Jul. 21st, 2014 10:48 am
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
The narrow defeat of the Obama administration in the Hobby Lobby case has sent its supporters into ecstases of rage and hate that have to be seen to be believed, and that in some cases can only be described as murderous. I am glad I don't live in the USA. But this fury, that bewilders many conservatives and independents, does not bewilder me. The Mandate was criminal from the beginning, criminal in its prehistory. Remember how deliberately the President lied to poor Bart Stupak and destroyed his career. And the Mandate is really much more basic to the Obama project than people realize, because they can't see its actual purpose. Le me draw a historical parallel.

Ireland has one of the saddest modern histories of any country in the world. Repeatedly invaded and devastated by the larger neighbouring island, its Catholic majority was reduced to a pulverized peasantry, paying tax they could not afford to Protestant landlords and being tithed for Protestant parsons; a miserable swarm of penniless, ignorant and leaderless grubbers of the soil, fed by potatoes, with no middle class or aristocracy or any consistency. But what you have to realize is that, the destruction of the Irish educated classes, in spite of the frightful massacres and repeated wars, were not the result of military oppression or even of mass murder; they were, in the main, the result of laws. England wrote dozens, indeed hundreds,of laws, to destroy the Irish nation as elaborately and as legally as possible. As the Irish Protestant Edmund Burke said, the English laws against Irish Catholics - or "penal laws", as they are shamefully called - were "a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts. It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

The Mass, of course, could not be said: to have it said or to say it meant life imprisonment. But neither could Catholics be educated: to set up a Catholic school was equally a matter of life imprisonment. And Catholics were to be robbed by law: "Every Roman Catholic was... to forfeit his estate to his nearest Protestant relation, until, through a profession of what he did not believe, he redeemed by his hypocrisy what the law had transferred to the kinsman as the recompense of his profligacy." The law encouraged Protestants to steal from their Catholic relations, or even pretended relations; and not just large amounts, but everything - every bit of property they had. "When thus turned out of doors from his paternal estate, he was disabled from acquiring any other by any industry, donation, or charity; but was rendered a foreigner in his native land, only because he retained the religion, along with the property, handed down to him from those who had been the old inhabitants of that land before him."

"....Catholics, condemned to beggary and to ignorance in their native land, have been obliged to learn the principles of letters, at the hazard of all their other principles, from the charity of your enemies. They have been taxed to their ruin at the pleasure of necessitous and profligate relations, and according to the measure of their necessity and profligacy,"

"Examples of this are many and affecting. Some of them are known by a friend who stands near me in this hall. It is but six or seven years since a clergyman, of the name of Malony, a man of morals, neither guilty nor accused of anything noxious to the state, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment for exercising the functions of his religion; and after lying in jail two or three years, was relieved by the mercy of government from perpetual imprisonment, on condition of perpetual banishment. A brother of the Earl of Shrewsbury, a Talbot, a name respectable in this country whilst its glory is any part of its concern, was hauled to the bar of the Old Bailey, among common felons, and only escaped the same doom, either by some error in the process, or that the wretch who brought him there could not correctly describe his person,—I now forget which. In short, the persecution would never have relented for a moment, if the judges, superseding (though with an ambiguous example) the strict rule of their artificial duty by the higher obligation of their conscience, did not constantly throw every difficulty in the way of such informers. But so ineffectual is the power of legal evasion against legal iniquity, that it was but the other day that a lady of condition, beyond the middle of life, was on the point of being stripped of her whole fortune by a near relation to whom she had been a friend and benefactor; and she must have been totally ruined, without a power of redress or mitigation from the courts of law, had not the legislature itself rushed in, and by a special act of Parliament rescued her from the injustice of its own statutes..."

It says enough about the power of brute prejudice, of a kind we see in the highest places today, that this unanswerable attack on a disgraceful law lost Burke an election he should have won. The English had been taught to hate Catholics so much that they evidently thought that nothing done to them could be wrong or unjust.

