Abandoned Packard automobile factory, Detroit
Walmart, with Missiles
Ilana Mercer, in hollowed out America
On March 31, the number of Americans dead from Coronavirus stood at 3,900! A mere month on, at the time of writing, 63,801 Americans have perished. American deaths by Covid account for a fourth of the world’s, including those in the undeveloped world. To ignore this Third-World-like specter is to dismiss the dead and the dying. It’s tantamount to Cancel Culture!
China sucks. But if the United States must rely on the Chinese government to keep its citizens safe, then what kind of a micky-mouse country is it? If the American people can be convinced by their government to saddle a foreign power with the responsibility for their existential welfare—what kind of people are we?
China didn’t force the traitors of the American economy to shift crucial production lines to its country and strand Americans without surgical and N-95 masks and medication; homegrown turncoats made that decision, all by their lonesome. Decades ago, the political, corporate and industrial leaders of the West chose to enmesh the fate of their pliable people with that of the vigorous, voracious Chinese. Continue reading
German battleship Hessen transiting the Kiel Canal
William Hartley, alone on a wide wide sea
The Kiel Canal isn’t popular with ship’s crews, even though it cuts out a long haul around the Jutland Peninsula when entering the Baltic. A German pilot and helmsman come on board to take charge of the ship and during transit no routine maintenance work such as painting or welding is allowed, due to the proximity of houses. This means the crew are on duty but largely idle during the twelve hour passage. Ships proceed at a stately pace, sometimes being overtaken by cyclists on the adjacent path and occasionally it becomes necessary to heave to and let a larger vessel pass. The MV Kristin Schepers is less than 10,000 tonnes which may seem substantial but she is a minnow compared to the huge bulk carriers which get right of way. Up on the bridge with the Germans doing the work, we use our elevated position to look in the windows of canal side towns.
The ship is German owned but Cyprus flagged and most of the officers are Russian. Down in the mess, mealtime entertainment is non stop Russian TV which seems to consist largely of Mr Putin’s activities and occasionally his hapless looking Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. It can be as many as five very steep flights of stairs to descend to the mess deck for meals. Function shapes form on the modern freighter and all non-cargo related space is squeezed into a tall narrow structure, where the crew eat and sleep. At the top, overlooking our load of containers, is the bridge. Continue reading
Philosopher on Fire
Darrell Sutton considers Heraclitus
Diogenes Laertius is a popular and reliable source for Heraclitus’ life: cf. Lives and Opinions, Book ix 1. Heraclitus, a native of Ephesus, lived around 500 BC. Too little is known of his life to conjecture with any specificity, but he was supposedly of good birth. However, Aristotle and Cicero both refer to philosophical statements of his as “obscure”. It was believed by some that he never completed a number of literary works because he allegedly suffered from melancholy. So he is mentioned as “the weeping philosopher”. The few remains that we possess of Heraclitus’ original compositions are succinct fragments. Since New Testament documents are tapestries of ancient ideas and proverbial wisdom, in this short note we defer to one snippet left by this pre-Socratic scholar. Patristic theologians sought to refute many of Heraclitus’ linguistic innovations, particularly the “logos” concept. Therefore a lively interpretation of his views may be helpful in situating one specific Greek image contained in the Greek New Testament. The following notes consider the logic of the sentence comprising fragment 55 and its transmutation in the first letter of the Apostle John.
ὅσων ὄψις ἀκοὴ μάθησις, ταῦτα ἐγὼ προτιμέω
“such things like sight, hearing, experiential learning, these I esteem highly.”
Some prefatory remarks are necessary before proceeding to a discussion of the above text. Ancient inscriptions, when legible, are useful for overcoming impediments which hinder the understanding of antiquity. The distant past throws up enough problems on its own. Trying to comprehend what a writer meant when only a fragmentary sentence is available might encourage debate but it tends to breed controversy. Still, even if what the writer intended to say is forever lost to posterity, the usage of a phrase or system of words may turn up afterward. Continue reading
Alder Hey Memorial Tablet
A.R. Kneen, on ‘our’ NHS
Truth matters. So, too, does freedom, privacy, independence and human rights. But truth arguably matters above all of these. NHS workers, including doctors and nurses, work for money. They get paid to do a job. This should not be considered a controversial statement. Arguably, a proportion of NHS workers get over-paid relative to their ability and performance levels. And some do not provide a good service to patients.
In all fields of paid employment, we find people who do a good job, people who do not. For example, certain people think that all police are terrible. That is not true. Some police are bad, and the over-exercise, if not abuse of power by police officers has been recently demonstrated. However, most police officers do a fine job. Likewise, there are Catholics who believe that all priests are beneficent and do nothing but good for the people they serve. This is not actually true. A number of priests have molested children, and are evil. One could go through all forms of employment and find average performance, good performance, poor performance, and excellent performance. This is true of solicitors, builders, dentists, hairdressers, soldiers, teachers, scientists etc. It also pertains to those who work in the NHS. Continue reading
The Coronation of Queen Victoria 1839, John Martin
Labour, blasé about Britain
Stephen Michael MacLean
No one is immune to coronavirus, not even royalty. Clarence House recently announced that Prince Charles had tested positive and was “self-isolating” in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth, meanwhile, was carrying out her official duties at Windsor Castle. As the royals follow the rest of British society in coping with the “new normal,” one is reminded of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s statement, after Buckingham Palace was damaged during the blitz in World War II. “Now we can look the East End in the face,” she said.
