Archive for November, 2006

Triumph Bourneville!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

So, chocolate cuts your blood clot risk and previous research has indicated it’s good for your heart. Is everything in Sleeper going to come true? When can I order my Orgasmatron?

Hmmm, right now apparently, and they say it gives great head … massage.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
HL Mencken

Be the Briton

Monday, November 13th, 2006

As the Government talks once again of defining (for its own purposes) that elusive concept, over at the Ministry of Truth, Unity is pondering the nature of Britishness

To become British, one simply needs to find one’s sense of Britishness within oneself and not conform to the values and expectations of others, a solution that is, in all respects, consistent with the traditions of liberal individualism that the present government are seeking to do away with.

Yes, my apprentice. It is not enough to merely study Britishness. To become British one must find the inner Briton. Britain as neither a monarchy nor a democracy, but rather a state of mind. I suspect you could apply similar reasoning to any nationality, really, but it does seem particularly apposite in the case of this country.

It’s hard to reduce ideas of identity to a simple list of attributes, something that is more associated with nationalistic dictatorships than anything I’d recognise as a liberal democracy. Indeed I wonder if that is the attraction – government extending its role even over our very concept of ourselves.

On the other hand, apparently there are always two things about any subject. So for me what are the two things about Britishness? What sums up that ‘liberal individualism’ that Unity correctly identifies as the core feature of being a Briton?

  1. Mind your own fucking business.
  2. I said, mind your own fucking business.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

One of the most important signs of the existence of a democracy is that when there is a knock at the door at 5 in the morning, one is completely certain that it is the milkman.
Winston Churchill

The cult of death

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

I am probably going to be categorised as a ‘climate change denier’ – a phrase redolent of religious fanaticism – so let’s get that out of the way to start with. Climate change is real – indeed changeability is surely one of the defining characteristics of the climate. It’s almost as warm now as it was a thousand years ago, and three hundred years ago it was much colder. The question has never been whether the climate is changing, but rather to what extent, if any, human agency has an effect on the direction and magnitude of the change. Here, I am somewhat sceptical. Humans have always overestimated their importance and failed to grasp just how mind-bogglingly big the earth is. I’m fairly sure that the anthropogenic element in any warming is relatively minor, and that the vast majority of it is caused by natural factors outwith (if you will forgive the Scotticism) human control.

What does interest me though, is the unabated enthusiasm a significant proportion of the human race seems to have for doomsday scenarios. Why do they find the prospect of death on an inconceivable scale so appealing? What is the attraction in seeing yourself as part of the last generation of the human race? Or is it (in their imaginations) only others that do the dying, while they emerge from the disaster either translated to a higher plane, or as the inheritors of a new (and somewhat emptier) planet? We have, of course, as a species been here many times before. The difference being that in the past it was difficult to reach substantial numbers of willing believers with your message of doom. In the past half century this has become increasingly easy. I suspect that this alone is sufficient to explain the growth from the 1960s onwards of groups predicting (always, for nothing really changes, wrongly) imminent catastrophe, whether from overpopulation, resource depletion, pollution, or – as now – climate change. While the imputed cause may change, the message is always the same: mankind is sinful and must be punished. Only the sins have changed to match our secular age from religious malfeasance to crimes against nature.

Yet as protestors gather for a rally under the banner of ‘Stop climate chaos‘, I want to issue a, probably forlorn, plea to them to look inside their minds and ask themselves why they are so filled with enthusiasm, why their faces glow with the light of fanaticism at the thought, or rather the conviction, that humanity faces a catastrophe.

It seems that for many, this end is not to be feared, but rather embraced – they simply cannot wait for the promised catastrophe and the billions of deaths that will ensue. Mere change is not enough – it must be the end of the world.

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
Edmund Burke

Be sure your sin will find you out

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Via, this gave me the best laugh of the day. Ted Haggard, though. Sounds like a made up name, don’t you think? Clearly, this is one of those stories that brings a warm glow to the heart of every right-thinking person. It almost doesn’t matter if it’s true, though it would be much more fun if it were.

He really is one of those people for whom the word ‘oleaginous’ might have been specially-minted, oozing false sincerity and fellowship from every pore, while cheerfully condemning almost all of humanity to eternal torture and clearly relishing the prospect. It’s not enough for him to be ‘saved’ – anyone who disagrees with him has to be ‘damned’ as well.

Life’s just a bugger sometimes, isn’t it?

*Not often I get to use a genuine biblical quote as a title

Self-respect: The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.
HL Mencken

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