Humanist Europe

I have tried several times on this blog to express political views, and – as would be expected – they were not always well received. I came from a Tory-voting family, but one with moderate and tolerant views. You don’t get owt for nowt we say up north. We are not entitled to anything in life but we have to earn it. It is a simple philosophy of life, one in which we take pride in ourselves and our own achievements. We have the idea in our minds of a craftsman who built up his little business and takes great pride in doing an excellent job for a fair price. The same principle applies to the craftsman as to a teacher or a doctor. So far, great, but then comes the idea of larger and larger businesses and employees not getting a fair wage or safe working conditions. This problem dominated the era of the Industrial Revolution and the nineteenth century, and up to our own times in both manufacturing and services.

As I went through university and seminary, I came across Catholic social teaching from Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI and the attempt to defuse the tensions between international and national socialists in the 1920’s and 30’s. There was an attempt to revive ideals of medieval corporations and workers owning the means of production, and these notions were highly seductive. However, in the traditionalist Roman Catholic milieux in which I found myself, there was always the totalitarian temptation, the restoration of Christendom by taking away man’s freedom by means of military dictators. This would be one interpretation of the notion of Pius XI in Quas primas on Christ the King. I believe that this idea of Christ the King came about to soften and dilute the nefarious influence of ideologies like Fascism and Nazism in which the human person could be totally crushed by the needs of the all-powerful State. From there, certain right-wing Catholics would make of Christ an absolute monarch, and therefore these powers would be conferred on the institutional Church and enforced by a Catholic caudillo like Franco or Pinochet, or any number of two-bit military dictators in South America.

Since I returned to Anglicanism, I reverted to my old sympathies for the world view of Romanticism and German Idealism, of so-called Modernists like George Tyrrell – and a more social-democratic view of social teaching. The events in England since 2016, which I did not take very seriously until last October, have been something of a process of catharsis in me. This change in me coincides also with a notion of Gnosis I encountered in Russian philosophers like Berdyaev and Soloviev when I was at university. My neurological condition of high-functioning autism or Aspergers Syndrome gave me an extreme degree of emotional empathy and the ability to see the hollow and corrupt sociopathy (or its influence) of a large proportion of humanity. From trusting people almost without condition, I found myself in a very cold and hostile world about as supportive of life and freedom as outer space or one of the outer planets of our solar system. What would that do to my faith in God, let alone humanity? It was by will that I refused to believe that most of us could be so horrible, but that many of us can get manipulated by those who are truly corrupt.

I am English and lived in that country until I was twenty-three, the time when I set off for France seeking my own unicorns and the ever-elusive paradise. Aspergers makes aliens of us, travellers and pilgrims who never find our rest – until we come to terms with things and make a compromise. My mother died six years ago, and with her earthly life went the last fragments of my childhood. I see the last illusions of a heavenly destiny of England and the other nations of the UK being sold to rapacious billionaires and returning to a new form of feudalism. We seem to be moving to a time of evil and darkness. In what form? It is impossible to say with any clarity.

At this point, I find myself at one with Thomas Mann and Nikolai Berdyaev as they faced the black heart of Hitler’s empire. The darkness is not in something with an identifiable appearance or some buffoon shouting at the crowds, but a state of mind, a kind of personality in individuals and collectives. This is something I have seen on videos, the callous disregard and indifference of politicians whose job would normally be the common good, the winner take all attitude. What Mann and Berdyaev taught us is that there is a nobility or aristocracy of spirit that comes from the divinity within and man’s transfiguration. In Europe, including my native country which I see as part of Europe, I have seen too many great glories of art, science and philosophy. If men and women like Bach, Göthe, Böhme, Michelangelo, Novalis, Kant, Beethoven, Wollestoncraft, Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman and so many others brought such beauty to our world, then there is a humanity capable of redeeming the rest of us in such need of restoration and rebuilding. Much of this humanism came from the Renaissance, but also from antiquity and pre-Christian spiritual traditions.

Berdyaev had a fairly original view of history, with the idea that we had reached the end of Renaissance humanism, and that modernity would bring us to a new middle-ages via a period of purgation and darkness. We find these ideas in German mysticism, Jakob Böhme in particular, who attempted an original theory to explain evil and the role of freedom. Redemption in Christ is impossible without freedom, but the institutional Church has tried so many times to take it away from us. Light is only light as it contrasts from darkness. Böhme left us with a meaning of darkness, the night and the Ungrund (ground without a ground) of chaos. It is the history of man that provides a source of light. Berdyaev also wrote at length about a new middle ages, certainly the key to understanding Von Herdenberg’s Christenheit oder Europa. His notion of evil to some extent reflects the “shadow” of C.G. Jung, an aspect not to be eliminated but integrated into the good.  Evil is overcome from within by knowledge of the deepest self. St John made plentiful use of the metaphors of light and darkness, day and night. This understanding of the mystery of evil will give us context for the symbols of darkness and the night. They are not merely metaphors of good and evil, but rather reason and mystical union with the God within.

