Thursday, August 11, 2011

Me on everything

For anyone who is wondering, "What does Lydia McGrew think about the fact that London has burned for several nights in a row?" I'll give you a couple of things I've said on Facebook recently. I give them here because this is my personal blog, where I reign as Personal Potentate, so I don't have to deal so much with difficult liberal commentators. One of my comments was that the police in England seem more likely to crack down on a school child accused of "racism" than on violent mobs who loot and burn London. I don't have time to google the stories, but some of you have doubtless read them: Some ten-year-old kid uses some word, or is accused of doing so, in school in Britain, and the police visit his house and put him under investigation.

Another of my comments was that perhaps T.S. Eliot was wrong and the world does end with a bang instead of a whimper, though Britain's leaders seem to be the ones doing the whimpering.

If indeed things have quieted down there (this is me now, not anything I've written elsewhere), as the news stories are telling us this morning, I'm rather surprised. Is it just that there's nothing more to loot? Or did the thousands of thugs actually believe the government's bluff that it would use (gasp!) water cannons and plastic bullets against them? I think if they'd called the bluff they would have found they could go on with their wave of pillage and destruction, their paean of horrible joy to the gods of hate against all that is productive and orderly. The so-called forces of law and order in England are clearly non-functional. It is absolutely appalling.

Still more appalling was the beginning of an AP story I saw last night. It has since disappeared from the news feed when I call up Yahoo, and I consider this good riddance, so instead of trying to find it, I'll just give the gist from memory. It said something to the effect that Cameron's government would now be called on to improve policing (um, yeah) and also to "help struggling communities in economic hard times." I feel ill. That's positively angering. Talk about appeasement. Talk about Danegeld. What does this mean? More government goodies and handouts for the very people who have just been tearing down England brick by brick and burning the rest? Yep, that has worked really well so far. Sickening. What it should have said was something like, "Making sure communities know that the law will be enforced" or "Cracking down on the lawless communities who have come to believe that they can do anything they like." (And, yes, by the way, all this talk about "communities" does point, in the eerily coded fashion of the liberal news media, to the racial nature of this anarchy, especially in its inception.)

No one who has loved English literature and taught English history can fail to be saddened to the point of near-speechlessness by this undeniable further evidence that England is dying. England the fair. England the Sceptred Isle. England of the Book of Common Prayer, of Churchill, of the brave fighters of the Battle of Britain. England the plucky, the quirky. England of the glorious literature and the lovable variety of accents. England of the peaceful countryside, of the orchards and the bees. England of the tough Yorkshire farmers. England now dying of the cancer of liberalism and anarcho-totalitarianism.

Requiescat in pacem, my beloved ancestor. What you once were will not be forgotten.


Anonymous said...

"Is it just that there's nothing more to loot?"

In Birmingham it rained.

Lydia McGrew said...

Viking announcement: "Monastery pillaging canceled tonight due to rain. We hope to reschedule for next week."

Peter Brown said...

Um, these rioters aren't anywhere near the level of the Vikings. These folks are more like the rioters in the long hot summer of '68 in the US--although even that may be overstating the British situation. (The US government, after all, wound up using tanks to restore order in '68.)


Lydia McGrew said...

My apologies to the Vikings. It was just a bit of dark humor. No insult to Vikings was intended. Admitted: I doubt these low-life could build ships, much less sail them all over the world. The only thing they know is destruction. At least the Vikings built something.

Alex said...

The London rioters stayed home last night apparently because the weather was wet. Looting in the rain is just too risky. Stealing 'designer' clothes while holding an umbrella at the same time is very awkward.

David Cameron is a politician for our times - lightweight, pusillanimous, conceited, and ridiculous. He will appoint a judicial inquiry (another talking shop) into the 'disturbances'. It will make recommendations that are certain to cost lots of money, do no good, and be forgotten ere long.

How can anyone, let alone a feeble and contemptible government, restore a moral order which has collapsed? Best not to think about it.

Lydia McGrew said...

I have little doubt that the recommendations of this "commission" will positively do harm.

It's certainly true that restoring a collapsed moral order is probably a task passing the capabilities of any government. I suppose mot of us still retained some faint notion that a straightforward crackdown, using force as the due powers of government, on outright anarchy was _not_ beyond the capabilities of government. It's not as though heavy philosophy is, or ought to be, necessary in order to go out in riot gear, use water cannons or tear gas or what-have-you, and stop rioting mobs.

Or that's what we thought. It turns out that the lack of a moral compass *in the leadership* means that they are paralyzed even by the most obvious call for the ordinary government functions of preventing chaos and protecting persons and property.

Lydia McGrew said...

