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The ongoing separate war the United States is waging to eradicate the Gaddafi clan by targeting it’s smallest members proceeds apace with the successful targeted killing of some more of his youngest descendants, “I Do it for the Gipper.” Wiggum murmured as he gave the order, continuing his sedulous quest to fulfil the mandates of his Republican mentors. Yet, equally impressive the Chicago Hit he ordered on the demonic bin Laden, another death foretold, actually as well as achieving the primary purpose — gaining votes from those screaming hordes who would publicly celebrate a death — was the final act in Interpol’s Warrant to capture the demonic bin Laden, which was first issued in ’98 at the request of… Libya.
One might think that however tragic the deaths on 9/11 — the destruction of the Towers sans deaths would merely be a blessing, as would be virtually every building since 1920 ( but including the deaths of all foul present modernist architects and scum bastard building workers everywhere who destroyed the old and erected the pointless vile concrete new ) — the swap of 30,000 Afghani civilians since would placate the manes of the 3000 murdered then
Anyway, for the demonic bin Laden, the present choices are: that he was either dead long ago in the Caves of Tora Bora; dead from his numerous ailments ( which included Marfan’s, kidney disease, liver disease etc. etc.); killed in Abottabad; or snatched for a life of imprisonment and torture under the auspices of the vengeful state — which has not treated those on Guantánamo, ever unclosed yet, whose guilt in much less culpable crimes than those of bin Laden was unproven, at all well. Or he may have escaped and a double killed, yet his charisma and mystique vanished.
The ‘DNA evidence’ is as valueless as anything else the propaganda machine issues, since we have to rely on, the retrieved bits actually coming from the corpse in Abottabad, the matching being done by the state who killed him, and the control sample actually having been taken from his sister’s corpse — bearing in mind that it was recently discovered that the piece of skull held by the Russians which they alleged was that of Hitler really belonged to some poor woman — and that in all reports the administration controls what information is released, and however generous they are in releasing in succession utterly different stories, this means believing in the good faith of Obama, a man rarely capable of understanding, let alone telling, truth; the Pentagon; and the various state security forces. One thing that is certain is that the corpse, real or not, was actually about his height: since the killers had omitted, understandably enough, to bring along a tape measure, one of them of a similar length lay down besides the body to provide a datum.
And even if the event is broadly true, whilst the raid was a credit to the hit squad, killing a bewildered old man was evidently preferred to capture, as execution of the unrighteous; especially since they said that anything less than utter submission — difficult to manage for the least alarmed when being shot at — didn’t qualify as surrender, and that attempting to retreat, as was the demonic bin Laden before he was rubbed out proved resistance. Since when they killed this sick old fellow crawling on the floor, in front of his 12 yr-old daughter, he seemed incapable of a fight to the death with tooth and nail, being unguarded and unarmed, which seems extraordinary carelessness on the part of a supervillain.
While this affair reminds one of the horrifying 2004 murder of Shiekh Yassin, which temporarily changed my internet signatures to:
‘If you could have heard the old man scream as he fell, and the noise of his bones upon the pavement !’
[ from The Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts by RLS ]
I have to kill a 67-yr-old man
Considering he’s paraplegic, should I choose a knife fight ? Or as he’s blind, it might be pistols at dawn: in order to demonstrate my sheer fighting courage perhaps I should use a helicopter gunship when his wheelchair is exiting morning prayers.
the mention of dreary old Adolf may as well include here my very favourite joke, as told in Germany in late ’45, and perhaps almost relevant in this matter:
When they found the Führer’s body, there was a little note attached: ‘I was never a Nazi.’
Down in the Valley
And with all this cavilling, the fact remains the aging prisoner in Abottabad was wistfully planning yet more wacky mayhem: his computer files, as released by the administration showed his meticulous planning for a new atrocity. “…was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge.”; yet worse, this was to be specifically aimed at Amtrak’s 805 km per hour trains — which I’ll assume can cross the continent in three and a half hours — no doubt as the doleful plumes of smoke rose from the valley below the opera-glass gazing conspirators would toss their tophats into the air and fondle their waxed moustaches whilst cackling fiendishly.
For someone who hated America so, I’m guessing he had very little idea of daily life in America; let alone Amtrak.
And at the last the final question remains: What sort of person is terrified by a weird old loony such as bin Laden ?
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, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, To Know Know Know Him
Neighbour introducing new movee Mr. Handslip into neighbourhood:
“On your other side is Mrs. Egremont, a widow. A very nice lady, Philippa is marvellous, the children are OK, most of them.” with a quickening.
“How many got ?” startled.
“Four. Paul’s the oldest, he’s going in the Army when older. Not the sort of life I’d choose, but it’s a good thing we’re not all alike, isn’t it ? two girls, Ysobelle and Nancy, and… the youngest, James.” A stilted note modulated his enthusiasm, unnoted by the questioner.
“Any of them noisy ?”
“They won’t be any trouble at all.” Eagerly, “The girls are very pretty, and although they could be boisterous and cause difficulties, they don’t. The oldest lad is square strong affable, very decent young man.”
“And the younger ?”
“As I said Paul’s going into the Army, which I think such a waste.” Mr. Pigg was by way of being a pacifist, which the two boys had always respected with the great tolerance of which they were both very proud. “He really could do anything, very brilliant mind indeed.” respectfully, “And unassuming with it. You always feel he’s working out formulæ with a part of his mind while talking easily to one…”
“And the other ?” Handslip enquired bluntly. Mr. Pigg nearly cringed.
“Um, Jamie. Well, he’s different.”
“You mean, er, mentally disturbed ?” with a faint shyness intruding into the brusqueness of the bald enquiry.
“Good God no ! And you’d better not ever hint of such a thing. I doubt if he’d care a rush,” bitterly, “but any of the others, let alone his dear mama, would be very offended if anyone considered such a thing. No, he’s normal enough, and bright enough, even if he doesn’t shine at school from all I hear.”
He sighed, Philippa had confided at length enough times to weary him with the subject; but having done badly himself when young he was sufficently sceptical to wonder if schooling was as important as it was cracked up to be. Conversely he respected brilliance, and was anxious to get back to Paul’s mental prowess. In fact he had long decided never to initiate comment upon, or prolong discussion upon, James Egremont.
“Well, what’s wrong with him ?” bluntly
Pigg looked around.
“Jamie,” picking his words, “is not someone to annoy; or complain about; or piss off. Do not criticise any of the family where he can hear you. He has a strong family feeling. I said the others are no trouble: one reason is that they… continue, upon the lines he lays down. If any person confronts his feelings, or does something he construes as unpleasant, things sometimes happen.” Delicately.
“You mean he’s one of these violent youths ? Some kind of yob ?” wondering what sort of brute was going to appear.
Pigg was shocked and amused. “He’s only 11 or 12 ! I forget which; and weak with it. He’s as pretty as the girls in fact. I guess he’s bullied at school: but that’s there: in his patch, it’s different. As say, an old-fashioned squire visiting London might be vulnerable in the great world, but master of his own domain; which was one reason they usually preferred to cultivate their own gardens. With experience he may be able to grow and handle parts of the great world. I hope not. Very courteous. They all are: but him the most. He’s the hidden patriarch of a patriarchal clan. They do what he directs with only half knowing the fact.”
“You know we have an excellent Guy Fawkes Night and they all used to come. At least when it was the parents and the two older kids. Then the year before Mr. Egremont died that kid, he was very small, took against it — wasn’t scared by the bangs; some bloody nonsense about not liking the Guy being burnt: he knew it was just a, a lay-figure, not real: but he still hated the idea. Now you or I would have left him at home with a baby-sitter, but they’ve never come since.
I can’t imagine how anyone would listen to a bloody toddler, Philippa, well sometimes I reckoned she was weak-minded or something: I mean, yes well now, if he was my child, I’d probably do precisely what he said; life would be simpler that way, and he’s the sort of kid who would be right most of the time: but back then… he was so small. We thought well, she’s just lost a husband, that’s why not: but the next year they wouldn’t come. Asked her why not: ‘Jamie says it’s wrong to pretend to burn people, and you know, I think he’s right.’ Look, he… he wasn’t dominant back then, even in that weird family; he is now: back then he’d just argued at them. I’d have told him to take a running jump; some fucking small kid talking back at me. Pity that because Christian and Philippa were always generous about joining in village stuff.”
“So does one have to show him one’s friendly ?” uneasily.
“What’s to prove ? Just be nice to him and don’t say anything to make his mother unhappy.”
“About him ?”
“No.” He laughed at the mistake. “Not about him: about anything. What I meant was try never to do aught that doesn’t conduce to Philippa’s happiness in life. Mrs. Hutchinson, who is separated from her own husband, had a nervous breakdown and moved away a year ago. She’d been sniping at Philippa in the Mother’s Union. Apparently someone posted her phone number as emergency counsellor for marital breakdowns; a 24 Hour Plumbing consultant; and Police Liaison Officer for the local Police Authority, specialising in all reports from concerned victims for Follow-Up Action. I remember that,” he continued reflectively, “since it never stopped after she denied the post in the local rag, and the police, confused themselves since half the time they’ve no idea what further idiocy the Home Office has shoved at them, not only didn’t deny anything, they even referred a few people to her. That was actually the least annoying thing that happened to her. Both boys have an unpleasant sense of humour. Unlike Paul he acts on it.”
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at 10:00 am (Charles I
, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
, The Building Blocks of Democracy
But the truth is that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and Justice are virtues and excellences of all times and of all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. Physiological learning is of such rare emergence that one man may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostaticks or astronomy, but his moral and prudential character immediately appears.
Milton when he undertook this answer was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audience.
His political notions were those of an acrimonious and surly republican, for which it is not known that he gave any better reason than that "a popular government was the most frugal; for the trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth." It is surely very shallow policy, that supposes money to be the chief good; and even this without considering that the support and expence of a Court is for the most part only a particular kind of traffick, by which money is circulated without any national impoverishment.
It has been observed that they who most loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally grant it. What we know of Milton's character in domestick relations is, that he was severe and arbitrary. His family consisted of women; and there appears in his books something like a Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate and inferior beings. That his own daughters might not break the ranks, he suffered them to be depressed by a mean and penurious education. He thought woman made only for obedience, and man only for rebellion.
The wisdom of the nation is very reasonably supposed to reside in the parliament. What can be concluded of the lower classes of the people, when in one of the parliaments, summoned by Cromwell, it was seriously proposed, that all the records in the Tower should be burnt, that all memory of things past should be effaced, and that the whole system of life should commence anew ?