The meaning of night and darkness is vital. As St Paul said “We see through a glass darkly“. Night is a symbol of sleep and death, but also of resurrection, a source of love and the ascetic life. I look out of my window and see the Stygian gloom of night, and I write this article whilst listening to Rachmaninov’s setting of Byzantine Vespers. I feel the Russian spirit acutely, something shared with the German spirit of Novalis, Göthe, Schelling and so many others from that era, with our own William Blake. This is knowledge of the divine spark within. Through the love and hope Christ brings us, man can become creative in art, which becomes a prophetic expression. Only this inspiration can enable Europe to emerge from nihilism. The Ungrund touches one of the most unfathomable mysteries of Christianity. The notion is one of a bottomless abyss, dark and irrational, a basis for the infinite in the finite. It is also a kind of primitive freedom, a blazing fire in the darkness. Freedom is contrary to nature, but nature came from freedom. This freedom is not light or darkness, good or evil, but lies in darkness and yearns for the light. Here we find the root of the Romantic Sehnsucht, this freedom that gives light. This is the context in which we will understand something of Von Hardenberg’s Hymnen an die Nacht (1897 translation of George MacDonald) that paean of darkness and longing for eternity. These poems are an expression of grief for the death of his beloved Sophie, but there is another layer of interpretation and meaning

Berdyaev’s notion of the middle ages is not the historical period we call by that name. It is characterised by asceticism and the struggle against the base nature that enslaves us. However, its mission was far from perfect because it involved dominance and constraint. The humanism of the Renaissance rebelled against the old theocracy and affirmed an optimistic view of man. Humanism affirmed nature and antique paganism. The Reformation sought to restore freedom from ecclesiastical constraint, but not in respect to God. The Enlightenment extolled human reason, but denied mystery and humanity. The French Revolution sought to affirm freedom and human rights, but took them all away under the tyranny of Robespierre. Berdyaev’s view of Romanticism was somewhat limited, seeing it as promoting man’s imaginative and spiritual resources but stopping short of his destiny. He saw our age (early twentieth century) as a new barbarism manifested by Soviet Communism, Nazism and the total war. Man becomes no more than a machine for the use of the rich and powerful. Art is destroyed and culture means something we cannot relate to.

It may be that England’s destiny is penance, a long and hard ascetic night in which freedom and hope will be rediscovered. Maybe something great lies down the road in a totally different perspective than that of politics. A vision such as that of Novalis of a new Christendom in an England of misery and the images conveyed by William Blake seems unlikely. What has been experienced a posteriori will remain, and innocence is gone forever. Our shattered country is one of bestial competition and deceit. We must take a leaf out of the book of the old Gnostic tradition within Christianity: look within ourselves rather than from without, find the object of our yearning in the inner light or the imago Dei.

We often look outside ourselves for beauty, hope, love and light, but the light is within, not to be found anywhere else. We alone as persons can bring about that new light. We find an analogy of this light in history, and this is why we look for it in time, why we connect it with our sense of destiny and purpose. This term of light is also an analogy for spirit or spirituality. Spirituality is not that narrow idea of retreating into a comfortable inner world from the suffering of this world but blossoming or opening out of what is prophetic and mystical within us. We turn to something which is new, exciting and challenging the status quo. Another way of expressing this notion is aristocracy or nobility of spirit. Many would bring about converging ideas like a new age, a point of hope beyond the present cave of shadows. This theme is found in several historical movements of thought, not only in Romanticism but also in much older tendencies like Gnosticism which was too easily written off as a heresy by the Church.

We look to a higher consciousness and reality. In this quest, it is a temptation to sin by pride. However, humility is truth, not unjust abasement. It is present in any person who is deeply shocked by man’s inhumanity to man. Such inhumanity is not only expressed by torture and killing like in the case of totalitarian regimes and criminals, but also by high ideas that become banal, cheapened or perverted. This inspiration is also known as the life of the mind, but something beyond intellectual learning. It is what keeps us distinct from barbarism and from our reptilian and animal instincts. Human history is full of this value of humanism against which the evil forces of this world fight.

