Draining our civilization of its…

The Washington Post mindset: “The president has spoken of his defense of “Judeo-Christian values,” while evangelical Christians like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence have emerged as some of the most powerful and long-serving officials in the administration. But what can be harder to spot is when religion stops being symbolic and actually influences real U.S. policy.”
For the WP mindset religion can only be permissible as a symbol. Do they not realise that  if they drain our civilization of what it has derived from its Judaeo-Christian identity, we will be doomed to a world in which life will be very nasty, brutish and short. An now there is talk of Leviathan Bezos buying the Daily Telegraph! The horror, the horror.
How Trump’s foreign policy mixes religion with money
(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
It’s hardly a secret that the Trump administration embraces religion. The president has spoken of his defense of “Judeo-Christian values,” while evangelical Christians like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence have emerged as some of the most powerful and long-serving officials in the administration. But what can be harder to spot is when religion stops being symbolic and actually influences real U.S. policy.
A new investigation from ProPublica takes a hard look at exactly that. And, like the Ukraine scandal that prompted impeachment proceedings against President Trump, what ProPublica uncovered involves the alleged misuse of U.S. foreign aid. Although in this instance the motive for a White House intervention appears religious rather than political in nature, the two cases are more similar than they first appear.

The sacred and the profane

“History is written by the winners” is a trite adage which was probably first circulated by some losers. Ever since, it has been used to cast a shadow of doubt over every account of struggles between human beings of which history purports to tell us.

Searching through our past is a sacred pursuit. It is the pursuit of truth and, regardless of whether or not the goal is attained, if ever the pursuer veers from that course, seeking to serve ulterior motives, the sacred is profaned.

There is, sadly, a surfeit of this kind of profanity for us to contend with in our time. Pseudo historians and journalists – on the pretext that their work is the first draft of history – constantly try to pass off as a true account of the past, narratives which are nothing more than the whitewashing of the victors and the blacklisting of the vanquished.

In the ebb and flow of that cold conflict which we call the culture wars – particularly in the theatre of war where religion and secularism are the protagonists – the secularists seem currently to be the in the ascendant. Their ascendancy is partly the fruit of their committing this very kind of sacrilege – the representation, or misrepresentation, of facts in a wilfully selective way, serving an ulterior purpose.

Christian belief and the Catholic Church in particular are being vilified with every opportunity which presents itself to blacken the name of those who adhere to them. The shelves of our bookstores, the pages – hard or soft – of our news media, our broadcast services, all carry ample evidence of this. The callous indifference of the liberal West to the violent persecution of Christians and the burning of their churches in many parts of the world is just another dimension of their hidden – or not so hidden – agenda.

The consequences of this hostility are felt by ordinary Christians on our streets, in their workplaces and on college campuses every day. How about this, from David Quinn, director of Ireland’s Iona Institute, a secular Ireland’s bête noir in that country?

“It’s getting nastier out there. In the last couple of weeks, I have had a Sinn Fein supporter say on Twitter that I will be paying for my ‘crimes’, and sooner than expected. The University Observer at UCD tried to have me barred from taking part in a debate there and a guy from the paper accosted me afterwards. There was the protest against me the other night in Enniscorthy by People before Profit members. ” (Facebook post)

Even Dublin City Council, in its recent three-week-long Festival of History did not escape the reach of the secular culture warriors. A great deal of its programme was good, some of it very good, but a little too many of its presentations were no more than an opportunity for the ground troops of progressivism to gloat on their victories at the expense of the vanquished.

Black legends passing themselves off as the history of Christianity are nothing new. Each era seems to seek to generate its own to contribute to this destructive campaign. Here and now history is being used to pass judgement on and blacken the reputation of a generation of Irish people and of the Catholic Church, past and present. At the Festival Professor Frank McDonagh, in answer to a question related to his colloquy on his new book on Nazi Germany, wisely reminded us, History is an investigation of the past, not a judgement on it. Too many writers about the past undertake their work as counsels for the prosecution or the defence. They should be neither.

The destructive campaign against religion and religious institutions is being pursued ostensibly by some under the cover if investigating sad injustices perpetrated in the past by individuals and some institutions. In the way this is being done they are only piling injustice upon injustice.

This doubling of injustice is being perpetrated firstly by presenting fractions of truth as the whole truth; secondly by judging the deficiencies of another time in dealing with social problems by the mores, standards and circumstances of our own time; and thirdly – in the case of some at least – by weaponising the victims of past injustices in pursuit of the ulterior goal of destroying a targeted institution and its adherents.

