Saturday, June 30, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
What to do about this jolly mess? Me, I'm in favor of closing down about 75% of universities. James Murray is ready, it seems, to jettison the whole system as being beyond repair. He explains HERE.
|Cartoon from BALOO'S WEBSITE|
And now John Derbyshire has put his two cents in, with some insights about both the misinterpretation of, and resistance to, evolution and Darwinism HERE.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
|Trayvon cries out for equality.|
Anyhow, a lot of us feel betrayed, when the betrayal was part of the plan from day one. As soon as everybody accepted the notion that Government force to impose "equality" was valid, with Eisenhower's invasion of Little Rock, all bets were off, and now we've gotten to the point where "Civil Rights" and "equality" means that Whitey has a duty to hold still while Trayvon beats his brains out against the pavement. Anything else would be racist.
Now, a lot of Whites were uneasy about all this equality stuff from the beginning, but went along with it and hoped for the best. And a good percentage of the White votes Obama got were from just such wishful-thinking types. That didn't pan out either. The idea was that Blacks would behave better if we elected Obama. Ha.
One of the Whites who feels betrayed, unless he's just pretending to in order to be both illuminating and funny, is Fred Reed, who chronicles the apparent change in the civil rights theory from color-blindness to special freebies and goodies for Blacks at Whitey's expense. It's well worth reading and quoting. It's HERE.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
But one thing that's indisputable is that a large number of Japanese soldiers hid out here and there in the islands during WW II, and continued to hide for decades after the war was over, because they'd been ordered not to surrender. This isn't a myth. There were lots of them. The question is why. This didn't happen with other countries after the war. Partly, maybe, it was the terrain. There are lots of islands, thinly settled, where you can hide out for year. But there has to be more to it than that, and, as I say, I'm no expert. But Greg Cochran is an expert on lots of things, and he discusses this odd Japanese behavior and also asks why, and you can read it HERE. And do read the comments. It's amazing how much a group of obviously intelligent people can disagree.
It's kind of interesting to realize that, no matter what kind of Hell on Earth South Africa has become, there are still White liberals living there. Just goes to show you that some people can resist reality under the worst of circumstances. In order to understand what makes a White South African liberal tick, read THIS INTERVIEW with Kannemeyer.
But none of that is the point. Did you know that Tim Burton was somehow channeling Leni Riefenstahl? While she was still alive? And that Batman Returns is actually all about Aryan Fledermäuse vs. Jewish pinguine? Pretty Wagnerian, eh? Andrew Hamilton explains how all this can possibly be true HERE.
Monday, June 25, 2012
'Racist professor' under pressure to resign
Martin Sewell is the latest academic to find himself tagged with a racist label and invitation to resign.
Sewell is a student adviser at Cambridge University and works with the institution's Faculty of Economics.
Among his politically incorrect blunders are assertions that blacks are bit duller than their white counterparts, women are damaged by feminism, and the notion that there are credible components to the concept of eugenics.
Sewell's sentiments don't set well with the university's student union. They want him to hit the road. Cambridge, after all, is a multicultural masterpiece in spite of its dearth of black students.
Fewer than 100 black students were enrolled at both Cambridge and Oxford at the 2010-11 school year onset. More precisely, 16 blacks enrolled in Cambridge (out of 2,624). That's a 36 percent drop from the previous year when 25 new blacks darkened the doors of the ivy-covered British school [source].
Sewell seems to think that blacks have lower IQs than whites -- and that may explain the extremely low black representation among new students.
Then, again, maybe Cambridge is a racist institution and should turn in its credentials.
Read more here:
Martin Sewell on race
Martin Sewell on feminism
Martin Sewell on eugenics
by A.X. Perez
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
President Obama has invoked executive privilege to support his buddy Eric Holder's refusal to turn over documents regarding Fast and Furious to the House Oversight Committee. He is now fully in the controversy and is supporting the Department of Justice in its cover up (AG Holder isn't the only one involved) of its behavior in Operation Fast And Furious. If you google "obama fast and furious documents june 20 2012" you will get an eye full. Even the mainstream press will not be able to walk away from this.
Regardless of my opinion of President Obama's policies I have always realized that there was a veil of plausible deniability between him and Operation Fast and Furious, I felt constrained to act as if though he was a boss deliberately and carefully hoodwinked by his subordinates. However, even if this is true, the President has forfeited this consideration, as he has chosen to support his subordinates rather than "bust" them for this betrayal of public confidence. By me, the blood of every honest Mexican cop (both of them), every American law enforcement officer (three of them to date, and no sarcasm this time), every innocent bystander, every victim of extortion, every bent Mexican cop who was actually doing his job at the time, every American killed while visiting family in Mexico, killed n the struggle to control the drug trade through Juarez during the time OFF was running is on Pres. Obama's hands. The President is liable in my eye for every person who will be murdered with the weapons until they are all gathered up, possibly long after anyone involved in the Scandal has died of old age.
By me President Obama has demonstrated a willingness to make covert war on a nation that is at peace with the US and is in fact its ally by illegally arming gangs of known criminals to undermine it's power and moral claim on its citizens loyalty (no sarcastic comments please about no nation state deserving loyalty). Furthermore he is doing so as a pretext to undermine the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution as part of his general assault on the Bill of Rights.
The Republican Party other parties have been handed an issue to nail President Obama's hide to the wall on Election Day. certainly many Democratic Candidates for Congress are going down if Operation Fast and Furious and its cover up are made an issue. There are those who are advising the Republicans not to do so. In other cases, it is possible that the Media will continue to support President Obama by covering up this affair.