Samuel Johnson : The Lives of the Poets --- Milton
"Sigh No More"
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After dawdling around Monaco itself, we went round to the 'Jeux' --- a large gambling-house established on the shore near Monaco, upon the road to Mentone. There is a splendid hotel there, and the large house of sin, blazing with gas lamps by night. So we saw it from the road beneath Turbia our first night, flaming and shining by the shore like Pandemonium, or the habitation of some romantic witch. This place, in truth, resembles the gardens of Alcina, or any other magician's trap for catching souls which poets have devised. It lies close by the sea in a hollow of the sheltering hills. there winter cannot come --- the flowers bloom, the waves dance, and sunlight laughs all through the year. The air swoons with scent of lemon groves; tall palm trees wave their branches in the garden; music of the softest, loudest, most inebriating passion swells from the palace; rich meats and wines are served in a gorgeously painted hall; cool corridors and sunny seats stand ready for the noontide heat or evening calm; without are olive gardens, green and fresh and full of flowers. But the witch herself holds her high court and never-ending festival of sin in the hall of the green tables. There is a passion which subdues all others, making music, sweet scents and delicious food, the plash of melodious waves, the evening air and freedom of the everlasting hills subserve her own supremacy.
When the fiend of play has entered into a man, what does he care for the beauties of nature or even for the pleasure of the sense ? Yet in the moments of his trial he must drain the cup of passion, therefore let him have companions --- splendid women, with bold eyes and golden hair and marble columns of imperial throats, to laugh with him, to sing shrill songs, to drink, to tempt the glassy deep at midnight when the cold moon shines or all the headlands glitter with grey phosphorescence and the palace sends its flaring lights and sound of cymbals to the hills. And many, too, there are over whom love and wine hold empire hardly less than play. This is no vision; it is sober, sad reality. I have seen it to-day with my own eyes. I have been inside the palace and breathed its air. In no other place could this riotous daughter of hell have set her throne so seducingly. Here are the Sirens and Calypso and Dame Venus of Tannhäuser's dream. Almost every other scene of dissipation has disappointed me by its monotony and sordidness. But this inebriates; here nature is so lavish, so beautiful, so softly luxurious, that the harlot's cup is thrice more sweet to the taste, more stealing of the senses than elsewhere. I felt, while we listened to the music, strolled about the gardens and lounged in the play-rooms, as I have sometimes felt at the opera. All other pleasures, thoughts and interests of life seemed to be far off and trivial for the time. I was beclouded, carried off my balance, lapped in strange forebodings of things infinite outside me in the human heart. Yet all was unreal; for the touch of reason, like the hand of Galahad, caused the boiling of this impure fountain to cease --- the wizard's castle disappeared and, as I drove home to Mentone, the solemn hills and skies and seas remained and that house was, as it were, a mirage.
John Addington Symonds : Diary
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, High Germany
, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
Frederick Schlegel ( and after him Coleridge ) aptly indicated a distinction, when he said that every man was born either a Platonist or an Aristotelian. This distinction is often expressed in the terms subjective and objective intellects. Perhaps we shall best define these by calling the objective intellect one that is eminently impersonal, and the subjective intellect one that is eminently personal; the former disengaging itself as much as possible from its own prepossessions, striving to see and represent objects as they exist; the other viewing all objects in the light of its own feelings and preconceptions. It is needless to add that no mind is exclusively objective or exclusively subjective, but every mind has a more or less dominant tendency in one or the other of these directions. We see the contrast in Philosophy, as in Art. The realist argues from Nature upwards, argues inductively, starting from reality, and never long losing sight of it; even in the adventurous flights of hypothesis and speculation, being desirous that his hypothesis shall correspond with realities. The idealist argues from an Idea downwards, starting from some conception, and seeking in realities only visible illustrations of a deeper existence. The achievements of modern Science, and the masterpieces of Art, prove that the grandest generalisations and the most elevated types can only be reached by the former method; and that what is called the "ideal school," so far from having the superiority which it claims, is only more lofty in its pretensions; the realist, with more modest pretensions, achieves loftier results. The Objective and Subjective, or as they are also called, the Real and the Ideal, are thus contrasted as the termini of two opposite lines of thought. In Philosophy, in Morals and in Art, we see a constant antagonism between these two principles. Thus in Morals the Platonists are those who seek the highest morality out of human nature, instead of in the healthy development of all human tendencies, and their due co-ordination; they hope, in the suppression of integral faculties, to attain some superhuman standard. They call that Ideal which no Reality can reach, but for which we should strive. They superpose ab extra, instead of trying to develop ab intra. They draw from their own minds, or from the dogmas handed to them by tradition, an arbitrary mould, into which they attempt to fuse the organic activity of Nature.
If this school had not in its favor the imperious instinct of Progress, and aspiration after a better, it would not hold its ground. But it satisfies that craving, and thus deludes many minds into acquiescence. The poetical and enthusiastic disposition most readily acquiesces : preferring to overlook what man is, in its delight of contemplating what the poet makes him. To such a mind all conceptions of Man must have a halo round them, --- half mist, half sunshine; the hero must be a Demigod, in whom no valet de chambre can find a failing ; the villain must be a Demon, for whom no charity can find an excuse.
Not to extend this to a dissertation, let me at once say that Goethe belonged to the objective class."'Everywhere in Goethe,"said Franz Horn, "you are on firm land or island ; nowhere the infinite sea.' A better characterization was never written in one sentence. In every page of his works may be read a strong feeling for the real, the concrete, the living; and a repugnance as strong for the vague, the abstract, or the supersensuous. His constant striving was to study Nature, so as to see her directly, and not through the mists of fancy, or through the distortions of prejudice, --- to look at men, and into them, --- to apprehend things as they were. In his conception of the universe he could not separate God from it, placing Him above it, beyond it, as the philosophers did who represented God whirling the universe round His finger, "seeing it go." Such a conception revolted him. He animated the universe with God ; he animated fact with divine life ; he saw in Reality the incarnation of the Ideal; he saw in Morality the high and harmonious action of all human tendencies ; he saw in Art the highest representation of Life.
George Henry Lewes : The Life & Works of Goethe
AoBlue --- Marisa Kirisame sleeping on the Air
Title from Third Rock From The Sun.
With His Peculiar Look And Emphasis
As an extra... Lewes in a footnote adds a personal note of the old loon Carlyle:
'I remember once, as we were walking along Piccadilly, talking about the infamous Büchlein von Goethe, Carlyle stopped suddenly, and with his peculiar look and emphasis, said, "Yes, it is the wild cry of amazement on the part of all spooneys that the Titan was not a spooney too ! Here is a god-like intellect, and yet you see he is not an idiot ! Not in the least a spooney !"
Readers not current in early 19th century England may note that 'Spooney' means soppy, soft, wet: sissies, but not necessarily including the present-day connotation of sexual maladaption.
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at 12:30 am (Correctitude
, High Germany
, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
Great was the excitement in Paris when it was announced the King of Prussia and the Tsar would arrive in close succession at the beginning of June . Although the latter was the real guest of honour ( high politics decreed it so ), it was King Wilhelm of Prussia and his massive Chancellor, Count von Bismarck, who attracted all eyes. On the train they passed positions the old King had occupied in 1814, when he had contributed to the downfall of his present host’s uncle. Though some Parisians detected a note of typical Teutonic tactlessness as the King complimented, ecstatically, on ‘what marvellous things you have done since I was last here !’, on the whole they thought his behaviour quite unexceptionable. In fact he stole many hearts by his kindly display of affection for the fragile Prince Impérial, then recovering from an illness. A comfortable figure projecting an image of some benevolent country squire, he set the nervous French at ease, and indeed seemed utterly at ease himself; as someone remarked uncharitably after the event, he explored Paris as if intending to come back there one day.
Even the terrible Bismarck, whose great stature made Wickham Hoffman of the U.S. Legation think of Agamemnon, positively glowed with goodwill. Beauties of Paris society surrounded him. admired his dazzling White Cuirassier unform and the enormous spread eagle upon his shining helmet, and attempted to provoke him; but in vain. In conversation with Louis-Napoleon, he dismissed last year’s Austro-Prussian war as belonging to another epoch, and added amiably ‘Thanks to you no permanent cause of rivalry exists between us and the Court at Vienna’. The festive atmosphere temporarily obscured the full menace of this remark.
On April 12th, the Emperor attended the première of one of the great entertainments to be produced in honour of his Royal guests: Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein…
…Now here was this new triumph about the amorous Grand Duchess of a joke German principality, embarking on a pointless war because its Chancellor, Baron Puck, needed a diversion. Its forces were led by a joke German general called Boum, as incapable as he was fearless, who invigorated himself with the smell of gunpowder by periodically firing off his pistol into the air. The farce, tallying so closely with Europe’s private view of the ridiculous Teutons, was too obvious to be missed. When the Tsar came to see it, his box was said to have rung with unroyal laughter. Between gusts of mirth, members of the French court peeped over at Bismarck’s expression, half in malice, half in apprehension, wondering if perhaps King Wilhelm’s lack of tact about his previous visit to Paris had not been revenged to excess. But nobody appeared to be showing more obvious and unrestrained pleasure than the Iron Chancellor himself; one might almost have suspected that the pleasure was enhanced by the enjoyment of some secret joke of his own.
Alistair Horne : The Fall of Paris
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Frederick now asked his father-in-law, as a parting gift to him, to grant liberty to one of the unhappy band of political prisoners whose lifelong detention in the Tower was a public scandal. His candidate was the least obnoxious possible. Lord Grey de Wilton, the young Puritan noble who had been condemned to death for participation in the Bye Plot, had been now immured for ten years, and his spirit was reported much broken. Frederick made his request, and caught a terrifying glimpse of a James Stuart hitherto unknown to him, not the Princess Elizabeth’s “dear dad”, learned, lax and loving, but the James Stuart of the Gowrie Conspiracy and Gunpowder Plot.
Carola Oman : Elizabeth of Bohemia.
And just to drive home a point with icy charm…
James’s eventual dismissal of Frederick’s suit was well calculated to crush a nervous youth. “Son, when I come into Germany I will promise you not to importune you for any of your prisoners””.
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, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
, The King of Terrors
Her father swallowed something.
"You shock me sometimes, Jean," he said, a statement which amused her.