I have been particularly uplifted by Rob Riemen’s book Nobility of Spirit[1]. This slim tome has no need of being rewritten, but there are elements in it that need to be expanded and correlated with thoughts that are already present in the minds of the Romantics and men of the same line of thought to the present day.

Thomas Mann was profoundly shocked in his native land by the way any thinkers and artists allied themselves with the Nazi regime. The way education, politics and “culture” have been democratised go against the notion of nobility of spirit, coined by Walt Whitman. There is a notion of excellence which is accessible only to very few. Only thus can there be freedom and a quest for love, truth, beauty and goodness. I will also add that it is the condition of true liberalism, of law confirming the highest freedom guided by virtue and rectitude.

As goes England and the United Kingdom, so goes Europe. The European Union is not Europe, but is an economic entity which seems to have only a passing interest in humanism. The Belgian EU politician Guy Verhofstadt is one of the rare personalities who thinks outside the box of money and power. I often look at his column on Facebook in which he expresses notions of freedom, human rights and peace as being of highest priority. Europe itself, in its diversity of languages and cultures, became the mother of humanism and civilisation. It inspired those who fought for justice and truth against the all-powerful tyranny of money, power and stupidity. Humanism is largely the fruit of the Christian way. Christianity was very severely corrupted by its contact with secular power, but it continued to bring a world view of compassion and pity, of love and mercy. Humanism brought the optimism of the ancient world.

With the bitter experience of Brexit, it is my hope and prayer that we in Europe can devote ourselves to promoting our long tradition of culture and philosophy, the true role of Christianity and other spiritual traditions. We need to rediscover the influence of Christianity on the ancient Roman Empire, but also the heritage of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and Romanticism. I would like to see a renaissance of schools and universities, the renewal of the old German notion of Bildung, a philosophy of education aimed at giving students moral awareness and above all a critical mind, going back to ancient Greece. Without such a liberal education, such as I myself experienced at Fribourg in the 1980’s, democracy is impossible and civilisation collapses. I discovered the infinite distance between university Bildung and indoctrination in seminaries! My time as a “convert” to a certain type of Catholicism was at an end.

We need to understand current events through philosophy, a balanced notion of epistemology and founded truth, the art of logic and debate. English public schoolboys are taught the art of debate, but one wouldn’t believe it seeing the shambles in the House of Commons with the embattled Speaker, John Bercow crying Order! Order! and trying to teach people these simple rules of respect and courtesy. We need to learn from diversity, Christians in dialogue with Muslims, Hindus and everyone present in our continent, right-wingers with left-wingers, even with the wealth of the rest of the world.

I believe that the light will prevail, and that we will not lapse into the conditions in the 1930’s that brought Hitler to power. Our identity is cultural and spiritual, steeped in the ages of Christendom and the Renaissance, tempered by the Enlightenment and Romanticism. There is a vital interplay between faith, knowledge, reason and heart that makes the whole Mensch. This is my inspiration and vocation as a Christian priest and ordinary guy living in France.

I wish you all a holy feast of Candlemas.

[1] Rob Riemen, Nobility of Spirit, a forgotten ideal, Yale 2008.

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9 Responses to Humanist Europe

  1. Dale says:

    I found this posting quite interesting, with many solid and thought provoking ideas, until this:

    “The Belgian EU politician Guy Verhofstadt is one of the rare personalities who thinks outside the box of money and power.”

    Verhofstadt is a proponent of open borders and whilst Prime Minister of Belgium supported open border immigration into Belgium and do pray tell, how well has that worked out? The recent bombings in Paris were partially carried out by “Belgian” Islamists. He has openly castigated Great Britain for refusing to take in hoards of Muslim immigrants, who against EU law, were invited into Germany by Ms Merkel. He does not speak outside of the box of money and power; he readily speaks with the voice of EU power when it suits him. He famously declared, “The rules are the rules, and we do not change the rules”: of course, unless it suits him. He is nothing more than a far-left blowhard. He has often stated quite nasty things against anyone who dares to disagree with his orthodoxies.

    This exchange is quite enlightening:

    Also, you have mentioned this several times, those who supported Brexit are not the billionaire class, who support international trade and cheap labour, but mostly middle and working class members of society. Even Rubricarius admits that the wealthy, capitalist areas voted to remain.

    Remaining with the EU, with its “the rules are the rules” is similar to certain Anglicans so willing to submit to Rome because they feel the need for rules and that bigger is better.

