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Faith

Ken Ham takes his dogma for a walk

Bill-Nye-vs.-Ken-Ham-Debate

Periodically, the intellectual conflict between science and religion comes to a head in the form of a debate and the results of such debates are often quite interesting and lead into areas of enlightenment that are surprising. Those who say scientists should not take part in such debates are fascists, morons and idiots.

I classify myself a lapsed-Catholic agnostic atheist (that is someone who fundamentally does not believe in god, but as a good scientist cannot prove or disprove his/her non-existence, it’s a very good form of rhetorical macramé), as such the debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Ken Ham CEO of the Creation Museum piqued my interest.

At 2½ hours it is quite a long debate, but you need to go through it all to get a real flavour of the thing, the excerpts simply do not do it justice. As you would expect, neither side expected to win over their opponents, but this was a genuine debate for serious stakes, with the minds of children in classrooms at stake.

(more…)

The Catholic Mass in 155 A.D.

The Catholic Mass in 155 A.D.

Full disclosure: I really posted this mostly because of the music, but the history is interesting too. :>)

YouTube URL;
Video URL as posted on randomjottings.com’s Sept., 2009 directory page

September 30, 2007
Anno Domini 155…

Justin Martyr was one of the early Christian writers. He was a Greek philosopher, and argued his Christian beliefs quite openly with the other philosophers, relying on their common code of being willing to consider all points of view to protect him from official persecution. (Eventually a jealous philosopher did betray him.) He is famous for having sent a letter, The Apology, to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, who was a Stoic philosopher and the father of Marcus Aurelius. Fr. Jay Toborowsky tells how he used Justin in the classroom… [Link to rest of Fr. Toborowsky's piece.]

Read the whole thing at the Anno Domini 155.com’s archive page for Sept., 2009.

To conjure a dark illusion

“In a society that believes in nothing, fear becomes the only agenda. Whilst the 20th century was dominated by a conflict between a free-market Right and a socialist Left, even though both of those outlooks had their limitations and their problems, at least they believed in something, whereas what we are seeing now is a society that believes in nothing. And a society that believes in nothing is particularly frightened by people who believe in anything, and, therefore, we label those people as fundamentalists or fanatics, and they have much greater purchase in terms of the fear that they instill in society than they truly deserve. But that’s a measure of how much we have become isolated and atomised rather than of their inherent strength.”

Dr Bill Durodié is an Associate Fellow of the International Security Programme (ISP) for Chatham House

The above quote is a brief excerpt from Adam Curtis‘ 2004 classic documentary The Power of Nightmares on how black propaganda can create a fantasy of self-delusion which ultimately seduces the body-politic of its producer. This is a compelling interpretation of the history of the creation of Al Qaeda as a phantom enemy to fill the gap caused by the fall of the Soviet Union.

The US Networks have refused to show it, so while it may be familiar to our UK readers, it has probably not received the audience it deserves outside of the UK.

The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares – The Rise of the Politics of Fear

Regardless of whether you believe his interpretation is correct, it is an interesting analysis of the road to Baghdad.

To prevent Cats from accusations of copyright infringement, I will not post links, but I watched all three episodes this afternoon courtesy of Google.

One law for us…

…and another for them.

A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he  was taught that women are worthless.

I don’t recall that being included in the national curriculum.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

Where’s he been living?  Under a rock?  In some dark cave?  Has he never watched TV or read a newspaper?

Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

As mitigating circumstances go this one is thinner than a stick insect’s todger.  Worked like a charm though, didn’t it.

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.

Used to result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.  The precedent this moron of a judge has just set into law has handed paedos of a particular hue a get out of jail free card.  What the Scammel happened to ignorance is no defence?  What happened to justice?  I’ll tell you what’s happened to it.  Our wonderful judiciary just cut off the blind old biddy’s head with that sword of hers and shoved the scales down the hole in her neck!

But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.

I guess Rashid dressing up to look like a schoolboy and standing in the dock clasping his hands in front and staring contritely at his feet did the trick, eh?

Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.

It was all the girl’s fault.  She wasn’t done up in a tent like a human letterbox so Rashid didn’t have a choice.

Gimme a frigging break!  This is Britain we’re talking about, not some medieval shithole.  We don’t have Sharia courts here.

Oh, wait…

They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.

They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.

Yeah, he was so naive, passive and lacking assertiveness he had the forethought to pre-book a room in the hotel.

The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.

Wait.  What the…?

Let’s perform a little re-wind.

…you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.

Not so naive and immature he didn’t know about condoms and what they are for.  Clearly not much of a lily-white ingénue then.  Yet the judge chose to ignore that this paragon of Islamic values went equipped.

I’d say the only naive and immature tosser in the courtroom was Judge Stokes because he’s been had over good and proper.

Rashid then returned home and went straight to a mosque to pray.

Because praying to a Dark Ages warlord who had a nine year old bride is what you do after having sex with a child in a country that locks up paedophiles.  Or at least used to.

He was arrested the following week after the girl confessed what had happened to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers.

It’s a pity the silly girl didn’t confide to her very sensible friend before she met Rashid in the flesh, so to speak.

He told police he knew the girl was 13 but said he was initially reluctant to have sex before relenting after being seduced.

The accused was so reluctant he went to the expense of booking a room and nipping into a chemist for a pack of three. I say chemist since I’m assuming that procuring johnnies from a dispenser in the hotel lavvy is haram.  Or he could have got them from a third party of course.

Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

The name of a school that labels a seven year old a racist for asking another child an innocent question about his skin colour gets splashed all over the papers.  So how come the name of the “school” that teaches its male pupils that women are scum and can be treated as scum gets a pass?  Surely this poison should be weeded out, not protected?

After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.

At which point he was so full of remorse for breaking the law he gave himself up to the police.  Oh, wait.  No he didn’t.

In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.

I’d just love to see the last Ofstead report on this school.  I wonder if it was a glowing, politically correct one?  I can’t wait to see Ofstead explain how rampant Islamic misogyny passed under their radar, accepting, like the judge did, that Rashid isn’t a lying little scrote.  I take it that these Islamic schools are inspected like other faith schools are.  If what Rashid said is true, how many more madrassas in the UK wipe their arses with the national curriculum while under Ofstead’s purview?

When Judge Stokes said Rashid ‘must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut’, defence lawyer Laban Leake said reports suggested Rashid had a ‘degree of sexual naivety’.

Clearly, Rashid wasn’t the only one going round with his eyes shut…

The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community and on this occasion this was perpetuated by his home life.

No shit, Sherlock!  Are we going to see the same largesse handed out to a boy, formerly cloistered in a Catholic school, grooming thirteen year olds and having sex with them?

No?

Then why has Rashid been allowed to get away with it?

‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.

But apparently it’s too far to say that Rashid had a mobile phone and a Facebook account which means he had access to the internet.  With all the news about Muslim child grooming gangs and teachers running off abroad with underage pupils being splashed around the media and internet how can he not have known?

Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided. Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’

Bangs head on table.  It’s not “curious” shit-for-brains, it’s scammelling scandalous!  All those frigging gender equality laws the legal profession print money from vigorously support are being trodden into the mud and all Stokes can say is that it’s curious?  Is he high on crack cocaine or something?  Is he so blinded by political correctness that he can’t see where this will lead?

But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.

Then why isn’t Rashid busy avoiding dropping the soap in a prison bathroom?  He groomed and had sex with an underage girl.  That is a prisonable offence.

‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.

So Rashid is being given this outrageously lenient sentenced for ignoring madrassa teaching?

Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’

Unless some dhimmified Judge is willing to make an exception when it suits him?

The law my left buttock!  British law has become a travesty, a joke, a sham.  It is unfit for purpose.  Judge Stokes should hang up his wig and gown in shame. Letting a paedophile go because he went to the wrong school is an unacceptable defence. and the sentence handed down has no place in any civilised society.

It may amaze you to know…

… that your dear blogger here is now an officially ordained minister of religion. Seriously. I mean really seriously. This cost nothing and for $5 I can get a letter of good standing that enables me to conduct marriages in several US states and some European countries (not the UK). Unless the couple are gay, lesbian or transgender of course (perhaps depending on place – I dunno). The celebrant of course can be any of the above. The Primate of all Ireland (I just find the title funny) himself can be gayer than a tree full of monkeys. Can’t be a woman though. The General Sin-Odd says “No!”

And yes, loads of them are Friends of Dorothy. My brother did archaeology at Durham University and that has a big Divinity School. Utter hive of buggery. Once went to a party there and it was all public school geezers in full evening-dress handing around amyl-nitrate. It was the last night of the Proms. Botting to the rhythm of “Britannia Rules the Waves” was not something my comprehensive school education prepared me for. We made our excuses and got kebabs instead.

Anyway, as an ordained Minister in the The Church of the Latter-Day Dude I do find it odd that I can fill out a web form and marry heterosexual couples but not homosexual couples (the later as far as I am aware). To be honest I find it odd that I can legally marry anyone, anywhere. But it shows something.

The religious organisation I work for (the Quakers) are (after tedious debate – and they make an Ent-moot look “hasty”) want the ability to conduct homosexual marriages. They can’t under law despite being one of the few religious organizations in the UK permitted to conduct heterosexual marriages. So, as I have argued before here, to little effect, this is not a gay rights issue as much as a religious freedom one (they are not alone: Reformed Judaism and most Methodists and a few others are also on this team).

A few months ago an edition of “The Friend” – the Quaker paper popped through the door and carried a very nasty story from Birmingham. A lesbian couple of Quakers wanted a civil partnership. They wanted to get married but they couldn’t, obviously. They wanted it, their church was fine with it (we have gay and lesbian couples round here all the time) but da state says, “nyet”. So they look for having a civil partnership at their place of worship instead… Council says that’s a change of use so requires a health and safety evaluation and that’ll be 800 quid… Because the council regards a CP as different from a wedding for the porpoise of taking ze piss. Possibly they had the monies ear-marked for a “celebration of diversity” but I don’t know and that would be too delicious to even speculate upon.

(Actually I can’t – I haven’t been arsed to send-off the $5 – probably ultra-dudist, that – but I shall – I can provide the dressing gown and the creature feet – you bring a White Russian – deal?).

And then we can go bowling.

And the Dude abides.

The morality of beer, condoms and bombing.

As a Brit I’m used to terrorism – the IRA and all that but the IRA had standards. No they didn’t – they blew-up a remembrance day ceremony. Cunts. Utter cunts but the recent bombings in Nigeria raise the bar somewhat.

Let me be blunt here. Blowing up a churches on Christmas Day is unbelievable cuntery. It is beyond cuntspicable. It is profoundly evil. The people “responsible” for this outrage, Boko Haram did it for the glory of Allah. Well I hope He is fucking proud of His slaves. These are essentially the same fuckers who rioted over Miss World (remember that hilarity) a few years back – like anybody cares! Of course this is all to do with bringing about shariah law. Perhaps they ought to consider whether the banning of beer and bacon and breasts (in a “tasteful” swimsuit mode – the owners of which want to bring about world peace and work with children and animals) is morally more important than not blowing people up. Because regardless of your “morals” (and some folk think of a ham sandwich as a sin) not blowing-up places of worship on an especially holy day really ought to be on your radar but if it isn’t you can supremely fuck off because your “minor morals” are something I cannot take seriously at all. I simply can’t comprehend how you can fuss over dietary laws but are OK with carnage and slaughter.

Because almost every fucker on the planet figured that one out millennia back. Or maybe not. One of the most outrageous things I ever heard was the IRA figured out that a vital part of the initiator of a fertilizer bomb was a condom and being “good Catholics” they worried about the “use of an immoral object”. That was the condom, not a bomb that filled a Transit van. It must be cute to ponder such small moralities but not worry too much about killing and maiming. It must be wonderful to have such moral clarity.

The alternative to the enlightenment

More jolly japes from the wonderful wacky world that Mo built:

A Saudi woman said to be haunted by jinn (spirits) beat and tortured herself with fire until she fell unconscious and died later at hospital.

The 40-year-old woman was admitted with severe burns and injuries to King Fahd hospital in the western town of Madina and doctors said they tried in vain to save her life.

“We have determined that the woman beat herself up and tortured herself with fire because she is gripped by jinn,” police spokesman Colonel Abdullah Al Sarani told the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz.

“Investigation showed the other members of her family are also controlled by jinn…we closed the case as no criminal act is involved.”

“Conservative” philosophy.

“Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions”.

David Hume.

“Reason is the slave of the passions” might be interpreted as a cry of despair – a position that human beings could not control themselves, and are the slaves of urges (either instinctive from our biological evolution, or from environmental experiences – the pointless “nature v nurture” debate,  pointless because there is no room for real human choices, for humans to actually be “beings”, either way). Just because something is a cry of despair does not mean it is not true – human agency (free will) might be an “illusion” (although who is having the illusion if there are no agents, no beings, no “reasoning I”, no MINDS to have the illusion?).

But reason OUGHT to be the slave of the passions?

So if, for example, a man has a passion to rape and murder women (before there is a comeback – I fully accept that David Hume was personally the mildest of men), not only will he be unable to resist this passion, but that he OUGHT not to resist it? That the thing he OUGHT to do is to use his reason (reason defined as no more than a problem solving ability – no different from a computer) to work out the best way to rape and murder women without getting caught.

Why OUGHT?

“Because it is inevitable Paul – because reason is the slave of the passions…..”.

But is that not an “ought from an is” – of which David Hume is not supposed to approve?

Whatever this Humeian doctrine is, it is not “conservative”, it does not represent either the mainstream of Judiao-Christian tradition or the tradition of the mainstream classical world (including the athiest parts of that tradition that are athiest – such as the philosphy of Epicurus).

Yet David Hume is often called a “conservative” inspite of the intense radicalism of the above. This would have astonished even friends of his – such as Edmund Burke (an example of how two people can be friends without either one accepting the other’s philosophy).

The conservative position in philosophy was (then as now) represented by Artistotelianism (please not “Aristotelianism” does not mean “everything Aristotle said”) – although also by the “Scottish” or “Common Sense” School.

What was that?

Well it was the following positions…

That the material universe is real – that it exists independently of our mind’s perception of it.

That the mind also exists, that is not an “illusion” (who is having the illusion if the mind does not exist?).

And that right and wrong, good and evil (I am not going to go into the technical differences between “the right” and “the good” here) exist – they are not just whatever we want them to be. NOT just “boo and cheer words” as the “Logical Positivists” (great admirers of David Hume) were later to put it.

Sound familar at all?

It should – because these three things are also the foundations of Aristelianism (in all its forms – from Thomistic Christian to Randian athiest). It could be argued that the “Scottish School” simply stripped these concepts of Scholastic language (and thus with associations with the Roman Catholic Church).

However, strict Calivinists were quick to claim that the Common Sense school “sat man in judgment of God” so that if (for example) God ordered people to rape, rob and murder this was NOT automatically right just because God ordered it (like mainstream Islam, strict Calvinism DEFINES good and evil by what God orders and forbids – there is no room for reason in fundemental judgement).