"You're such a half‑and half man," she said with a note of contempt in her voice. "You were quite willing to benefit by Jim Meredith's death; you killed him as cold‑bloodedly as you killed poor little Bulford, and yet you must whine and snivel whenever your deeds are put into plain language. What does it matter if Lydia dies now or in fifty years, time ?" she asked. "It would be different if she were immortal. You people attach so much importance to human life --- the ancients, and the Japanese amongst the modern, are the only people who have the matter in true perspective. It is no more cruel to kill a human being than it is to cut the throat of a pig to provide you with bacon. There's hardly a dish at your table which doesn't represent wilful murder, and yet you never think of it, but because the man animal can talk and dresses himself or herself in queer animal and vegetable fabrics, and decorates the body with bits of metal and pieces of glittering quartz, you give its life a value which you deny to the cattle within your gates ! Killing is a matter of expediency. Permissable if you call it war, terrible if you call it murder. To me it is just killing. If you are caught in the act of killing they kill you, and people say it is right to do so. The sacredness of human life is a slogan invented by cowards who fear death --- as you do."
Edgar Wallace : The Angel of Terror 
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at 8:15 pm (Correctitude
, High Germany
, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
I have never attached another value to words than that of the expression of correct concepts, to theories never the value of deeds, and I have always regarded preconceived systems as the product of leisured heads or the outburst of emotional minds.
Not in the struggle of society towards progress, but rather in progression towards the true goods: towards freedom as the inevitable yield of order; towards equality in its only applicable degree of that before the law; towards prosperity, inconceivable without the foundation of moral and material peace; towards credit, which can rest only on the basis of trust — in all that I have recognised the duty of government and the true salvation for the governed.
I have looked upon despotism of every kind as a symptom of weakness. Where it appears, it is a self-punitive evil, most intolerable when it poses behind the mask of promoting the cause of freedom.
The concept of the balancing of powers ( proposed by Montesquieu ) has always appeared to me only as a conceptual error of the English constitution, impractical in its application, because the concept of such a balancing is rooted in the assumption of an eternal struggle, instead of in that of peace, the first necessity for the life and prosperity of states.
The care for the inner life of states has always had for me the worth of the most important task for governments.
As the foundations for politics I recognise the concepts of right and equity and not the sole calculations of use, whilst I look upon capricious politics as an ever self-punitive confusion of the spirit.
My conduct is a prosaic and not a poetical one. I am a man of right, and reject in all things appearance where it divides as such from truth, thereupon deprived as the foundation of right, where it must inevitably dissolve into error.
For me the word “freedom” has not the value of a starting-point, but rather that of an actual point of arrival. The word “order” denotes the starting-point. Only on the concept of order can that of freedom rest. Without the foundation of order, the call for freedom is nothing more than the striving of some party after an envisaged end. In its actual use, the call inevitably expresses itself as tyranny. Whilst I have at all times and in all situations ever been a man of order, my striving was addressed to true and not deceptive freedom. In my eyes, tyranny of any kind has only the value of absolute nonsense. As a means to an end, I mark it as the most vapid that time and circumstance is able to place at the disposal of rulers.
The concept of order in view of legislation --- the foundation of order --- is, in consequence of the conditions under which states live, capable of the most varied application. Considered as constitution, it will prove itself best for any state that answers to the demands of both the material conditions and those moral conditions peculiar to the national character. There is no universal recipe for constitutions, just as little as there is some universal means for the boosting of health.
I did not govern the empire. Therein the powers at every level were not just strictly administered and directed to their competences, but rather in this regard were even relinquished to trepidation, which brought hesitancy to the course of affairs. The principle of government of the Emperor Francis was set forth in the motto “Justitia regnorum fundamentum”, not only as it lay in his spirit and character, but also as it served him as strict guide in all governmental affairs. He agreed with my observation that the axiom, correct in its point of origin, could be abrogated in the excessive practice of particular cases, but he usually added: “I was born and through my status appointed for the execution of justice; the inevitable hardness in particular cases is better than the slackening of rule through too many exceptions.” My motto is “Strength in Right”. Both sayings run together in meaning, except that the imperial motto has an abstractly judicial significance, whereas mine has a significance more grounded in state law. In this regard, the motto “Recta tueri”, suggested by me to Emperor Ferdinand upon his most supreme accession, bids a further nuance.
Excerpts from The Political Testament of Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, as translated by Deoholwulf, Keeper of The Joy of Curmudgeonry
Full text here.
The Spirit of Eternal Justice Succouring the Stricken State Actually, Kathleen Wallis Coales --- Cock Robin and the Flower Fairy
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Depression came early this autumn. Sufficiently accounting for going AWOL; yet viewers would be correct to strongly demand a notification such as this, yet ennui waits for no man
Glancing through one of those not unamusing collections of fake-medieval detective stories, and was so struck by this beginning sentence by a Mr. Paul Harding, I fast checked the reference online, yet could not find any such thing in the work quoted.
'I was reading Bartholomew the Englishman's The Nature of Things in which he describes the planet Saturn as cold as ice, dark as night and malignant as Satan.'
A quick check astrological showed the ruling house of the hour i was born to be Saturn : not believing in this discipline in the least, this was previously unknown to me, it just seemed kinda inevitable...
[ Why I disbelieve may be shown, not only by the unlikelihood of vast symbols influencing our self-wrought nature, but by the interpretation given:
This astrological combination indicates a headstrong individual with a fiercely passionate nature. Your likes and dislikes are intense, and you tend to impose your will and taste upon others. You will rise to positions of leadership, for you display unusual courage and independence. Your nature is practical, and your goals are very much tied to matters of this world. You are stubborn in your views and you are ardently jealous of your possessions and values. Although you conduct your own affairs in semi-secrecy, you have to probe into the life of your love partner. Much about you is deep. You store away your emotions, hide your resentments, bury away knowledge. The key to a more harmonious self lies in cultivating humility and greater self-control of your one-directional, assertive personality.
Apart from the fact I can't recognise any of this; I love the sheer unsubtility of the gross flattery astrologers offer: no wonder they were so popular in braver times. And I've already got enough humility. ]
[ Possibly the first image I ever had on my first computer aons back ]
Neanderthal Days and Neanderthal Ways
And of Ice, I read up on Afrocentric 'history' just for a laugh, and came across some work by a Michael Bradley referenced, popular in the Farrakhan School, The Iceman Inheritance : Prehistoric Sources of Western Man's Racism, Sexism and Aggression, which promulgated that white people descended partly from those crazy red-haired neanderthals, and that modern pathologies particular to western civilisations are caused by sexual dysfunction of cold neanderthal hearts --- my lack of faith in psychosexual therapy, really all therapies, indicates that I am quite sure that it is as fully successful in analysis conducted at a range of 40,000 years as in the immediate present --- still, I was slightly pleased, since if we are all different species rather than merely different races, then all our white 'sins' are both natural and indeed, ineluctable.
Apparently the book proffered the additional delight that the jews are the purest form of neanderthals; amusingly referenced here in a resigned list of things certain peoples believe about the jews. Just remember that every believer is entitled to their vote under any democracy, and marvel that anyone is truly stupid enough to believe in democracy.
I took a few online sociopathy tests for fun, which results varied as wildly as astrology, although all gratifyingly scored around the higher marks. Although I can scarcely doubt being an amoral sociopath, honour and the vagaries of luck forbid the more volatile expressing of such tendencies; the trouble is that I really couldn't care enough about people to want to kill them; even minute non-violent injury such as blowing up their empty car seems to mark being over-passionately engaged in the mundane world [ as does noticing they live, of course ], unless they offer really serious provocation, natüralich. As with all other animals, each gets individual respect, and should not be killed or injured in the slightest unless they threaten --- if a bear is likely to harm one, then murdering it is justified: old lunatics like this fellow who shot a nursing bear eating birdseed really ought at least to receive enough punishment to send them to Hell. P'raps being fastened to a steering wheel and blown up with plastique as happened to the fellow in Ambler's Send No More Roses, or something of that order ? [ Actually, I knew until fairly recently a chap who claimed to have invented plastique, or some form of it at least. Very useful stuff. ] Hopefully he would not protest unbecomingly. Being cold I always abhore unnecessary suffering: but even more the suffering inflicted by victims' lack of pride. One of the most horrific and repulsive acts of modern cinema was the notorious, 'Look into your heart' scene from Miller's Crossing: Just kill the disgusting little fucker already...
And They Fight Like Girls...
I also took the Inner Dragon Psych test...
First, tell me which breath-weapon you'd most like to control:
Lightning / Storms ~ ZOT! he he he he...
Okay, what size do you feel like inside ?
Size? Who cares? I'm the baddest dragon on this planet
Next, where would you prefer to live ?
Secluded mountain valleys, away from everything.
Which statement best describes how you feel about humans ?
They look funny. They talk funny. They act funny. They taste funny. And they fight like girls.
Select the sentence that best describes how you feel about other dragons:
Nah, that whole community thing isn't for me.
And how do you view yourself as a dragon ?
I am the shadow, the mist, and the wind. My intentions are hidden and my reasons are my own.
What's your most likely course of action if threatened ?
Just pass on by and hope they're not dumb enough to try anything - for their sake.
Given the chance, would you use magic or spells ?
Yes (including "yeah, sure, whatever", "because they might make pretty colors", etc.)
How much treasure would you hoard if you could have all you wanted ?
You cross me and I'll take what you've got. Otherwise, not much.
Lastly, which genre of music do you prefer ?
Classical, Marches, Instrumentals.
I turned out to be a White Dragon.
The Blackbird Whistling
Other news being that I converted to Blackbird as primary music player, if solely because I love the fat little fellow. It works perfectly, even on Windows 2000 for which it is not designed; I had hoped to add one of these permanent links here, yet apart from being paralysed by choice of these charming images, they are transparent pngs, and may not come out well on this darker theme...
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, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
Sample Jury Questions:
14. Where were you born ?
Near the Atlantic Ocean.
39. While in school, what was your favorite subject ?
40. What was your least favorite subject ?
49. Spouse-partner’s place of birth ?
N/A --- also the compound 'spouse-partner' makes me think of mice.
142. Have you ever had any personal interaction with a celebrity ( such as writing a celebrity a letter, receiving a letter or photograph from a celebrity, or getting an autograph from a celebrity ) ? Yes? No ? If yes, please explain:
As a child I once wrote to an author. Got a form reply too.
145. Please name the person for whom you are a great fan and describe why you are a fan of that person ?
Are you hitting on me, or something ?
161. Do you have any affiliation with professional sports ?
Define affiliation; define professional; define sports; define never in a million years.