What the Mandate is designed to do, mutatis mutandis, is exactly this. This is why the political and media leadership of your country has fought for it so obstinately, so savagely, and so underhandedly; this is why it took even a narrow defeat with murderous rage. It is because the real purpose of this abomination is to exclude Christians and especially Catholics from economic life. In a world in which money is the only power that can really affect politics - as Obama and his people know all too well - it is intolerable to them that there should be a number, however small, of rich people and of company owners who take their Christianity seriously. In this day and age it is not yet possible to make it legal for a man of the government's party to simply steal the property of his dissenting relatives; and besides, there is not - or not yet - a simple test of identity to separate the government's friends from its enemies, as membership in the "Protestant" church was in Burke's time. But they can impose a tax for a purpose that no Christian can accept, and then savagely penalize them - not by jailing them, which is not what they want, but by fining them into ruin.

Look at it in this light, and the whole mechanism becomes lucid, clear, rational and perfectly designed for its purpose. It is intended to make it impossible for Christians to have any independent economic activity in the USA, by making sure that they either have to resign their principles or be taxed into bankruptcy for them. Of course, they could not possibly declare their purpose; of course they lied from beginning to end. But that, and nothing else, is what this Mandate does.

Incidentally, this also gives you an insight into the real view that Obama and his henchmen have of the political process in your country, and of the nature of political power. This law is not meant to strike at Catholic or Christian faith. It does not try to obtain conversions. It does not set up anything like the imposing apparatus by which republican France, after 1875, worked tirelessly to break the ancestral Catholicism of its masses. The only thing that matters, the thing for which they have fought, the thing for which they have lied, the thing for which they ruined Bart Stupak and compromised the word of the President of the United States of America, was to be sure that no rich Catholics or Christians should exist. Wealth had to remain exclusively among people who had no problem with paying tax to distribute IUDs and abortifacients with a shovel. Because in the eyes of Obama and his crowd, only the very rich are politically significant. This attempt to winnow the Christians from their numbers makes it perfectly clear.
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I wonder whether anyone at the BBC has the least idea just how repulsively hypocritical, murderously hypocritical, they look, when at one and the same time they go all lyrical about the Paralympics and disabled achievement, and they promote the old eugenics lies of abortion and euthanasia? Isn't it great that those of the "differently able" whom we haven't managed to kill in the womb or in the hospital are now winning medals! What wonderful people we are!


Jun. 29th, 2008 07:04 am
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The husband of a friend of mine has asked for a divorce just as she is beginning to cope with a long-term illness. I say, what part of "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" did he not understand?

This sort of thing makes me understand why "traditore" and "vigliacco" ("traitor" and "coward") have long been the two worst insults in the Italian language.
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Most of us know that ever since the bloke with the beard took over Cuba, homosexuality - associated with the island's supposed pre-revolutionary past as a haven of Yanqui degeneracy - has been suppressed, persecuted and punished by (what passes in Cuba for) law. Well, no more. Raul Castro seems to have noticed that his putative allies in the extreme left have changed their view on that little matter - and so, from one minute to the next, Cuba has turned from hell for homosexuals to San Francisco without the Diet Coke. In a few days, with the speed and efficiency of tyranny, the Cuban government has passed rules that allow the changing of one's identity, sex-change operations and the eventual legalization of homosexual unions.

