Carrying the load for the whole of Western Civilisation

The Battle of QuebecQueenston HeightsLundy’s LaneVimy RidgeDeippeJunoMoscow 1972, not to forget Laura Secord. And now the Battle of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. You don’t want to mess with Canadians, when they’re really angry. And they are really angry.

And bless them, they are carrying the load for the whole of Western Civilisation. 

I suspect the people who teach Canadian history don’t even know most of these moments, but what they show is that Canadians will not surrender when there is a battle before them.

FacebookTwitterEmailTelegramShare

My favourite book ever

No one will any longer read it, but it is the best story by the world’s greatest story teller. It is The Histories by Herodotus. I mention it only because it is discussed here in War for the West, written by possibly my favourite living essayist, Joseph Epstein. The subheading for the article is, “What if the Persians had defeated the Greeks?” Just a bit of the article to give you a taste, and what I have found wonderous was that not all that long ago, the mayor of Athens was someone named Themistocles.

One cannot award so grand a victory to any single city-state or heroic figure, yet without the Athenians and Themistocles Greece would doubtless have fallen to Xerxes. Thermopylae apart, during the Persian war the Spartans, in Peter Green’s words, showed “over-cautious conservatism, slowness to move in a crisis.” In the war itself no city-state paid a higher price than the Athenians, having their city occupied and destroyed and all of surrounding Attica devastated by Persian troops. The Persian invasion goaded Athens, abetted through the suasion of Themistocles, to convert from a standard hoplite infantry to a naval power. When the Athenian silver mines at Laurium struck a rich vein, Themistocles convinced the assembly at Athens that the profits from the mines, rather than be divided among the populace, be used to build the Athenian fleet up from 70 to 200 triremes. He had also convinced them to build up the fortifications round the harbor at Piraeus, which would house these ships.

A tougher sale came later when Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to desert their city before the onslaught of the Persians and board their new fleet, with older men and women and children and their valuables sent off to safety at Aegina, Salamis, and Troezen. The winning strategy at Salamis, that of drawing the Persian ships into the narrow straits where the Greek triremes awaited, was also devised by Themistocles, and the Greek victory at Salamis is surely among the most significant battles in all history. Perhaps most impressive of all, Themistocles was able to convince the various Greek city-states to set aside their rivalries and join together, if only temporarily, to fight the barbarian foe. As Plutarch writes, Themistocles “put an end to all the civil wars of Greece, composed their differences, and persuaded them to lay aside all enmity during the war with the Persians.”

What makes Themistocles of special interest is that he wasn’t, like Pericles or Marcus Aurelius, a man of sterling character. He was closer to a Chicago politician, an operator, a main chancer, not above accepting bribes nor bribing others. No one was more adroit than he at manipulating the new Athenian democracy, perhaps because no one more embodied it in his person than he. “Themistocles,” wrote the classicist Maurice Bowra, “was the personification of the vigorous Athenian spirit.” In the language of the current day, Tom Holland notes that “he could infight, he could network, he could spin.” Herodotus does not pass up an opportunity to emphasize Themistocles’ wiliness. But Themistocles was ultimately wily for the public good. “I cannot tune a harp,” Themistocles said, “but I know how to take a modest city in hand and raise it to greatness.” Which is precisely what he did.

What happened after that you will need to read Epstein’s article to find out, or perhaps better, to read Herodotus’s Histories for yourself.

They are broken, loonies even, complete crackpots

I thought this was one of the most on-the-money posts I’ve seen at Instapundit: Denying the sky is blue because Orange Man Bad. This was some of it:

italian1

Yes, America is only 243 years old. But by the same token Italy is only 138 years old.

In any case, if you’re rolling your eyes at Trump’s statement – and thinking that the Italian interpreter is too – you’re missing the point, which is that countries like the United States and Italy – and Great Britain and Australia and Germany and Poland and Spain and Slovenia and so on – do indeed share a cultural and political heritage dating back to ancient Rome (and further back in time). It’s called the Western civilisation. You might hate it, but you’re still in it.

This is what got me right in where I found it at Instapundit!!.

OCTOBER 18, 2019

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Denying the sky is blue because Orange Man Bad. “If Trump – or Obama or Scott Morrison or Hillary Clinton – saying that 2 + 2 = 4 makes you automatically deny the math because your bête noire simply cannot be correct, you might want to take a deep breath or two and reflect on your approach to life. You’re broken. Don’t be that person.”

,
Oh they are broken, loonies even. Complete crackpots. What kind of people live in places like Australia and want to get rid of air conditioning? Nutters through and through.

Pointing the bone at Western Civ and not before time

David Solway on Time to Leave Western Civ Behind: Looking for a Place to Emigrate.

Clearly, Western culture should be sent to the chop shop, dismantled piece by piece, and sold off to the newcomers. They may conceivably reassemble the parts into something far superior than the civilizational vehicle we’ve been driving around in. Indeed, these “parts” may have been theirs in the first place. We have been guilty of so much in the past, of condescension as well as outright plunder. We are obviously morally obligated to cheer them on, to surrender our “white supremacy” in favor of the nobility, wisdom and cultural glory of Third World saviors and aboriginal peoples. Perhaps we should be grateful to our betters for bringing the manifold fruits of their accomplishments to our wide-open doors. Perhaps that is their real agenda, bless their souls.

