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Why books still matter.

I don’t read books much. I have “x” number of computers in various states of order and an smartphone and a Kindle Fire. So why do I also have a very high quality slip-case edition of The Lord of the Rings? In four volumes (the fourth is the appendices etc). My Sindarin is probably better than my French! Well, better than my Quenya anyway.

Well, three reasons. My old copy from way back (single volume paperback) was falling apart – not from neglect but from use. My mother wanted to get me a birthday present and I wanted a nice set. In a very real sense the information revolution of the last couple of decades has created a demarcation between the “bit” and the “it”*. Anyone with internet access knows at a visceral level they have access to the Library of Babel** (and mainly free or very cheap) so a book in a sense becomes more of an object as we transfer our understanding of information from paper and ink to the ephemeral 1 and 0.

This was brought home to me (although I knew it at some level before) when I stood in awe just last year at the one book I’d love to own above all gold and silver. It was in Trinity College, Cambridge and was the first edition of Principia Mathamatica and not just any copy. This was Newton’s very own with his hand-written marginal notes for the second edition. It was like, for practicing Jews, looking at the first Torah written in blood and fire by YHWH Himself. Wow. And here is the three odd things. It is written in Latin (and I am very limited in that), it dates from an era when mathematicians didn’t want to disclose methods so even if I grokked the Latin the maths would be obscure to me (Newton didn’t want to disclose the calculus so re-wrote his proofs using da olde skool sums). And finally it is available free for download (in English).

So why does it matter? For the same reason the Wailing Wall matters to Jews or why old Beatle’s vinyl matters to music lovers. It is “it” and not “bit”. It is an actual physical thing. Over the last few years vinyl record sales have increased as CD sales have declined. It is about having soul. Which is an odd way of thinking. That the physical in some way embodies soul more than the abstract.

So that is why I cherish books. Because they are “things”. They are beyond mere information now. They once were information but they are now “stuff” which oddly elevates them because they are the thing in itself because the information is all online now.

They have lost their informational shackles to become free.

*Sorry to the late John Wheeler for that.
**Sorry to the late Jorge Luis Borges for that.

Emma Zunz

This is one of my fave Borges stories and not a bad translation…

Returning home from the Tarbuch and Loewenthal textile mills on the 14th of January, 1922, Emma Zunz discovered in the rear of the entrance hall a letter, posted in Brazil, which informed her that her father had died. The stamp and the envelope deceived her at first; then the unfamiliar handwriting made her uneasy. Nine or ten lines tried to fill up the page; Emma read that Mr. Maier had taken by mistake a large dose of veronal and had died on the third of the month in the hospital of Bagé. A boarding-house friend of her father had signed the letter, some Fein or Fain from Río Grande, with no way of knowing that he was addressing the deceased’s daughter.

Emma dropped the paper. Her first impression was of a weak feeling in her stomach and in her knees; then of blind guilt, of unreality, of coldness, of fear; then she wished that it were already the next day. Immediately afterward she realized that that wish was futile because the death of her father was the only thing that had happened in the world, and it would go on happening endlessly. She picked up the piece of paper and went to her room. Furtively, she hid it in a drawer, as if somehow she already knew the ulterior facts. She had already begun to suspect them, perhaps; she had already become the person she would be.

In the growing darkness, Emma wept until the end of that day for the suicide of Manuel Maier, who in the old happy days was Emmanuel Zunz. She remembered summer vacations at a little farm near Gualeguay, she remembered (tried to remember) her mother, she remembered the little house at Lanús which had been auctioned off, she remembered the yellow lozenges of a window, she remembered the warrant for arrest, the ignominy, she remembered the poison-pen letters with the newspaper’s account of “the cashier’s embezzlement,” she remembered (but this she never forgot) that her father, on the last night, had sworn to her that the thief was Loewenthal. Loewenthal, Aaron Loewenthal, formerly the manager of the factory and now one of the owners. Since 1916 Emma had guarded the secret. She had revealed it to no one, not even to her best friend, Elsa Urstein. Perhaps she was shunning profane incredulity; perhaps she believed that the secret was a link between herself and the absent parent. Loewenthal did not know that she knew; Emma Zunz derived from this slight fact a feeling of power.

She did not sleep that night and when the first light of dawn defined the rectangle of the window, her plan was already perfected. She tried to make the day, which seemed interminable to her, like any other. At the factory there were rumors of a strike. Emma declared herself, as usual, against all violence. At six o’clock, with work over, she went with Elsa to a women’s club that had a gymnasium and a swimming pool. They signed their names; she had to repeat and spell out her first and her last name, she had to respond to the vulgar jokes that accompanied the medical examination. With Elsa and with the youngest of the Kronfuss girls she discussed what movie they would go to Sunday afternoon. Then they talked about boyfriends and no one expected Emma to speak. In April she would be nineteen years old, but men inspired in her, still, an almost pathological fear. . . Having returned home, she prepared a tapioca soup and a few vegetables, ate early, went to bed and forced herself to sleep. In this way, laborious and trivial, Friday the fifteenth, the day before, elapsed.

Impatience awoke her on Saturday. Impatience it was, not uneasiness, and the special relief of it being that day at last. No longer did she have to plan and imagine; within a few hours the simplicity of the facts would suffice. She read in La Prensa that the Nordstjärnan, out of Malmö, would sail that evening from Pier 3. She phoned Loewenthal, insinuated that she wanted to confide in him, without the other girls knowing, something pertaining to the strike; and she promised to stop by at his office at nightfall. Her voice trembled; the tremor was suitable to an informer. Nothing else of note happened that morning. Emma worked until twelve o’clock and then settled with Elsa and Perla Kronfuss the details of their Sunday stroll. She lay down after lunch and reviewed, with her eyes closed, the plan she had devised. She thought that the final step would be less horrible than the first and that it would doubtlessly afford her the taste of victory and justice. Suddenly, alarmed, she got up and ran to the dresser drawer. She opened it; beneath the picture of Milton Sills, where she had left it the night before, was Fain’s letter. No one could have seen it; she began to read it and tore it up.

