Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A Differentiation: Diametrically Opposed Ways of Thinking about Assad

Modern Liberals may not wish to acknowledge it but both Liberals and Conservatives notice injustice and both are moved to disapproval when they witness it and would prefer that it did not occur (these days it is endlessly and clamorously brought to our attention by News outlets in many forms). What happens next, though, is what differentiates them. To illustrate this let’s take the case of President Assad of Syria and let’s assume he commits unjust acts such as using chemical weapons against women and children.  The Modern Liberal reaction to this will be to demand that his tyranny is punished at some future date in an international court of Justice thus correcting the world with appropriate retribution and restoring it to a default setting where justice is in good balance. The problem that the conservative sees here is that, having somehow captured Assad, in spite of the aid given him to resist such capture by his Iranian and Russian allies, notions of perfect justice would require us to move on to the next tyrant (and there will be plenty) and, from there, to more petty tyrants who reign in lesser institutions than those of Nation States around the world, from Corporations to prisons, school and supermarkets until they have imposed a perfect reign of justice in the world. To ensure that no stone is left unturned, eventually, one will have to attempt to root out the tyranny gene in each individual and even in ourselves. It is at this point that we notice what the real problem is in this way of thinking. It is thinking that exists on an airy platform in a notional mental desert far from the real suboptimal world and completely untethered from that world. It is totally and laughably impracticable when taken to its logical conclusion. The problem with the Liberal’s thinking is that it has no connection with reality. Of course, merely to suggest this, is to open oneself to accusations of complacency and not noticing or caring about injustice. A better remedy to the problem of the lack of justice in the world might be to approach the problem in a way that turns the problem on its head. Take the smallest unit of human reality available – yourself. Then look at the elements of tyranny that lodge there and seek to root them out. This is a bottom up approach that reverses the top down Liberal version that looks from the notional mental platform onto injustice in distant foreign lands and loftily demands instant redress (it might be added that that lofty consciousness assumes almost as a matter of course that it is totally and antiseptically uninfected by the tyranny microbe). As more and more people take the conservative approach which I suggest society slowly improves and is a greater force for good in the world likely to be able to correct the small (and increasingly large) injustices that occur in its own back yard. This effect would then, slowly spread out into the world. You could say that, in a way, this is what happened in history with the gradual spreading of the respect for the rule of law that began in countries like the United Kingdom way back in history.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Enclosure of Knowledge

This process resembles a process once enacted in the area of farming.  Common land was ‘enclosed’ by wealthy men so that they alone could reap the benefits of farming it. In current times the 'enclosure' is of knowledge itself. Once an area is enclosed by fencing it off and corralling it in order to exclude the peasants, who are stripped of the authority required to comment, it can then be farmed and monetised. The ‘experts’ who arrogate to themselves the right to do this, of course, begin with exactly the same basic intellectual equipment as anyone else. Many of their kind reside in Universities.

Friday, 6 April 2018

A Definition of Intelligence?

At school we read Molière who lampooned pedants by having them raise their fingers and say "Distinguo!" in a parody of medieval scholastic rhetoric. However, the ability to make distinctions must be an indicator of intelligence. Perhaps the finer the distinction the greater the intelligence. Nevertheless, knowing when that fineness shades back into pedantry is also a mark of intelligence perhaps?

Friday, 30 March 2018


Our society is shot through with spurious sentimentalism. The touting of our emotional credentials is rampant, there is a voyeurism of pity (designed to make US feel better rather than those we spend our pity on) and we compete shamelessly, climbing over each other to advertise how much we care about the unfortunate. Might the other side of this busy projection of the appearance of a heart be the reality of, a harsh, heartless and vindictive society with little room for forgiveness when the the right moment comes?

Monday, 26 March 2018


The point of the annunciation of the incarnation is not that Mary is lifted up out of the sullying region of sex to a purer 'immaculate' realm but that Christ consents to be lowered into the region of messy childbirth which is that same sullying region.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Need to Project

The imperative felt by people now is to project plausibility, credibility, intelligence and the exercise of real critical intelligence and engagement. Whether they actually have any of these qualities is beside the point. All that matters is the projection.


"...it assumes what it needs to explain."

Roger Scruton - 'On Human Nature'