Did Landslide Joe cheat?

I always admire human qualities I don’t possess. Such as the unbridled self-confidence of columnists like Piers Morgan who, before any investigation has been conducted, know for sure that no electoral fraud was committed.

“No, Joe, I’m neither Hunter nor Jill”

This reemphasises that, like everything else in life, vote counting has become a matter of ideology, not fact. For, other than ideological bias, what makes those chaps so sure?

Do they believe that American democracy is immune to cheating, or that the Democratic Party is incapable of it? If so, they must have played truant when political history was taught.

The Tammany Hall machine of the Democratic Party in New York controlled both the voting and, especially, the counting nicely for the better part of two centuries. Closer to our time, in 1948 Lyndon Johnson won the Senate race in Texas by a whopping 87 votes, which earned him the nickname my title above borrowed for Biden.

Much of Landslide Lyndon’s enthusiastic support came from supporters who had been dead for decades at polling time, but even that wouldn’t have worked had a box of uncounted ballots not been mysteriously discovered at the last moment.

Incidentally, that’s how fraud is usually detected. Here investigators use the forensic method developed by casino pit bosses to spot the card counters at the blackjack tables. What gives those intrepid individuals away is their irregular betting patterns, tipping the balance of probability against them and leading to their expulsion or, in times olden, worse.

Sudden and massive changes of statistical fortune may happen, but they are exceedingly unlikely. When they do occur, fraud is usually involved.

Thus, when JFK’s 1960 election was hanging by a thread, and Illinois was the key swing state, Chicago mayor Daley made a solemn pledge to the candidate: “Don’t worry, Mr President,” he said, confidently using the title to which Kennedy wasn’t yet entitled. “Your friends will deliver Illinois.”

He was as good as his word. Kennedy’s friends bussed hundreds of hirelings from one polling station to another, where they voted with equal gusto each time. Kennedy moved to the White House, and Nixon, displaying the kind of dignity that has since gone out of fashion, refused to mount a legal challenge. That, he said, would diminish the institution of the presidency.

Now, if Kennedy’s friends could deliver Illinois, what makes Morgan et al. so sure Biden’s friends couldn’t deliver, say, Wisconsin? After all, political morals are now considerably less robust than in 1960, and ideological passions much more febrile.

I’m not saying Landslide Joe has stolen the election, but any Las Vegas pit boss would be wary of certain statistical irregularities.

For example, some magic wand was waved in Wisconsin and 112,000 ballots suddenly came Biden’s way within just one hour. In a similar pattern, 138,000 ballots went into Biden’s boxes in Michigan at the same time when not a single one was cast for Trump. How likely is that?

Also, Virginia, citing a clerical error, switched 100,000 votes from Trump to Biden. Clerical errors do happen. But then so does fraud, let’s make no mistake about that. Why, even a country worshipping at the altar of Democracy (always implicitly capitalised) is capable of it.

If the Democratic Party has some form in winning elections by sleight of hand, the hard left ideologues who are beginning to dominate the party live by it. After all, their founding ideology is fraudulent, and they’ve never shied away from upholding it in delinquent ways. In fact, their lacerating self-analysis, backed up by experience, must have led them to the realisation that people can only be cheated, not persuaded, to support left causes.

None of this will stick in court, and neither, I’m afraid, will Trump’s lawsuits. But between us girls we aren’t going to insist that legally provable and true are always the same thing, are we?

Nonetheless, I agree with Richard Nixon. Even an election fraudulently won is less damaging to the country than one decided by the Supreme Court. Especially since even that august body can no longer be confidently trusted to be guided by facts rather than ideology.

So, grudging congratulations to Landslide Joe – and especially to President Kamala Harris, who’s doubtless looking forward to a 12-year rule, first de facto and then de jure. God save America.

Putting a kilt on Pavlik Morozov

For those who were spared my kind of childhood, Pavlik Morozov was a Stalinist saint, perhaps the most worshipped youngster in my youth.

Propaganda poster of the Soviet hero

Without going into too much detail, that 13-year-old peasant denounced his father to a GPU murder squad and was consequently lynched by his surviving family. The story is largely apocryphal, but that’s not the point.

