ET Weeps for the West


ET Weeps for the West

Ilana Mercer contemplates the events in Paris

In the West, crying and dying is framed as … winning.

Or so an Extra-Terrestrial from Deep Space would conclude, should he look down upon the landmasses that make up The West.

From his worldly perspective, ET will observe that when they are blown up by those in their midst, the West is wont to display mounds of fluffy objects, flowers and candles.

Somehow, this ritual is equated with resilience and triumph.

Could it be that this pasty-faced, tearful people believes that displays of inanimate objects that swell landfills will appease their gods? ET is still in the preliminary stages of his implacably objective inquiry.

To ET, these perennial, robotic, mass-mourning rituals performed after such strikes are an enigma. Any rational creature capable of distilling events to their bare-bones essence would concur.

The hobbled West, the poor French in particular, is grief stricken. One hundred and thirty compatriots were slaughtered in venues across Paris. The coordinated, Nov. 13 attacks were the handiwork of one Abdelhamid Abaaoud and his band of Islamic State sympathizers. One of the eight evildoers was a refugee, some were European nationals, all were recipients of Western largess.

The sanctimonious literati (not a very literate lot) call Abaaoud a local Belgian boy. They consider the enclaves of Muslims as French as the beret and the baguette.

ET’s enormous blue eyes well up when he listens to Brel’s achingly beautiful “Ne me Quitte Pas”, sung sublimely by Shirley Bassey. How great was the West, he murmurs.

The mastermind of the attacks across Paris was part of the young, restive population living on the outskirts of the great European cities and on the fringe of its society; often in housing projects and on welfare, a propensity that doesn’t detract from this group’s prized and protected position in the West.

ET wonders if westerners, a confused lot, believe the Angry elements in their midst are gods in need of appeasement. This might explain the furry and fiery offerings on the sidewalks. ET also notes that the Pale Faces have the same crippling reverence for blacks and Hispanics.

With his luminous finger—it works like the Microsoft Surface Tablet pen—ET scribbles the following furiously: “Are Western ‘leaders’ recruiting this incompatible cohort because they consider them, irrationally, to be gods?”

Fail to welcome the flooding of your communities with people of a divergent culture and sometimes of a belligerent faith—and the Cultural-Marxist foot soldiers will ruin you with the following labels:

  • Racist
  • Xenophobe
  • White supremacist
  • Extreme rightist
  • Mean
  • Ungenerous
  • Ignorant
  • Redneck

ET can’t fathom why such phrases and words send the earthlings into painful paroxysms. Nevertheless, an earthling would rather die than be called a racist by cultural Marxists.

From his seat in the heavens, ET can see that the soft nations are comprised of supremely kind people, verging on the sanctimonious. Africa, the Middle East, Near East, Far East: as do-gooders go, there is no match for the giving, gullible people of America, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. Wherever you look, the whites of the world are untiring in doing the world’s good works and saving the planet and its creatures.

Yet every other people aside whites is allowed to claim and keep its corner under the sun. Dare to suggest that China, India, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen, Japan, or South-Korea open the floodgates to immigrants who’ll disrupt the ancient rhythm of these countries—and you’ll get an earful. Yet this is what Anglo-Americans and Europeans are cheerily called on to do by a left-liberal establishment, which finds the exotic more sympathetic.

True, westerners have the best countries. But the verdant, lush, lovely West is the way it is due to Western civilization’s human capital. The core, founding populations in these countries once possessed the innate abilities and philosophical sensibilities to flourish mightily.

Yet despite The West’s generosity to The Rest, it’s people is the only people to be shamed, ostracized, threatened and maligned when talking about the lands of their forefathers, the beliefs of forebears, the faith and folklore of Founding Fathers. (Discussing quilting is OK, I suppose.)

Another of ET’s insights: no sooner than the pale people question the edicts enforced by hostile, hateful elites—that they must invite into their midst still more volatile, culturally divergent, sometimes dangerous aliens—leaders in politics, media, academia, and “think” tanks start going stir crazy about a thing called “Our Values.”

“We’re risking American dignity,” crowed the generic, telegenic, Mr. Muhamad, on Fox News’ Hannity.

In his formidable intelligence, ET asks: what is this collective “dignity” of which you speak, Mr. Muhamad? Who defines it? This communal “dignity” sounds suspiciously like a catechism sculpted by the State and its supporters, to bring about compliance.

ET is getting hot under the scales about this “dignity” thing: why don’t the foolish opinion formers, summoned by television program-makers to wield this weapon, ask the dead in Paris whether they’re glad to have died on the altar of this “dignity,” or would they rather have their full, young, promising lives back, instead?

A species of the “dignity” cudgel is the term “This is not who we are.”

Barack Hussein Obama has weaponized this collectivist phrase. A member of what ET terms The Merkel Media, a clone of the American MSM, waxed fat about her country’s “true values”: “An open, democratic society defined by pluralism, equal rights and freedom of expression, belief in the rule of law …”

If so “free” and orderly, ponders ET, why does Angela Merkel’s Germany jail a German grandma aged 87, for a thought crime (Holocaust denial), while allowing tens of thousands of strangers (“refugees”) to swarm over Germany, riot, litter and vandalize, as they go?

In his implacable objectivity, ET intends to further investigate. His soft, sweet heart pounds for the melancholy, mindless men and women of the West. His working hypothesis, so far, is this:

While the ordinary Pale People are the focus of disaffection, responsibility for the carnage lies with leaders in western lands. Westerners are kicked about and killed by Angry Others because their “leaders”—a likely low-intelligence, parasitical sample of humanity—has adopted a two-pronged strategy with which to beat the Pale People into submission and drain the life-blood from them.

The strategy represents two sides of the same neoconservative/left-liberal coin. It was first described, somewhat inartfully, on a website called WND:

On January 16, 2004, recalls ET, the “Return To Reason” cyber column encapsulated the scheme as, “Inviting an invasion by foreigners and instigating one against them.”

Later, on, another super-smart earthling, Steve Sailer “turned [that idea] into a neat slogan,” naming the policy, artfully, as “invade the world/invite the world.” This radical strategy permanently destabilizes the homeland and the world and gives western governments all the power, everywhere.

From his worldly perspective, ET gets the Big Picture: For whites, it’s war abroad and hell on earth at home.

Now he is crying. After all, ET almost died without his people.

ILANA Mercer
November 27, 2015

Ilana Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the U.S.  She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, “Return to Reason.” She is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Her latest book is “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Her website is  She blogs at   Follow her on Twitter: “Friend” her on Facebook:


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Only Conserve

Bob Barron, The Remains of the Day 1

Bob Barron, The Remains of the Day 1

Only Conserve

Peter King condemns change for change’s sake

One of Edmund Burke’s most famous sayings is that ‘A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation’. This is sometimes used to suggest that conservatives should not oppose change, but rather engage with it and that without change there is no possibility of survival. The result is that Burke can be, and is, used to justify political change, and to make it respectable for those conservatives, including many in the current ruling party, who like to label themselves as progressives.

It is no longer enough for a Conservative merely to want to conserve things. Conservatives have to be modern and progressive and seek to create a better society. Conservative politicians argue that they wish to help people achieve their aspirations, to reach higher and to make a better life for themselves. What they cannot countenance is that we might actually prefer where we are and only want to be left alone. We do not all want to be somewhere else and are very sceptical of the idea that there can be somewhere better.

It is worthwhile, then, putting Burke’s quote in its proper context. In doing so, we shall see that Burke is actually pointing toward a rather different conclusion that the ready grasping of change. He says:

A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation. Without such means it might even risk the loss of that part of the constitution which it wished the most religiously to preserve. The two principles of conservation and correction operated strongly at the two critical periods of the restoration and Revolution, when England found itself without a king. At both those periods the nation had lost the bond of union in their antient edifice; they did not, however, dissolve the whole fabric. On the contrary, in both cases they regenerated the deficient part of the old constitution through the parts which were not impaired. They kept the old parts exactly as they were, that the part recovered might be suited to them.[1]

Burke is writing here in response to a request for his views on the French Revolution and, in particular, whether he would agree with those in England who argued that the French were merely doing what the English had done in their Glorious Revolution of 1688, namely, overthrowing an illegitimate monarch. Burke’s correspondent was trying to enlist Burke’s support for the premise that the people had the right to rid themselves of a king they could no longer support. Burke, a noted supporter of the rights of the American colonists and the Indian native population, was presumed to stand behind the idea of universal rights.