Caelainn Hogan is a journalist who has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Guardian, among others, chronicling for the whole world the injustices she claims the entire Irish State and the entire Catholic Church has inflicted on the people of this island. She has now written her first book, entitled Republic of Shame: Stories from Ireland’s institutions for ‘Fallen Women’. She contributed to the last weekend of this festival in an event where she was ‘in conversation with Tuam survivors.’ This was billed in the published programme as follows:

Until recently, the Catholic Church, in concert with the Irish state, operated a network of institutions for the concealment, punishment and exploitation of ‘fallen women’. In the Magdalene laundries, girls and women were incarcerated and condemned to servitude. And in the mother—and—baby homes, women who had become pregnant out of wedlock were hidden from view, and in most cases their babies were adopted — sometimes illegally. Mortality rates in these institutions were high, and the discovery of a mass infant grave at the mother—and—baby home in Tuam made news all over the world. The Irish state has commissioned investigations, but for countless people, a search for answers continues.

That may be good sensational journalism – if you like that sort of thing. But it has nothing to do with history. It was sad to see this rubbing shoulders with the contributions of people like Tom Holland and Margaret Macmillan and Jung Chang – all of whose presentations were filled with the nuance which the complexity of the past demands.

There is no doubt but that we need to hear the sad accounts of people who have suffered injustice. We need to hear it because we need to help heal the wounds inflicted on them. We need to hear it because we all need to reform what needs reform in ourselves and in our institutions. But when our response to this moves us to general judgements on whole populations and everyone serving in institutions, this does not serve any concept of truthfulness, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which honest historical narrative seeks.

To identify the faltering but earnest efforts of the entire Irish state to serve its people in those decades with the tragic mistakes made in some of those efforts, is to portray it as a monster. To identify the Catholic Church in a similar manner is equally gross. This is the institution which for millennia has nurtured our civilization from the rough justice of pagan times, through era after era when new forms of barbarism threatened to swamp it.

In our own time the Catholic Church is the only global institution standing firm against the new barbarism which manifests itself in the daily slaughter of thousands of unborn children.

The writing of tendentious historical narratives seems to be just one more weapon in an arsenal assembled for the destruction of all semblances of Christian values in our civilization.

History gives us many examples of justice warriors who have felt it necessary to destroy their flawed but workable institutions to establish what they saw as justice. Most of them, in doing so, have left trails of pain and suffering in their wakes, until Christian inspired restorations brought the world back to some semblance of justice, even if only of the faltering kind which our race is capable of achieving.

Constantine reformed a Roman regime which brutally tried but failed to destroy the Christian religion; throughout the Middle Ages the Catholic Church resisted repeated incursions of barbaric forces, eventually converting them and with them laying the foundations for what we today call Western Civilization; honest historian now recognise that even the much maligned Inquisition was in fact and effort to ameliorate the kind of summary treatment of dissent which had been standard practice prior to that; nearer our own time came the French Revolution, whose reign of terror held sway until eventually a fragile Christian order brought the Enlightenment back to its sense of humanity; the sad history of the twentieth century’s blood-soaked efforts to supplant Christianity bled itself right into our own time

The Catholic Church has battled on through all these storms and for anyone who wants to question its perennial commitment to justice and truth and the ultimate welfare of mankind, let them start by taking up that seminal document, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is by this compendium of all the teaching of its Founder, as found in the scriptures, its traditions and its explicit pronouncements down through the 2000 years of its history, that it should be judged. The faltering efforts of its adherents can of course often be found wanting, sometimes gravely wanting – and indeed be occasion for scandal. They should not however, be a pretext for condemning that which the Catholic Church works constantly for, and which it insistently asks and encourages us to aspire to and strive for.

Opinion | The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity – The New York Times

Ross Douthat writes:

The relative stability of the Gallup data fits with analysis offered by the sociologists Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock in a 2017 paper, “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion.” Drawing on the General Social Survey, they argued that the recent decline of institutional religion is entirely a function of the formerly weakly affiliated ceasing to identify with religious bodies entirely; for the strongly affiliated (just over a third of the American population), the trend between 1990 and the present is a flat line, their numbers neither growing nor collapsing but holding steady across an era of supposedly dramatic religious change.

Three reasons the narrative of rapid secularization is incomplete.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/opinion/american-christianity.html

This story has a happy ending – but many like it will not

The high cost of progressivism. This story has a happy ending. Many like it will not.

13th October 2019

News that a mother narrowly avoided aborting her healthy unborn child following a litany of pre-natal misdiagnoses at Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital has been described as deeply disturbing, but unsurprising by the Pro Life Campaign.

Viktorija Avisane, 31, was informed at her 20 week anomaly scan that her unborn child may have Down ­syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome as well as other major developmental challenges.