The point is that all Soviet children were brainwashed to see Pavlik as their role model. He was canonised for arranging his loyalties in the right order: Stalin first, communism second, everything else way down the list. Such devotion put his face on thousands of posters and stamps, his statues on hundreds of pedestals and his name into millions of immature hearts.

Now Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, the blood of kilted, sporraned warriors coursing through his veins, has taken the fight inspired by Pavlik to the ideological enemies of the Scottish people.

Inciting hatred in conversations over the dinner table, he announced, must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law. Mr Yousaf posed two questions he doubtless considered rhetorical: “Are we comfortable giving a defence to somebody whose behaviour is threatening or abusive which is intentionally stirring up hatred against, for example, Muslims? Are we saying that that is justified because that is in the home?”

The answers are no and yes. No, intentionally stirring up hatred against, for example, Muslims isn’t nice, although something in me whispers “what goes around comes around”. And yes, if such unworthy sentiments are expressed in the privacy of one’s home, they are justified legally, if not necessarily morally.

But even morally, prosecuting such sentiments is infinitely more reprehensible than the sentiments themselves. For, if uttered in private, how will those incendiary speeches (jokes? toasts? oblique allusions?) become known to the authorities?

Suppose for the sake of argument that Mr and Mrs Angus McMorozov sit down to dinner with little Paul, whom they affectionately call Pavlik. And somewhere between the haggis and the deep-fried Mars bars (sorry about crude ethnic stereotyping), Mr McMorozov expresses his dismay over having a Muslim as Scotland’s Justice Secretary.

Let’s assume that this statement can indeed be construed as inciting hatred. Let’s also assume that Mrs McMorozov shares her husband’s appalling biases. And let’s further assume that the McMorozovs’ dining room isn’t bugged, although these days this isn’t a safe assumption to make.

So how can the authorities find out about the crime committed? One way only: little Pavlik McMorozov must shop his faither.

To be fair, it’s not just Scotland. Our Football Association has issued a new slogan telling people to report racism (however loosely defined). There are hoardings in London reminding the populace to denounce benefit cheats, tax evaders and presumably anyone else they feel like denouncing.

I maintain that the moral and social damage caused by fostering a Pavlik Morozov culture of snitching is much more appalling than the misdeeds to be reported, be that cheating on benefits, evading taxes or even inciting hatred of Scotland’s justice secretaries.

The country I grew up in amply vindicates this observation. Take my word for it: that’s not a good example to follow.

Anne Boleyn, just as I imagine her

If we define schizophrenia as losing touch with reality, then either the world is schizophrenic or I am. (I have only one response to any confirmation of the latter: You too, sunshine.)

The black actress Jodie Turner-Smith will play Anne Boleyn in an upcoming Channel 5 series. This is a further development of the transsexual, transracial craze turning our performance arts into an unfunny joke.

One expects that any idea, no matter how eccentric, implemented by directors has an honest artistic meaning and none other. And honesty is essential to artistry, for without it any work of art will look and sound tastelessly phony.

Yet it’s instantly obvious that the avalanche of blacks playing white roles, women cast as men and vice versa, black women as white men and all other conceivable permutations has nothing whatsoever to do with any artistic purpose.

The aims are strictly ideological, which is to say idiotic and dishonest. The directors want us, the audience, to perform an impossible double act: both to notice and not to notice that the role of, say, Juliet or Lady Macbeth is played by a black actress.

When queried, they spout drivel, saying what’s important is the inner truth of the character, not any external attributes. Hence it doesn’t matter whether Lady Macbeth is played by a black man, or Romeo by a black woman.

My response is, if it doesn’t matter, why not use white actors, especially in the roles of historical personages known to be white? Then the audience really wouldn’t notice their race, rather than trying manfully to pretend it doesn’t notice. One obstacle to instant communication removed, job done?

Now that’s an awful thing to say. No one can expect an answer to that question, and anyone capable of posing it belongs in one of the re-educational facilities doubtless soon to be created in Britain.