But this was a complete misunderstanding of Burke’s position. For him, rights did not arrive out of some abstract principle but from particular historical circumstance. Burke argues that the revolution of 1688 did not involve the overthrow of a monarch so much as a situation where the English used their traditional and considered Constitution to correct a deficiency that had arisen through the abdication of an unsuitable monarch. The Constitution was not set aside, but rather was used and followed in order to repair the deficiency and so continue on much as it always had done. Precedent was used to determine a way forward that was consistent with the traditions and history of the country.

Accordingly, the decisions taken in 1688 were not acts of repudiation but rather acts of repair. The deficiency caused by the abdication of an unsuitable king was remedied using those parts of the Constitution that still held fast. The result was that the traditions of the country were strengthened rather than weakened. The Glorious Revolution was not a transgression but a clarification of already existing ideas.

Burke was here seeking to deflect the accusation that the French, with their capture and imprisonment of their monarch and usurpation of his authority, were in some manner mimicking the English. The French, however, had committed the treachery of innovation and operated according to the fiction that a monarch could be replaced if he no longer governed according to the will of the people. Burke showed that this was opposed to those actions of the English, who had merely sought to protect their constitution and ensure a recovery of tradition. They were not then properly speaking revolting but acting in a manner consistent with established ways.

We should note here that Burke talks only of conservation and correction and makes no mention of reform or improvement. Change is necessary not to modernise but to maintain and preserve what is ancient. Change is not something to relish but rather it is something to be managed. Change is something to endure or suffer as best we can. The best means to get through it is by using our working traditions to salve those parts that need repair. In other words, a society has to have the means to react to circumstance.

So, to follow Burke, we only change because it is necessary to do so, and we use what still works to remake what is deficient. We do not innovate or invent, and we do not rush our change as if it were an end in itself. What we have to do is to slow down, to ensure that we retain control. We change only to preserve what we already have, and we do so out of a recognition of its intrinsic value as the means by which we are what we are.

This puts a completely different complexion on the original quote. It is only by removing it from its proper context that anyone can use Burke’s statement to justify the changes we see going on around us. The fact that change is inevitable does not mean that we must encourage, promote or even accelerate it. Change is to be mitigated and we do this using the safety and security provided by known ways. So to claim that Burke is somehow on the side of progress is to seriously misunderstand one of the great masters of conservative thought.

[1] Burke, E 1999, Reflections on the Revolution in France, Liberty Fund pp., 108-9

PETER KING is Reader in Social Thought at De Montfort University. His most recent books are Keeping Things Close: An Essay on the Conservative Disposition and Here and Now: Some Thoughts on the World and How We Find it, both published by Arktos in 2015

See more of Bob Barron’s artwork at

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Critical Race Theory

Ilana Mercer

Ilana Mercer

Critical Race Theory

Ilana Mercer indicts an illiberal ideology

The spectre, on the nation’s campuses, of frightened, middle-aged white educators, mostly men, resigning in fear of a mob rising in rage against hurtful words and gestures—all constitutionally protected speech—is an organic extension of the American educational project, down to your child’s school.

If your kids are in the country’s educational gulag—primary, secondary or tertiary—however well they’re faring, they’re still being brainwashed and de-civilized. Most private schools are now bastions of progressivism, too. “Progressivism,” of course, does not imply progress.

The “justice” for which privileged youngsters on America’s coveted campuses are rioting—the right to silence and purge dissent and dissidents—they’ve imbibed in schools public and private, prior to arriving at the university.

On the University of Missouri campus, atavistic youth have joined against hurtful words, symbols and unsettling, unorthodox ideas, and for “safe spaces,” where these brave hearts can hideout from “racial microaggression.” Examples of “microaggression” are asking a black student for lessons in twerking, complimenting her weave, or simply being white.

But mostly, these minorities and their propagandized white patsies are campaigning for the unanimous acceptance of the following destructive, dangerous, often deadly, dictum:

“White racism is everywhere. White racism is permanent. White racism explains everything.”

The “systemic racism” meme you hear repeated by media, across the American campus, and preached from the White House is a function of “Critical Race Theory,” the sub-intelligent, purely theoretical, logically fallacious construct, now creeping into American schools at every level.

As detailed in WND colleague Colin Flaherty’s “Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry,” America’s children, black, white and brown, are being taught, starting at a tender age, about “racial hostility and resentment.”

This racial hostility is said to be endemic and always and everywhere a white on black affair.

Ask your state representative and your school board about Glenn Singleton and his Pacific Educational Group’s curriculum, “Courageous Conversations.” The poisonous program has been adopted by “hundreds of school districts across the US,” and foisted on millions of pupils, very possibly your child.

Beware; propaganda is process oriented, and an insidious process at that.

ITEM: Your cherub’s project receives an A. The teacher praises his work before the classroom. Yet, oddly, she will studiously conceal the child’s identity. This is in furtherance of the egalitarian idea, implemented, whereby no individual student is to be identified as having produced superior work to that of the collective.

“[U]nder the Singleton influence,” explains Flaherty, “the Seattle schools [have] defined individualism as a form of cultural racism and said that only whites can be racist.” Moreover, “emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology is a form of racism,” too.

The progressive educational project carries its anti-white bias into teaching about the Orient (East) versus the Occident (West).

ITEM: A Christian boy, placed in an academically advanced study program, is tasked with submitting a project about one of three ancient civilizations: Egypt, India and Rome.

Ancient Egypt, a big hit apparently, is spoken for. The teacher, generally “white, female, liberal,” advises the boy: “Choose India. Rome is … BORING.”

What is it that this colossal ignoramus has conveyed to her student with the words “Rome is boring”? Let us unpack the meta-message (with reference to

Christianity, first adopted and spread by the giant empire of Rome, is BORING.

  • Engineering, which the Romans perfected and excelled at like no other civilization, is BORING.
  • Related in tedium and utterly BORING: the ingenious construction of roads and aqueducts.
  • The Greeks, an inspiration for Rome—what little boy doesn’t love Leonidas of the “300”?—BORING.
  • The form of government known as “republicanism,” an inspiration for the American Founding Fathers: BORING.
  • The notion of equality under the law, invented by Rome and instantiated in Rome’s Twelve Tables, 449 years Before Christ: BORING.
  • The intrigues at Julius Caesar’s court: BORING.
  • The oh-so relevant lessons of Empire and government overreach: BORING.
  • Spartacus, gladiator and rebel leader against Rome: BORING.
  • “Gladiators, Chariots, and the Roman Games,” the riveting stuff of kiddie video games: BORING.
  • The fine art of argument and oratory: BORING.
  • Masters of literature and poetry: Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Livy: BORING!
  • The greatest romance in history, Antony and Cleopatra’s: not quite on the level of a Bollywood tryst.

Rome is the foundation of our Western civilization. The boorishness of telling a Christian young boy that Rome is boring conjures a skit from the “Life of Brian,” a parody by comedic genius John Cleese about Judea under Rome:

So, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asks Reg, a Jewish rebel against Rome. “The aqueduct,” one rebel ventures. Says a second, “Sanitation, remember what the city used to be like?” A third Jewish rebel praises the roads, a fourth, the public baths. Exacerbated by the growing list of Roman improvements, rebel-in-chief Reg responds: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Except that what is par for the course in your children’s’ schools is no laughing matter.

Certainly, parents ought to familiarise themselves with the politicised process of textbook and course-material selection.

In Washington State, the selection of textbooks is a highly centralized affair, arrogated to a “textbook commission,” which consists of five individuals, whose liberal, labor-union credentials are guaranteed to be unimpeachable.

Put it this way, textbook selection effected by the politburo of books will ensure that your child never ever comes away believing in the immutable truth, say, of the philosophy that animated the republic’s Founding Fathers. Or in the originalist intention of the US Constitution.

Yes, your kids will learn about the Constitution and about theories of constitutional interpretation. But so will they be inculcated in the unshaken view of originalism as a quaint notion reserved for oddballs (auntie Ilana’s preference for the Anti-Federalists is tantamount to a thought crime), and that “progress” demands that the Constitution be “updated.”

Your child will be taught that eternal verities—the rights of private property and self-defense—shift with the times, when in fact truth is not relative, but both knowable and immutable (also the theme of a magnificent encyclical penned by the late Pope John Paul II.

Fact: Yale and Mizzou students are oblivious to the cherished American tenets of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, diversity of thought, and most important: the magnificent life all people irrespective of skin color can labor to achieve in America.

