Late October. Thank heaven for the length of autumn because if we had to adapt overnight, or within a month, to winter I think we might expire from the shock. So we need September, October and most of November (usually) in which to adapt mentally and spiritually to the season of deprivation ahead. The pleasures of Christmas are merely a hiccup in the stately procession from warmth and gladness to cold and darkness and back out again by February, March or April, depending on your latitude and your hemisphere.
The evidence of my own eyes in the American Presidential campaign tells me a different story than the polls. Manufactured crowds of maybe a couple of dozen or real ones of a couple of hundred for Biden and Harris, immense throngs for Trump. What this requires me to do is to imagine that the polls in which Biden is leading, and the armies of sycophants in the media, are manifestations of the same disinformation that characterized the original Trump-Clinton contest of 2016. The polls are being manipulated (likely), or the methodology is wrong (more likely), or the shy Trump voter feels that he gains nothing by telling a pollster how he feels (most likely).
If, as seems likely to me, that Trump wins on Tuesday, it will come as a surprize to millions of people who have dwelt exclusively inside the media whale. If I am wrong and Trump loses, there will be no suprize but only the exhultations of the Usual Suspects, for four more years. Trump will be excoriated and the riots will continue, and the attacks on civilization will intensify.
Engage Google Image search “Biden rally today” and “Trump rally today”. See what you get. The first picture below is from Breitbart, the next two were produced by a search.
I have been reflecting on what Solzhenitsyn said about the dividing line within our hearts between good and evil.
The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.
There is another line that goes through our hearts, that between the liberal and the conservative. I was reminded of this line by what Douglas Murray said in his conversation with Brett Weinstein. The political realm lies in a balance between reforming abuses, and the capacity to see the abuses and the need for reforms, with the ability to pay for the reforms, to adopt new ideas of justice, and to resist excessive compassion.
It is in the weakening of resistance to excessive compassion that is causing society to disintegrate, or to “deliquesce” to use a word I last saw in an issue of The Idler back in the 1980s; to disintegrate from the inside out.
It is obvious to me, as a conservative in this sense, that we have swung too far over into a land of therapeutic remediation of all previous offences against the equal dignity. of people and cultures. The BLM ideology, “whiteness” as a spiritual disease, the endless guilt tripping over Indian residential schools, the entire settlement of North America by white people: each and all are held to be examples of the offence that white people – as whites- have wrought against natives and Africans. It will not be long before punctuality, hard work and discipline are held to be examples of sick white culture.
Back in the 1990s I attended some weekend sessions taught by people from the Diamond Heart school of philosophical inqury. As a discipline it had much to recommend it, including especially its central idea that it was not a therapy: it was not trying to cure you or your condition. At some point in a session we were talking about compassion. One of the first ideas that you get in these kinds of schools is that you must first have some compassion for yourself if you are to have compassion for others. Yet our class leader immediately took up a phrase I used when I said some people need the “boot of compassion”. She agreed. Compassion is not only open-hearted listening. It actually involves taking steps to get people off their addictive or self destrctive behaviours.ld just as well be expressed by the admonition “get a grip”.
I am suggesting that part of the problem is that it is becoming morally impossible to tell people to get a grip. A grip on reality, a grip on their addictions, a grip on their tendency to self-pity, and a grip on their inability to look themselves in the mirror and see that what needs improvng is not society but themselves.
In short, the boot of compassion is needed at all levels of discourse.
I think that most of what Jordan Peterson has been aiming at is a purposeful life. This is not the same as a the boot of compassion, but the boot of compassion is a good place to start the voyage.
In the annals of complete rubbish, I would like to add my observations of the French obsession with “terroir”. My own view is of no importance and I declare that terroir is nonsense: French mystification about wine.
First, my views are mere matters of taste, and you are completely free to believe passionately that wine is inescapably a matter of its “terroir”, the land from which it sprung, and that terroir matters extremely to the quality of wine. Better men and thinkers than me, such as the late Roger Scruton, passionately believed in the importance of terroir. Nevertheless I maintain that “terroir” is nonsense on stilts.
The issue arises because of the success of standardized points systems for evaluating wines. The fellow who started the most successful of them, the late Ralph Parker, established a 100 point scale, which you can frequently spot attached to the label of a wine. The Parker scale offended a lot of wineophiles – as I call them – because it rated more highly jammy flavour-forward wines like cabernets than twee or less forceful varietals like gamay, pinot noir and grenache-syrah-mourvedre blends. The latter are often referred to as GSM, which can be mistaken for a cellular telphone protocol, and the two taste about the same.