162. Have you ever experienced domestic violence in your home, either growing up or as an adult ? Please describe the circumstances and the impact it has had upon you.
Hit as a kid. No impact by now. The ashes cool.
172. Do you think using physical force on a fellow family member is sometimes justified ?
Certainly; s'pose they come at you with a knife ?
184. How do you feel about interracial marriage ?
186. Have you ever dated a person of a different race ? Yes ? No ? If yes, how did you feel about it ?
191. When you were growing up, what was the racial and ethnic make-up of your neighborhood ?
The Celto-Saxon branch of the Nordic Race; white English. Prot in a catholic school.
193. Before the Simpson case, did you read any book, articles or magazines concerning DNA analysis ?
201. Do you have a religious affiliation or preference ? Yes ? No ? If yes, please describe. How important would you say religion is in your life ? Would anything about your religious beliefs make it difficult for you to sit in judgement of another person ? Yes ? No ? Possibly ? How often do you attend religious services ?
b/ Faith informs but does not dictate.
c/ Not in the least.
202. What is your political affiliation ? ( Please circle ) 1. Democrat 2. Republican 3. Independent 4. Other ( please specify )
 Absolute monarchist by hereditary primogeniture [ Legitimist ].
203. Are you currently registered to vote ? Yes ? No ?
204. Did you vote in the June, 1994 primary elections ? Yes ? No ?
I have never voted. Voting is bad.
205. Do you consider yourself politically: Active ? Moderately active ? Inactive ?
211. Have you ever provided a urine sample to be analyzed for any purpose ? Yes ? No ? If yes, did you feel comfortable with the accuracy of the results ? Yes ? No ?
212. Do you believe it is immoral or wrong to do an amniocentesis to determine whether a fetus had a genetic defect ? Yes ? No ? Don’t have an opinion ?
Never thought about it. Seems a good idea.
213. Have you or anyone close to you undergone amniocentesis ?
215. Did you take science or math courses in college ?
See 40. above.
222. Do you have ( please check ) Security bars ? Alarms ? Guard dog ? Weapons for self-protection ?
d/ Various items coyly scattered here and there, [ However if threatened by an intruder I would instantly use what is to hand until they stopped twitching and life itself had fled. Prolly not my computer monitor, though, as it weighs 60lb. ]
230. Have you ever seen a crime being committed ( other than where you were the victim ) ? If yes, how many times and what kind of crime(s) ?
244. What type of books do you prefer ? ( Example: Non-fiction ? Historical ? Romance ? Espionage ? Mystery ? )
248. Have you ever written a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine ? Yes ? No ? If yes, what was the subject matter of your comment:
b/ Pointing out that the use of the stunningly correct phrase 'Let Justice be done though the heavens fall' was being verminously interpreted into an utterly opposite meaning to it's true reality. Which is that you should go to the max, never blink, and damn the torpedoes.
249. Do you watch any of the early evening "tabloid news" programs ? Such as "Hard Copy," "Current Affair," "American Journal," etc.
*blinks* I think we have very different interests.
251. Which television news shows do you enjoy watching on a regular basis ?
Old Clinton era American sitcoms on my computer. Nothing else.
252. What are your leisure time interests, hobbies and activities ?
This and that. Might I ask why you want to know ?
254. What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of ?
Nothing. Pride is a vanity utterly beneath me. Every day in every way I grow more and more supercilious, though.
255. What groups or organizations do you belong to now or have you belonged to for a significant period of time in the past ? ( For example, bowling leagues, church groups, AA, Sierra Club, MECLA, National Rifle Association, ACLU, YWCA, PTA, NAACP, etc. )
Some Stuartist interest societies, and some wargames organisations. I was never a member of the Party.
257. Are there any charities or organizations to which you make donations ? Yes ? No ? If yes, please list the organizations or charities to which you contribute:
b/ Certainly not.
265. Are you a fan of the USC Trojans football team ?
You made that name up, right ?
270. How many hours per week do you watch sporting activities ?
271. Name the last three sporting events you attended.
Does school count ?
273. What are your favorite sports ? Why ?
Anything which involves sportsmen and spectators being quietly and painlessly killed en masse. Or at least quietly.
274. Name the most significant sport figure, sport program, or sporting event scandals you recall.
Back in the twenties I believe there was a baseball team in Brooklyn who threw matches or something. There was a film about it. A very dull film.
275. Does playing sports build an individual’s character ? Yes ? No ? Please explain your answer whether you answer yes or no:
About as much as does habitual masturbation.
276. Do you seek out positions of leadership ? ( Please check answer ) Always ? Often ? Seldom ? Never ?
Always if offered.
277. Please name the three public figures you admire most.
You're joking, aren't you ?
281. Do you own any special knives ( other than for cooking ), such as hunting or pen knives ?
Yes. But not for stabbing ex-wives with.
285. Would you like to be a juror in this case ?
Boredom is the most integral part of life; so why not ?
Back many, many years ago, there was a celebrated case of a sportsman accused of murdering his wife and her friend; I would refrain from uttering any opinion as to his guilt or innocence, because, frankly, how the hell would I know ? If the affable Mr. Simpson visited, I guess I might hide the knife-drawer though, as we say in my country. Anyway, he was tried and acquitted; various white racialists vocally forming the idea that this was due to the vast majority of the jury being black --- which is dubious at best: the main reason undoubtedly being that an equal majority were women; with a strident female prosecutor of doubtful ability. It was after all, a case difficult for a prosecutor to lose.
Among other loopy American law procedures --- such as judges being elected from the community of those who are liable to be judged; or insane sentences that exceed life-length by a factor of 10 or more [ outdone by the similar Spanish who hopefully sentence terrorists to 40,000 years ] --- is the odd idea of Voir dire whereby both prosecution and defence have the extraordinary power of selecting/rejecting putative jurors; packing juries has an old and honourable history in most jurisdictions, but only in political cases: in ordinary trials you take what you are given. In this case the procedure took 250 potentials and two months. To aid the winnowing, the prospectives were issued with a book of questions. It is a sobering thought that had I been there and answered these thus I might have been chosen. Were I black, female and mentally retarded of course.
There were 294 of these ridiculous questions.
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at 7:00 pm (Computing
, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
Recently, a terrifying and heart-rending plea manifested from some poor girl in the toils of the pop-up curse:
Please help me im crying my eys out plz i beg u ???
i went on to msn website and al these pop ups came up and started downloading stuff rght now and it donloaded smething called **** and *** his porn thing and my back ground ent red with this bull on it and i dont no wat to doit wont let me anything andit comes up windows virus thing is not up 2 date help me i am only 12 and my dad will kill me if he found out help me !! pz =::::::::(
This is actually quite sad, and it would be entirely inappropriate to feel a lack of appropriate emotion; particularly the presumed reaction of the noncomprehending pater familias --- which really... I mean, you'd think by now... I mean, she's just a girl; and also thus can scarcely be suspected of seeking sex sites. Which is actually serendipity on the modern day web, In Soviet Russia, Sex Sites Seek You ! Also, it's difficult to recall, how to a child things which are both minor, and always voided by time, assume gut-wrenching importance. However, hearts may cease their frantic struggle like little birds caught in the hideous traps of our forefathers, for this Yahoo Question [cache] is actually marked as resolved. And yet, and yet.... Surely there must be some solution to the repulsion of these --- strictly reeking of yesteryear, and in the time of the Clinton Administration --- weakling pop-ups and associated virii...
If only there were some clue.
If only we could guess what it might be.
Some powerful sword 'gainst which Pop-Up Hell itself shall not prevail.
No matter how faint and delicately hued.
[ I do wish people would adhere as near as damnit to spelling conventions... ]
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Sprawled on the carpet, Jamie was nibbling his lower lip in a thoughtful rapture.
“Wot’cha doing ?” enquired Paul. Whilst glad he was actually doing something, and not staring inwardly; the ever-active Paul mistrusted the contemplative impulse: noting that Jamie, unusually for him had been reading the Sunday literary supplements and scribbling away for the last hour. His pretty little brother had given up on others’ critical theory when he was ten, not just on literature.
“Making a game..” Jamie murmured in soft distraction; then shaking his platinum head explained: “One creates ten titles with synopsis-blurbs for well typical modern books — fiction’s gonna be the easiest ‘The crap we read now’ to be Trollopian…” not that Jamie had hardly read Trollope in his young life… “then lists ten adjectives commonly used in such heated minds as write blurbs to describe the protagonist; and ten adjectives used to encapsulate such rot. The others than have to match up the correct two adjectives to each book to win. Remember: All fiction is wish-fulfilment. The skill of the author lies mostly in how they can disguise this truth. Modern authors can barely even try; which is why their heroes and heroines are all brilliant, multi-skilled, sexy geniuses.”
After a while he handed Paul his first list, “Knock yourself out.” he said cheerfully.
I. Miss Jazzy Queening it Down The Gap. — The adventures of a mixed race Black/Puerto Rican drag-artiste hustling in Times Square to fund his sex-change operation.
II. The Potting-Shed in Autumn. — In the garden of a country-house in 1935 an ageing gardener, once an Oxford graduate, recalls how he came to the ruin of his dreams and his present status, and considers the tapestry of life represented by the denizens of Maddingleigh Hall from the servants’ quarter to the Osterley-Browns, the wealthy but corrupt family who now own the land.
III. The Gash of Time. — A Scotswoman’s vigorous fight for self-improvement against the opposition of family, friends, children and all the menfolk she ever meets. Until at last she gains a doctorate in Council Studies, makes the largest fortune in Scottish history as a successful businesswoman, and finally becomes the first woman first minister of Scotland’s Parliament.
IV. The Seabirds of Yalta. — Charlie Werner, troubled maverick of the SIS, has five days to stop Walter Schellenburg’s most daring plot of all: to assassinate the Big Three at their meeting in 1945. Facing the sinister ex-lawyer Ulrich von Kartoffeltopf, now SS Brigadeführer and confidante of Himmler, he has only the beautiful Larissa, once secretary to Yagoda, only allowed to buy her life by fulfilling the most dangerous of all missions, and Una, ‘The Lovely Valkyrie’, a Prussian aristocrat playing a double game, and ‘Dutch’ O’Murphy, a tough wise-cracking US Master-Sergeant, eager and willing to pay off old scores. These four are pitted against Otto Skorzeny and an élite band of assassins formed from a company of the surviving parachutists of Crete sworn to dark and mystical oaths which have to do with revenge on traitors responsible for the near débâcle and the random recovery of ancient objects of great occult power. Can they protect the leaders of the Free World, or is there a traitor in their own ranks ? How will they pair off into bed ? And in what order ?
