Revolutionary socialism and sexual politics

 

By Philip Vander Elst.

Social liberalism’ has become the universally accepted label applied to all those in the western democracies who support the Left’s political and cultural agenda of ‘sexual revolution’. The very use of such terms as ‘gay liberation’ ‘transgender rights’ ‘pro-choice’ and ‘sexual equality’, implies, like the word ‘liberalism’, that this increasingly victorious cultural agenda represents a genuine movement of human emancipation. But is this really true? Does the overthrow of traditional Judeo-Christian morality and the advance of moral relativism and sexual permissiveness represent an extension of personal liberty or a threat to its long-term survival? Growing evidence suggests the latter is the case, including four powerful and exhaustively documented books described below.

 

The first two books, by American feminist and lesbian writer, Tammy Bruce, are revealingly entitled, Tammy bruceThe Death of Right and Wrong (2004) and The New Thought Police (2003). They show how the rise of left-wing McCarthyism, with its politically correct speech and thought codes, is eroding religious freedom and the civil rights of all those, especially Christians, who dissent from the current ‘liberal’ orthodoxy about sex and the family. The third American book, The Homosexual Agenda (2003), by Alan Sears and Craig Osten, tells the same story in equally compelling detail. In particular, it exposes, with abundant chapter and verse, the extent to which militant homosexual activists are determined to use the coercive power of the State to change public attitudes and enforce compliance with their practical demands. Finally, the fourth book on this list, The Global Sexual Revolution: destruction of freedom in the name of freedom (2015), is the work of a brave German female sociologist,The-Global-Sexual-Revolution-Gender-Ideology Gabriele Kuby, and is a comprehensive and damning analysis of both the philosophical and historical roots (reaching back to the French Revolution), and the practical consequences, of the Left’s morally and socially destructive cultural agenda.

Those seeking a full and comprehensive understanding of this subject should obviously read these four books, but they may also be interested in reading a paper of mine, first published in 1981, examining the ideological connections between revolutionary socialism and ‘sexual politics’ as expressed more than a generation ago in the writings of various British Marxist and gay activist groups and publications. If they do so, and view its contents against the background of current events and the information provided in the above-mentioned books, they will see the degree to which my 1981 paper (see below) has proved to be prophetic in its analysis of the destructive impact of the gay/socialist alliance on the rights and liberties of the heterosexual majority.

Revolutionary Socialism and Sexual Politics ( July 1981 )

 

Edmund_Burke_by_James_NorthcoteTwo centuries ago Edmund Burke (1729-1797) wrote: “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.” Lenin (1870-1924), on the other hand, declared in 1920: “We do not believe in an eternal morality, and we expose the falseness of all the fables about morality.”  The opposition between these viewpoints reflects the fact that while Burke wanted to defend the traditional social order; Lenin’s mission was to overthrow it. This suggests that there is an intimate link between revolutionary politics and attempts to overturn, or deny, traditional moral values. What then is the nature of this connection?

 

The freedom and stability of our society are primarily sustained by two institutions: private property and the family. Private property guarantees personal independence and decentralizes power, while the family provides children with the secure and loving environment their development requires. The health and happiness of the family rests in turn upon the institution of marriage, which is based on the mutual loyalty, commitment and understanding of adult men and women. Without these qualities and the codes and institutions which nurture them, society fragments and breeds disharmony, resentment, and alienation. For that very reason revolutionaries are moral nihilists. They detest normality, contentment and stability. They wish to destroy the present social order and build a new one upon its ruins, and that cannot be done unless the restraints imposed by morality, property and the family are swept away.

 

However, the apostles of revolution also have positive as well as negative reasosn for their repudiation of these institutions. 

 

Marxists oppose the family, for example, because it represents a focus of loyalty outside the collective and gives individuals an emotional and material base from which to resist communal pressures and demands. They dislike the way it encourages individualism and the accumulation and transmission of private property. The advocates of ‘sexual revolution’ or ‘sexual politics’, on the other hand, reach the same ideological position from the opposite end. They oppose private property because it strengthens the traditional family, and in doing so, reinforces the traditional belief that marital faithfulness and heterosexuality must be defended, and homosexuality and promiscuity condemned, or at least criticized.