Commenting on her new role, Turner-Smith mouthed a few banalities about Anne Boleyn being “formidable and fierce” and then linked those traits to the BLM movement: “It doesn’t make sense that Black people are being senselessly mowed down by the police,” she said, commenting on the queen beheaded by her hubby-wubby for allegedly playing away from home.

She and her director evidently see Anne Boleyn as a precursor of the BLM movement who could have suffered for her race had she indeed been black, although she lamentably wasn’t. After all, Henry VIII was white and therefore a racist. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Of course it does, to a certifiable schizo.

Two tweets on the subject have caught my eye, each testifying both to the cultural level of the projected viewers and their mental health.

“What difference does it make to her story if she’s played by an black actress?”, tweets one aspiring drama critic. “I’ll tell you: absolutely NONE’.” You know my answer to this one: if it makes no difference, why not use an white actress? I haven’t noticed any shortage of those.

Another refined chap wrote: “anna boleyn doesn’t need to be white, just in her paintings she was portrayed as white, being white has nothing to do with her at all, but martin luther king needs to be black, he was an amazing person who stood up for black rights and a role model for so many people.”

Disregarding the slightly unorthodox syntax, one has to congratulate the writer for spotting something not immediately obvious: a direct link between anna boleyn and martin luther king.

The latter stood up for the rights of blacks to be equal and was killed for it. The former stood up for the right of queens to have sex with their brothers, and also paid with her life for that heroic stand. Let’s hear it for the two role models, anna boleyn and martin luther king.

The problem isn’t that there are so many deranged morons out there. The problem is that our media, arts and politics increasingly proceed from the assumption that everyone is a deranged moron.

And this is a gift that keeps on giving: the more they treat people that way, the more the people will fit the imposed model. Does anybody know a good shrink?

Genocide of French Muslims

My heart goes out to all those irate Muslim protesters harassing French embassies all over the world, including in London.

The Chinese Embassy is just a couple of miles down the road, lads

How would you feel if hundreds of thousands of your brethren (and sistern, natch) were thrown into concentration camps, used as slave labour, forcibly sterilised, tortured, killed to harvest their organs or simply for the hell of it?

Wouldn’t you protest if your places of worship were desecrated and wrecked, if your sacred scrolls were destroyed, if your cemeteries were bulldozed, if the government forbade you to give your children names prescribed by your religion, if your children were taken away from you and brainwashed in re-education camps?

I know I would. I’d be outside that French Embassy in Knightsbridge, burning the tri-colore, screaming abuse at embassy officials, threatening their lives… Hold on a minute.

Penelope has looked over my shoulder and said that at my age I can no longer get away with just scanning the news. I need to concentrate on reading every word, or else I’ll make a bloody fool of myself – as I just did.

Turns out it’s not France that’s responsible for all those atrocities, which some experts call genocide, others ethnocide, still others democide. It’s China, and the group on the receiving end is her 12-million Uyghur minority, an enclave of Islam surrounded by communism.

That news utterly confused me. After all, all France did was issue a timid statement that she isn’t prepared to sacrifice her core civil liberties to mollify Muslim sensibilities.

So why, I asked Penelope, isn’t there a single protest going on outside Chinese embassies, while the French ones are under permanent siege? She told me to figure it out for myself, if I’m such a hot shot (she actually used a slightly different word). Fine, let me try.

Anyone who still believes that Islam is primarily a religion should be disabused of that misapprehension on the strength of the cited facts alone. The events unfolding all over the world prove yet again that Islam is mainly a militant political movement, doctrinally committed to global conquest.

Thus, whoever decides where and how to organise those protests (and believe me, mass protests are always organised) has to use strategies developed by political and military analysts. One such strategy, unchanged since the Punic Wars, involves striking at the enemy’s weakest point where the chances of a decisive breakthrough are at their most realistic.

Hence there’s no point in Muslims harassing Chinese embassies. The only tangible effect of such actions would be a further increase in brutality towards the Uyghurs. Now, France is a different matter altogether.

The Muslims are justified to regard France, or any other Western European country, as a soft spot. The liberal ethos prevalent in the West precludes any serious resistance, other than the hot air blown by politicians.