None of this should be forgotten as well.

Remember all the wonderful things invented by Black Africans or Muslims or both, and then stolen by whiteys. And don’t forget that indigenous people everywhere, before the ongoing genocide and dispossession, had a deep intimate spiritual knowledge of life, Universe and everything, far more evolved than our pitiful 300-yr-old settler-colonial narrative of “science.” They have known about dark matter in the sky for 50,000 years, while white people are only starting to discover it now with our telescopes, as the Dean of Research of my ex university once told us. As for music, as another SJW academic once told me, the genius of the Aboriginal artists is that every didgeridoo is unique, has a different sound from every other, unlike our boring Western instruments that all sound the same.

Makes an absolutely incontrovertible case. At the bottom of the page there are, incomprehensibly, these words, “RELATED: SATIRE“. It’s nothing of the kind. It’s actually about time someone pointed the bone at our poisonous culture, which David has now done.

Herodotus was right once again

Bust of Herodotus

My favourite book of all time is Herodotus’s Histories. The first ever book of history, it tells the story of the war between the Greeks and the Persians in the fifth century BC for the survival of Western Civilisation before it had even commenced its journey. A storyteller who travelled everywhere to gather personal accounts of what others had witnessed, but with so much ancillary information and irrelevant tales about everything under the sun – including about the first people ever to have sailed around Africa which you know was true because they had observed that the sun eventually was no longer to their south but at some stage was found to their north. Lots and lots and lots like that, including some of the most astute philosophical, political and historical reflections you will ever read. Amazing book, but I can imagine not to everyone’s tastes. It’s also a reminder that you should get your reading in early since as you get older, you don’t have the patience you had when you were young.

Ah but this is merely prelude to: Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right – after 2,469 years.

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote of unusual river boats on the Nile. Twenty-three lines of his Historia, the ancient world’s first great narrative history, are devoted to the intricate description of the construction of a “baris”.

For centuries, scholars have argued over his account because there was no archaeological evidence that such ships ever existed. Now there is. A “fabulously preserved” wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion has revealed just how accurate the historian was.

“It wasn’t until we discovered this wreck that we realised Herodotus was right,” said Dr Damian Robinson, director of Oxford University’s centre for maritime archaeology, which is publishing the excavation’s findings. “What Herodotus described was what we were looking at.”

Known as The Father of Lies (as well as the Father of History) because of his many fantastical tales, but appears that this one has turned out to be true. As for the book itself, it tells the story of the preservation of Western Civilisation that might have been snuffed out before it had even begun.

Lost souls

The reason I have been up in Sydney was to go to a Wiggles concert along with my granddaughter. The place was packed to the rafters and for the under-sevens it was a sensation. But for me, it was how they ended the afternoon that truly astonished me. First they brought on Santa Claus which I thought was amazing enough. And then, wildly beyond any expectation I might have had, notwithstanding this being December, they then sang Silent Night, but in German. Still I thought, that was amazing since they could not have been more Christian in their presentation. And then they continued in English, and there is no more Christian Christmas carol than Silent Night. It was a perfect way to end for me, although I doubt there were many there who noticed or thought this was particularly remarkable, but it was.

Now tonight, more than a day later, I was reading this typical piece of dreck, title: America’s New Religions, in which the point being made by Andrew Sullivan was that one cannot live without some kind of faith in the transcendent, which I did agree with, but there towards the end was this:

Now look at our politics. We have the cult of Trump on the right, a demigod who, among his worshippers, can do no wrong. And we have the cult of social justice on the left, a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical. They are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided.

This equivalence was obviously false. Only on the left is politics a religion substitute. These are lost souls. I will say no more than the obvious, that atheism is not a feature of the right and whatever may be the reason for our support for PDT, we do not think of him as a “demigod” who can do no wrong. But what is revealed is the tragic spiritual loss in the empty lives of so many on the left. There is much more that could be said, but will only add this from another website:

Liberty wasn’t born out of the United States Congress but from the heart of God. It is an inalienable right – a God-given right – a right which belongs to all men everywhere and in every age. The government doesn’t grant inalienable rights. Its task is to protect them. No person, no group, no government, is authorized by our Creator God to infringe upon what is the absolute inherent privileges of being made in the image of God or might interfere with one’s duty to God. When we try to separate liberty from the spiritual, when we base it in human definitions and objectives alone, freedom is corrupted, counterfeited, and dies.

I cannot link to these posts because of the primitive machinery I am on, but finding both online today does give me some hope for the future, not to mention the Wiggles who did the same.

A Kavanaugh post mortem

As I began to think about Kavanaugh’s confirmation, my first thoughts were along the lines of there was once a time we could agree on many things, but most importantly we could agree on the processes by which we sorted out our differences. But if even the process of working and living together are gone, what really is left?