    • Less than 2 months and it will all be over. No one is right and no one is wrong. I won’t debate it with you, but thank you for commenting all the same.

      Some of the Facebook groups help me get thoughts into order and take stock of the grotesque stupidity of the present British regime. A short dialogue:

      I get this impression. We have the futile renegotiation with the EU on the backstop, contracting with a shipping company without ships or capital, bribing opposition MP’s, and so on and so forth – a grotesque show of things that are so obviously and patently absurd to reasoning people like you or I. It all seems like a pantomime: Should I hit little Minnie over the head with this sledgehammer? – and the audience would shout “No!” As it goes on, the martial language, comparing the journey to Brussels to the Battle of Britain or the Dambusters raid or anything of World War II is completely childish and absurd. Perhaps Mrs May is simply running rings around Rees-Mogg, Blo-Jo, etc. – the hard right-wing of the Tory Party, for the purpose of discrediting the extreme of her own party, either to get her equally absurd “blind” Brexit deal through or hit the kill-switch on Article 50 at the very last moment. It’s a game of chicken, just a matter of knowing when to flinch. I have never in my life seen politics done like this, like a children’s game, and I hope to see the lot of them tried for what they have done against the law and get serious prison time, their assets taken away as compensation. Things have risen to such a pitch that another referendum might be another Leaver win, because the rot is so deeply set in. Perhaps – and this is certainly a crazy idea – the EU should take over the UK Government and treat the country as the Allies did with Germany in 1945, until such time as the British are ready to elect a serious national Parliament and completely overhaul the political system and modernise the Constitution in line with those of most European countries. That is both my gut reaction and reasoning – but one thing against my whole idea is the capitulation of MP’s to this plan. They can’t all be in a conspiracy. That doesn’t hold water, so we may truly be in an idiotocracy. If so, we’re finished.

      Someone asked me:

      Can’t disagree and thanks for sharing. Idiotacracy. Perfect term. Briefly how do you see March 29 panning out… ?

      I wrote this off the cuff:

      Scenario 1: 29th and 30th March arrive with not a word from the Government. No one available to answer questions. Speculation suggests that no-deal Brexit has occurred but no one will confirm or deny it. Theresa May and ERG people all out of the country and presumably in Paraguay or Venezuela. Joking for that last part. But not joking about the onset of chaos and unrest leading to a revolution or a coup in Westminster. Scenario 2: Theresa May presses the kill switch a few days before the 29th and leaves the country for a time. Scenario 3: She gets an extension under false pretences and uses it to continue the same stuff as now to get “her” deal through. The EU must have a secret plan and there may be one among some of the MP’s, secret services and stuff we will never know anything about. That’s about all from me.

      I don’t know what American readers are going to get out of this, but I’m sure that British things are going to be radioactive for a long time. The US have got enough problems of their own.

      • Dale says:

        During the original debate the opposition to leaving declared, without a shred of evidence, that simply a vote to leave would immediately result in the loss of between 500,000 to 800,000 thousand jobs. Did this happen? According to another supporter of remaining who posts here, the British economy is doing quite well. Quite honestly, the scare tactics are getting tiresome.

        To refer to the British government as a “regime” and all that word conjures up because the people of Great Britain refuse to submit to a German Fourth Reich is very telling. And anyone who believes that the Germans are not calling the shots are fools. What was the repercussions of Ms Merkel’s refusal to follow EU rules on immigration? That shows where the power resides. And her continued attacks against anyone who will now not open their borders to the immigration mess she has created is publicly castigated following left-wing verbiage and condemned as racists and fascists.

        Outside of Germany and Great Britain, much of the economies of the EU are in a shambles. One simply needs to look at Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece (all of whom owe huge amounts to Germany) to see the writing on the wall. One could mention that France is not feeling all that well on the economic front either. Who in the end is going to come and bail these nations out when it becomes increasingly plain that they can not reply the debts to that they owe?

        Verhofstadt openly attacked Great Britain for refusing to accept the immigrants camped out in Calais and Dunkirk in the a truly pathetic appeal to pity. Making references to himself actually seeing even pregnant women living in mud and squalor, and blaming Great Britain for the immigration fiasco. Good Lord, these people are in FRANCE, which allowed them to illegally enter Europe thinking they could then dump the mess on Great Britain. I did notice that Mr Verhostadt did not invite any of them to live in his mansion. His monthly income is over 14,000.00 Euros per month (that is correct, not 1,400.00 but 14,000.00), yet you consider that he “thinks outside the box of money”? Really?