These students didn’t arrive on campus with such illiberal biases. The rot didn’t start there and didn’t unfold overnight. The closing of the Millennial Minds at the University of Missouri and beyond, to yield such philosophically and ethically bereft boorishness, has happened over time. The seeds of the bizarre contagion spreading across American campuses were sown in your kids’ primary and secondary schools, public and private.

And as we speak…

Ilana Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the U.S.  She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, “Return to Reason.” She is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Her latest book is “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Her website is  She blogs at   Follow her on Twitter: “Friend” her on Facebook:


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Director, Brian Helgeland

Main cast:

Tom Hardy as Ronald “Ronnie” Kray and Reginald “Reggie” Kray
Emily Browning as Frances Shea
Christopher Eccleston as Leonard “Nipper” Read, the Detective Superintendent responsible for taking down the Krays
Taron Egerton as Edward “Mad Teddy” Smith – a psychopathic gay man rumoured to have had affairs with Ronnie
Paul Bettany as Charlie Richardson
David Thewlis as Leslie Payne, the Krays’ business manager
Chazz Palminteri as Angelo Bruno – the head of the Philadelphia crime family and friend and business associate of Ronnie and Reggie
Kevin McNally as Harold Wilson


This biopic of the East End gangsters of fifty years ago, the twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray, contains a great deal of technological wizardry and an unusual performance by Tom Hardy who plays both twins. The technology is so slick that it allows both Krays to appear on the screen at the same time without any sense that the scenes have been faked, even when the twins have an extended fight.

But technological marvels do not a good film make and Legend has severe weaknesses. Like many biopics it tries to cover too much ground, thinking that by ticking off a large number of incidents that this in itself produces the ideal telling of a life. That may have some merit in a written biography but it is death in a film. The Krays being violent to establish their claim to be hard men; Reggie having a brief spell in prison; the murders of George Cornell and Jack “the Hat” McVitie and a good deal more simply flash by. Little opportunity is given for character development or a proper examination of any part of the biographical subject’s life.

Hardy’s performance as the twins is remarkable as he invents two distinct personas for the Krays; an almost rational albeit violently amoral one for Reggie and a declamatory character with the hint of a lisp for Ronnie, who spends the film in a perpetual state of violence, both suppressed and realised, while hatching crackpot plans for the establishment of a Utopian community in Nigeria or making statements that discompose other characters such as his habit of announcing that he is homosexual. Hardy gives Ronnie a rich behavioural wardrobe of tics and bulging eyes that seem to be perpetually on the point of shooting out of their sockets. This creates a problem however because Hardy’s Ronnie is so off the wall that he comes across not as a real human being, however flawed, but as a monster created for theatrical effect.

Gangster films often have a cartoonish element because of the mixture of the normal with the abnormal. Characters engage in incongruously normal conversations about their wives and children during which they assume a moral position, then engage in some act of horrific violence. But such scenes do not dominate films and are often deliberately funny. The depiction of Ronnie in Legend is neither amusing nor truly threatening. It also detracts from Hardy’s depiction of Reggie – which is convincing enough when taken in isolation – because it is difficult to take seriously either of the characters when one is palpably ridiculous. (Try to imagine Bond or Jason Bourne acting against Norman Wisdom playing a villain in his most popular character guise of Norman Pitkin).

But the main problem is that there is simply too much Ronnie and Reggie. The best gangster films are those with strong ensemble playing. Think of the Godfather series or Friday the Thirteenth. Yet apart from Emily Browning as Reggie’s girlfriend and eventual wife Frances Shea, the most convincing scenes are those between Hardy in his guise as Reggie and Francis Shea and David Thewlis as Leslie Payne the Krays’ business manager. The other characters simply do not have the chance to develop because they have so little screen time. Bewilderingly, the personality who supposedly loomed largest in the Krays’ minds in the real world, their mother Violet (Jane Wood) barely appears, while two actors with substantial film careers – Paul Bettany as Charlie Richardson and Christopher Eccleston as Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read – are barely used (Bettany) or given only a series of scenes so short that their effect is minimal (Eccleston).

At the end of the film my thoughts turned to the 1990 film The Krays in which the Kemp brothers from Spandau Ballet played the twins. In some ways this was unintentionally funny because set in an unbelievably clean East End, while Billie Whitelaw in the role of the Krays’ mother produced the worst attempt at an East End accent ever heard from a professional actress – right up there with Dick Van Dyke’s “Gor blimey, Mary Poppins” – while Steven Berkoff went an astronomical distance over the top as George Cornell.

The Krays (1990) Under the radar movies

The Krays (1990) Under the radar movies

But the saving grace of The Krays was characters other than the twins being developed. Moreover, the portrayal of the difference between the Krays was less contrived. Indeed, considering their lack of acting experience at the time the Kemp brothers were worryingly convincing as the Krays, with Ronnie being a much more believable character than he is in Legend. For all its absurdities, The Krays is both a more convincing evocation of the twins and more entertaining than Legend, which truth to tell becomes tedious as the film progresses because all one-dimensional.

Legend is a not a howling flop merely mediocre. Tom Hardy is a charismatic and accomplished actor, probably the best English film actor of his generation. The subject matter also suits him because he is a convincing hard man with a fine talent for portraying violence. But in the end the film is too unbalanced, too unbelievable to be either a meaningful biopic or a first rate gangster film.

ROBERT HENDERSON is QR’s film critic

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The Dilemma of Hypermodernity, part 3

Dynamism of a Man's Head by Umberto Boccioni
Dynamism of a Man’s Head by Umberto Boccioni

The Dilemma of Hypermodernity

Mark Wegierski completes his analysis

It is probably in the peripheries, rather than in the North American node of the world-system, that potential resistance to hypermodernity resides. The Soviet counter system has disintegrated because puritanical Marxism, with its basket-case economy and coercive violence, was no match for the scintillating allure of Western consumerism and technology, and for the promise of personal freedom (which has nevertheless turned out to be double-edged in the light of such phenomena as the rise of the Mafiya).

Yet despite everything, high-culture and genuine popular culture exist to a greater extent in Russia — and all the other national communities of the erstwhile Soviet Union and former Eastern bloc — than in most of urban North America. The intellectual or artist or religious person is both more highly valued, and closer to the roots of his or her society. Unfortunately, all this is under increasing attack today — as young people in vast numbers leave school (in which they are often being offered the closest thing to a serious classical education in the world today) to try and make a fast buck; lyceum girls say in surveys that their favourite chosen profession for the future would be “hard-currency prostitute”; and American neocon think-tankers suggest on CNN that long-time career military officers should open shoe-shine stands, as that would be more productive than their current occupation of marching around on parade grounds.

What most of the people of the former Eastern bloc societies are probably hoping for are a series of genuine national re-births, without Western interference, and without catastrophic, market-imposed pauperization. After all, the collapse of the Eastern bloc — from the perspective of the transnational corporations — could sardonically be termed the largest leveraged buyout in human history.

In his highly-perceptive essay in the March 1992 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, “Jihad vs. McWorld”, Professor Benjamin J. Barber noted that the commodity and media system of “McWorld” actually intensifies the negative aspects of nationalist and religious impulses, precisely because they are under such enormous threat from it. Thus, ugly situations such as the excesses of the Iranian Islamic Revolution; the brutal Iran-Iraq war; the Iraqi plunder of the Kuwaitis; the slaughter in Rwanda; or the situation in ex-Yugoslavia, readily arise. However, the salve for such situations is NOT more globalization. In pre-modern times, ethnic and religious minorities could often endure for centuries — or even millennia — under hostile dominant cultures. It was the modern period that ushered in ethnic and religious slaughter on a truly mass scale, as well as the fading of the diversity of all rooted peoples in the face of global homogenization.

In an interview with The New York Review of Books (November 21, 1991), the 82-year old academic éminence grise Isaiah Berlin, said by some to be “the wisest man in the world” came out in favour of a tempered nationalism as the proper response to both hyper-tribalism and homogenization. He extolled the eighteenth-century philosopher of non-aggressive nationalism, one whose ideals he believes in — Johann Herder, who “virtually invented the idea of belonging.” (Herder, incidentally, was very sympathetic to the Slavic nations — and so his thought was ridiculed by the Nazi regime.) Isaiah Berlin says:

“Herder believed that just as people need to eat and drink, to have security and freedom of movement, so too they need to belong to a group. Deprived of this, they felt cut off, diminished, unhappy. To be human meant to be able to feel at home somewhere, with your own kind. Herder’s idea of the nation was deeply non-aggressive. All he wanted was cultural self-determination. He believed in a variety of national cultures, all of which could, in his view peacefully co-exist.”

