Friday, 29 April 2011

Fewtril no.284

On the dusty and featureless plain of his soul, it is easy for the latter-day man to lose all sense of perspective and direction.

Fewtril no.283

In the fostering of culture and the forming of good taste and character, liberal democracy has been so great a failure that it is believed by most to have been a great success.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Operative Words

Operation Odyssey Dawn: beginning in the middle of things; or the start of a ten-year quest,  with the god of seas and earthquakes against it from the outset, with lotus-eating, cannibalism, a bag of wind, the turning of men into swine, sirens, drownings, cunning speech and disguises to come.

Operation Harmattan: a hot and dusty wind, ends in the middle of March.

Operation Ellamy: anyone’s guess. Anagram: Meally? M[ilitarily] E[fficient] Ally? Short for: Ella . . . my Dear? New-born daughter of a MOD-official? Chosen by computer? The latter, methinks, the spoilsports.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Hie Thee to Hell

It is a shame that the “international community” is too scattered and shadowy a thing to fall to quick and easy air-strikes.


“We cannot make the world sufficient, we can only kill the perception that the world is insufficient.” 

Bruce G. Charlton, “Suffering in the World”, Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany, 12th March 2011.

Fewtril no.282

Religion is the rule-governed search for that which one lacks. Reason, therefore, stands as the religion of the moderns.

Fewtril no.281

A feeling of moral superiority is much too great a pleasure for the morally wretched to forbear. What is this — a cynical word against moral superiority? No: a truthful word against pleasure-seeking wretchedness.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

An Intolerable State of Affairs

Her Majesty’s Government’s Chief Zombifier of Science, otherwise known as its Chief Scientific Adviser, speaks before a troop of “scientific” civil servants:
“We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality . . . We are not—and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this—grossly intolerant of pseudo-science, the building up of what purports to be science by the cherry-picking of the facts and the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method.
. . . I’d urge you, and this is a kind of strange message to go out, but go out and be much more intolerant.” [1]
Often the liberal speaks of intolerance as if it were something bad in itself, which of course it is not; yet, when it suits, he speaks fairly reasonably: intolerance is something good when its object is something bad. [2] (Naturally, where the liberal, or anyone else, has wrong ideas of what is bad, so his intolerance is wrong for that reason at least, if not also because of a lack of proportion, but is not wrong by itself.) But with all this honest  talk of intolerance, the advisers and administrators of our liberal-bureaucratic regimes need to be careful: as the confidence of these regimes grows in the service of great lies and political evils, and as they abandon the expedient device of tolerance for those areas where their power formerly could not determine the case, they risk becoming as unsubtle as the old Marxistic regimes, whereof they have been hitherto the more refined brethren.
     An authoritarian (such as I) may take this as a hopeful sign, for it is in greater subtleness that the lasting evil of our regimes has lain: in ever renewing their own images to eschew older, negative ones, hence giving themselves the overall image of getting better, against the reality of becoming more untruthful by new or subtler techniques of beguilement; in striving to seem friendly and approachable, whilst being the most impersonal and anonymous regimes in history; in discouraging the idea of authority, i.e., visible and acknowledged power, whilst building regimes whose vast power is less acknowledged than the power of the old authoritarian regimes which they dwarf; and so on. But, still, although one may take this as a hopeful sign — less subtleness, more sight of reality — one must bear in mind that the latter-day Briton, being a jaded and wanton consumer of one image and sensation after another, a votary of slogans and sound-bites, is less and less able to grasp anything but crudenesses. [3] So, even if Her Majesty’s Government lost all its wits and employed an official to spit in his face and insult his entire heritage, the latter-day Briton might still call it the greatest regime in history in spite of it all. Her Majesty’s Government already does so metaphorically, and he hardly bats an eyelid.

[1] John Beddington, quoted by John Dwyer and Laura Hood, “Beddington goes to war against bad science”, Research Fortnight, 14th February 2011. (Via Delingpole via Mangan.) Prof. Beddington says he does not want to have to “deal with what is politically or morally or religiously motivated nonsense.” (Ibid.) But it seems to have escaped his notice that dealing in politically-motivated nonsense is his job. Indeed, if he did not find that “science” always fell mysteriously on the side of an insane but officially-promoted ideology going by the name of political correctness, he would soon be out of it.
[2] I say “fairly reasonably”, since it would be better to say: intolerance is something good when its object is something bad and when it does not itself lead to something worse than that object. Starkly said: intolerance of nose-picking is something good, but not if it goes so far as state-surveillance of all households for the sake of stamping it out altogether. The reader, I am sure, can think of less silly, and more pressing, examples of wrong intolerance.
     From the psychological-engineering point of view, the liberal’s idea of tolerance is a remarkable one. It encourages him to feel magnanimity in upholding his own beliefs whilst damning all others, with little or no care for the truth or reasonableness thereof, which is to say, it encourages him to feel magnanimity in bigotry. Liberal bigotry is that wonderful state of mind in which one is compelled to call a bigot anyone who stands at odds with it, which is to say, it is bigotry made sublime. Or: the typical liberal is so great a bigot that he feels magnanimous as such.
     There is, to be sure, much trouble with the use of the word “bigot” and its cognates: it has always been a word ripe for abuse, it is often used question-beggingly, and so the word has long been a favourite insult cast by bigots; and now, since it has been redefined in many minds to mean someone who does not hold liberal beliefs, the word has become even more fraught with communicative difficulties. Still, for a fine example in a nutshell of what I dare to call sublime liberal bigotry, the following is hard to beat: “Pictures of adults who’re engaging in consenting acts have no associated moral issues attached, and anyone who says otherwise is a puritan bigot.” (John B, commenting on Charlie Owen, “Pornblocking — Why it Would Have Killed Me”, Liberal Conspiracy, 21st December 2010.) As the example illustrates, the word “puritan” is another word that has also undergone redefinition: it is now often used to mean someone who fails to abet or kindly overlook debauchery and libertinism.)
[3] I suppose the more liberaldom belittles its peoples, biologically, culturally, spiritually, the less subtle it needs to be.