 

Although revolutionary socialists and sexual revolutionaries are not entirely overlapping groups in Britain, many of their activists are revolutionaries in both senses and share a common desire to overthrow ‘capitalism’ and ‘sexism’. They are by the same token united in the ‘struggle for socialism’, though they may differ in their interpretation of what precisely constitutes ‘socialism’. Their pro-abortion militancy is also significant as an expression of their common hostility to the rights of unborn children and the responsibilities of motherhood. This again reflects their dislike of the family and their rejection of traditional morality.

 

The evidence from their own writings and publications

The identity of interest between political and sexual revolutionaries is stressed in many far left and radical publications, as the following examples demonstrate. In the 10th issue of Gay Left (June 1980), a homosexual socialist journal that has just completed five years of publication, there is a “collective statement” on the relationship between “democracy, socialism and sexual politics”. After remarking that: “The Women’s movement and the Gay movement have politicized and radicalized sections of the population untouched by traditional socialist organizations”, the collective statement adds: “Feminist and Gay politics provide a subversive challenge to conventional ideologies and aspirations, and socialism cannot grow without such challenges.” In another article in the same issue (“Workplace politics: Gay politics”), Nigel Young writes: “I feel that only by piecing together our gayness and our socialism and combining it with collective action can we defend and advance the gains of the gay and women’s movements.”

 

This theme is underlined in an even more explicit and uncompromising way by Don Milligan, in his pamphlet, The Politics of Homosexuality, first published by Pluto Press in 1973 and reprinted in August 1978 by the Edinburgh Gay Activists Alliance. As he puts it: “The movement for women’s liberation and gay liberation are important because they make us aware of the ways in which we are drenched in myths and prejudices that support the way things are – enabling capitalism to continue.” “Homosexual liberation is not possible under capitalism”, he continues [erroneously, as it has proved!] though “it is not guaranteed under socialism.” Since “Socialism is not simply about economics” and “workers’ control of industry…would create only the possibility of gay liberation”, “gay liberation groups must also aim to spread our ideas throughout the labour and socialist movement.” This, Milligan appears to have achieved according to the review of his pamphlet in Gay News (No.148), by Jeffrey Weeks: “…the SWP [Socialist Workers Party], along with most of the other far left groupings, now have advanced positions on gay liberation to which this pamphlet’s arguments probably contributed.”

 

The link between feminist and revolutionary politics is emphasized by the Trotskyist International Marxist Group (IMG), in a pamphlet published in 1979, on Abortion, Liberation and Revolution. It argues: “Transformation of society can only be achieved through a united onslaught on the power and privileges of capitalist society. All the movements of the oppressed, women, racial minorities, youth, must join with the organized working class.”Trotsky quote In particular, “…all those fighting to change society will have to participate in the struggle against women’s role in the family.” This is necessary because: “If women had complete freedom – the freedom not to reproduce or the freedom to reproduce with any man they desire – then there would be no way in which the male of the ruling class could be sure that his property would be passed to his children.” The IMG pamphlet further alleges that restrictions on abortion represent an attempt “to force women out of the labour market and back into the home”, consequently it demands that there should be “no governmental restrictions on abortion, contraception and sterilization, for all women – including minors.”

 

Like the other far left groups, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) is also aware of the need for co-operation between political and sexual revolutionaries. In the 5th edition of the Party’s programme, The British Road to Socialism, it is emphasized that “capitalism not only exploits people at work, it impinges on every aspect of their lives…Hence the broad democratic alliance needs to be not only an expression of class forces, but of other important forces in society which emerge out of areas of oppression not always directly connected with the relations of production.” That is why it insists that “the fight for women’s liberation is an integral part of the struggle for socialism, and needs to be taken up by the whole labour movement.” In that cause it advocates: “Women’s control over their own bodies, with freely available abortion.” In addition to proclaiming its support for “the overcoming of sexism”, the CPGB welcomes “the development of the gay movement, which aims to end prejudice and discrimination against homosexual men and women.”