To relate with some reality the events of that afternoon would be difficult and perhaps unrighteous. One attribute of a hellish experience is unreality, an attribute that seems to allay its terrors and which aggravates them perhaps. How could one make credible an action which was scarcely believed in by the person who executed it, how to recover that brief chaos which today the memory of Emma Zunz repudiates and confuses? Emma lived in Almagro, on Liniers Street: we are certain that in the afternoon she went down to the waterfront. Perhaps on the infamous Paseo de Julio she saw herself multiplied in mirrors, revealed by lights and denuded by hungry eyes, but it is more reasonable to suppose that at first she wandered, unnoticed, through the indifferent portico. . . She entered two or three bars, noted the routine or technique of the other women. Finally she came across men from the Nordstjärnan. One of them, very young, she feared might inspire some tenderness in her and she chose instead another, perhaps shorter than she and coarse, in order that the purity of the horror might not be mitigated. The man led her to a door, then to a murky entrance hall and afterwards to a narrow stairway and then a vestibule (in which there was a window with lozenges identical to those in the house at Lanús) and then to a passageway and then to a door which was closed behind her. The arduous events are outside of time, either because the immediate past is as if disconnected from the future, or because the parts which form these events do not seem to be consecutive.

During that time outside of time, in that perplexing disorder of disconnected and atrocious sensations, did Emma Zunz think once about the dead man who motivated the sacrifice? It is my belief that she did think once, and in that moment she endangered her desperate undertaking. She thought (she was unable not to think) that her father had done to her mother the hideous thing that was being done to her now. She thought of it with weak amazement and took refuge, quickly, in vertigo. The man, a Swede or Finn, did not speak Spanish. He was a tool for Emma, as she was for him, but she served him for pleasure whereas he served her for justice.

When she was alone, Emma did not open her eyes immediately. On the little night table was the money that the man had left: Emma sat up and tore it to pieces as before she had torn the letter. Tearing money is an impiety, like throwing away bread; Emma repented the moment after she did it. An act of pride and on that day. . . Her fear was lost in the grief of her body, in her disgust. The grief and the nausea were chaining her, but Emma got up slowly and proceeded to dress herself. In the room there were no longer any bright colors; the last light of dusk was weakening. Emma was able to leave without anyone seeing her; at the corner she got on a Lacroze streetcar heading west. She selected, in keeping with her plan, the seat farthest toward the front, so that her face would not be seen. Perhaps it comforted her to verify in the insipid movement along the streets that what had happened had not contaminated things. She rode through the diminishing opaque suburbs, seeing them and forgetting them at the same instant, and got off on one of the side streets of Warnes. Paradoxically her fatigue was turning out to be a strength, since it obligated her to concentrate on the details of the adventure and concealed from her the background and the objective.

Aaron Loewenthal was to all persons a serious man, to his intimate friends a miser. He lived above the factory, alone. Situated in the barren outskirts of the town, he feared thieves; in the patio of the factory there was a large dog and in the drawer of his desk, everyone knew, a revolver. He had mourned with gravity, the year before, the unexpected death of his wife — a Gauss who had brought him a fine dowry — but money was his real passion. With intimate embarrassment, he knew himself to be less apt at earning it than at saving it. He was very religious; he believed he had a secret pact with God which exempted him from doing good in exchange for prayers and piety. Bald, fat, wearing the band of mourning, with smoked glasses and blond beard, he was standing next to the window awaiting the confidential report of worker Zunz.

He saw her push the iron gate (which he had left open for her) and cross the gloomy patio. He saw her make a little detour when the chained dog barked. Emma’s lips were moving rapidly, like those of someone praying in a low voice; weary, they were repeating the sentence which Mr. Loewenthal would hear before dying.

Things did not happen as Emma Zunz had anticipated. Ever since the morning before she had imagined herself wielding the firm revolver, forcing the wretched creature to confess his wretched guilt and exposing the daring stratagem which would permit the Justice of God to triumph over human justice. (Not out of fear but because of being an instrument of Justice she did not want to be punished.) Then, one single shot in the center of his chest would seal Loewenthal’s fate. But things did not happen that way.

In Aaron Loewenthal’s presence, more than the urgency of avenging her father, Emma felt the need of inflicting punishment for the outrage she had suffered. She was unable not to kill him after that thorough dishonor. Nor did she have time for theatrics. Seated, timid, she made excuses to Loewenthal, she invoked (as a privilege of the informer) the obligation of loyalty, uttered a few names, inferred others and broke off as if fear had conquered her. She managed to have Loewenthal leave to get a glass of water for her. When the former, unconvinced by such a fuss but indulgent, returned from the dining room, Emma had already taken the heavy revolver out of the drawer. She squeezed the trigger twice. The large body collapsed as if the reports and the smoke had shattered it, the glass of water smashed, the face looked at her with amazement and anger, the mouth of the face swore at her in Spanish and Yiddish. The evil words did not slacken; Emma had to fire again. In the patio the chained dog broke out barking, and a gush of rude blood flowed from the obscene lips and soiled the beard and the clothing. Emma began the accusation she had prepared (“I have avenged my father and they will not be able to punish me. . .”), but she did not finish it, because Mr. Loewenthal had already died. She never knew if he managed to understand.

The straining barks reminded her that she could not, yet, rest. She disarranged the divan, unbuttoned the dead man’s jacket, took off the bespattered glasses and left them on the filing cabinet. Then she picked up the telephone and repeated what she would repeat so many times again, with these and with other words: Something incredible has happened. . . Mr. Loewenthal had me come over on the pretext of the strike. . . He abused me, 1 killed him . . .

Actually, the story was incredible, but it impressed everyone because substantially it was true. True was Emma Zunz’s tone, true was her shame, true was her hate. True also was the outrage she had suffered: only the circumstances were false, the time, and one or two proper names.

Nasty but brilliant isn’t it? Just buy “Labyrinths” by Jorge Luis Borges who I rate with JRRT in my literary heaven though for different reasons. OK, that is just a starter. Really try “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” or… You can get it from Amazon for seven or eight quid and it will change your life.

I read Borges for the first time utterly stunned by his brilliance. He is for the mind what JRRT is for the soul. Together they are an Aleph.

Or you could buy the asexual, celibate Morrissey’s autobiography and I’m considering what to write here- a compendium of profoundly single malt shite. I have mentioned it before. The total wallop of the cod it truly must be.

Borges is brilliant and if you have a few Christmas gifts to buy then… Not for me. I have all of Borges which is a very Borgesian lie.

The Overhead.

I will remember to the end of my life the way that his reserve cracked a little when I gave him his “hacker” ribbon at Penguicon 2003 – how the child who’d been told he couldn’t be a programmer because he was “no good at maths” felt on finally knowing, all the way down, that we accepted him as one of our own.

Because Terry loved us. He loved everybody, most of the time, but he loved the people of the clacks especially. We were one of his roads not taken, and he (rightly!) saw himself in our earnestness and intelligence and introversion and determined naivete and skewed sense of humor and urge to tinker. It mattered to him that we loved him, and in the unlikely event there’s an afterlife it will matter to him still.