This is not a time to keep quiet, not if you are seeking political office, not if you are a person that is trying to promote a free government, not if you believe that the right kind of fascism properly administered is the hope of mankind. You would be a fool to walk away from such a clean shot at your foe. If you love freedom and don't holler about this you are submitting to its destruction. And how arming bloodthirsty criminals who offer human sacrifice to gain supernatural aid in their criminal endeavors is anything properly administered is beyond my ken.
President Obama recently acted to support the rights of latino illegal immigrants to become legal. He did this to gain the support of the Mexican American voters in the 2012 election. He could have done as well punishing the folk who had such a large hand in murdering our (I'm loyal to the US and anglicized, but I will never deny my race) cousins. If the Libertarians, Republicans, and others opposing his reelection throw this in his face they may gain a few votes. at least they'll be telling the truth, something refreshing in Presidential politics.
Was that worth reading?
Then why not:
Pay A.X. Perez
RamZpaul responds to it thus:
(His original post is HERE.)
And he has more to say on the subject, with special reference to the different meanings face-painting can have, HERE.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Anyhow, the Brits are no less self-destructive than we are, and their intellectuals delight, as do ours, in smearing their most admirable historical figures. This is very easy to do, because, of course, autre temps, autre moeurs, and it's like shooting fish in a barrel to point out that Jefferson was a bum because he owned slaves and Da Vinci ate with his elbows on the table and Moses was patriarchal. One of these preening pissants has done such a job on Elizabeth I, and over at the Libertarian Alliance Blog, they've done a job on him. I recommend you go to the original hit piece and then read the reply. You can read the original, with comments, HERE. I reprint it here:
That’s you told, Allan Massie, Whingeing Scotch Anglophobe!
The gratuitous denigration of things English – the reign of Elizabeth I
by Robert Henderson
Allan Massie, a Scot be it noted, decided to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II with a deprecating piece on her great predecessor and namesake, Elizabeth I designed to pour cold water on the idea that hers was a glorious reign. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9307110/Lets-not-overlook-the-gory-details-of-Gloriana.html). He complains of the general treatment of Catholics, the use of torture on Catholic priests and those who harboured them, nudges the reader to consider the likes of Francis Drake to be hovering on or going over edge of piracy and in best liberal bigot fashion invokes the ultimate condemnation of English adventurers of the time by dwelling on Sir John Hawkins’ involvement in the slave trade. In addition, Massie belittles the defeat of the Amada and Elizabethan military exploits on the continent, bemoans English involvement in Ireland and stands aghast as he considers the Earl of Essex’s execution of one in ten of his army after they failed to press hard enough in battle. As for the great intellectual glory of the reign, the sudden flowering of literature symbolised by Shakespeare, this is dismissed of being only a tailpiece to the Elizabethan age.
Massie, a professional historian so he has no excuse, has committed the cardinal sin of historians by projecting the moral values and customs of his own time into the past. For a meaningful judgement Elizabeth’s reign has to be judged against the general behaviour of European powers of the time and that comparison , ironically, shows Gloriana’s England’s to be considerably nearer to what Massie would doubtless consider civilised values than any other state in Europe.
There were no terrible wars of religion as there were in France ; no Inquisition as there was in Spain.; no burning of those deemed heretics as there was under Mary Tudor. Torture was used in Elizabeth’s England, and in the reigns which immediately followed, but sparingly and only for cases which had national importance, normally involving treason, such as those involved in the Gunpowder Plot which took place only two years after Elizabeth’s death . On the continent it was a commonplace of judicial process. English
law, by the standards of the time, was generally remarkably fair, not least because of the widespread use of juries. Those who gasp with horror at Essex’s execution of his troops should bear in mind that in the First World War several hundred British soldiers were shot for behaviour such as desertion and failing to go forward when ordered over the top.
In Elizabeth’s reign the first national legislation anywhere in the world to provide help to the needy was passed, a legislative series which began in 1563 and culminated in the Poor Law of 1601. This legislation put a duty on every parish to levy money to support the poor and made it a requirement to provide work for those needing to call on the subsistence provided by the Poor Law. Educational opportunities, whilst far from universal, increased substantially. Despite , by pre-industrial standards, very high inflation and the inevitable bad harvests, which included a series of poor years in the late 1590s, the population grew substantially, possibly by as much as a third from 3 to 4 million (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/poverty_01.shtml). London expanded to be the largest city in Europe by the end of the Elizabeth’s reign with an estimated population of 200,000 by 1600 (http://www.londononline.co.uk/factfile/historical/ ).
It was also in Elizabeth’s reign that Parliament began to take on aspects of modernity as opposition to Royal practices and policies were made unambiguously not on the sole ground that the monarch was ill-advised, the traditional ground of complaint, but simply because of what we would now call ideological differences between the growing Puritan group and the still newly minted Anglicanism. This laid the foundations for the evolution of Parliament from being little more than a petitioning and tax raising assembly to what eventually became parliamentary government with the monarch at the will of Parliament not Parliament at the will of the monarch, an evolution which was to take several centuries more to be complete. That Parliament was already seen as being central to the process of government by the end of Elizabeth’s reign is shown by the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. That the conspirators thought that blowing up Parliament was a necessary act or even just the most effective way of reducing England to a state of headless rule and control speaks volumes.
