Loyalty to bad commitments leads to moral incoherence.
–David Horowitz, “The Two Christophers”
"It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar" – Henry David Thoreau
Loyalty to bad commitments leads to moral incoherence.
–David Horowitz, “The Two Christophers”
The Psychoactive Substances Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, also bans hanging upside down off a bed until your head goes funny, pushing your knuckles into your eyelids to create a psychedelic lightshow and fevers above 39 degrees centigrade [312K - I think in Kelvin - N].
Home secretary Theresa May said: “Maybe you and your so-called friends think it’s funny to spin around on a chair and then stagger across the office like a moron before collapsing headfirst into a really expensive printer and breaking your nose and losing three of your teeth.
“But all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a life of heroin and really manky toilets and no job and therefore no office chair to spin around on like a total maniac.
“You probably think I’m a killjoy but I speak from experience. I tried to spin on my office chair once but I absolutely whacked my knee on the desk. Not only did it hurt like a bastard, it changed me. I hate everyone now.”
May also said that anyone lying on their arm until it goes dead then using it to pretend someone else is touching their genitals will be classed as a sex offender.
Not to put too fine a point on it the Children’s Crusade contra “legal highs” (much like the conflation of tax ‘avoidance’ and tax ‘evasion’ or various ‘hate speech’ stuff is truly Orwellian) and appalling. Let’s call a spade a manually operated earth removal tool here. Yes, people die from ‘legal highs’ but that is because of the eternal game of cat and mouse of drug legislation. I don’t do drugs. Not because the School Nurse in Chief tells me not to but because due to legislation which means I’d be buying God alone knows what from a dodgy geezer in a pub car park.
Of course the fact that people are taking Heaven knows what means there are more deaths. The fact that Chinese ‘chemists’ are knocking out even more bizarre substances to avoid the laws will mean people die. Solution: an enabling act. That’s May’s thought. Mine is legalise the lot and tax and regulate so just like booze and fags you know what you are getting. I mean I used to smoke a bit of weed or resin but now it’s all ‘bang for buck’ skunk which is nasty stuff. That is a direct effect of government.
But you see the problem? The tighter government cracks down due to drug related deaths the more they increase laws as users migrate to more dubious substances. Much the same happened in the USA during prohibition when a nation of beer drinkers switched to spirits. I mean what was the point of smuggling beer in from Canada when you could smuggle whisky at ten times the blast for volume?
Of course the more the steel-heels crush us and the more we get riskier the more the call goes out to get ever more Draconian. It doesn’t work – it is a tango of death. It is evil and it is wrong. The Tories (increasingly occasionally) talk of ‘individual responsibility’ but then add yet another set of training wheels on the bicycle. Well folks, I have been able to ride a bicycle unaided for maybe 35 years.
I am 41 years old and am approximately all in one piece. So Mrs May can go fuck herself with (obviously) a state-approved dildo. Let us be. Not only is that the path of freedom but it actually reduces the ‘externalities’ but of course it would take pointless work away from the (un)civil servants and the rozzers who might then have more time to investigate rapes, murders and burglaries and stuff like what is supposed to be their job.
Just a thought.
So, Prince Charles has been to Washington DC (as have I) but whilst I flew steerage in an American Airlines A330 (and had to change at Philly – the most confusing airport this side of Mars) he went in style. He went on a chartered A320 configured as a private jet that costs GBP250,000 a hop. Or approx. 800 times what I paid (hard to say exactly – there were several hops on that hoilday which included Key West). Well, I guess it evens out because he got to meet Obama and I trogged the Smithsonians until my feet hurt – badly. He got a gong for his tireless crusades (or whatever) on the environment. He almost certainly clocked more CO2 than I can manage in a fecking lifetime. And then he delivers a lecture on the environment… Because the A320 normally carries just over about 160 passengers and not just a dickhead and his moll.
But that’s OK because it is only the little people who deserve to be taxed out of the air and not the nobs and he is a nob in every sense.
It is a winter wonderland outside my window in Cheshire. Apparently so it is in parts of Saudi Arabia. This is rather unusual there…
Here’s a picture
You see how unusual this is? No Brit or Canuck or Swede etc would give their snow personage a hot coffee. So are the Saudis all enjoying the novelty of snow? Yes and indeed no.
