Food Men Chew

Vampire Bat feeding, credit Wikipedia

Food Men Chew

COVID – Ilana fingers the Chinese people

China’s plague-delivery pedigree is solid. Courtesy of China, the West got the H2N2 virus in 1957 and the H3N2 virus in 1968. Granted, the Chinese viral supply chain was broken with H1N1 flu; it came from Mexico. But, with the bird flu, SARS and SARS-Cov-2, China has reestablished its disease-delivery credentials. But going by the COVID culpability theories advanced by conservatives, the steady stream of “China plagues,” in Trump’s words, has had nothing to do with the noble Chinese people. Blame the ignoble Chinese Community Party for all these lethal, little RNA strands unleashed on the world. Some have even taken to calling SARS-CoV-2 “the CCP virus.”

As this Disneyfied neoconservative narrative goes, the Chinese were just hanging, being the freedom-loving, civilized sorts that they are; going about the business of making the world a better place, when, lo and behold, their scheming, communistic government sprung the COVID on them—and the world. Without fail, American pundits and pols, conservatives, in particular, apply to China the same theories of culpability that have undergirded America’s invasions of the illiberal people of the Middle East. The bifurcation globalists love is that of the noble Chinese people against the ignoble Chinese government. It’s the Chinese government, not the people. Liberate the Chinese and they’ll show their Jeffersonian propensity for enlightened self-interest, not to mention a palate for a cuisine less cruel. Continue reading

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Architect of Final Victory

Viscount Haldane, credit Wikipedia

Architect of Final Victory

HALDANE, THE FORGOTTEN STATESMAN WHO SHAPED MODERN BRITAIN, by John Campbell, Hurst Publishers, ISBN 978-1-78738-311-1, £30, reviewed by ANGELA ELLIS-JONES

He has never featured in popular lists of Great Britons, and no statue of him has been erected. But Richard Burdon Haldane (1856-1928) could be considered, second only to Churchill, as the Greatest Briton of the C20th. John Campbell’s biography, many years in the making, does full justice to this impressive polymath and public servant.

The book is subtitled The Forgotten Statesman Who Shaped Modern Britain, and the prefatory quote reads: ‘si  monumentum requiris, circumscpice’. Haldane was the architect of the modern British state, and his work on educational institutions and scientific and medical research continues to benefit us. As someone who was twice unlucky in love, and needed only four hours sleep, he had more time than most to devote to his many interests, and accomplished the work of several lifetimes.

Haldane was born into an upper-middle class Scottish family. His maternal great-great uncles, Lords Eldon and Stowell, were both distinguished lawyers. Eldon was a predecessor of Haldane as Lord Chancellor. Other relatives were distinguished scientists. His brother, a physiologist, became a Companion of Honour – one of the few honours that Haldane himself was not awarded. Continue reading

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The West is Silenced

The late Andrew Breitbart, scourge of black demagogues, photo by Gage Skidmore, credit Wikipedia

The West is Silenced

by Ilana Mercer

How is it possible to critique Critical Race Theory yet fail to mention its salient characteristic—that it is exclusively anti-white? Easily, if one is a Beltway conservative. They complain a lot about this theory, yet are congenitally incapable of calling it what it is: anti-white agitprop.

One Federalist piece, “Critical Race Theory Is A Classic Communist Divide-And-Conquer Tactic,” brings it back to communism. Quite how this adds up is unclear, but the author decries a way of thinking that exploits the amorphous “tragedy of racial divisions in America.” In essence, some bad people with a communistic manual and mindset aren’t interested in healing us. Really? Did communism, an equal-opportunity oppressor, revolve around the exclusive demonizing of whites?

Western democracies are third-way political and economic systems. They are already heavily socialized. Once Western societies go from third way to third world, debate over communism will cease, for communism will have arrived. In other words, dissecting and decrying communism is an ideological luxury, the province of relatively wealthy, stable, developed democracies. Continue reading

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Lives of Others

John Lennon, 1969, credit Wikipedia

Lives of Others

by Bill Hartley

One of the earliest examples of biographical writing is Plutarch’s Lives. Someone said that when it came to the amount of space he devoted to his subjects, Plutarch got it about right. For example, in the Everyman edition, Julius Caesar is covered in just fifty pages.