The importance of the English Parliament under Elizabeth cannot be overstated because it is from the English Parliament that all modern assemblies take their inspiration. There were many mediaeval assemblies in Europe, but by the end of the 16th Century most of them had been rendered obsolete through disuse and the few meaningful assemblies which remained had not moved nor ever did move to Parliamentary government. It was only in the English Parliament that the step to placing executive power within Parliament and away from the monarch occurred. Had the English Parliament been suppressed by, for example, the conquest of England by Phillip II or the early Stuarts’ adherence to the doctrine of the Divine Right of kings, it is difficult to see how representative government could have arisen because the seventeenth century was the century of absolute monarchs, or as near absolute as it was possible to get. These were rulers who were utterly opposed to the idea of sharing power. Consequently, if England had not made the jump to representative government it is most improbable any other country would have done so. Monarchies would have probably been overthrown in time, but they would have been almost certainly replaced by dictatorships not elected governments.
Elizabeth’s reign was also a time of great artistic and considerable intellectual achievement. The development of the theatre and poetry may have come in the last 12 years or so of her time, but their legacy was seen in the 35 years running up to the Civil War. Music, particularly in the form of the madrigal, flourished. William Gilbert examined magnetism in a manner which was essentially scientific. Francis Bacon spent most of his life as an Elizabethan having been born in 1561.
Catholics were rightly seen to be a fifth column. Most English Catholics did not actively seek to commit treason, but they had varying degrees of sympathy with those who did, whether it was the hiding of priests or a secret wish to see a foreign Catholic monarch on the throne. Not only that, but all English Catholics had by definition an allegiance to a foreign power (the papacy) which was hostile to England under a Protestant monarch. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign popes funded and generally encouraged, both morally and materially, Catholics in England to subvert the laws against Roman Catholicism and for much of the reign the papacy was actively working for her overthrow. No pope was more enthusiastic in this behaviour than Pius V who in 1570 published the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis which declared Elizabeth I a heretic and a false Queen and released Elizabeth’s subjects from their allegiance to her.
Those who plotted to reintroduce Catholicism to England were unambiguous traitors. They did not simply seek to overthrow the existing monarch, but to entice a foreign Catholic king to invade and seize the throne with the primary purpose, in their eyes, of enforcing the return of Catholicism.
Elizabeth’s reign took place in the context of a world in which England had to guard against many enemies from the counter-revolutionary forces on the continent to the threat of Scotland attacking England when she was distracted by continental matters or still Catholic Ireland being used as a sidedoor for the invasion of England by continental powers . The most forbidding threat came from Spain, the greatest power in Europe at the time. Phillip II’s marriage to Mary I gave Phillip a permanent interest in England
– he tried to marry Elizabeth and considered a plan to use his departure from England for Spain in 1559 following Mary’s death as cover to land troops as he said down the Channel (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/adams_armada_01.shtml )- and , quite reasonably, placed in English minds the idea
of a constant threat of Spanish invasion of England and its enforced reconversion to Catholicism – in 1584 Philip II of Spain signed the Treaty of Joinville with the French Catholic League, with the aim of eradicating Protestantism. Attacks on Spanish treasure ships can reasonably be seen not as simple piracy but as acts of war engendered by the Spanish threat. In addition, the claim of Spanish and Portuguese ownership of the New World was really no more than a self-arrogated exclusion zone created by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 and the English attacks on Spanish ships and New World settlements were in response to this exclusion. (It is important to understand that the scramble for overseas colonies by European powers was driven as much by the fear that monarchies such as Spain and France would become too powerful in relation to the monarchies which did not have colonies as by a desire to simply conquer new territory or personal gain).
Massie’s dismissal of the defeat of the Armada as a victory for the elements rather than the Elizabethan navy is distinctly odd. He overlooks the fact that before the Spanish were sunk by the weather the English navy had prevented the Spanish from clearing the Channel of English warships in readiness for the embarkation of the Spanish invasion troops who were waiting at Dunkirk. Massie also makes no mention of the raid on Cadiz by Drake which probably delayed the Armada for a year giving the English time to prepare against the intended invasion.
As for English military continental adventures, there were failures, but the most important contributions of England to the battle between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation was her financing of Protestant powers on the continent, most notably the United Provinces, and the very fact of England remaining unconquered, the latter being of immense importance because the Protestant states on the continent were weak and fragmented and England was by far the most important Protestant power of the time. If England had fallen to Spain, it is doubtful whether Protestantism could have survived, if it had survived at all, as more than a family of persecuted sects.
The casting of John Hawkins as beyond the Pale because he was a slave trader clankingly misunderstands the mentality of the age. Forms of legal unfreedom, ranging from full blown chattel slavery to indentured labour (which could be for years particularly in the case of apprenticeships), were common throughout Europe. Moreover, the poor who were not formally legally restrained in their freedom were under severe economic restraints to do what they were told and take what work they could get. Slavery was not seen as an unmitigated , unforgivable evil. It is also worth bearing in mind that although serfdom was never formally abolished in England, by Elizabethan times it had practically vanished through a process of conversion of the land worked for themselves by serfs to land held by copyhold tenancies. The reverse took place in central and Eastern Europe where feudal burdens became more stringent and widespread in the sixteenth century and
even France retained serfdom in some places, most notably, Burgundy and Franche-Comté, until the Revolution in 1789 and seigneurial privileges which required freemen holding land of the seigneur to have a relationship which in practice was not so different from that of the serf.
The great triumph of Elizabeth’s reign was that both she and Protestantism survived. This meant that England was never again in thrall to a foreign power until Edward Heath and his fellow conspirators signed away Britain’s sovereignty by accepting the Treaty of Rome in 1972 and entangling Britain within the coils of what is now the EU. It was not that Protestantism was in itself superior to Catholicism, rather that in embracing Protestantism the question of divided loyalties between monarch and papacy was removed.