Our own Sam quoting on my post about the death of Terry Pratchett. I get it and so, very clearly, did Sir Terry – the sheer exaltation of coding. I think, perhaps, Pratchett felt it when on a roll writing. You do feel like a Small God doing something to the porpoise at a keyboard. You get the same with pencil and paper mathematics. Perhaps more so for me. You simply don’t know where you end. It is sober intoxication (although I have to admit to doing pissed physics on occasion). I have had it with things like fluid mechanics and electromagnetism. It’s a rush and you have to be careful because your mind can just and skip to the step after next quicker than your hand can scribble it and it can turn into utter gibberish. You can do the same with a keyboard. Maybe one of the reasons I always use Thinkpads is that the Trackpoint ties you into the system more tightly. It’s like HOTAS on an F-16. You might think it is merely more convenient or whatever but it is about a merging of systems. It is transcendental (and that is not an expensive trip to the dentist). It is a rush. It is almost mystical. It is being wired on your own skill. A narrow technical skill no doubt but in the academic-ish setting I’d rather take the cocaine of that than the valerian of poring over dusty tomes and producing something “scholarly”. It is Yeat’s “Lonely Impulse of Delight” rather than flying an A320 from Manchester to Paris and back again. It is moments worth years.

Sir Terry grokked this. I bet he felt it when he got the mot just.

So, it is with that lonely impulse of delight that a truly great memorial is to be erected to Sir Terry that shall last until the last disk spins down unlike the statue near the Whitehall piggery of a skinny borderline peado commie in a nappy that was recently erected. They have form on that score. Why do they have a fine equestrian statue of Richard I when he spent bugger all time in England, didn’t speak English and ultimately almost bankrupted the country largely due to a fit of pique.

This is a truly fitting tribute to Sir Terry and it shall last whilst information exists. It is The Overhead. It is everything. It is the it from bit.

Tech-savvy admirers of the late Terry Pratchett have hit upon an idea for a particularly appropriate memorial. It will be everywhere and nowhere, hiding in the code of the internet.

Pratchett’s 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal, tells of the creation of an internet-like system of communication towers called “the clacks”. When John Dearheart, the son of its inventor, is murdered, a piece of code is written called “GNU John Dearheart” to echo his name up and down the lines. “G” means that the message must be passed on, “N” means “not logged”, and “U” means the message should be turned around at the end of a line. (This was also a real world tech joke: GNU is a free operating system, and its name stands, with recursive geek humour, for “GNU’s not Unix”). The code causes Dearheart’s name to be repeated indefinitely throughout the system, because: “A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.”


We shall all live forever in the overhead. That is perhaps a scary thought but not all scary thoughts are bad. Sir Terry in the ether for all eternity or at least whilst there are still ones and zeroes is something I just love.

Terry Pratchett

It was with great sadness that I heard today of the death of Sir Terry Pratchett. I have a signed copy of The Colour of Magic. I have read a lot of his stuff over the years and have a particular fondness for the Guards stories.

Sir Terry of course developed almost the cruelest disease, Alzheimer’s (which I have seen personally and it is truly an embuggeration) and died aged 66.

He will be missed not least in this house but also globally.

The tweet that announced his death

Farewell then Sir Terry. Your work shall last forever.

The Miller’s Tail…

So Maria Miller, Sec State for Culture has fallen on her sword (for I am slain iDave!) due to her diddling expenses.

What the flying fuck do we have such a position for, apart from some croney of iDave diddling expenses, obviously?

Have you been to the National Gallery (it’s free by the way – and my favourite art gallery in the World*). Did Turner need a Department of Culture to paint his piccies? Did Francis Bacon? I recently saw some of his in Amsterdam recently**. Did Tolkien need one to write Britain’s favourite books? Did Elgar? Did the Beatles? The Stones? Does Adele? Do you or me? God help us Shakespeare managed to make it without the state!

Culture is simply what we do. In a sense it is what we are. We just do it. From posting video of a cat doing something amusing on Youtube to the Elgar violin concerto we just do it. In this case “we” is Kyung-wha Chung. She is my fave fiddler ever -do listen to the rest – it’s great***. And I have a weakness for the violin concerto. And that is her with the LSO conducted by Solti. Neither are Brits but Elgar was. And in a real sense that kind of sums up “culture” for me in the sense that here we have a piece of music played by a Korean/American with the orchestra conducted by a Hungarian/mainly American with an honorary British knighthood. What I mean is Elgar has “stretch”. All true culture has. Elgar is quintessentially English and not from a rich background (at one point he was employed to conduct an orchestra in the local lunatic asylum) but that his music can reach from Seoul to Budapest to Chicago and touch people enough to play it that well says something.

I have been to a folk festival (for my sins). It was curious. Apart from getting Brahms und Liszt (it was a stag do) it struck me how parochial (and in extreme cases nationalistic – not in a good way****). True culture is in a sense beyond borders. God help me I am English but I can’t stand the Tory club Little-Englander with his G&T any more than I can stick the “shop local, think global” lot with faux tribal tattoos. I was going to get one if I’d completed my PhD – my equation. Alas for me and an inker this did not come to pass. Folk is shite anyway. But what I was really trying to say is… I once came across in Georgia (USA – not entering the Putindoom) a fellow who expressed surprise at my mere existence. He declared a desire (and he was well adult) not only to never leave the USA (for there be dragons elsewhere ) but to never leave the state of Georgia. I’d just done a 2,500 mile road trip round the SE USA. I guess I just like globalization and that Huge Furnished Shitting-Stall can get his locally-sourced onions off behind his organic arras.

Anyway, that is getting seriously off the point (if there ever was one*****). This I like. (Aside – there is a shop in central Amsterdam that sells Brit stuff called “Arkwrights”).

Yes there was. Culture. It is universal and natural. It should be allowed to just happen but it is intrinsically global (and that scares people). Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against “local colour” but our culture is increasingly self generating and global. That does not mean it is less diverse. Gods no! You can get decent sushi in Manchester******. If that means the Eccles cake is heading the way of the sauropods then so be it. Mind, in Porthmadog you can get excellent fish and chips (but fuck all else). And they all speak Welsh! But that is not my point. You expect good fish of whatever sort in a fishing port. And good chips anywhere (apart from Amsterdam).

Culture happens. It can be global. It can be local. It can be both. Concentrating on the local is absurd in the age of jet planes and youtube in my eyes. The more it goes global the better I think. I have God knows how many channels off my Sky dish. I can watch a Nigerian soap opera if I want – I don’t because they are piss-poor but… Why do we need a culture secretary at all? Why when we have Easyjet? Why when we have the internet? Why when within walking distance I have have Chinese, Italian,Spanish and Indian take-aways/restaurants? Why have a culture secretary?