This idea is similar to what Professor Paul Edward Gottfried, at the conclusion of his book on the German political theorist Carl Schmitt, has called the “pluriverse” of distinctive peoples and nationalities, each with a meaningful, cherished history and vital existence. This “pluriverse” of human diversity is menaced by the univocal “universe”, by what the preeminent Canadian philosopher George Parkin Grant terms “the universal, homogenous, world-state”, or what ecologists might call “the monoculture”.

In his Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Prize, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn likewise remarked:

“The disappearance of nations would impoverish us no less than if all peoples were made alike, with one character, one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind; they are its generalized personalities: the smallest of them has its own particular colours and embodies a particular facet of God’s design.”

And in his work Beginning With My Streets (translated by Madeline G. Levine), Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish poet, philosopher, and Nobel Laureate has written that we live in a time when the person is “…deracinated, and thus deprived of collective memory…Where there is no memory, both time and space are a wasteland.” Polish literature is said to offer “better antidotes against today’s despair” than the current literatures of Western Europe, for “whoever descends from this literature receives signifying time as a gift”, and “does not sink into apathy.”

The nations of the former Eastern bloc; the peoples of the numerous, diverse cultural regions of the planet’s South; as well as China, Japan, and the so-called Newly-Industrialized Countries (NIC’s) of the Pacific Rim, are evolving in certain unpredictable directions. Even Europe is arguably showing some signs of an independent “Eurostyle”, something barely tangible but perceivable in the greater elegance and diversity of contemporary European thought, culture, fashion, and lifestyle (to cite one example, the affection for the countryside, or at least the preference for fine food and drink that can only be produced by unhurried, natural methods in the countryside); as well as in the view of technology as craftwork — sophisticated European technological artefacts can be described as being carefully “crafted”, rather than mass-produced. This distinctive European style — which also certainly has its negative aspects — is selectively interpreted as “decadence” or nihilism by some North American observers. But the West, as a whole, is defined by its American-centred corporate/media bureaucratic-oligarchic configuration, which stage-manages all “social change”, and denies the hope for real change.

It might be added here that the British state is in a curious, unfortunate, “mid-Atlantic” position. There was a point in the Eighties when the standard of living in the United Kingdom apparently fell below that of East Germany. Britain has little of the Continental “style”; but at the same time it lacks the luxurious wealth of North America. More development under the “project” of Thatcherite individualism would probably destroy even more of the countryside; lack of development would presumably deepen the division into “two nations”. The “Little Englanders” of the early twentieth century — as well as J. R. R. Tolkien — have been proven essentially correct that the gaudy edifice of British imperialism and colonialism would quickly collapse and implode upon England, leaving the nation a wreck. While the British (or what should really be called the English, or London-ruled) state seems moribund, the so-called Celtic fringe of Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall appears to be reviving, culturally if not economically. So the possibilities and configurations of resistance to globalization vary from country to country and from region to region.

Britain has the curious residue of what are probably the worst aspects — as opposed to some more positive, truly aristocratic elements — of a class-system: which excuses almost any behaviour by the elite (such as that carried out by the Cambridge spies, virtually all of whom went unpunished); but which severely punishes to the point of bankruptcy a Slavic Count (Nikolai Tolstoy) who made certain accusations against one of its members; and which slots many working-class people into a perpetual underclass. One of the reasons for the proliferation of youth subcultures in Britain, and of the unquestionably trend-setting and manifestly more independent and less brazenly commercial nature of British rock (and its various subgenres), relative to its North American counterparts, is simply that white alienation in Britain is more genuine, and can more genuinely be felt. (There are more real working-class youth there, as opposed to the well-off “bohos” pretentiously “slumming it” in North America.)

Regarding the problems of the Third World (or South), there is a constellation of trends at work, not only the permeation of Western mass-media images which undermine traditional cultures, but also the extreme poverty, caused largely by massively burgeoning overpopulation, which drastically cheapens human life in those countries.

It is impossible to imagine that any country would want to be overpopulated. While on the one hand it would seem entirely just that the West take strong steps to limit its own profligate consumption, as well as to funnel extensive, meaningful aid to the South, it also behoves the South to take extremely strong population-control measures and to understand that any large-scale aid would be contingent on the enactment of at least some significant efforts in that direction; as well as to realize that the West in general, and Europe in particular, can no longer serve as destination-points for large-scale immigration. Stabilization of population growth must be seen as one of the primary means of stabilizing the over-all situation in the South. Then, presumably, the over-all value put on human life in those countries will increase, the traditional cultures will be under less severe stress, and there will be some hope for the ultimate survival and recovery of the ravaged ecosystems and dwindling wilderness areas of the South, which include such priceless ecological treasures as the Amazon rainforest (critical to the oxygen supply and stability of weather patterns across the entire planet); the African savannah; and the forests of Northern India.

The future — if indeed there is a future — will result from the convergence of various trends which from the current standpoint might seem contradictory, yet which ultimately have some points in common. The most hopeful development today is probably ecology. It would be even more positive, however, if the rather abstract allegiances of the ecological movement could be reinterpreted on the level of a specific communities. The “postmodern” idea of the future clearly calls for a strict sense of limits on consumption, limits on economic growth, and limits on the now-untrammelled exploitation of the planet. However, it would seem that the ecological argument for sacrifices in consumption could much more easily and meaningfully be made if it meant sacrifices for something more local, tangible, and particular than an abstract ecological principle. Here is where the argument for this land, this countryside, this country, must come in. The combined position of communitarian ecology offers the careful shepherding of resources and custodianship of nature for the sake of a particular community which is to derive its sustenance from these resources for the ongoing millennia. This also implies that either all communities on the planet will be following such policies, or that the particular community must be capable of decisively repelling possible incursions from such communities that are refusing to participate in this model. Presumably, ecologically-minded communities and societies will form themselves into various alliances that would be able not only to repel incursions, but, more importantly, to bring about the triumph of communitarian-ecological principles across the entire planet.

What we are talking about could be characterized as the return of the “steady-state society” (or the stationary state, as envisaged by J S Mill), which might also be called a “hydraulic-ecological” society. What in the 21st century will become the increasingly precious resources of clean running water; real food with minimal chemicals and carcinogens; energy-supplies, especially petroleum and coal; high-tech medical care; green space in which one can breathe and relax; and large personal dwelling-places (not to mention the current profligacy of rampant consumption) will presumably be subject to some kind of very real — though not, in the final analysis, necessarily all that onerous — rationing. The grotesque excesses of “car-culture”, for example, will have to be significantly and meaningfully curtailed. Realistically-speaking, such an ecological program cannot be based on wholesale de-urbanization or ruralization, but rather on a saner and more ecological management of the situation as it currently is.

A central premise of the critique of late modernity is that late capitalism is NOT in fact a truly rational system of allocation of resources. Enormous amounts of energy are superfluously wasted in the creation of advertising to inflame appetites for largely unnecessary products; and obsolescence is “planned-in” to keep consumption at a high rate, etc. For example, it has been estimated that the actual cumulative speed of commuting to and from work by car, in the very largest urban centres, is slower than that of walking by foot, because of the state of terminal gridlock. The personal and psychological rewards that will compensate for the decrease in consumption, for the decrease in quantity, is to be the increase in the quality of life, the emergence of time for pause and reflection in many people’s lives, as well as the sense of participation in and belonging to a genuine, friendlier, and safer community.

The other path for humanity, of hypermodernity, which the planet today unfortunately seems to be moving on with a startling degree of unidirectional intensity, implies an increasingly dystopic future for humanity. As the once-Western-derived technology increasingly encroaches upon the world, our ultimate fate is most likely one of these alternatives: the possible extinction of human beings through some massive ecological or bio-engineering disaster; the possible destruction of the human spirit, and then presumably of physical humanity (if that proverbial “unlimited energy source” is actually found, and technology is able to “solve” all of our problems, but without our ability to set any limits on it); or what could be called the “Brazilification” (the term first prominently used in Douglas Coupland’s Generation X) of the West, as well as of the planet as a whole: to wit, extreme contrasts of wealth and poverty; attenuation of the public-political realm and endemic crime, violence, and corruption; burgeoning overpopulation; and ongoing environmental degradation.

To conclude: the future, though uncertain, can still be won. The painfully minimal resources available to the critics of late modernity today must be marshalled in such a fashion as to create maximum impact — to bend flexibly, where possible; to use the opposing forces’ strength against them, where possible; but also to be able to possibly deliver, at some point, a very telling blow. These essays are intended as a contribution to the absolutely critical fight for the future of a humanity living in accord with Nature but facing the risk of extreme spiritual and physical degradation, or outright extinction.