It is true that the idea of Gloriana was propaganda both during the reign itself and in the Victorian period most notably in the hands of the historian J A Froude painted too sunlit a picture. But the reign was of immense importance in creating the England that became writ so large on the history of the next four centuries. If it had not been Elizabeth who came to the throne in 1558 the odds are that Phillip II would have conquered England. Had she not reigned for so long Protestantism would not have become the irrevocable religion of England. If she had not called Parliament regularly it would not have laid the ground for eventual Parliamentary government and any other monarch would almost certainly have emasculated the Commons. The existence of behaviour which offends Mr Massie’s twenty-first liberal bigot sensitivities is irrelevant.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Colin Flaherty has this to say about it all:
Black mob violence has taken on a new note in Portland, Ore. It’s not the unsuspecting passersby or the corner convenience store that’s the target here.
Just weeks ago, a group of 10-15 hoodie-wearing blacks allegedly stole clothing and raced out of the store. Their actions were captured on video.
So far, the evidence makes it looks like just one more of the hundreds of episodes of racial lawlessness that have taken place in more than 60 cities over the last three years.
But on a local forum, the reaction gave the situation a truly unique flavor: (Read the rest HERE.)
But I'm hardly the one to explain such things, so I specialize in calling your attention to people who are really good at explaining, and for neoconservatism, you can't do better than Paul Gottfried, who has written Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, about the whole ball of wax. Nobody better than Gottfried to write such a book, and nobody better than Pat Buchanan to review it. He does so HERE.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
This is neither here nor there, but long ago, when Nixon ruled, and I was in the Army, I had an Urdu teacher from Pakistan at the Defense Language Institute who looked just like Princess Jasmine, there. I don't know what became of her, but I wish her well. This illustration is part of a project by Jirka Väätäinen, and you can see more of the same HERE.
|Cartoon from BALOO'S WEBSITE|
If you can't fit it onto a bumper sticker, it's not worth saying. Not really, but bumper stickers are a good way to spread wisdom throughout the land. Here's one that Baloo just designed. You can buy it HERE AT ZAZZLE. Use the Reddit button above to tell your bumper sticker-loving friends about this.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
|The Tolmachevy Sisters sing Katyusha.|
I've done a little more thinking about this, especially with regard to the news story that "Asians" are now the biggest percentage of incoming immigrants. I suppose they're including non-mongoloids from India and the Middle East, but never mind. The fact is that we're now getting quite a few Eastasian immigrants, basically the Chinese-Japanese-Korean group. Paradoxically, I'd prefer that such immigrants intermarry with Whites, rather than create enclaves of little Asias that contribute to our Balkanization. But I don't want a lot of intermarriage, either, for obvious reasons. So the conclusion is that we're getting too many Asian immigrants, no matter how they assimilate and to what degree.
Well, one of the 'race purists' Derbyshire was referring to is Jared Taylor. He replies this way:
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Rudyard Kipling said a lot of wise things. Here's a whole poem-full:
And, from THIS WEBSITE, here's what George Orwell had to say about Kipling:
An essay by George Orwell about the works of his colleague Kipling, first published February 1942.
It was a pity that Mr. Eliot should be so much on the defensive in the long essay with which he prefaces this selection of Kipling’s poetry 1, but it was not to be avoided, because before one can even speak about Kipling one has to clear away a legend that has been created by two sets of people who have not read his works. Kipling is in the peculiar position of having been a byword for fifty years. During five literary generations every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there. Mr. Eliot never satisfactorily explains this fact, because in answering the shallow and familiar charge that Kipling is a ‘Fascist’, he falls into the opposite error of defending him where he is not defensible. It is no use pretending that Kipling’s view of life, as a whole, can be accepted or even forgiven by any civilized person. It is no use claiming, for instance, that when Kipling describes a British soldier beating a ‘nigger’ with a cleaning rod in order to get money out of him, he is acting merely as a reporter and does not necessarily approve what he describes. There is not the slightest sign anywhere in Kipling’s work that he disapproves of that kind of conduct—on the contrary, there is a definite strain of sadism in him, over and above the brutality which a writer of that type has to have. Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting. It is better to start by admitting that, and then to try to find out why it is that he survives while the refined people who have sniggered at him seem to wear so badly.
And yet the ‘Fascist’ charge has to be answered, because the first clue to any understanding of Kipling, morally or politically, is the fact that he was not a Fascist. He was further from being one than the most humane or the most ‘progressive’ person is able to be nowadays. An interesting instance of the way in which quotations are parroted to and fro without any attempt to look up their context or discover their meaning is the line from ‘Recessional’, ‘Lesser breeds without the Law’. This line is always good for a snigger in pansy-left circles. It is assumed as a matter of course that the ‘lesser breeds’ are ‘natives’, and a mental picture is called up of some pukka sahib in a pith helmet kicking a coolie. In its context the sense of the line is almost the exact opposite of this. The phrase ‘lesser breeds’ refers almost certainly to the Germans, and especially the pan-German writers, who are ‘without the Law’ in the sense of being lawless, not in the sense of being powerless. The whole poem, conventionally thought of as an orgy of boasting, is a denunciation of power politics, British as well as German. Two stanzas are worth quoting (I am quoting this as politics, not as poetry):
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law –
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word –
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Much of Kipling’s phraseology is taken from the Bible, and no doubt in the second stanza he had in mind the text from Psalm CXXVII: ‘Except the lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’ It is not a text that makes much impression on the post-Hitler mind. No one, in our time, believes in any sanction greater than military power; no one believes that it is possible to overcome force except by greater force. There is no ‘Law’, there is only power. I am not saying that that is a true belief, merely that it is the belief which all modern men do actually hold. Those who pretend otherwise are either intellectual cowards, or power-worshippers under a thin disguise, or have simply not caught up with the age they are living in. Kipling’s outlook is prefascist. He still believes that pride comes before a fall and that the gods punishhubris. He does not foresee the tank, the bombing plane, the radio and the secret police, or their psychological results.
