It's been a particularly ugly Sunday in the world of news and comment.
Once again, a political scandal has appeared from out of the blue.
The 'Mail on Sunday' has published a particularly nasty hatchet-job on the actress Emily Lloyd. The root of Miss Lloyd's health difficulties is made quite clear - she suffers from the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome.
The reporter's ignorance of GTS is staggering; they write, "(s)he has, at various times, been diagnosed with mild schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourettes syndrome" without knowing that ADD, OCD and GTS all belong to the same family of conditions, designed the 'neuropsychiatric disorders'; that many diagnoses of ADD and OCD are often misdiagnoses of GTS; and that obsessiveness is a very common symptom of GTS. What the reporter's ignorance reveals is that Miss Lloyd has probably been diagnosed with the same illness at least three times. Doctors, please note that some Tourettists' suspicion of you is not without cause.
Chronic insomnia might be another symptom. Miss Lloyd complains of it - and there is a very good reason why I write long essays before I go to work. One hopes that Miss Lloyd's confidence has not been too badly knocked by yet another stupid article purporting to deal with the effects of a grossly misunderstood medical condition; one whose nature has been used to murder the people who suffer from it.
Far ahead of the pack in the ideological nonsense stakes is Tim Congdon, with his suggestion that the Bank of England should be privatised. This is complete rot, a suggestion which, in this writer's opinion, is unfit for publication in any newspaper. If anything, the complete reverse of what he suggests is true; the Bank of England's independence should be revoked, and interest rates raised to 10 per cent immediately.
The Bank's unmandated policy of keeping interest rates artificially low for over a decade rendered the act of keeping money in the bank pointless. One of the principal drivers of the house price boom was the necessity of finding ways of accruing wealth that didn't involve having to trust your bank to make money for you. Unsophisticated savers who would otherwise have been happy just to earn interest on a pot of money in a savings account were driven to trying to become property speculators because of a claque of unelected coneheads' machinations and coneheading. The Bank of England should never have been freed from political control. OK, the politicians had messed up the interest rates many times before - but at least they can be thrown out by the people. The coneheads, dug in behind barricades of calculus, chanting formulae to each other like the priestly incantations they really are, can't. They're unassailable. This is not a satisfactory state of affairs.
It's time the coneheads were reined in. The economists have been the single most destructive group of experts in human history; yet being a secular priesthood, their comments are treated with a respect they frankly don't deserve. Since the days of Karl Marx, every single bad thing that has been done to human beings in the name of public policy has received intellectual validation from an economist. In a world without God, the followers of The Pie in the Sky Fairy are kings.
Their authority has never been challenged as it should have been - so let the iconoclasm commence. The best case for an interest rate of 10% is that it would give the little people an incentive to save some money, and accrue a little wealth on their own terms and in ways most suited to them; a banker's skill could then be determined by how much he helps to enrich his customers, as opposed to how well he enriches himself. The only reason for opposing such a move would be that it is British government policy that the British people should not have cash savings. We would then see our government's true colour. If that is British policy, we are entitled to know it.
Yet for sheer nastiness, absolutely nobody trumps a person called Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
This individual, whoever they are, writes,
"The heroic Bank of England has pioneered monetary stimulus a l'outrance, even if the ungrateful wretches of this island mock their own salvation."
Nothing makes one wish to puke harder and faster than a double-barrel patronising those of their fellow citizens who enjoy the same rights and privileges under law as they do, but who have received less expensive educations or enjoy more limited media access. It is only in the United Kingdom that one citizen is permitted to trash others so casually, and get away with it. To my mind, it's not a symptom of how free but how sick British culture has become.
Yet he also says,
"There again, was it wise for the Czech premier and titular EU president to rubbish Barack Obama's fiscal blitz as the "road to hell"? That too comes ill from a leader who has just lost a no-confidence vote over his handling of the Czech economy. But the hapless Bohemian speaks for Europe, where Hooverism is written into EU Treaty law."
To this reader's eyes, the term 'hapless Bohemian' borders on racism. Hopefully it draws a public rebuke from the Czech Ambassador.
Yet in the midst all of this ugliness, there is always hope.
It's quite clear that history has taken a bazooka to the hubris of those of our bankers for whose benefit the world seems to have been run since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Their apologists deserve to be sent to sit in the corner, wearing dunces' caps made from the spreadsheets which chart their dying newspapers' declining circulations. Whether or not banking as it has been practiced can actually survive for much longer is a question that's not really receiving the attention it should - if the coneheads can make jokes about displaced tradesmen pining for the days of the buggy-whip makers, there seems to be absolutely no reason why the displaced cannot question why the coneheads' paymasters have been permitted to behave as they did in the days when buggy-whips were commonplace. After all, what was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act other than an attempt to roll back history to the days of the robber barons? Oh dear. They hadn't thought of that one.