However, after Ms Avisane went on to seek a second opinion in both her native Latvia and the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, it emerged that no such risks were present and that her child, who is now 7 months old, was in fact perfectly healthy.

Spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign, Eilís Mulroy, said:

“This case highlights the life or death prenatal genetic diagnosis lottery that unborn babies and their mothers are being subjected to under the current abortion regime.

“During the referendum campaign in 2018, those campaigning for abortion consistently said that situations like these wouldn’t arise, while those on the pro-life side urged caution on this point.

“We did so based on the experiences of mothers and families who were told that their children would die either at or near birth, but who proved the doctors wrong.

“This case and other recent high profile cases vindicates our position and also challenges the narrative that abortion is a fundamentally risk free ‘procedure.’

“We need to urgently develop a national conversation around the risks associated with abortion and the limits of pre-natal diagnosis. In fact, it is a conversation that should have happened two years ago.

“Every unborn baby whether healthy or not is unique and valuable and deserving of protection.If we are to truly honour women and their babies then we must have more to offer them than an abortion when a determination around potential illness or disability is made,” concluded Ms Mulroy.

The ship is steady but the storm still rages

The great Romano Guardini wrote, back in 1958:

How little justice was done to the figure of Christ by the historical and psychological method of the liberal school of theologians! The repercussions of this tendency in Catholicism, known as Modernism, have been overcome. We know not only that a watered-down version of Christianity is erroneous, but also that it is not even worth while wasting energy trying to provide it with an intellectual basis. The self-commitment of faith only makes sense when directed towards the one complete, unadulterated revelation with its suprarational appeal. (The Humanity of Christ, Romano Guardini, 1958)

He is right. The ship has been steadied, but the storms of that false rationalism are still threatening. They will continue to do so until the true “figure of Christ” is accepted in that self-commitment of faith of which he speaks.

‘Unplanned’ gets an Irish cinema release

Unplanned, a film adaptation of a memoir by Abby Johnson, a former clinic director for Planned Parenthood in Texas, who became a pro-life activist after seeing a distressing abortion, has finally secured a theatrical cinema release in Ireland.

The $6m (€5.5m) film has grossed almost $20m in the US and Canada since April. According to Paul Ward, co-owner of Irish Multiplex Cinemas, Unplanned will be shown from Friday at its four Dublin theatres, including the Savoy, and in Omagh, Co Tyrone. “We have been asked by our patrons to screen it,” he said.

The pro-abortion lobby is up in arms.

Peter Boylan, a retired obstetrician and gynaecologist, has contested a claim in the film that a 13-week-old foetus has the physiological capacity to feel pain. “Certainly not at 13 — the neural pathways aren’t developed enough,” he said. “It’s at 20-plus weeks.”

He would say that wouldn’t, he?

If those who dispute the accuracy of this film want to be taken seriously they should get someone with more credibility than arch-abortion advocate Peter Boylan to do so.


This death does not become us

Debating the death penalty on GRIPT MEDIA

Posted by Michael Kirke | Sep 26, 2019 | Comment Ireland

In the wave of disgust, horror and revulsion which has cascaded over us with the revelations of the barbaric treatment of Kevin Lunney (earlier this month), angry questions come spontaneously into our mind. Among those are questions about the very humanity of the perpetrators. We also ask what kind of punishment is appropriate for those who dream up and execute such cruelty.

This was not, thank God, a case of murder. Nevertheless, there is very good reason to see it as notice of intent to commit murder – even multiple murders. We then ask if, by removing the death penalty from our statute books all those years ago, we have not deprived ourselves of the fear factor which might deter these monsters from such acts.

But this is not the response we need. This is not the solution to the moral depravity of these people, no matter how desperate we feel in their presence.

Sometimes good and compassionate people are scandalised by the views of those who are vehemently opposed to abortion and euthanasia but who also defend the principle of the death penalty for murder. They maintain that there is no moral difference between those who take the life of the unborn and those who are prepared to condone the state taking the life of criminal in certain circumstances.

There is a difference and this confusion of moral categories is unhelpful for anyone who opposes the death penalty on reasonable grounds. Equating, morally, these two human issues is not going to help us deal with the real moral problems associated with capital punishment in our time.

(Read the full post here on GRIPT MEDIA)

What comes from a flawed reading of human nature

I feel uneasy about doing this. Greta Thunberg is a child and as someone who worked for a number of years as an educator, I respect both the dignity and the vulnerability of children. However, this child has been weaponised by an unscrupulous cadre of adults who pay lip service to a totally flawed reading of human nature – and therefore, of children. They must be called out for what they are. We can only intercede trough Greta’s Guardian Angel that she may be rescued from their clutches sooner rather than later.