But in saying this, does not one unsay what I said above about Kipling’s jingoism and brutality? No, one is merely saying that the nineteenth-century imperialist outlook and the modern gangster outlook are two different things. Kipling belongs very definitely to the period 1885-1902. The Great War and its aftermath embittered him, but he shows little sign of having learned anything from any event later than the Boer War. He was the prophet of British Imperialism in its expansionist phase (even more than his poems, his solitary novel, The Light that Failed, gives you the atmosphere of that time) and also the unofficial historian of the British Army, the old mercenary army which began to change its shape in 1914. All his confidence, his bouncing vulgar vitality, sprang out of limitations which no Fascist or near-Fascist shares.
Kipling spent the later part of his life in sulking, and no doubt it was political disappointment rather than literary vanity that account for this. Somehow history had not gone according to plan. After the greatest victory she had ever known, Britain was a lesser world power than before, and Kipling was quite acute enough to see this. The virtue had gone out of the classes he idealized, the young were hedonistic or disaffected, the desire to paint the map red had evaporated. He could not understand what was happening, because he had never had any grasp of the economic forces underlying imperial expansion. It is notable that Kipling does not seem to realize, any more than the average soldier or colonial administrator, that an empire is primarily a money-making concern. Imperialism as he sees it is a sort of forcible evangelizing. You turn a Gatling gun on a mob of unarmed ‘natives’, and then you establish ‘the Law’, which includes roads, railways and a court-house. He could not foresee, therefore, that the same motives which brought the Empire into existence would end by destroying it. It was the same motive, for example, that caused the Malayan jungles to be cleared for rubber estates, and which now causes those estates to be handed over intact to the Japanese. The modern totalitarians know what they are doing, and the nineteenth-century English did not know what they were doing. Both attitudes have their advantages, but Kipling was never able to move forward from one into the other. His outlook, allowing for the fact that after all he was an artist, was that of the salaried bureaucrat who despises the ‘box-wallah’ and often lives a lifetime without realizing that the ‘box-wallah’ calls the tune.
But because he identifies himself with the official class, he does possess one thing which ‘enlightened’ people seldom or never possess, and that is a sense of responsibility. The middle-class Left hate him for this quite as much as for his cruelty and vulgarity. All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy. They have internationalist aims, and at the same time they struggle to keep up a standard of life with which those aims are incompatible. We all live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are ‘enlightened’ all maintain that those coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our ‘enlightenment’, demands that the robbery shall continue. A humanitarian is always a hypocrite, and Kipling’s understanding of this is perhaps the central secret of his power to create telling phrases. It would be difficult to hit off the one-eyed pacifism of the English in fewer words than in the phrase, ‘making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep’. It is true that Kipling does not understand the economic aspect of the relationship between the highbrow and the blimp. He does not see that the map is painted red chiefly in order that the coolie may be exploited. Instead of the coolie he sees the Indian Civil Servant; but even on that plane his grasp of function, of who protects whom, is very sound. He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.
How far does Kipling really identify himself with the administrators, soldiers and engineers whose praises he sings? Not so completely as is sometimes assumed. He had travelled very widely while he was still a young man, he had grown up with a brilliant mind in mainly philistine surroundings, and some streak in him that may have been partly neurotic led him to prefer the active man to the sensitive man. The nineteenth-century Anglo-Indians, to name the least sympathetic of his idols, were at any rate people who did things. It may be that all that they did was evil, but they changed the face of the earth (it is instructive to look at a map of Asia and compare the railway system of India with that of the surrounding countries), whereas they could have achieved nothing, could not have maintained themselves in power for a single week, if the normal Anglo-Indian outlook had been that of, say, E.M. Forster. Tawdry and shallow though it is, Kipling’s is the only literary picture that we possess of nineteenth-century Anglo-India, and he could only make it because he was just coarse enough to be able to exist and keep his mouth shut in clubs and regimental messes. But he did not greatly resemble the people he admired. I know from several private sources that many of the Anglo-Indians who were Kipling’s contemporaries did not like or approve of him. They said, no doubt truly, that he knew nothing about India, and on the other hand, he was from their point of view too much of a highbrow. While in India he tended to mix with ‘the wrong’ people, and because of his dark complexion he was wrongly suspected of having a streak of Asiatic blood. Much in his development is traceable to his having been born in India and having left school early. With a slightly different background he might have been a good novelist or a superlative writer of music-hall songs. But how true is it that he was a vulgar flagwaver, a sort of publicity agent for Cecil Rhodes? It is true, but it is not true that he was a yes-man or a time-server. After his early days, if then, he never courted public opinion. Mr. Eliot says that what is held against him is that he expressed unpopular views in a popular style. This narrows the issue by assuming that ‘unpopular’ means unpopular with the intelligentsia, but it is a fact that Kipling’s ‘message’ was one that the big public did not want, and, indeed, has never accepted. The mass of the people, in the nineties as now, were anti-militarist, bored by the Empire, and only unconsciously patriotic. Kipling’s official admirers are and were the ‘service’ middle class, the people who read Blackwood’s. In the stupid early years of this century, the blimps, having at last discovered someone who could be called a poet and who was on their side, set Kipling on a pedestal, and some of his more sententious poems, such as ‘If’, were given almost biblical status. But it is doubtful whether the blimps have ever read him with attention, any more than they have read the Bible. Much of what he says they could not possibly approve. Few people who have criticized England from the inside have said bitterer things about her than this gutter patriot. As a rule it is the British working class that he is attacking, but not always. That phrase about ‘the flannelled fools at the wicket and the muddied oafs at the goal’ sticks like an arrow to this day, and it is aimed at the Eton and Harrow match as well as the Cup-Tie Final. Some of the verses he wrote about the Boer War have a curiously modern ring, so far as their subject-matter goes. ‘Stellenbosch’, which must have been written about 1902, sums up what every intelligent infantry officer was saying in 1918, or is saying now, for that matter.