There has been a terrible moral outrage about building snowmen (and indeed snow camels – Allah knows about snow-women with snow tits and icicle nipples) and at least one imam has got his pantyhose in a twizzle…
But with photos of snowpeople and snow camels popping up everywhere, Munajjid made it clear that Islamic teachings strictly prohibit the practice.
Asked whether the unusually snowy winter in Saudi Arabia meant that parents could build snowmen with their children, Munajjid delivered the bad news.
“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” Munajjid wrote on his Web site, according to Reuters.
He is also available for children’s parties. I hear his, “Death to all Zionazi Imperialists” act is a side-splitter (possibly literally).
“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,” wrote a blogger identified by Gulf News as Mishaal. “It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”
But Munajjid has his supporters.
“It [building snowmen] is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism,” wrote one person, according to Reuters.
I don’t know where to start…
The first point is to acknowledge this is not a “funny”. Oh, it is easy to laugh. But depriving folk of “play” and “fun” (and how often does a significant snowfall happen in Saudia Arabia?) is horrendous. What is humanity without play and fun? The imam also mentions the creation of images of critters (recall the snow-camels of horror?)
I will tell you what such a life is like. It is Hell on Earth. It is also a complete technological stagnation. I love the society (imperfect though it is) but whist I find in this day and age opposition to gay marriage (say) a bit odd I find opposition to building snow-crits is so far beyond belief as to defy… Well, I dunno but it is but it defies it. Building a snowman is the most innocent thing imaginable (and if we get a bit more snow I’ll build one myself and send a selfie to this “cleric”.)
And it matters. It really does. The more absurd a cultural argument is then in a very real way the more it matters. And not least if it is taken as ridiculous. “Imitating the infidels”? By building a fucking snowman? You wait until said cleric gets the selfie of me drinking single-malt whilst being bummed by a ladyboy who is smoking crack. I mean if building a fucking snowman is strictly verboten why not go the whole hog?
I have to add I have never had dirty thoughts in front of a snow-person – but then you knew that. “Mr NickM was apprehended for a public-order offence at 11-45am whilst he attempted to…”. Gods sakes! Mr Frosty was unavailable to comment but a puddle shall appear in Stockport Magistrates Court.
I though do hate the cultural shuttering. Some think this attempt at cultural monolithism is a strength of the Islamists and they couldn’t be more wrong. Ludicrous defence is a sign of weakness.
Banning fun is ultimately self-defeating.
The best snowman I ever built was as a kid and it was when I was a kid. My brother and me built a huge effigy of a Franz-Ferdinand (one of the Holy Roman Emperors) in the back garden. I have no idea why but it was fun. Which was the point.
PS the imam also regards gingerbread men as evil.
This is arguably one of the more bizarre stories I have read. Ever.
A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.
World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.
And why? Why? because of XX-phobia. Seriously. They also took-out the EU foreign affairs supremo and the Mayor of Paris.
Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.
Now if Chancellor Merkel had been strutting her stuff in a sling-shot bikini and heels and nowt else then OK but this is the original photo…
Now I’m no fashionista but that is a modestly dressed woman. And she is also the German Chancellor so she ought to be there. God knows what Abbas was doing there but France and Germany are best buddies these days (thanks for small mercis – I mean we don’t want to go through all of that yet again).
Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.
“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”
He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.
“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.
I am lost. There is no way anyone could take that image as sexually provocative (I assume that was this loon’s point). I mean it ain’t Miley Cyrus. And in terms of the “family paper” schtick don’t families tend to have female members? Call me old-fashioned but I female relatives. I don’t think that unusual. And what the flying hellskis is the desecration stuff about? These people weren’t martyrs. They were just unlucky by and large. Could have been me, could have been you. This site has republished the Motoons of Doom. And in what way Chancellor Merkel takes away from the loss is beyond me. Also one of the dead was a female French cop. If anyone was a martyr she was dying in the line and all.
But this is only sort of about sexism. I mean it is but there is more. The massacre was about freedom of the press and an Israeli paper chooses to Photoshop inconvenient truths like the sex of the German Chancellor out. OK, fine print what you want but don’t doctor photos and then go on about martyrs for press freedom.
Or is it just plain sexism and they object to a female heading a major nation? Is it that simple? Get over it. We did with Maggie when I was a little kid.
What century are these folk in? I mean really? Moshe Dayan fought for this?