Be that as it may, the Common Sense “Scottish Philosophy” School (basically Artistotelianism presented in a Protestant form) contiuned in the United States till very late 19th century (with such people as Noah Porter of Yale and especially James McCosh of Princeton) then the “Pragmatists” (more on them later) and others took over.

Under different names the essential position of both Artistotelianism and the Common Sense school continued. For example, in England with the “Oxford Realists” – Cook Wilson, Harold Prichard (a favourate of mine) and Sir William David Ross (it is no accident that Ross was also a leading scholar of Aristotle – and there were many other students of Aristotelianism at Oxford in the period).

Such people had no great need of the Scottish School – after all they could look back to the Aristotelian tradition of Oxford itself (thanks to the Church of England never falling fully into the hand of strict Calivinists). Or, if they wished, the independent (but fundementally akin) philosophy of Ralph Cudworth of Cambridge (the great foe of Thomas Hobbes).

Cudworth being the chaplin of Parliament during the Civil War. A man who rather confuses historians (a problem they get round by ignoring him) by being chaplin to the side that often claimed to be “The Elect” (a term meaning the saved, the people who have been chosen by God to go to heaven – the term has a strong Calvinist-Augustinian implication that they were chosen before they were born, indeed at the begining of time) whilst also being the strongest FOE of the doctrine of predestination (the doctrine that people are chosen to go to be saved before they were born – and it is naught to do with that they CHOOSE to do) in the 17th century English speaking world. Of course some people of a Presbyterian (Church of Scotland – not Cumberland Presbyterian) background deny that predestination, even so called “double predestination”, implies determinism (the denial of human agency – i.e. that humans are “beings”), indeed James McCosh denied it (to do otherwise would have meant he had to break with the Presbyterian Church). But I have no intention of examining such a position – for the brutal reason that I hold it is not worth examining.

Anyway…. Certainly even in the 18th century English thinkers such as Josiah Tucker (Dean of Gloucester) did not need to run up to Scotland to find out what to think about theology, philosophy, or even economics (for true economics must be based upon the concept of the reasoning, the choosing, “I” – this Tucker understood just as Ludwig Von Mises understood it). They were perfectly capable of working these things out from first principles that are common to human mind – regardless of nationality, “race”, “class” or “historical period”. Kant (greatly influnenced by Hume of course) may have been wrong about many things – but he was not wrong about the universal nature of the human mind (as Ernst Cassirer showed in the 20th century – even a modern German philosopher does not have to submit to irationalism and absurdity, not if he CHOOSES not do so).

Of course there are pressures upon human beings. Biological pressures (for example it is difficult to think clearly if one is in terrible pain – or if one is born with brain damage) and environmental pressures.

For example, it would be difficult for a German philsopher (in certain periods) to come to nonabsurd conculsions – when their education carefully excluded nonabsurd writers (neither the various schools of Aritstotelianism or the “Scottish” Philosophy of Common Sense were much taught in Protestant Germany) – difficult but NOT impossible, as the already mentioned example of Ernst Cassirer shows. Cassirer was given the same education in Kantian philosophy as Shopenhauer or Nietzsche, but did not come to the same conclusions. Of course Nietzsche may be a tragedy – as, it is CLAIMED, we will never know how much the physical damage to his brain impared his thinking, much the same excuse is given to explain the rantings of Martin Luther in old age, his physical illness, it is claimed, may have disordered his mind.

EFFORTLESS agency is not given to human beings. We must make an effort (sometimes a very great effort) to overcome both our bilogical passions and environmental conditioning (even if it is not formal brainwashing – which in the case of much modern “education” it actually is). And sometimes, the effort is simply too great, but that does not mean it always is – that humans are always just flesh robots (not beings) with no choice in what they do and, therefore, no moral responsbility for what they do. The human mind (the reasoning “I”) does exist (contrary to Shopenhauer – our very self awareness PROVES it exists) – and we can free ourselves (to some extent) so that we can think and work out alternatives – and choose between them.

Now the “Pragmatists”.

William James was not the first of this school (that was Charles Pierce) nor was he the longest lived of its major figures (that was John Dewey – warning on him, he lived long and changed his opinions a lot), but William James was in his time the most influential Pragmatist.

And William James is often cited as a “conservative” philosopher – after all he “saved religion”, he was the most cited modern thinker in American pulpits (other than both Catholic and “fundementalist” Protestant pulpits -by the way the first “Fundementalists” did NOT reject biological evolution, it was only later when natural science became fused, in culture,  with false theology and philosophy, that many “fundementalists” made the tragic error of rejecting BOTH false philosphy/theology AND rejecting natural science).

But errrr…. .how did William James “save religion”?

When one cuts away all the double talk and evasion he “saved” relgion by denying the existance of objective truth.

If there is no such thing as objective true and false, then religion can not be objectively wrong (because nothing is), or (a slightly different dodge) there may be objectively right and wrong things in some matters (such as natural science), but not in matters of opinion (this is the position of the Logical Positivists – see above for them, or see CEM Joad “A Critique of Logical Positivism”, 1950, for why the doctrines of A.J. Ayer and co do not make sense – even in terms of natural science). This sort of thinking leads such modern philosphers such as John Gray (not a logical positivist, in case you are getting confused at the back there – or are you too busy looking out the window…) to mock the very idea that religion is about “truth claims” – how silly says this BBC “A Point of View” thinker – as William James showed……

Wiliam James neither believed in objective truth or objective right – as he put it “the right is just the expendient in our way of thinking”. So if people WANTED to believe in religion – that was fine.

Better, a thousand times better, honest athiesm than this sort of dishonest (and utterly vile) “defence” of religion.

The honest athiest tries to refute religion. But the William Jamesite (or the Logical Positivist for that matter) does not even take its claims seriously (no more than Shopenhauer did – or his “enemies” the Hegelians did).

How “simple minded” to treat a religion as making truth (objective truth) claims. As “intellectuals” we do not bother with such sillyness…. If religion is “true” it is “true” in a different sense……

A pox on all of this.

Anyway this way of thinking is treat religion (and athiest philosophical truth claims also) as “myths” – things to live by, but which have no objective truth.

This is to be seen in Sorel (directly influenced by William James) who invented “myths” in order to justify violence – as his belief (which is as valid, according to this way of thinking, as any other belief) was that violence was the only way that people could live worthwhile lives – so myths had to be invented to justify violence.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Mussolini loved the work of Sorel (as well as aspects of Nietzsche – and of Karl Marx when the bearded one responded to vast amounts of logical argument and empirical evidence against his theories, by attacking the very CONCEPTS of BOTH logical reasoning and empirical evidence).

What mattered was to give people a reason to live – and to expand and take POWER. It did not matter if the reason was true or not – because nothing was really true.

But it is not “just” the above.

Those useless “Christian theologians” (in America as much as Germany) who so disgusted Dietrich Bonhoeffer (leading him to use savage language against “the Church” – langague which is gleefully used by the very “modernists” who were, in fact, the target of it).

These people did not care that the National Socialists told lies about the Jews, because they (the “theologians”) no longer believed in objective truth anyway (and where there is no truth – there can be no lies). Besides the “religion” of the “theologians” (and the great bulk of people who followed them) had become (following Hegel and others) just philosophy – and false and empty philosophy at that. They no longer believed they were making objective truth claims – claims that were nothing to do with “race” or “class” or “historical period”.

Who is going to be prepared to die for the truth – if they do not believe there is any such thing as (real) “truth” anyway?