Yet the process did work. But in working it further exposed the raw timber of a corrupt media and political class. The system tilts not just left, but crazy left. It is no longer a case where there is overlap between the two sides. On the right, there is common sense and a continuity with our own past. On the left, there is a mad socialism, the identity politics of victimisation, and via migration and other policies of that kind, a clear desire to throw overboard all that has made Western Civilisation what it is.

Donald Trump is either a turning point, or a last ditch effort to save our way of life before the deluge. I am pleased to see Kavanaugh confirmed, but it is only a minor skirmish amid much larger issues. The best recap of what has gone on is from Conrad BlacK: Trump the Indestructible. A headline writer’s view of what he said, and it was published by the #NeverTrump National Review.

If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed and the Republicans hold both houses of the Congress, it will be the greatest and swiftest ascension to comprehensive power in all branches of American government in history. A measurement of how the tide has shifted is the disappearance from public consciousness of the Mueller inquiry. The number of Trump-haters who are still clinging to that waterlogged life-vest is statistically trivial. It was just six weeks ago, when Michael Cohen’s plea bargain was announced and Paul Manafort was convicted (of offenses that occurred a decade before he knew the president), that Trump’s enemies ululated their triumph and proclaimed, in the words of one often-published Trump-hater, that “The fat lady is singing; it’s almost over.” She wasn’t and it isn’t. It has only just begun, and it will get better. Trump isn’t an aberrant interlude; he is a sea change. He has a mandate to clean up Washington and he plans to fulfill it.

Hope so. I nevertheless remain pessimistic for the long term. But there is Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and there behind him is PDT, so hope does remain.

INSTAPUNDIT UPDATE: And I certainly agree with both.

OCTOBER 6, 2018

(1) THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO D.C.:

 
(2) NARRATOR VOICE: YES. YES THEY ARE. Stephen Colbert Writer Brags That “We Ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s Life.” Is CBS Proud of Ariel Dumas?

As Glenn has tweeted, “Trump’s greatest gift is getting various institutions to make clear in obvious ways that they’re as corrupt as he says they are.”

 

Music and the Struggle for the Soul of the West

One of the most interesting and insightful articles I have ever come across. Odd title perhaps – O Magnum Mysterium – but this tells you what you need to know.

From the time of the troubadours and the trouveres of the Crusades, the advances in Western thought have not only been mirrored in our music, but occasioned by it, from Guillaume de Machaut, Josquin des Prez and Pierre de la Rue, to Obrecht and Ockegham, to Palestrina to Johann Sebastian Bach. A popular song such as “L’homme armé” could become the subject of numerous medieval masses, not because of its secular origin (although that certainly helped, as the worshippers would respond to its familiarity), but because its implicit polyphonic structure could be successfully and inventively exploited by composers across Europe, leading to ever more complex and inventive ways of using the material.

Yes, masses. Because the development of European polyphony was, like religious dogma itself, inspired by Aristotelian ideas of free inquiry and the teleological impulses of both Judaism and Christianity. Music, like faith, has to be headed somewhere. Our lives may be temporally constricted, but freedom of inquiry is not.

And the writer is someone to contend with, a true scholar:

Michael Walsh was for sixteen years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the non-fiction best-seller The Devil’s Pleasure Palace (2017); this article is an extract from its sequel, The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West, which was published by Encounter Books in May.

Europeans have a culture of their own and you are fortunate indeed if you are part of that culture

Picked up myself randomly: You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught, that is, mis-taught. Here are the two paras out of four that make the point:

The ebb and flow of the internet brought to me the woebegone maunderings of a (presumably) white and (arguably) somewhat credentialed Millennial, who in her search for meaning and purpose in her life wound up involved in those anti-pipeline protests near the Sioux reservation. The ukase of her lament seemed to be that she had no native culture, not in comparison with those charming and dignified tribal elders. She appeared to view them as benign, terribly exotic, definitely ‘other’ – pretty much the same lens with which the old National Geographic viewed and photographed those interesting aboriginal peoples in far distant foreign lands all these decades ago.

And it was terribly sad to read, because the poor child does in fact, have a culture of her own – just that she has been deprived of it; deprived by intent or by cultivated sloth on the part of those who should have taught it to her; the unimaginably rich canon knowledge of western culture – our history, art, literature, music, technology, folkways. Homer and Cervantes, Shakespeare, da Vinci, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner and Rossini, Dickens and Twain, Michelangelo and Machiavelli, Brunel and Bruneschelli, the Brothers Grimm, the Brothers Wright, Don Juan of Austria and Ulysses S. Grant, the Duke of Wellington and whoever it was invented the toilet flush valve and the first working sewing machine. Likely all this and more were never taught to her, or what is worse – badly taught and as examples of western racism or whatever. To live without a sense of history is to be adrift in a kind of cultural sensory-deprivation tank, as exhibited by that child.

If you have never read a play by Shakespeare or heard a Mozart opera and yet you live in a Western country, you are as culturally deprived as it is possible to be.