PS. And as someone from a culturally Christian background the idea that an image of a woman is a desecration is just weird.
This is a politically based blog. Some of you may have noticed I have been posting less. I am still politically a classic liberal but I don’t care that much about politricks. I never have really. When I was younger I couldn’t give a toss. Quite how I got quasi-interested is beyond me (thanks Mr Marks!) but this is a new year (the cause for calenders and such). I had a Polish New Year’s Eve so I am hung-over but I am clear on one thing – have been for some time. What I shall post shall be my stuff which is about sciencces/tech/philosophy. This Lenovo S440 Thinkpad shall no longer darken your towels with jack-assed political opinions.
Now, here is an interesting one. Should Lesbian couples be able to have biological children? It is doable. I am not sure it ought to be done. There are “issues”. Most revolve around homophobia of some form or another. I am not equivocating here but I know blokes who will log into “dykeswithdicks.com” but would write angry letters to local rags if a lesbian couple moved in next door. I don’t even care about that. Why would I? I don’t even care about the fact this is de-facto sex selection (where would they get a Y chromosome from?). No, I care about the issue (yes!) of the morals of the foetal research. Should technical developments (and it is tech – the basic science is there) be allowed if it involves peril to the unborn. And what do those qualms mean for my usually gung-ho attitude to science or indeed sexuality. And how does that relate to my view on abortion? I don’t know which is why I wish to pose these kind of questions. It is why I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff as to what Lord Palmerston or Karl Marx or Muhammed said. It is why I can’t give a fig for LVT versus income tax. I just don’t care.
In a very real sense being a libertarian means not caring in the best possible way. It means caring for sure but not meddling and not trying to impose morals of any description on others. And I don’t mean “Victorian Values” (whatever we think that means or the thinking (such as it was) of T Dan Smith who wrecked half of the town of my birth (which do you prefer – Georgian elegance or something that looks like a 1970s Albanian car park?). I don’t even see that as political.
I guess what I’m saying is the reason libertarians don’t get much traction politically is we tend (certainly I do) to see issues, problems, opportunities not in an a political sense. This doesn’t mean we don’t care. That is why I mentioned the lesbian motherhood. I am conflicted morally. I don’t see anything wrong in principle but the research needed concerns me. It isn’t a political issue (or shouldn’t be) or even a social issue. It is a sci/tech/phil issue.
So my New Year message is this. Be less political. Stop caring. By all means give a few quid to the dog’s home but if you think politricks will solve anything then you aren’t a libertarian. I have bust ribs from a fall on the ice. I was helped-up by a motorist passing by. Single acts of mere kindness are what make us human. A majority vote in whatever parliament or assembly ain’t.
But you would be stunned by the number of people who think otherwise. There is an Oscar Wilde kid’s story set in winter where a group of forest animals are complaining about the snow and one suggests, “The government should do something about it.”
It is that mentality that leads to T Dan Smith.
Anyway, that’s it. Libertarianism is (or ought to be) totally apolitical.
Not quite it. Obviously. I have wittered on for too long not to wish y’all (and your friends and family) a jolly good New Year!
The Republic of Venice, like some other Italian States, was in contact with the Greek (Byzantine) Empire to the east, where Ancient Greek learning was preserved, from the most early days – contact was never lost in the Dark Ages. And the other states of Europe were in close contact with the Republic of Venice and the other Italian states. Yet the education system teaches that Greek learning came only from Islamic Spain. Is this theory really true?
Did, for example, thinkers in the British Isles such as the Irish thinkers from the 5th (indeed reaching back to Patrick and Pelagius [yes Pelagius, that free will scholar of Greek and possibly Hebrew, - of course I would drag him into it] of Roman Britain) century to the 9th century (before old Ireland was destroyed by the Vikings), or the English thinkers of the 12th century and so on (not just Roger Bacon there were other great Greek scholars and scientific thinkers also), really get their knowledge of Greek from Islamic Spain? Of course both the Greek Orthodox Church and the old Irish Celtic Church are not known for the delight in the predestination of Augustine – even if philosopher theologians do strange twisted gymnastics to try and reconcile predestination and moral responsibility (the reality of choice – of the existence of the human agent). Just as Judaism has always rejected predestination (unlike mainstream Islam) and stood for individual moral responsibility – the reality of choice, of the human person.