V. The Bread-and-Butter Pudding Club. — Polly, Gail, Rosie and Miriam all want their men to settle down and take things seriously: they form a pact with the rest of the girls in the firm and it’s a side-splitting race to see who becomes pregnant first.
VI. The End of the Pier. — July 1914: The Twelve Joeys, a struggling party of Pierrots and Pierrets work the South Coast during the splendid Summer. What will Autumn bring ?
VII. Riding A Rainbow. — Dainty vowed never to be dependent on anyone after her parents split up; now a brilliant success as the best marketing executive in the tough world of publishing ever, she wants a child. But at 26 she has to act fast. Who shall she choose as the father ? Josh, her live-in lover of three years, genius research scientist, but irresponsible and feckless; Rudy, the sweet gentle impoverished motorcycle courier, only 19 but living in a communal squat in Brixton; or Simon, suave multi-millionaire business entrepreneur who will give her a life of perfection, but demand marriage as the price ? Dainty has to make the most difficult decision of her life.
VIII. Dead of Day. — A serial killer is murdering women, all of whom are young, clever and excessively attractive: can the J9 team, a crack police squad formed to foil these crimes — oldish gaffer, young female second-in-command, black male, computer genius, black female, several gays of either sex, ordinary plods with combat skills — work out why he uses these criteria in time before he slays another six victims ?
IX. The Holy Ball. — Latvia in the early fourteenth century is a grim and dangerous place, ruled by the cruel Sword-Brethren. Some men fight in rebellion, others knuckle under: but all, ultimately are depressed. A group of their wives however refuse to yield, and defy the imperialistic oppressors and their hypocritical Church by inventing football. The infuriated rulers must strike back and destroy the game and all memory of it, or it will spell the end of all their anti-democratic power. Inspiringly, after the massacre one girl escapes and, abjuring all else, spends every moment of an immensely long and minutely detailed mediæval life travelling to every country in Europe, Africa, and Asia to secretly spread the knowledge of this inspiring game, with it’s promise of ultimate liberation, amongst all disaffected peasants.
X. Fresh Meat — Horror: an especial group of Sûreté investigators put together an alarming collection of facts. All over the globe, butchers return home to find their families gone: there are no clues, except the abductors left several hundred kilos of sausages sitting in each living room. Marvel as the authorities take several weeks before something clicks and they call in what sausages remain for forensic examination.
Paul read this in silence. “Some of your sodding preoccupations are present;”
“I wouldn’t talk about ‘Lovely Valkyries’ much if I were you.” he continued sourly.
Jamie bit him. At least he tried to. Certain subjects were taboo.
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(Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
, The Enemy
Gorky was devoted to reason, knowledge and science. He wrote bitterly of the impotence of reason in the old church-dominated Russia, of the “dark abyss” and the “elegiac submissiveness to fate”. What initially alienated him from Lenin’s régime was the conviction that it was suppressing the light of reason and perpetuating in a new form the dark abyss. For Rolland, the authentic esprit was above all a rational one. Shaw, like the Webbs and like the Welsh Utopian socialist Robert Owen, whom the Fabians had latterly discovered as an intellectual ancestor, was a fierce rationalist. Like Owen, the Fabians condemned ignorance, waste, dislocation, booms, slumps and unemployment as essentially irrational. Was racism, Needham asked, anything but irrational ? Was not the Soviet Union the most determined opponent of racism ? “The subjective and irrational are anti-democratic, they are the instruments of tyranny.” Georges Friedmann described the Soviet Union as “the most magnificent effort towards the rational transformation of institutions .. . that humanity has ever attempted”. So here “reason” becomes simultaneously a system of logic or cerebration immaculately synthesized with a set of moral values. No one voiced the liberating claims of reason more fervently or consistently than Heinrich Mann with his perennial argument that the greatest weapon of the Geist in its struggle with arbitrary power was reason ( Vernunft ): indeed he published in 1923 a collection of essays collectively titled Diktatur der Vernunft. In 1937 he wrote of the USSR: “At last a state undertakes to make out of men what we have always wanted: a rational existence, the collective working for the benefit of each individual, and out of that individual shall something higher and better develop within a totality that further predicts itself.” But here rationality is interpreted as a common heritage not a class monopoly, as a matter of Geist not of Macht: he spoke of the “deep, fundamental intellectuality of the Revolution” and he pleaded that it was “in the last resort no rebellion of some against others. Basically it asks for and receives the agreement of all.” This was indeed the dream of the Enlightenment. Mann’s friend Feuchtwanger continued to regard reason as the preserve of an enlightened minority, a treasure destined to be distributed to the populace at large but so far withheld from them in all countries except the Soviet Union. “I sympathized inevitably with the experiment of basing the construction of a gigantic State on reason alone… .” He stressed the ethical “Vernunftmassigkeit” of the Plans, and later he wrote of his belief in “a slow, slow yet sure growth of human reason between the last ice-age and the next”. Similarly, “reason-through-knowledge” was the formula recommended by the Webbs and finally identified by them as operational in Russia. They were convinced that under socialism the problem of who gives orders to whom would progressively diminish since the combination of what they called “measurement with publicity” and the “searchlight of public knowledge” would burn out unreason, ignorance and apathy among the public, freeing it from its false dependence on traditional or arbitrary power. This had also been Saint-Simon’s belief.
It is of course easy to criticize the philosophical naivety of the fellow-travellers. Too blandly did they incorporate subjective, ethical premises into the general concept of reason, and in this respect they were little in advance of Thomas Paine, who described history as a periodically interrupted progress from the government of priests and conquerors to the government of pure reason — this reason being defined simply as the antithesis of ignorance. When Owen declared: “Train any population rationally, and they will be rational”, he virtually spoke for a later generation separated from him by a hundred years. Yet what sounded enlightened in 1830 could only be judged as naïve in 1930. When Condorcet and Owen argued that idleness, poverty, crime and punishment were merely, in Owen’s words, “the necessary consequences of ignorance”, they could not reasonably be criticized for lacking a concept of alienation or anomie, whereas the fellow-travellers turned their backs not only on such concepts but blandly ignored a century of psychological inquiry. It was time to recognize that formulas such as Bentham’s “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” had an ethical rather than a rational basis, yet the fellow-travellers continued to elect Unitary Reason to the throne once occupied by God, complete with all the court ritual of the fall, redemption and salvation. One can at least partially sympathize with Marx’s scorn for the endeavours of Saint-Simon and Owen to convert humanity, including the rich and powerful, to socialism by means of rational persuasion; it was this aspect of their thought rather than the building of model settlements like New Harmony which provoked him to brand them as “Utopians”. Admittedly the later fellow-travellers occasionally acknowledged that the knout had become a frequent messenger of reason in Soviet Russia, but they refused to draw conclusions about the motivation of the knout-wielders, preferring to judge them as benevolent schoolmasters occasionally resorting to sterner discipline out of love for their pupils. Though they were anti-capitalist, and though some of them, like Shaw, recognized the necessity of force, the fellow-travellers still inhabited the mental universe of Auguste Comte, with his vision of history as being synonymous with the progress of the human mind towards the final, rational stage of universal positivism. No doubt the immense upheaval which took place in Russia during forced collectivization was in a sense positivistically inspired; but what appears ruthlessly rational is not necessarily reasonable, and the fellow-travellers lacked not only Kant’s insight into the necessity of an inner, moral revolution within men but also the vital gleam of cautionary wisdom offered by Voltaire when he remarked: “Le monde avec lenteur marche vers la sagesse.”
David Caute : The Fellow-Travellers
One of the finest books ever written; and by a leftist, too…
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at 2:05 am (Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
, The Enemy
This suggests the fascinating possibility that the key for a group intending to turn Europeans against themselves is to trigger their strong tendency toward altruistic punishment by convincing them of the moral blameworthiness of their own people. Because Europeans are individualists at heart, they readily rise up in moral anger against their own people once they are seen as free riders and therefore morally blameworthy — a manifestation of their stronger tendency toward altruistic punishment deriving from their evolutionary past as hunter gatherers. In making judgments of altruistic punishment, relative genetic distance is irrelevant. Free-riders are seen as strangers in a market situation; i.e., they have no familial or tribal connection with the altruistic punisher.
As a very interesting and influential European group, the Puritans exemplified this tendency toward altruistic punishment. A defining feature of Puritanism was the tendency to pursue utopian causes framed as moral issues — their susceptibility to utopian appeals to a ‘higher law’ and the belief that government’s principal purpose is moral. New England was the most fertile ground for “the perfectibility of man creed,” and the “father of a dozen ‘isms’.” There was a tendency to paint political alternatives as starkly contrasting moral imperatives, with one side portrayed as evil incarnate — inspired by the devil. Puritan moral intensity can also be seen in their “profound personal piety” — their intensity of commitment to live not only a holy life, but also a sober and industrious life.
Puritans waged holy war on behalf of moral righteousness even against their own genetic cousins. The suggestion is that this is a form of altruistic punishment found more often among coöperative hunter-gatherer groups than among groups based on extended kinship. For example, whatever the political and economic complexities that led to the Civil War, it was the Yankee moral condemnation of slavery that inspired the rhetoric and rendered the massive carnage of closely related Anglo-Americans on behalf of slaves from Africa justifiable in the minds of Puritans. Militarily, the war with the Confederacy rendered the heaviest sacrifice in lives and property ever made by Americans. Puritan moral fervor and its tendency to justify draconian punishment of evil doers can also be seen in the comments of “the Congregationalist minister at Henry Ward Beecher’s Old Plymouth Church in New York [who] went so far as to call for ‘exterminating the German people … the sterilization of 10,000,000 German soldiers and the segregation of the woman,.”
Thus the current altruistic punishment so characteristic of contemporary Western civilization: Once Europeans were convinced that their own people were morally bankrupt, any and all means of punishment should be used against their own people. Rather than see other Europeans as part of an encompassing ethnic and tribal community, fellow Europeans were seen as morally blameworthy and the appropriate target of altruistic punishment. For Westerners, morality is individualistic — violations of communal norms by free riders are punished by altruistic aggression.
Kevin Macdonald : What Makes Western Culture Unique ?