Whereas Plutarch was economical, some individuals are considered prominent enough to be the subject of more than one biography. One of the first attempts at giving John Lennon serious biographical treatment was a two volume work published in 2008, John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman. It helps, I suppose, if a biographer is interested in or likes his subject, although doubts about objectivity can then arise. In fairness, volume one, The Beatles Years, is fine. However, in the second, as one reviewer pointed out, the author evidently felt the need to gain the approval of his widow and the book comes perilously close to hagiography. Claims about Lennon’s post Beatles musical output are made that don’t withstand scrutiny. The same reviewer noted that it was as if the book had been written with Lennon’s widow looking over the author’s shoulder. Continue reading

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Classicist and Secessionist

Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve

 Classicist and Secessionist

Darrell Sutton, on Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve

The critical study of classical texts in America does not have a long history. Its development is traceable to two or three individuals whose names are of varying degrees of importance. The foundations for such study, however, were first laid in preparatory schools and colleges, and anyone curious enough to search through the histories of colleges in America before and after the Revolutionary War will find that the charters of most of them were theologically orientated. The initial core of their curricula centred on the study of biblical and classical literatures, ancient Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Headmasters and professors of seminaries held that the mastery of ancient languages was essential for the preparation of the upper classes of the citizenry. Eventually, the mounting influence of German scientific research could not be resisted, as distinguished theologians and other academics appropriated German methods.

Classical studies in eighteenth century Great Britain were of a different kind. Culture controlled the limits of instruction. The era was one of versification and translation. The technique of rendering Greek and Latin words into English poetry and prose, and vice versa, was a manifestation of suitable classical training, and the basis of preferment for respectable men of letters.[i] Little modification to this practice occurred in the earlier periods of the nineteenth century when Cambridge and Oxford dominated. Change was slow in coming. In an introductory lecture, a distinguished Victorian literary critic, elected in 1885 to the Professorship of Poetry in the University of Oxford, endorsed the use of classical texts for appreciating the English classics:

“The thorough study of English literature, as such, — literature, I mean, as an art, indeed the finest of the fine arts, — is hopeless unless based on an equally thorough study of the literatures of Greece and Rome. When so based, adequate study will not be found exacting either of time or of labor. To know Shakespeare and Milton is the pleasant and crowning consummation of knowing Homer and Aeschylus, Catullus and Virgil; and upon no other terms can we obtain it.” F.T. Palgrave, ‘Province and Study of Poetry’.

Continue reading

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ENDNOTES, October 2020

Arturo Toscanini, credit Wikipedia

ENDNOTES, October 2020

 In this edition: Elgar in America, by Stuart Millson

The Worcestershire born and bred composer Edward Elgar first visited the United States in 1905, to great acclaim. Interestingly, the traditional performance of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ at many graduation ceremonies across America can be traced back to Elgar’s 1905 visit: the composer being presented with his honorary academic distinctions to the strains of his own famous patriotic tune. And the US – Elgar connection has never been severed – with all the great orchestras of that country having taken up and recorded that quintessential Englishman’s works, a passion that continues to this day with CDs of the Violin Concerto from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Enigma Variations from the Kansas City Symphony, and the Overture, Cockaigne, ‘In London Town’, from the Oregon Orchestra (to name but three recent issues).

However, the record label Somm has just unearthed a true treasury for Elgarians – and for enthusiasts of American orchestras. In vintage, but very well-preserved recorded sound, come three Elgar performances from American radio from the 1940s: Cockaigne and the Violin Concerto, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent in the February of 1945; and a thrilling rendition of the Introduction and Allegro for Strings from April, 1940, under the baton of a maestro more usually associated with Verdi or Puccini – Arturo Toscanini. Continue reading

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Populism versus Elitism

Populism versus Elitism

Mark Wegierski provides an historical perspective

It could be argued that liberalism, as a world-historical tendency, almost always begins among elites who have become corrupted by an easy life without duty and religion, and is imposed by force on a reluctant populace which clings to “the old verities”. The triumph of the Conservative Party in Britain after the extension of the franchise to the working-classes in 1870, in an “aristocratic-worker alliance” consciously promoted by Disraeli, is a good example of “the conservatism of the common person”, as against the liberal bourgeoisie. John Stuart Mill (who considered Conservatives “the Stupid Party”) urged voting weighted according to property precisely because he saw it as a guarantee of liberal ascendancy. Much of the nineteenth-century fear of “mob-rule” was based on a Whiggish-liberal fear of a conservative “mob”.

In relation to traditional aristocratic societies such as that of Sparta, there is something repellent in the concept of the suppression of the helots (with secret police to monitor them and a season of “lawful war” waged against them). Theoretically-speaking, the modern Sparta would give every citizen of the state a chance to compete under a strict discipline, and those who made it to the top would then become the unquestioned “masters”.