In almost every case the Reformation of the 16th century led to a Church that was committed to Predestination and was a department of State – after all Predestination was the central doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin (they both HATED freedom and reason), and Luther taught that the State should control the State and Calvin taught that the Church should control the State – the autonomy of Church and State was utterly alien to both these thinkers. In England it led, by the 18th century, to a Church that was far MORE in favour of moral responsibility, free will, (hostile to Predestination and so on) than the Roman Catholic Church was, and to a Church that was largely part of the landed interest (backed by local patrons and so on as well as being a, largely, independent landowner itself) rather than being a department of state – an “Established Church” rather than a “State Church”. A Church that was theologically and socially radically different from the rest of Protestant Europe. Why?
Even in the 16th century someone like Richard Hooker (the three legged stool – scripture, tradition, and REASON) seems distinctly English – distinctly “Anglican” (a possible misuse of language – but I hope you get my point), by the 17th century philosopher theologians such as Henry Moore and Ralph Cudworth, perhaps the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar of his age, are quite acceptable in England, but would have seemed radially alien in the Protestant nations of Europe (and in the centralised Counter Reformation Catholic world) – with the possible exception of the minority tradition in Holland, the Arminian tradition (and remember it was the MINORITY tradition in Holland).
Why was England so weird in its Church development? Unlike both Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe.
I have asked these questions before – but just received utterly irrelevant answers such as “Ralph Cudworth believed in witchcraft”, yes he did (so did the great Common Law thinkers Hales and Selden), but why did the Church in England (both Anglican such as Granville Sharpe and William Wilberforce and Dissenting such as Richard Price [but also his Anglican political opponent Edmund Burke] – or a bit of both such as John Wesley) contain so many people, such as Cudworth and Moore and….., who believed in religious toleration and moral responsibility, free will – hostile to predestination. Why did the English Church turn out, in the main, so differently from the rest of Europe?
So was there no movement of Greek learning from the Byzantine Empire directly to the states of Italy? Was it all via Islamic Spain? Even though Venice was technically part of the Eastern Empire itself? The “Islamic Spain is what matters” idea seems like a unlikely theory. But I am willing to be corrected.
And why did the Church in England, certainly by the 18th century, turn out so different from both Protestant and Catholic Europe? I suspect that the answer to this question is the key to the different POLITICAL development of this land in the late 17th century and the 18th century, compared to the rest of Europe.
Two church pastors and a 90-year-old man were charged for feeding homeless people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, under a strict new city ordinance that virtually bans private groups from handing out food.
Yes, you read that right. In the Bible loins (below the Bible belt) it is very difficult to help the homeless off your own bat.
Despite a looming court date and the threat of being fined or jailed for violating the ordinance, the men said they plan to feed more needy later Wednesday.
Homeless activist Arnold Abbott, 90, and Christian ministers Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs were handing out meals in a park on Sunday, two days after Fort Lauderdale’s ordinance took effect, when police approached them with their sirens flashing, Black said. The three were issued citations and face a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.
The ordinance — the fourth one that Fort Lauderdale has passed this year concerning the homeless — requires groups handing out food to homeless to be at least 500 feet away from residential properties. It limits feeding sites for homeless to one in any given city block, and prevent feeding sites from being within 500 feet of each other.
Ah, property prices! The Golden Calf of our generation. A clear example of wishing the homeless, the destitute and generally undesirable away from the shining citadels. There is of course another reason which I shall get to later.
Black said the threat of police charging them again won’t stop him and Abbott, who runs a non-profit organization called Feed Thy Neighbor, from handing out meals on a public beach Wednesday evening.
“As a Christian, it’s pretty clear,” he said. “Feed thy sheep. Take care of them.”
Fort Lauderdale police said they were aware of Black and Abbott’s plans, and said they had clashed with Abbott before.
Don’t they have murderers, rapists, burglars and such to deal with without nicking a 90 year old man and a couple of pastors for trying to help the interstitial?
Legislative action criminalizing the distribution of food to homeless people is picking up speed across the U.S. More than 30 cities have passed or are considering such bans, with advocates arguing that allowing ministries and others to hand out meals aggravates homelessness by luring homeless people away from city-run programs.
