Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From An Englishman's Castle

Noblesse Oblige

We're under the thumb of the worst kind of aristocracy | Ross Clark - Times Online

At the risk of getting my backside blasted with a twelve-bore, I feel like falling to my knees at the gates of my local nob's house and saying sorry.
I was one of those who cheered on Tony Blair when he embarked on his mission to rid the House of Lords of hereditary peers....How dare these old buffoons, who are only in Parliament because some distant ancestor slept with Edward II, try to throw their weight around in a democracy, I thought...I now realise, though, that they were staunch upholders of civility and decency compared with the mercenary toadies that have replaced them. Somehow I can't imagine the late Duke of Devonshire trying to squeeze £120,000 out of a lobbyist to help to gain an exception on business rates - not even if the roof at Chatsworth had fallen in and he had worn through the leather patches on his elbows.
The appalling thing about the current House of Lords is that it has become a receptacle for all manner of wannabe politicians who would fail if they put themselves up before the electorate: MPs who have lost their seats, party donors with little popular appeal, and retired, often disgraced, Cabinet ministers who use the place like a free gentlemen's club....
Maybe there is something, after all, to be said for an upper parliamentary chamber made up entirely of hereditary peers, whose hands are unsullied by trade and who - in some cases, at least - have had a notion of public duty drummed into them from an early age...

Ross Clark then spoils his argument by suggesting driectly elected Lords, as though adding more bad apples to the barrel will make it better.

The advantage of hereditary peers was that they didn't have to seek short term approval or reward. They could afford to take a long term view informed by a sense of history, and by their position of influence being inheritable they were incented to ensure stability continued so they could pass it on to their heirs.
No other system is as good, though the old Greek habit of choosing some legislators by lot comes close. What we don't want is a House of Commons 2.0

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The market won't take care of everything.

The Link Between Globalization and Multiculturalism.

Don't misunderstand: I am very much in favor of capitalism. But it cannot be the ruling principle of a society.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quotation of the Day

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
-- Winston Churchill

EDIT: Mr. J.K. Baltzersen informs me that Churchill probably did not say this. It's a good statement, though, whoever originated it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I told you.

People missing absence of Monarchy: Kamal Thapa

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal President Mr. Kamal Thapa has opined that the country has been facing threat to its territorial integrity and national sovereignty due to the selfish acts of the so-called major political parties.

“The Country has been facing threats of splits but the big political parties are seen more concerned in the sharing of power booty”, said Mr. Thapa.

Mr. Thapa was addressing a program organized by the RPP-Nepal to celebrate the birth anniversary of Late King Prithivi Narayan Shah- the unifier of Nepal.

“Currently, the absence of monarchy is being felt seriously by the people….the people have begun feeling the brunt…the unconstitutional ouster of monarchy May 28, 2008, has surely invited more troubles for the county”.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Conservative Reformation

Face it: Conservatism is losing. The sagacious reader will acknowledge that although an occasional conservative counterattack has limited success, the overall tendency in America, and the rest of Western Civilization, is toward the left. Political conservatism has remained viable through this shift mainly by redefining its goals, so that today's conservatism mainly is about impeding, rather than decisively reversing, our leftward movement. Thus, for example, mainstream conservatism is not trying to re-stigmatize homosexuality, but only to limit the advance of its legitimization.

And why is liberalism winning? Because although pockets of conservatism remain, liberalism has effective control over the official thinking of America. The ways we Americans generally think, and therefore the ways we generally act, start with the premises of liberalism, the most basic of which is that man, not God, is the supreme being. And therefore, since man is finite and fallible, there can be no certain and hence authoritative answers to the questions of life, which leads liberalism to emphasize liberty, equality, openness to the outsider (i.e., multiculturalism), and nonjudgmentalism. Ironically, this lack of authoritative answers also leads to tyranny, because society requires order, and with no God to be its source, order ultimately must be maintained by subterfuge and force, not reason.

And let's be clear about the consequences of liberal domination: Since liberalism is largely false, since it tells untruths about the most important questions of life, no society governed by liberal principles can maintain its existence. If America continues under the domination of liberalism, we can be certain that our future is either Balkanization (i.e., disintegration) or else the establishment of a soviet-style government, in which a leftist elite maintains its rule by force. The leftist dream of a society in which people live in harmony through voluntary assent to liberalism is just that: a dream. Real-world people require a social order that is in accord with traditionalist, that is, non-liberal, principles.

Look at it this way: the vast majority of people, including most conservatives, believe either that American society is basically sound (only needing to be protected from a few leftist schemes), or that the overall condition of society is totally beyond human comprehension or control. Both of these beliefs must be rejected: The dominant leftist way of thinking is both wrongheaded and in control, and so America is in serious danger. Furthermore, we can understand the basic nature of the problem.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Rain in Spain

Via Vanishing American, I found this article, published in the New York Times in 1992: ON LANGUAGE; The Accent Gap.

For months, tabloid scribes and authors of gossipy best sellers have offered millions of readers lurid, even shocking stories of the rift between the Prince and Princess of Wales. Now a British linguist, John Honey, provides an unusual spin on that familiar subject. Differences in age, interests and tastes are one thing, but the real schism, Honey suggests, may be in how the two speak the English language. "There is a huge accent gap between Charles and Diana," says Honey, the author of the 1989 book "Does Accent Matter? The Pygmalion Factor."

The Charles-Di split, then, is a matter of two different styles of upper-class speech. Prince Charles speaks a marked version of R.P. -- the upper-crust English, oozing privilege, spoken today mainly by senior members of the royal family, old Etonians and aging Oxford and Cambridge dons. R.P. speakers pronounce "cloth" as clawth and talk about the lorst pah of the British Empah (the "lost power of the British Empire").

Princess Diana has swung to the other end of the R.P. spectrum, occasionally assuming a trendy down-market variant, including traces of popular London speech, that approaches cockney. Its most prominent feature is "t-glotalling," which means strangling the final "t" in most words. Expert ears, for example, have detected Diana saying there's a lo' of i' abou' for "there's a lot of it about."

VA also provided these two quotations:

Democracy does not exist for a long time - it wastes, exhausts and destroys itself. There was never a democracy that didn't kill itself" - Samuel Adams

"Democracy always leads to conflicts and instability, but never provides for the security of the citizens or their property. Usually it is very short at life, and very bloody at death" -- James Madison