Fewtril no.280

The more primitive, the more real — this is the principle of a reductionistic metaphysics which informs everything from art to science. Perhaps one day we shall become too real to express it.

Fewtril no.279

Logical positivism was more scorn than logical commitment. That might explain its lingering appeal despite its self-refutation.

Fewtril no.278

Whenever men of the West gather to ask why it has fallen, one is sure to get another glimpse of the answer.

Fewtril no.277

It is no easy task to become virtuous, which is why in our age it is regarded as a vicious burden.

Fewtril no.276

It is a happy thing for the utilitarians that immeasurable harm cannot be reckoned by the felicific calculus.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Other One

Naturally it is not only into Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other far-off lands that the United States stretches its sinister arm. Here is an example from Europe:

“Our aim is to engage the French population at all levels in order to amplify France’s efforts to realize its own egalitarian ideals, thereby advancing U.S. national interests.” [1]

“[W]e will continue and intensify our work with French museums and educators to reform the history curriculum taught in French schools, so that it takes into account the role and perspectives of minorities in French history.” [2]

“[W]e will build on the expansive Public Diplomacy programs already in place at post, and develop creative, additional means to influence the youth of France, employing new media, corporate partnerships, nationwide competitions, targeted outreach events, especially invited U.S. Guests.” [3] 

“We will also develop new tools to identify, learn from, and influence future French leaders.” [4]

“[W]e will support, train, and engage media and political activists who share our values.” [5]

“[W]e will continue our project of sharing best practices with young leaders in all fields, including young political leaders of all moderate parties so that they have the toolkits and mentoring to move ahead. We will create or support training and exchange programs that teach the enduring value of broad inclusion to schools, civil society groups, bloggers, political advisors, and local politicians. Through outreach programs, Embassy officers from all sections will interact and communicate to these same groups our best practices in creating equal opportunities for all Americans. We will also provide tools for teaching tolerance to the network of over 1,000 American university students who teach English in French schools every year.” [6]

“Finally, a Minority Working Group will integrate the discourse, actions, and analysis of relevant sections and agencies in the Embassy. This group, working in tandem with the Youth Outreach Initiative, will identify and target influential leaders and groups among our primary audiences. It will also evaluate our impact over the course of the year, by examining both tangible and intangible indicators of success. Tangible changes include a measurable increase in the number of minorities leading and participating in public and private organizations, including elite educational institutions; growth in the number of constructive efforts by minority leaders to organize political support both within and beyond their own minority communities; new, proactive policies to enhance social inclusion adopted by non-minority political leaders; expansion of inter-communal and inter-faith exchanges at the local level; decrease in popular support for xenophobic political parties and platforms. While we could never claim credit for these positive developments, we will focus our efforts in carrying out activities, described above, that prod, urge and stimulate movement in the right direction. In addition, we will track intangible measures of success — a growing sense of belonging, for example, among young French minorities, and a burgeoning hope that they, too, can represent their country at home, and abroad, even one day at the pinnacle of French public life, as president of the Republic.” [7]

In other words: ongoing, widespread, and subversive manipulation of the workings of another country for the sake of an egalitarian-revolutionary ideology. Here it seems that France, the land of the world’s second-born left-wing republic, is just not left-wing enough for the land of the world’s first.

Still, one evil empire down; another to go.

[1] Cable from Embassy Paris, “Minority Engagement Strategy”, 19th January 2010; Wikileaks: 10PARIS58; ¶1. (Apparently France is yet another European country having trouble with its natives: “The French media remains [sic] overwhelmingly white”. Ibid., ¶2.)
[2] Ibid., ¶5.
[3] Ibid., ¶7.
[4] Ibid., ¶7.
[5] Ibid., ¶8.
[6] Ibid., ¶9.
[7] Ibid., ¶11.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Fewtril No.275

It has been said that disgust arises in man from the consciousness of those things which remind him of his beasthood. That must explain my visceral reaction to libertarians.

An Oddness

“[G]o back far enough in history and no group outside Olduvai, in eastern Africa, can lay claim to being truly ‘native’.” [1] 

How long will we have to put up with the sinister eccentricities of these beautiful-souled, would-be race-killers? Likely until either they or their target-groups have been destroyed. In the meantime, amongst other things, we may grapple with their oddities, though I must admit that I am stuggling to understand the sense of this one. Here we are faced with the mystery of how the truth of a land’s not existing three million years ago could mean that no group is native to it when it does exist. Normally one would hold that nativeness to an ethnic group falls within an ethnic category; and that nativeness to an ancestral land or polity falls within an ethnic-territorial or geopolitical category, but here the belief seems to be that no group is native even to its own homeland unless it lives in the same geographical space that was once occupied by a different group first-ancestrally related to it, despite that the group may be of another species, despite that first-ancestorhood depends on what group is being considered, and despite that it is groups in the first place which form the ethnic-territorial bounds wherein they are normally understood to be native. As I say, it is odd, weird even, but then our beautiful-souled fellows aren’t normal, and reasonableness, one may be sure, is not high amongst their priorities.

[1] James Mackay and David Stirrup, “There is no such thing as an ‘indigenous’ Briton”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 20th December 2010.