The Forces of the Street by Umberto Boccioni
The Forces of the Street by Umberto Boccioni

Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and historical researcher

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No Change Please

Bob Barron, Galactic centre 1

Bob Barron*, Galactic centre 1

No Change Please

Peter King makes a timely defence of inertia

As the author of recently written books with titles such as Keeping Things Close and Here and Now[i] it is perhaps clear that what interests me is change, or more properly, the lack of it. I really do wish to accept things as they are without continually having to fight for them.

When we fight we introduce risk and we might well end up breaking the very things we wish to protect. This risk exists just as much if we seek to move backwards as forwards. The type of conservatism I espouse is one that is static. It does not seek to go any way and this is applies equally to the past as the future. This is because there is as much risk involved in trying to return to a former more desirable state as there is in seeking a future utopia. In trying to go back the traditionalist is doing exactly the same as the progressive, and the potential effects of change are just the same.

Both progressive and traditionalist may recognise that there is a cost involved in change for both themselves and others, but they gauge that this cost will be worthwhile. They are able to discount the negative consequences of their actions and count on the benefits at the end. They can take this view because they are certain of the superiority of their particular worldview, whether it be looking forwards or back. They believe that they have access to the truth and so know what is best for us. The sacrifices, they would suggest, are worthwhile.

I have no reason to stop someone from believing what they will. However, I have no wish to allow myself and those people and institutions that I love to be to be used to further those beliefs. I know that I only have one life and I do not wish it to be sacrificed to fulfil the dreams of others. What I wish to do is simply to be allowed to live in the here and now, with what I have and with whom I love and not be forced to move either forwards or back. In this regard, going back to someone else’s golden age is as bad as any proposed utopia.

This is often a rather difficult position to argue for. By asserting the need to accept the world as it is, one can be accused of trying to justify the dominance of a particular class, of protecting existing privilege, or even of maintaining one’s own position at the expense of others. I am saying I am all right and the rest of the world can go hang.

My view, however, is not based on being comfortable (although I do not dislike my life). It is rather based on the fact that I have no idea how it might be made better than it is actually now is. Those who advocate change always assume that it will make things better for everyone, or at least for a far greater number than the current dispensation. But why should this be case, and does not the fact that many disagree on what changes are necessary lead us to a healthy scepticism? Simply stated, how can we possibly know that any change will leave us better off than we are now, and accordingly how can we assert that the risk is worthwhile? What if the toppling of one ruling class merely leads to the dominance of another? What if the losses suffered by me and mine outweigh the gains made by others? And why should I place my life in the hands of others whose judgement and motives I cannot be sure of?

It might be argued that this attitude towards change is relativistic or even nihilistic. It might seem to imply that any form of government is as good as another: monarchy, aristocracy and democracy are all alike. And that it does not matter if we live under tyranny, or if others suffer as long as I am comfortable. But this critique can only sustained if we refuse to look around us. I know that where I am now is a product of the inertia of others. I am here now because others have made it by their inaction as much as anything positive they might have done. Like most people most of the time, I live within a society that allows me to sustain many of the things that I enjoy. I know that these things are sustainable through no action other than the continued inertia of others and my self.

It is precisely by focussing on the familiar rather than on the best that we are likely to retain what is the most benign for us. It will not be perfect, it might not always be comfortable and it is certainly not the best we can possibly conceive. But it will be familiar and it will be within reach. So we should accept it.

[i] Both books have been published by Arktos ( in 2015. See a review of Keeping Things Close at

PETER KING is Reader in Social Thought at De Montfort University. His most recent books are Keeping Things Close: An Essay on the Conservative Disposition and Here and Now: Some Thoughts on the World and How We Find it, both published by Arktos in 2015

*See more of Bob Barron’s art work at – 

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“Mummy” Merkel Murders Germany

Thilo Sarrazin

Thilo Sarrazin, author of Germany Abolishes Itself

“Mummy” Merkel Murders Germany

Ilana Mercer unmasks the chancellor’s evil plan

Angela Merkel, elected for life, or for what seems like an eternity, squints at ordinary Germans from behind the parapets of her usurped authority. The German chancellor has signaled her express intention to foist a new identity on the German people, whether they like it or not, and without the broad consent of her citizens (or subjects). This Merkel has done by absorbing “an unprecedented influx of immigrants who will fundamentally change the country.”

The quest to engineer a single European identity is at the heart of the European refugee crisis. (That, and the foreign policy of George W Bush, Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton, who decided to pulverize Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and thus destabilized the region.) “It remains unmistakably true,” wrote British patriot and classical liberal philosopher David Conway, that “from its postwar beginnings to the present, the principal advocates and architects of European union have been uniformly animated by collectivist objectives that are deeply anti-liberal in spirit and form.”

Indeed, her tyrannical power to overthrow the German people and import another in their place, Merkel derives from the EU Constitution. To wit, “The EU already has rights to legislate over external trade and customs policy, the internal market, the monetary policy of countries in the Eurozone, agriculture and fisheries, many areas of domestic law including the environment and health and safety at work…” The supra-state has also extended its rights into what it calls “justice policy,” especially “asylum and immigration.”

This illiberal impetus has allowed the like-minded Merkel, operating with legal imprimatur from Brussels, to assume the authority once reserved to the sovereign people of Germany. Were it not for the rigid controls the EU exerts over its satellite states—each European member country would be free to respond to the (mostly) Muslim influx in a manner consistent with the wishes of their citizens, and not those of the Bismarckian bureaucracy, with which Merkel identifies, and its many crooked beneficiaries.

To quote the words of another patriot, American southerner Clyde Wilson, PhD., “True union is a process of consent, not of conquest.”

It’s a little late in the game, but the shell-shocked German giant is awakening from its oppressive conformity. German activists have pursued charges of treason against Chancellor Merkel. The “citizen’s initiative” entails writing letters with legal standing to the chancellor and her prosecutors, accusing this cabal of “using mass migration to change the German Republic.” The “petitioners claimed the right under Article 20 of the German Constitution ‘to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available’ in order to ‘safeguard our identity.’”

For their part, the patriots of the Freedom Party of Austria have been forced to resort to legal technicalities to try and halt their government’s resolve to swamp the people of Austria.

Ingeniously, as tracked by the Breitbart News Network, FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache has charged the Austrian state prosecutor for what amounts to human trafficking. Strache has put said prosecutor “on notice for ‘breaches of the law,’” specifically, for a “willful failure to enforce the Policing of Aliens act [2005],” by transporting “hundreds of thousands of people” across the border into Austria in “an uncontrolled manner,” “since early September,” in effect acting as people smuggler in chief.

The Merkel Media (Der Spiegel, in this case), in the mold of their American friends across the pond, has glibly asserted that the chancellor’s “historic decision” to throw open Germany’s borders to armies of predominantly Muslim refugees “was morally unassailable.”

If the chancellor were using her privately owned land on which to accommodate these refugees, and her own funds to transport and sustain them; and provided she prevented her charges from venturing onto public property or accessing taxpayer-funded resources—Merkel’s plot to swamp Germany with indigent illegal aliens would indeed be moral.

But this is not the case. Moreover, when a government orchestrates the unfettered movement of people into a state in which the native population’s rights to property, free association and self-defense are already heavily circumscribed by the same authority—that government is guilty of unadulterated social engineering, and worse.

Judging from her treacherous conduct, Merkel’s fellow-feelings reside exclusively with the refugees she intends to import. Her sympathies do not extend to the people at whose pleasure she serves and to whom she owes her flinty heart.

Angela Merkel is thus not unimpeachably moral, as Der Spiegel claimed; she is plain impeachable.

Germans must dethrone Angela Merkel before this dictator puts another people in their place and renders them aliens in their homelands.