Guilt is rather necessary, for we ought to know what we are; but it is also necessary to discard it as mere vainglorious self-obsession once past fault is recognised and subsumed. Natürlich, some of us find it easier than others; but that’s just through rigorous self-training ( or something ) — which is far less complacent than the opposite urge to purge another’s guilt. And certainly beats killing or self-killing to satisfy a ridiculous moral ego…
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You are quite right –-- I am not moved by any ‘love’ of this sort, and for two reasons: I have never in my life ‘loved’ any people or collective --– neither the German people, nor the French, nor the American, nor the working class or anything of that sort. I indeed love ‘only’ my friends and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons. Secondly, this ‘love of the Jews’ would appear to me, since I am myself Jewish, as something rather suspect. I cannot love myself or anything which I know is part and parcel of my own person. To clarify this, let me tell you of a conversation I had in Israel with a prominent political personality who was defending the – in my opinion disastrous –-- non-separation of religion and state in Israel. What [ she ] said --– I am not sure of the exact words any more – ran something like this: ‘You will understand that, as a socialist, I, of course, do not believe in God; I believe in the Jewish people.’ I found this a shocking statement and, being too shocked, I did not reply at the time. But I could have answered: the greatness of this people was once that it believed in God, and believed in Him in such a way that its trust and love towards Him was greater than its fear. And now this people believes only in itself ? What good can come out of that ? Well, in this sense I do not ‘love’ the Jews, nor do I ‘believe’ in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument.
Also... from the same publication, an amusing glance at feel-good morality when it contemplates atrocity by persons it disapproves of, Effing the Ineffable.
Of course, the proponents of the antithetical beerier type of incontinent love of folk are the most apt to promote sacrifice for the religious object of love; group, gods, or even person --- carefully ignoring the fact that no sacrifice except one's individual own can have the faintest value howsoever that value is defined... Only an Imbecile God --- perhaps Azathoth --- can prize the stench of some burnt offering.
'We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war'.
Hughes Merle -- Jephtha's Daughter *
Read the rest of this entry »
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, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, The Building Blocks of Democracy
The Rightosphere, painstaking as ever to find more stuff to feel delicious frissons of outrage about, and more reasons to be unnecessarily mean to muslims, has got excited over The Case of The Muslim Who Barked In The Night. Basically, a poor feeble-minded member of that faith, member of Dundee City Council and member of the Tayside Police Board, complained that this advert, featuring Rebel, was offensive to some of his sad community.
Now, the Tayside Police had a number of options here, all of which could be combined with just telling him that his advice had been noted and would treated with the importance it deserved:
1/ Contact any christian european/american member of Tehran's City Council, and ask him/her to protest about the depraved muslim drive to destroy pet dogs in Iran, especially in that city.
2/ Set up an urgent Education Policy to explain to the muslim community the especial place dogs have in British and european culture, especially black dogs ( whom Mohammed considered devils --- he doesn't seem to have been entirely sane all the time; still, he liked cats ) who haunt various parts of England, the continent, and even some parts of America, bringing rather more happiness and delight than any elected member of local government ever has, even if they bring instant doom and destruction. Being torn by the hounds of Arawn, The Lord of Winter, is slightly less painful than being torn apart by the self-righteous maenads of political correctness if only because the hounds are less stupid and would not accompany the savagery with boring one with the moral reasoning for the action at the same time.
3/ Engage in a wild hunt of local muslims with vicious packs of rabidly foaming dogs of all shapes and sizes.
4/ Preferably: tell him to go chase his tail around and around until he collapses in a heap.
Naturally, police being wimps, they apologised. Still, who cares ? Such minor things can be ignored until the future culture-clash goes into armed mode...
Slightly more annoying, one can notice that the 0845 prefix to the number means that it is charged at a higher rate which goes back to the called organisation. It now costs money to call the cops ? Not only are they useless, but they charge you for it...
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at 7:00 am (Animals
, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
"What is life ? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."Crowfoot
By now Americans via Roosevelt II are blamed for both Pearl Habor and Jap internment camps as if horrors right up at the top of the genocide contest; Pilgrim Fathers and white invaders of America are blamed for being immigrants [ in order to defend further unfettered life-changing immigration into the USA now, in a retarded mislogic ] and their successors blamed for having an empire now --- economic and military ruling through satrapies rather than direct rule.
Now, these are some people I severely despise: liberal, and puritan, and homo americanus alike, but... they were doing what they would do; they were acting fairly correctly: you have to do various unpleasant things in war; all land grabbing is founded on Wordsworth's Good Old Rule * -- we are all the sons of slaughter --- and at certain stages in a country's life it will become an empire --- if it is lucky...
FDR's possible sin over allegedly permitting Pearl Harbor was venial compared to the Japanese assaults on humanity during WWII ( I am not blaming the Japanese for making war here ), although incorrect as regards care for his own people: yet even there, after all, a president does not have the mutual obligation of a King to his subjects and should not be held to any high account; as for the nisei camps, they were paralleled by the nazi internment of jewish people as potential traitors ( and in that case worse as an economic slave-force ), but not comparable, although again the same republican defence can be made of the fuhrer: basically, there is no way Americans then could have been expected not to consider that Japanese-Americans would not all automatically refrain from acts meant to aid Japan; if the Americans committed their fair share of war-crimes as usual, they weren't as unpleasant occupiers as were the Japanese Imperial Army, and an easily panicked populace naturally did not want to experience the latter --- a repeat of Nanking in San Francisco or Los Angeles seemed a possibility at the time. Maybe the taking of the continent, and relentless expansion of population by the invaders, was rough on American Indians, but face it: they would not be any better off if the Japanese had invaded in the 16th century instead. And had during the first two centuries of post-columbian America the natives driven the invaders back into the sea they certainly would not be now bemoaning their ancestors' past brutalities and indulging in despicable self-guilt.
One of the troubles with the previous native occupation of the land is that the Native American Indian was an appallingly bad custodian of Mother Earth and had no respect for Nature. He destroyed animal life wantonly and without care for any future: wiping out entire species as efficiently as modern man manages with the far superior tools we have presently **, and set forests ablaze, incinerating the inhabitants, merely to attract meat-bearing animals to the ashy remainder. From the destruction of birds and animals in pre-California researched by Jack M. Broughton, "Depending on when and where you look back in time, native peoples were either living in harmony with nature or eating their way through a vast array of large-sized, attractive prey species." Early California: A Killing Field, to modern-day reservations with uncontrolled hunting rights, "Over the past 25 years Shoshones and Arapahoes, equipped with snowmobiles, ATV's and high-powered rifles, have virtually wiped out elk, deer, moose and bighorns on the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Repeated motions for modest self-regulation emanating from within the reservation have been defeated by vote of the tribal leaders.... [I]n one confined area 31 dead elk were found. In another, a retired Indian game warden mowed down an entire herd of 14. Meat piled up at local dumps. Antlers were exported to the Orient where antlers and horns are ground to a power and hawked as an aphrodisiac." Dances with Myths, the record of wasteful slaughter is as grim as Chinese bodycounts.
The whites finished the job of destroying the buffalo of course --- ironically in order as primary purpose to destroy the life and freedoms of the Indians who had massacred the buffalo so much --- yet if the mass executions by rifle were hideous, the previous methods were still more vile; particularly the Bison Jumps scattered throughout the continent. A favorite buffalo hunting technique was to stampede huge herds of them over cliffs. Many such Buffalo jump sites have been found in the West, some with remains of as many as 300,000 buffalo. The technique is detailed here.
From wiki, here is one little fellow galloping through the rare art of Eadweard Muybridge: watch him go !
Hungarian Bison mixing it [ or perhaps Aurochs ? ]
* "The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind !
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind."
"For why ? --- because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take, who have the power,
And they should keep who can."
William Wordsworth : Rob Roy's Grave
** Investigations into the fossil record and carbon dating techniques have shown that 80% of the North American animal population disappeared within 1000 years of the arrival of man.
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It is well that anti-racialists are so terrible, otherwise we might grow too fond of anti-racialism… However, the converse also applies, and the rancid rancour of those who incontinently attempt universal love mixed with private self-loathing is well-matched with the dubious pretensions of those who proclaim the excellence of their own race. Whenever a superlative standard such as ‘best’, or ‘better’ is involved the question, ‘better for what ?’ has to come into play… If not especially fond of races not my own this has to be balanced by the fact that I’m not massively in love with my own people, nor even with other related peoples whom I slightly prefer — the major faults of any race are so amazingly obvious.
In general, people prefer for all sorts of reasons, but mostly those of safety, to live in at least vaguely homogeneous neighbourhoods; the downside to that is a certain continuous increase in dullness. Be it understood that in this instance I am certainly not criticizing the area involved, and I’m sure that it has many splendid qualities which shall attract others, and their lives are as happy as can be expected in a vail of tears — although the predominant mix of Norwegian, Swede and German may induce that overpowering foreboding gloom characteristic of refined Nordics — just that it seems so depressingly wholesome, allied to the essential existentialism of American life, that some ( pointless ) rebellion might seem the only proper response…
Anyway, I found this in a eBay advertisement for one of those oddly flimsy looking American dwellings. It would be unfair to link to it, not merely because such things are even more transient than the lives of men, but because the seller had no wish nor notion of giving offence. It included details from the town’s website…
The residents and city officials of Maddock would like to extend an open invitation to come visit the peaceful, rural community of Maddock and experience small town hospitality at its finest. Maddock is rural North Dakota
* Rural North Dakota, where you still find children playing carefree outside and people that greet each other as they walk down the street
* Rural North Dakota, where there is plenty of fresh clean air and little or no crime.
* Rural North Dakota, where the pace of life is slower and the concept of helping one another still exists.
* Rural North Dakota, where a short drive in the county finds more wildlife, than oncoming traffic.
* Rural North Dakota, where your child doesn’t know everyone in their class…they know everyone in the school.
* Rural North Dakota, Where the loudest noise heard at night is the 10 o’clock whistle.
* Rural North Dakota, where the American dream of owning a home is still affordable.
What sets Maddock apart from rural North Dakota? Plenty!! In Maddock you will find all the benefits of rural North Dakota plus: beautiful parks, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, a swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, bowling lanes, and an internet café. Maddock is home to a 29,000 square foot event center, a 12,000 square foot state of the art business and technology center, and a multi-function community center.
Maddock has an active business district, boosting more businesses than many communities two or three times our size. We are proud to have Summers Manufacturing, an internationally know farm implement manufacturer, call Maddock home.