Risking one’s life was for suckers – people who believed the various “myths” created for them. Most of the ministers of religion in Germany would not even risk their incomes (for their pay came from the state) let alone their lives – and nothing in the “philosophy” or the “theology” they were taught told them they were doing anything wrong.

Of course there were the “saving remnant” who managed to free their minds from what they had been taught, and worked out (from first principles) what was right and what was wrong – how they must stand with the truth. But a small minority of good people (no matter how brave – even smashing into the heart of the enemy like Paladins of old) are unlikely to defeat a great majority of the wicked, or the INDIFFERENT. That is why education is important – not because it invents truth and right (it does neither), but because good education can help people (at least some people) stand with what is true and right, and false education can corrupt people (no apology for the use of the word “corrupt”).

This is not to say that the wicked are not responsible for their actions. Even some of the most wicked had moments when they understood what they doing (for example when a helpess child appealed for mercy just before they murdered the child), but they hardened their hearts with the aid of what they had been taught (false philosphy and relativist “myths”) and continued.

“This is all old news Paul”.

Is it?

The favourate philosopher of the Oslo mass murderer (I will not use his name – because he wished for his name to be famous) was William James, and for good reason.

If there is no objective truth than his claim that he was fighting a war (not killing the unarmed and helpless) can not be a false (because nothing is objectively true or false).

Also what he did can not be wrong (because there is no objective right and wrong) – so if it floats his boat, it is both “true” and “right” in the terms that William James and the Pragmatists (and so many others).

And, if David Hume is correct, then not only could the Oslo mass murderer not have done other than he did (because “reason is the slave of the passions” and he had a passion to kill people), but he OUGHT not to have done as he did – because reason OUGHT to be the slave of the passions.

If one has a passion to kill people the only role for reason (as with a computer rather than a human BEING) is to work out the best way to kill as many people as possible. And this is exactly what the Oslo mass murderer did.

Thus, from the point of view of modern philosophy (that revolt against Aristotelianism – against Common Sense) the Oslo murderer is on solid ground. No real point against him can be made.

However, if this revolt against old the traditions of human (of human agency) thought is what passes for “conservatism” then I want nothing to do with “conservatism”.

Just as if William James style religion is religion – then BUGGER RELIGION, better it perish from the Earth than be “defended” in such a vile way.

Human affairs are subject to certain laws – laws that do not deny human freedom (agency), but in fact include it.

Humans can not do anything they want to – we are constrained by the laws of the objective physical universe (if you deny this – try jumping to Mars, right now, just with the use of your physical body not with the aid of tools).

However, neither are humans just flesh robots whose every action is determined by genetics and/or environment. We do NOT have effortless agency (we are not Gods – we are subject to both biological and environmental pressures), but we do (to some extent) have agency (if we make the effort – sometimes a very great effort, and even with a very great effort we may still fail) – we are agents (beings), with some capacity to reason (truly reason) and to CHOOSE. Thus such words as “right and wrong” and “moral responsbility for your actions” are NOT empty and meaningless. Nor just a matter of “race”, “class” or “historical stage”.

Lastly…..

My friend Antony Flew (sadly no longer with us) is often talked of in terms of religion – his opposition to it most of his life, and his move towards it in his last years.

However, this misses the point. The Antony Flew when he was an athiest was the same man as when he accepted God.

Antony Flew understood that the physical world was real – independent of our perceptions of it.

Antony Flew understood that our minds are real also – that the reasoning “I” actually exists (that agency is not an “illusion” – for, if the mind does not exist, who is having the “illusion”).

And Antony Flew understood that there really are such things as right and wrong, good and evil (again I am not going to get in a techical account of the differences between the right and the good – so if you demand such a technical account, please jump into the nearest lake).

Antony Flew is an example of how LITTLE difference religion makes in these three (fundementally connected) matters.

Religion, in the sense of Christianity, is a series of truth claims (notebly about the existance of God and who Jesus was – “but John G. says….” you know what you can do with that tosspot) it does NOT determine our response to the above.

Gay Marriage

As far as I know none of the nine Republican candidates for President have produced any campaign adds (or made any campaign speeches) about “gay marriage”. The media have asked them “gotcha” questions about this (and other such topics) but that is about it.

Sorry Paul, but you have provoked a rant here.

Now, I beg to disagree on several points here. Either my eyes deceived me or I saw on my 32″ HD Samsung a Republican shindig with a banner behind some of the candidates stating the bizarre arithmetic that “Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman”. Michelle Bachmann’s husband (who doesn’t exactly look a straight arrow to me anyway) runs clinics specialising in the absolute snake-oil of “Praying away the Gay”. The amazing thing about such “treatments” is that they do sort of work. In the ’60s and ’70s they did similar with a Rube Goldberg type contraption that measured erections when the subject was shown images of naked chicks and lads and delivered a shock if tumescence was prompted by the “wrong” gender. It worked – for about a month. I don’t know whether they played Beethoven’s ninth in the background but they might as well have done. So God knows about the new form but it would appear that certain portions of US society have advanced from Heath-Robinson style “science” to good old hellfire. A positive I feel.

And herein lies the rub. “Certain portions”. The most zealous anti-gay (well he’s basically anti-everything else) American is the reprehensible Fred Phelps who is absolutely completely nucking futz and his “church” is only really attended by his family (the vast majority of “ordinary” Americans are vastly more homopilic than you might think – I have spent quite a lot of time over the pond you know). I first heard of Phelps many years ago. So bizarred was I by his “godhatesfags.com” website I emailed the local paper in Topeka, KS. I received a very nice reply that Fred Phelps was alas very real – I thought it a spoof. This was before Phelps got the wonderous URL “godhatesamerica.com” which I have only now discovered is superseded by “godhatestheworld.com”. Talk about winning friends and influencing people!

This is what Phelps has to say about my country. Charming isn’t it? Especially in its complete inability to use an apostrophe or understand the UK constitution. By Phelp’s metric a “fag-enabler” is pretty much anyone who isn’t rolling the cattle-trucks or making pink triangles.

I’m not comparing Paul’s comment to utter Phelpsian insanity but…

Over my life-time (and I do know the USA quite well having spent several months in total there and having had a long-term relationship with an American) both here and in the USA probably the most remarkable transformation of social attitudes I have witnessed is that towards homosexuality. Being anti-gay is just not an electoral asset. Indeed of the folks who might support something like the FDMA you will alienate vastly more over the fact it is deeply unconstitutional. Americans are married under state law, not federal law. I suspect a lot of US right-wingers who might be expected to care about such a matters will draw their horns in over the constitutional issue. Frankly on the “morals” front the likes of Bachmann Perry Overdrive are preaching to a mythical “middle America” that probably never even existed in 1955. It certainly doesn’t in 2011.

And it’s not the BBC, or the Washington Post or the schools and universities “brainwashing” or some such – it’s just life’s rich tapestry. I’ve got to say this to you Paul. Got to. Every time you go on about brainwashing I feel stupidly belittled. It reminds me every single time of a quote from Bertrand Russell. Russell stated that he’d rather have his philosophical opinions reported by his “Worst enemy in philosophy” than by someone ignorant of the discipline. I agree. I can filter as much as that old goat could. It is a disservice to suppose otherwise. And perhaps as much to the point I was never indoctrinated. I learned electromagnetism and quantum mechanics and general relativity and stuff. If I’d wanted to learn sociology I could have traded my Nikes for a pair of socks and sandals, grown a pondering beard and given-up any hope of sexual congress – like ever.

But Paul, I haven’t even come to my major point.