A rather nasty anti-Protestant anonymous commentator (apparently the Internet sports those along with nasty anti-Catholic commentators) gleefully points out that my Latin in the main post is wrong. It should be "requiescas," as I am addressing England in the second person.

While I acknowledge the correction, I've decided on reflection not to change the main post. I'm definitely not going to publish the comment. Commenters like that explain why I have enabled comments moderation.

William Luse said...

I used to think of her as the Mother Country. But what's a kid supposed to think when he finds mom perpetually drunk on the liquor of liberalism?

Are citizens allowed to own guns in Britain?

Lydia McGrew said...

My perception is, functionally, no. There may be some people who can get permission to own a handgun, but not just the ordinary citizen. Wikipedia contains a lot of blah-blah but appears to bear out this common perception when you dig through the verbiage. For what that's worth.

Anonymous said...

In your second paragraph, as it stands, I think you switched "whimper" and "bang."


Alex said...

There's already a vast amount of commentary on the English riots (in the British and American media), to which I've no original observations to add. Except to emphasize that the riots are symptoms of a moral disease.

The fundamental questions of how we got in the state we're in, have also been regularly addressed by some good brains in mass media 'think pieces', at online blogs, and in recent books such as Kenneth Minogue's The Servile Mind, etc.

How we get out of this mess is obviously a moral problem, and there's a dearth of credible proposals for solving it. Maybe, and I sometimes hope so, there's a Great Awakening just around the corner. But most of the time I don't believe that a Christian revival will happen in my lifetime - at least not in Britain. In the United States, it's a different case: religious commitment still survives and the faithful speak out.

Last Sunday morning, I attended Matins at Lincoln cathedral. The guest choir (from St Peter's in Hamburg) sang beautifully. The hallowed words from the Book of Common Prayer resonated in a magnificent medieval building. I counted the number of worshippers. There were fewer than fifty people - most of them elderly women and only three or four young people. This service was open to all, and was conducted in a 'show place' of the Church of England.

My anecdote is meant to illustrate how the influence of the Church of England has become attenuated in today's society, and why it seems unlikely, at present, that its message will prevail over the mindset of the intelligentsia which has produced the moral shambles.

Lydia McGrew said...

Thanks, sb. As you see from the correction the actual error was between "right" and "wrong" in reference to Eliot. The "bang" in question being the riots themselves.

Lydia McGrew said...

Alex, I suppose one question is the extent to which the present message of the Anglican church itself in England really is the truth of Christianity. Modernism (in the theological sense) has really "done a number" in the past century and a half on all such mainstream denominations in the West.

James Mc Grath said...

It is quiet at the moment, but I am furious at the way the vile MSM are trying to change reality, how they seem determined not to blame the blacks and their penchant for criminality. They sit there asking moronic questions like 'oh why are the youth of our country doing this?', they refer to the 'English youth', and it seems blatantly obvious to me that except for a few wiggers, they are all black!!!

I am trying, seemingly single handedly, to tell as many as possible to bleeding obvious! Sometimes people do not appreciate the truth, and they then seem to think that 'racism' is worse then looting!

I despair sometimes!

Lydia McGrew said...

I hesitated on publishing the previous comment. Since I cannot edit comments but only publish or not publish, I had to decide whether to not publish on grounds of language. In future, please watch your language more than that, Mr. McGrath.

On the substance, I think based on photos that it's somewhat of an exaggeration to say that there were, *in the end*, “only a few” non-black participants in the riots. I do agree, though, that the riots began as a black racial phenomenon in response to the shooting of a black gang member who drew a gun on police. What appears to have happened is that the white underclass in England also subsequently entered into an all-out class war, though the mobs _seem_ (here I'm going by impressions) to have remained disproportionately composed of minorities. Even the many liberal excuses seem to admit this. (“Angry communities” and “deprivation” and “police injustice” and what-not.)

I think a shrewd observation was made by a reader at VFR today. He pointed out that the media was full of praise for immigrants (Sikhs, for example) who stood up to the mobs, but that primarily white groups who did the same were said to be “no better than” the mobs themselves. If we presume that the intent was the same--namely, simply to stand up to the destruction and looting--then this is very telling. The analysis at VFR also seems to me to have been correct: A certain type of racial guilt is entirely paralyzing so that only non-white immigrants are taken to have the moral authority even to engage in basic protective activities of government.

Like the commentator, I have been struck by the thought recently, which hadn't occurred to me before, that Muslim group resistance in this chaos may be a “cloud no bigger than a man's hand” signaling yet a different and heretofore unsuspected way in which the Muslim takeover of Britain will occur: The Muslim groups may organize and resist anarchy, and the populace may therefore turn to them for protection in the end. The commentator points out the fact (which I hadn't thought of), that the Muslims may be among the only groups _permitted_ to organize and resist anarchy.