Ilana Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the U.S.  She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, “Return to Reason.” She is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Her latest book is “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Her website is  She blogs at   Follow her on Twitter: “Friend” her on Facebook:

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Herodotus, in the Eye of the Beholder



Herodotus, in the Eye of the Beholder

Darrell Sutton salutes the latest edition of The Histories

Herodotus: The Histories, 2013, Translation by Tom Holland, Introduction and Notes by Paul Cartledge. Paperback edition, Penguin, 2015, ISBN 978-0143107545, Pp.834

Herodotus (c.484 BC – c. 420 BC) was not a writer of poetry; he wrote prose, and for this act of kindness students of classical Greek should be grateful. Was he the world’s first historian? One individual maintained this view. Cicero’s (106 BC-43 BC) influence in late Republican Rome was immense, in the centuries which followed his death he became a literary icon, the standard for judging what was proper and improper in the writing of Latin. Still, he did not know that his designation of Herodotus, as ‘The Father of History,’ would become a timeless ascription. Herodotus’ account of the Graeco-Persian Wars supports the credit traditionally attributed to him. The Western world is indebted to him. He taught successive generations that all wars have causes and consequences. This is good news for folks who are trying to come to terms with tribal genocides in Africa, global jihadism, political murders, and other hostilities in the newspapers each day.

Some good, and not so good, scholars took time through the years to give Herodotus’ texts an English appearance. He has spoken through many voices. Quite naturally, through all of them Herodotus speaks with an accent. Of late, Tom Holland joined with Paul Cartledge to take up this task, and their joint venture culminated in the issuance of Herodotus: The Histories (2013). The book itself is beautiful. Since it now is in the marketplace in 2015 as a paperback, thousands of readers can pose new questions while reading through this translation of a ‘classic’ text. Herodotus’ historical researches are foundational to Western Civilization. His comparative studies of ancient societies in the environs of Mediterranean districts were original. But post-Enlightenment historians have not been too kind to his type of history writing.

The depreciation of Herodotus since the Siècle des Lumières stems partly from scholarly acknowledgement of his many superimposed theological motifs. The existing appreciation of secularism in university and college settings is a construct unsuitable for theological asides – even if they are embedded in ancient texts of foreign language. It is for this reason Thucydides was accepted as a more judicious writer of historical events. His writing gives the impression he was unconcerned with the gods. One must remember that Thucydides work was irregular; but Herodotus’ outlook represented the norm of historical genres of all ancient societies. It was believed that the gods were for or against people. So in the various phases of Early Antiquity, the eight century period preceding Augustus (63BC – AD 14), the gods were thought to be characters who helped mankind or thwarted humans’ wayward plans. To be sure, Herodotus was not the critical writer moderns would like him to have been, but who cares? Contemporary critics can do their own criticism of his writings. They are well-equipped to conduct researches of this sort. What we needed, and what Herodotus has given us, are the facts as an ancient knew them or accepted them. From those facts ‘we’ can reinterpret, clarify, correct or deduce truth and error while studying his narratives.

This kind of Herodotean criticism is not unusual. O. Kimball Armayor published more than one article in the 1970s and 1980s outlining his view that Herodotus did not visit the places he said he visited or see the things he said he had seen. I did not find his point of view credible. For that reason, the distrust Armayor had for Herodotus’ details I came to have toward Armayor’s conclusions. His cynicism seemed extreme to me; nevertheless, staring me in the face even now is Detlev Fehling’s mass of Herodotus’ alleged misstatements in Herodotus and His Sources: Citation, Invention and Narrative Art (1989).

The recovery of Herodotus’ reputation, and the renewed study of his histories, is on-going – a boost certainly was given to his repute in 1958 through Arnaldo Momigliano’s (1908-1987) erudite essay ‘The place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography’ and by W. Kendrick Prichett’s (1909-2007) volume The Liar School of Herodotus, a 1993 commentary which opposes Fehling’s main arguments. As can be seen, many persons have attempted to aid Herodotus in the art of correct speech. This is a flourishing field of studies: Holland and Cartledge’s translation is some recent evidence. Fostered primarily by Hellenists whose abilities are distinguished, many of them have sought after Homeric clues in the Greek text, or preferred links to Greek tragedy. Overlooked is the fact that Herodotus’ text is the result of that medley of international connections which led to the development of the Ionic dialect. A Potpourri of languages undoubtedly was familiar to him.

As accustomed as I am to reading ancient Near Eastern material, the Greek terms he uses do not seem to me to be proof of the author’s ignorance of the source-languages of the people he describes. On the contrary Cartledge asserts, “H. could not himself speak or read Persian, so – if these stories are not indeed pure invention – he must have had them either from a Greek-speaking Persian source or a Persian-speaking Greek source, or sources”, p.641. I cannot agree at all with Cartledge’s assumptions. Taken as a whole Herodotus’ verbiage, to me, reflects an acquaintance more or less so with various Near Eastern expressions: e.g. for the Greek text at 2.46.4, Holland translates, “In Egyptian Mendes can mean both ‘male goat’ and ‘Pan.’” (p.128). Moreover, in my opinion Herodotus’ reports are too comprehensive to be mere hearsay: to cite another example, out of his own mouth come these words, “I witnessed something truly extraordinary there, which I was tipped off about by the locals” (p.193).

I thought it might be nice to have my trusty two-volume Oxford Classical Texts (1927) edition of Herodotus nearby while reading the new translation. Edited by Charles Hude, this is the edition upon which the new translation is supposedly established (p.xxxix). However, in a little while I realized that the two-volume edition would be of little use since the English of Holland’s version seems to be indistinctly linked to the grammar and fine distinctions of the Greek. When I read the first lines of book one,

Herodotus, from Halicarnassus, here displays his enquiries, that human achievement may be spared the ravages of time, and that everything great and astounding, and all the glory of those exploits which served to display Greeks and barbarians, alike to such effect, be kept alive – and additionally, and most importantly, to give the reason they went to war.

and afterwards last lines of book nine,

But Cyrus, when he heard this proposal, found it less than wonderful; he told the Persians to put it into action by all means, but advised them to prepare themselves, should they go ahead, to be rulers no more, but ruled instead. ‘Soft lands are prone to breed soft men. No country can be remarkable for its yield of crops, and at the same time breed men who are hardy in war.’ So convinced were the Persians by this argument that they took their leave of Cyrus, and opted – now that his judgement had proved superior to their own – to live in a harsh land and rule rather than to sow a level plain, and be the slaves of others.

I knew that only by small measures was I in the vicinity of the connotations of the original text. That is not a complaint; Mr. Holland’s free-renderings are of a composite nature, seemingly making use of English translations to a greater extent than the Greek texts. The book is a solid piece of work. It should be purchased by all who desire to read Herodotus. Indeed several gifts are needed when offering interpretations of a work like Herodotus,’ and Mr. Holland has his fair share of them. Specialism in the latest critical researches of Egyptologists, aspects of Hittitology, and in ancient Persian literature is helpful for confirming and/or refuting some of Herodotus’ outlandish claims regarding ‘flying snakes’ (2.75) or the birth of a lion cub to Meles’ concubine (1.84). Then again, the genius of Herodotus’ specialist abilities is not noticeable at all times through the translation. What is obvious is a lively writing style, a capacity for drawing allusions, and depicting ancient reports with a bit of panache. Holland displays these with ease.

For example 4.64 one reads,

War, as practised by the Scythians, has a number of distinctive characteristics. When a Scythian records his first kill, he will gulp down the man’s blood. He will also bring the heads of those he has killed in battle to the king, for a head will secure him a share of whatever booty may have been won. …The head itself is scalped… There are many Scythians who wear cloaks fashioned out of scalps… A common practice as well is to take the corpse of an adversary, to skin the right hand, fingernails and all, and then to make it into a cover for an arrow-sheath. (Human skin, it turns out, is thick and has a tremendous sheen, more brilliant, and whiter, than almost any other kind of skin). There are also many Scythians who will flay men entire, and stretch the hides on wooden frames, which they then carry around with them on their horses (p.285-6).

Scythian metalwork

Scythian metalwork

So much for the profit which accrues by means of the translation. A sense of balance is given to the whole by the second of the duo. Professor Cartledge’s introduction is appropriately written in nine parts, and along with his notes to each of the nine books, it is what one would expect of a celebrated Greek scholar. He is not wordy. His explanations are precise. Altogether the explanatory notes total 1067. Each of them is worth reading; Holland’s translation would be less exact without them. Therefore the clarifications are a necessity. And wherever Holland’s renderings may mislead the reader, Cartledge is quick to get the reader back on track. Of the multitude I select two: (p.641) at the outset of book one, notes 4 and #8 give alternate renderings of Greek terms.

Of the former Cartledge writes “reason: The Greek word aitiê, translated here as ‘reason’, could also mean ‘responsibility’, implying assignation of blame”;

Of the latter he writes: “the rape of Helen: This is by no means the only, or the most accepted, version of the origins of the Trojan War. The Greek word harpagê meant literally ‘seizure’ or ‘abduction’ and was something of a euphemism”.