 

The explicitly subversive nature of ‘sexual politics’ is most clearly revealed in the hatred expressed for traditional values and the family, especially on the homosexual left. Don Milligan denounces the family as the origin of sexual repression: “The family denies the sexuality of children, represses that of adolescents and reduces fidelity to an expression of property rights.” Parents are attacked because they “ ‘bring up’ their children in their own image” and so “fulfill a basic function for capitalist society – that of soaking each new generation in the values of bourgeois society and male supremacy.” Milligan further complains that “If homosexuality were fully accepted, many more people would have gay relationships.” To that end he concludes his pamphlet with eight demands, three of which call for: “An end to exclusively heterosexual sex education in schools. Abolition of all restrictions which prevent gay people from caring for their own children or adopting children. Abolition of all laws relating to the age of consent for boys and girls.”

 

Campaign group demands legitimization of sex with children 

This last appalling demand finds an echo in Gay Left, in which there is an advertisement on behalf of the Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM), established after the arrest, in July 1979, of several members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), an organization devoted to the legitimization of sex between adults and children. Not only does this advertisement demand “that the laws against PIE be dropped.” It also goes on to deplore the way in which the trial of PIE members “could be used to cut back the ideological space in which ‘dangerous’ subjects like child sexuality could be discussed, as well as the havoc that it will produce in the lives of self-professed paedophiles and of other perceivedly ‘deviant’ adults.”

 

The rejection of traditional ideas about heterosexuality, marriage and the family is also explicit in a pamphlet by the Coventry Women’s Education Group, a self-proclaimed body of “socialist feminists.” Entitled, Please Yourself: Sex for Girls, the aim of the booklet “is to provide a feminist approach to sex, for girls of about 13+.” Its object, moreover, is not simply to provide information about pregnancy, contraception and abortion, “But most importantly it is about female sexual pleasure and how to obtain it.”  In short, the pursuit of sexual pleasure is urged as an end in itself that overrides all other considerations. This is implied in some casual statements regarding lesbianism and abortion: “sexual relationships may be with boys or with other girls. If you have a sexual relationship with another girl, it will usually be based on mutual masturbation.” This clearly suggests that indulgence in either a heterosexual or lesbian relationship is merely a matter of personal taste, even when minors are involved. The authors take a similarly cavalier attitude to the ethics of abortion: “Abortion carried out in the early weeks is simple and safe. It does not stop you from getting pregnant again when you want to.” Even the possibility that abortion raises a moral dilemma is ignored. Convenience and the pursuit of pleasure is all that counts. It is hardly surprising, in the light of these remarks, that this pamphlet shows no special regard for marriage: “Some people may be happier to live as a married couple but people shouldn’t feel that they have to in order to be happy.”

 

The relationship between revolutionary socialism and ‘sexual politics’ is finally most instructive in what it teaches us about the link between totalitarianism and permissive morality, or more accurately, amorality.

 

Permissive philosophies say or imply that people can do what they like with sex. Totalitarian ones say or imply that people can do what they like with power. Both are therefore different sides of the same coin in that both are rooted in a rejection of the notion that some things are objectively right and others are objectively wrong. This follows from the fact that if there is no such thing as an eternal or universal Moral Law, the abuse of power by a dictator is as much beyond criticism as the sale of child pornography. In other words, if there are no moral rules governing human behaviour, there is no evil or perversion in which men and women cannot indulge with a clear conscience. All things then become permissible to those who claim the right to remake the world according to their desires. There is thus a logical connection between totalitarianism and permissiveness, whether or not sexual and political revolutionaries overlap in any particular case.

 

Lenin’s ruthless embrace of moral relativism and totalitarianism

It was no accident that Lenin despised the idea of everlasting morality and at the same time formulated, in 1920, one of the most ruthless definitions of revolutionary government that has ever been written: “The scientific concept, dictatorship,” he declared, “ means neither more nor less than unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws or any absolute rules. Nothing else but that.”

 

Could there be any clearer proof that the defence of traditional values is tied up with the defence of the free society?

Note: Mr Vander Elst is to be identified as the author of both parts of this contribution.

Sir Walter Scott on fundamentalism, and Islam?

I tell thee, the Word slayeth- that is, the text alone, read with unskilled eyes and unhallowed lips, is like those strong medicines which sick men take by the advice of the learned. Such patients recover and thrive, while those dealing in their own hand shall perish by the own deed.