The Ançien Régime of pre-Revolutionary France was evidently rife with Enlightenment ideas, so that the Revolution, in some senses at least, represented a healthy upsurge of the people against a corrupt elite. Who could support a system that the ruling classes themselves did not believe in? It was arguably the skepticism and libertinism of the Enlightenment that engendered the greatest abuses of noble privilege. The Marquis de Sade, for one, was saved from almost certain execution for his sexual crimes because of his aristocratic status. Continue reading

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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Ilana Mercer, on the first Presidential Debate

The first presidential debate, on Tuesday 29, was the first bit of fun we’ve had in a while. True, President Donald J. Trump failed to air his theory about that “big fat shot in the ass” Joe Biden likely got from his handlers, to allow the Democratic candidate to nimbly prance onto the debate stage and, “for two hours,” be “better than ever before.”

But, like Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing legend, POTUS floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. A masculine force at full tilt, Mr. Trump provided plenty of energy and entertainment as he blattered Joe Biden, while being funny in the process.

“If you didn’t enjoy that debate, you are a soy-boy, beta cuck,” a fun-loving fella tweeted out. Soy-boy Shapiro was having none of the fun stuff. Glum and sanctimonious, Ben tweeted out: “I literally have no idea who won this debate. I just know we all lost.” Deep, man. The self-styled philosopher-king’s funereal pronouncement received the benefit of a Michelle Malkin reenacted. Don’t miss that hilarity, 3:40 minutes into her post-debate podcast. In letting out a collective primal groan that was music to MAGA ears, Ben-Shap was joined by every liberal and Never Trumpster on the left-wing game reserve. Continue reading

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Law and Order Unites Main Street

Antiques Loot and Get Shot. (Wikimedia Commons)

Law and Order Unites Main Street

by Ilana Mercer

The book In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action has become emblematic of the times we’re living through. Its “thesis” is that looting is “joyous” and can produce “community cohesion.” Shortly before the mad-hatter media became hip to the socially redeeming aspects of looting, I briefly blogged, on August 28, about In Defense of Looting not imagining it would become such a hit.

The reason for this early mention was the Economist. The news magazine -read religiously – had dignified author Vicky Osterweil’s argument for criminality, calling it “a live debate,” which is good English for, “We need to have a conversation.” These usually smart people wrote:

A few radical activists, including some associated with Black Lives Matter in Chicago, argued that looting can be legitimate. One woman, protesting at a police station that held arrested looters, called it a form of ‘reparations’ for white oppression.

Vicky Osterweil, author of In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, published this month, sets out the same argument at book length. Looting by the poor, black or otherwise repressed is a radical tactic that brings welcome change, in her view. Peaceful civil-rights demonstrations are too easily ignored, whereas ‘riots and looting are more effective at attracting attention to a cause.’ The shared experience of looting can also be ‘joyous,’ produce ‘community cohesion,’ count as a small act of ‘direct redistribution of wealth’ and, she reckons, does little harm to those who have insurance. She thinks it also leads people to question high levels of inequality. Continue reading

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Ganging up on London

Ganging up on London

Gangs of London, Sky Atlantic, series one, directed by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, 2020, reviewed by AR Kneen

‘You could build an empire; you could be a king’ – so Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney) informs his young son Sean during a ‘hands on tutorial’. Finn is trying to get Sean to shoot a man buried up to his neck in the ground. This formative episode haunted Sean throughout his life; perhaps not least because he could not pull the trigger, and instead his younger brother Billy shot the man dead. But if a king does not inherit his title, then he has to obtain it via conquest – conquest of a land and of its people.

Gangs of London tells the story of the various immigrant groups who have come to London and of their struggles to attain power, profit and glory – largely through the heroin trade. The plot revolves around the Wallace family – headed by Finn Wallace, who immigrated to London from Ireland, aged 12. A major part of Finn’s crime business is laundering the profits from heroin, through property and construction, for a number of drug lords. There are the Albanians, headed by ruthless and murdering Luan. Mosi leads the Nigerians who specialise in machete attacks. Asif is the Pakistani crime boss and heroin-importer, the father of Nasir – Nasir eventually becoming the Mayor of London, after his father bankrolls his political campaign. Lale is a female Kurdish PKK member who imports heroin and runs the Kurdish criminal gang. The elderly, reserved and bespectacled Li runs the Chinese. There are also the Welsh travellers, the leader of whom is Kinney Edwards, father of Danny, although the travellers are the one group not involved with the heroin trade. Continue reading

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