Now understand me: I have absolutely no intention of making any direct comparison between the promotion of "gay marriage" and the like, and the horrors of the nineteen-thirties. However little I may like some features of this (and on sex-change operations I am agnostic), it is simply not on the same moral level as the promotion of mass murder. So I positively beg the looking-for-offence brigade not to distort what I am about to say. But this sudden and extreme change of tack by a hardened tyranny looking for support where they had previously had enemies reminds me of nothing so much as Mussolini's appalling race laws of 1938. Apart from their own native loathsomeness, which itself cries vengeance to Heaven, these vicious perversions of the concept of law were execrable because they represented a complete about-face on a matter on which Mussolini had been consistent since 1919, namely toleration and protection of Italy's Jewish population. He sold the Jews down the river, and broke his word given to them over and over again, in order to align himself to a man whom he had previously treated as an enemy and actually nearly gone to war with only four years earlier. Now countries change allies, and Italy's reasons to do so in 1938 were only too easy to see; but to change ally is one thing, and to change your whole ideology to suit your ally is another. Mussolini made himself, not the ally, but the slave of Hitler; in that one dreadful act there were the inevitable seeds of all the seven years that followed.

Of course the Cuban Communist about-face is not on the same level. It does not, for one thing, represent the State suddenly turning a hate-ridden and murderous face to a class of citizens it had always protected before. Where murderousness and inhumanity are concerned, el partido is pretty much where it has always been, not better, but not worse. What is clearly reminiscent of Mussolini is the way that a tyranny throws away decades of practice and implicit principle, however bad, not out of principle but out of transparent and undignified grovelling before an ally.
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There is no more repulsive figure in British politics than Margaret Hodge. In the Eighties, as Labour boss of London's Islington Council, she not only aggressively covered up a major paedophile scandal in the council's care homes, but publicly libelled the victims - for which I for one have never forgiven her. Incomprehensibly (or rather, all too comprehensibly, since Tony Blair lived in Islington and was her friend) she not only survived this abomination, but was actually elected to the Commons and promoted to minister - and minister for children, at that! An outcry from people who, like me, remembered, forced her transfer somewhere else; but wherever she went, she left the traces of ham-fisted party conformity, grovelling ambition, and flatfooted political hackery. She is a born crawler, made to grovel before party bosses and to stomp on the common people who pay her wages.

This, however, is the straw that breaks the camel's back:
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We are all, I hope, disgusted, and perhaps grimly amused, at the vile conference convened by Iran's criminal President to "discuss" the Holocaust. Not everyone, however, seems to realize that this is only the last, and not even the worst, of a growing tendency by politicians and rich men to simply refuse the assured conclusions of scholarship and common sense when it suits them.

To my mind, probably the most sinister of these, because of its enormous reach and duration, was the many-pronged attempt by the Indian government, at the time of the BJP, to spread and impose a novel doctrine of early history that said, one, that the Indo-European group of peoples had originated not in Russia and Central Asia, but in India; that there were Sanskrit-speakers in India as early as 3500BC; and that as the other IE nations spread westwards from India, so their languages are derived from, rather than related to, Sanskrit. This is pure nonsense which one lesson in elementary linguistics and language history could easily dismantle; but thanks to the pressure of the government of a great country, supported by widespread nationalism, it has corrupted the whole course of scholarly debate in India and even found footholds in the West. I have in my library a guide to Hinduism, for instance, which is written from this point of view; anyone who buys it and reads without being aware of its essential corruption will himself be corrupted. As I have no intention of encouraging this sort of production, I will not name publisher and author; but the author is one of that small band of Western scholars who have allowed themselves to become accomplices of the BJP in this criminal enterprise. Their motives are easy to perceive in their writings: in general, the words "colonialism", "imperialism", "orientalism" recur at least every second line. These men and women start from the premise that whatever comes from Western culture is ideologically imperialistic and racist and therefore certainly wrong - wrong without need to debate it or to disprove it, wrong because it is the essence of Western culture to be wrong. And they do not even stop to wonder that in supporting the lies of the BJP they are giving their support to something a great deal more imperialistic, racist and aggressive, a genuine fascist movement that hangs like a black shadow over the future of India and all Asia.