Taken from The Monastery, in which novel the words are those of a priest.

Tuam- again

The recent revelations about the bodies that have been found in the burial site attached to the former Mother and Baby “home” in Tuam are deeply troubling. They are not though unexpected. But we don’t yet know the full facts. The investigation must be carried on, not just at Tuam, but in all the other relevant places, both in this state and in Northern Ireland. There must be no further cover ups. There have been quite enough already.

So far the state here has paid for the investigations in Tuam. This is only right. But should it not also be joined by the religious organizations concerned- Catholic and Protestant alike who ran the homes? It could also be that the British government has a role to play in this respect; as we on this site have  published evidence which suggests that the shocking mal administration of these institutions pre dated our current political arrangements. (See our post, “A Critical Error,” published in September 2016 – which we have reposted below.)

A critical error?

From Hansard, May 7th 1888. 

Mr. P.J. O’ BRIEN ( Tipperary North ) asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland [ A.J. Balfour ] , Whether he has yet received the Report in answer to the full enquiry which he promised into the circumstances of the case of the Cranna Orphanage in County Tipperary; whether it is accordance with the facts as reported at the coroner’s inquest on the body of the boy Madden; whether the remaining children in that Institution are still on the dietary [ regime?], the nature of which was then disclosed; and whether he will take steps to have this and similar Institutions visited at intervals by authorized Government Inspectors, so as to afford some protection to the orphan children therein confined, and to prevent the recurrence of such inhuman treatment as has been proved in the case of the Cranna orphans?    

THE CHIEF SECRETARY ( MR. A. J. BALFOUR )MORRIS(1889)_p333_THE_RIGHT_HON__A_J__BALFOUR_M_P (Manchester, E.) The local Constabulary authorities [ the police ] have furnished a copy of the verdict at the inquest on the body of the boy Madden, from which it appears that he died from weakness or syncope; but neither the jury nor the Coroner appears to have attached blame to any individual. The jury, however, in their verdict pointed out certain defects which, in their opinion, existed in the Institution as regards clothing, dietary, and attendance [ of a doctor?]. A letter has been received from the Bishop of Killaloe stating what steps have been taken to carry out the recommendations put forward by the Coroner’s Jury in order to remedy the existing defects.

MR. P.J. BRIEN The right hon. Gentlman did not answer the last part of the question. I understand that the Bishop of Killaloe very rarely visits the Institution.

MR A. J. BALFOUR I do not think a Government Inspector would be at all an improvement.

NOTE: Among the causes of Syncope mentioned by Wikepedia are, fasting, too few fluids, emotional distress and lack of sleep.  

When I mentioned the substance of this post to a friend ( a recently retired teacher ) he at once came up with the right diagnosis: “NEGLECT”

Life Story

By Robert C.B. Miller

Is life rare or is it common? The search for life on Mars, elsewhere in the solar system and in the Milky Way continues apace. Planets on nearby and quite distant stars have been discovered and investigated to determine whether they are in the habitable zone where life is possible – not too far from their star so that they are not too cold and not too close so that they are not too hot. Hope is expressed that life may be found in the water beneath the ice shells of Europa, Enceladus and Titan the moons moons of jupiterrespectively of Jupiter and Saturn.

Searchers, some funded by internet billionaires, are checking the electro-magnetic spectrum for radio signals which are artefacts and the product of intelligent life. Leading public intellectuals, such as Stephen Hawking, have opined on the risk that alien intelligent life might discover us and do us harm. So far no convincing evidence of life has been found.

But there is a puzzle about life. Biologists have difficulty in explaining how abiogenesis, the emergence of living from non-living material, is possible. It is now often forgotten that one of the great triumphs of modern science was the discovery that life could only come from life. No longer could it be believed that life could just emerged from non-living material as Aristotle thought. 220px-Aristotle_Altemps_Inv8575But in turn this discovery created a problem. If life did not emerge from the non-living, how is it that the world is full of living things? One apparently obvious solution to this puzzle is that it was the result of evolution. But this cannot be the case, evolution presupposes the existence of life on which the Darwinian machinery of mutation and adaptation can work.