Lydia McGrew said...

I do know that Sikhs are not Muslims. I just happened to see a particularly striking photo of a group of Sikhs guarding a temple, rank on rank, holding swords.

Anonymous said...

"A rather nasty anti-Protestant anonymous commentator (apparently the Internet sports those along with nasty anti-Catholic commentators) gleefully points out that my Latin in the main post is wrong. It should be "requiescas," as I am addressing England in the second person.

While I acknowledge the correction, I've decided on reflection not to change the main post. I'm definitely not going to publish the comment. Commenters like that explain why I have enabled comments moderation."

First, thank you for mentioning my post at all. I too am glad for comment moderation, so that only you had to see what I wrote last night.

Secondly, I apologize for the note of glee. I apologize for any *unnecessary* scandal, especially from the "goes around, comes around" comment. Yes, to say the least (!), much that is good is being lost. There is no ground for taking joy (or schadenfreude) in such nonsense, and I sincerely regret exhibiting such, as it really is not my view of what is happening. I would gladly write the same on a chalkboard multiple times to show my contrition.

But you do hit upon the core of the matter (well, of an interesting related matter) when you mention the modernism of Anglicanism. If I have any credibility left here to say anything that benefits ecumenism (which I take to mean simply the re-uniting of all baptized Christians in visible communion with and under the Catholic Church headed by the Bishop of Rome), it would be that, aside from whatever positive good there is in "the England of the Book of Common Prayer," the imposition of that very book was indeed accompanied by the sort of violence you here deplore -- the Suppression of the Monasteries. Indeed, the killings were much worse and were state-directed, and the buildings targeted for destruction were much more venerable than (from what I can gather) those that have been lost thus far. If there be any scandal in saying this, then it's unavoidable, and yes, I am an anti-Protestant (theologically, at least), though I regret the nastiness and off-handed offensiveness of what I first wrote. For however beautiful the Anglican England was, it was born of much ugliness -- much lawlessness, which you deplore. This is a hard saying, I'm not sure I'd venture on it now, but having opened my mouth first of all, and second of all to retract what was un-called for, I say it again. The monasteries were often endowed in order to have Masses said for the repose of the souls of the dead ("requiescant in pace") and the Church of England arose out of the ashes of those monasteries. Those Masses and Offices and suffrages for the repose of Englishmen in Purgatory were abandoned.

I beg pardon again for my own personal nastiness (I am very imperfect), and I sorrow for England's decline from cultural decency (which at the natural level of course was relatively high until a late date). I hope for England's salvation, and yours, and mine.


Lydia McGrew said...

Bonifacius, I hold no brief for Henry VIII or his methods. In fact, I find something peculiarly sickening about transparent legal pretexts for harming people by the state, and the dissolution of the monasteries was part of that.

I think the comparison you are making is one of apples and oranges, however. We might similarly compare, on the one hand, a man's execution by a totalitarian regime after a show trial and, on the other hand, a helpless man's being bludgeoned to death by a jubilant mob. Both are evil. Each is evil and horrifying in ways that the other is not. Thus they are not the same evil. The dissolution of the abbeys had that special evil that comes with the illicit acts of a state entity that makes up its rules as it goes along and cares nothing for right or justice or even the law. But by the same token, it was not mere anarchy. Perhaps I should say, rotten apples and rotten oranges. I would prefer to eat neither.

And because of many other factors of history, God brought good even out of the sordid beginnings of the Anglican church. It came to be, in its time, one of those things that "are themselves," something that has its own beautiful traditions and characteristics, worthy of cherishing. That can, indeed, happen even when, in the messiness of history, the beginnings of things have much that is bad about them. Compare the fact that royal dynasties have begun with murder and/or usurpation and gone on to have an illustrious cumulative history. The Norman Conquest was no great shakes either, a very dubiously just war, but I wouldn't be without the English language that sprang from the marriage of Anglo-Saxon and French. And many a child has been conceived in sin and gone on to be a beauty and a joy before the face of the Lord. So it was, for a time, with the Anglican church.

The Sanity Inspector said...

"And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?" -- William Shakespeare, 3 Henry VI

Jeff Culbreath said...

Lydia re: your last comment: I can't help but note that your defense of Anglicanism is sober, gracious, and admirable.

BerlinerinPoet said...

Yes, I think a lot of prayer is called for. A long time back I posted on my google buzz (of all places) a piece about the church of England from either The Gospel Coalition or Albert Mohler's blog. Regardless, it was talking about how the Church of England was just....dying. I think that says a lot about where a country is headed. So sad. I hope the believers in England remain strong in the Lord.

Roberto said...

But as Adam Smith said to Dr Johnson: There is a deal of ruin in a nation. Don't write us off just yet