Large swathes of Europe (including Britain) have already had Sharia imposed on them; millions of European Muslims are refusing to honour any laws other than those dictated by their cult (they’ll compromise on accepting Western welfare cheques). And the West does nothing.

Sorry, that’s another thing I got wrong. The West actually does quite a bit: it imports millions more cultural aliens who don’t even bother to learn the local language. What they do learn is the jihad rhetoric spewed out at practically every mosque and Islamic Centre.

The West is ripe for the picking, they are told. Redouble your efforts, and in a decade or two Europe will become a caliphate. And oh yes, Allahu akbar, let’s not forget that.

And the Uyghurs? Very regrettable, that, but not to worry: 72 virgins are awaiting them in heaven. The men among them, that is – the women will have to go without. 

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be

Imagine a Martian landing on Earth and trying to make any sense of it. That was me, 47 years ago almost to the day.

Buckley jousting with his friend and frequent opponent John Kenneth Galbraith

When I arrived in America from the Soviet Union, my baggage included some conservative instincts and a total ignorance of how to relate them to life in the West.

A week later, when visiting a Washington friend, I first saw an episode of Firing Line, a weekly talk show hosted by William F Buckley. “He’s conservative but very good,” said my host, for whom the conjunction ‘but’ was a necessary partition between ‘conservative’ and ‘good’.

I was instantly captivated. The first thing that enchanted me was Buckley’s language. Even though I had devoted my life to studying and eventually teaching English, I had never heard it spoken that way.

My English vocabulary was good, or so I had thought. That smugness turned out to be unfounded: practically every sentence Buckley uttered in his lazy mid-Atlantic drawl contained some words I didn’t know. More important, the ideas discussed on the show, and the sources cited, showed me a clear path for my instincts to follow in search of a rational base.

During my subsequent 15 years in America I never missed a single episode of Firing Line, nor a single issue of Buckley’s magazine, The National Review, which boasted among its contributors some of the most brilliant conservative minds of my lifetime.

Soon I began to devour all the primary sources Buckley and his colleagues mentioned, and consequently they lost some of their ability to enlighten me – a TV interview or a magazine article can’t compete with books. However, their ability to delight me was intact, and both the show and the magazine continued to do just that.

Then I moved to Britain and lost touch with Buckley and his work. Those were the pre-Internet days, when reruns of old shows weren’t readily available. And I began writing magazine articles myself, steadily veering way off the American path Buckley followed.

Then, a month or so ago I started binge-watching old episodes of Firing Line, now available at the touch of a computer key. The nostalgic element was strong, as was the forensic desire to retrace my steps.

I’ve found, with some lamentable self-satisfaction, that my vocabulary has grown exponentially since I first saw Firing Line: I now know every recondite word in Buckley’s lexicon. Also, at the risk of sounding immodest, I’ve moved even further beyond the intellectual level of a TV talk show, even one as luminous as Firing Line was.

But luminous it was – I’ve never seen a talk show in America, Britain or France that comes anywhere near the depth, wit and erudition of Firing Line. Its old shows also remain useful.

Even though I no longer learn from these reruns anything I don’t already know, they have lost none of their capacity to stimulate my own thoughts, especially on the leitmotif of Buckley’s life’s work: exegesis and propagation of conservatism.

Buckley was both a conservative (although he sometimes also referred to himself as a libertarian) and a true American patriot. However, he constantly struggled with the difficulty – I’d say impossibility – of reconciling the two.

Just yesterday I saw a 1984 instalment of Buckley talking to a Republican congressman. The battle lines were drawn between Buckley’s orthodox conservatism (these days called ‘paleoconservatism’ courtesy of my friend Paul Gottfried) and his guest’s moderate version.

Neither party bothered to define conservatism: the definition was self-evident to both. Yet perhaps had they agreed on that essential premise to begin with, the whole discussion would have gone in a different direction.

As it was, all they talked about was economic policy, things like farm subsidies, caps on public spending, the comparative value and compatibility of balanced budgets and tax cuts, inflation, etc.

Such things are doubtless important, but they have little to do with conservatism. They may indirectly derive from it, but they aren’t it. Such subjects would only be essential to a very different debate, one between libertarianism and statism.

