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.

Uncivilised

From Wikipedia: under the heading University:

The word “university” is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars.”[1] While antecedents had existed in Asia and Africa, the modern university system has roots in the EUROPEAN medieval university, which was created in Italy and evolved from Christian Cathedral schools for the clergy during the High Middle Ages.

Meanwhile, the Ramsay Centre finds it cannot even give away millions of dollars to a university to set up a program in Western Civilisation, the very place where universities began. First the ANU and now this. From The Australian: Sydney Uni hit by backlash while looking to the West, that is, while examining the possibility of setting up a course of study under the heading Western Civilisation.

University of Sydney academics have reacted furiously to the news, with more than 100 — including refugee and pro-Palestine activist Nick Riemer, fellow boycott Israel campaigner Jake Lynch and Tim Anderson, who courted controversy by defending Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — signing an open letter signalling that they are “strongly opposed to the university entering into any arrangement with the Ramsay Centre”.

The letter, written by Dr ­Riemer and history professor Adrian Vickers, refers to “political leanings” of the Ramsay Centre board, chaired by former Liberal prime minister John ­Howard and including Tony ­Abbott. It accuses it of propagating a “conservative, culturally ­essentialist, and Eurocentric ­vision” and claims its program embodies “chauvinistic, Western essentialism”. “We are deeply disturbed by the possibility of Ramsay Centre courses being part of our institution, to say nothing of the significant and justified reputational damage that the university collectively, and its academics derivatively, would incur as a result,” the letter says. “We belong to a multicultural and hybrid society in a world traversed by serious geo­political and social animosities. Collaborating with the chauvinistic Western essentialism that the Ramsay Centre embodies would be a violation of our crucial role in promoting a ­society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect.”

As for finding a society that promotes “diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect” I hope they have a list of places from which these sorts of things can be learned.

PERVERSE OPINIONS: A number of commenters mentioned PVO’s article in The Oz today so thought I would have a look. Here are the top comments starting from the first and working my way down. I agree with all of them, although they are a bit temperate for my liking.

I read this article with mounting disbelief. For a man who claims a belief in the virtues and benefits of Western Civilisation, his argument boils down to one simple fact. Abbott should not have exercised his right to speak because it would upset an angry nest of bull ants. Claiming that Abbott gave them the excuse to do what they intended to do anyway is as peurile as it is immature. In essence PVO’s argument crystallises into the undergraduates plaint that ‘Abbott made us do it’. Give us a break. The NTEU and the SRC simply used Abbott as an excuse. They had no intention of letting the Ramsay proposal go ahead. And, if it had they would have white anted it anyway. Our universities are publicly funded institutions. They are not personal fiefdoms. Each and every one of us has an interest in them and and a right to speak about them that includes those who the Left choose to dislike.

The Left’s fear of Abbott borders on the unhinged.

‘It was Abbott wot done it.’ Yep, undergraduate stuff, once again. This stuff is lightweight.

Well of course it’s Tony Abbott’s fault! It just had to be. PVO is utterly laughable.

The weather here on Lake Como has been unseasonably wet & stormy. I am sure that with a little imagination this ‘journalist’ could find a way to blame Tony Abbott. If he did a good enough job maybe I could sue!!! To think that people are being paid to write articles such as this defies description. Tony Abbott must be very sore after the kickings which this man has managed to give him.

Gee that man Tony Abbott is mighty powerful! Supposedly because of just one sentence in his erudite article published in a conservative-leaning magazine , a University knocked back millions of dollars. In reality, its VC didn’t have what it takes to stand up to bullies who want to limit intellectual boundaries. However there is an excellent outcome – passionate PUBLIC discussion about Western Civilisation, and Tony Abbott has hit the spot yet again.

If Abbott is blame for the rejection of Western Studies supported by the Ramsay Centre how do you explain the established hate of all things western and conservative in our universities,that is so sensitive that one Statement is used as an excuse to reject the studies. The problem is not Tony Abbott,the problem is entrenched and generational anti western academics riding roughshod over weak and like minded administrations. Government should defund these state universities, pay funding assistance to students to use at private universities that provide diverse studies without political bias.