Kipling’s romantic ideas about England and the Empire might not have mattered if he could have held them without having the class-prejudices which at that time went with them. If one examines his best and most representative work, his soldier poems, especially Barrack-Room Ballads, one notices that what more than anything else spoils them is an underlying air of patronage. Kipling idealizes the army officer, especially the junior officer, and that to an idiotic extent, but the private soldier, though lovable and romantic, has to be a comic. He is always made to speak in a sort of stylized Cockney, not very broad but with all the aitches and final ‘g’s’ carefully omitted. Very often the result is as embarrassing as the humorous recitation at a church social. And this accounts for the curious fact that one can often improve Kipling’s poems, make them less facetious and less blatant, by simply going through them and transplanting them from Cockney into standard speech. This is especially true of his refrains, which often have a truly lyrical quality. Two examples will do (one is about a funeral and the other about a wedding):
So it’s knock out your pipes and follow me! (*)
And it’s finish up your swipes and follow me!
Oh, hark to the big drum calling,
Follow me – follow me home!
Cheer for the Sergeant’s wedding –
Give them one cheer more!
Grey gun-horses in the lando,
And a rogue is married to a whore!
Here I have restored the aitches, etc. Kipling ought to have known better. He ought to have seen that the two closing lines of the first of these stanzas are very beautiful lines, and that ought to have overriden his impulse to make fun of a working-man’s accent. In the ancient ballads the lord and the peasant speak the same language. This is impossible to Kipling, who is looking down a distorting class-perspective, and by a piece of poetic justice one of his best lines is spoiled—for ‘follow me ’ome’ is much uglier than ‘follow me home’. But even where it makes no difference musically the facetiousness of his stage Cockney dialect is irritating. However, he is more often quoted aloud than read on the printed page, and most people instinctively make the necessary alterations when they quote him.
Can one imagine any private soldier, in the nineties or now, reading Barrack-Room Ballads and feeling that here was a writer who spoke for him? It is very hard to do so. Any soldier capable of reading a book of verse would notice at once that Kipling is almost unconscious of the class war that goes on in an army as much as elsewhere. It is not only that he thinks the soldier comic, but that he thinks him patriotic, feudal, a ready admirer of his officers and proud to be a soldier of the Queen. Of course that is partly true, or battles could not be fought, but ‘What have I done for thee, England, my England?’ is essentially a middle-class query. Almost any working man would follow it up immediately with ‘What has England done for me?’ In so far as Kipling grasps this, he simply sets it down to ‘the intense selfishness of the lower classes’ (his own phrase). When he is writing not of British but of ‘loyal’ Indians he carries the ‘Salaam, sahib’ motif to sometimes disgusting lengths. Yet it remains true that he has far more interest in the common soldier, far more anxiety that he shall get a fair deal, than most of the ‘liberals’ of his day or our own. He sees that the soldier is neglected, meanly underpaid and hypocritically despised by the people whose incomes he safeguards. ‘I came to realize’, he says in his posthumous memoirs, ‘the bare horrors of the private’s life, and the unnecessary torments he endured’. He is accused of glorifying war, and perhaps he does so, but not in the usual manner, by pretending that war is a sort of football match. Like most people capable of writing battle poetry, Kipling had never been in battle, but his vision of war is realistic. He knows that bullets hurt, that under fire everyone is terrified, that the ordinary soldier never knows what the war is about or what is happening except in his own corner of the battlefield, and that British troops, like other troops, frequently run away:
I ’eard the knives be’ind me, but I dursn’t face my man, (*)
Nor I don’t know where I went to, ’cause I didn’t stop to see,
Till I ’eard a beggar squealin’ out for quarter as ’e ran,
An’ I thought I knew the voice an’ – it was me!
Modernize the style of this, and it might have come out of one of the debunking war books of the nineteen-twenties. Or again:
An’ now the hugly bullets come peckin’ through the dust,
An’ no one wants to face ’em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons, which isn’t glad to go,
They moves ’em off by companies uncommon stiff an’ slow.
Compare this with:
Forward the Light Brigade!
Was there a man dismayed?
No! though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
If anything, Kipling overdoes the horrors, for the wars of his youth were hardly wars at all by our standards. Perhaps that is due to the neurotic strain in him, the hunger for cruelty. But at least he knows that men ordered to attack impossible objectives aredismayed, and also that fourpence a day is not a generous pension.