I had a cousin who made well-received and highly sucessful films. I asked him once what made for a good film, one that he would invest in. Without hesitation he said: “script script script script and director”. Likewise I shall say that what makes for a good wine is “grape grape grape grape grape and everything else, including soil.” A wine maker’s largest expenditure is for the grapes, not the storage, bottling, sales, transport or any other factor. This is reassuring to know. It means that, in the production of wine, the quality of the grape is of paramount importance, and lies not in post-grape-pressing fiddles with the chemistry of the fermentation.
“Writing in Decanter magazine, the geologist Professor Alex Maltman challenges the very idea that geology has any particular contribution to a wine’s taste. “Vines and wine,” he writes, “are not made from matter drawn from the ground, but almost wholly of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, abstracted from water and the air.”
Exactly. It is the grape and the vine which is the engine of production. I would never deny the influence of soil and climate, to the extent they have some. But it is mystification to believe that generations of monks clipping the vines, or other extraneous factors of society and history, influence the flavour. But if you are entitled to believe in the Holy Ghost, you may also believe what you want about terroir. Just don’t try to snob me for my unbelief.
Taste, and taste alone, ought to be the criterion of quality. Contrary to this view, and consistently with the terroirism, blind tastings are thought to be suspect, because they eliminate all the associations of politics, culture, sentiment and history. Fair enough, if you are a terroiriste: a Lebanese wine will forever carry with it associations, pleasant or not, of the Christian near-east, and Bordeaux something else entirely.
Yet even the most dedicated terroiriste would likely acknowledge that the doctrine lends itself to snobbery, mystification and lack of broad consumer acceptance. Winesnobs are not concerned, of course. The French like to think they have a special relationship to wine that other wine producing Latin cultures do not. Their classification systems are pre-Revolutionary: local, particularistic, and controlled by clans. No national equivalent of the metric system has ever been imposed on or accepted by the French wine grower. Thus you still get all kinds of information about terroir or region on a bottle of French wine and almost nothing about the grape varietal. Other countries, such as Australia, were forced to develop a national approach to wine marketing that emphasized the key pieces of knowledge required to assess wine: grape varietal, and year of production.
Most French wine derives from the pinot noir grape. When I tasted my first bottle of Australian pinot noir, I had a revelation. It tasted exactly like French wine made from pinot noir.
This revelation happened in about the year 2000 in a restaurant in Sydney, New South Wales. I can still remeber the moment. I was like Galileo having seen the moons of Jupiter with my primitive telescope. If pinot noir from Australia tasted like pinot noir from France, then the concept of terroir was bullshit, just as Galileo knew that Aristotle had to be bullshit (on this subject at least) if the planet Jupiter had moons. Simple as that.
Eighty percent of humans do not have a sufficiently accurate sense of taste to engage in the flavour discriminations necessary for accurate wine tasting. This is not the same as insights into how taste rankings can be manipulated by associations of one kind or another. This finding is more like eyesight: most people do not have the capacity to taste with the discriminations that only twnety percent of us can. My wife is among the 20%, I am among the 80%. Yet I am the joyful wine drinker, not she.
My classificiations have nothing to do with terroir. I go by nation of origin, grape and price. It provides a reliable matrix by which to judge from the label. Australian/cabernet-sauvignon/$15.50 tells me infinitely more that Pouligny-Montrachet/no information on varietal/$23.50. And if the label vapours on about the wine makers’ respect for the terroir, I put it back on the shelf with the thought that they are bullshitting me, especially if the wine is American.
If all these reflections are too serious, enjoy Peter Lorre and Vincent Price in a wine tasting contest. Remember, this wine goes well with this wine. Keep drinking. The screw top has had more to do with the success of wine than terroir. Discuss.
If you have women in your life, you will know this to be true. Women watch a lot of crime dramas. They absorb crime blogs, podcasts and television. My theory is that this is a form of education for them. As the weaker and more vulnerable sex – yes I said that and mean it – they have an interest in educating themselves about the world they live in, one where the other sex is, on the whole significantly stronger, faster and more violent than they are. Crime drama acts as an education in the world without the danger of actual contact with it. Kind of like men watching Andrew Camarata fixing machines that we will never own. I always wanted to know how they get a tread off a tank. Women always want to know exactly how dangerous the world is without being murdered.
So when I heard that the basic premise of the evolving doctrines of the QAnon conspiracy was that an elite of pederastic or hebephile Satan worshippers is running the United States, I thought – nothing new here. That it was being run out of some pizza joint somewhere just adds that piquant touch of pseudo-facticity that lends credence to nonsense on stilts. Do they not know it is being run out the Council on Foreign Relations?