Much energy has been used by biologists to discover how life originated and it was expected that this would be a relatively simple matter. Life, it was thought, could be shown to be the result of a chemical process that converted bare chemistry into biochemistry. But after much effort and theorising, none of the putative accounts developed have been accepted and all remain controversial. The origin of life remains an unsolved problem for chemists and biologists. In any case any the all must remain what cautious biologists call ‘Just So Stories’. The reason is that there is very clear evidence that abiogenesis occurred in the extremely distant past and consequently that almost all evidence of the process must have long disappeared.

But two related facts are clear, however life originated. First all life uses the same DNA building blocks and second all life descended from a single common ancestor. This means that the ‘tree of life’ with species branching from a common origin in a hierarchy pruned by extinction and expanded by well-known evolutionary processes is a well-established conclusion of biology.

The Two Strange Two Facts about Life

This leads us to two remarkable facts about life on earth which deserve much more attention for the extraordinary facts that they are.

First, that the appearance of life on earth took place a very long time ago – give or take a few hundred million years – between 3.8 and 4.1 billion years ago. This great age is significant as it seems that life appeared on earth very shortly about 600 million years after the planet formed 4.54 billion years ago and an even shorter period, perhaps a few hundred million years, after the earth became habitable. This distant date should be put in the perspective of the age of the universe which is estimated at about 13.8 billion years. This means that life appeared at about 70% of the age of the universe on a planet which had only just become habitable for life.dejas_first_evidence_of_life_biology_timeline_v1

Second, there is very strong evidence that life appeared on earth only once. This is guaranteed by the ‘tree of life’ and the common DNA building blocks of all life. There is evidence on earth of only one kind of life and no evidence of any others.

In one sense there is of course nothing extraordinary about these facts. If life was to appear there seems no reason for it to appear at any one time rather than another provided conditions were right. Thus if life appeared as the result of a highly unlikely series of events and conditions then it would appear reasonably for it to appear 70% through the existence of the universe rather that at the beginning. The more unlikely are life producing events and conditions then it is more likely to appear latter rather than sooner. Thus if I have six fair dice then I am more likely to have roiled six sixes by the 100,000 roll than I am at the first roll. But while this argument may appear reasonable in the perspective of the life of the universe, it seems extraordinary in the context of life of the earth. It looks as if someone rolled six sixes on the very first roll of the dice.

But now the argument gets strange. As we have seen there is strong evidence that life emerged on earth only once. Given that life emerged on earth almost as soon as it became possible, it seems that it was the ideal environment for the appearance of life. But if life emerged rapidly in an ideal environment it is deeply puzzling why it has not emerged again in the 3.8 billion years since it first appeared. If it has emerged once, then why not twice or indeed many times? If life appeared so soon after it became possible then it suggests that the odds were not as long as was thought and that it might only be necessary to roll a single six rather than six sixes for life to appear. But if that is the case and the die was kept rolling then one would expect a regular supply of sixes after the first die roll. But as we have seen this appears not to have been the case. Why indeed are there not multiple forms of life? Why is there not a strand of life on earth based on silicon rather than carbon, or even boron? Why are there not a number of different types of carbon based life? There are none and no evidence that that any ever existed. 

The evidence leads to contradictory conclusions. Life appears to be the result of a natural process which operates rapidly (or even immediately) when conditions are right. But in that case it is puzzling that it has emerged only once on earth. But its single emergence seems to suggest that conditions and process that leads to the appearance of life are extraordinarily rare. In other words, life appeared once on earth almost as soon as it became habitable, suggesting that it a high probability event. But since it has not appeared since this implies it was a very low probability event.

What is (or was) going on?

Could the puzzle be resolved by the fact that life did not emerge on earth until about 70% of the age of the universe had elapsed. This might suggest that the odds of life appearing are very long, given both the size and the duration of the universe. It is some 92 billion light years in diameter and has perhaps 100 billion galaxies each with 100 billion stars.