*I’ve been to quite a few of the greats.
**See, I’m not uncultured. I could have gone to the ‘Dam and spent my time bombed out of my box sucking dope from bongs shaped like penises. I went to the maritime museum, the Jewish history museum and… Mind the food over there ain’t great. I did eat kangaroo mind (a first for me) but it was bloody awful. Having said that it might be just due to the Dutch tendency to serve Flintsonian portions and bugger the quality. And chips with everything.
***But not as great.
****Not that that was anything like that.
*****There wasn’t really.
******My brother would disagree because he’s lived for several years in Japan.

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

This is an answer to Sam about words, meaning and control.

George Orwell got it right. Partly right but this (though the pdf has sps) is bang on the money. This is arguably the single most important work of fiction of the C20th. It’s quite long but please do read. And I make no apology for possibly re-posting.

Where Orwell went wrong was the “boot on the face”. Totalitarianism (read as unreality) does not need violence. It can be done “softly”. Borges clocked that one. That matters. That matters a lot. Why? Well… It is harder to resist.

What strikes me as the genius of the work is all too various but I’ll say a few things. Without nouns (and Tlön lacks even the concept of nouns) science is not possible. Without science civilization (as we know it) is not possible. The second thing is that Borges wrote this in 1940 and in a sense it has come to pass. The real, physical world, is less important than the virtual one to many. Yes and I sort of include myself here. The possibility of a Tlön happening is very, well, possible in an age of computer games and stuff like that.

Pope Francis is dead wrong when he talks about how materialistic we are. That is not the problem. Our lack of connection with the material is the real problem. Pope Francis ought to know this because Catholicism is a materialistic religion in the sense that it believes stuff exists. Father Brown knew this and he didn’t even materially exist except in the mind of G K Chesterton and on my bookshelves. Of course these days “materialist” is a dirty word because it is taken to mean “greedy”. Believing that matter exists is not the same thing as wanting more shoes than Victoria Beckham. I only have two feet anyway. So I am a materialist. I didn’t do a physics degree to learn at the final lecture none of this actually exists. So matter matters. And therefore nouns matter. Without them we don’t have stuff or even a way of describing stuff.

What we do have is eternal procession of things happening. We have Tlön which is a lie. OK, I’ll grant you Quantum Mechanics is a bit vague on stuff but that’s QMech for you and you didn’t expect the base-code of the Universe to be easy did you? I do know what I just said there. What I’m trying to say is things happen and they happen to things.

Right, I shall now (for my next trick) try to put the cat into a box.

I bet Erwin Schrödinger never did that. Taking dear little Timmy (who puked on the stairs this morning) to the vet is a grim ordeal which involves losing more skin than Cher having a facelift.

Timmy, you are not going into a box, yet.

Govt. propose removal of AGW from under 14s curriculum, Guardianistas outraged

Oh dear, so sad, too bad. I am motivated to play a tune on Nick’s micro-violin.

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed “our duty to future generations”.

Climate change? Let’s inject some honesty here, Juliette. When you say climate change you actually mean Anthropogenic Global Warming. You know, that humungous politico-scientific scam that has finally been falsified to the point that even warmist scientists pro-AGW climatologists activists are admitting their evidence climate models were not merely wrong but very wrong. All the accruing, real life evidence to the AGW contrary has a lot of warmists on the run; at least the ones who are astute enough to see which way the empirical wind is blowing. To be frank, I see this draft, should it be adopted, as a welcome reversal of the political interference that forced AGW into the curriculum and propagandised our kids, scaring them stupid with visions of a greenie auto-da-fe. And this was initiated by the very same government that spectacularly failed in its duty to ensure that future generations weren’t burdened with the biggest debt in UK history.

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the “efficacy of recycling”, again as a chemistry subject.

What’s this? An outbreak of common sense regarding sustainable development? Can’t have that…

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue.

Yes, all those brainwashed pre-fabricated neo-inquisitors little activists lost to the cause. What a tragedy.

“What you seem to have is a major political interference with the geography syllabus,” said the government’s former science adviser Prof Sir David King. He said climate change should be taught alongside the history of – successful – past attempts to curb chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is blamed for the depletion of the ozone layer, and air pollution caused by coal fires and cars.

And King, who took the Labour coin as its chief scientific advisor, wasn’t politically motivated by his paymaster’s agenda at all.

“If all of these aren’t issues for geography classes, then where should they be taught?” asked King. “It would be absurd if the issues around environmental pollution weren’t core to the curriculum.I think we would be abdicating our duty to future generations if we didn’t teach these things in the curriculum.”

Assuming that carbon dioxide is a pollutant – which it isn’t.

The draft contrasts with the existing curriculum: under the heading of geography, there are several mentions of the interdependence of humans and their environment and the impact of that on change, including “environmental change”. The current syllabus explicitly discusses sustainable development and “its impact on environmental interaction and climate change”.

The current syllabus is explicitly biased when it comes to the warmist interpretation of “climate change”. No sensible person would argue against a balanced curriculum. So what does that make you and your pals, Juliette?

“It’s just hollowed out argument,” said John Ashton, the government’s climate change envoy until last summer, and a founder of the independent not-for-profit group E3G. “Climate change should have as much prominence as anything in teaching geography in schools.”

If you listen hard enough you can hear the sound of this rent-seeker’s P45 being printed out. How I love the sound of greenie wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s so cathartic.

The shift of any mention of climate change from geography to chemistry “makes me more concerned, not less”, said Ashton. “What’s important is not so much the chemistry as the impact on the lives of human beings, and the right place for that is geography.”

Because who cares what atmospheric chemists and physicists have to say. Science has no place in climatology. Yes, I can see that now…

The proposed changes, which are still under consultation by the Department for Education (DfE), were broadly welcomed by other groups, including the Geographical Association which represents more than 6,000 geography teachers, and the Royal Geographical Society.

So the geographers are happy about the proposed changes. That kind of puts a spanner into the greenies gears, surely.

“In the past, in some instances, young people were going to start on climate change without really knowing about climate,” said Rita Gardner, the RGS director, who does, however, want climate change taught at GCSE and A-level. “What we have got [in the new draft] is a much better grounding in geography, and it has the building blocks for a much better understanding of climate change and sustainability.”

That’s all good and dandy. I don’t have a problem with climate change being on the curriculum but let’s make sure it’s based on science and not on faith, okay? And let’s hear both sides of the sustainability ideology. And how it measures up to the fact that if CO2 is such a dangerous pollutant why are we about to burn millions of tons of US trees in a ludicrous attempt to decarbonise ourselves back into the pre-industrial era?

A DfE spokesman said the idea that climate change was being excised from the national curriculum was nonsense: “All children will learn about climate change. It is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum.”