How complete or truthful a picture has Kipling left us of the long-service, mercenary army of the late nineteenth century? One must say of this, as of what Kipling wrote about nineteenth-century Anglo-India, that it is not only the best but almost the only literary picture we have. He has put on record an immense amount of stuff that one could otherwise only gather from verbal tradition or from unreadable regimental histories. Perhaps his picture of army life seems fuller and more accurate than it is because any middle-class English person is likely to know enough to fill up the gaps. At any rate, reading the essay on Kipling that Mr. Edmund Wilson has just published or is just about to publish 2, I was struck by the number of things that are boringly familiar to us and seem to be barely intelligible to an American. But from the body of Kipling’s early work there does seem to emerge a vivid and not seriously misleading picture of the old pre-machine-gun army—the sweltering barracks in Gibraltar or Lucknow, the red coats, the pipeclayed belts and the pillbox hats, the beer, the fights, the floggings, hangings and crucifixions, the bugle-calls, the smell of oats and horsepiss, the bellowing sergeants with foot-long moustaches, the bloody skirmishes, invariably mismanaged, the crowded troopships, the cholera-stricken camps, the ‘native’ concubines, the ultimate death in the workhouse. It is a crude, vulgar picture, in which a patriotic music-hall turn seems to have got mixed up with one of Zola’s gorier passages, but from it future generations will be able to gather some idea of what a long-term volunteer army was like. On about the same level they will be able to learn something of British India in the days when motor-cars and refrigerators were unheard of. It is an error to imagine that we might have had better books on these subjects if, for example, George Moore, or Gissing, or Thomas Hardy, had had Kipling’s opportunities. That is the kind of accident that cannot happen. It was not possible that nineteenth-century England should produce a book like War and Peace, or like Tolstoy’s minor stories of army life, such as Sebastopol or The Cossacks, not because the talent was necessarily lacking but because no one with sufficient sensitiveness to write such books would ever have made the appropriate contacts. Tolstoy lived in a great military empire in which it seemed natural for almost any young man of family to spend a few years in the army, whereas the British Empire was and still is demilitarized to a degree which continental observers find almost incredible. Civilized men do not readily move away from the centres of civilization, and in most languages there is a great dearth of what one might call colonial literature. It took a very improbable combination of circumstances to produce Kipling’s gaudy tableau, in which Private Ortheris and Mrs. Hauksbee pose against a background of palm trees to the sound of temple bells, and one necessary circumstance was that Kipling himself was only half civilized.
Kipling is the only English writer of our time who has added phrases to the language. The phrases and neologisms which we take over and use without remembering their origin do not always come from writers we admire. It is strange, for instance, to hear the Nazi broadcasters referring to the Russian soldiers as ‘robots’, thus unconsciously borrowing a word from a Czech democrat whom they would have killed if they could have laid hands on him. Here are half a dozen phrases coined by Kipling which one sees quoted in leaderettes in the gutter press or overhears in saloon bars from people who have barely heard his name. It will be seen that they all have a certain characteristic in common:
East is East, and West is West. (*)
The white man’s burden. (*)
What do they know of England who only England know?
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Somewhere East of Suez.
Paying the Dane-geld.
There are various others, including some that have outlived their context by many years. The phrase ‘killing Kruger with your mouth’, for instance, was current till very recently. It is also possible that it was Kipling who first let loose the use of the word ‘Huns’ for Germans; at any rate he began using it as soon as the guns opened fire in 1914. But what the phrases I have listed above have in common is that they are all of them phrases which one utters semi-derisively (as it might be ‘For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May’), but which one is bound to make use of sooner or later. Nothing could exceed the contempt of the New Statesman, for instance, for Kipling, but how many times during the Munich period did the New Statesmanfind itself quoting that phrase about paying the Dane-geld 3? The fact is that Kipling, apart from his snack-bar wisdom and his gift for packing much cheap picturesqueness into a few words (’palm and pine’—‘east of Suez’—‘the road to Mandalay’), is generally talking about things that are of urgent interest. It does not matter, from this point of view, that thinking and decent people generally find themselves on the other side of the fence from him. ‘White man’s burden’ instantly conjures up a real problem, even if one feels that it ought to be altered to ‘black man’s burden’. One may disagree to the middle of one’s bones with the political attitude implied in ‘The Islanders’, but one cannot say that it is a frivolous attitude. Kipling deals in thoughts which are both vulgar and permanent. This raises the question of his special status as a poet, or verse-writer.
Mr. Eliot describes Kipling’s metrical work as ‘verse’ and not ‘poetry’, but adds that it is ‘great verse’, and further qualifies this by saying that a writer can only be described as a ‘great verse-writer’ if there is some of his work ‘of which we cannot say whether it is verse or poetry’. Apparently Kipling was a versifier who occasionally wrote poems, in which case it was a pity that Mr. Eliot did not specify these poems by name. The trouble is that whenever an aesthetic judgement on Kipling’s work seems to be called for, Mr. Eliot is too much on the defensive to be able to speak plainly. What he does not say, and what I think one ought to start by saying in any discussion of Kipling, is that most of Kipling’s verse is so horribly vulgar that it gives one the same sensation as one gets from watching a third-rate music-hall performer recite ‘The Pigtail of Wu Fang Fu’ with the purple limelight on his face, and yet there is much of it that is capable of giving pleasure to people who know what poetry means. At his worst, and also his most vital, in poems like ‘Gunga Din’ or ‘Danny Deever’, Kipling is almost a shameful pleasure, like the taste for cheap sweets that some people secretly carry into middle life. But even with his best passages one has the same sense of being seduced by something spurious, and yet unquestionably seduced. Unless one is merely a snob and a liar it is impossible to say that no one who cares for poetry could get any pleasure out of such lines as:
For the wind is in the palm trees, and the temple bells they say, (*)
‘Come you back, you British soldier, come you back to Mandalay!’
and yet those lines are not poetry in the same sense as ‘Felix Randal’ or ‘When icicles hang by the wall’ are poetry. One can, perhaps, place Kipling more satisfactorily than by juggling with the words ‘verse’ and ‘poetry’, if one describes him simply as a good bad poet. He is as a poet what Harriet Beecher Stowe was as a novelist. And the mere existence of work of this kind, which is perceived by generation after generation to be vulgar and yet goes on being read, tells one something about the age we live in.