See what I mean by “interstitial”? These are folks who walk between the raindrops of government provision. Mr Abbott and his friends are doing an unalloyed good. What the authorities hate more than anything is singular acts of kindness that aren’t regulated and controlled by them. The fact that people are acting directly to help the utterly potless matters not a jot to them. I mean for the sake of God himself how the fuck can giving food to the poorest of the poor off one’s own bat be a crime? Of course it is if it shows up the dismal state provision for the sham it is and if it depresses house prices* for those who can afford a house. Talk about “I’m alright Jack” and pulling up the last ladder on the Zeppelin and twirling your mustache and cackling.
For myself I am disgusted that this is happening in a state I know well (from Panhandle to Key West) which I always found friendly and quite Christian. There is nothing Christian about this law. Surely, by any stretch of the imagination on a public beach giving away food isn’t wrong. It may be illegal now but legality is not the same as right or wrong. A naive person like me would regard a public place as somewhere you can do what you want (within reasonable law) but you decide to commit an act of charity there you find out who really owns it and it ain’t the people is it?
This is a fundamental libertarian issue. It is a marriage made in Hell between the house price fetishists and the statists – or modern politics as it’s otherwise known. It is hideous.
It is wrong. When charity can no longer be spontaneous we have lost something too precious to be measured.
All quotes from NBC but it’s been all over the ‘net.
*I seem to recall one of the major causes of the Great Depression of the ’30s being kicked off by a Florida housing bubble.
Now some of this sounds standard Daily Fail dodgy but I hope there is some truth in this.
It would appear that those fun-lovers of ISIS (or whatever they call themselves) are scared of being killed by a woman. Apparently they fear they shall not go to Heaven (or even Hebburn). Well, quite frankly, fuck ‘em.
And they can join the Witch King of Angmar.
But if even only half of the Mail article is right then swing on sisters!
I raise doubts as to the veracity because near it was a story about ISIS getting their paws on an “airforce” consisting of a small number of Syrian MiGs (21/23) which are antediluvian anyway and the idea these half-wits can train pilots and ground crew to a pitch where they could challenge NATO et al is three stops from Dagenham. With three knackered fighters! Against a squadron of late block F-16s. Give me strength.
The only power ISIS has is their moral depravity and the sheer terror that precedes it and follows in it’s wake. That is why the Iraqi Army downed tools and fled (that and Iraq is not a “real” country in the sense that say France or the USA is). ISIS wouldn’t put you in a POW camp for the duration. They’d crucify you – literally. If you were lucky. Unless you have something definite to believe in why fight? In ’91 Iraqi soldiers flogged their rifles for a bus ticket home.
So, if it is true that ISIS are pant-wettingly scared of being slotted by a woman then…
What pathetic scoundrels they truly are!
We in the entire civilized planet will fight – women and men.
Because we believe. I don’t know what we believe in exactly but we do believe.
There is an industry which concerns itself with helping to create these when Mother Nature isn’t quite doing her job. But it needs to be regulated, you know. It really does. Even Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of whom more below, says so, though he otherwise disagrees with Ms. Cristina Richie, whose views are our topic today. (The gentleman’s remark rather sounds as though he approves of “regulation,” and disapproves of its lack, on principle.)
Anyway, it turns out that Carbon Legacies, even when naturally occurring, are not an unmitigated good. Indeed, one might question whether they are a Good Thing at all, even as others are delighted with theirs, or with the prospects of acquiring such.
Here is the abstract of an article from the Journal of Medical Ethics by Cristina Richie, Theology Department, Boston College, which argues that since every human “emits carbon” into the environment,
Evaluating the ethics of offering reproductive services against its overall harm to the environment makes unregulated ARTs unjustified….
“ART” stands for “Assisted Reproductive Technology.” It includes such things as fertilization in vitro and artificial insemination, as well as methods of having babies where the child might be born with AIDS, surrogate pregnancy, and more.
(WikiFootia has a good overview.)
From Ms. Richie’s article:
A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.
(I have had some non-biological “children,” but only in a figurative sense, such as patterns of words set down on paper or sent into cyberspace. But it seems to me that actual non-biological children are probably rather rare.)
Now ask me what I think. C’mon, you know you want to! *g* Well, lest the multitude of Kounting Kitties hereabouts get to yowling from the suspense….