Conservatism starts with an answer to the question of exactly what it seeks to conserve. The only sound reply has to be: as much of the legacy of Christendom as is possible to preserve without sinking into obscurantism and Luddism.

Economic libertarianism, desirable though it may be, has a barely discernible link to that tradition. It touches only tangentially on the real legacy of Christendom, which is religious and cultural.  

That tradition was destroyed, deliberately and cruelly, by that great misnomer, the Enlightenment. It ripped the religious heart out of Christendom and secularised, which is to say vulgarised and perverted, the rest.

Thus love (and therefore the sovereign value) of all human beings simply because they are indeed human derived in Christendom from God who is love. The Enlightenment sidelined God and produced a secular theology of human rights as its core. That was tantamount to sawing off the base of a pyramid, then putting it on its tip and watching it fall.

The West tumbled on a slippery slope and began to slide downhill at an ever-increasing speed. The cultural and social debacle we are witnessing today is close to the bottom of the abyss.

Hence the problem Buckley couldn’t solve or perhaps even acknowledge. For the US is the first and most consistent Enlightenment state, constituted as such from birth.

If Western European conservatives, especially in countries where monarchy is extant, can still fight some rearguard action under the banner of God, King and Country, American conservatives are obliged to worship the Constitution, which abolished the middle element of that triad and marginalised the first.

Buckley was blessed with a formidable intellect, and he was a cultured, multilingual conservative who knew every note of Bach and could play many of them. Moreover, he was a devout orthodox Catholic who detested Vatican II and could eloquently enunciate his opposition to it.

However, he refused to see that the US and all the cultural and social perversions he despised had the same progenitor. As an American patriot, Buckley simply couldn’t afford the freedom of questioning the core assumptions of modernity, and therefore of his native land.

Had he done so, he would have realised that real conservatism is impossible in any Enlightenment construct, be that America or, perhaps to a lesser extent, France. What’s possible are either easy surrogates, such as economic libertarianism, or else apophatic proclamations of what conservatism is not, i.e. socialist, statist, extremist and so forth.

Apophatic theology can exist, but apophatic political science can’t: sooner or later its practitioners will find themselves at an intellectual dead end. At that point they’ll either have to admit defeat or state unequivocally what their conservatism is and how it can relate to practical life.

That was a problem Buckley faced, through no fault of his own. However, he fought his way out of the systemic cul-de-sac with an élan, wit and sheer brilliance never seen on television before or since, and seldom ever seen at all.

I’ll continue watching and re-watching Firing Line with pleasure, gratitude – and some nostalgia for the innocence of youth I’ve lost since first illuminated by the dazzling light that was William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008).

The courage of their folly

“We lack Macron’s courage to call the savagery what it is: Islamist terrorism,” writes Rod Liddle, and he’s supposed to be the good sort.

Rod Liddle’s style of journalism

For those unfamiliar with Liddle’s oeuvre, his stock in trade is trespassing on the territory signposted by Richard Littlejohn: gor-blimey, don’t-give-a-monkey’s style of journalism, a sort of vox populi on wheels.

This isn’t my favourite genre, but at least Littlejohn almost always says sensible things. He doesn’t seem to claim implicitly that his folksy style gives him a licence to say anything that pops into his mind.

Liddle’s prose, on the other hand, often makes me wonder if he or anyone else edits what he writes. He’s one of those ex-lefties who reinforce my conviction that no leftie is ever really ex. Liddle tends to sound generally right-wing (no one who routinely uses words like ‘fuck’ in writing can sound conservative), but one senses neither real conviction nor serious thought behind the façade.

Thus he is one of those ‘useful idiots’ on the right who adore Putin and wish we had a strong leader like him.

That’s tantamount to desiring to have in Her Majesty’s realm a leader who siphons purloined billions into his own offshore accounts and those of his flunkeys, suppresses free speech, despises the rule of law, conducts active global subversion, routinely threatens nuclear annihilation, pounces on his neighbours like a rabid dog, imprisons or murders his opponents at home and abroad, claims his undying loyalty to the most diabolical organisation in history and acts in its spirit, mixed with the ethos of organised crime.