        To think that my family actually fought for Great Britain to remain free of Germany in the last two wars does indeed make me angry about this whole issue. But I suspect that for you I am not allowed to voice an opinion; yet you have yourself lived outside of Great Britain for more than half a generation.

        The German idea, supported by the French, for an EU army is a whole new Pandora’s box as well. One suspects that in the future any European nation that dares to leave can expect to be invaded and occupied, for their own good of course.

      • jimofolym says:

        As an American reader, I say: God save England, and bless her people. Give them victory over their adversaries. Hope it all comes right in the end.

    • Stephen K says:

      You really hate the idea of a united Europe, don’t you? I don’t think Father Anthony’s post was really about much more than a summation of his reflective hopes for a less aggressive religious future. Yet you have seized on his characterisation of a single person to launch a diatribe no less morally strident, in my view, than the left-wingers you accuse of the same.

      You write as if you were directly and personally threatened or affronted by the prospect that at the last minute Britain might stay in or accommodate with the European Union, don’t you? Accepting the idea, for the sake of argument, of the seismic effects of fluttering butterfly wings in China, would you not agree that you, like I, at some thousands of miles’ remove, have less standing in the matter of Brexit?

      I thought some of your statements were misplaced or OTT and needed to be opposed. Here are a couple of them with my responses.

      Remaining with the EU, with its “the rules are the rules” is similar to certain Anglicans so willing to submit to Rome because they feel the need for rules and that bigger is better.

      This is a poor straw man. I grant you that some Anglicans have retreated or flocked to the RCC to find a large protective bosom, according to the image they have of it and of themselves. But if people are afraid of the consequences of leaving a large economic and social union what can be decried about that? Economically, bigger IS better (or so the American capitalist model has never tired of telling us), and indeed, for some purposes, there is indeed strength in numbers, so how should we take that as a criticism?

      In any case, I repudiate your attempt to reduce the remain impulse to wanting to submit to rules just because of some kind of submissive pathology. Have you not been reading the arguments flooding the internet? Have you not understood Father Anthony’s essential, recurring theme and anxiety he shares with many? Let me condense the central one for you, to help you.

      Remainers believe that a European union is, let us use Churchillian terms, the least worst strategy for ensuring Western peace, for avoiding a descent into destructive wars within the hemisphere, and for promoting humanist ideas they believe work best. Moderate Christian people like Father Anthony think many of these humanist ideas are consonant with and epitomised by the best of the Christian ethos and not by the worst of its political and sectarian history.

      …those who supported Brexit are not the billionaire class, who support international trade and cheap labour, but mostly middle and working class members of society. Even Rubricarius admits that the wealthy, capitalist areas voted to remain.

      This is a half-truth, a kind of ‘fake’ assertion not worthy of you, Dale: you ignore the cliques and friends of Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg etc. There seems to be widespread support across the various demographics for the remain vote – and I don’t just mean by country, e.g. Scotland, Wales etc. To top it all off, it is important to remember that this whole fiasco was launched by the most slender of margins in a referendum in which a significant proportion of citizens did not vote.

      There are various motives at play with different individuals over Brexit in both directions but the wealthy elites you seem to think are the main, and imply are the only, remainers would hardly be attracted to wanting to follow rules in principle (apart from their own).

      Here’s one person who hopes Europeans and Britons will ignore the ideology and politics you are promoting. If the European Union disintegrates due to your brand of jingoism into World War III, I hope you’ll accept some responsibility.

      • Stephen,

        Many thanks for this reflection and a little moral support. With my “Blue Flower” approach, I am trying to emulate those few souls in countries like France, Germany and the UK who sought the high road after having seen the effects of the French Revolution and the tyranny of Robespierre. They had also seen the effects of distorted religion in the form of Jansenism and the dryness of the Enlightenment. Something new was needed. Similarly today, after the experience of right-wing religion like Catholic integralism, certain forms of Orthodox traditionalism and Protestant fundamentalism, the continuation of the old Enlightenment in modern atheism and materialistic science, I see the need for a new form of Romanticism. One way to seek the high road is to refuse polemics between two opposite extremes and caricatures. I do not identify with Socialism and I have no sympathy for “snowflake” and “antifa” politics in America. However, a part of my Romantic world view is that of the Christian Gospel, namely the care of the weak and needy and not competition for money and power through the elimination of “undesirables”.

