“What does the ruling class gain from destroying its own cities? I’ve asked myself this a thousand times. I can’t come up with an answer.”
Michael Anton, “A Tyranny Perpetual and Universal,” American Greatness (Aug. 28, 2020)
Anton is a shrewd observer of the American political scene, but like too many conservatives is blinded by an essentially Marxian worldview. You may think it is ludicrous to say that many American conservatives are essentially Marxists, but the statement is obviously true. Marx argued that everything resolves to capital accumulation, which is to say moneymaking, and many American conservatives agree. Marx argued that all culture is ideology that legitimates capital accumulation by the ruling class, and as we can see in this excerpt from Anton, many American conservatives think that Marx is right. Continue reading
“And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods”
Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Horatius at the Bridge” (1842)
“Like one bemused and in a wistful dream”
Richard Burton, “Allan’s Mother” (1917)
A man is not “bemused” when he takes wry or mordant delight in some spectacle of hypocrisy or folly. A man is “bemused” when he is rendered insensible by an illusionist, daydreaming, speculation, or drink. A bemused man is not wise to what is really going on. Rather, like the amused man, he is lost in a “wistful dream,” and is very likely being duped, hoodwinked and beguiled.
“In the course of his career as marshal he has never drawn a gun on an offender, his firmness and moral courage being sufficient to subdue the most obstreperous individual and to uphold the majesty of the law.”
Johnson, Barker and Winkler, A History of Texas and Texans (1914)
What should a policeman do when a citizen ignores his orders? This is what we might call the burning question of out time. If he says stop and I keep walking, or running, or struggling, what exactly should he do? Should he shrug his shoulders and say, whatever? Should he call for backup and try again in an hour? Should he pull out his gun and shoot me?
“They are a very factious people, and hard to rule.”
Lord George Lyttelton, “Letter to William Lyttleton (1759)
We have a new resident on our street. I have yet to meet her, but am told she is a young professor recently decamped from New York City. I had no reason to doubt this information, but my conviction was the other day deepened by the two political placards she promptly staked in her front lawn. One sign announced her intention to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket, the other her sympathy with the aims of Black Lives Matter.
There is a car in the parking lot outside my workplace that bears a bumper sticker that says “Fight Hate.” I presume the owner of this automobile is one of those sanctimonious simpletons who imagine that this is primarily a fight between social factions, between white hats and black hats, between angels and devils. If I haven’t met the owner of this automobile, I have met many like him, sweet and sanctimonious simpletons for whom hate is an shameful psychosis that that afflicts other people.
With this morning’s mail came this advertisement for agitprop from a minion of this Revolution.
A student joined me in the elevator last Friday, and midway to the ground floor had the audacity to open his mouth. At least I presume he opened his mouth, since his lips were naturally hidden behind a mask. They must have moved, because they formed words. It requires some audacity to break the silence of an elevator under any conditions, and more was required of this young man last Friday. Under the Covid Regime, elevator etiquette requires every elevator rider to pretend that he is holding his pestilential breath.
“It begets no more, but only reinterprets . . .”
Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West, vol. 1 (1918)
I last night finished P. D. James’ Children of Men, which I had been reading aloud to my daughter. She will soon be fifteen, so the days of reading books aloud to my children will soon be finished too. For those who do not know this book, the story is set in a world where mankind itself is nearly finished, because the species has lost the power of generation. I bought my copy in 1992, when the book was first published, and did so on the strength of an interview in which James said the idea came from an article she had read about the declining sperm counts of European men. She set her dystopia in 2021, which was twenty years after the sperm count of her fictional world had declined to zero. Continue reading
In the comment thread under my post against global thinking, winstonscrooge and I have been going back and forth about the parable of the Good Samaritan. WS advances what I call the philanthropic reading of that famous story; I advance what I here call the misanthropic reading. Along with the vast majority of modern Christians, WS believes that the story of the Good Samaritan enjoins us to identify with the Good Samaritan and succor the battered strangers that we find bleeding in the ditches of this world. I on the other hand attend to the actual words of the story and see that the protagonist of the story is the Jew in the ditch, and so conclude that its moral lesson is to be found by identifying with him. Continue reading