Thus I was interested to read on Unherd that “Facebook is radicalising your parents“. As the avergae age of users of Facebook rises, the kinds of concerns expressed naturally reflect the concerns of middle-aged and older people. (This usage pattern reflects the gradual ageing of the population, as births have crashed since the 1970s)
I quote: “The most shared news pieces on the site are increasingly on the Right. On 20 July of this year, for instance, the top-performing Facebook link posts by US pages were:
1. Fox News
2. Fox News
3. Occupy Democrats
4. Fox News
5. Ben Shapiro
6. Ben Shapiro
7. Ben Shapiro
8. An0maly 9. Blue Lives Matter 10. Dan Bongino”.
In possible accordance with this concern for radicalization of the elderly and the stated concern for spread of the dangerous ideology of QAnon, FaceBook announced the following:
Naturally I was interested in what the policy said. Under the “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations Policy’, Facebook has announced the following on its webpages:
In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow any organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on Facebook. This includes organizations or individuals involved in the following:
Mass murder (including attempts) or multiple murder
Organized violence or criminal activity
We also remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals involved in these activities. Learn more about our work to fight terrorism online here.
We do not allow the following people (living or deceased) or groups to maintain a presence (for example, have an account, Page, Group) on our platform:
Terrorist organizations and terrorists, which include:
Any non-state actor that:
Engages in, advocates, or lends substantial support to purposive and planned acts of violence,
Which causes or attempts to cause death, injury or serious harm to civilians, or any other person not taking direct part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, and/or significant damage to property linked to death, serious injury or serious harm to civilians
With the intent to coerce, intimidate and/or influence a civilian population, government, or international organization
In order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.
Hate organizations and their leaders and prominent members
A hate organization is defined as:
Any association of three or more people that is organized under a name, sign, or symbol and that has an ideology, statements, or physical actions that attack individuals based on characteristics, including race, religious affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, serious disease or disability.
Mass and multiple murderers (including attempts)
We consider a homicide to be a mass murder if it results in three or more deaths in one incident
We consider an attempted mass murder to be one where an individual uses a weapon or vehicle to attempt mass harm in a public space or against more than one person
We consider any individual who has committed two or more murders over multiple incidents or locations a multiple murderer
Human trafficking groups and their leaders
Human trafficking groups are organizations responsible for any of the following:
Prostitution of others, forced/bonded labor, slavery, or the removal of organs
Recruiting, transporting, transferring, detaining, providing, harboring, or receiving a minor, or an adult against their will
Criminal organizations and their leaders and prominent members
A criminal organization is defined as:
Any association of three or more people that is united under a name, color(s), hand gesture(s) or recognized indicia, that has engaged in or threatens to engage in criminal activity, including (but not limited to)
We do not allow symbols that represent any of the above organizations or individuals to be shared on our platform without context that condemns or neutrally discusses the content.
We do not allow content that praises any of the above organizations or individuals or any acts committed by them.
We do not allow coordination of support for any of the above organizations or individuals or any acts committed by them.
We do not allow content that praises, supports, or represents events that Facebook designates as terrorist attacks, hate events, mass murders or attempted mass murders, serial murders, hate crimes and violating events.
There you have it. Without appeal or means of address to the decision makers, your collection of 3 friends may be designated supporters of ‘hate events’, without any actual event having taken place.
It is really much more pernicious than it appears.
Suppose for instance I became convinced that cousin marriages should not be allowed. (The case is made in Joseph Henrich’s “The WEIRDest people in the world” that the abolition of cousin marriage has marked the character of the people of western Europe profoundly, and in a positive direction for the emergence of modernity). Then I pointed out that in many societies of the world, mainly though not exclusively Muslim, cousin marriages are encouraged. If I pointed out that the suppression of cousin marriages was a necessary condition for the emergence of broadly based non-kinship societies, as Henrich’s book does, and that the secret of success of Western European societies was the suppression of cousin marriages, would I be banned from FaceBook as a hate group, if three of us decided it was an important idea to agree upon and promote?
Now a lawyer might quibble, but you know the answer. You betcha. Some social justice warrior kid would ban you in a flash if he or she thought that a discussion of the negative effects of cousin marriages was aimed at Muslims. Or even if it was not aimed at Muslims but Muslims complained.
We are inventing the new Office of the Inquisition. It is being done before our eyes. It is being done for all the right reasons, as long as you believe harm results from speech.
The least that could be done was what they did about the Inquisition in Portugal in the 1750s. No penalty imposed by the Inquisition was effective unless ratified by the state. That sharply reduced its power. If we cannot avoid the creation of these new Offices of the Inquisition, we should limit their jurisdiction and effectiveness.
A calm inquiry into the nature of beliefs about time, space, law and God is conducted in the 1700s. Are we there again?
Evelyn Waugh remains one of my favorite novelists, not only for his style, but for his acid wit and powers of observation about eternal human hypocrisy.