What I give you is something posted on The Spectator (UK) Coffee House newsletter and which might help bring us all to our senses to see what is going on here. It is written by Dominic Green and called The Apotheosis of St. Greta.


What I give you is something posted on The Spectator (UK) Coffee House newsletter and which might help bring us all to our senses to see what is going on here. It is written by Dominic Green and called The Apotheosis of St. Greta.

‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words’ is perhaps the whitest thing anyone has ever said at the UN. What is the correct answer? Is it (a) Go to your room? Or is it (b) Forgive me, to make it up you, Daddy and I are going to set the entire course of human civilisation on a new track?

The correct answer — if you want to see your name in the Times or get a slot on CNN, and if you want to avoid getting mobbed by climate cultists — is of course, to apologise, mortify the flesh, shove tofu plugs into your every orifice, hail Greta Thunberg as the most radical and relevant UN debutante since Yasser Arafat, and then praise the pigtailed prophet of planetary paranoia for ‘staring down’ the dark emperor of pollution, Donald Trump.

The emissions you can smell aren’t carbon, but methane. If you watch the footage, Greta leans forward excitedly at Trump’s approach. It’s almost as if she’s expecting he’ll do the same as every other leader, and seek her blessing, like the MPs who declared a ‘climate emergency’ for her, or Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected president of the EU, who made a show of kissing her hand when she came to pour brimstone on Brussels. But Trump keeps going, completely oblivious, and obviously with more important things to do than to kiss her ring.

How can you stare down someone who doesn’t even know you’re there? Magical powers. The acclamation of Greta Thunberg is as profoundly irrational as the millenarian cult of purgation and redemption that she advocates — puritan in its authoritarian demands, lascivious in its sensitivity to pain. The intrusion of this kind of sub-religious foolishness into politics is always a bad sign. It shows that we are in an environmental crisis, and that the world is coming to an end. But which environment, and which world?

The environment that is dying is the liberal democratic order in which we live. The world that is coming to an end is political: the post-1945 order, led by the United States. The form of Great Thunberg’s protest is familiar to any student of medieval Europe, the civilisation that produced the Children’s Crusade and Joan of Arc. The content of her protest is a deliquescence of Protestantism into narcissistic terror.

‘We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth,’ says Greta. She was five years old when the wheels came off the European economy in 2008, and stole the dreams of a generation. The Swedes, like most other Europeans, have given up on procreation. Their demography is sustained by massive immigration which, their leaders tell them, is necessary in order to maintain the tax base and the welfare system.

Environmentalism is for rich white people, and so is life without religion. ‘The eyes of all future generations are upon you,’ Greta threatens. ‘And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.’ This is prophetic, and pathetic too, in its faithless Lutheranism and reverse predestination.

The visionary child speaks on behalf of every unborn generation. She knows what the future will say, and who will be saved and who will be damned in memory. If only she could apply it to something useful, like prognosticating the result of the Kentucky Derby and using the proceeds to build a vast geodetic dome so that the elect could survive in a benign microclimate while the sinners wheel their recycling bins to the lip of the burning pit, then climb in and tip themselves into the flames.

‘You come to us young people for hope? How dare you!’ Greta says, as if she’s reading Nietzsche on her boat trip cross the Atlantic. This anger is as close as she gets to the morbid heart of the environmental sub-religion. But the people she cites are explicit that economic growth must be stopped, and population growth too. No air-conditioners for the Indians, no children for the Africans. Hence Bernie Sanders’ semi-senile admission that the ‘saving’ of the planet on terms amenable to wealthy white lefties will require population control — in effect, a global programme for the sterilisation of non-white women. Greta, of course, doesn’t talk about the dirty stuff.

An earlier angry Euroteen, Fred Nietzsche, noticed that there is always something filthy and furtive about a prophet. ‘Whenever on earth the religious neurosis has appeared,’ Nietzsche wrote in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), ‘we find it tied to three dangerous dietary demands: solitude, fasting and sexual abstinence’. Greta came to New York in the ostentatious solitude of a racing yacht. In her auto-hagiography, she describes how she stunted her growth by starving herself. She is a child bride, betrothed to the earth as in some tedious Nordic saga.

‘What was eccentric and sick in his nature,’ Nietzsche wrote of his prophet, ‘with its fusion of spiritual poverty, faulty knowledge, spoilt health and overexcited nerves remained concealed from his own eyes and from the eyes of those who looked at him. He was not an especially good person, even less an especially wise person, but he signified something that exceeded all human measure of goodness and wisdom.’

