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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Political Idealism

     "But I cannot find that it is part of my duty to maintain the order of things, for I will not call it system, which at present prevails in our country.  It seems to me that it cannot last, as nothing can endure, or ought to endure, that is not founded upon principle;  and its principle I have not discovered. . . .Every session of that Parliament in which you wish to introduce me, the method by which power is distributed is called in question, altered, patched up, and again impugned. . . .Our morals differ in different counties, in different towns, in different streets, even in different Acts of Parliament.  What is moral in London is immoral in Montacute;  what is crime among the multitude is only vice among the few. . . .I see nothing in this fresh development of material industry, but fresh causes of moral deterioration.  You have announced to the millions that their welfare is to be tested by the amount of their wages.  Money is to be the cupel of their worth, as it is of all other classes.  You propose for their conduct the least ennobling of all impulses.  If you have seen an aristocracy invariably become degraded under such influence;  if all the vices of a middle class may be traced to such an absorbing motive;  why are we to believe that the people should be more pure, or that they should escape the catastrophe of the policy that confounds the happiness with the wealth of nations?"- Benjamin Disraeli, Tancred, Chapter Seven 

Whig Church

"Tadpole was wont to say in confidence, that for his part he wished Sir Robert had left alone religion and commerce, and confined himself to finance, which was his forte as long as he had a majority to carry the projects which he found in the pigeon-holes of the Treasury, and which are always at the service of every minister."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Trump Narrenschiff

       Nothing vital has changed in the last two weeks on Citizen Kane.  Other than Rick Perry and Scott Walker, two actual conservatives, having left the GOP field, little has transpired in the presidential race.   Large numbers of highly deluded conservatives still regard Citizen Kane as the nation's only hope.   This group includes Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage.   Ann Coulter, the pundit for those who lack a gag reflex, has not only joined this group, but has led the pack in pure stupidity.  Coulter asked "how many f*cking Jews" were in the country, making (in her view) Israel an issue for no good reason.  Anti-semitism. . . .check!   Then she went on a tear about Pope Karl.  Those who have read Q.E.D. know that Estase is far from enthusiastic about the direction Pope Karl has taken the Church.   All the same, when Ann Coulter opined that it was right for nativists to deny Catholics the vote, and went further to say that Catholicism only became acceptable when it stopped being Roman and started being American, Estase wanted to chuck it all and register as a Democrat.  Really?  Leaving aside the character of the current pontiff, this is just about as Jack Chick a thing as I've ever heard anywhere.  The Catholic Church is led by a Pope.  The Pope's home is Rome.  The political structure of the Catholic hierarchy is based on ancient Rome.  There is no such thing as American Catholicism, just as there is no such thing as German Catholicism or Italian Catholicism.  Look up the word "catholic," Ms. Coulter.  "He had catholic interests."  "His sympathies were catholic."  Catholic means universal, dumbass!  Now that Ann Coulter has appealed to bottom-feeding troglodyte Catholic-haters, what more needs to be done to quash Republican hopes for 2016?  Maybe Coulter can say that blacks need to be shipped back to Africa?  Are you kidding me?  How will Citizen Kane get elected, now that his acolytes have insulted hispanics, Jews, and now Catholics?   Kiss the pro-life Catholic vote goodbye, Donald.

         On a lighter, and completely different topic, Estase has been thinking of a horror movie that could also be considered film noir--the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho.  It starts out as a crime caper, where Marion Crane leaves her husband and steals a fortune from her employer.  Thus, you have the film noir theme of a bad guy versus a horrible guy.  Crane thinks she has the monopoly on dirty dealing, but doesn't realize that her motel is run by someone with and Oedipal complex and a split personality.  Then you have the private dick Arbogast, who was pretty hardboiled, but completely unprepared for Norman Bates.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vlad Typische

       The Saudis refuse to accept any Syrian refugees, but offer to build 200 mosques in Germany.  That's big of them.  Assuredly, they will also provide Wahabi clerics to staff them.  Germany--once the home of Nazi Jew-haters, soon to be the home of Muslim Jew-haters.  Some things never change.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Thought for the Day

"I would only wish that equality in politics consisted of everyone being equally free and not, as one hears so often in our days, of everyone being subjugated to the same master."
                                                    Alexis deTocqueville