Brideshead Revisited, published in 1945, recounts the story of an upper-crust British Catholic family and the tribulations of their children, Bridey, Julia, Sebastian, and Cordelia in the 1920s and 1930s. The book was made into an outstanding series for British TV in the 1980s, and probably is the very best rendition of any novel in TV form.
Waugh became a Roman Catholic in 1930 and thereafter enjoyed the usual sneers and asides from the establishment literary set who were soaked in liberalism, communism, and materialism—not much different from today. He was not exactly the model of what one might expect.
The American Spectator ran a delightful little article about Waugh recently on the anniversary of his conversion to Catholicism. As the writer notes:
He was a short-tempered, rude, cranky, insulting, bibulous, intentionally unkind and insensitive man who didn’t much like his children and who, increasingly deaf in his later years, frequently carried with him an ear trumpet, nearly two feet long and comically old-fashioned, that he would raise to his ear when he was speaking and lower when he was spoken to. How can you not love a guy like that?
He concludes with this little gem:
Indeed, his conversion didn’t seem to seriously alter what one critic termed his “famously rebarbative personality.” The story is told of a courageous woman who once approached the great writer and said, “Mr. Waugh, how can you behave as you do, and still call yourself a Christian?” “Madam,” Waugh replied. “Were it not for my religion, I would scarcely be a human being.”
The American Council on Science and Health is an organization devoted to expanding scientific literacy and debunking junk science. These days, that’s a Herculean task. Dr Alex Berezow explains in a recent article how the postmodernist pollution of academia and its infiltration into the media is doing significant damage to America’s world-wide reputation as a leader in science and technology.
When hard work, rational analysis, and careful experimentation are looked upon as “whiteness”, with the implication that they are necessarily bad, you know that the end of an open society is at hand. (Actually, in a weird way, that’s right, as White civilizations in Europe essentially created the modern world and the scientific revolution during the Enlightenment.)
When I was a young lad, the Scientific American (now the Pseudo-Scientific American) was the go-to magazine to get the latest on the most recent advances in science, in articles well-written by some of the world’s leading lights. Now, the Scientific American publishes articles endorsing Biden for President. This is not surprising as the Scientific American has been garbage for a long time.
As Dr Berezow says:
Though nobody can actually define postmodernism, it is characterized by a rejection of objective truth. This toxic ideology is rampant in academia and gaining popularity in the broader culture. Its most nefarious manifestation is Critical Theory, which derives from Marxism and posits that society is nothing but a hierarchy of oppressors and the oppressed. Out of this nonsense comes the absurd belief that the scientific method and even knowledge itself are tools of the white patriarchy….
…This will all backfire. One of the quickest ways to destroy one’s credibility is by being overtly political, yet more of the scientific community is doing precisely that. Once credibility is lost, trust and funding often go along with it.
Let’s see some of these postmodernist crackpots build a bridge…that doesn’t fall down.
These days, even the mention of the virtues of imperialism and empire are scorned and condemned by the political class that squats over us. Here, in an article on Unherdis a very interesting new take on empire in general throughout history….
The theme I have been exploring on this blog is that a lot of people are more scared of the woke than they are of Trump, whereas all we hear in most media is from people of the opposite belief. The people more scared of Trump than the woke fill the pages of the New York Times, the Globe and Mail and the MSM in general.
“If you’ve never heard Joe Rogan’s podcasts, I urge you to listen to them. Rogan has right-wing guests on, but only because he finds them interesting. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, favors drug legalization, supports LGBT rights, and so on. He’s a left-libertarian, as far as I can tell. What makes Rogan so much fun to listen to is — again — you feel that you are listening in to a conversation by someone who is genuinely curious about the world, and who is not afraid to talk about things that the prissy, censorious left-wing media are.”
“I am sure Joe Rogan differs from Orthodox Christian socially conservative me in a number of ways, but I would a thousand million times rather live in Joe Rogan World than NPR/NYT World. The stories Joe Rogan lives by are not the stories I live by, mostly, but I would trust Joe Rogan to defend people like me against the Pink Police State that the left seems bound and determined to create. One thing he said in that Douglas Murray podcast that resonated deeply with me: him and Murray agreeing on how insane Trump is, but how people on the left simply cannot grasp that they alarm many center-right people so much that they are less worried about crazy Trump than they are about the crazy left. This seems to be the neuralgic point between my self-described anti-woke liberal reader, and me: that we look at the same things, and dislike the same things, but that he is much more alarmed by Trump than by the woke, while I come down on the opposite side.”
To illustrate my point, this morning’s snippet of wokeness is from that poseur idiot Ibram X. Kendi, with reference to the Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett’s adoption of two Haitian kids:
“Some White colonizers “adopted” Black children. They “civilized” these “savage” children in the “superior” ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity. https://twitter.com/jennybethm/status/1309653952682754056