A culture without purpose seizes on a false prophet because she signifies a faith that it has lost. This is why the cult of St Greta attracts converts in the affluent classes of western Europe and North America. American pollution and carbon emissions have been falling for decades, and the majority of the world’s pollution and carbon emissions come from India and China, but the stations of her martyrdom are in Stockholm, London and New York. Not just because the Chinese police would make short work of her and her PR handlers if they tried any nonsense near the Great Hall of the People, but because this daft circus only means something in the decaying West.

As with all apocalyptic visions, the sure way to turn them from warnings to realities is to follow their prescriptions. If Western governments commit themselves to zero-growth economies and demographic wastage, they’ll quickly collapse beneath the twin challenges of Asian economies and mass migration. Our environments will be ruined and our world ended — just like Greta said. It would take a heart of unmelted ice not to laugh.

Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.

Is this the condition of academia today?

Standpoint magazine has published an edited version of a lecture given by Nigel Biggar as part of “Academic Freedom Under Threat: What’s to be Done?”, a conference held at Pembroke College, Oxford, in May this year.

Bigger is a historian and a principled one. He is also now a victim of an unthinking, politically correct and powerful clique being allowed to wield power by a cowardly academic majority which has lost its way in a morass of relativism.

At the heart of his story is this:

“Judging by the behaviour of my critics, the result is that we now have a generation of young academics many of whom, not having been taught the virtues, are displaying all the vices”.

For a thousand years universities have been at the heart of our civilization. Can it withstand the forces of barbarism – which are all around us – if this is the condition of academia now? Is it over?

Biggar writes:

First, the story, then the analysis, and finally the proposals.

In early December 2017, my wife and I were at Heathrow airport, waiting to board a flight to Nuremberg, where we were going to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Just before setting off for the departure gate, I couldn’t resist checking my email just one last time. My curiosity was aroused when I saw lying in my inbox a message from the University of Oxford’s Public Relations Directorate. So I clicked on it. What I found was, first of all, notification that my Ethics and Empire project had become the target of an online denunciation by a group of students, followed by reassurance from the university that it had risen to defend my competence to run such a thing. So began a public row that raged for the best part of a month. The eminent imperial historian who had conceived the project with me abruptly resigned. (At the time he twice cited personal reasons. However, unknown to me, he later published an online notice explaining that his resignation had been provoked when the programme for 2018 moved in a direction he found uncongenial. That was most odd, since the only thing discussed about the 2018 programme was its general topic, and the only thing agreed was that it would focus on medieval empires. And all that had been settled five months earlier.) Further online denunciations appeared, this time manned by professional academics, the first comprising 58 colleagues at Oxford, the second, about 200 academics from around the world.

So what had I done to deserve this opprobrium? Three things. In late 2015 and early 2016 I had offered a partial defence of Cecil Rhodes during the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in Oxford. Then, second, in late November 2017, I published a piece in The Times, arguing that we British have reason to feel pride as well as shame about our imperial past. Note: pride, as well as shame. And a few days later, third, I published an online account of the Ethics and Empire project. Contrary to what the critics seemed to think, this project is not designed to defend the British Empire, or even empire in general. Rather, it aims to select and analyse critiques or evaluations of empire from ancient China to the modern period, in order to understand and reflect on the ethical terms in which empires have been viewed historically. My personal intention is to use the fruits of this collaborative project to develop a sophisticated and nuanced ethic of empire.

The row about empire has taught me several important things. During the debate on the motion “that Rhodes must fall” in the Oxford Union in early 2016, the concerted applause of the supporters of the proponents gave the impression that 95 per cent of the audience was ranged against me. But then I decided to stop listening and to look instead. And what I saw was that every time the supporters erupted, most members of the audience were actually sitting on their hands, keeping stumm. In the end, the proposition won narrowly—betraying a discrepancy between the overwhelming appearance of dominance, and the very narrow reality.

A second thing I learned was how zealous minorities can sway uncertain majorities. Before Christmas 2015 the Fellows of Oriel College, in response to the noisy student campaign in favour of Rhodes Must Fall, voted to remove a plaque commemorating Rhodes from one of its buildings. They did so, because a small minority of colleagues, mainly historians with no expertise in empire, supported the students’ case and seemed to know what they were talking about, and so the majority, who knew next to nothing about the history but were aware that decent people do not speak up in favour of capitalism or empire, deferred to them. However, when the press unleashed a storm of protest and alumni became seriously and publicly upset, the Fellows of Oriel reversed their decision the following month.

Which brings me to my third insight: the discrepancy between what passes for common sense in universities and what passes for common sense in the general public. In the empire row of December 2017, both the press reaction and the email correspondence I received indicated that the general public was astonished and appalled by the intemperate views and behaviour of my academic critics.