Is your passion outdoor recreation? The Maddock area is in the middle of the Central North American Flyway offering some of the best goose and duck hunting found. Each year millions of ducks and geese migrate through our area creating fantastic outings for the avid hunter. Maddock is in the heart of Benson County which offers some of North Dakota’s finest fishing for anglers. Like the ducks and geese, sportsman from around the nation migrate to our area each fall to experience not only our abundant hunting and fishing, but our outstanding hospitality and our fantastic way of life. Young or old, novice or pro, our area will prove to be more than just another trip, it will be an experience long remembered!
then, after the words Rural North Dakota have been so seared into the mind forever more, gave rather more gratuitous information that I found amusing:
Races in Maddock:
* White Non-Hispanic (99.4%)
Maddock, North Dakota is virtually made up of 100% Caucasian Race.
Statistically only 1 person in the entire city is not American or of European Descent.
First ancestries reported:
* Norwegian: 277
* German: 111
* Swedish: 12
* Other groups: 12
* Dutch: 11
* French (except Basque): 11
* Scottish: 11
* Scandinavian: 5
* English: 4
* Irish: 4
* United States or American: 4
* Danish: 3
* Slovene: 2
* Polish: 1
It is both poignant and puzzling to ponder on the statistical single person not of American nor European descent; but it’s weird to consider that Americans still base their advertisements on the promise of racial exclusion much as in Sinclair Lewis’s day. I can’t really give even the tiniest of flying fucks — less than the most fleeting fucks upon the wing of the two tiniest flying ducks winging away from Maddock in the autumn twilight if they have the faintest sense — about laughable issues as supposed equality or racial sensitivity which obsess petty minds; but it seems so obnoxiously damn ill-bred…
I had a choice here for the illustration: one for the holocaust of shot birds; and one for the ethnic make-up ( which is, I repeat, in no way a bad thing per se: but, uh, dull ), so here are both:
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(Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, The Building Blocks of Democracy
It is an axiom that every American born has a chance of becoming president, yet few avail themselves of that option. Such a fairytale there to sooth the slumbering never to be acknowledged fact that 99.9% of them are subjugated by a --- semi --- elected ruling class and have no chance whatsoever of effecting change within the system --- which is no doubt all for the best --- takes no account of the fact that the odds are of course far lesser than any state lottery, which are usually stupendously unlikely. There are over 300 million Americans at present, barring any major event taking place overnight; there will be around 400 - 440 million in 2050 --- although this is probably an underestimate if the present rate of legal immigration of 1 million a year was raised to to 3 or 5 million, as this 2006 legislation indicated, and illegal immigration rose dramatically for some reason [ such as some countries becoming less endurable through nature or war ]. There is the natural probability that these masses will reduce the numbers through attrition: over-crowding will increase the national propensity of Americans to kill each other at random. Anyhow, whilst strictly disinclined to search for the answer, even if it is known, I'll assume that the total number of citizens who lived during the 20th century was, say, 400 million [ 76 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000 --- during which time millions died and were replaced ]. During that century, 1901 to 2001, there were 18 presidents.
Even odder than that fact, from a european view, is the fact that out of all those millions, most admittedly disbarred by reasons of eligibility, disinclination, sex, mental impairment etc., even the early preliminary hat-throwing stages of a presidential race only appear to encompass around twenty to fifty persons seriously considered; and after the winnowing out by press and parties, the fix is in place and the permissible candidates are ready to run. Which means only around four Americans are ever papabile out of 300 million people. It might be slightly preferable if the final ballot was to be of a choice of twenty persons with some kind of transferable vote system to knock them down till there's just one man standing. This wouldn't make the system legitimate of course, but then no system which includes people voting can confer legitimacy on any result.
As a graceful tribute to that dead-eyed political process here are some songs for each participant. Unattributed generic Corries-type band for the first, but I couldn't find the inimitable original from Francie & Josie; Alice Blue Gown no doubt since the song was inspired by the daughter of another great family of presidential nepotists --- although scarcely so semi-insanely so as poor old Hil with her almost unique sense of unaccountable entitlement; Red Yo-Yo as pace McCain, Iran will resemble how we kept the Gorbals over here [ a ben trovato tale goes of after perhaps the Somme or Ypres an over-excitable senior staff officer burst into tears when taken to view the mud, deeper mud than anyone can really imagine, and exclaimed "My God, did we send men to die in that ?!" --- Yes we did sir, and nor all your tears shall wash out a word of it... Still, another point is that even in piping days of peace we really didn't provide very well for our poor... 'Did we keep people in places like these ?' Matt McGinn was a commie, and looking at Glasgow then, one can understand why. Naturally, having faith in the working-class is as vulgar and debased as faith in an aristocracy, or faith in wealthy businessmen, yet people had to believe in something I guess. ]
Barack Unknown -- O' Ye Cannie Shove Yer Grannie Aff The Bus
Hillary Jessie Broughton -- Alice Blue Gown
John Matt McGinn -- Red Yo-Yo
Americans... Alison Krauss & Robert Plant -- Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
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at 3:35 pm (Correctitude
, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
As two world-outlooks, two modes of blood-flow in the veins and of thought in the daily being and doing, are interwoven, there arise in the end ( in every Culture ) two sorts of moral, of which each looks down upon the other --- namely, noble custom, and priestly askesis, reciprocally censured as worldly and as servile. It has been shown already how the one proceeds from the castle and the other from the cloister and the minster, the one from full being in the flood of History and the other, aloof therefrom, out of pure waking-consciousness in the ambiance of a God-pervaded nature. The force with which these primary impressions act upon men is something that later periods will be unable even to imagine. The secular and the spiritual class-feeling are starting on their upward career, and cutting out for themselves an ethical class-ideal which is accessible only to the right people, and even to them only by way of long and strict schooling. The great being-stream feels itself as a unit as against the residue of dull, pulseless, and aimless blood. The great mind-community knows itself as a unit as against the residue of uninitiated. These units are the band of heroes and the community of saints.
It will always remain the great merit of Nietzsche that he was the first to recognize the dual nature of all moral. His designations of "master-" and "slave-" moral were inexact, and his presentation of "Christianity" placed it much too definitely on the one side of the dividing line, but at the basis of all his opinions this lies strong and clear, that good and bad are aristocratic, and good and evil priestly, distinctions. Good and bad, which are Totemistic distinctions among primitive groups of men and tribes, describe, not dispositions, but men, and describe them comprehensively in respect of their living-being. The good are the powerful, the rich, the fortunate. Good means strong, brave, thoroughbred, in the idiom of every Springtime. Bad, cheap, wretched, common, in the original sense, are the powerless, propertyless, unfortunate, cowardly, negligible --- the "sons of nobody" as ancient Egypt said. Good and evil, Taboo concepts, assign value to a man according to his perceptions and reason --- that is, his waking disposition and his conscious actions. To offend against love-ethic in the race sense is ungentle, to sin against the Church's love-command is wicked. The noble habit is the perfectly unconscious result of a long and continuous training. It is learned in intercourse and not from books. It is a felt rhythm, and not a notion. But the other moral is enunciated, ordered on the basis of cause and consequence, and therefore learnable and expressive of a conviction.
The one is historical through and through, and recognizes rank-distinctions and privileges as actual and axiomatic. Honour is always class-honour --- there is no such thing as an "honour of humanity." The duel is not an obligation of unfree persons. Every man, be he Bedouin or Samurai or Corsican, peasant or workman, judge or bandit, has his own binding notions of honour, loyalty, courage, revenge, that do not apply to other kinds of life. Every life has custom-ethic --- it is unthinkable without it. Children have it already in their play; they know at once, of themselves, what is fitting. No one has laid down these rules, but they exist. They arise, quite unconsciously, out of the "we" that has formed itself out of the uniform pulse of the group. Here, too, each being is "in form." Every crowd that, under one or another stimulus, has collected in the street has for the moment its own ethic, and anyone who does not absorb it and stand for it as self-evident --- to say "follow it" would presume more rationality in the action than there is --- is a poor, mean creature, an outsider. Uneducated people and children possess an astonishingly fine reactivity to this. Children, however, are also required to learn the Catechism, and in it they hear about the good and evil that are laid down and are any thing rather than self-evident. Custom-ethic is not that which is true, but that which is there; it is a thing of birth and growth, feeling and organic logic. Moral, in contrast to this, is never actuality ( for, if it were, all the world would be saintly ), but an eternal demand hanging over the consciousness and, ex hypothesi, over that of all men alike, irrespective of all differences of actual life and history. And, therefore, all moral is negative and all custom-ethic affirmative. In the latter "devoid of honour" is the worst, in the former "devoid of sin" is the highest, that can be said of anyone.
The basic concept of all living custom-ethic is honour. Everything else --- loyalty, modesty, bravery, chivalry, self-control, resolution is comprised in it. And honour is a matter of the blood and not of the reason. One does not reflect on a point of honour --- that is already dishonour. To lose honour means to be annulled so far as Life and Time and History are concerned. The honour of one's class, one's family, of man and woman, of one's people and one's country, the honour of peasant and soldier and even bandit honour means that the life in a person is something that has worth, historical dignity, delicacy, nobility. It belongs to directional Time, as sin belongs to timeless Space. To have honour in one's body means about the same as to have race. The opposite sort are the Thersites-natures, the mud-souled, the riff-raff, the "kick-me-but-let-me-live's." To submit to insult, to forget a humiliation, to quail before an enemy --- all these are signs of a life become worthless and superfluous. But this is not at all the same thing as priestly moral, for that moral does not cleave to life at any cost of degradation, but rather rejects and abstains from life as such, and therefore incidentally from honour. As has been said already, every moral action is, at the very bottom, a piece of askesis and a killing of being. And eo ipso it stands outside the field of life and the world of history.
Oswald Spengler : The Decline of the West [ Vol II, Chap. 10 ]
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As a preliminary to the discussion of the problem that concerns the historian, it will possibly serve a purpose to put forward certain general theses relating to the administration of moral judgments in the world at large. Such theses will help to define a mode of approach to this subject and will provide a framework for the argument that is to follow. If they give offence, however, they can be rendered otherwise harmless by the addition of the proviso that even if they fail to secure acceptance — even if a great wind comes to blow them all off the face of the earth — still, so far as I can see, this fact ought not to weaken the main argument which follows them, and to which they serve as a background.
The first point, then, is the belief that to some degree men are responsible for themselves and for their actions ; but that all men are imperfect and that human suffering is greatly increased and multiplied by this general fact.