In defence of Western Civilisation from our modern vandals

And half of those vandals are internal. Here is a twelve step program from Jordan Peterson. It is hard to believe that such common sense still exists and can be said in public, but here it is.

View image on Twitter

 
And if you are interested in the full text, here is the entire two hours.

This is Peterson’s own background briefing to the presentation:

Conservatism has all-too-often found itself unable to articulate a coherent positive doctrine. By this I mean specifically that the laudable conservative tendency to preserve the best of past has too-often manifested itself in a series of “thou shalt not” statements, instead of laying out a manifesto of fundamental values that might serve to unite people around a set of common ambitions. I am attempting to rectify this problem with this statement of principles, some of which I believe might have the additional virtue of being attractive to young people, looking for mature and forthright purpose and responsibility.

I am not making the claim that the statement is perfect, comprehensive or final.

I will just add that it’s not perfect or final, not least because it is mostly pragmatic but lacks the moral grounding that is essential. The left is filled with people who are evil to their very core but believe they are only doing good. Without a proper moral basis for action, there is no foundation for anything. Socialism is great on paper, and when we have perfected humanity we can bring it on. In the meantime, every such experiment is inevitably disastrous for everyone other than those who are at the very top of the pyramid. We have found a way to bring peace and prosperity which are through the principles laid out, but there is a deeper understanding required which only an Edmund Burke and an Adam Smith can supply.

The battle map since the seventh century

Today there is a difference put all too plainly by Mark Steyn: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates.

In the end, the decadence of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron and the rest of the fin de civilisation western leadership will cost you your world and everything you love.

Without Christian civilisation we cannot even tell what to defend or even understand why.

Media principles

The great danger for Western civilisation is that the media have with honourable exceptions been captured by the left. The result is that:

1. The media never criticise parties of the left under any circumstances

2. The media find every possible fault they can with actions taken by or statements made by representatives of the parties of the right – or even by people who can be made to appear as representatives of the parties of the right

3. The media, as with the left in general, are beyond hypocrisy. There are no principles, only tactical advantage. The media, like the left, are totally consistent, bearing in mind they have no fixed values themselves but seek only power and wealth.

4. Deterioration in every aspect of life is allowed to take place without comment if someone on the left can be held responsible for the damage.

5. No one on the conservative side of politics is permitted to repair any damage caused by the left without intensive criticisms over the harm such repair is doing to particular individuals. Fairness is not based on any standard but only on who is making the change. If the change is made by a party of the right, it is be definition unfair and will be opposed to the fullest extent.

Obama and Team America

I understand America is filled with people of goodwill who find it hard to truly appreciate human evil and depravity. I suppose none of us who have lived in the cushy world of the West have faced true adversity and serious evil. It is why, even now and in spite of everything, ISIS and its reflex cruelties are hard to absorb and accept.

But the true horror of the moment is that Obama is himself entirely part of the problem and in no way whatsoever part of any solution. He is a man filled with hatreds for our Western civilisation. If you cannot see it in the way he has dealt with economic issues, and then with the rise of militants of the ISIL variety, perhaps now, with his response to the Ebola virus, it will begin to dawn on people that Obama is not part of Team America, or indeed Team Western Civilisation. Factor this into the notion of Obama as a man who cares about the country he was elected to lead:

The Obama administration is not considering a ban on travelers from countries most affected by the deadly Ebola virus outbreak, the White House said on Monday.

“A travel ban is not something that we’re currently considering,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily briefing.

“We feel good about the measures that are already in place,” he said.

Ebola is easily contained in first world countries is the mantra of the moment from the people who think that global warming is the greatest problem facing us today. I just hope that this time they do have it right. What ultimately brought the Athenians down in their war with Sparta these 2500 years ago was the plague that overcame Athens. Just for the record:

The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic which hit the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach.

For more, you might look at Viruses, Plagues and History which as I recall discussed in part how various pathogens at various times have changed the course of history. Everyone, always lives in interesting times.