Among the people who wrote to encourage me were some of the grandchildren of the subjects of empire. One British Indian consultant in palliative care wrote to me to say that his grandfather had been among those in the Jallianwalla Bagh in Amritsar in 1919, when General Dyer’s troops opened fire on an unarmed crowd. Nevertheless, he agreed with me that we British have reason for both shame and pride in our imperial past. What’s more, the Ethics and Empire project includes two British Indians and one British Iranian, all of whom think as I do that “empire” is a variable phenomenon, whose moral qualities deserve thinking about. So when my critics claim to speak with the authority of champions of the victims of empire, or at least their descendants, they really don’t.

Although I was initially unnerved to be object of the scorn of 58 Oxford colleagues, on further reflection I noticed that 58 out of more than 1,600 academic and research staff in the Humanities and Social Sciences is not so considerable. What is more, most of them were not historians and few of them were senior. Further still, not one of them was an ethicist, which might have given them pause, before they presumed to damn a project entitled “Ethics and Empire”, but it did not. The truth is that I was the only professional ethicist in the room.

In general, therefore, what I learned from the empire row was that, in the case of my noisy anti-imperialist critics, the emperors are actually rather naked.


What, then, do I think is the problem? In brief, an alarming lack of moral virtue. Let me explain. I take for granted, and I teach my students, the duty to be scrupulously fair in representing what other people say and write; and if there are ambiguities, also the duty to interpret them charitably in the direction of the strongest possible construction. Only then should one begin to criticize, for only then will one’s critique be maximally cogent. The ability to be fair and charitable to views that one really dislikes or that threaten things you really care about takes patience and courage. The ability to be fair, to give credit where credit is due, and to learn from uncongenial or threatening views takes courageous humility and honesty. So: fairness, charity, patience, courage, humility, and honesty. These are not technical skills; they are moral virtues. And if we academics do not teach them—and model them—to students, then we can expect intemperance, arrogance, ideological deafness, distortion, and defamation. It is my view that university teachers cannot help but promote intellectual virtue or vice, and that we have a civic duty to promote the former. But in over 30 years of teaching in universities I have never once heard a colleague own such responsibility. Indeed, any suggestions on my part that they should own it have usually been met with a mixture of bafflement and suspicion. Judging by the behaviour of my critics, the result is that we now have a generation of young academics many of whom, not having been taught the virtues, are displaying all the vices.

It has been my consistent experience of the critics, first, that they are not interested in what I actually say or write. They seem uninterested in the give and take of reason. Early on I wrote and published three responses to their online denunciations. To date, not one of the over 250 signatories, two of them in this college and a stone’s throw away from my office, have bothered to respond.

Instead they persist in false, unargued attributions. Have I ever said that the white race is biologically superior to other races, and naturally destined to rule the world? No. And yet, according to Dr Priyamvada Gopal of Cambridge University, I am a “racist”, a “supremacist”, and a “bigot”. Have I ever said that I think the British Empire was an unalloyed good? No. And yet, according to Professor Jon Wilson of King’s College London, my view is simply that (and I quote) “Empire is great!” Have I ever asserted that British imperialism generally “introduced order to the non-western world”? No. But that didn’t stop the literary critic Nilanjana Roy from attributing such an idiotic claim to me. My critics’ zeal propels them beyond what seems to me the boundaries of reason. And most of these people have university degrees, many of them have doctorates, and some occupy senior posts in our most prestigious academic institutions.

Instead of reasoned arguments against what I actually say, what my critics have offered are ad hominem attacks upon my person. I am, of course, white, male, getting closer to my sell-by date, and—as a denizen of Christ Church, Oxford—terminally privileged. Therefore, nothing that I say could possibly be worth listening to and whatever comes out of my mouth is, according to Dr Gopal, “vomit”. It is quite true that the limits of my own privileged social experience and position could make me deaf to the voices of the victims of empire. It could do, but it need not. After all, privilege has evidently not stopped the ears of Gopal and Wilson. And besides, as I’ve indicated, the voices of the victims of empire, or of their descendants, don’t all say the same thing. Some of them actually agree with me, not with my critics.

Such critics appeal, not to reason, but to authority—the authority of an alleged consensus. This manifests itself in claims that things I have asserted—such as a balance in favour of the benefits of empire—have been long “discredited” among right-thinking people. Well, quite apart from the fact that I have never asserted such a thing, I am not impressed by sheer appeals to authority. (And here’s another irony: I say that as a religious believer, indeed, as an Anglican priest!) While I respect the prima facie authority of a consensus of experts, it has been known to get it wrong.