We might also consider the astonishing way in which, in the face of all common sense and every single bit of evidence, Mohammed Fayed, the owner of Harrod's, has managed to keep the most inane and insane conspiracy theories about the deaths of his son Dodi and of Princess Diana alive in the British press. Merely because the man is rich (or rather, possessed of large means - in fact, he is heavily in debt), he has always found mercenary scribblers to transform his fantasies into journalistic prose, and publish them, not in little blogs or tinfoil-hatted websites, but in some of the great newspapers of Britain. This could be forgiven as a manifestation of the undying grief of a father who has lost his son; were it not that behind that there is clearly visible something much nastier - the attitude of a man who firmly believes that anything bad that happens to him must be the work of enemies and dark forces conspiring against him, and builds up his monstrous ego by looking for enemies to hound. That a couple of newspapers and several journalists have been willing, merely because of his money (the Princess Di brand has long since ceased to sell newspapers), to support him in this evidently insane quest, seems to me disgraceful. But then, British pressmen are corrupt from the cradle.

My friends will also think, I imagine, of the crazed popularity of seven-eleven denial, especially in America. But there is a serious difference between this phenomenon and the ones I described: no rich person or major government is backing seven-eleven denial. It is a genuinely grassroots phenomenon - a sad one, but not a manged one. In fact, it is an embarrassment to the groups in America that would otherwise be closest to its members, such as the Democratic Party. On the other hand, it is difficult to see that Diana conspiracy theories, Indian pseudohistories, or Holocaust denial, would have any more than a small and marginal life in pamphlets typewritten by cranks, were it not for the support of powerful groups and state governments. And this is a trend of terrible seriousness: no less than the attempt by power groups to rewrite reality, as scholarship has established it, in their own interest.

There is one basic point in which this is the West's fault, however. None of this would have had any opportunity for developing, in any significant way, and the governments and rich men concerned would not even have conceived of giving them institutional life, were it not for the idiot and criminal slogan that is the worst of the many enduring legacies of the sixties: "Question authority". This slogan has encouraged two generations to feel clever merely by being oppositional and programmatically skeptical; it has stood in the way of intellectual progress in every possible way (the encouragement of cranks and crackpots till they became institutional being only one of its evil effects). Ahmedinajad and the BJP parrot lines about Western imperialism, cultural imperialism, and so on, that have first been written and popularized in Western universities. The first thing to be done now, therefore, is to challenge this particular authoritative statement; and not only to challenge, but to bury it.
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Maybe I should start a feature called Freak Shows. Of course Tom Cruise is not as bad as Michael Jackson, but I do not like him, I suspect that he is a very thorough hypocrite, and I suspect that "Katie" Holmes is doing something best described as one-man prostitution. And they are both shills for the most vicious and damaging cult in the world. One way or another, I wish these people would not seek or get publicity. Instead of which, they are getting it all over every channel; and, alas, my own country - which, God knows, does not need a couple of Scientological johnny-come-latelies to make the world notice its beauty and ancientry - is gleefully collaborating with their publicity campaign.


Nov. 16th, 2006 06:48 am
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Once upon a time, celebrities who were shown to have acted repulsively in public retired from the scene. Sometimes, legend says, they shot themselves; more often they went abroad. Anyway, a man who had embezzled funds or, like Byron, had sex with his own half-sister, was certainly never welcome in his country again.

And that was once upon a time. I think we may confidently certify that there is no such attitude any more - not for any reason whatsoever. Paedophilia used to be the last limit, the one thing that would make a man a pariah, not to be spoken of or to; but Michael Jackson's repulsive appearance in London from his brief exile in Bahrein shows that that taboo has now fallen. I do not have the evidence that Jackson actually corrupted children; but he has behaved throughout as the guiltiest of guilty men, and while courts need evidence - which can be dealt with by clever lawyers and the liberal application of handy cash - public opinion only needs reasonable certainty. Michael Jackson should never have shown his freakish, manufactured face in a Western country again.