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Legislative Nostalgia, Part Six

From the Carthage (IL) Republican, (which, ironically, favored the Democratic party):

The nomination of Hon. Thomas B. Reed for speaker by the republican caucus was forseen a year ago, and only a languid interest can attach to that circumstance.  What he would say in accepting the nomination, equivalent to an election, could not be anticipated.  Reed is a humorist, as well as a despot, and is, or has been, capable of surprised.  It was, therefore, by no means certain that a man of his nimble wit might not say something readable in his speech.
        Power, however, brings responsibility, and responsibility begets conservatism.  There is little of the flavor of the Romanoff in the czar's latest utterances.  Not only has he a lively recollection of the manner in which he wrecked his party in the session of congress which began six years ago, but he is now {1896}a candidate for the presidency.  Somehow it has come to be a sort of axiom among the theological disputants of a former age, in their frank and free ecclesiastical billingsgate, called "dumb dogs," are available for presidential nominations.  When it is not possible for them to be wholly dumb, they open their mouths to enumerate platitudes or deal in generalities that are absolutely unintelligible in their application to current problems.
       Mr. Reed was Delphic from the beginning of his speech.  Returning thanks for the honor was purely prefunctory, and it was lukewarm, as became a man who knew that no real opposition could have been offered, and who also doubted in his heart whether this nomination would make or mar him.  But his next sentence was constructed with admirable art to leave the hearer in doubt.  "History," said he, "will accord us praise for what we did in the 51st congress, and it may accord us praise in this for what we do not do."
       This is not the note of the Reed of six years ago.  "High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect."  He talks now of a divided government, of small results, and warns his party of the danger of crude and hasty legislation.  Can this be the man who thanked God that the house of representatives was no longer a deliberative body?  But what does Mr. Reed mean by "history?"  Has not the 51st congress already passed into history?  Has not the judgment of the people been passed upon it over and over, and always in condemnation?  Does Mr. Reed desire to appeal from the judgment of 1890, 1891 and 1892 to that of the next century?  He cannot appeal to 1894 and 1895, for the work of his congress was not then in issue.
       When Mr. Reed said that if the republicans had possession of all branches of the government they would possibly not create a perfect world, but that they would make a world more fit to live in than the one we have at present, we recognize a touch, faint, indeed, of his old humor.  But even back of the humor there is a suggestion, not quite so faint, of that partnership with God which the republicans have always claimed as the peculiar characteristic of their party.  Every intelligent man in the country knows full well that if this part of the world is not so pleasant to live in as it once was, the difference is due to the legislation of the 51st congress to a greater extent than to any other cause.
       It would be interesting to know for what Mr. Reed thinks the country will accord praise to the 51st congress?  Is it for the McKinley bill?  If so, Maj. McKinley is the logical candidate for 1896, and Mr. Reed's aspirations to the presidency are an impertinence.  Is it for the Sherman silver purchase act, which by confession of republicans brought on the panic?  Then why did Mr. Sherman and Mr. Reed urge its repeal?  Is it for the passage of the force bill by the house?  If so, why do republicans now say there will never be another force bill?  These were the measures which occupied most of the time of the 51st congress, and if they give it a standing in history, then history will be singularly deaf to contemporary evidence.
       As to the question of revenue Mr. Reed is equally enigmatical.  He says that all parties will maintain the rigor of the house to initiate taxation, which is true in a general way of everybody but the senate, which has frequently provoked remonstrance by originating measures of taxation under the pretext of proposing amendments. He then says that no man can doubt that the majority of the house will furnish adequate revenue for the government, "according to our sense of public duty."  This last clause makes the whole sentence ambiguous.  Unfortunately, there are a good many men who not only can but do doubt whether the house will furnish revenue according to the sense of public duty of the majority.  Many of us would move to strike out the words and substitute "according to their sense of personal or party interest."-- Louisville Courier-Journal