So much for the problem and its components. What has my recent experience taught me about the solution? First of all, the support that I have received from the very top of my own university has been enormously important. From the very beginning the university authorities have defended my right to pursue whatever daft research on the ethics of empire I choose to, provided it’s not obviously illegal.

However, rhetorical support from the top is not a sufficient solution, because it doesn’t necessarily prevent subtle but substantial problems further down the institutional hierarchy. It doesn’t stop colleagues applying illiberal political criteria to the admission of students or to the appointment of senior members. Nor does it stop vulnerable, junior, untenured colleagues from having to ask that their names be kept off the list of participants at meetings like this one—not this one, as it happens, but like this one—lest senior colleagues find out and damage their career prospects. I first raised these issues in the in-house Oxford Magazine early last year, hoping that it might stimulate frank discussion among us. But so far, to my knowledge, what I wrote has been met with complete silence. So if support for academic freedom from the top is the first part of a solution, open discussion of these issues further down the totem pole is the second.

The third is access to independent streams of funding. In 2016 my historian collaborator on the Ethics and Empire project and I submitted an application for 50 per cent funding to an internal university research fund. Despite our considerable experience in submitting and evaluating applications, this was turned down because it was supposed to lack “diversity” and because those involved were all drawn from elite universities. That would have been the end of the project, were it not for the fact that, as director of the McDonald Centre, I have at my disposal an independent stream of funding. So if dissident thought is to flourish in universities it needs to have access to funding that is beyond the control of university committees who apply criteria such as “diversity”, which are politically biased, morally dubious, and beyond question.

Finally, perhaps most crucially, academics have to be persuaded to take responsibility for promoting in students (and future citizens) the virtues of fairness, charity, patience, courage, humility and honesty. The importance of this is demonstrated by the story of Damian McBride. In 1999 McBride became the “spin doctor” of Gordon Brown, then Chancellor in the UK Government. He continued to play that role for the next 10 years and into Brown’s tenure as prime minister. His unscrupulous (by his own admission) ruthlessness in serving his master earned McBride the nicknames “Mad Dog” and “McPoison”. In 2009, overreaching himself, he precipitated a scandal that propelled him out of Downing Street and into public disgrace.

Four years later, a chastened McBride published his own account of how his life had come to such a pass. The title of the book summed it up: Power Trip. Chapter Two, entitled “Warning Signs”, begins, “I wasn’t always a nasty bastard, but you could argue the signs were there”. One of the signs came to light during his student career at Peterhouse in Cambridge. Frequently the source of physical violence, and indirectly responsible for setting fire to one of the college’s 13th-century buildings, McBride succeeded in pulling the wool over the dons’ eyes with a combination of avoidance, obfuscation and diversion. As he sums it up: “I left university hooked on the intricacies of power and policy-making, with a talent for avoiding the truth . . . , a win-or-die competitive streak, a penchant for negative, thuggish tactics, and a reckless disregard for the consequences of my actions.”

If university teachers do not take responsibility for promoting virtuous intellect, adolescent students will receive the general impression that real adults don’t care about such things. So when they leave the womb of their alma mater for the Big Wide World—or when they stay safely within it, growing from student into professor—they will embark, not at all upon a moral adventure, but on a power trip.

Desperate Democrats?

A new fragrance

Is there no end to the arrogance, the blind arrogance, of the promotors of abortion here in the United States? But it is not only their arrogance which astounds, or their apparently wilful blindness. It is their determination to blatantly hoodwink and deceive.

But deceit has always been at the heart of abortion. The deceit stretches from the denial of the simple truth that a life is a life is a life, all the way to the litany of deceits which gave this country the Roe v Wade judgement and the media manipulation of events surrounding the tragic death of Savita Halapanaver which brought Ireland into this evil empire

In many ways this new wave of deceit has something of the flavour of desperation about it. As they see the increasing momentum of the swing away from their cause among moderate voters, the majority of whom now do not want the extreme provisions of abortion up to birth – and even beyond – they are now telling bare-faced lies to push their case.

As the body of scientific evidence mounts, destroying the lie that the the child in the womb is no more than a clump of cells, and as the rational and emotional recognition of that lie increases, their desperation grows.

Their latest fiction goes well beyond the category of fake news, so far beyond it that one wonders what kind of malaise must be affecting the deductive mental processes of those advancing it. And it seems to be an infectious disorder.

Lawrence Tribe is a Harvard law professor. He has tweeted the following “warning” to his followers:

White Supremacists oppose abortion because they fear it’ll reduce the number of white infants and thus contribute to what they fear as non-white “replacement.” Never underestimate the way these issues and agendas are linked. This turns “intersectionality” on its head.