But the early appearance of life in the history of earth, a few hundred years after it became possible suggests that life should emerge similarly rapidly implying that the galaxy and the universe should be teeming with life. Wherever it can be sustained life should appear rapidly. But here we run into a version of the Fermi paradox. There appears as yet to be no evidence of any kind to suggest that there is any other life outside the solar system. This may change with, for instance, the discovery of significant amounts of oxygen in an exoplanet. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that signs of life are discovered on a significant number of exoplanets within the Milky Way.exoplanets Would it dissolve the paradox that the appearance of life on earth seems both probable and improbable at the same time?

Plainly it would not solve the puzzle and it would actually exacerbate it. The appearance of life on exoplanets would shorten the odds of life appearing on earth – and indeed on all habitable planets in this and other galaxies. What it would not do is to explain why life appeared only once on earth at the very beginning of earth’s habitable period. If the odds of life appearing are so short why has it only appeared once in the (evidently) ideal conditions of earth? The paradox remains, indeed it is more puzzling than it was before. Life appears highly probable – its emergence being evidently a short odds event. But if the odds are short, why has it only appeared once in the 3.9 billion period of earth’s habitability – a period which amounts to 30% of the lifetime of the universe? As we argued above one would expect that there would be a series of new appearances of life. The evidence is clear, there have been none.

The Paradox of Life

Where does the paradox of life leave us? One remote possibility is that new versions of life might be discovered on earth – suggesting that the appearance of life was really a short odds event. But this solution does not look promising. As we have seen all life has the same DNA structure and the tree of life with descent from a common ancestor appears a very robust conclusion of biology.

What then? One possibility is that the appearance of life may not be subject to the same probabilistic causal regime as other biological events.  It may just be odd, but that is indeed an odd conclusion.

Down in dumps about Europe

logo-think-europe-farbig

…or what is NOT happening nearly frequently enough!

I had missed it, and I bet you had too! But in 2003 the European Parliament passed legislation for the collection of statistics about housing conditions in the E. U. Only they didn’t put quite like that. They put this way… “regulation ( E.C. ) No 11772003 established a common framework for the systematic production of European statistics on income and living conditions, in order to ensure that comparable and up- to- date cross-sectional and longitudinal data on income and on the level and composition of poverty and social exclusion are available at national and Union level.”

Apparently article 15 of this regulation laid down that measures were to be adopted every year “to specify the target secondary areas and variables to be included in the cross-sectional component of EU-SILC [ i.e. the regulation concerned ] that year.”

Consequently the time has now come- so I read on the EUR-Lex web site- for “the             implementing measures specifying the target secondary variables and their identifiers for the 2018 module on material deprivation, well-being and housing difficulties [ to]… be adopted.”

The statistical variables involved are set out in an annex to implementing regulation in the form of the questions that a representative sample of the Union’s population are to be asked. The annex states that “the mode of collection is [a] personal interview with the household respondent.” (So be warned, your privacy may be about to be invaded!)

Some of the questions are merely designed to elicit the sort of information about living conditions that government statisticians have always loved collecting. Do you have a washing machine? Do you have a colour T.V? Do you have a telephone? The only oddity here being that there is apparently no reference to internet access which I should have thought was important. But no doubt it will be included next year!

The longer section of the proposed survey concerns well-being. Here the questions become broader, much broader…far too broad.

“…overall life satisfaction, from 0 (Not at all satisfied ) to 10 ( Completely satisfied )”

and goes in much the same vein…

“ Perceived social exclusion?”

“Satisfaction with financial situation?”

Satisfaction with amount of leisure time?

“Trust in others?”

“Feeling lonely?”

“Feeling calm and peaceful?”

“Feeling downhearted or depressed?”

“Feeling down in the dumps?”

….and so forth, and so forth..

Me? I’m feeling down in the dumps about Europe. I’m feeling down in the dumps about a bureaucracy which can produce such nonsense with apparent equanimitye u parliament 2 and even pride. I am feeling depressed about a system which apparently has no understanding of the proper role of the state in a free society. And, above all, I am angry that the European Parliament is incapable of stopping this idiocy.

 

Oswald Spengler… on London?