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tory Manifestos

       "The Aristocracy of England have had for three centuries the exercise of power;  for the last century and a half that exercise has been uncontrolled;  they form at this moment the most prosperous class that the history of the world can furnish:  as rich as the Roman senators, with sources of convenience and enjoyment which modern science could alone supply.  All this is not denied.  Your order stands before Europe the most gorgeous of existing spectacles;  though you have of late years dexterously thrown some of the odium of your polity upon that middle class which you despise, and who are despicable only because they imitate you, your tenure of power is not in reality impaired.  You govern us still with absolute authority--and you govern the most miserable people on the face of the globe.  Disraeli, Sybil ,p.195
       "Here too was brought forth that monstrous conception which even patrician Rome in its most ruthless period never equalled--the mortgaging of the industry of the country to enrich and to protect property;  and act which is bringing its retributive consequences in a degraded and alienated population.  Here too have the innocent been impeached and hunted to death;  and a virtuous and able monarch martyred, because, among other benefits projected for his people, he was of opinion that it was more for their advantage that the economic service of the State should be supplied by direct taxation levied by an individual known to all, than by indirect taxation, raised by an irresponsible and fluctuating assembly.  But, thanks to parliamentary patriotism, the people of England were saved from ship-money, which money the wealthy paid, and only got in its stead the customs and excise, which the poor mainly supply.  Rightly was King Charles {I.} surnamed the Martyr;  for he was the holocaust of direct taxation.  Never yet did man lay down his heroic life for so great a cause:  the cause of the Church and the cause of the Poor."  Disraeli, Sybil, p.198
       "But we forget, Sir Robert Peel is not the leader of the Tory party;  the party that resisted the ruinous mystification that metamorphosed direct taxation by the Crown into indirect taxation by the Commons;  that denounced the system that mortgaged industry to protect property;  the party that ruled Ireland by a scheme which reconciled both Churches, and by a series of Parliaments which counted among them Lords and Commons of both religions;  that has maintained at all times the territorial constitution of England as the only basis and security for local government, and which nevertheless once laid on the table of the House of Commons a commercial tariff negotiated at Utrecht, which is the most rational that was ever devised by statesmen;  a party that has prevented the Church from being the salaried agent of the State, and has supported through many struggles the parochial polity of the country which secures to every labourer a home.
       In a parliamentary sense, that great party has ceased to exist;  but I will believe that it still lives in the thought and sentiment and consecrated memory of the English nation.  It has its origin in great principles and in noble instincts;  it sympathizes with the lowly, it looks up to the Most High;  it can count its heroes and its martyrs;  they have met in its behalf plunder, proscription, and death.  Nor, when it finally yielded to the iron progress of oligarchical supremacy, was its catastrophe inglorious.  Its genius was vindicated in golden sentences and with fervent arguments of impassioned logic by St. John;  and breathed in the intrepid eloquence and patriot soul of William Wyndham.  Even now it is not dead, but sleepeth;  and, in an age of political materialism, of confused purposes and perplexed intelligence, that aspires only to wealth because it has faith in no other accomplishment, as men rifle over which Bolingbroke shed his last tear, to bring back strength to the Crown, liberty to the subject, and to announce that power has only one duty--to secure the social welfare of the PEOPLE." Disraeli, Sybil ,pgs. 233-34.
       "The great object of the Whig leaders in England from the first movement under Hampden to the last most successful one in 1688, was to establish in England a high aristocratic republic on the model of the Venetian, then the study and admiration of all speculative politicians.  Read Harrington;  turn over Algernon Sydney;  then you will see how the minds of the English leaders in the seventeenth century were saturated with the Venetian type. .  . .George I. was a Doge;  George II. was a Doge;  they were what William III., a great man, would not be.  George III. tried not to be a Doge, but it was impossible materially to resist the deeply-laid combination.  And a Venetian constitution did govern England from the Accession of the House of Hanover until 1832."  Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby , Book V, Chapter Two 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lord Shelburne, Part Three

       "That age of economical statesmanship which Lord Shelburne had predicted in 1787, when he demolished, in the House of Lords, Bishop Watson and the Balance of Trade, which Mr. Pitt had comprehended;  and for which he was preparing the nation when the French Revolution diverted the public mind into a stronger and more turbulent current, was again impending, while the intervening history of the country had been prolific in events which had aggrevated the necessity of investigating the sources of the wealth of nations.

       It was to be an age of abtruse disquisition, that required a compact and sinewy intellect, nurtured in a class of learning not yet honoured in colleges, and which might arrive at conclusions conflicting with predominant prejudices."  Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby Book II, Chapter One