Whatever about ‘intersectionality”, one is really left wondering where his head is.

Ignoring the fake categorisation of all conservative-leaning Americans with the ugly “white supremacy” label, this is a patently absurd reading of the real demographics of the US.

Obianuju Ekeocha and others took him to task on Twitter and he began to protest about being misread. That added to the mystification and deepened our concerns about his capacity to make any judgement.

Ekeocha tweeted in response:

In 2015,NYC pregnancy outcomes statistics showed👉🏾23,116 black babies were born while 25,698 were aborted.

More killed than born.

A black baby is 2.7 times more likely to be aborted than a white baby.

But don’t let facts get in the way of your pre-packaged narrative😏

However, their name is legion, and in support of Tribe, Marissa Brostoff in a Washington Post column last week came in behind him with the view that “antiabortion politics” can provide “cover for white nationalist sentiments.”

William McGurn sees a wider strategy behind this bizarre linking of the pro-life movement to a repulsive minority ideology. It is all about Trump and the next general election here.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal this week he suggests that their strategy may be something different – instead of blindness, what thy have is 20/20 vision. They think that by tarring pro-lifers with white nationalism they will distract attention from the agenda the Democrats have rallied around as they head into 2020. That agenda would include federally funded abortion on demand up to the moment of birth—and even after birth, if necessary.

But, he says, the pro-life proposition is nothing if not simple: Human life begins at conception, and every human life is equal in dignity and worth. Whatever else it might be, it is incompatible with white supremacism. Perhaps, he suggests, that’s why so many African-Americans, especially African-American women, have been leaders in the pro-life cause.

Mildred Jefferson, the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, was a founding member of the National Right to Life Committee. Kay James, now president of the Heritage Foundation, founded Black Americans for Life. Before he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984, Jesse Jackson spoke of abortion as “genocide.”

Black pro-lifers, alas, are treated as if they don’t exist. Quick example: How many outlets even reported the National Day of Mourning that concluded this past Saturday with a prayer service in Birmingham, Ala., for all the black lives lost to abortion? One of its leaders was Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King. Another was Catherine Davis of the Restoration Project, who notes that the estimated 20 million black abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973 are more than the entire African-American population in 1960.

But facts don’t matter these days; narratives do, even when they are absurd. So when Ms. Brostoff went looking for a living example of white supremacy hiding behind a pro-life mask, she found author J.D. Vance. If Mr. Vance is a white nationalist, he sure stinks at it: As he noted on Twitter , he has a “bi-racial family and non-white son,” and he wrote a book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” chronicling not white superiority but white dysfunction.

By contrast, who was it who said frankly that the Supreme Court legalized abortion in part because it was concerned about “growth in populations that we do not want too many of?”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has tried to walk back her remark because of its plainly eugenic implications. But that’s the point. Eugenics have been used to justify abortion from the start. It wasn’t Mr. Vance who worried the “more rebellious members” of the black community might start thinking “we want to exterminate the Negro population.” It was Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, speaking of the Negro Project—a campaign to get African-Americans to have fewer children.

I think that what McGurn is talking about with Gerard to RBG is referenced here.

Contrary to this twisted pseudo-liberal narrative, McGurn points out how close the pro-abortionists are to the hard-core white supremacists. He cites a post on AltRight.com, where someone writing under the name Aylmer Fisher warns against “the pro-life temptation,” because abortion helps weed out “the least intelligent and responsible members of society,” who are disproportionately “Black, Hispanic and poor.”

Ditto, he says, for Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who in May 2017 led protesters carrying torches and shouting “you will not replace us” after the Charlottesville, Va., City Council voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a downtown park. Unlike pro-lifers, who want to be “radically dysgenic, egalitarian, multi-racial human rights thumpers,” Spencer says, “we want to be eugenic in the deepest sense of the word.”

Whether this is driven by a desperation bred of wilful blindness in the face of a rising sun of truth – the incontrovertible truth that the child in its mothers womb is a living human being sharing the beating of its mother’s heart until its own can begin to sustain it – or a callous and lying political strategy or a strategy, surely this will fail.

Why? Because, as McGurn says, calling a spade as spade:

Against these white nationalists stand the pro-lifers, and not just on behalf of African-American babies. They also speak for the unborn child with Down syndrome, for the child conceived in rape or incest, for the unplanned pregnancy that will undeniably crimp any career plans a mother might have if she carries the baby to term. These are all hard cases, and the clarity of the pro-life proposition—the insistence that each of these lives is no less precious than any other human life—can make for a difficult political sell.

But no pro-lifer ever said life is easy. We say life is beautiful.