Anyway what is there to “argue” about on this matter? What ceremonies groups of homosexuals conduct on their own property is no one’s business but their own – as long as no is forced to “recognise” such “marriages” by “anti discrimination laws” and so on.

God knows about the use of scare quotes but there is a lot to argue (or “argue”) here. The whole point and conception of marriage (at least in English law – and I doubt US laws are much different) is that it is intrinsically public – when they liberalised the civil marriage laws here to include hotels and such public access was and remains an issue. Indeed in the USA which of course has different marriage laws across the states because it is a state issue and not a federal one there is a long-standing “gentleman’s agreement” to recognise out of state marriages. Marriage means nothing if it is not generally accepted. It is essentially a contract between two people which has to be recognised by the wider community in order to mean anything.

So essentially secret homosexual trysts up in the hills (assuming they own them) don’t really cover it. The entire move towards gay marriage has not been about setting-up a secret society of “supergay-friends” but towards the union being generally recognised.

And I shall re-iterate my point. There are a number of religious organisations in this country who are currently conducting “sham” gay marriages. They are doing it because their theology has no problem with homosexuality and would like to marry gay couples on the same basis (and on land they own) in the same way they do straight couples. These are essentially (there may be others) the Quakers, some Jewish organisations and the Methodists. Why the sham (and then there has to be some sort of “civil partnership” ‘do’ as well to make it legal)? Why? Don’t get me wrong here. I have no problem with the various other religious groups who don’t want to conduct same sex marriages. The entire thing is for whatever faith to decide by whatever means. Fine m- their perogative. But the current law means the religious building I am warden of cannot celebrate homosexual marriages (though it is one that can do heterosexual – I know because I clean the place good and proper for the dealie – I mean it’s their big day right?) But no gay marriages despite (a) this religion has no issue contra homosexuality and (b) a number of our regulars are in homosexual relationships. How is that fair?

If as a libertarian then surely you must allow faith groups who have no issue contra homosexuality to be allowed to conduct marriages as they see fit. Surely Paul! That is the issue. I know a lesbian couple quite well who cannot legally be married here despite the fact that this religious organisation doesn’t actually see their relationship as wrong in any sense whatsoever. In a very real sense this is not even about gay rights (I would personally regard it as about fundamental human rights) but religious rights. Now, fine for assorted religious sorts to be anti-gay or lesbian. They can knock themselves out on it. They don’t force anyone to worship there do they? No they don’t so fine. But why extend that ban to other faith groups that don’t think the same? C’mon Paul, you’re a libertarian so you believe in freedom and freedom of religion has to be be way up there. You might not like what the Quakers, the Methodists and Reformed Judaism wants but nobody beats you into a meeting house, a chapel or synagogue.

This is exactly the same point that whilst some Muslim women might cover their hair it’s not a general legal requirement in this country (it’s debatable whether it’s even a Qu’ranic requirement). It is in Iran (but the Ayatollahs are fucking mental) and they also hang gays in Iran don’t they? If we’re not way better than Iran then I pity us. But we are. And we ought to be proud of this. Because quite simply this is what seperates us from goat-buggery.

You might not like gay marriage (why does it matter to you?) and fair play to you but if it is going to happen it (like any other marriage) has to be generally recognized otherwise it is utterly meaningless. Yet it isn’t is it? It is clearly very meaningful to the primary parties involved. Or let’s put it another way. I got married (to a woman) five years ago without any plans for offspring so what is so fundamentally different? Is my marriage wrong too?

Or yet another way. One of the drives for gay marriage happens in ICU. You may have lived with and loved someone for 40 years but you still don’t have the legal right to turn-off the life-support. Marriage (gay, straight or whatever) is pretty much the only chance anyone has to choose their designated driver. I personally think that matters and I personally think that matters more than the genital configuration of the other party to the deal. Allegedly under Iranian law it is legal to fuck a goat if you subsequently slaughter and sell it in a different village to where you gave it the full 7″s. I have been to many places on roughly three continents but that is just dark-age fucking barbarism.

I’m OK with even ugly people having sex but goats – Jeebus of Nazareth that is where I draw the line. I mean if you have to lift a tail to enter into congress then I draw a line in the sand that must never be crossed. Oh, I don’t know! OK, I guess (as long as no animal cruelty is involved) but don’t expect me at the stag night. Well, not if it involves fucking one up the Arras.

And on that bizarre point I’ll leave it. Except I don’t honestly see why Paul is contra gay marriage. Let me go fully 20mm Hispano-Suiza on it. For me to believe Paul has a point here he would have to sincerely believe (and convince me) my marriage (he doesn’t have one and I’ve just had my fifth marriage anniversary) is as utterly worthless as a gay or lesbian one. This I don’t believe. I have done questionable things. Sometimes against city walls. I also got married to the person I love. That was my call and hers and it had nothing to do with being straight. Anyway who said we were both straight? I never did. We did some moderately interesting things as well.

Well, why not?

More fun than being a Republican. Apart from Gary Johnson.

The Vatican/The Roman Catholic Church – free enterprise, socialism, or something else?

A little while ago it was anounced that the budgets of the Vatican State and the Papacy (they are counted as two different budgets) were back in balance (after some years of deficits). And this got me thinking about what this institution is – in terms of political economy. And this led to other thoughts about other matters.

In some countries there is still a church tax – although (as with Germany) one can normally choose what church it goes to and (just by filling out a form declarling that one has no religious beliefs) one need not pay the tax at all. So whether it can really be understood as a “tax” (in the normal sense – other than a tax in the time and effort it would take an athiest to fill out the form) is a difficult question.

However, the Vatican (and the Papacy) are not supported by taxation. The Vatican state supports itself by selling stamps and by charging admission to its museums (and so on), but no one has to go to the Vatican – and there is no charge for just entering the Vatican State (or leaving it). So is it the ultimate example of free enterprise (A. Herbert style taxless voluntary state) or is it socialism (as the state owns everything) or is it something else? And do we make a mistake trying to put everything in the world of human interactions into neat little boxes with labels on?

And there is the Roman Catholic Church itself…… the international Church.

Ask a Western “liberal” about the Catholic Church and their first words are likely to be “child abuse”. However,  sex crimes are hardly the full story – although there may well have been increase in them with the laxity of oversight that came with the changes to the Church brought by Vatican II. In that while there were, doubtless, always terrible sex (and other) crimes going on (as with any institutions made up of human beings – sinners) the removal of any real attempt at oversight and discipline from Rome (in the name of “humanizing” the Church and “local autonomy” – i.e. letting local Bishops and so on sort things out, or cover things up, without anyone checking on them) may well have increased these crimes.

Even leftist Hollywood has entertained this possibility – as the film “Doubt” makes clear, the destruction of old systems of checks and balances (in the name of reform) may have done evil as well as good. It may well be that people who were disturbed by Vatican II on political grounds (the opening it,  unintentionally, gave to the Marxism of “Liberation Theology”) should have also been concerned with the opening it gave to non political perversions.

However, even in its darkest days and in its darkest places the Roman Catholic Church was about vastly more than the sins of some its priests. A huge network of schools, hospitals, homes for the old (and so on and so on) were and are maintained by the Church – without (in most nations) any form of taxation, just the voluntary gifts (of money – and time) of believers and the profits from Church investments.

The libertarian writer (and leading Von Mises Institute man) Thomas Woods often tells the story of how he spent his youth looking for an alternative to the state – something that was interested in learning and culture, and in the poor and the sick, in education and in health. And also was on a sufficient scale to actually make a difference in these areas.