I am not a fan of meta historians, like Toynbee, Marx, and the rest. Their work is too vague for my taste.oswald-spengler More especially I am no supporter of Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” and certainly  not of its very metaphysical first volume- which I have found quite impossible to read, despite several attempts. But I was browsing in the second volume of that massive work when I found this in his discussion of cities. Spengler may have been trying to read far too much into the data of history. However as this passage proves, he could insightful. He may not have been thinking of London when he wrote. But he captured its spirit.

decline of west lates

( New York, 1932 ) Vol. 2, p.354

“Now supervened the city with its own soul, first emancipating itself from the soul of the countryside, then setting up as an equal to it, and finally seeking to suppress and extinguish it. But this evolution accomplishes itself in kinds of life, and it also, therefore, is part of the history of the estates. The city-life of life, as such emerges- through the inhabitants of these small settlements acquiring a common soul, and becoming conscious that the life within is something different from the life outside- and once the spell of personal freedom begins to operate and to attract within the walls life-streams of more and more new kinds. There sets in a sort of passion for becoming urban and for propagating urban life. It is this, and not material considerations, that produced the fever of the colonization period in the classical world, which is still recognizable to us in the last of its last offshoots, and which it is not quite exact to speak of as colonization at all. For it was a creative enthusiasm in the man of the city that from the tenth century B.C ( and “contemporaneously” in other Cultures )  drew generation after generation under the spell of a new life, with which there emerges for the first time in human history the idea of freedom. This idea is not of political ( still less abstract ) origin, but is something bringing to expression the fact that within the city walls plantlike attachment to a soil has ceased, and that the threads that run through the whole life of the countryside have been snapped. And consequently the freedom-idea ever contains a negative; it looses, redeems, defends, always frees a man from something. Of this freedom the city is the expression; the city-spirit is understanding become free, and everything in the way of intellectual, social, and national movements that burst forth in Late periods under name of Freedom leads back to an origin in this one prime fact of detachment from the land.”

WELL, which ever way you cook it hat is a thought provoking paragraph!

Mr Stephen Miller

To avoid any possible misunderstanding I should like to make it clear that I am not related to, or have any connection with, the Mr Stephen Miller, who has recently been appointed to a senior position in the Trump administration. This is despite the fact that we were both educated at Duke University in North Carolina, although at quite different times. Moreover I have no connection with Mr Richard Spencer, also a graduate of Duke, who has apparently done much to further Mr Stephen Miller’s career.

I have also been authorised to state that Mr Charles Miller, a director of The Edmund Burke Institute, who incidentally is no relation of mine, is also unconnected in any way with Mr Stephen Miller. R.M.

On liberty and virtue

Liberty is by no means an invitation to indifference or to irresponsible power; nor is it the promise of unlimited well being without a counterpart of toil and effort. It supposes application, perpetual effort, strict  government of self, sacrifice in contingencies, civic and private virtues. It is therefore more difficult to live as a free man than to live as a slave, and that is why men so often renounce their freedom; for freedom is in its way an invitation to a life of courage, and sometimes of heroism, as the freedom of the Christian is an invitation to a life of sainthood.

The concluding lines of Georges Lefebvre’s “The Coming of the French Revolution” translated from the French by R.R. Palmer ( Princeton, 1947 )

The Prison of American Optimism

…watching the inauguration of President Trump with me were two friends…The former Chairman of a Conservative constituency association, and his wife- an Anglo- Irish women, an ardent Brexiter ( unlike her husband!) and huge fan of “The Donald.”

As the new President gave the speech the former conservative activist kept saying “He’s boxing himself in.” And  so he was with every additional promise. To put it at its mildest the new President was doing nothing to lower expectations of his followers. Rather he was increasing them- as did President Obama in 2008- “Yes we can!” But could we? Should we?

Why is this? Why do American politicians feel obliged to speak in these terms. Why are they so imprisoned by optimism that realism sounds like treachery? Why do they do so little to inject even a hint of the difficulties that are inherent in the political process and even the human condition itself into their discourse? It is, I think,  because The United States is a young country based on the facile hopes of the enlightenment. Is it cynical to ask if  the real promise of America will only be discovered when this compulsory optimism ( which can never be realized on this earth ) has been replaced by a more soundly based rhetoric? “Blood, sweat and tears” is more like it!…Or am I denying people hope, as one of my friends said as I read them the draft of this.