There is no basis for morality in a Godless universe

This is Peter Hitchens discussing John Gray’s Seven Types of Atheism. Lots of points being made. This is one of the many that reading the entire review will bring to your attention:

Perhaps most definitive of all is his observation that godless searches for a universal law are futile. “Without a law giver, what can a universal moral law mean?” he asks. “If you think of morality as part of the natural behaviour of the human animal, you find that humans do not live according to a single moral code. Unless you think one of them has been mandated by God, you must accept the variety of moralities as part of what it means to be human.” Well, exactly. No God: no law. No law: no morals, just situational, alterable ethics. I am amazed that so few seem to realize the implications of atheism for the rule of law over power, the one thing that really sustains human civilization.

Hitchens also provides an insightful quote from Albert Einstein, which he says is not well known which is why he quoted it. It is why I quote it as well.

I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvellously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.

A wonderful article.

Refugees are the last patriotism of the scoundrel

There are different sorts of refugees, some of which are related to the times in which they were born and raised. We refugees from the 1950s have found ourselves in an alien place, which at first we mistook for the places from which we had come. First this from Peter Hitchens, We won’t save refugees by destroying our own country.

Thanks to a thousand years of uninvaded peace, we have developed astonishing levels of trust, safety and freedom. I have visited nearly 60 countries and lived in the USSR, Russia and the USA, and I have never experienced anything as good as what we have. Only in the Anglosphere countries – the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – is there anything comparable. I am amazed at how relaxed we are about giving this away.

Our advantages depend very much on our shared past, our inherited traditions, habits and memories. Newcomers can learn them, but only if they come in small enough numbers. Mass immigration means we adapt to them, when they should be adapting to us.

So now, on the basis of an emotional spasm, dressed up as civilisation and generosity, are we going to say that we abandon this legacy and decline our obligation to pass it on, like the enfeebled, wastrel heirs of an ancient inheritance letting the great house and the estate go to ruin?

We are now like squatters living in a stately home with no concept of what it took to build or how easy it will be to bring it to ruin. Let us, however, go on a bit further with what Peter had to say:

Having seen more than my share of real corpses, and watched children starving to death in a Somali famine, I am not unmoved by pictures of a dead child on a Turkish beach. But I am not going to pretend to be more upset than anyone else. Nor am I going to suddenly stop thinking, as so many people in the media and politics appear to have done.

The child is not dead because advanced countries have immigration laws. The child is dead because criminal traffickers cynically risked the lives of their victims in pursuit of money.

I’ll go further. The use of words such as ‘desperate’ is quite wrong in this case. The child’s family were safe in Turkey. Turkey (for all its many faults) is a member of Nato, officially classified as free and democratic. Many British people actually pay good money to go on holiday to the very beach where the child’s body was washed up.

It may not be ideal, but the definition of a refugee is that he is fleeing from danger, not fleeing towards a higher standard of living.

It is a higher standard of living for them, but not for the people whose countries are being invaded. They will pay and never stop paying, with their own prosperity, with no doubt at all, torn away by these invasions. And at the end Peter has some sensible things to say about us here in Australia:

Can we stop this transformation of all we have and are? I doubt it. To do so would involve the grim-faced determination of Australia, making it plain in every way that our doors are open only to limited numbers of people, chosen by us, enduring the righteous scorn of the supposedly enlightened.

Of course, if you already get the point, you hardly need it said to you over again. Still, there is this that may be worth keeping in mind, from The Diplomad, The Threat: Is Hungary’s PM the Only One Who Understands?

The so-called “refugee” crisis in Europe is more than alarming. It, of course, is much more than a “refugee” crisis. All across the Old Continent we are seeing massive flouting of law and order as thousands, tens-of-thousands, maybe more, of so-called refugees flood into Europe and then slosh about from one country to another looking for the best deal. The UK has become a particular target as “refugees” try to make their way to Britain’s generous public benefits.

None of us writing about such things have the slightest belief that anything can be done. Australia may hold out for now, but Labor may yet be only a year from government.

A round-up of the usual suspects and others less usual

From Kathy Shaidle: If you can read this, I guess I didn’t block you yesterday during #JeSuisCharlie.

From Mark Steyn: The Fire Rages and “I’d Rather Die Standing Than Live on My Knees”.

From Jay Curry: Useful Horror.

From Frank Pledge: The Left’s Unholy Alliance.

From Peter Smith, On Making Hatred Disappear.

From Paul Mirengoff: Four observations prompted by the Paris attack.

From Anjem Choudary: Why did France allow the tabloid to provoke Muslims?