Three cheers for the science curriculum. So long as it isn’t dumbed down with AGW bias as it currently is.

Supporters of the government’s move pointed out that geography teachers could still teach specific issues such as “how human and physical processes interact to have an impact on and form distinctive landscapes”.

Putting the geography back into geography and (hopefully)removing the pro-AGW activism. What’s not to like?

Other potential lead-ins to climate change include specified teaching about ecosystems, the accumulation of toxic materials in natural life, and the difficulty for some species in adapting to changes in their environment.

Yes, but let’s not limit that accumulation of toxic materials to non-toxic CO2, eh? And please let me witness the struggle of greenies as they twist in the wind (sic) to prevent changes to their cosy little authoritarian environment.

A source at the Liberal Democrat-led Department for Energy and Climate Change said they were relaxed about the changes: “There’s nothing from the DfE that says climate change is off the agenda or will never be taught. Sensible teachers will look at that as the broadest of signposting.”

So how come the LibDem-led DECC refuses to look at the broadest of signpostings that AGW is one huge crock of the proverbial?

However, the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) said climate change was too important to be left to the whim of individual teachers.

Christ on a pogo stick! If the Guardian scrape the bottom of the activist barrel much harder they’ll run out of barrel.

“It appears climate change is being systematically removed from the curriculum, which is not acceptable when this is the biggest challenge our generation is going to face, the biggest challenge future generations are going to focus on,” said Camilla Born, an international expert at UKYCC.

Sadly hyperbole isn’t being systematically removed from the greenie rhetoric which is clearly too big a challenge for those suffering from a failure of logic and the ability to read the draft correctly.

Critics also point out that the danger of waiting until GCSE courses to teach about climate change in any depth is that only a minority of pupils study geography at that level.

But strangely those same critics fail to point out that despite brainwashing children to the greenie cause, the majority dump the main subject pushing the AGW BS hypothesis at the first available opportunity. Looks suspiciously like the kids are far smarter than the greenies want to believe.

Sarah Lester, a policy researcher specialising in climate change education at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at Imperial College, London, said also rejected the argument that pupils first needed to learn the “building blocks” before they were taught about climate change. Such issues were already taught in the three sciences, even religious education and citizenship – and “all come together in geography”, said Lester. “I don’t think that’s what’s being done: I think it [climate change] is just being stripped out of the curriculum.”

Ah, the fragrant aroma of warmist rent-seeker panic. Shame it can’t be bottled.

Back in Britain.

I have been back in Britain a few days (it feels like years), my impressions are….

“Evening Standard” on the late night-early morning train from the airport.

Weird article attacking “golf club Nazis” (for such clearly Nazi things as likeing Monty Python – no the article made no sense to me either). I have now remembered that this article was supposed to prove that “Citizenship” classes-tests should teach immigrants how to claim government benefits.  No I do not know why that is supposed to be a good (not a bad) thing  – or what it has got to do with Monty Python.

Odd letters to the editor saying they supported the government’s policy of reducing state spending (what reduction in state spending?) but wanted more spending on X, Y, Z – such as railways to places which already have railways going to them.

A big article on the “living wage” idea, which showed no idea of what a labour market is – and how trying to increase wages (with no increase in productivity) can only increase unemployment. But quoted various “leading conservatives” as being in support of the “living wage” concept, as a way of fighting the multinational corporations (why would a conservative want to do that?).

And an article by Mr Cameron on “keeping the spirit of the games alive” – but I could not bring myself to read it.

Back in Kettering told that Holocaust memorial day was used as an excuse for death-to-Israel speeches (killing six million Jews in the 1940s was wrong – but killing another six million Jews now would be good, because Jews are Nazis or something…. a bit like the golf club people?).

Visit London – go round bookshops. Leftist books are the ones pushed forward (on bits of board) or turned to face the customers. Pro free market books very rare in the London bookshops anyway. Do the shareholders in Waterstones, W.H. Smiths, and Foyles know that the staff (including the managers?) want them robbed and murdered?

And why do people employed in comfortable bookshops hate “capitalists” and “capitalism” anyway (it is something to do with the shareholders likeing Monty Python? or are they Jews? or perhaps they play golf?). Anyway the people in London appear to be very prosperious – try to force down “credit bubble city” thoughts….

Lots of students – perhaps this “education” thing explains a lot…..

Try to see the film “Zero Dark Thirty” in Kettering – but it is only on late at night in the cinema. So they can say that there is not much call for it? Something I have noticed before with non P.C. films – they are either not shown at all in the local cinema, or they are shown only once a day and an irritating time.

Notice that leftist newspapers (such as the “I”) still have special stands at the local supermarket or (like the ultra Keynesian “Financial Times”) are raised on boards to make them more visible than other newspapers. Why?

Leftist magazines also still pushed and non leftist ones not. Even “Time” magazine (which is not even a British magazine and has no British news in it) put in favoured position – for no reason.

British television and radio news (and television and radio comedy) scream, gag, slump to floor…….

Oh yes – I almost forgot…..

Hour long speech (loud enough to be a speech anyway) on the train to London from a young person who worked in the Cabinet Office (amongst other places) about how he went to see Barack Obama sworn in again – and had the words “Barack Obama” written into his flesh. Supposedly Comrade Barack is a great leader for “our people” (the gentleman had an English accent) and lots of words about Barack Obama’s skin colour (which was the same as that of the person giving the speech).

Does this chap understand that he is a racist? Or does he have some some sort of Frankfurt School way out of basic logic?

Anyway his friends seemed most impressed by his words. And he did make a couple of references to things other than Mr Obama’s skin colour. For example the importance of “networking” to gain money from the state (I suppose the word “networking” is a word that modern people use for “corrupt influence”) and how much money (1.2 million) a friend of his had raised for the Obama campaign.

Oh, of course, also how people joined the “public sector” to “help people”. The young gentleman was expensively dressed – so clearly the “public sector” (the taxpayers) have helped him, and his “networking friends”.

The wit and wisdom of Raymond Chandler…

I like Raymond Chandler. I like him a lot. I can be obtained to expound on this for $25 a day plus expenses which are mostly whiskey and gasoline.

Chandler was a pulp writer but dear Gods his prose put most of his more “literary” contemporaries in the shade.

Did DH Lawrence ever write a line like this…

From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.


It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

No! Lawrence was concerned about fretting about his “John Thomas” – I seriously defy anyone of normal sense to read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and not collapse in histrionics. Not because it’s funny – it isn’t.

More Chandler…

Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.

The minute you try to talk business with him he takes the attitude that he is a gentleman and a scholar, and the moment you try to approach him on the level of his moral integrity he starts to talk business.