As for the newspaper, well, that's going the way of the adze and the gladius; in its day it helped change the world, but it's outlived its usefulness, and has been overtaken by newer, better models. Newspaper proprietors should remember that organisms whose circulation is in decline tend to turn blue, and eventually require amputation.
The old ways of doing things are stuffed, kaput; the question is, what takes their place?
A model that quite appeals to me is one suggested by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II in his 'Prayer for Life' -
"O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life.
Look down, O Mother, on the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace that accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people, the civilisation of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life".
As its name, suggests, The Civilisation of Truth and Love will be a civilisation; and just as Mohammed Siddique Khan
proved that belonging to two civilisations at the same time is impossible, so too it will be impossible for those who hope for the coming of The Civilisation of Truth and Love to call themselves adherents of Western civilisation.
Let's face it, the set of behaviours and practices grouped under the name 'Western civilisation' is now pretty much fit for the bin. It wasn't always like that; nobody has yet been able to tell me just what was so bad about the United Kingdom circa 1990 that it had to be 'globalised'. It was a good place to live in. Now it's not. In less than two decades, it's become the world's largest public toilet.
Western civilisation stopped being civilised when it sidelined He Who Is. This was a bad move. Doing this allowed the rot to set in whereby we gave the time of day to the rantings of a bedridden nutter
who proclaimed that He Who Is had become He Who Was. We abdicated our status as created beings made in our Creator's image and likeness, becoming instead a sophisticated type of chemical soup that got here through a set of coincidences so fantastical
that the wildest-eyed conspiracy theorist would be ashamed to give it credence. In order to believe that it's absolutely true, you have to believe that the sky fell in one day;
a contention which would have the disciples of the most primitive New Guinean cargo cult laughing in your face.
Darwinism is just funny; Social Darwinism isn't. When allied to the line of guff thinking in German history that kicked off with The Revolutionary of the Upper Rhine
, Social Darwinism was responsible for the greatest slaughter in history.
In the dregs of a civilisation that does not give He Who Is His due, beggar-thy-neighbour trade policies are somehow bad, while bugger-thy-neighbour social policies are somehow good; go figure. I don't get it either.
The most appealing aspect of The Civilisation of Truth and Love is that it will be post-economic. Economics led to the stuff fixation
; and nobody has captured the sheer vileness of that fixation and all that flows from it better than G. K. Chesterton
"To brag of brute prosperity, to admire the most muddy millionaires who had cornered wheat by a trick, to talk about the unfit (in imitation of the scientific thinker who would finish them off because he cannot finish his own sentence - unfit what what?) - all that is as simply and openly Anti-Christian as the Black Mass" - 'St. Thomas Aquinas', Page 86.
You go, Gilbert! You rock!
contention that 'Man is not an economic animal' is absolutely true. The pursuit of gain is a consequence of being alive, not a reason for living. It will only be when gain for its own sake is considered uncivilised that Man will be truly free.
For as soon as a society becomes post-economic in a spirit of truth and love, it will shortly thereafter become post-political. Love will guide men in the conduct of their social relations; and if economic policy is taken out of the picture by economics becoming redundant, what's left to argue about? The absence of the need for politics in human affairs would be the greatest step forward in human history.
There are those who would say that I am advocating totalitarianism; quite the reverse. Totalitarians are intensely political animals. Without politics, they have nothing. On a Soviet submarine, even going to the bathroom was political. In The Civilisation of Truth and Love, mortal man will come to realise that for the most part politics is nothing but an enormous waste of time, and a distraction from the important things in life like learning more, being friendly and working for your salvation.
The more tedious kind of libertarian will see the words 'Truth' and 'Love', and their clockwork brain will process the thought that I am advocating a '1984' style of civilisation where a Ministry of Truth tells lies, and a Ministry of Love tortures. This is not the case - The Civilisation of Truth and Love has no need of ministries. When we get it, we will look back and laugh at ourselves for ever having thought we really needed them. But that such thoughts will inevitably register shows how far we still have to go.
The Civilisation of Truth and Love cannot come into being at the point of the sword - it can only come about through Man's desire to love his neighbour as he loves himself turning into action. This is quite a hard thing to achieve at the best of times, and not made any easier to some peoples' attachment to the writings of Ayn Rand. Yet there is always hope. My friend Martin Meenagh has been engaging in a spot of futurology, and doesn't like what he sees
; to Martin, I'd say, have hope. He Who Is is still He Who Is; and He'll see us all out yet.