What drives this is primarily TV. There are, of course, diehard fans who will not believe that their idol has clay feet - is, in fact, clay all the way to his armpits at least. But these are freaks and not very numerous - certainly not numerous enough to drive a change in mood. But to TV, celebrities once made are permanent fodder for the fabrication of news and events. They cannot afford one of them to vanish abroad. The thoughts of every television executive from Moscow to Tokyo and back are today on an exclusive hour-length interview in which the freak's news value can be exploited worldwide. The greed for ratings - that is, for dollars - trumps any feeling of shame.
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If the Republicans wanted to win at the coming elections - and, perhaps even more important, not to confirm every commonplace of anti-American propaganda throughout the world - they should have sent Cheney (and perhaps Rumsfeld) on a diplomatic mission to Antarctica for the last couple of months. His outburst about pretend drowning being a legitimate kind of interrogation has been manna to al-Jazeera,, the Daily Kos, and the Brutish Broadcasting Creeperation. But what was worse was the number of would-be reasonable Republican columnists, people who claim to be the real mainstream of American society - and, increasingly, are - who, instead of suggesting that he should suffer from a few weeks of laringytis or that he should retire to the Rockies to fish and shoot deer, have lined up to support him, even claiming that pretend drowning is not torture. All of it, mind you, said with the earnest, moralizing tone with which they (rightly) denounce the New Jerk Dimes' assaults on American security and the crass exploitation of Mark Foley's flirts with young adults by the party of gay rights. Be serious: do you imagine that if such... call them procedures... were used by any American cop, against the worst, most murderous, and most provenly guilty, of gang members - the case against the gang member would not collapse in court, and the cop and his accomplices would not go to jail, among the execrations and disgust of all decent Americans? Have you morons learned nothing from the Abu Ghraib calamity? The West is held to a higher standard of behaviour than the stateless gangs of murderous thugs who hate it; and rightly so, for these are the standards we chose for ourselves. To imagine that American citizens are protected from treatment that is acceptable even for criminals of other countries is to make a nonsense of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. This should not even need saying; it should be as obvious as the sun in the sky. But evidently Cheney and a number of Republicans are blind to self-evidence.

A curse on the party spirit, and a plague on both your houses. The Foley affair showed the Democrats eager to throw overboard every bit of principle they had ever claimed with respect to gay rights, merely in order to show a little-known Republican in a bad light; and the water-torture affair now shows hordes of Republicans willing to throw overboard the very historical principles they claim to live by, the principles upon which the Republic was founded, just in order to support a morally tone-deaf old man. I can see the need of things like Guantanamo, special courts, and even limitations on published evidence, because this security crisis - it is hard to call it a war, though it has some of the features of one - is something completely new in the last few centuries of history: militarized banditry with a politico-religious justification, yet leaderless and stateless, with no state to hold responsible (though many are accomplices) for its soldiers' behaviour, no common uniform, organization, or aims, supported by an anarchic network of mosques, self-proclaimed leaders, Islamic financiers, and deviant secret services. In these circumstances, to hold the enemy to every word of the Geneva Conventions, which none of them ever signed, which none of them regard except with derision, and which never envisaged worldwide banditry of their kind is, whatever the US Supreme Court may happen to think, total insanity. But there is something much more important than the Geneva Conventions, which, after all, only codify the transient and ever-changing laws of war; and that is our own collective conscience, the values in whose name we have built our societies, the values in whose name our fathers fought and died against kings and tyrants. And if Dick Cheney thinks that these grey old rules may carelessly be broken for the delusion of advantage against a fanatical enemy, then he is almost as revolutionary and as destructive as that enemy; and to that extent, he has to be rejected by the sane majority of both parties.
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(NOTE by FPB: this is particularly significant for me because I have long had big trouble with the notion of Cro-Magnon Man being closely associated with, or even the same species as, Neanderthal Man)

History of modern man unravels as German scholar is exposed as fraud

Flamboyant anthropologist falsified dating of key discoveries

Read more... )


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