Views in which “the environment” is seen as of higher moral value than human beings as such — whether conceived in delight or after a fight, or both, or neither — are perverse in the strongest and most serious sense of the word. (Compact OED, Print Ed., 1971, = 1933 OED plus addenda, gives various definitions, several of which boil down to “turning away from right to wrong.”) To me, the word has a connotation of DELIGHT in turning from right to wrong, and a deliberate inversion of right and wrong, so that the evil is embraced as good and the good, as evil.
All I can say is, I place a very high value on my own personal Carbon Legacy, who in early middle age continues to provide joy, light, and warmth to my life. Besides, this person grows houseplants and, in summer, tomatoes and peppers, so I figure that offsets the inevitable “emission of carbon.” (Whatever does Ms. Richie think that means? There’s a huge variety of carbon-containing molecules that are “emitted” by a huge variety of sources, most of them “natural.”) Personally I think that once we’ve gotten fluorine out of the way by banning it (per a suggestion by some doofus over here), we should simply ban carbon. That would solve everything. At least from the human point of view, which would no longer exist.
. . .
I will let Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of LifeNews.com, have the last word. He has a piece on this entitled “Population Controllers Call Babies ‘Carbon Legacies,’ a Threat to the Environment.” Per Mr. Smith:
And Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little carbon legacies to come onto me’….
The American Founding Father John Jay was fond of reading Plato in his youth (often not a good sign), and even named one of his slaves Plato (I am not attacking Mr Jay over slavery – I know he did more than anyone else to end slavery in New York State, even losing an election over it).
It is not likely that John Jay was fond of the economic collectivism of Plato (after all John Jay was the man famous for making “those who own the land should govern it” his maxim – although it was actually G. Morris who supported a strictly limited franchise, as long you owned a little land, say your own home, you should have the vote according to Jay), so what was he getting from Plato?
Not the idea of the importance of virtue – that was a commonplace of republican (small “r”) thought, that only a moral people could remain free (that a people addicted to vice and waste would either not notice government getting more powerful – or would actively welcome a despotic government, if it promised them lots of benefits “bread and games”).
Nor was John Jay some sort of “Puritan” in the Hollywood sense – he did not believe that such things as drink and dancing should be banned, he liked a drink and he employed tutors to teach his children to dance (and the only reason he did not go to the theatre was that he believed there was so much suffering and humiliation in real life that he did not want to see it on the stage as well). Again “virtue” was a much broader concept than the Hollywood mockery of po faced Puritans.
What Plato would have given John Jay is that idea that people can (and should) be made virtuous by THE STATE.
We today are used to prisons and government schools (especially in New York) being dens of vice – and that is not funny (rape and so on should not be a matter for nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes). Places where vast amounts of taxpayers money are spent – and people come out vastly worse than they went in. Indeed the only thing that government schools in America appear to be good at teaching people is that government should control everything and that business (especially “big business”) is evil (needing to be controlled by noble government), and the churches are evil too, and…… (well any alternative to the state in any area of life) is evil – how odd that government schools should teach that government should control everything (well actually not odd at all).
However, dens of vice was not the Platonic vision (although what American schools and colleges actually teach would have pleased Plato).
In the vision of John Jay the government prisons he established (to replace the old policy of either hanging or flogging criminals) were meant to “reform” criminals.
And the government school system he longed for (it was not really established till after his time) would take children and turn them into virtuous citizens of the new republic .
What if someone from the state had come to Mr Jay’s farm (the house he had built shows his reputation as an aristocrat is false – it is a rather ordinary house with a front pouch where someone can sit on a rocking chair and chat to passers by – the house that “Common Man” Jefferson had built is vastly grander, but then Jefferson did not mind borrowing money, John Jay hated the idea of borrowing for luxury, he would only spend money he actually had) and started to order him about in farming matters?
I think such a government official would have got a cold stare from the man who attacked price controls and other such nonsense (John Adams would have lost his temper and set the dogs on such an official). But why should government be better at forming human character?
If would not trust the government to be in charge of your carrots, why would you trust them to be in charge of your children?
Governments are often better than private individuals and associations for destructive things – killing people, burning cities and so on (as a man who had lived through war – Mr Jay knew that), but for constructive things such as reforming human character? That does not seem very likely.