There is a great deal of good bad poetry in English, all of it, I should say, subsequent to 1790. Examples of good bad poems—I am deliberately choosing diverse ones—are ‘The Bridge of Sighs’, ‘When all the world is young, lad’, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’, Bret Harte’s ‘Dickens in Camp’, ‘The Burial of Sir John Moore’, ‘Jenny Kissed Me’, ‘Keith of Ravelston’, ‘Casabianca’. All of these reek of sentimentality, and yet—not these particular poems, perhaps, but poems of this kind, are capable of giving true pleasure to people who can see clearly what is wrong with them. One could fill a fair-sized anthology with good bad poems, if it were not for the significant fact that good bad poetry is usually too well known to be worth reprinting.
It is no use pretending that in an age like our own, ‘good’ poetry can have any genuine popularity. It is, and must be, the cult of a very few people, the least tolerated of the arts. Perhaps that statement needs a certain amount of qualification. True poetry can sometimes be acceptable to the mass of the people when it disguises itself as something else. One can see an example of this in the folk-poetry that England still possesses, certain nursery rhymes and mnemonic rhymes, for instance, and the songs that soldiers make up, including the words that go to some of the bugle-calls. But in general ours is a civilization in which the very word ‘poetry’ evokes a hostile snigger or, at best, the sort of frozen disgust that most people feel when they hear the word ‘God’. If you are good at playing the concertina you could probably go into the nearest public bar and get yourself an appreciative audience within five minutes. But what would be the attitude of that same audience if you suggested reading them Shakespeare’s sonnets, for instance? Good bad poetry, however, can get across to the most unpromising audiences if the right atmosphere has been worked up beforehand. Some months back Churchill produced a great effect by quoting Clough’s ‘Endeavour’ in one of his broadcast speeches. I listened to this speech among people who could certainly not be accused of caring for poetry, and I am convinced that the lapse into verse impressed them and did not embarrass them. But not even Churchill could have got away with it if he had quoted anything much better than this.
In so far as a writer of verse can be popular, Kipling has been and probably still is popular. In his own lifetime some of his poems travelled far beyond the bounds of the reading public, beyond the world of school prize-days, Boy Scout singsongs, limp-leather editions, pokerwork and calendars, and out into the yet vaster world of the music halls. Nevertheless, Mr. Eliot thinks it worth while to edit him, thus confessing to a taste which others share but are not always honest enough to mention. The fact that such a thing as good bad poetry can exist is a sign of the emotional overlap between the intellectual and the ordinary man. The intellectual is different from the ordinary man, but only in certain sections of his personality, and even then not all the time. But what is the peculiarity of a good bad poem? A good bad poem is a graceful monument to the obvious. It records in memorable form—for verse is a mnemonic device, among other things—some emotion which very nearly every human being can share. The merit of a poem like ‘When all the world is young, lad’ is that, however sentimental it may be, its sentiment is ‘true’ sentiment in the sense that you are bound to find yourself thinking the thought it expresses sooner or later; and then, if you happen to know the poem, it will come back into your mind and seem better than it did before. Such poems are a kind of rhyming proverb, and it is a fact that definitely popular poetry is usually gnomic or sententious. One example from Kipling will do:
White hands cling to the bridle rein,
Slipping the spur from the booted heel;
Tenderest voices cry ‘Turn again!’
Red lips tarnish the scabbarded steel:
Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne,
He travels the fastest who travels alone.
There is a vulgar thought vigorously expressed. It may not be true, but at any rate it is a thought that everyone thinks. Sooner or later you will have occasion to feel that he travels the fastest who travels alone, and there the thought is, ready made and, as it were, waiting for you. So the chances are that, having once heard this line, you will remember it.
One reason for Kipling’s power as a good bad poet I have already suggested—his sense of responsibility, which made it possible for him to have a world-view, even though it happened to be a false one. Although he had no direct connexion with any political party, Kipling was a Conservative, a thing that does not exist nowadays. Those who now call themselves Conservatives are either Liberals, Fascists or the accomplices of Fascists. He identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition. In a gifted writer this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality. The ruling power is always faced with the question, ‘In such and such circumstances, what would you do?’, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions. Where it is a permanent and pensioned opposition, as in England, the quality of its thought deteriorates accordingly. Moreover, anyone who starts out with a pessimistic, reactionary view of life tends to be justified by events, for Utopia never arrives and ‘the gods of the copybook headings’, as Kipling himself put it, always return. Kipling sold out to the British governing class, not financially but emotionally. This warped his political judgement, for the British ruling class were not what he imagined, and it led him into abysses of folly and snobbery, but he gained a corresponding advantage from having at least tried to imagine what action and responsibility are like. It is a great thing in his favour that he is not witty, not ‘daring’, has no wish to épater les bourgeois. He dealt largely in platitudes, and since we live in a world of platitudes, much of what he said sticks. Even his worst follies seem less shallow and less irritating than the ‘enlightened’ utterances of the same period, such as Wilde’s epigrams or the collection of cracker-mottoes at the end of Man and Superman.
|Cartoon by BALOO|