I know of no other edition whose maps are as helpful or whose glossary is as fulsome: over 550 items are defined. For those who enjoy the sleuth work of fact-checking Herodotus’ Greek text, this volume will be of immeasurable value. Armchair readers, those recreational lovers of forceful English prose, will be pleased as well. Undergraduates with a sound guide will read through this with delight; pupils required to indulge society’s contemporary tastes for classics-in-translation have reason to rejoice too.

However, for those whose predilections are for a careful and exact English gloss of Herodotus’ Greek text, the experience may be perplexing by degrees. So keep at your side David Grene’s Herodotus: The History (1987) and the Norton Critical Edition, Herodotus: The Histories (2013, 2nd ed.), and read it alongside the Holland/Cartledge version.

Darrell Sutton is rector of the Tabernacle in Red Cloud, Nebraska, a small village in the Great Plains. He also teaches Semitic languages and edits an academic bulletin entitled ‘The DS Commentary on Books’

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The Jetty, Christchurch

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The Jetty, Christchurch

Over recent years I had become rather familiar with Christchurch Harbour Hotel’s The Jetty restaurant, with long, lazy lunchtimes sitting outside in the sun with my border collie and a glass of chilled, aromatic Gewürztraminer, watching the swans among the reeds and sunlight glinting on the water. Now, I was experiencing the restaurant – Christchurch Harbour Hotel’s offering for more discerning customers – for an evening meal. The restaurant is located right by the sea, with the outside decking area where Krishna the collie and I used to sit shaded by heavily pollarded trees, directly overlooking the gently lapping waves of the bay, a lamentation of swans, boats and the beach huts of Mudeford. It is an immensely peaceful setting; contrasting with the bustling interior. The building itself is modern, but not unattractive – predominantly glass and wood, surrounded by brushed steel railings.

The interior continues the theme with dark wooden tables, a lighter wooden floor and wooden chairs with comfortable patterned seats. Almost three sides of the parallelogram-planned building are windows (which can be slided back in hot weather, thus completely opening the restaurant up to the fresh air), overlooking the water. The far end houses the facilities, with shimmering beige mosaic tiles and round windows imitating portholes. The ceiling is comprised of swirling wave-like layers and patterns. Lighting is by means of recessed angled downlighters at the room’s edge and recessed halogen lights in the centre. The bar is constructed of fairly light wood (matching the floor) with a darker glossed top. A selection of spirits is on view behind the bar, with wine racks completing the bar furniture.


Bread and butter is placed on the table for nibbling whilst one peruses the menu – this is served on shells, continuing the marine theme; I was delighted by the addition of extra virgin olive oil on the table. The bread – a white with caraway seeds (with a deliciously salty taste) and a wholegrain brown – were superb: a good contrast of textures and excellent combination of chewiness and softness.

The menu itself is rather splendid: a nice choice of nibbles “while you choose”; starters – from pigeon breast to scallops; mains from a trio of pork through to duck and shrimps. There is a tasting menu and fresh catches of the day – several different types of fish, including bream, sea bass, rock oysters and a mixed fish grill. All of these are from the Dorset coastline but many are caught on right on this spot. There is also an immensely inventive selection of side orders, all of which sound delicious, such as chorizo cassoulet and bacon salad.

The wine list is also very good, offering an excellent range of wine types and prices (though the Gewürztraminer had gone from their list, I noted with sadness). However, there are no descriptions so those who don’t know their wines will be left floundering a bit. Two glass sizes are offered and many wines are available by the glass. There is also a good range of sparkling wines, some roses too, and some local Dorset wines – top marks for all of these.

We chose the Bernadi Prosecco, which was perfect – very light indeed, but sophisticated with a tight bead and lemony tang without being too citric. In fact, it was probably the best prosecco I’ve had (and given the number of bottles of this delicious beverage I have consumed over this years, this is quite an accolade!).

Jetty bites are served first – taramousalata, smoked salmon and caviar roulettes, smoked fish mini quiches, and octopus. All of these were excellent – the octopus quite unexpectedly so – delicately flavoured and pleasantly meaty in texture. The quiches were light and flavoursome – not at all heavy; the taramousalata was, again, very light yet evocatively flavoured; whilst the delicately flavoured salmon roulettes worked extremely well with caviar and sprig of dill on top.

An amuse bouche followed, of tomato and basil velouté (it tasted as if there might be some red pepper in there too), and this kept up the high standards already delivered, with a good balance of sweetness from the tomato and savouriness. So far, everything we had been presented with was guaranteed to whet the appetite without in any sense destroying it.

On to the starters – I went for Alex’s Twice-Cooked Cheese Soufflé (an old favourite!), which I found not quite as flavoursome as usual but still feather-light – very delicate, and with the cheesy sauce very tasty. My husband’s asparagus was cooked to perfection: in fact, the word ‘cooked’ is somewhat misplaced, as the spears were very lightly steamed, leaving them slightly crunchy and firm. As such, the accompanying egg and salmon were ideal foils, providing excellent contrasts of textures and flavours, whilst the sauce added richness and depth.

For mains, I chose the lemon sole, which was served on a bed of spinach with a butter sauce. I was very impressed to be offered the option of filleted or whole (I’ve never encountered this choice before – it’s always come either one or t’other in my experience). I went for filleted, and was brought an immensely delicate fish, but with a wonderfully mildly salty taste. It was superbly cooked – just very lightly, leaving the fish tender whilst not at all underdone. To accompany it I chose mashed potato, which was good and creamy albeit possibly slightly too salty.

Mr Marshall-Luck’s steak was also very good indeed – it perhaps did not have the intensity of flavour it might have had, but, on the other hand, it wasn’t at all gamey, as steaks so often are, and was pleasantly lean. The chips were crisp and crunchy but fluffy in the middle – proper chips – clearly cooked in something delicious such as duck fat or beef dripping.

For desserts, the mascarpone tiramisu with cappuccino ice-cream was pleasantly light but with a very intense flavour. Although a seemingly small helping, it was exactly right in terms of “flavour loading” (to adapt a term from acoustic and sonic measurement). The accompanying ice-cream was also excellent: a similar intensity of flavour ensured balance; but the coffee was not at all bitter or dry. The vanilla panacotta with rhubarb was also wonderfully light on a by-now full stomach. The sweetness of the panacotta was admirably balanced by the tartness of the rhubarb, which was, however, so perfectly judged that sweetening was unnecessary.

I was unable to resist a dessert wine with the tiramisu, and was delighted to find an ice-wine on the list. The Pellers Estate wine had a wonderful golden-orange colour, and a nose that was quite citrusy but also had sweetness – quite a complex nose, and with a matching complexity on the palate. There was a wonderful mixture of well-layered flavours – the sweetness of caramel, then the high flavours of Satsuma, with some burnt toffee adding darkness and depth: exquisite. Altogether a very smooth and beautifully balanced wine.

At the end of the meal came good, freshly-made coffee and plate of petit fours – fudge, a pleasantly bitter chocolate truffle, a Florentine, and very light meringue with lemon curd on the top. All very civilised.

The service we also found extremely professional and polite; and we were impressed by the odd touch, such as a waiter assisting my reaching of a glass when I would otherwise have had to lean over the table to reach it – laptop (for this review!) in the way. However, we did occasionally find it slightly difficult to catch a waiter’s eye and there was a bit of a delay between visits to the table (occasionally we were left with empty plates in front of us and empty glasses for too long).

We were overjoyed by the fact that there was no piped music in the restaurant, except some inoffensive Spanish guitar music towards the end of the meal. I was subjected to some rather ghastly popular music in the ladies, whilst my lucky husband experienced Frank Sinatra informing him that he filled his heart with song.

In fact, the only downside of the entire experience was the party of noisy nouveau-riche on the adjacent table, who seemingly delighted in chewing with their mouths open and shouting at each other at volume, in order to inform the rest of the restaurant about their petty lives.

A few weeks prior to this visit, we had tried the Upper Deck restaurant, actually sited inside the Christchurch Harbour Hotel, but had been more disappointed with this experience. Our first impressions had not been particularly positive – a mass of humanity crammed into a rather small space, the most awful “music” booming out offensive beats and waiters carrying trays bearing prawn cocktails that looked as if they had stepped right out of the 1980s.