Evil (force and fear) has its place in human affairs – remember the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk is divided between good and evil. His good side has many things (for example a sincere love of knowledge for its own sake) – even his courage (the evil Kirk is a coward – terrified of losing his own skin), but the good Kirk is also useless as a Star Ship commander (he will not take risks with other people’s lives – and he is horrified even by the suffering and death of enemies). It is the evil Kirk who has the “power of command” and the delight in torment and destruction that gives him the incentive to think up clever ways of destroying foes (the pleasure a cat has). And these-things-are-necessary at times.
The state (force and fear – the Sword of State) is the negative (destructive) energy of human life – you can burn a city with such a force, but you can not make people better (not really) you can not create new and good things. Force and fear has its place in human life (the good Kirk can not command the Enterprise – although the evil Kirk can not be trusted to do so) – but it can not turn a child into a good adult, or turn criminals into honest people (it can just turn them into hypocrites like Mr Heap – pretending to be “ever so humble” as they plot fresh crimes).
If one tries to use the state for positive (for constructive) purposes the negative energy feeds back on itself – the tormented child becomes a vile adult, the criminal leaves the prison worse than when he went in (and so on). The state can punish crime – but it can reform people (and the effort to use state power to “make people better” leads to the most terrible tyranny, as C.S. Lewis pointed out).
Those people (such as John Jay) who supported setting up state prison systems and school systems sincerely believing that they would promote virtue were making an error – a terrible, fundamental, error (an error for which the world is still suffering – and will suffer more).
Golf… is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.
- P. G. Wodehouse
This is why I never cheated at exams. Well, 2nd year secondary school history and I didn’t give a fuck about Horse Hoeing Husbandry. The Agrarian Revolution – give me strength! That was many years ago. RAB said a bit back (much more recent) that a golfer plays the field (I have to disagree with his chess analogy because if you are playing the course not the man or woman then it isn’t like Chess). It isn’t tactical in that sense but it is hellishly skillfull. And I’ve only played pitch and put and stuff with windmills. But in a real sense RAB is right as is Plum. Playing the course is playing yourself. In a real sense it is testing yourself and therefore in a way cheating is cheating yourself or God or whoever. I don’t believe in God but I think I know why folks do. We all have a deep need for an eternal and omniscient umpire. We have all done questionable things which we knew nobody saw and felt bad about it. Well, all of us who aren’t sociopaths.
Ultimately, for me anyway, morality is doing the right thing when nobody is watching*. Not even the Pope. And I think that is what Wodehouse was getting at. I didn’t learn it from Sunday School – Godless heathen that I am. Learned it from 8-bit computer games. There was no way to cheat because this was the days before the internet so like golf you play yourself (oh er… missus). Sorry couldn’t resist.
When I got my second (or third?) PC I played a lot of Hardwar. I’ll tell ya something… Flying a Tiger from Central Industrial to Downtown 05 with a Narcotron in your cargo pod is not an amusement. You pause the game, make a tea, plan your route, make sure you have enough flares and chaff and then wrench the throttle off the stick because you have to run like the fucking clappers. A Narcotron is worth a lot. My point is that whilst there were download cheats I never used them. You play the course.
It’s a great game -in a real sense (despite insane physics) it is the spiritual successor to “Elite”. “Home of the Underdogs” (which I’m not sure is still going) had it as it’s highest rated. Well that is where I got it from for it it was abandonware. It was never really finished and should have been updated. For shame. Now we have Babs Windsor cackling about playing bingo on phones.
Give me a Swallow Moth with a laser and a plasma kannon (yes, it is a “k”), a fusion cell, a drone (for the salvaging of stuff you offed) and a pod (to put it in) and Downtown 05 (and a narcotron, natch) and I’m happy as a sandboy. Add a couple of beers and 4am comes round very early.
Dead Gazans from the latest fracas: c.1800.
Dead “Guest Workers” in Quatar for the building of the 2022 Football Worldcup: 1200.
(Dead workers for the London 2012 Olympics build: 0).
Guess who is a major sponsor Hamas?
Now obviously, the Gaza toll will rise (not everyone dies of their wounds straight-off) but I think it is a safe bet that, seeing as it is only 2014, the Qataris have plenty of time to play catch-up. I wonder how many of the imported er… do I dare use the word “slave” are fellow Muslims? No, let’s stick with calling them “expendables”. People cared about slaves. They were a perverse capital asset. People cared about them in much the same way a farmer might care for his sheep or cattle. But these “migrants” are replaceable parts in the absurd machine that is Qatar. You wanna get angry about something happening in the Middle-East then try this.
