Back in April of 2015 I whinged on about the stupefying boredom of latter day public life in the West. Thanks to the extraordinary depredations of the Obama years, things seemed then inexorably locked in. The Overton Window was doomed to move ever leftward, ever more rapidly. There was not even going to be a Hegelian Mambo anymore, but just a long smooth depressing slide into oblivion, as if a morphine drip were gradually dialed upward, and the body politic fell more and more deeply comatose.
Then, in June of that year – just two months later – Donald Trump declared his candidacy, and then a year later Britain voted to leave the EU.
From a largely reliable and mainly convincing source, The Orthosphere has learned that it is at least highly likely – or otherwise only a little bit unlikely – that Russia might or might not have manipulated last November’s American presidential election, in the outcome of which Donald Trump emerged as the surprise electoral winner. The facts of the story (and once again, the likelihood of their possibility is relatively quite high) are no less than astonishing. They take us back as far as the Cold War or more precisely to the year 1980 when the nation that we today call Russia was the dominant polity of what was then called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR. Although the precise details of how Russia intervened in – or “hacked” – the recent competition to become chief executive of the USA might appear like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, we assure our readers that those details are true, or more or less true, or not altogether incredible, and that they in no big way, and not even in any small way, constitute “fake news” although they might, under certain conditions, explain the emergence of “fake news” during the first one hundred days of President Trump’s administration.
Accusing people of fascism seems to be all the rage nowadays. A popular jingle puts it this way:
No Trump! No K.K.K! No fascist U.S.A!
Getting the meter right is a little tricky at first, but as this jingle is almost always a mob chant, newbies seldom have to go it alone. If you try it at home, I suggest that it is most fun to really dig into the three K’s, so that they sound like the rat-tat-tat of a pistol firing, and then stress the first syllable of the word Fascist in what the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called sprung rhythm. Don’t repeat the rat-tat-tat effect with the U, S, and A., though, since this trips up the meter. Continue reading →
I lead a quiet life, and so seldom see so much as the disappearing backside of naked hate, but last night I saw hate full-frontal, and that hate was coming at me. I saw a great chanting mob that was howling hatred, and specifying the object of its malice with signs that called for “fascist” blood. I saw stone-eyed ranks of la Raza Cósmica punching out their fists in the Red Salute and shouting about who did and who did not belong on campus. I listened to the hateful curses of Black nationalists, and even saw hatred pantomimed by two women dressed as clowns. Hate was on the menu last night. It was fresh, it was hot, and the portions were not small. Continue reading →
A sensible reactionary is forever on guard against the hazard of becoming merely reactionary, by which I mean ordering his loyalties and affections simply as the mirror opposite of the loyalties and affections of the stereotypical progressive Leftist. We see such mere reaction at work in the man who drives a gas-guzzling monster truck because progressive leftists extoll tiny hybrids and scooters. We see it at work in the man who eats monterey jack cheese because he has heard that progressive Leftists delight in stilton and brie. Continue reading →
The code of chivalry fused Christianity and the ethos of the German warrior (1). This is evident in the two rituals by which a man was ordained a knight: the German dubbing, by which his sword was placed in the service of his king, and the Christian vigil, by which it was placed in the service of his God. We must not, of course, mistake the code for the actual conduct of knights, since many of those who rode out cased in iron were simple barbarians. But neither should we dismiss the code as a mere fancy wrought in minstrels’ dreams. Continue reading →
I was just reading an interesting post by William Briggs, in which he questions the future of religious liberty under an administration of vindictive social justice warriors. He quotes some splenetic government reptile to the effect that this future is not sunny. This prompts me to make a simple point that cannot be too often asseverated. The government does not give you this right, it only guarantees it. In exactly the same way, the government does not give you a right to your property or to fulfillment of contracts you have signed; it only guarantees that these rights will be honored. And in all cases it does this because to do so is more orderly than it would be if it were left to you to ensure that these rights be honored.
If you were to ensure that these rights be honored, you would have to say that, in the event of anyone trying to take them from me, one of us must yield or die. In other words, the old cry of “liberty or death.” Religious liberty is something you claim, not something you are given. When you claim it, you say that this is mine, and if someone tries to take it from me, one of us is going to die. All that the government can do is recognize this claim, and, to the end of public tranquility, guarantee this right. If the government declines to do this, it does not destroy the right, only the tranquility.
Public tranquility is a very fine thing, but it is by no means the finest thing there is. Any man who can imagine no condition under which he would be prepared to disrupt that tranquility, and suffer the consequences of disrupting that tranquility, is only nominally a man. When you speak of a right to religious liberty, therefore, you should certainly hope that this will be guaranteed within the tranquil order of positive law, but you must also mean that, in the absence of such a guarantee, you will personally insist upon this right. And to personally insist upon a right is ultimately to say, if you try to take this from me, one of us going to die.
Our liberal regime demands a belief, mostly groundless, in the efficacy of talk. This belief is the source of our parliamentarian prejudice that a talking shop should lie at, or near, the heart of government. This belief stands behind our fawning exaltation of the garrulous gabblers of “the press.” This belief is why you and I feel moved to discourse like Demosthenes at the meeting of our Parish Council, or the Christmas Party Subcommittee. It is why we believe that the balance of history depends on a galvanic utterance in a presidential debate.
But there is a reason that Flannery O’Connor wrote that it is the violent, and not the voluble, who “bear it away.” Words are mostly wind, and the Big Men of this world are, by and large, forceful but taciturn. Power mostly resides in a capacity to mete out boon and bale, while a silver tongue is a dancing fool.
It is said that the wind god Aeolus penned the winds inside a cave on his island of Aeolia, releasing them on command of the higher gods. When seafaring Ulysses came to Aeolia, Aeolus gathered some gusts from his Cave of the Winds, bound them in an ox-hide bag, and presented the bulging bundle to Ulysses as a means to propel his ship home to Ithaca. This bloviator was the original windbag, and it was by release of carefully regulated puffs from the mouth of the windbag that Ulysses brought his ship within sight of Ithaca’s shore. Alas, he then fell asleep and his greedy crew untied the mouth of the windbag, which they believed was filled with gold. And from the mouth of the windbag rushed a mighty tempest that tossed the waters and drove the mariners back to wander once more over trackless seas.
There is a lesson here for all who believe in the gift of a gushing windbag.