And then one day he suddenly understood that what he had been looking for (a nonstatist alternative for people who could not pay for their own education, health, old age….) was staring him in the face all along. The Catholic Church.

Now I am not saying that Thomas Woods was or is correct – but he is no fool (as his writings show) so what he says needs to be taken seriously – even by athiests who hate Christian theology in general and the Roman Catholic Church in general.

Of course there is also a special American factor here. Originally Protestant “fundementalists” were not antiscience – indeed some of the authors of the orginal early 1900′s essays on the “fundementals” of Christiainity (from which we get the word “fundementalist”) were leading natural scientists – including evolutionary biologists (hardly the buck toothed morons of Hollywood depictions of “fundementalists”). Their foe was not science – it was the disguised socialist collectivism of the “Social Gospel” (with its “theological” message that the collective is God – and its practical result of tyranny).

The Fundementalists simply listed the fundemental beliefs of Christians – the virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Jesus… and so on. And asked if the Social Gospel supporters believed in these things – and demanded straight replies (not the mists of words that the Social Gospelists tended to give people).

The Fundementalists also (by stating the core, fundemental, beliefs of Christians) also (by implication) stated what were NOT the fundemental beliefs of Christians – “Social Justice” (i.e. plunder and tyranny – I know the term “Social Justice” can have other definitions, but the implications of the collectivist use of the term are clear), the extermination of all dissent from the self appointed representatives of the collective……and so on.

Now the Fundementalists were not Roman Catholics (far from it – America had no need for some professional virgin in Rome, as they might have put it – if politeness had not forbidden it), but they were learned men, they were devoted to science and learning, and they were politically (as well as theologically) basically sound.

However, over time things have changed (indeed, famously, even by the 1920s things had changed).

Now (according to David Barton the Texas educater and Conservative Protestant) about half of all American Conservative Protestants do not believe in basic science – for example in evolution.

I must be plain in what I am saying – I am not saying that they claim that God picked evolution as the method of creating human beings. I am saying (following Barton and others) that half of American Conservative Protestants do not believe in evolution at all.

Turn on any of the “religion” stations on your television service (if you have one) and look at the output of the Protestant American stations.

The passion is there certainly, the faith is there. But is there any learning? Outside the narrow learning of the text of the Bible itself?

I am not saying anything bad about the study of the text of the Bible – but I am saying it is not enough to study the text of the Bible. It will not tell you about biology, or physics or any other science – and those who claim it does are just flat wrong.

Now compare this output on the Protestant American stations with the output of EWTN (the American Catholic station), the coverage of such things as physics is of the highest quality – without any feeling that their are hidden athiests (Liberation Theology types) at work. Learning is respected – and not just biblical learning.

Now I am not a Roman Catholic many things such as the authority of the Pope and the demanded celibacy of the ordinary parish clergy (as opposed to the Regular clergy – the monks and nuns, who are quite differnet in Christian tradition) hold me back from that. But there is a clear difference between the quality (the very atmosphere) of the Catholic conservatives (in the sense of anti sociaists) and many Protestant ones (in the sense of Protestant ministers broadcasting) – at least in the American context.

An understanding that one can reject the philosophy, (and theology), economics and politics taught by the secular education system (and media) without rejecting learning in general, including scientific learning.

No conclusions – just things to think about.

However, even as a non Roman Catholic I am convinced that the victory of anti socialist (or “anti liberal” as Americans would say) forces over socialist ones within the Roman Catholic church is vital for the survival of Western Civilization – both theologically and spiritually, and in terms of practical political economy.

For Thomas Woods is right about the following – the Church is, overwhelmingly, the most important non state insitution that exists. Without it (should it be destroyed or corrupted from within) hope fades for the West.

The Sustainable Myth

Regular readers will know that I have an argument with language. Most notably over the miss-use of the word “liberal”.

That’s nothing now to how I feel about “sustainability”.

What is a “sustainable” business? Now I’m not educated in the dark arts of the reflected sounds as of underground spirits so I take the simple line of Mr Micawber. A sustainable business is one that makes a profit. Or at least not a loss. Oh, I know there are ups and downs and start-up costs to amortise and good years and bad ones but I’m talking overall.

I picked-up a leaflet in Sainsburys recently about their domestic solar-electric schemes. These claimed (From ten grand on the nail) to save you money over the (very) long-term but factored into the calculation money from the government. I don’t still have the leaflet but I do have the internet so check it out for yourself and pay attention to the “feed-in tariff”. Yes, the government will pay you monies for generating electricity from “renewables”. Quite why they don’t pay me for burning trash to provide CO2 for the plants is perhaps something they are getting round to and the reason they have fortnightly trash collections round here. They are working up to it. I have faith in my local council and government always knows what is best.

Some of the above statements might be lies. I do sarcasm better in the flesh.

Anyway the Sainsbury’s scheme* is only (I would say marginally at best) sustainable** by the demented schema of Greenonomics. Greenonomic sustainability is based upon fantastic calculations where solid numbers are just arbitrarily assigned to the imponderables as pure guesswork (this is widely accepted because the it is felt the Greenomicists “hearts are in the right place”). But there are numbers so it must be science, right? Yeah, just like Gordon Brown’s budgets for “investment”. Well astronomical calculations use numbers and so do those of astrology. Forget the stereotypical “family values” Tory*** MP with the wife and kids who cruises cottages in London parks as a model of hypocrisy. Well give me Alan Amos any day over Chris Huhne in the hypocrisy stakes. Was not his – sorry his ex-wife – speeding (allegedly) causing Ma Gaia to drown another ickle polar bear cub? Hell hath no fury Chris…

But it is not exactly about hypocrisy is it? That is just a convenient way to baste the fuckers in their own juices via the media and then forget about when Wayne Rooney shags a whore. What is real is the redefinition of “sustainable” which ignores what the word really means in the real Micabawerish, Truenomics sense. Let’s look at the reductio ad absurdam. Greenonomics “sustainability” is inevitably based upon subsidy. Subsidy has to come from somewhere which means it has to ponce off the genuine economy. But what if all businesses were “sustainable” by the Green token? Then there is nobody left to ponce off. What happens to the parasite when the host dies? And that is the myth. The “Green Economy” would exist already if it was economically sustainable in and of itself and we could all go home for tea and Duchy Original biccies (I have known people buy cars for less than the cost of a packet of those – not exactly great cars it must be said but then neither are they great biscuits). The factoring in of state-funding to queer the pitch in it’s favour and it’s own deranged concept of “sustainability” would not satisfy a fictional character created by Charles Dickens and it sure as hell’s little imps with BBQ equipment from B&Q doesn’t satisfy me. I won’t let slide here the overhead of the Green auditors and the like who have to administer this because such jobs created purely on the imaginary axis of the Argand plane. Keynes himself would blush at that.

The myth is an inversion. We have gone from a state supported by industry and commerce to the idea that industry and commerce has to be supported by the state.

It is truly demented.

When I was a very little kid I had a book on dinosaurs. It was a bit vague (due to it’s age) as to the reason for the mass-extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. I did wonder though, “But, if all these herbivores are becoming extinct isn’t that free meat for the carnivores?”. I was a very little kid. That is exactly what the current “Green Economy” is. It is the feeding frenzy of the T-Rex upon the fallen brachiosaur with no thought where the next one will come from. It is utterly “unsustainable” in any realistic sense of that word. Oh, but what if some of these Green businesses turn a profit and are therefore taxed? Taxed in order to be subsidised? Oh, do behave! Greenonomics is through Mr Micawber’s looking-glass. Once as a kid me and my brother sold ice-lollies (some recipes of my own invention – least said soonest mended and all that – suffice to say I’m not challenging Walls – yet) and that gave me an insight into economics which appears to be way below (a good thing) that held by those that hold the levers of power.