Good critical writing is measured by the perception and evaluation of the subject; bad critical writing by the necessity of maintaining the professional standing of the critic.

Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.

I do a great deal of research – particularly in the apartments of tall blondes.

I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along that worked.

I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday.

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.

Philip Marlowe is of course a wonderful creation. A profoundly decent man in an indecent world. The kinda bloke you’d like to know but not “blokish” if you see what I mean – he is an ace chess-player, reads poetry and bemoans the vileness of LA. He’s good looking but not in a pretty boy way, hard as nails, ferociously independent and fiercely bright. Oh, and he’ll always stand you a drink. And Hell’s teeth, he got his break with probably the greatest prose stylist in English of the last century. And Chandler’s essay that explains him, “The Simple Art or Murder” is to kill for.

Though don’t do that in California or a guy in a coat and a hat will stick a 1911 semi-auto chambered to .38 super in your ribs.

Hands off the Bard, you EU Statist Bastards!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Why did I quote all that? Well the EU is being encouraged to make Shakespeare…our English Shakespeare, their Euro Laureate!

The cocky little swine have already had it away with Ode To Joy for an Anthem, even when the words and music were written before Germany was even a Nation, let alone a member of the EU. Want an Anthem? write a bloody new one you lazy rent seeking gits! Something by Kraftwerk will probably do.

They’ve been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (Which the world is still chuckling in disbelief about) and now they want Willy the Shake too!

No way Jose, Barroso and Rumpy Pumpy; You can have Shakespeare as a European Icon when you prise the Sonnets from my cold dead hand!

Who do you think he was celebrating smacking up side the head in Henry V?

The truth about NAZIs

They’re actually “Nazis”.

The pure evil of Herr Hitler (scratch that “Herr” – it is a title of respect and honour that Hitler did nothing to command). I think it was Churchill who called him a “guttersnipe”. And he was right. Hitler was not some great Satanic figure. He was scum with terrible hair. And a ‘ta ch to (literally) die for.

Anyway, back to the point… I recently read on a Kindle a book on etymology and it covered “NAZI” or “Nazi”.

It had this to say. The NAZIs never called themselves “Nazis”. This was an invention of their opponents in the ’30s and a clever one.

Excursion: I never actively took part in the French or German exchanges at my school but I do recall hanging with a load of Germans and finding them by and large to be capital fellows (and some fit birds too – although the German for “nipple” literally translates as “Breast-wart”). The French were unspeakable and all wore jeans with Asterix transfers. The Germans were from Hamburg and termed a rather dim-witted idler of my English acquaintance “The Bavarian” for his dullness. In much the same way the English take ze piss out of the Irish as the Yanks do about Polacks etc. This is important background.

Nazi had been throughout most of Germany a term of abuse against those perceived as “thicker than the LA Times Sunday Edition” before Adolf even soiled a nappy. “Nazi” is apparently a shortened-form of “Ignatious” which was a common Bavarian name. Why? Despite the reformation Bavaria remained stollenly Catholic and Ignatious Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) had a fan-base.

So, when an upstart PFC from Austria starts gobbing off the obvious (to a German speaker) shortening of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party term “Nazi” is coined because it is already a term of abuse and it fits because their power-base was in Bavaria. And it looks like a suitable acronym.

It was clever. So clever it utterly failed to work and fifty million deaths later…

So that is where “NAZI” comes from. It isn’t an acronym and indeed if you used the term in Germany 1933-1945 you’d be for the high-jump.

On the eve of a New Year this is quite an unpleasant post. I apologise but offer this from the incomparable site “Cats that look like Hitler”.

You guys are horrible! You should be ashamed of yourselves! This siteis completely vile. What do you think gives you the right to make funof one of the world’s greatest strategist in the history of time (asidefrom the right to free speech, don’t give me that jargin, though, asmuch as I contradicted myself). I hope you all fall into a chamberthat’s possibly filled with gas!!
- Barney

(all sic – for Barney is clearly a moron). And “strategist”. He lost. Big time. I mean, yeah, declare war on The United States, the British Empire and the Soviet Union pretty much simultaneously if you want to end-up shooting yourself. I have spent many hours playing Sid Meier’s “Civ” and Hitler’s antics were not strategy. They were mere arse-wittery of the first order.

So now for the cute pussy…



Happy New Year folks!

Christmas Surprise

I got me a Chrissy pressie.

I put up a post a short time back, telling you all of my love for Thomas Grays Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.

Well, that posting led me back to this one, from some years earlier, and in turn I read this comment from Permanentexpat, who, incidentally, I haven’t seen around these parts for some time.

Anyway, To His Coy Mistress. I hadn’t read that for simply ages darling, so I did a quick Google, and came up with the Wikipedia page. It looked worth spending some time on, with a whole load of good stuff about the poem, but I was a bit busy at the time so I stuck the link into my Must Read Later list and got on with my life.

So, later finally arrived yesterday and I had a read.

Now, bear with me, this is going somewhere. Causality can be a long chain and a wonderful thing.


Naughty but Nice.

I’ve read “Midnight’s Children”. It is pretty cool. Now I read it in bed over many days. It was pretty ragged at the start but it was falling apart by the end. It’s a great book. It is also by any standards something I would call unfilmable.

So they filmed it. They did.

Get it via Amazon. It’s worth reading. Don’t see the movie.

Friday night Jabberwocky

So, the Muppets?

The University of Utah Singers?

Or Count Dracula himself?

The terrible year of 1986.

A post on an often overlooked year – 1986. A year in which events occured that had (and are having) terrible consequences.

A British person when hearing of the date “1986″  will think (if they think of anything) of the “Single European Act” – formally it came into effect in 1987, but the agreement was made in 1986. Mrs Thatcher was told that the agreement with the European Economic Community (as some still called it at the time) would lead to free trade, an open market, and was, therefore a good thing for a free market person to agree to.

Of course Mrs Thatcher’s information came from officials – note to all politcians, the moment you start to rely on official information (and interpretations) you are lost. For you are no longer really in power – the officials are.

This is not hidesight – I remember as a university undergraduate knowing what the Single European Act was really about, and my friends all knew as well. We all knew that it meant that the EEC (EC – now EU) would be able to impose any regulation it liked in vast areas of life (the British veto having gone  – in these areas) and under vague words like “health” the Euros would be able to crush liberty in this land. The later works of such people Christopher Booker and Richard North just confirmed what we expected to happen. Lord Denning (and many others) had predicted the crushing of Common Law principles by Euro edicts (of course happily extended by British officials – overjoyed to have all restraints on their power destroyed by the Single European Act) at the time.