From Stacey McCain: On Anjem Choudary

From Pam Geller: Jihad in America 2014

From Ezra Levant: Slams Media’s #JeSuisCharlie Phonies with must-see video

From Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Charlie Hebdo: West must stop appeasing Islamic purveyors of hatred

From Roger Simon: 2016 and Paris. It’s the jihad, stupid

From Brendon Bordelon: I am not Charlie: Leaked Newsroom Emails Reveal al Jazeera Fury over Global Support

Peter Hitchens: The sinister, screeching mob who want to kill free speech (And no, I DON’T mean the Islamist terrorists in our midst)

Robert Crumb: Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris

From Henry Ergas: Eyes wide shut to Islamist threat

From Clarice Feldman: Je Suis Sick and Tired of Cant

Pope Francis: Pope condemns ‘deviant forms of religion’ in the wake of French massacre, accusing them of causing ‘the breakdown of society and spawning violence and death’

From Victor Davis Hanson: Multicultural Suicide

From Marine Le Pen: To Call This Threat by Its Name: France Was Attacked by Islamic Fundamentalism

Democratic principles and the people be damned

Let us begin with Peter Hitchens’ reflections on the democratic principle as seen by the people the people elect:

Democracy is very well-defended against public opinion. Political parties, especially, are immune to almost everything that the majority actually desires, and are much less interested in mass tastes than shopkeepers, broadcasters, or industrial corporations. Modern politicians employ battalions of professional deceivers and manipulators, whose main job is to persuade the electorate to want what they are already being given, or what they are going to get. Our democratic leaders much prefer this to giving the people what they actually want.

So it is quite funny to watch men and women who are publicly dedicated to government for, by, and of the people, getting angry and exasperated when the people actually speak.

Events in Britain over the last few days have reminded me strongly of Berthold Brecht’s embittered sneer at his East German Communist comrades who, faced with a revolt by the workers they claimed to represent, ordered those workers to do penance for this outrage.

As Brecht sarcastically enquired, “Wouldn’t it be simpler if the Government just dissolved the people and elected another?”

And what has brought on these reflections on politicians and democratic principles?

Here, the very large vote for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a fourth party which incoherently but emphatically defies the consensus, has been treated by politicians and their media toadies as a problem with the voters which has somehow to be contained.

The idea that all these voters have broken the loyalties of a lifetime for good reason, and that leaving the European Union and restoring control of the national borders are good ideas (which they are), is never considered for a second. Instead, having been dismissed as ignorant bigots for the past six weeks, the insurgent voters are now the object of a campaign to bamboozle them with fake sympathy, combined with an utter refusal to do what they want.

Quite unaware of how this sounds, my country’s political and media elite simply cannot stop themselves treating legitimate discontent as some sort of pathology. They, the governing class, cannot possibly be the problem. It must the voters who are mistaken, misguided, or in some way mentally ill.

Our elites wish for world government while people like myself wish to preserve those tiny enclaves of sanity in the midst of a quite mad world. It won’t happen and so 2114 will be as unimaginably different from 2014 as this year is from the world a century ago. But a one-world horror with an international elite is the aim right now amongst our progressives irrespective of what anyone might wish for and desire. I remember border crossings and national money and much else about which I wish we could turn back the clock. So I am with Peter Hitchens on this and much else besides.

Peter Hitchens on Q&A

q and a with peter hitchens

It seems from the thread that most of those who watched Q&A last night were disappointed but for me it was not only the first one I have been able to get through from end to end but when it ended I could not believe that the hour had gone by so quickly.

Hitchens for me was amazing. Absolute and complete disdain for everything said by the others and a total grasp of the moral facts in play. He cared nothing at all for the good opinion of any of them – not the host and not the other guests – and mowed them down in turn with an incredibly deep understanding of the values and culture of the West which in his hands made the rest of them appear for what they were: shallow, destructive, vulgar and vile. I have never seen anything like it. Even if these others were unable to experience shame, they would have known they had been completely done over.

And while I had not come across that Savage chap, Germaine Greer and Hannah Rosin are not rookies in presenting their line of argument and I suppose Savage had been at it for a while himself. But they were absolutely done over. And Hitchens’ disdain for the host was in itself a pleasure to see, which really came out when he asked why he alone from amongst all the guests was being interrupted in the middle of his point. And he would not let go and made the point over again even while being interrupted.

There is not much you can do with the ABC but trying to get more people like Hitchens in front of a camera seems a good place to start.

You can watch the entire show or read the transcript here.