And that is the myth.

It is built on numbers (so must be true) but I am a physicist by training and the set of Naturals are my friends (I am on OK terms with the Clan Real and their pals, The Complex). It burns my hard-won mathematical soul to see such cod-arithmetic as this.

I have seen such things before. After I finished my physics degree and before I started my MSc in astrophysics I delved into astrology for historical reasons. The astrologers make this lot look like two-bit shysters.

And that is the real myth. I know science and to know science is to know when it’s bastard offspring, who are, to use a technical term, “Just making it fucking up” ought to have an appointment at the canal with a sack and some bricks.

And that is the myth which is true as long as you ignore reality. But that’s free-fall for you – untl you hit the ground and have to start collecting your teeth in a hat.

I just wish the Greens pissing in the “science” pot and get their own and call it what it is – a religion. Did Abraham****, Christ, Buddha or Muhammed argue unto the 97th percentile – no. Be honest. I am.

*It helpfully points out solar ain’t for you if you live in a basement flat.
**Opportunity cost is utterly ignored. If I asked you for ten grand and expected you to invest on the basis that you’d probably break even over 25 years you’d tell me to, “Sod off”.
***I’m not being unfair to the Tories here but they do tend to be the ones caught out here. Labour – it’s hands in the till. And Lib Dem… That’s a whole smorgasbord of Mark Oatens.
****I saw Abraham’s cooking pot in the Topkapi in Istanbul recently. Most solemn it was with an imam reading the Qu’ran and all. Jesus wept. There were tourist types like me and the faithful genuflecting before it whilst I thought, “I think my mother gave me something like that for a wedding present”. Sorry to interupt the feast of piety but I reckon you can buy in the Newcastle branch of John Lewis. I’ll give the Turks their due mind. Very liberal otherwise on taking piccies in mosques and similar. Abraham’s (Ibrahim’s) cooking pot! Words fucking fail. I might just about about buy they have the hand of John the Baptist or the sword of Abu Bakr but Abraham’s gazunder… and it did look suspiciously like an Edgar Allen. Well fuck me sideways! I have seen questionable things but that took the falafel. The belief that that thing is what it says on the tin is beyond bollocks which is of course why it is still venerated. It’s such an epic whopper it can’t be called into question.

Chasing the Rabbit and Scrabble by Candlelight…

Yesterday afternoon a collection of rude mechanicals were digging a hole at the end of my street. Shortly thereafter the lights went out all down the street. So that’s my computing up the junction for the evening! The power only came back up this morning. Shortly after the sun did. So what do you do?

Well, I’m currently on “rabbit detail” for a couple of days because my next-door neighbour is away and so is her daughter. Well, I go to see Honey the Bunny last night as the sun is setting. It’s a house rabbit with a big cage and sometimes run of the gaff. It was merely crepuscular at the time so I thought I’d give the little blighter a carrot. I open the fridge door expecting there to be light and there isn’t. I knew there was a power cut but I still did expect without thinking. Of course there was no light so I get a carrot from my house and much did he enjoy it. For all I knew next-door might have had all manner of tasty bunnyish treats but scrabbling through someone else’s fridge vegetable tray in the gloaming by touch is just not my style. Certainly not if it in anyway contains at the bottom the sort of matter* you might find in mine. Which it might have done because neighbour senior had clearly been away some time judging by the 2 and 8 her daughter had left the gaff in. So I set awhile with Bunny and gave him a stroke (and some carrot of course).

When it came time to get him back in his cage this proved tricky. It was already getting really quite dark so I herded him up his little ramp with the lid of a cardboard box and the remainder of the vegetable. This was no mean feat considering his penchant for disappearing under the dresser and the superior night vision of Leporids to Homo sapiens sapiens** but I will be buggered if I’m to be defeated by a bunny***. Hence the deployment of more carrot and some stick in the form of my parador**** act. That act completed and water changed and all that and it’s time for home. Well, my wife had got out enough candles for some light demonology but seeing as you can’t really chalk a pentagram onto carpet it was decided to play Scrabble instead. And I’d so wished to summon Ashkaroth the Cleaver of Souls and sic him on United Utilities. Scrabble by candlelight is fun – I almost set a Collins’ Concise Dictionary on fire. The last time we had a power cut I’d thought, “There’s always the TV…” only to be disappointed and feel foolish.

If there is a moral to this tale (and there is) it is not just the fact that without 230VAC modern life is impossible but about the reason why so many people seem so unconcerned about the existential threat Green and NIMBY policies represent to the future security of electricity supply. Things like computers and such are new enough that in an odd way you don’t forget they need juice***** whereas fridge lights and TV are so embedded into us as something that is always there that instinctively we find it difficult not just to get on without them but to even imagine they might stop or maybe even have not always been. Installed electrical appliances are just so taken for granted because walls humming at 50Hz are to us what walls of wattle and daub were to our ancestors.

I suppose when the last of the AGRs go offline and Drax is de-commissioned we can sit round a fire of organic goat dung and hear the tales of ancients like me about the days when the Titan Tesla stole sparks from the bosom of Mother Gaia herself… ….and there was light! But Grandad! We’ve heard that one already! Tell us about the great metal birds instead! Tell us how we reached too far and fell back to Gaia! And through toothless gums I’ll mutter under my breath (for I still almost recall how it was), “Not far enough…” and then tell the tale of when we thought we could be gods and dreamed of the stars as though they were not. That they were great nuclear furnaces instead and the kids will laugh and consider me a superstitious old fool but good for a laugh with my myths.

Welcome to the endarkenment! Coming to Germany first!

Why am I reminded of this story?

*Sometimes the only soup on the menu is the primordial stuff.
**He’s a nervous critter so I didn’t want to deploy the Maglite. I’ve known lads who went lamping.
***All humans suffer this. I think it is known as Elmer Fudd Syndrome in the literature.
****A parador is either a really posh state-run hotel in an historic building in Spain or your humble blogger making a right tit of himself chasing a small critter round a kitchen armed with a sheet of cardboard – portmanteau of “parody” and “matador”.
***** And they use batteries so you have to remember to charge them. Built in appliances are different.

Evil works backwards.

Cars will be banned from London and all other cities across Europe under a draconian EU masterplan to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 years.

Oh fuck me up the Khyber Pass!

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

Fuck right off.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Cunt off. Do just do that you utterly raving cunts. Not long since I bought a model ornithopter from a bloke at the Galata tower in Istanbul (and no I didn’t get the now defunct Orient Express to Istanbul, I went on a Boeing 737). So why was he selling it there?

According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosporus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side, nearly six kilometres away. Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen’s brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633.

Because you see flight has been a dream of humanity since forever. I think that story is dubious but the point, the desire of it isn’t. There is also a coda to it. The sultan at first thought to richly reward Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi for his feat but then thought otherwise… I mean ordinary folks flying! Where will it all end? Well, in 1903 it was nailed by Orv and Will on Kill Devil Hills. I’m reserving a post here for December 17th but Orv and Will did it off their own bat. Who spotted the Flyer? The lifeguard team on the beach and a mooching teenager. Aviation historians have reckoned that the Wrights spent $1000 to fly. It is a matter of public record that the US Navy spent $50,000 on their attempt which involved a very early bath in the Potomac for the director of the Smithsonian. He launched from a boat using a $10,000 steam catapult. The Wright brothers spent $4 on a wooden rail from the local timber merchant. And it worked. And the world took off.