Does Liddle dispute any of this? If he does, he’s ignorant. If he doesn’t and still worships the KGB colonel, his moral compass has gone haywire. In either case, he isn’t fit to enlarge on important issues.

Just look at the headline I cited in the first paragraph above. What Liddle is saying there is false: every PM in recent memory has had enough courage to decry Islamist terrorism. None, however, has had “the courage to call the savagery what it really is”: Islamic terrorism. Neither does Liddle.

Or perhaps he just doesn’t realise that the two terms aren’t exactly synonymous. If so, I’m happy to help – we none of us want a hack to refute himself so blatantly.

‘Islamist’ evokes the popular, and false, image of a crazed loner inflamed by his woeful misreading of the ‘religion of peace’ (so termed by numerous politicians who don’t mind railing against each individual atrocity). ‘Islamic’, on the other hand, describes in this context faithfulness to the tenets and history of Islam, whose scripture does, after all, contain more than 300 verses explicitly prescribing violence towards infidels.

Or perhaps I’m being unfair, and the problem isn’t so much individual as collective or, if you will, civilisational. As such, it goes deeper than a simple deficit of either courage or intelligence.

I believe that within the framework of liberal, which is to say modern,  Weltanschauung it’s simply impossible to call a Muslim terrorist a Muslim terrorist. Anyone daring to suggest that Muslims commit their atrocities because of Islam, not despite it, will face accusations – and possibly even charges – of racism, white supremacism, fascism and other such indictable offences.

At least, people like Liddle only exert influence on their readers, or not, as the case may be. People like Macron, on the other hand, have the power to formulate policy, or not, as the case may be.

For they labour under the yoke of the same civilisational folly that forces Liddle to confuse Islamist with Islamic. Hence Macron has added another duty to his already onerous load, that of reformer of Islam, a composite of Martin Luther and Denis Diderot with a shaggy beard attached.

Manny has the commendable self-confidence to believe he can facilitate the creation of what he called an “Enlightenment Islam”. Even uttering such words, never mind trying to act on them, betrays either total ignorance or, more likely, a tacit acknowledgment of the constraints I mentioned earlier.

Unlike Christianity, Islam aggressively discourages freedom of thought. That’s why, in the 1,400 years of its existence, it has precluded even the remotest possibility of real reform or, on the plus side, anything that in the West goes by the name of the Enlightenment (‘Crepuscularism’ is the term I’d prefer).

The essential Christian doctrine of free will presupposes the freedom of apostasy, with the erosion of the church it may entail. However, if the Christian church were to abandon that doctrine, it would stop being a Christian church.

The church has historically believed that erosion at the periphery, lamentable as it is, wouldn’t weaken its doctrinal and ecclesiastical centre. That self-confidence has been vindicated: for all the attrition the church has suffered, it has still survived for 2,000 years.

On the other hand, if Islam allowed the same freedom of thought, it wouldn’t last a decade. In acknowledgement, it enforces on pain of death unquestioning obedience and unwavering practice. That’s understandable: Islam doesn’t have the theological strength to withstand sustained critical analysis.

The cult of Mohammed is vital to it, and Islam is the only Abrahamic religion in which a non-divine personage is worshipped with such fervour. Any parallels between Christ and Mohammed in this regard are spurious.

According to Christian doctrine, Jesus Christ wasn’t only fully man but also fully God, the creative hypostasis of the Holy Trinity. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that Mohammed was only a prophet of God, not God himself.

Thus their hysterical worship of Mohammed strikes me as more of a cult than a religion. And it’s with cultish zeal that Muslims jealously protect Mohammed’s image and follow his every word – including the words that incite terrorism.

I’m sure Macron knows as well as I do that the role of the Imam of All Imams he has claimed for himself is unplayable. He just said those words because the entire logic of the modern liberal mindset would allow no other, and he had to say something.

And it’s for the same reason, I suspect, that Rod Liddle pretends to be ignorant of the semantic difference between Islamist and Islamic. Of course it’s also possible that, as an alumnus of the Fabian LSE, he’s indeed ignorant of it.