Such moments have endeared the monarchy to Britons. The Crown sits at the pinnacle of parliamentary democracy. Brexit support was energised by the same motivations: independence and self-government. These are conservative principles, and so it is not surprising that Tories were in the Brexit vanguard. Nor should it be forgotten that Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party kept the faith when many in the Conservative Party lost theirs.
Recent polling by YouGov confirms Brexit’s patriotic appeal. It also reveals just how out of sync with Brexit are the majority of Labour Party supporters: 48% are ashamed of the last 300 years of British history, compared to 29% who are proud. However, more than half of Britons in general, 53%, take pride in their British heritage. Continue reading
Mount Carmel Fire, Waco Siege
Ilana Mercer on coronavirus conspiracy theories
Government is bad enough. There is no need to explain its workings using conjecture and fantasy. The facts about it suffice. In particular, imputing garden variety government evils to conspiracies is based on the following faulty premise: government generally does what is good for us. So, whenever we think it is failing in its mission, we should look beyond the facts for something sinister.
As if the state’s natural quest for expanded power were not enough to explain the events! Why, for example, would you need to search for the “real reason” behind an unjust, unscrupulous war, unless you honestly believed government would generally never prosecute such a war? History belies this delusion. Even when government prosecutes a just war, it finds ways to turn it into an unjust war by prolonging it. After all, a protracted crisis demands more taxpayer funds. Cui bono? Continue reading
The Entombment of Christ, Caravaggio
Thoughts on the First Easter
by David Ashton
Desperate times, desperate measures. A global “Act of God” has significantly impacted on “faith” communities. Churches everywhere are closed to worshippers and communicants, because of another oriental virus. The Pope at Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury recited the Lord’s Prayer alongside “millions around the world” – with what heavenly answers we are not told. Christians have gone into a catacomb of prudent self-isolation, like everyone else.
Could this be a punishment, like the ancient deluge, for human impiety? Or a sign, along with earthquakes, locusts, and rumours of war, of the Second Coming of Christ, a salutary surprise indeed for those who do not even believe in the First? If no minor miracles cure the lepers of this modern disease, is a major miracle on its way, at long last, to shut down the whole mess?
With more livelihoods threatened than lives, the Bishop of Chelmsford compared our isolated households to fourth century hermitages, hoping our cities would resemble those north African deserts, its occupants meditating on the walk of Jesus to the cross. “On Easter Day, a new reality was born. When this is over, may God spare us from ‘getting back to normal’. We await a resurrection.” Sanctimonious pulpit patter aside, how precisely the ecclesiastical bureaucracy conceives “resurrection” surely directs enquiry into its Biblical source. Continue reading
Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Fifth Plague of Egypt
AR Kneen asks some awkward questions
Freedom used to matter. People used to care about it. We used to say: ‘it’s a free country’. Debates on television mentioned ‘liberty’, ‘rights’, ‘civil liberties’, ‘privacy’, ‘independence’ and the like. But not now that the country is pretty much under house arrest. People are advised not leave their homes. Over-zealous policeman are stopping people allegedly out without good cause. All businesses not deemed ‘essential’ were told to close, making hundreds of thousands of people unemployed. Whereas, in the past, the closure of a plant resulting in the loss of several thousand jobs would be worthy of discussion, hardly a word is said now on behalf of hundreds of thousands of unpaid people. GP surgeries are closed. Operations, medical procedures and treatments have been cancelled. Churches, too, are shut down and sporting events, concerts and other gatherings are prohibited. Clubs, restaurants and pubs – all shut down. Schools are closed. Suddenly, the idea that children must be in school or their parents will have to answer to the state is set aside. Free assembly is banned. Human contact is severely curtailed. The new term ‘social-distancing’ is incessantly mentioned. This pertains to physical distance, which is prescribed at 2 metres.
Some individuals are so gripped by fear that they are unable to process information properly. People are informing on their neighbours, as often happens under totalitarian regimes. Indeed, the police have set up hotline websites to facilitate informing. The media stoke the spirit of fear. There is little rational discussion of facts, of alternatives – and nothing is put into context. There are suicides and women are reportedly being beaten behind closed doors. Continue reading
Kung Flu Fighting
Ilana Mercer lambasts killer bureaucrats
“Living and dying in Chinatown
Yes they’re living and dying in old Chinatown
In Chinatown, you better look around
Man, you don’t stand a chance if you go down in Chinatown”
“When, Mr. President, will you deliver instant, standardized, country-wide testing to all the American people,” comes the daily, petulant demand from the malfunctioning media, reiterated by the expert class and an intelligentsia that is not always very intelligent.
The hype over testing will be the next contagion of illogic on matters related to coronavirus. The testy twits are treating COVID testing as though it were an amulet against the dreaded disease. It isn’t. All testing does is give an individual a snapshot in time of his COVID status. As soon as he drives out of the testing facility, a COVID-free person could become infected. Unless they engage in prevention, a single testing in time doesn’t in any way give individuals a clean bill of health. Prevention protects people.
Testing is, however—at this stage of spread—helpful in giving medical researchers a grip on the symptomless-sick phenomenon, as well as an idea of how the disease is disseminated and distributed in the population. Test and keep testing large enough representative samples, and you’ll get good prevalence data. You’ll probably discover statistically significant differences in COVID infection rates along the rural/metropolitan axis, and the Chinese/no-Chinese axis. In fact, high-tech meccas are likely a good proxy for the correlation between COVID and the Chinese population. Hubs of high-tech like my state of Washington—the King and Snohomish counties, in particular—have high coronavirus infection rates. Continue reading