I am a football fan. I love the World Cup (though for obvious reasons I have given-up on England – how many years of hurt is it now Mr Baddiel?). The epic corruption that got Qatar (a nation with no significant footballing heritage) the World Cup in the first place was bad enough but the conditions under which it is being built are terrible.
I hope Mr Slack Bladder of FIFA can live with himself although I suppose sitting in front of raging fire of $100 bills in his unicorn skin romper-suit whilst getting a blow-job from a ten-grand an hour hooker and sipping the finest wines known to humanity is some conciliation to a conscience that would worry a Sith Lord.
For he also did it for 2018 (for “A few Roubles More”) didn’t he. He has killed the World Cup. He has killed many people and many more to come. I may not be living high on the hog like him but I don’t get the night terrors I sincerely hope that evil little man does.
Now here is a modest proposal… Why not Britain for the World Cup? We have brilliant club stadia such as Old Trafford and St James Park, Glasgow has Hampden Park, Cardiff boasts the very impressive Millenium Stadium and of course there is the new Wembley in London. We have a track record of making a reasonable fist of such things and nothing much would have to be scratch built by slaves (yes, I will call ‘em that). Transport is OK (it will be a nightmare in Russia), the weather is suitable (it certainly ain’t in Qatar), you can have a beer (you’re on a very sticky wicket in Qatar on that score). Now, in case I sound like a “Little Britain”, I am not because I know Germany or France or Italy or a few other places could put on a similarly good show.
I’m really not sure which annoys me more. Is it the corruption or the enslavement? I guess that is because they can’t be separated.
There is another thing. Qatar is the richest per capita country on the planet and is therefore a playground for the rich including, obviously footballers and their WAGs. I don’t care how luxurious parts of it are there is no way I’d even change planes there. And I think less of those footballers etc who chose to holiday there in the “bubble”. A lot less. I wouldn’t bung moolah the way of North Korea for similar reasons. I wouldn’t go there for all the tea in China or all the gas in the Arabian Gulf. A truly decadent and obscene state. No wonder they got on so well with Slack Bladder.
Inspired by an article in “Private Eye” (where I got the stats) and I have to say I was shocked when I read the wikipedia article on Qatar.
Ariel Schochet, who has served eight stints behind bars in Bergen County [New Jersey], the so-called deadbeat dad roundups trap the men in a system they are never able to climb out of. “We aren’t supposed to have debtor’s prisons in this country anymore, but that’s essentially what this has turned into,” said Schochet, who built up a $278,000 debt to his ex-wife after losing his job on Wall Street.
Charles Dickens wrote extensively about debtors prisons, having been through this tribulation as a child during his fathers imprisonment for debt in Marshalsea prison in 1824, but even during his lifetime the closure of debtors prisons and the introduction of less punitive bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings appeared to turn the tide back, but it is a tide that has ebbed and flowed both ways over the centuries.
This was nowhere more true than in the United States where bankruptcy laws were enacted in 1800, repealed in 1803, enacted again in 1841, repealed again in 1843, enacted yet again in 1867 and repealed yet again in 1878 – thus the current laws may just be an extraordinarily long hiatus between repeals.
Rolf Harris was a massive part of my youth. It would appear now that he was a massive part of other kids youth too – and not in a good way. I mean I always thought Saville was a sleazy sod but Rolf! Rolf was Aussie gold.
I use to watch his show “Cartoon Club” as a kid and as 19 year-old he headlined the end of year party at Nottingham University. He was great. He got bigger cheers than Dannii Minogue who was the second on the list. I was right at the front and she certainly was “well fit” in the live. I guess she was maybe (even then) too old for Rolf’s tastes and Kylie would have clobbered him with a knotty prop – always struck even from her days in Neighbours as a feisty one our Kylie.
So I saw Rolf with his wobble board and doing Jake The Peg, painted an Outback scene and did a few songs and told a few jokes. The consummate light entertainer – especially after a few tinnies of Fosters – yes there was a reason the evening had an Australian theme.
I just don’t get it. If you are a successful, wealthy, entertainer you can actually get a consensual sexual relationship with an attractive adult. So why all this nasty, grubby stuff? Is it to quote Wilde, “Dining with Panthers” or is it just egomania or what?
Rolf, you let a generation down. You let me down. Now you are going down.