        I suspect that some Americans have a particular interest that the UK should separate from Europe and align with American conservative political agendas and social norms. It is not my place to be “anti-American”, but the Americans in 1944 chased the Nazis out of France – then destroyed countless towns and cultural treasures, and then cynically lent the money for their restoration. The narrative of World War II is not so cut and dried as some make it out to be. I have also seen some very strong opinions along the same lines from some right-wing Australians. It is difficult to understand why, rather than see them as indifferent and uncaring.

        Some would like to see the UK all alone. At the beginning of World War II, that was not a comfortable position – and we still had the Empire then. That is no longer the case, and if we leave the EU, we need to be affiliated with something else. The USA? Russia? China? The first of these three shares the same language. I remember once being tempted to go and live in the US. I was warned about the health cover situation or the lack of it. To get health insurance, you have to be young and have no pre-declared condition. Otherwise, needing to be hospitalised means being completely ruined financially. Is that the future in the UK, pre or post Obamacare? I hear that Obamacare didn’t work anyway, nor was it intended to be anything other than dysfunctional. That is but one aspect. The NHS cannot be financed.

        I agree with your paragraph concerning the pragmatic attitude. The United Nations and the EU have prevented any descent into a new world war or the rise of the kind of ideologies that were so vigorously condemned by the Nuremburg Tribunal. This doesn’t mean that the EU is perfect or immune from the temptation of globalism and the “new world order” ideology – which is gaining ground through the anti-EU movement and nationalist populism.

        As I see things at present, the various things the UK Government are presently doing and saying are so blatantly and obviously stupid and irrational that they begin to betray a plan. I can only suspect they are trying to “steer” May’s deal towards a compromise and a fudge with the EU in such a way as nothing actually changes. There will be such a degree of feeling against “no-deal” or “hard” Brexit that it will never be more than a childish threat and a strategy to discredit the hard-liners like Boris Johnson and Rees-Mogg among others. We will remain in the European taxation and customs system – the only way to protect peace in Ireland, that will maintain health, food and social safety standards and discourage the obscenely wealthy tycoons of big business. After a time, restrictions on free movement of UK and European citizens will no longer be enforced. That is how I see it going, even though I may be wrong and wishing away “Guillotine Day” on 29th March.

        I don’t think the extreme right will win out if there is enough resistance from social democracy, socialism and the various parties representing Scotland. I don’t know whether a second referendum would be wise, since it might go the same way because of radicalisation of both “leavers” and “remainers” and ideology / fake news replacing any rational debate on the real issues.

        Our priority is to avoid World War III, and also to avoid a new form of feudalism and the cynical exploitation and “ethnical cleansing” of populations along ethnical and economic lines. Our time is not one for jingoism or childish comparisons of modern Germany with Nazism. I have a great admiration for Germany and the way it has come to terms with its guilty past and transcended it.

        We’ll soon know what happens, since the clock is ticking…

  2. Dale says:

    I should also like to add that I am tired of the same fear mongering, personal innuendo, accusations of racism and fascism as well as outright lies that the remainers have borrowed in toto from the truly deranged left in the United States, including the canard of Russian collusion. The left may lack imagination, but they more than make up for it in self-righteous stridency.

    • This discussion has become increasingly polarised as time goes on. I have been tolerant of Dale for a long time in his criticisms of Eastern Orthodoxy and its western rite, and now with his position on Brexit. I have therefore moderated him as an alternative to allowing him to shoot down my blog to the extent that I become paralysed with discouragement, close it down or stop writing. I have been prepared to take some “stick” for his freedom of speech, but this is the limit. He can post and I will decide what goes on this blog and what goes down the black hole. Dale is welcome to set up his own blog and express himself freely.

      The whole controversy of Brexit is taking on proportions comparable with l’Affaire Drefus in France and the collaborators against the Resistance under the Occupation in the same country from 1940 to 1944. The underlying issue is always the same, racial purity and welfare systems, whether our human condition is conditioned by competition, survival of the fittest or compassion and pity.

      I am presently reading Graham Vanbergen, Brexit: A Corporate Coup D’Etat. It is all about selling the UK to the highest bidders, the dismantling of the welfare state, the deregulation of food standards, all without any regard to or care for the population. I have still to finish this book and make up my own mind about how much of this is true and how much might be some degree of fear-mongering. All in all, the social democracy and ecological agenda of the EU seem preferable to a potential return to the 1930’s and totalitarianism.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I haven’t read all of this post or the comments yet, but have just read – and heartily recommend – a fascinating book edited from contemporary and later writings of the Romance Literature scholar, Victor Klemperer (in its Dutch translation) of which the English version is Munich 1919: Diary of a Revolution (2017).

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