The second is the thesis that the difference between the wickedness and responsibility of one man and those of another, in the general world of nature ( where it must be recognised that good fortune or adverse conditions play a great but still unmeasured part in the development of human beings ), is so idle a question and so nice a point that it is not worth the wear of our fine intellects to discuss it in any imaginable conjuncture of life or history. Indeed, since human responsibility is so subtle a substance, presenting itself with vividness inside me, but not open to my vision at all inside another man — in other words, since I know that I could have done better than I did do while I can never tell what allowances I ought to make for other people — it is impossible to think one man essentially more wicked than another save as one might say: “All men are sinners and I the chief of them”. It follows from this that moral judgments of actual people cannot defensibly or usefully exist in concrete cases save in the form of self-judgments.
Thirdly, though I, looking to the immediate future, must regard myself as a responsible person who may do things that are moral and immoral, and may follow or betray a law which is written on my conscience or a law that I have imposed upon myself; yet in regard to other people ( who may think earnestly and differ from me about the law itself ) and in regard to other people’s actions once they are done ( so that I cannot now prevent them ), the passing of what purports to be a moral judgment — particularly a judgment which amounts to the assertion that they are worse men than I am — is not merely irrelevant, but actually immoral and harmful, not merely dangerous to my soul but unfitted for producing improvement in human nature anywhere.
Fourthly, granted that the State is under the necessity of punishing crimes, and granted that in the case of crime the offence is not merely technical but has moral implications (though sometimes the implications are not so assured or so direct as the world would like to believe), still we are not justified in expanding a legal verdict into a final judgment on a personality, or in assuming that because our own sins do not happen to have been also technical offences they are less morally blameworthy. If a man is sent to gaol, in fact, both the judge and the gaoler are to be interpreted as saying to him : “Look here, old sport, we know that you may be a better man than we are, but since we can’t tell what to do in order to save society, we have to resort to force”. If it is necessary to hang murderers, we must be sure that we are doing it because of a necessity and not out of moral indignation. And when we have done it we shall do well to reflect sadly on the bitterness of the necessity, and say : “There, but for the grace of God, go I”.
Fifthly, since moral indignation corrupts the agent who possesses it and is not calculated to reform the man who is the object of it, the demand for it — in the politician and in the historian for example — is really a .demand for an illegitimate form of power. The attachment to it is based on its efficacy as a tactical weapon, its ability to rouse irrational fervour and extraordinary malevolence against some enemy. As in such cases its efficacy is not lessened even when it is used unfairly and unscrupulously against those who have done no great harm, the argument for the use of this weapon is valid also for the unscrupulous use of it. The passage from the one to the other is indeed one of the most regular conjuring-tricks in the world.
Finally — so far as these statements of principle are concerned — I should say that, though I assume there are limits, I do not know where to place the limits to the operation of the truth that we condemn where we do not understand. This is tantamount to the assertion that the kind of ethical judgments which historians like Lord Acton have been so anxious to achieve are possible only to God.
Moral Judgements in History
If our Western civilisation were to collapse even more completely than it has done, and I were asked to say upon which of the sins of the world the judgment of God had come in so signal a manner, I should specify, as the most general of existing evils and the most terrifying in its results, human presumption and particularly intellectual arrogance. There is good reason for believing that none of the fields of specialised knowledge is exempt from this fault; and I know of no miracle in the structure of the universe that should make me think even archbishops free of it. But it is the besetting disease of historians, and the effect of an historical education seems very often actually to encourage the evil. The mind sweeps like the mind of God over centuries and continents, churches and cities, Shakespeares and Aristotles, curtly putting everything in its place. Any schoolboy thinks that he can show that Napoleon was foolish as a statesman, and I have seen Bismarck condemned as a mere simpleton in diplomacy by undergraduates who would not have had sufficient diplomacy to wheedle sixpence out of a college porter. I do not know if there is any other field of knowledge which suffers so badly as history from the sheer blind repetitions that occur year after year, and from book to book — theses and statements repeated sometimes out of their proper context, and even sometimes when they have not been correctly understood; and very supple and delicate ones turned by sheer repetition and rigidity of mind into hard dogmatic formulas. I have seen historians condemn the Middle Ages for their blindness in quoting and requoting earlier authorities and so perpetuating an original error; when it was in fact these self-same historians who were doing just that very thing — repeating judgments at second hand — in the very act of stating that particular case. I do not personally feel that in modern times technical history, in spite of all the skill that has gone to making of it, has ever been taken up by a mind that I should call Shakespearean in its depth and scope, save possibly in the remarkable case of Ranke. I think compared with the novelists, the historians have been coarse-fingered and too lacking in subtlety in handling of human nature; so that, if he had only novelists and the historians to judge from, a visitor from another planet would think that they were talking at two different kinds of substance.
The Dangers of History
Herbert Butterfield : History & Human Relations
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, Manners not Morals
, Other Writ
The centralisation of the directing organs of royal government and their permanent establishment in what was swiftly becoming the greatest city in France strengthened the administration and gave it cohesion, so that its different sections were able to agree on joint policy and then move to common action, pool their resources, and undertake mutual aid, and draw all the important business of state into their hands. In these circumstances the ordinary routine of administration, centred on Paris, was bound to work towards the unification of France under the monarchy. But the king’s idea of political unity was not that of his officials. He wished to bind his realm together with feudal ties alone, and saw only good in the existence of the great fiefs, provided that their lords scrupulously performed their feudal services and honoured their feudal obligations. His officials wanted a single authority to rule in the land unchallenged, the authority which the king had delegated to them. Their devotion to the royal power was almost mystical in its intensity, and they regarded any limitation placed on it as an anomaly which it was their duty to extirpate. This attitude became much more pronounced when their ranks were swollen by new colleagues recruited from the dynasty’s newly acquired southern territories, where the Roman Law idea of the prince whose will alone is law reigned supreme.
They believed that the king should be absolute master in his kingdom, the sole fountainhead of legislation and justice, untrammelled in his control of the crown’s financial and military resources. The means they used to these ends were far from characteristic of their royal masters. Although they were capable of dying heroically on the field of battle, like Pierre Flote at Courtrai, they were fundamentally bureaucratic, and seized on law as their indispensable weapon. They developed an insatiable curiosity to discover the origins of any rights which conflicted with those of the king and placed checks on his power. This curiosity had important consequences in a society the basis of which was the usurpation of regalian rights. The royal officials were hostile to every method of invoking force to settle a dispute in law, and sought to abolish private war and the judicial duel. Nor would they admit any right to be established until its origin had been explained and its history reconstructed for them. In the course of this kind of historical research, they plunged into endless discussions of the titles submitted to them, and frequently revealed that their good faith was only relative, subjecting documents put in evidence against them to pitiless scrutiny, but resting content with dubious proofs of the validity of the rights they claimed for the crown.
It is not surprising that the royal officials incurred unpopularity in their own day and have not escaped the censure of modern historians. Their challenge to the status quo led them to be taken for revolutionaries, though they imagined their goal to be the restoration of the conditions of a remote past. Their aversion to the use of force and preference for the processes of law won them the reputation of being unscrupulous and tortuous. But it is pointless for the historian to subject them to moral judgments. What matters is their achievement, and that was considerable.
Robert Fawtier : The Capetian Kings of France
at 7:10 am (Correctitude
, High Germany
, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
, To Know Know Know Him
Jamie stifled his yawns politely at precisely three minute intervals during the compulsory talk on blood donation, his form-teacher did know that none of his family were favourers of this quaint practice, since they had odd old-fashioned views not unlike Jehovah’s Witnesses on hygiene; to her relief Jamie did not raise these views in opposition to the speaker’s sermonising, but actually it might have been nicer if he had. Instead he obligingly recalled that: “one of my first cousins twice removed had his blood-group tattooed under his armpit. It must have hurt like b… awfully.” The speaker beamed uncertainly, and, before vaguely dragging from some recess of memory in her dim little mind what this signified, remarked that this seemed rather excessively prudential, but no doubt could have saved his life. His teacher goggled palely as he replied sadly that no, he had stepped on a ‘S’ land-mine which had blown both legs off. The speaker then remembered.
He, in his playing, generally rather expected his classmates not to pick up all his references, which made some of it more of a game between he and whichever teacher, the main enemy, usually to his private appreciation mostly. But they did this, and added it as ammunition for making his life hell, although as he expected, none knew the difference between a first cousin twice removed and a third cousin: whilst he could have claimed a diminution on the grounds that as far as he knew — and his relatives in Germany may have been only as truthful as most there feel necessary in discretion — it was Waffen rather than Totenkopf, but to him that actually wasn’t an excuse, they were all as potentially unpleasant bastards as any group of murderers. He couldn’t see why it was worse than being related to the other untold millions of traitors though: few people in these islands would not have had a distant connection to some scum who fought for or supported parliament or Cromwell among the 6 million living then: and nothing could be as bad as that.
This largemindedness was occasionally irksome for his family since this cheerful lack of reticence could fail to emphasize their absolute normality; as when during a garden party Jamie chatted amiably on not only two great-uncles who had fond memories of Poland, one of their cousins who died in Crete, and someone who deserted in Greece to start a large family, but started recalling that a more distant relative drowned as a frogman in Italy.
‘Shut up’ screamed his mother, who didn’t want people to think her entire blood relatives formed the bulk of the German Armed Forces during the last unpleasantness.
To be fair though, those who had, were generous in their reminiscence to their kleiner englischer Teufel whenever he was visiting in the Fatherland. He never judged; and was politer than their own younger generation. Who judged a great deal.
Mrs. Beeston listened disfavouringly to the teacher’s embittered commentary in the common-room: “Personally, I always thought that little… that his blood would poison a rattle-snake.” was her comment. Literally true, but this was the nearest she ever came to making a joke, one not so anodyne as to be acceptable at a party conference, and they gazed approving of her levity.
Anyway… I can’t conceive of allowing even a blood transfusion, let alone having the more repulsive internal parts of some random stranger inserted. Chacun a son goût, of course, but it seems to be more fitted for those without a high sense of personal daintiness and those who prefer dishonour over death. A recent post in the splendidly named blog mediocracy — “‘mediocracy’ is a condition in which culture is subordinated to pseudo-egalitarian ideology” — points out one aspect of this vampiracy too little spoken about:
Do think about the fine print when you consider whether to sign up/out/whatever to organ donation.
How dead are organ donors?
Organs for transplant have to be taken from still-living bodies, bodies still perfused by their naturally beating hearts, warm and so reactive that muscle-paralysing drugs may have to be given to facilitate the surgery.
Their owners will have been certified “dead” on the controversial basis of bedside brain-stem testing, a procedure not sufficiently stringent to exclude some persisting brain-stem function and which includes no test for what may be abundant life elsewhere in the brain.
Read the rest of the post here