The ANZAC tradition gone west

I have been following Mark Steyn’s writings since the days when his only book was about American musicals and his only columns were movie reviews in the English Spectator. From such a background who would have expected him to become the finest and clearest writer on foreign policy issues in the world, which from a Western point of view means he writes the most depressing analysis of what’s going on to found found anywhere. Today’s post, befitting Anzac Day, is All Quiescent on the Western Front which dwells on the downfall of Western civilisation led by – well not really “led by”, more like hastened by – the election of the most incompetent fool ever to lead a Western nation. Still, having said all those nice things about Mr. Steyn, I am merely going to repeat something he had picked up from someone else, in an article by John Hulsman with the title, It’s time to read the writing on the wall: Why the West no longer exists. This is the bit quoted by Steyn:

The greatest global political risk can’t be found in Kiev, eastern Ukraine or any of the other hotspots that get the media so excited. It lies in the perception of Western weakness among those countries that find themselves dissatisfied with the current global establishment. For them, the enfeebled state of the West, as laid bare in Ukraine, means the possibility of expansion…

As seen from Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran, this is the inspiring, hopeful narrative of Western decline. These countries know they must be careful not to miscalculate, not to press too hard as the lessons of this calamity for the West slowly dawn. But in the medium term, it looks like Iran’s nuclear programme is safe, that Assad can soon pop the corks in Damascus, that for North Korea, torturing Seoul at the edges looks like a no brainer, and as for China, well, the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands await. With time, and after Putin’s groundbreaking efforts, the way history is moving couldn’t be clearer. The West simply doesn’t exist anymore.

Wars do matter. Defending yourself makes a difference. As we head out to ANZAC Cove, it’s worth recalling the fateful consequences of how a single battle in 1453 changed everything about the world ever since. In looking at the current American president, I am reminded of his predecessor who in 1984 pointed out that “history teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” Obama not only makes aggression appear cheap, he makes it look to others as if there are virtually no costs at all.

FURTHER THOUGHTS: The ANZAC tradition is, of course, still pretty good in Australia. But there is also plenty of this, picked up at Andrew Bolt:

Tasmania’s Governor has used his Anzac Day speech to urge Australia to spend less time paying homage to the Anzac legend and more time examining the causes of war and Australia’s involvement in conflicts.

Peter Underwood spoke about the cost of conflict while addressing the crowd at Hobart cenotaph.

“We should spend less time studying Simpson’s donkey and more time looking at why we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for so long,” he said.

Andrew thinks he should be sacked, and perhaps he should, but as I say, there’s plenty of that around. And when it comes to the American president, there’s this on a posting called, Obama’s Staggering Record of Failure:

It’s not simply that Mr. Obama has fallen short of what he promised; it’s that he has been, in so many respects, a failure. Choose your metrics. Better yet, choose Mr. Obama’s metrics: Job creation. Economic growth. Improving our health-care system. Reducing the debt. Reducing poverty. Reducing income inequality. Slowing the rise of the oceans. Healing the planet. Repairing the world. The Russian “reset.” Peace in the Middle East. Red lines in Syria. Renewed focus on Afghanistan. A new beginning with the Arab world. Better relations with our allies. Depolarizing our politics. Putting an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” Working with the other party. Transparency. No lobbyists working in his administration. His commitment to seek public financing in the general election. The list goes on and on.

And the list does indeed go on. That he is a profound failure on every parameter that matters is not in question. The only issue is whether it is high incompetence or deliberate.

And with the headline at Drudge today, we really do see where we are now at, UKRAINE OFFICIAL SAYS HE FEARS RUSSIAN INVASION:

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister said Friday he fears an imminent Russian invasion.

“We have the information we are in danger,” Danylo Lubkivsky told reporters at the United Nations.

He spoke as an official in Ukraine confirmed that pro-Russian forces had detained a team of military observers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The official said the team would be released after further investigation.

So which camp are you in? It will never happen, or it doesn’t matter? Because if it does happen it will matter a very great deal.