulting child grows up and starts wondering about birds and bees or, in this case, birds and birds. “Mummy, where did I come from?” “You crawled out of your Daddy’s belly.” “So is Daddy actually my Mummy?” Enough to blow the poor tot’s mind to high heaven.

It’s a salient characteristic of our materialist time that most people’s objections to this abomination focus on its NHS cost, not its essence. Indeed, when patients in pain have to wait a year for gallbladder removal, when hip replacements, cataract surgeries and life-prolonging cancer drugs are rationed, spending millions on such psychoses is insane.

True enough, in a sane society those sideshows would have to pay for their little quirks themselves. And if any NHS funds were involved, they’d be used to pay psychiatrists, not surgeons. For scientists have demonstrated beyond any doubt that a man can’t become a woman. He can only become a man shot full of oestrogen and with his bits cut off. His chromosomes remain XY, which makes him male in any other than a psychiatric sense.

But the fiscal damage is nothing compared to the moral and, if you will, existential kind. A civilisation that can countenance such nightmarish practices testifies to its metaphysical collapse. And, if history teaches anything at all (which it probably doesn’t) such a collapse is ineluctably followed by physical catastrophe. When virtue is replaced by decadence and decadence by degeneracy, civilisations die – to this rule there are no known exceptions.

Our civilisation is moribund already, and only its virtual reality remains, propped up by our phoney prosperity financed by the printing press. When that goes, as it will sooner or later, nothing will be left to hold us together.

So yes, Fyodor Mikhailovich, without God everything is permitted and nothing will survive. But could you have envisioned this nightmare in your wildest fantasies?