It was not an open market – it was a “single market” (a very different thing). In an open market customers decide what they want to buy – in a single market officials decide what customers should buy.

However, other terrible things happened in the year 1986.

The other great evil to hit Britain in 1986 was the “Big Bang” in the City of the London – the financial centre.

“But that was deregulation Paul” – it was deregulation, if by “deregulation” you mean government intervention ripping up the rules of private clubs and subtituting its own rules – a government definition of a “free market” defined not by what people had actually evolved over time (by voluntary interaction), but by following the “perfect competition” model from neoclassical economics text books.

There is some evidence that even the people who originally thought up the perfect competition conception only thought of it as theorectical tool (not as a picture of how the world was – or should be), and certainly the Austrian School of economics disputes the concept from start to finish – but the government went ahead anyway. It knew what a market “should” be – and if the people who actually built the markets thought differently, they must be wrong.

Remember although the London stock exchange was created in 1801, there was no law preventing anyone setting up a rival stock market (not before 1986 anyway). And also no law preventing people buying and selling shares “off exchange”. So the City of London (with all its guild like “restrictive practices”) was actually a voluntary institution. In fact a series of private clubs – covering the selling stocks and shares, insurance, commodities (and so on).

What had “deregulation” actually brought? The end of the great partnerships that created the City (the investment banks) – the partners sold up and ran away (not exactly a vote of confidence in the new order – from people some of whom had been in the City for generations). And the self employed stock brokers (who bought shares for the public) and stock jobbers (who sold shares for companies) were replaced by enterprises that did both (no conflict of interest there) and whose employees tended to have no lasting relationship with clients (they see them as cash cows – no more). And, of course, thousands of pages of government regulations (Financial Services Acts – and agencies to enforce them) with endless box ticking.

Somehow this not really seem like “deregulation” to me – in fact I think it will be the death of the City of London. But only time will tell.

Turning to the United States….

An American will say “1986 is that the year the Republicans lost control of the United States Senate?” – yes it was, but I am not concerned with party politics here. I am concerned with policy.

In 1986 an amnesty Act was passed by the Congress (including the Republican Senate) and signed into law by President Reagan. It was not descibed as an amnesty Act of course – the people who voted for it (and Reagan when he signed it) thought they were “controlling immigration” from this point onwards – and (to start from a clean slate) people who had been in the country a long time (and were nice and good – and had puppy dogs with big eyes) would no longer fear being dragged from their homes by evil jack booted thugs from the government. After all this was how officials (and the media – following academia) explained everything to the politicians, just as they had during the 1965 immigration law debate – which first messed up American immigration law.

“But what is wrong with this Paul – free migration, sounds very libertarian”. So it might be – had the Supreme Court (5-4 some years before 1986) not ruled that government (local, State and Federal) had to give “free” (i.e. paid for by taxpayers) education and other benefits to illegal immigrants – otherwise it was “discriminating” against them.

And the few nice illegals (the ones with the puppy dogs with big eyes – the people who love America dearly and do not wave the Mexican flag and pray for the destruction of the United States, not even slightly) who got amnesty? There turned out to be three million of them and (of course) many more millions of illegals followed them into the United States, believeing that they would eventually also get amnesty. As Comrade Barack is doing by Executive Order right now, after all the illegals vote for him even though they are not citizens, thanks to the “Motor Voter” (a driving license is enough to vote) Act he supported as a Senator.

“We should try to win their support Paul” – a person (regardless of ethnic background) who loves the United States can enter legally right now (join the military – serve your term, and you have citizenship). Yes the American immigration system is a mess (and has been since at least 1965 – the Teddy Kennedy Act), but 1986 made it worse – and made it farcical.  Someone who believes the United States unjustly took land from Mexico in 1848 (ignoring the fact that the Mexican government, a military dictatorship,  also wanted war – and had its own expansionist plans) are not likely to vote for people who do not hate the United States. Odd that they are so eager to vote for Barack Obama – of course not odd at all. But have “free migration” as long as there are no government benefits (“free” education for the children and so on) – except, oh dear, there is that Supreme Court judgement  (see above) of some 30 years ago.

Lastly there is the another major Act of Congress from 1986 – one that may help to destroy civilisation, and not just in the United States.

Again neither the people in Congress or President Reagan understood what they were supporting (the officials, media, and academia – advised them again). They thought they were supporting an Act that prevented evil hospitals throwing women on to the street in the middle of giving birth (seriously – that is how the Act was presented to them, after all it is so wonderful for the reputation of a hospital to throw a women who is the middle of giving birth on to the street, they were doing it all the time……).

What did the Act really do?

It made “emergency” treatment (without proof of payment) compulsory at all private hospitals with an ER (formally a hospital was not covered by the Act if it in no way had anything to do with government schemes – in the age of Medicare try and avoid any involvement with government schemes…..).

Wonderful – free treatment for the poor (indeed for anyone – one might try and chase them up afterwards, but about half of them never pay so what is the point….). Accept someone has to pay to pay for all this “free” treatment – so the bill (as with all government mandates) got passed on to the people who were paying their bills. The people who had carried on with private insurance in spite of the previous government interventions – such as Medicare and Medicaid (which has the same effect on health cover costs as government backing for student loans had on college tuition fees – they sent costs into the upper atmosphere) and the endless regulations (insurance mandates and so on) that have so increased costs. No surprise – insurance bills (that now carry all the “free” treatment) have exploded since 1986.

American government (State and Federal) interventions have been pushing up the cost of healthcare since doctor licensing spread from State to State like a plague (that this is about “protecting the sick” was exposed as a lie by Milton Friedman – more than half a century ago, it really has the same purpose as lawyer licensing, to increase producer incomes by keeping people out of the market) and the FDA (this agency was made even worse in 1962 – turning the development of new medical drugs incredibly expensive and delaying their introduction for years, thus costing tens of thousands of human lives). However, it was the Act of 1986 that really sent American health cover into a death spiral – that pushed the costs of insurance (for the old mutual aid “fraternal” system had long been undermined) beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Most people still oppose “Obamacare” (which will complete the destruction of independent health care in the United States – replaceing it with crony capitalist “private providers” who will depend upon the government – till the government decides to get rid of the crony capitalists, as it already has with the providers of government backed student loans), but the majority of people that are opposed was not a big enough majority to stop it (let alone repeal it). After all  everyone agrees that “something must be done” and the “something” is always even more collectivism – “free” health care for all “children” up to the age of 26 (SCHIP on steroids – but paid for by the insurance companies, i.e. by their customers) no “denial” (i.e. honest priceing) of medical cover for “pre exiting conditions” and on and on – the honest insurance companies (oh yes there are some) will be bankrupted over time, and only the cronies (those in bed with the government – hoping to become “private providers” for government funded health cover) will remain. Already more and more employers are dropping health insurance for their employees – as they have worked out that the fines will be cheaper than paying the inflated (inflated by Obamacare regulations) costs of medical insurance.