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The restaurant here is divided by a wall with large aperture in it into eating and waiting areas; the palette is grey, brown and off-white – brown wooden tables and flooring; pale grey walls and chairs, off-white ceiling and surrounds. Lighting is by art deco-type chandeliers and industrial-looking metal desk lamps affixed to the walls. Walls are adorned with an eclectic collection of wooden-framed black and white photographs, mainly of old beach scenes, along with the occasional barometer and luggage rack. At the far end is the bar in the same colour scheme: all glass, mirrors, metal and pale grey / off-white wood. French windows with beige curtains look out onto the deck and, beyond, the sea. The room felt rather unnaturally warm, especially given that it was a cold, rainy day.

We were seated after just a short delay. Staff are very friendly but a little on the gawky or gauche side, exemplified by the chef coming up and placing his hand very familiarly on first my shoulder and then later my lower back. On another occasion, when I went to take our wine out of the ice bucket to read the label, it was snatched up by a passing waitress who then hovered, pointedly, whilst the main courses were placed on the table; then the wine glasses were ostentatiously topped up (without asking whether either of us desired such a top-up) accompanied by the statement “I’ll fill the wine glasses, madam”.

Water was brought speedily and menus also, which sported blank pages patterned to resemble the wooden deck of a ship but with no explanation as to why they were blank; one has to persevere with turning these over to reach the wine list. Featured dishes included starters of tiger prawns, goats cheese, salads, scallops, boards and platters (meat, fish or fried fish), and mains which offered good, inventive vegetarian options (braised leeks or wild garlic risotto), a rather delicious-sounding lamb, liver and onions, lots of fish, and more unusual dishes such as monktail fish curry. There was also a good selection of side dishes. The oddness of the menu, however, was exacerbated by the fact that it abounded with hilarious typos and a lack of punctuation. Our favourites – which at least delivered intense amusement value, leaving us clutching our sides in merriment were: “The perfect apertif [sic] for every occasion from our house Champagne to my favourite Billecart-Salmon or evendom [sic] Perignon by the glass………”; and “We are currently working on a wine list befitting of [sic] the menu watch the constant evolution as we add more and more gems this list of contents gives you a sneak preview of whats [sic] to come!”. One hopes that as patrons watch the constant evolution they witness a correction of errors, typos and grammatical mistakes!

The wines were broken down by regions and offered a decent range of different types of wines at reasonable prices (and a particularly good range of wines by the glass) – but no descriptions. We were rather bemused by the appellation “Whites Wines” and slightly disappointed by the not especially grown-up reference to “Pinks and stickies”. I was also a little surprised that, when I ordered the wine by its name, I was immediately asked for the number, showing a lack of familiarity with the wines available. We ordered a Martin Zahn 2011 Gewurztraminer – although we were brought (with no word of explanation or apology) a different vintage. The wine was a pale straw colour and had a nose that was at once floral and spicy. On the palate were minerals, a bite of white pepper, sweetness and richness. The wine itself was very fine indeed, although it was not quite cool enough, despite being served in an ice bucket. The bottle also had its cap screwed back on as soon as our glasses had been poured, throttling the poor wine!

The food was generally good, but a far cry from the superlative fare of The Jetty – an amuse bouche of gazpacho that was served neither hot nor chilled but vaguely coolish was rather watery, whilst my cheese soufflé was a pale imitation of The Jetty’s airy creation: very eggy and quite heavy. My husband’s asparagus tasted fine, but he pronounced his steak rather flavourless (I, however, enjoyed his chips). My lemon sole was a slightly greyish colour and rather salty, but otherwise delicate and fine. It was accompanied by new potatoes, and the fish was topped by crunchy buttery Savoy cabbage that, despite being far more al dente than I’d usually like, was thinly enough shredded and buttery enough to be really rather delicious. For desserts, the tiramisu was covered in a slightly odd sauce that wasn’t part of a traditional recipe and I’m not sure worked. It was also accompanied by a blob of raspberry coulis and a nice shortbread biscuit. Mr M-L wasn’t quite bowled over by his sticky toffee pudding, either, which had a rather rubbery sponge and a toffee sauce that was sadly lacking in luxury.

I had, as so often, decided that the meal wouldn’t be a meal without a dessert wine and so asked the waiter to describe the differences between the two dessert wines on offer. I received the expertly succinct response: “Well, one is sweeter than the other and they come from different parts”. This was not particularly illuminating, as the description of one quite clearly stated that it was Chilean, whilst the Sauternes was obviously French. I went for the latter, which was slightly sharper than I was used to, but otherwise nicely light and with a rather delicious nose.

If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of people, have yearnings for Cunard cruise-style surroundings, or perhaps want a less formal and expensive meal, then the Upper Deck restaurant may be the place for you; if you want the very finest cuisine, with the freshest ingredients, in a meal that is at once refined, elegant and sophisticated, then I cannot recommend The Jetty highly enough. I could only make one suggestion for improving The Jetty, and that would be for a bird spotting document on the table for identification of all the waders and ducks!

Em Marshall-Luck is QR’s food and wine critic


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A Collection of Visions

visions 4

A Collection of Visions

by Drew Nathaniel Keane

Is that a deer?

 Is that a deer upon the hill?  I froze
And watch’d her grazing while a little fawn,
Like gods around the Godhead circling on,
Around her danc’d—A vision of the Rose
That round the seat of Heaven ever grows
(Espied by Dante and Divine St. John
On Patmos as God’s Day began to dawn).
So danc’d the happy fawn, until the foes
Of peace, these yapping dogs, came bounding in,
And doe and fawn and vision sped away.
A trumpet blaring yanked me back to earth,
Where I stood frozen in a cross-walk—men
Assur’d their just revenge for my delay—
I mouthed, “I’m sorry,” then, for what it’s worth.

Three ghosts.

 Within a dream, three ghosts appeared to me–
Dante, Sartre, and Milton. I asked the three:
“Where is the gate on which these words appear:
‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’
Is hell the place our enemies will go?
Or, is it other people? Do you know?
Or, worst of all, is hell within the mind–
The place from which no refuge I can find?”
They look’d, they turn’d, and into shadows fled;
I woke to found myself yet safe within my bed.

The crickets and the kine.

 A farmer sat upon his porch along
With his two sons. As evening fell the sound
Of crickets and their endless chirping grew.
Those insects of the hour, though few, can buzz
With such ferocity that even thought
Is caught within their powerful control.
Tonight their songs of discontent arose
As one united voice, a restless force,
Commanding both the farmer and his sons.
The chirping burrowed in their brains this one
Incessant whine:
Kill the kine; kill the kine!

According to the ancient custom, so
Before the sun our farmer rose to work.
He said a prayer for daily bread and then
Without a second thought continued to
The duties of the day. No more was heard
Hypnotic chirping from the pastureland;
Morning left no memory of the demon
Voice obeyed the night before. Terror robbed
His vital air when he beheld the scene:
The bleeding cattle on a thousand hills!
Not since Ulysses’ sailors sacrificed
The Sun-God’s herd has such a sight been seen.
Returning to the farmhouse where his two
Boys met him for their breakfast meal, their dad
Was mumbling all his tortured mind could think:
No milk to drink, my boys, no milk to drink.

Strolling past St. Anne’s

Strolling past St. Anne’s, I heard a sudden
Crack of stone ‘gainst stone and whoops of laughter
From little ones, whose mothers, in the church,
Sorted through old coats and clothes collected
For Somali refugees. Mothers, with
Their scarves drawn ‘cross their faces, ey’d the piles
Of other people’s leftovers to find
Their children’s sizes and to search for holes.
I passed the boys outside, the boys with stones
And stains of pizza sauce around their lips.
And then I turned to see what target met
Their practice. I turned and met Our Lady’s
Stony eyes just as another pellet
Was hurled towards her, shattering her hand.

There’s no Such thing as monsters

“There’s no such thing as monsters.” So our parents said:
Then kissed with lying lips, and tucked us into bed.
I’ve read somewhere our enmity with them—
With monsters—came just six short hours behind
Our first, naive, but bright and happy, smile
Met the approving smile of the goddesses—
Then young, though beautiful and awful still—
The smile of Nature and the Blue-Eyed Maid.
Yet six hours later they seemed old and dark
And warned us: “Watch for dragons everywhere.”
The first, a dress of thorns and thistles donned;
The second, made to wander, flies disguised,
To urge the fight or pull the hero’s hair.

Once—nearer to the time when shadows fell
Upon our bright and solid world—we had
A better time remembering the way
Things were and what was real.  But now we say,
“There’s no such thing as dragons” to ourselves,
And curl-up closely to the scaly things.

Drew Nathaniel Keane is a lecturer in the Department of Writing & Linguistics at Georgia Southern University

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