And that is why the likes of Orv and Will are hated by government of any form. Four hundred years ago, just over a hundred years ago, now, by 2050, whatever it’s the same old nonsense and the same on at least two continents. Three if Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi crossed the straits to Asia… Who knows but he gave it a go!

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.

Do the fuckers also have a final solution to the “Jewish Question?”

The Association of British Drivers rejected the proposal to ban cars as economically disastrous and as a “crazy” restriction on mobility.
“I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum,” said Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the BDA.

“If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker.”

Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Mr Kallas is right. It will not reduce our economic competitiveness – it will send us back to the fucking stone age.

Orville Wright died in 1949. Will died in 1912 but Orv saw the fire-bombing of London, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo and the nuking of Japan. Orv saw the first jet-pilots kick the tyres and light the fires. Orv saw what he had wrought upon the world. What did he see? The Wright Brothers were the sons of a bishop. Their dream of flight was a dream of helping to bring peace to the world by facilitating travel around it. A noble ambition. Cars and flight made the last century much as railways made the one before. What is making this century?

Cunts if you ask me. Utter cunts.

And why? Why can so many people hate freedom so much?

I don’t know exactly what Orv saw but I know what I see. I see the endarkening. And yeah, I’m sure that is one of my mine but Perry at Samizdata nicked it. Well I’m having it back because the endarkening doesn’t happen on my fucking watch. No way. Or his.

Anyway! Why put the stop line at 2050? Because like every control order they have ever done, they get away with it because of time. They are saying it now to put the myth into the sphere. They are saying it now so that children as yet unborn shall learn it and be old enough to put it in place. In that they are clever. For anything that kicks around in the public whatnots for that long gains a perverse reality.

Even if it is insane.

Something for the weekend

Well, it’s all go ain’t it?

Yesterday we had the cuts protest in London which with the Met’s usual brilliance was badly policed. This is what appeared to have happened. 250,000 turn up and they are generally peaceful. There is maybe 300-500 hoodlums and 4,500 coppers but the cops patrol the entire thing and don’t focus on the anarchists who quite frankly looked like anarchists. The balaclavas and stuff gave the game away rather. Moreover their planned outrages had been announced previously via the internet but the Met apparently didn’t bother to check otherwise they would have known Oxford Street’s Topshop and Fortnum & Mason’s were on the hit-list. This is not Sherlockian coppering. That is the sort of thing Sam Vimes could safely leave to Fred Colon.

Then we had Earth Hour yesterday which is… How can I put this? Profound wankery. It slipped past me until I saw people turning-off lights on BBC News this morning. It was perverse. Truly perverse because they had ceremonies in big cities such as Paris where some bloke (Mayor of Paris?) presses a big button and the Eiffel Tower lights go off. It perversely reminded me of a sort of counterclock-world version of firing-up the Christmas lights ceremonies. It is thoroughly demented. I mean raving mad and the symbolism is beautifully barking. For over a hundred years now what is the language of cartoonists to suggest a bright idea or cunning plan? It’s an incandescent light bulb going on over someone’s head. The reversal of this, if you think about it, is staggering.

And then today it was premises committee for the religious building I am warden of. “Green issues” came up here as well and what shocked me is the level of utter ignorance on display of basic scientific facts despite relentless belief. I was asked to buy “low carbon” washing up liquid such as Ecover. Right… To the mind of the asker Green = low carbon but Ecover have never claimed to be low carbon. They claim to be less polluting to the water supply and are anyway utter shite. You need about three times as much as you do with Fairy which does claim to be low carbon because it is much more concentrated so is less of a transport burden. It makes me wonder. It really does. It makes me think of W B Yeats and the best being full of doubt and the worst full of passionate intensity or whatever. Or indeed the old astrophysics joke about cosmologists – “Frequently in error, never in doubt”.

My wife also mentioned Ecover’s dirty little secret. Like The Body Shop they rely on others to test on animals…

I then almost lost the fucking will to live in a discussion of similar ignorance over burning garden waste. I have said many things here (and elsewhere) contra Greenism but until today I never really realised the level of ignorance of basic physics, chemistry and biology which is made-up for by the demented enthusiasm to “do something”. I’m a Northener and we have a saying up North (where it’s grim) – “When in doubt – do nowt”.

So that’s my weekend – almost. It is also census day and I appear to have lost the form which is quite a feat for it is huge. Shame really. I had a great answer to the religion question. I am a Primitive Hannibalistic Lecterist. This means that I could wash down a census-taker’s liver with a bottle of Blue Nun.

And yes, the religion question matters because it enables state-funded “faith schools” to Rick-roll their schtick. And if, as a libertarian, I have qualms about government funded education I can easily double that over government-funded faith schools. I have never attempted to foist my religious belief (or lack thereof) on others and I will be stuffed if my taxes will do the same whether I like it or not.

This kind of thing

One of the problems I’ve found in coming up with stuff to post here is that whenever I read something that I think would be worth linking to or commenting on, I realise that it’s on Samizdata, or EURef, or somewhere else that I know most of this blog’s readers will be familiar with themselves. Combine that with the frustration of persuading the cats in the server to do anything at all, and I usually don’t bother.

But (although you all should) I don’t know how many Kitty Kounters read the Libertarian Alliance blog regularly, so this article, “Where Calvin meets Mao” is probably worth pointing out. It reminded me of IanB’s idea that Political Correctness is just the modern manifestation of Calvinism, methodism, and other forms of hair-shirt Christianity. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that because I was brought up in the Church of Scotland, which unquestionably has its origins, via Knox, in Calvin’s thinking, and I’ve found most Kirk folk to be pretty down-to-earth and strongly un-PC (certainly there is a more direct link with methodism). Although Scotland is even more plagued with the modern political scourge than most places, it’s not, in general, coming from those people. It really isn’t. On the other hand, there can be no question that PC is strongest in historically protestant countries and you can even see that phenomenon within the United Kingdom, with, as I say, the Scottish political class being more enthusiastic about it than in other parts of Britain.

So this lit a little bulb above my head:

I actually grew up in part as a Calvinist fundamentalist myself during the 1970s … During the late 1980s and early 1990s I was a left-wing Chomskyite and it was during this time that I first began to personally encounter PC. Observing the psychology of PC and its behavioral manifestations up close and in an unadulterated form gave me a sense of déjà vu: “Where I have seen this kind of thing before?”

“This kind of thing”. PC isn’t Calvinism, but it’s the same kind of thing. The phenomenon in its present form undoubtedly stems from the Frankfurt School, and Marxism is about as far from Christianity as you can get, but – and this is the important bit – there seems to be a way of thinking, a mindset, common in Northern European countries that’s conducive to “this kind of thing”. The Jock PC-wallahs aren’t (necessarily) the same people as the Kirk-goers, but 500 years ago they would have been in the front pew lapping up Knox’s sermons (and I imagine today’s Kirk folk would be as dismissive of pure, raw, early Calvinism as they are of PC, since they clearly don’t think that way – in fact I’m sure of it: otherwise they’d join the Free Presbyterians).

In a sense, it’s another example of people who cease to believe in God believing in anything: that controlling, self-hating instinct has to find an outlet, and once the Kirk lost its power it manifested itself in politics. Ironically, for the Politically Correct, it should also be a lesson in the imperfectibility of Man. We have to play the hand we’re dealt, and shuffling the cards won’t change it: get rid of a powerful, oppressive, controlling church, and people who like power, oppressing and controlling others, will simply find another way to do it. And they have.

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