Does anyone really believe that Mitt “Romneycare” Romney is going to be willing or able to repeal all this?

So American health care will fall – and more than this will fall. For this entitlement program is added to all the existing entitlements – the ones that are already bankrupting the United States.

So the United States will go into de facto bankruptcy. And it will not fall alone – most other major Western nations stand on the knife edge of economic collapse already. The fall of the United States will drag us over the cliff with it.

So, overall, 1986 was not a good year. It may even lead to the “Progressive” dream (of Richard Ely, mentor of  “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, more than a century ago) of the desruction of “selfish capitalism”. For the history of the last century (including 1986) has not been an accident – and nor has it been some hole-in-the-wall “conspiracy”.  On the contrary it has been out in the open  – for those who bothered to look.

The Progressives were open in their aims – and even in their means. They openly said in their books (the century old books that, for example, Glenn Beck tried to bring to public attention) that they would use schools, universities and the newspapers to fundementally transform society – by manipulating opinion (both public and political elite opinion). Truth does not matter to the Progressives (it has never mattered to them) only their cause matters – and they will use any lie and distortion to further their cause – the cause of the destruction of existing society, of “selfish capitalism”. The Fabians in Britain had much the same aims – and used much the same methods. Including the desire to dominate education – not just at university level, but at school level (via text books and “teacher training” – step forward Comrade Bill Ayers and “social justice” education).

The books are more subtle today – such books as “Looking Backward”, “Philip Dru: Administrator” and “New Deal” (oh yes there was such a book) were a lot more blatent in their love of tyranny and hatred of freedom (sorry hated of selfish capitalism) than “Freakonomics”,  “Nudge” and “Thinking – Fast and Slow”, but they have the same message. The message is as follows …. most people are vermin (“Homer Simpson” types) they are bound to be maniputed by someone (most likely by greedy capitalists) so why should not the noble we (the enlightened elite) manipulate them – for their own good. “Thinking Fast and Slow” is the most fundemental of the lot – it openly denies that people (apart from, nudge and wink, the noble author and his noble readers) are human beings, they do not really think (they do not really have free will) so someone must control them – for their own good……. Yes it is “So You Think That You Think” the fictional collectivist book (aimed at making people accept that they are vermin – fit only to be controlled by an enlightened elite) that Ayn Rand makes up in her novel “Atlas Shrugged” back in the 1950s (the collectivists never really change – and their “science” is actually as old as Plato).

“But Paul – how do you know the authors of Freakonmics and Nudge share the idealogy of the author of Thinking – Fast and Slow?” Errr  – the praise they give the latter work (on its front and back cover – and when interviewed) is a little hint. I did tell you that this was not a hole-in-the-wall conspiracy – it is quite open, if you look. What more do you want – for the evil elite to have glowing red eyes and tenticles? Sorry, but they look like ordinary folk – and have gentle voices full of charming wit (whereas their enemies, people like me, sound like old storm crows).

The Progressives may not share the doctrines of the Marxists (although modern Frankfurt School “cultural” Marxists do not seem to make a big thing of the actual doctrines of Karl Marx either) – but they share their aim (the destruction of selfish capitalism). Ditto the alliance with the Black Flag people (the so called “anarchists” who happily cooperate with the Red Flag Marxists in such things as the international “Occupy” movement and the unions the collectivists control, for you see the Black Flag “anarchists” do not really oppose collectivism, they just want to rename the state “the people” and then get on with the looting and killing) – the Progressives may (privately) sneer and their uncouth allies – but leading Progressives (such as Mr George Soros and the other rich people who fund such things as the “Tides Foundation”) still fund them. And Progressive teachers and college Profs understand that both the Red Flag Marxists and the Black Flag “anarchists” are allies – allies against “selfish capitalism”, the old world they must destroy in order to build their perfect world.

Of course I am a reactionary – I do not believe that the interventions (the ever higher government spending and ever greater regulations) make the world a better place. And many of the Progressives do not believe that either – they believe (along with the Marxists who follow the “Cloward and Piven” doctrine and others) that the ever greater statism will destroy the present world – and, thus, (in their minds) leave things open for the building of the perfect world.

The “Fabian Window” (perhaps the most blatent example of evil turned into a work of art – and the Fabians were natural allies of the Progressives) makes this clear – wolves in sheep’s clothing, trickery and lies (openly praised), the world held over a fire and beaten with hammers (in order to create a better world – regardless of the human cost). George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells openly talked of the tens of millions of human beings they wished to kill (not because they hated them “I do not hate anyone” said Shaw), but simply because they were in the way – in the way of creating the perfect world (the Heaven on Earth). And these evil people remain “liberal” heros to this day – ever seen a television show or a Hollywood film where they are shown as “bad guys”?. And, of course, they went on to support the Soviet Union – with Mr and Mrs Webb pretending that tens of millions of people were not being murdered (remember lying is O.K. if it is for the Progressive cause). Mrs Webb had some doubts, over the mass killings in Poland when the Soviets invaded in 1939 – you know when they were the allies of Adolf Hitler, but Mr Webb simply told her that “in a century no one will even remember this”. All was justified to build the “New Civilisation”.

And the American Progressives were the same. With Hollywood personalities busy doing such things as justifying the Soviet invasion of Finland – “I have been there and it seemed a little Fascist Republic to me” said Lillian Hellman (wife of  Dashiell Hammett [1929 "Red Harvest" evil capitalist America "Poisonville"] – together they made the prototype “celeb” Progressive power couple, both in Hollywood and in literary circles). One could always tell when Hellman was lying – her lips moved, not only was Finland not Fascist but Hellman had not been there.

One could go on and on – and people may already be bored (although in 1986  – and 2012 the Progressive celebs are just as powerful in cultural circles). And there is the standard defence (made by “anti McCarthyites”, even though Joe was actually interested in Communist agents of influence in the government not in the culture,  since the 1940s) “they are not Marxists”.  And they may not be – they may not have read a page of “Das Kapital” . The “Progressives” just share the objectives of the Marxists – the extermination of the existing society of  “selfish capitalism” (and anyone who defends it – rich or poor “henchman of the capitalists”), and the building of the wonderful new perfect world.

However, I am such a reactionary that I not only believe that that their interventionism (their ever higher government spending and ever more regulations) makes the world worse (not better) than it otherwise would be -  I also believe that their wonderful new perfect world (the one they dream of creating on the ashes of the existing world) would be Hell on Earth.

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